harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
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
Yes agreed this is the best receiver I've ever owned rivaling my NAD separates from the 80s. Also the phono pre amp and tuner section of this receiver sound decent at least. And 150 x 2 @ 4 Ohms with a dynamic power rating over 200 WPC!
Dave
 
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A

Alan Davis

Audiophyte
I have bought my HK 3490 in 2009. I love it. Runs beautifully. And, I love playing CD's on the optical input. Never had a better stereo amp and I am impressed with all of the comments. However, the 3490 doesn't have wifi and blue tooth features. Does it make sense to buy the 3770 or obtain wifi and blue add-ons and keep the 3490.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
The 3300/3400 stereo receiver series are great proven products...
We know a little about this platform as I was the lead development engineer... :cool:
The later, replacement 3700 series has revised features/specs compared such as bluetooth, network, coax & optical digital inputs... Note that the robust, linear power supply has been replaced by a PCM switching power supply, also the pre-out/main jacks have been deleted.

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
The 3300/3400 stereo receiver series are great proven products...
We know a little about this platform as I was the lead development engineer... :cool:
The later, replacement 3700 series has revised features/specs compared such as bluetooth, network, coax & optical digital inputs... Note that the robust, linear power supply has been replaced by a PCM switching power supply, also the pre-out/main jacks have been deleted.

Just my $0.02... ;)
No phono pre either if you are still playing LPs.
FYI my 3490 is still humming along running some Infinity Primus 363s. Best receiver I have ever owned so Kudos on the development man. I think I'll keep it for now.:)
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
No phono pre either if you are still playing LPs.
FYI my 3490 is still humming along running some Infinity Primus 363s. Best receiver I have ever owned so Kudos on the development man. I think I'll keep it for now.:)
No phono pre either if you are still playing LPs.
FYI my 3490 is still humming along running some Infinity Primus 363s. Best receiver I have ever owned so Kudos on the development man. I think I'll keep it for now.:)
The 3700 & 3770 do have MM phono input capability..

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
A

Alan Davis

Audiophyte
The 3700 & 3770 do have MM phono input capability..

Just my $0.02... ;)
Tha
The 3300/3400 stereo receiver series are great proven products...
We know a little about this platform as I was the lead development engineer... :cool:
The later, replacement 3700 series has revised features/specs compared such as bluetooth, network, coax & optical digital inputs... Note that the robust, linear power supply has been replaced by a PCM switching power supply, also the pre-out/main jacks have been deleted.

Just my $0.02... ;)
Thank you, M Code. And, thank you for producing a great receiver. I will keep it. But I would like any recommendations on how to integrate internet music. My local FM stations are now low powered and I rarely use them. In addition, Comcast no longer carries local stations over their service.
 
A

Alan Davis

Audiophyte
I forgot to mention that I play LP's on my 3490 occasionally. Recently replayed my old Woodstock LP after watching the PBS Woodstock program. Excellent sound from the LP's. I would be remiss if I didn't report that the very best sounds come from my Sony CD player connected through the optical input on the 3490. (I also have an excellent subwoofer.) What I miss is over the air classic FM stations. Any help that you can provide on how to access classic stations via the internet onto the 3490 would be appreciated. I am going to keep the 3490.
 
redboat77

redboat77

Enthusiast
The 80 dB SNR at 1 Watt shown in the measurements is equivalent to 0.01% distortion, or actually a value even smaller since the measured ratio using the AES17 standard includes both noise and distortion (see discussion below), much better than the 0.07% that is stated for the Harman Kardon 3490 in the manual (at 120 Watts into 8 Ohms). Most people play their music at 0.1 - 10 Watts for home use; 120 Watts generates on the order of 105 dB - 110 dB sounds levels with most speakers, which is near the threshold for human pain. Was thinking of upgrading, but I'm streaming 24 bit/ 192 kHz digital audio over an optical cable to the HK 3490 from Amazon Music HD right now and it sounds pretty damn good! And the Cirrus signal processor means I can get nice sound staging for movies with only two speakers. Original bought the HK 3490 new back in 2009 and it's still going strong.

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)


SNR-1watt.jpg

harman/kardon HK 3490 SNR per AES17

"We measured the SNR at 1 watt power using no weighting for the worst possible measurement. It's important to know how quite a product is at low power levels to ensure the noise floor of the product isn't masking sonic detail. A number greater than 60dB at 1 watt is acceptable, while a measured response above 80dB is considered excellent or very quiet. The HK 3490 yielded around 80dB which is an excellent measurement. It's no wonder why the HK 3490 sounds so clean and detailed at low power levels."
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
The 80 dB SNR at 1 Watt shown in the measurements is equivalent to 0.01% distortion, much better than the 0.07% that is stated for the Harman Kardon 3490 in the manual (at 120 Watts into 8 Ohms). Most people play their music at 0.1 - 10 Watts for home use; 120 Watts generates on the order of 105 dB - 110 dB sounds levels with most speakers, which is near the threshold for human pain. Was thinking of upgrading, but I'm streaming 24 bit/ 192 kHz digital audio over an optical cable to the HK 3490 from Amazon Music HD right now and it sounds pretty damn good! And the Cirrus signal processor means I can get nice sound staging for movies with only two speakers. Original bought the HK 3490 new back in 2009 and it's still going strong.

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)


SNR-1watt.jpg

harman/kardon HK 3490 SNR per AES17

"We measured the SNR at 1 watt power using no weighting for the worst possible measurement. It's important to know how quite a product is at low power levels to ensure the noise floor of the product isn't masking sonic detail. A number greater than 60dB at 1 watt is acceptable, while a measured response above 80dB is considered excellent or very quiet. The HK 3490 yielded around 80dB which is an excellent measurement. It's no wonder why the HK 3490 sounds so clean and detailed at low power levels."
You do know SNR and THD are not the same thing right?
 
redboat77

redboat77

Enthusiast
You do know SNR and THD are not the same thing right?
Yes. I assumed the measurement I quoted actually refers to SINAD, that is to the ratio (signal)/(noise +THD). This is consistent with the AES17 standard that was quoted for this "SNR" measurement, although the standard actually includes ALL distortion, not just harmonic distortion. Otherwise, if these measurements don't include distortion, then the review failed to give any distortion measurements at all, which would be strange when reviewing an amplifier. Also, the measurements of max power were cut off at 0.1%(THD +N) or 1%(THD + N) instead of the more relevant THD alone, as Harman Kardon does in their specs, further making me suspect they grouped the distortion and noise terms. On the other hand, they do talk about a "noise floor" when discussing the SNR measurements, so maybe they removed the signal's harmonics due to nonlinear distortion - or maybe they were just hidden in the noise - but again it would be weird to publish a set of amplifier measurements without indicating distortion under normal operating conditions.
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 10.58.02 PM.png
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Yes. I assumed the measurement I quoted actually refers to SINAD, that is to the ratio (signal)/(noise +THD). Otherwise, if these measurements don't include distortion, then the review failed to give any distortion measurements at all, which would be strange when reviewing an amplifier. Also, the measurements of max power were cut off at 0.1%(THD +N) or 1%(THD + N), further making me suspect they grouped the distortion and noise terms. On the other hand, they do talk about a "noise floor" when discussing the SNR measurements, so maybe they removed the signal's harmonics due to nonlinear distortion - or maybe they were just hidden in the noise - but again it would be weird to publish a set of amplifier measurements without indicating distortion under normal operating conditions.
Now you seem to be mixing up SNR with SINAD.

As you know SNR is Signal to Noise ratio. In fact the graph you pasted in your post#129 does show the title (SNR) and that it was based on the AES17 standard, so I don't really understand why you are still thinking that it was SINAD.

In that review, Gene did not present a THD+N vs Power output graph (he stated the 0.1% and 1% used in measured the unit's power output, but no THD+N vs output graph included) that he typically would include, the most recent one he did was the one shown below, for the SR8015:

1611664945004.png


As far as I know, Gene typically uses the term "THD" and "THD+N". That makes no difference because if you know THD+N in dB, it is numerically the same as SINAD, other than the instead of -XdB, it will be just X dB, that is, without the negative sign.

I hope this clear things up for you.
 
redboat77

redboat77

Enthusiast
Now you seem to be mixing up SNR with SINAD.

As you know SNR is Signal to Noise ratio. In fact the graph you pasted in your post#129 does show the title (SNR) and that it was based on the AES17 standard, so I don't really understand why you are still thinking that it was SINAD.

In that review, Gene did not present a THD+N vs Power output graph (he stated the 0.1% and 1% used in measured the unit's power output, but no THD+N vs output graph included) that he typically would include, the most recent one he did was the one shown below, for the SR8015:

View attachment 44019

As far as I know, Gene typically uses the term "THD" and "THD+N". That makes no difference because if you know THD+N in dB, it is numerically the same as SINAD, other than the instead of -XdB, it will be just X dB, that is, without the negative sign.

I hope this clear things up for you.
I clearly stated why I thought it was SINAD. I don't know why you find my explanation so hard to understand. Please reread my last post.

Of course THD+N and SINAD uniquely determine each other; it's in their definitions, but most people relate to THD+N in percentages more than dB, since dB is primarily used by engineers.

I don't know "Gene", and was making assumptions about the measurements. And if you read the AES17 standard, it turns out my assumptions are correct.

Is that really so confusing for you?
 
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killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Samurai
I clearly stated why I thought it was SINAD. I don't know why you find my explanation so hard to understand. Please reread my last post.

Of course THD+N and SINAD uniquely determine each other; it's in their definitions, but most people relate to THD+N in percentages more than dB, since dB is primarily used by engineers. I don't know "Gene", and was making assumptions about the measurements.

Is that really so confusing for you?
Go easy on him. Amps always make him very confused.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I clearly stated why I thought it was SINAD. I don't know why you find my explanation so hard to understand. Please reread my last post.
No need to get upset, just asking questions. I was not confused, you are the one who wrote (in your post#129):

The 80 dB SNR at 1 Watt shown in the measurements is equivalent to 0.01% distortion
That original statement is the source of confusion. 80 dB SNR is 80 dB SNR, it is not equivalent to 0.01% distortions.

However, you are correct that in you response post#132 to my question, you clarified that it was an assumption you made and explained why, so my apology for missing that part of your explanation though your original statement in post#129 is going to to misleading to some of us, not just me.

It would have been easier to follow if you had qualify the 0.01% with "at least.." and add +noise to "distortions", but again, I do apologize for not re-reading your following up post before responding. We both know that if it was just distortions with noise removed, then it could have been less, or more than 0.01% unless if your assumption was correct that Gene actually measured SINAD.

About your "I clearly stated why I thought it was SINAD. ", I would only say, to me that graph was clearly just for SNR that did not include harmonic distortions. Again, he even specified it was "via AES17". If @gene actually meant SINAD he would have made it clear for us readers. Regardless, since it is your assumption, I have to respect that.., and move on.
 
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redboat77

redboat77

Enthusiast
No need to get upset, just asking questions. I was not confused, you are the one who wrote (in your post#129):



That original statement is the source of confusion. 80 dB SNR is 80 dB SNR, it is not equivalent to 0.01% distortions.

However, you are correct that in you response post#132 to my question, you clarified that it was an assumption you made and explained why, so my apology for missing that part of your explanation though your original statement in post#129 is going to to misleading to some of us, not just me.

It would have been easier to follow if you had qualify the 0.01% with "at least.." and add +noise to "distortions", but again, I do apologize for not re-reading your following up post before responding.

About your "I clearly stated why I thought it was SINAD. ", I would only say, to me that graph was clearly just for SNR that did not include harmonic distortions. Again, he even specified it was "via AES17". If @gene actually meant SINAD he would have made it clear for us readers. Regardless, since it is your assumption, I have to respect that.., and move on.
And I'm just answering your questions, so indeed no need to get upset.

Below is the AES17 standard statement for SNR in the presence of a signal. It includes both noise and distortion. Hence my original assumption was pretty much correct if the AES17 standard was followed. As I suspected, that may be why no separate measurement of distortion was supplied - distortion is already included in the AES17 standard measurement of SNR that was supplied.

It's true that at the signal level tested (1 W), noise likely dominates distortion, so in reality the distortion is likely even lower than I surmised.

"9.3 Signal-to-noise ratio or noise in the presence of signal
NOTE The characteristic to be specified is the ratio of the full-scale amplitude to the weighted r.m.s. noise and distortion, expressed in decibels, in the presence of signal. It includes all harmonic, inharmonic, and noise components. It is identical to a measurement of noise in the presence of signal."
 
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killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Samurai
I know you are having fun my friend, but this has little to do with amps, but measurements.:D
Yes, it was a joke. But his measurements did concern a HK 3490, no?

I must say I'm amazed you didn't get the joke... I was almost certain you would.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Here is more info about the factory that built the HK3490.... Originally the factory was in China but 6 years ago they moved to Vietnam, Vietnam has lower labor costs and when shipping product to Europe no customs duties. The original plan was also for products shipped to North America to have no customs duties under the TPP but this didn't pass under Trump.. Today a 2nd factory has been added in Vietnam, but there they build mostly smart BT and multi-media speakers. However their 1st factory still builds a wide-range audio components; integrated amplifiers for Marantz, Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Arcam, NAD, receivers for Anthem, Arcam, NAD, Audio Control and higher-end separate AV surround processors for JBL, Arcam and Audio Control... To me it is impressive to hear the multiple positive comments for the HK stereo receivers. We did (3) different series of HK stereo receivers starting in 1998 up to 2011, but the last HK stereo receiver series(3700) using the PCM power supply was done by the Harman product development/sourcing team based in Shenzen, China....

Just my $0.02... ;)
 

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