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Question Advice choosing between two stereo amps

Gallien

Novice Member
Which is a more sensible purchase, given I have the budget for either:
- New Marantz PM6006 UK Edition at ~$700
- Used Harman Kardon HK990 at ~$1000

I am curious as to how the sound quality of the HK would hold up to the much newer Marantz.
I'm particularly interested in the HK's internal bass management, as I would like to add a subwoofer later that offloads lower frequencies from my Q Acoustics and enriches the relatively weak low end.

The room correction is a plus, as a I have a a somewhat awkwardly positioned setup (in an otherwise beautiful room) and my speakers are set up for use with my computers.
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
The HK is a bit of a beast and with it's power output and qualities it's a bit of a waste with QA. speakers. They do have a reputation of running hot and would require good ventilation. It is a better amp than the Marantz but the Marantz is more than a match for the QAs. You would also benefit from a manufacturer's warranty with the Marantz.

The HK will give you more scope to upgrade your speakers in future should you so wish, so there are swings and roundabouts with both amps. I like the Marantz sound, I have a Marantz SACD player but the 6006 would be too weak to drive my speakers so my choice with my speakers would be the HK.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I like the marantz, I have 2 of them, but it seems very expensive in your market area. I'd look at something that's equally specced but lower in price such as Emotiva or similar, I bought a marantz new for equiv 500 dollars
 

Deaf Leopard

Standard Member
Marantz and Q's pair very well when i've heard them, As others have mentioned if your not planning on upgrading your speakers any time soon stick with something around the same same budget as your speakers. Have you looked at any of the Yamaha products within your market?
 

Gallien

Novice Member
@gibbsy
You are right to bring up upgradeability. I do want to be able to upgrade from my current speakers in the future knowing my amp still delivers, so that is a plus. The warranty is something worth considering, but is unfortunately rendered moot because of the incredible RMA hassle from my faraway monsoon country.
Would you say the HK990 is a grab given the price and rarity?

@muljao
There are very few options besides Marantz, Onkyo and some older Yamahas. Import fees are hefty, and there isn't much room for experimentation. By 2 of them, do you mean you have both the HK990 and the PM6006? If so, I'd love your take on the sound.

@Deaf Leopard
There are some older Yamaha products with a fairly unattractive price tag. I do want to be able to upgrade to speakers in the $1000+ range. Thank you for the observation about the pairing, I'll keep that in mind. Do you think the HK would underperform in any way, being an older product?

One thing I haven't noted is that I will be using the amplifier's DAC regardless of choice.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Curious are you in Cananda? Those prices seem a little high.

The Marantz is a nice amp, but with modest power. But Marantz does hold a pretty high standard of quality.

The Harman Kardon is indeed a beast of an amp packed with features. 150w/ch to 8 ohms, MM/MC Phono, DAC, 2xSub-Out, Bass Management, ...

I don't think Harman stopped selling these because there was a problem with them, I think in a crowded marketplace, they simply couldn't generate enough interest to sustain production. Plus they were a little ahead of their time.

Here is a Stereophile Review of the HK990 - 2011 -

Harman Kardon HK 990 integrated amplifier

Conclusion -
"I found that Harman Kardon's HK 990 delivered on all its promises. Its power amp is very strong and agile. Its purely analog performance, from input to speaker, is worthy of the highest-quality sources and signals. Digital sources are handled cleanly and at high (24-bit/96kHz) resolution. But most important, the HK 990 brings modern audio features to a two-channel system by providing useful bass management and effective room/system equalization. .... The Harman Kardon HK 990 integrated amplifier not so much refutes as confirms that belief. Unlike purely analog amplifiers, it can actually improve the sound of your speakers in your room. At less than $2599, the HK 990 should be on every audiophile's shopping list."


According to the article, the suggested price on the HK990 was US$2599.

Here is a Home Theater Hi-Fi Review of the HK990 -

Harman Kardon HK 990 Integrated Amplifier and HD 990 CD Player - HomeTheaterHifi.com

Conclusion -
"The HK 990 integrated amplifier and HD 990 CD player are stunning achievements for Harman Kardon. They are beautifully crafted and artfully designed components that will blend well into almost any décor. More importantly, they offer a level of performance that is simply fantastic, regardless of price"


Assuming there is nothing wrong with it, the HK990 is a fantastic amp at a fantastic price. And though you only have Q Acoustics (you don't say which ones) now, this amp should take far far into the future and through many speaker upgrades.

But, all that said, though expensive in the USA and Canada, the modest Marantz PM6006 is still a good but, but with only 45w/ch to 8 ohms.

As higher value alternatives, you could consider these amps -

Yamaha AS501 Integrated with DAC, 85w/ch - $550 -

Yamaha A-S501 (Black)

Yamaha AS701 Integrated w/DAC, 100w/ch - $799 -

Yamaha A-S701 (Black)

Yamaha AS801 Integrated w/improved 32b/348k DAC, USB-PC, 100w/ch - $899 -


Yamaha A-S801 (Black)

Yamaha RN803 Network Receiver, 100w/ch, Network Streaming, Full Bass Management, Room EQ, etc... - $749 -


Yamaha R-N803

The Yamaha RN803 gives you everything the HK990 does plus Network Streaming, though a bit less power, and even more features. Plus it is brand new with full dealer support and warranty.

You can find full spec here on the RN803 Network Receiver -

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/r-n803/index.html

And full specs on the other Yamaha products here -

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/index.html

Steve/bluewizard
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
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muljao

Well-known Member
@Gallien I meant I have 2 marantz amps.
 

Gallien

Novice Member
@BlueWizard
Incredibly detailed and functional response, thank you.
Glaring omission from my part: I am using the modest Q Acoustics 3020, which I plan to upgrade from in a few years. The Bangladeshi audio market is indeed characterized by very low choice and high prices. No customer service or feasible warranty processing either.

I'm looking into the Yamaha AS501 you've listed and will scout the local marketplace for one; the only amps imported here are the occasional Marantz, Yamaha and Onkyo, so the Emotiva and Outlaw are unfortunately out of the question. It's worth noting however, that any new equipment here will carry a ~$100 premium over the US MSRP. Sonically, would the Yamaha RN803 (in the unlikely event I find it) be able to measure up to the HK?

Is there anything else worth noting?

Thanks again. Love the name.
 

Deaf Leopard

Standard Member
I don't think the Harmon Kardon would under perform but to really get the best out that Amp i reckon having better speakers would make a big difference. It should sound fine with the Q's but it depends what your after.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I don't know, the better the amp the better the performance, the hk may just make the q acoustics sound their best, obviously higher end speakers will sound even better
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
What seems to be missing here is how two components work together and I would say that the Marantz with the Q Acoustics are a great starting point as each manufacturer has a good understanding of what the atypical British sound is, together they also bring a safe option too. This is not to say that the HK would be poorer in anyway other than it is not the most well known brand of electronics for delivering that quintessential British sound (if you can quantify that), if that is what you are after

Now if these are the tiniest Q Acoustics, then both amps are a little over kill whereas if you are looking at the floorstands, then the Marantz will be what is know as a goldilocks system, which will deliver a fantastic all round ability. Yes it can be bettered, but that doesn't detract from the fact that it is a good all rounder

Now the other thing which is missing here is the listeners preferences of the user which none of us can advise upon other than the person who is choosing the combination. But if you are wanting a well respected system which appeals to many British ears, then the Marantz is the way to go with a pair of floorstanding Q Acoustics speakers
 
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dannnielll

Well-known Member
The HK philosophy is to have a very strong amplifier circuit . It is evident that they using a very old design Class AB stage,with all the bugs ironed out. So it is very low noise, very transparent . No vices or house colouration. And they are very conservative with their power ratings. So a 70 watt stage will continue to give 70 watts ,even if other channels are doing the same.
 

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