harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
So then why did you mention you're considering the 8050 for your den 2 channel system?
Depending on what speakers I end up with I may need a different amp with better flexibility and more power. The Onkyo fits that bill as a possible candidate along with many others. Focusing on speakers first though.
 
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PearlcorderS701

Banned
Depending on what speakers I end up with I may need a different amp with better flexibility and more power. The Onkyo fits that bill as a possible candidate along with many others. Focusing on speakers first though.
I see; which is what you should do as a priority...;)

The 8050 would offer you more power than the amp you're considering for the system? What other centerpieces (integrated, receiver, separates) are you looking at?

It just seemed, from your comment of "I already have the system in place actually..." (not your exact quote, if I am not mistaken) that you had picked all your pieces and have set them up for your den system...hence, I was confused as to why you stated you were looking at the 8050...

If this new model performs anything like the 8555 you recommended to me, I think you'll be very happy and I can recommend it back to you! There is plenty of grunt from this amp's 100 watt x 2 guts (as should the 80 watts x 2 engine in the new model offer) and the whole thing just feels high end, with nice, solid aluminum controls...you really can't go wrong for affordable hi fi. ;)
 
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starbux48

Audiophyte
Will I need an outboard DAC between this and my Mac?

I have a MacBook Pro with digital optical out via the headphone jack. I was going to buy an Onkyo A-5VL amp that would accept via a mini-Toslink to Toslink cable from the MBP. Now I see there are some terrific deals on the HK 3490 receivers. I see they have digital inputs. I do know the Onkyo amp has a Burr Brown DAC, but what about the HK 3490? How good is the internal DAC & would another external one be needed? I am playing mostly lossless, some MP3's and online radio through whatever amp/receiver I buy. The HK is about $150 less than the Onkyo right now, so need to know.
 
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bikemig

Audioholic Chief
Like you, I want a stereo receiver that has digital inputs. The reviews I've seen of the HK 3490 are positive on the dac. One problem is that it does not switch as cleanly as you might like to the digital inputs (apparently you need to use the controls on the receiver and can't do it simply using the remote). I'd wait to find out how good the dacs are with the Onkyo TX 8050; it may be better than the A-5VL. Another possibility is getting what you want and using the HRT musicstreamer II (about $150); I use one and it's great.
 
S

starbux48

Audiophyte
Have also considered adding HRT Music Streamer II

In addition to whatever amp or receiver I purchase, I was going to buy this HRT Dac which across the board gets rave reviews. Just look on Amazon.com or even a simple Google search. As far as A/V receivers including the HK 3490, am also looking at the Onkyo TX-NR609 receiver and Yamaha A-S500 integrated amp.
 
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arcranin

Audiophyte
HK 3490 - refurbished; thoughts?

Hi - I'm new to the forum, and not much of an audioholic (sorry to say -- please bear with me if my questions lack experience and knowledge). I need to run an ipod through ceiling speakers in two adjacent rooms, and music will not be played terribly loudly. I am looking into a factory refurbished Harman Kardon receiver (HK3490) and four mid-level 8 ohm ceiling speakers, like Polk RC60, JBL SP8C or, on the lower end, Pyle PDIC61RD (not sure how much speaker quality will really matter for playing music at moderate volumes in a kitchen and dining room...). So, a few questions:

1) Anyone have any experience with HK refurbished gear? Any quality issues?
2) Do I have to use the expensive HK iPod dock ($130)? And if I do, will the HK 3490's remote operate the iPod itself?
3) Does the HK3490 have an A/B speaker switch allowing all four speakers to play at once?
4) WILL the speakers matter? Of the above choices, which would you opt for?
5) Is the HK3490 a good choice for running sound from an iPod thru four 8-ohm speakers? Any safety or distortion issues w/respect to impedance?

Really appreciate the help -- ESPECIALLY if delivered in plain English...I am not much of a tecchy (as if the rudimentary nature of the questions didn't already give me away...).

Andrew :confused:
 
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bikemig

Audioholic Chief
Hi - I'm new to the forum, and not much of an audioholic (sorry to say -- please bear with me if my questions lack experience and knowledge). I need to run an ipod through ceiling speakers in two adjacent rooms, and music will not be played terribly loudly. I am looking into a factory refurbished Harman Kardon receiver (HK3490) and four mid-level 8 ohm ceiling speakers, like Polk RC60, JBL SP8C or, on the lower end, Pyle PDIC61RD (not sure how much speaker quality will really matter for playing music at moderate volumes in a kitchen and dining room...). So, a few questions:

1) Anyone have any experience with HK refurbished gear? Any quality issues?
2) Do I have to use the expensive HK iPod dock ($130)? And if I do, will the HK 3490's remote operate the iPod itself?
3) Does the HK3490 have an A/B speaker switch allowing all four speakers to play at once?
4) WILL the speakers matter? Of the above choices, which would you opt for?
5) Is the HK3490 a good choice for running sound from an iPod thru four 8-ohm speakers? Any safety or distortion issues w/respect to impedance?

Really appreciate the help -- ESPECIALLY if delivered in plain English...I am not much of a tecchy (as if the rudimentary nature of the questions didn't already give me away...).

Andrew :confused:
The HK3490 is a very competent stereo receiver; my question is why do you want to use your ipod as a transport? It is not impossible to get good sound quality out of an Ipod but it is difficult. You presumably have your music ripped on a hard disc somewhere in the house. Why not stream it wirelessly to the HK3490? Something like this, for example, http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Squeezebox-Wi-Fi-Internet-Radio/dp/B0013IWYHU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308320105&sr=8-1, will beat the heck out of almost any ipod dock and let you stream internet radio (including Pandora).
 
J

Jeff R.

Audioholic General
This receiver is a top performer. I have had mine for about 2 years and think it is truly one of the best values out there. Right now I have mine driving my 4ohm MBQuart 1030s and it does it with out even running hot, that is a very difficult pair of speakers to power. I really wish they would have tacked on a bass management system for a little extra cost. But the Amp can easily drive full range with out issues.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Hi - I'm new to the forum, and not much of an audioholic (sorry to say -- please bear with me if my questions lack experience and knowledge). I need to run an ipod through ceiling speakers in two adjacent rooms, and music will not be played terribly loudly. I am looking into a factory refurbished Harman Kardon receiver (HK3490) and four mid-level 8 ohm ceiling speakers, like Polk RC60, JBL SP8C or, on the lower end, Pyle PDIC61RD (not sure how much speaker quality will really matter for playing music at moderate volumes in a kitchen and dining room...). So, a few questions:

1) Anyone have any experience with HK refurbished gear? Any quality issues?
The 3490 is a great, solid reliable product.
2) Do I have to use the expensive HK iPod dock ($130)? And if I do, will the HK 3490's remote operate the iPod itself?
Get the Bridge II, look for it on E-Bay often available for <$50.. Yes, the 3490 remote operates the iPod.
3) Does the HK3490 have an A/B speaker switch allowing all four speakers to play at once?
Yes. It has A/B speaker switching in parallel.
4) WILL the speakers matter? Of the above choices, which would you opt for?
Yes. quality speakers are pertinent for reliable, good sonic performance. Forget the Pyle they are junk, consider Speakercraft or Proficient Audio thats their primary biz.
5) Is the HK3490 a good choice for running sound from an iPod thru four 8-ohm speakers? Any safety or distortion issues w/respect to impedance?
Good choice, all is fine..


Just my $0.02.. ;)
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
Just pulled the trigger on one of these. 260 shipped. I have played around and used these HK's stereo receivers before and have always been impressed. I couldn't pass up the low price.

I will report back this weekend after I have run it through it's paces. Should be fun. :D
 
P

PearlcorderS701

Banned
Just pulled the trigger on one of these. 260 shipped. I have played around and used these HK's stereo receivers before and have always been impressed. I couldn't pass up the low price.

I will report back this weekend after I have run it through it's paces. Should be fun. :D
You didn't go with the TX-8050? :(
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
You didn't go with the TX-8050? :(
The HK offered the better value right now and the feature set was more to my liking. The other upside is the HK's amps section is more robust which is a bonus. But not a necessity. I also saved almost 100 bucks as well. :D Only loss is some of the network connectivity which isn't imporant to me.

After digging deeper I was not all that impressed with the 8050 except for the network connectivity and DAC integration. But even then nothing special.

The amp section looks to be from the 8255 and tweaked for a little more power. So in a nutshell it seems the 8050 is an 8255 with a slightly tweaked amp section and digital/network connectivity.

Nothing special in my book. Onkyo is finally getting with the program which is nice. Don't get me wrong I like Onkyo and most of there products but the 8050 is nothing great nor bad in my book. With current market price the HK offered the better value in my book.
 
P

PearlcorderS701

Banned
The HK offered the better value right now and the feature set was more to my liking. The other upside is the HK's amps section is more robust which is a bonus. But not a necessity. I also saved almost 100 bucks as well. :D Only loss is some of the network connectivity which isn't imporant to me.
By "more robust" do you mean more powerful? What is the HK's wattage rating? I know the 8050 claims 80 X 2, which is a bit of a step down from the 8555...

After digging deeper I was not all that impressed with the 8050 except for the network connectivity and DAC integration. But even then nothing special.
Curious why you guided me towards the 8555 then -- taking the brand loyalty element out of the mix. What didn't impress you about the 8050? What was it missing? Did you not like the asthetics?

I, for one, don't care for their new direction with the style of the receivers' faceplates -- I think it screams "Sony" and that's NOT a good thing. I think my 8555 has a much classier appearance than this new 8050. That said, I think the style on the hi fi separates they introduced recently (the power amp and preamp and CD player) is real snazzy, even though they tried to mimic it on the 8050...

The amp section looks to be from the 8255 and tweaked for a little more power. So in a nutshell it seems the 8050 is an 8255 with a slightly tweaked amp section and digital/network connectivity.
Ah ha -- perhaps that answered my question above regarding what you didn't like about it. Indeed, the 8050 seems like, when you put it in that perspective, an "80 watt per channel version of the 8255"...

It's clear that what they were going for here (Onkyo) was a networking stereo unit for a generation using networking devices and such, but offering an affordable piece of gear that could still play legacy audio sources through two channels. They clearly marketed this in their press materials for the 805o, what with the references to a classic solution for a modern era, etc.

Nothing special in my book. Onkyo is finally getting with the program which is nice. Don't get me wrong I like Onkyo and most of there products but the 8050 is nothing great nor bad in my book. With current market price the HK offered the better value in my book.
Well, if that's the way you see it; I was just curious as to why you chose the HK over the 8050 because after all the recommendations you gave me when I was shopping for an integrated/receiver, and the way in which you succinctly broke down the history behind its "tried and proven" 100 watt X 2 amplifier design, I would have thought you would have gone the Onk route yourself, especially since we were doing all that talking about the new model.
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
Read my post a little closer. The HK is a good bit more powerful. Especially with 4 ohm loads. The HK is also a tried and true design that's been used for many years without change.

I also saved a good bit of money. Whats not to understand ? ;)
 
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PearlcorderS701

Banned
Read my post a little closer. The HK is a good bit more powerful. Especially with 4 ohm loads. The HK is also a tried and true design that's been used for many years without change.

I also saved a good bit of money. Whats not to understand ? ;)
Well, again, I will offer this sentiment -- I just didn't get why you made the powerful, passionate suggestions for the TX-8555 to me in the thread I began about amps and stereo receivers and yet you never were steered towards one personally...that's a bit curious to me.

I understand the element of more power with the HK versus the 8050 -- but what about a 8555 like you suggested to me? They clearly haven't discontinued it yet, and it was a top pick from you to me.
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
Well, again, I will offer this sentiment -- I just didn't get why you made the powerful, passionate suggestions for the TX-8555 to me in the thread I began about amps and stereo receivers and yet you never were steered towards one personally...that's a bit curious to me.

I understand the element of more power with the HK versus the 8050 -- but what about a 8555 like you suggested to me? They clearly haven't discontinued it yet, and it was a top pick from you to me.
I still standby my recommendation of the TX-8555 to anyone looking for a stereo receiver. Especially in the budget sector. It's a great unit. So are the HK's, and NAD's, I suggested to you. I did consider the 8555 as well. Especially at its 229.00 price tag from Amazon.

But when it came down to it the HK offered more value with it's digital inputs, pre-out/main-in jacks, and better than average phono stage for 30.00 more. It wasn't tough to figure this one out. ;)
 
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PearlcorderS701

Banned
I still standby my recommendation of the TX-8555 to anyone looking for a stereo receiver. Especially in the budget sector. It's a great unit. So are the HK's, and NAD's, I suggested to you. I did consider the 8555 as well. Especially at its 229.00 price tag from Amazon.

But when it came down to it the HK offered more value with it's digital inputs, pre-out/main-in jacks, and better than average phono stage for 30.00 more. It wasn't tough to figure this one out. ;)
It was tough to figure out -- until you explained it a bit better. ;)

As I said, I didn't know why you weren't going with the 8555 when you so wholeheartedly recommended it to me -- several times -- but if you needed the digital inputs, etc. then perhaps the HK was the better choice for you. To me, the 8555 had the pre out jacks and a good phono section.
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
HK 3490 Dead After Two Weeks

Well after two weeks with my new HK 3490 it has decided to take a dump. :(

Everything had been working perfectly and the receiver sounded fantastic. However after going into the office to shut things off at the end of the night last night I noticed a hum coming from the back left where the transformer is. I was to tired to do much else so I shut it off and retired for the evening. The next morning the unit is dead. No orange light, nothing. I unplugged the reciever and let it sit for several hours but still no luck. It is completely dead. It responds to nothing.

So now it comes down to whether I want to go with another HK or switch to something else. Just when I started getting comfortable this happens. :rolleyes:
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
^^^

I *hinted* at the 8555 or 8050...;):D
And my last Onkyo failed just out of warranty. ;)

Not sure what I'm gonna do now. May just get another HK or go seperates. Gonna think this over some more while the HK is shipping back. There are so many options in my scenario it's mind boggling.
 

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