harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
I have owned the predecessor of the 3490 stereo receiver, the harmon/kardon 3485, for eight years and find myself seeking a solution to the similar volume control issues experienced by reel-deal. Although my volume (switch?) problem has now advanced to a point where the receiver is unusable. When I turn the receiver on, a brief semblance of sound blasts through, and then quickly vanishes. Turning the volume knob back and forth firmly only results in a brief restoration of sound and quickly shuts down any sound completely. My speakers are fine, it seems this problem is definitely attributable to the volume control apparatus and my fear is that this part is solidly encased and not repairable or replaceable. Calls to recommended HK service centers has not led to any reassurances, only references to their estimate fees, a cost I hesitate to donate, and would rather use toward a new receiver, especially when it becomes obvious that there is no viable or cost-effective solution to this problem.Any advice out there would be greatly appreciated!!
You wont be able to fix those for any reasonable cost. Your looking at 80-120 to look at thing and get an estimate. You might get an estimate a little cheaper but then you have to factor in parts for the repair and more labor. Then your probably at 200 or more and at that point your better off buying new receiver with a warranty.

It's a shame but most electronics including receivers are designed to be thrown away.
 
M

mirabs

Audiophyte
You wont be able to fix those for any reasonable cost. Your looking at 80-120 to look at thing and get an estimate. You might get an estimate a little cheaper but then you have to factor in parts for the repair and more labor. Then your probably at 200 or more and at that point your better off buying new receiver with a warranty.

It's a shame but most electronics including receivers are designed to be thrown away.
anamorphic96, From the responses I’ve been getting from folks who are still repairing receivers these days, they all are avoiding my precise inquiry whether they have addressed or solved the specific issue in question with past customers. They only advise me of their estimate fees and nothing more. Not a good sign. It appears I will start comparing stereo receivers in Consumer Reports and elsewhere (any suggestions?) in the coming days. Many thanks for your input and candor.
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
anamorphic96, From the responses I’ve been getting from folks who are still repairing receivers these days, they all are avoiding my precise inquiry whether they have addressed or solved the specific issue in question with past customers. They only advise me of their estimate fees and nothing more. Not a good sign. It appears I will start comparing stereo receivers in Consumer Reports and elsewhere (any suggestions?) in the coming days. Many thanks for your input and candor.
What are you specific needs and budget ? Do you need a tuner ?
 
M

mirabs

Audiophyte
What are you specific needs and budget ? Do you need a tuner ?
No, a stereo receiver, preferably under $600.00, if possible. Consumer Reports, by the way, no longer covers or tests them, apparently looking upon such equipment not a part of a sound theater system as obsolete or something only purists do, like using turntables or reading novels. I have also noticed that manufacturers seem to be carefully avoiding FM sensitivity numbers in their specs these days, a crucial factor, at least for me, in that I want a receiver with high sensitivity, with or without exterior antenna.
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
The above suggestions from agarwalro are very solid and would have been what I mentioned along with NAD C326BEE, and Marantz PM6005 would also be great options.

I use the Yamaha A-S500 and it's a great amp. The A-S501 is the exact same amp it was just updated with digital inputs.
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
No, a stereo receiver, preferably under $600.00, if possible. Consumer Reports, by the way, no longer covers or tests them, apparently looking upon such equipment not a part of a sound theater system as obsolete or something only purists do, like using turntables or reading novels. I have also noticed that manufacturers seem to be carefully avoiding FM sensitivity numbers in their specs these days, a crucial factor, at least for me, in that I want a receiver with high sensitivity, with or without exterior antenna.
Go with any of the Marantz gear. I have the 8004 but you can pick up a 6005 for your budget. I love Marantz gear. I lucked out and still got one that is built in Japan. Most are in China.
 
C

Charlie C

Audiophyte
probably not the right thread but I will try. I have the 3490 and love it. until I have now blown 3 sets of tweeters on 3 different speaker set ups.
polk t55 , klipsch aw659 and advent graduates. I don't play it loud, I have the proper wiring, (10 gauge) any ideas ? suggestions?
 
T

Tonehenge

Audiophyte
I'm at this moment listening to the new Bria Skonberg album on a pair of mid to late 90's JBL L3's, driven by the HK 3490 receiver. The experience is very good...the system can be described as utterly transparent...skating on the edge of high frequencies being etched, but not quite. It's the effect of very clean glass. Bottom end is ample, but very well controlled. The 3490 specifies a high current design, which would indicate better than adequate damping of low frequency driver motion...something a vented design like the L3 is going to benefit from. I'm not certain I understand the prior criticisms sonically of the 3490. By trade, I'm a recording engineer, with a fair amount of experience at the mastering end of things. This amplifier is doing what a good amplifier should do...provide clean unaltered gain. It possesses great dynamics, and there's no doubt that it's high current design will allow it to skate through the reactive loads that speakers with complex crossovers will present. I would think that the evidently high damping factor of this amplifier compared with the relatively poor control exhibited by many vintage designs will result in the perceived lack of bass. If the low frequency driver isn't snapped back to attention after delivering a fundamental note, the sound will be plummy and over-ripe in the bottom octaves, creating a false impression of more bass. I can't speak to the quality control of these products. I acquired my 3490 used via Craigslist from a fellow for $60! (No, it wasn't hot). It's operated flawlessly for me so far. It's on an open shelf with lots of room for ventilation. I just acquired the L3's yesterday, again off of CL for $80 from a guy that was cleaning out his brothers storage. Anyways, I just wanted to counter the observations about the 3490's sonic attributes. It's a fine amplifier.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
We were on the original HK development team for stereo receivers as a consultant. The output amplifier stage was designed by Richie Miller who also did other incredible amplifiers such as the Citation series. HK still imports the stereo receivers which have remained basically the same for the last 12 years other than updating the front-end to handle digital inputs. The assembling factory was originally in Korea moved to China now in Vietnam, they also build for Anthem, Marantz and NAD..

Over the years HK has received many accolades for this series..

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
We were on the original HK development team for stereo receivers as a consultant. The output amplifier stage was designed by Richie Miller who also did other incredible amplifiers such as the Citation series. HK still imports the stereo receivers which have remained basically the same for the last 12 years other than updating the front-end to handle digital inputs. The assembling factory was originally in Korea moved to China now in Vietnam, they also build for Anthem, Marantz and NAD..

Over the years HK has received many accolades for this series..

Just my $0.02... ;)
Don't forget they changed the topology of the power supply - they replaced the old transformer-based power supply with switching supplies on their newer models. The receivers are now much lighter in weight.
 
T

Tonehenge

Audiophyte
Don't forget they changed the topology of the power supply - they replaced the old transformer-based power supply with switching supplies on their newer models. The receivers are now much lighter in weight.
If that pertains to the 3490, it might not be a bad idea to invest in some kind of AVR device to protect it from extreme voltage fluctuations...
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Don't forget they changed the topology of the power supply - they replaced the old transformer-based power supply with switching supplies on their newer models. The receivers are now much lighter in weight.

Yup...
They went to an SMPS as to meet the later Euro power consumption standards. Ironic when supporting HK for both AVRs and stereo receivers, we recommended/designed some prototypes of SMPS back 10 years ago.. It took them another 5 years to implement..:(

Just my $0.02.. ;)
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
If that pertains to the 3490, it might not be a bad idea to invest in some kind of AVR device to protect it from extreme voltage fluctuations...
It doesn't pertain to the 3490.

But what are 'extreme voltage fluctuations?' And what is an AVR and why would it be needed? I don't follow.
 
F

Flaffer

Audiophyte
I picked up a refurb HK390 for around $300. I sent it to an audio place in Oregon named StereoDave's. They does mods on HKs. The receiver sounds awesome. Great space, crisp treble, and paired with StereoDave's subwoofer I can shake the rafters. I got the receiver with the mods for around $800. I cannot recommend it more.

With the mod I can drive 2 speakers, one set StereoDave's Creation 6.5 Speakers and one set of Infinitys I got from my Dad (cannot find the model). I bought all of my cables from StereoDave as well; they makes them custom, wires them themselves, and can make them at any reasonable length. I have also used the custom speakers with the subwoofer as a somewhat portable DJ PA. The sound beats any PA I have heard.

On the issue some have had with quality: I bought the HK3490 in 2012. Five years later it is still going strong.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Yup...
They went to an SMPS as to meet the later Euro power consumption standards. Ironic when supporting HK for both AVRs and stereo receivers, we recommended/designed some prototypes of SMPS back 10 years ago.. It took them another 5 years to implement..:(

Just my $0.02.. ;)
Let me clarify this thread about the power supply..
The HK3390 and 3490 both use the standard linear power supply with an EL power transformer. The later HK stereo receivers HK3700 and 3770 utilize an SMPS (switching power supply), easy to tell just check out the unit's weight the 3390 and 3490 are 2X the weight of the 3700 & 3770. Note the ouput stages remain as Class A-B in all versions.

Just my $0.02.. ;)
 
R

Renzokuken

Audiophyte
The last tribute from Harman to old school. To bulky to heavy. Expensive to build and transport. Farewell
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
Purchased my 3490 In 2011 still running strong in 2018 powering some Infinity Primus 363s. Great product!
Dave
 

TechHDS

Audioholic General
Purchased my 3490 In 2011 still running strong in 2018 powering some Infinity Primus 363s. Great product!
Dave
Wish I had never sold off my 3490, 120 X 2 @ 8 Ohms, plus pre amp outs, optical, coaxial plus sub outs very nice two channel unit.

Mike
 

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