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Anyone tested/got the Harman Kardon AVR 8500?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Triggaaar, May 5, 2003.

  1. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Its RRP is about £1800 - so simillar to two Rotels (1066+1075), and a bit cheaper than the top Pioneers and Denon.

    I've done a search, and can't spot anyone who has one, or has done tests.

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  2. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    russraff has got one & he gave me a superb rundown on it's specs, performance.......:smashin:

    Hopefully, he'll spot this thread & give you some of his wisdom.

    Adzman
     
  3. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks. When I did a search on the 8500, nearly all the comments were by russraff, but I though he had the 5500 or something - but on checking again, I see Russell does have the 8500 - must have been shopping since the first threads I noticed.

    Has anyone else tried it?
     
  4. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    He sold his 5500 to me. Nice man.:)

    He then bought the 8500. He's happy.
     
  5. Rolo Tomasi

    Rolo Tomasi
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    I also have the 8500 with a HK PA2000 power amp to get a 6.1 system.

    I chose it over the Rotel pre/pro and power amp combo, Pioneer AX10 and the Denon A11SR.

    It is a superb all-round performer IMHO, especially on the music side.
     
  6. russraff

    russraff
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    Yes. I am happy with the 8500. I shall give you the rundown that I gave Adzman, below:



    I got the 8500 after becoming disenchanted with the lack of drive that most AV amps have. At the time I demoed quite a number of amps that I thought would sort this need out. They were: Rotel RSP1066/1075; Marantz 9200; Denon A1SR; Yamaha AZ1; and the harman/kardon 8500. There was only really two contenders: the Denon and the harman/kardon (the Rotel was somewhat disappointing, which I reckon is down to the processor because the amp is a real star) both of which I will tell you about, as you may be thinking of getting the Denon, too.

    Now, I demoed the Denon A1SR and the harman/kardon 8500 together. They were running from a Denon A1 DVD player and powering a full set (5.1)of KEF reference speakers which, as you know, are notoriously hard to drive. First, they put on the Denon which comprehensively beat the others after the first few seconds of the Mines of Moria scene in LOTR. The Denon had clean processing and a lot of power, initially. When the guy turned up the volume to ~-10db, the sound changed character and became quite bright. I asked if THX processing was on and he said that it was. The remote is not that good, really and made a funny “spring” noise when I gently tossed it onto one of the seats. Indecently, I heard a whirring noise coming from the unit after the Moria scene. The bloke said that it was the internal fan!

    harman/kardon use two Cirrus Logic processors in parallel to achieve THX certification for the 8500, and provide good processing power. They also use top of the range analogue devices 192/24 DACs (I think the same as those in the A1SR, but I could be wrong as I can’t remember the part number) for the 8500, whilst the rest of harman/kardon’s range use Cirrus Logic DAC’s. There are actually three power supplies in the 8500. A small frame transformer powers the display and hi-def compatible video circuitry. A larger dual frame transformer does something I’m sure, but I don’t know what. The main supply is an enormous 1.5kva toroidal transformer. It is simply huge, bigger than the one inside the 1075, and is held in place by an M10 bolt! There is also about 60000 mf of capacitance, too. What’s more there isn’t even a fan in the unit. It is cooled by convection via large aluminium heat sinks. The 8500 is very class A biased, and as such gets very hot. To hot to touch, really, so I would leave at least 100mm of space above it, preferably more.

    You can set different speaker types for different inputs, which is unusual. You can also use different speaker levels for different sound formats. On this note, Logic 7 is simply magical with analogue sources (there is one caveat, see below) and beats PL2 and NEO6 any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
    The 8500 is a supremely smooth amp, and musically far better than even the A1SR. On demo, the character stayed smooth even to 00db ref volumes during the Moria scene driving those KEF’s. The 8500 has LOTS of power. Processing wasn’t lacking anything, either, which was fast and sweet. Not up there with a Meridian, Proceed or Tag, but certainly still very good, and clearly a match for the Denon. Even scenes like in Gosford park; you can follow conversations behind the main actors. Very impressive. THX processing is also done well, despite Cirrus Logic not having the same kudos as Analogue Devices CPU-wise.

    Should you wish to use it, the tuner is unusually good, and the multi room options are more than adequate; you even get an extra remote control for the second zone.
    Bad points? The heat of the unit really can’t be underestimated. Logic 7, though it can work on DD and DTS sources makes a bit of a mess to me, and I’d rather use plain or THX processed modes. Due to the size of the transformer, after a particularly hard time, it begins to humm. Not that you’d hear it over a film track, and not as noisy as the Denon’s fan, but noticeable after the DVD player is turned off. EZset is also not too accurate, but doubtless you will have an SPL meter anyway. And lastly, the OSD is not output through the component outputs. All in all, though, I think the 8500 is the best integrated on the market without including the esoteric.

    If you have any questions what so ever, I will be more than happy to oblige.
     
  7. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    See, now you've got me thinking.:rolleyes:

    Since I've had my Ref 2 speakers in the set up, it as lost a fair bit of urgency. It sounds a bit dark, laid back etc. I thought it was the speakers. But just a couple of hours ago my wife said she wasn't too keen on the amp.

    Coincidence.

    Thinking about it, a better amp is required, even above the 5500.

    God help my wallet.:eek:
     
  8. nathan_silly

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    The HK's have Logic 7, but they're stripped down variations on the Lexicon's.
     
  9. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    To add on L7 - I've found that specifically on Friends it goes into a weird kind of echo effect until I reinstate the movie L7 setting. Odd. Must be the way it's encoded as it only ever happens on Friends.

    But in its defence, L7 is really quite good. Big, firmer sound. Like it.
     
  10. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks for the replies.
    Cheers Russell. You're clearly delighted - I'm not sure why more haven't tried the 8500, since its a fair bit cheaper than the Denon and Pioneer, and there seems to be no negative feedback (from demos etc). Have you ever heard the AX10i Russ?

    I'm not yet sure how important Logic 7 would be to me if its best used for anologue sources (may get sky+ if movies are in DD 5.1?).

    Will I? If I need one, I guess I will. If it's possible to set-up well without, I won't. I don't know anything about metering, only seen a few comments on the forum.

    Sorry, what does that mean?


    I need to learn a little more about the features available with some of these amps, and see what I feel I need.

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  11. Gambit

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    OSD is On Screen Display- what Russel is saying is that if use the compontent video switching in the amp, it won't bring up the OSD, you have to use the S-vid or composite monitor out.
     
  12. simon1967

    simon1967
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    Russraff

    At present, I have an Harman Kardon AVi 250 THX amp with the add on ADP303 5.1 processor. I have always been really happy with the sound but my needs have changed so:

    1. Does it have audio delay (useful when using scaling devices etc)?
    2. Does it do component upconversion?
    3. What is the 'street price' on this and from where. Do they do demos?

    Thanks for listening

    simon
     
  13. russraff

    russraff
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    Simon:

    No

    No

    I don't know of any dealers near you, though Sevenoaks are beginning to stock the 7500 and 8500 in some of their stores. The price of h/k kit is flexible, certainly I managed to get £100 knocked of will little effort.


    Mike:

    Once you have heard L7 do it's stuff with Analogue sources (and music CD's come to think of it) you will know why I think this feature is worth it. Angel has never sounded so convincing. As for SPL meters? Well I bought one and used it to level all my speakers. The result was alright, but I found myself altering the rear and sub levels to my own taste. Worked wonders for the front soundstage, though; my centre channel is now 3db quieter than the fronts which I would never have arrived at using my ears.
    The only thing that will put people off the 8500 is the lack of niceties, such as up scaling video sources and built in 7.1 support. The price is indicative of this, though, and if you can live without them the 8500 is a very good buy.
     
  14. Rolo Tomasi

    Rolo Tomasi
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    I tested the AX10i prior to choosing the 8500. I found the Pioneer very good with film soundtracks (the Mines of Moria was my test piece also) but the HK was far superior with music (using a couple of Jools Holland's big band tracks).

    L7 is impressive but I too experienced the echoing effect for the first time the other day which was suprising and, thankfully, soon corrected.

    With regards to the features, it has all the important ones and, at the end of the day its the sound thats important, not the length of its features list, IMHO.
     
  15. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I agree that its the sound thats important, as long as you have the important features. In terms of which features are important: Under what circumstances would it not having audio delay be a problem? Is it dependant on the display (which will be a plasma) the dvd, or whether I use a scaler (like the iscan)?

    I'm sure you're right - I was just wondering if I'd be listening to much from Analogue sources. The output from my sky box may be greatly improved, but if I can get DD 5.1 from sky+ (which I've either read about on this forum, or dreamt about) I'll upgrade. Assuming it wasn't a dream, would DD 5.1 only be for some channels (such as sky one and films)? The rest may benefit from L7, or be the sort of channel that doesn't need much surround.

    I didn't realise the 8500 didn't support 7.1. Is L7 for 7 channels +sub? Would be a shame to get all the speakers and not have 7.1 digital support.

    Thanks again
    Mike
     
  16. Rolo Tomasi

    Rolo Tomasi
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    I stand to be corrected on this one but the majority of Sky's output is not in 5.1. Some films are but using L7, DPL2 or Neo6, I don't feel a particular need to upgrade to Sky+ with the increased subscription etc.

    The 8500 does support 7.1. It only has 5 internal amplifiers so for 7.1 you need a seperate power amp connected to the 8500's pre-outs.

    The 7 in L7 does not refer to the number of speakers needed. L7 can be used with the standard 5.1 or 7.1 speaker configuration. A setting in the menu allows you to choose which one suits your system.

    With regards to the audio delay, this is not my strong point. I think that a search through these forums may help. It depends upon the type of display though.
     
  17. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Cheers Rolo

    Are the formats you mention applicable for sky+? I assume that the extra subscription was for more than the recording convenience offered.

    Ah, gotcha! Thanks.

    I knew you didn't 'need' all 7 speakers - just wondered what its limit was (7 speakers +, or inc sub).


    Mike
     
  18. Rolo Tomasi

    Rolo Tomasi
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    Sorry for the confusion. The formats noted are applied to any analogue signal by the receiver. This can be from Sky, Sky+, standard terrestrial tv, video tapes, cd's etc.

    With regards to L7, it processes the audio signal for 5 or 7 speakers plus the sub.
     

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