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Arcam vs Harman Kardon

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by chrisp1, Jun 19, 2005.

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  1. chrisp1

    chrisp1
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    I'm currently the owner of an HK AVR 630. My experience with the unit has been pretty good, but I sometimes find it a bit too 'up front' for my tastes. Not that the sound is particularly 'bright', its just that every now and then the sound seems to leap out of my speakers and grab me by my eardrums, if that makes any sense. I also find that, along with several AV amps I've tried its utterly useless with music.

    I was wondering if any of you had experience of listening to a Harman amp in comparison with the Arcam AVR 250 or 300, which I understand are very good with music, as I am considering changing to one of these units.

    Do any of you think this would be a wise move?. I'm looking for a smooth but powerful sound that avoids any harshness or 'glare'. Something that's at least reasonably 'musical' is also desirable.
     
  2. radio

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    I have not compared the HK with Arcam side by side... but i personally don't think they are comparable... from what i heard from HK on its own they are bright and they are comparable to yamahas in my opinion.

    The quality of receiver you described, i suggest you listen to the avr300 because i think it fits it almost perfectly.
     
  3. ruben20

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    I agree. The HK sound is totally different than the arcam sound. In my opinion a whole another level...

    The AVR 300 sounds good in your case.
     
  4. calgaryjohn

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    For 3 years I used the HK av7000 and I feel it was very good for 5.1 surround and could easily compete with my avr300 for movies! In fact it was Stereophile class A when it was released in ~2001. However I purchased the Arcam because I believe it will have less QC issues than I had with the HK .....it eventually fried its surround processing chip and that is why I have the avr300 today. The HK was awesome for movies , very clear and dynamic for dialog and effects. In fact HK is considered the warmest sounding of the big mainstream home theatre manufacturers more similar to NAD and Rotel than Yamaha. My 2 loonies opinion! I love my Avr300 but I never would have bought it if the 7000 hadn't died.
    John
     
  5. flexiondotorg

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    There are two dealers where I live, one is an Arcam fan the other is a Harmon Kardon fan both also stock Denon and Marantz. The shops are no more than 2 minutes apart and I auditioned both Harmon Kardon 630 and the Arcam 250 on the same day using the same test disks (my own) and both systems were connected to Kef Eggs. Both were using the Marantz DV6500 for DVD and CD source which was common between the two dealers.

    You can see from my signature which route I went, but my decision came down to two points during this test. The AVR250 was in a different league when it came to CD playback, this was evident with both pure direct via analog and via digital interconnects when more of the processing circuitary being utilised. My farther in law, who is an old school audiophile, was hugely impressed with how well the AVR250 was reproducing stereo. We went back for a Denon Arcam showdown a couple of weeks later, and the Arcam sound improved even more when a DV79 was used as transport.

    When we compared 5.1 surround performance my father in law and I agreed that the Arcam was capable of picking out much more detail in the sound track and the presentation was always clear and controlled. In fact, we heard sounds during the Arcam demo we had previously never heard during auditions with other kit. In The Incredible Hulk the sound of the shells hitting the sand when the Hulk is being fired upon by tanks has a really delicate 'ping' as they land, you can practically hear each grain of sand being hit. This detail was entirely missing from everything else I auditioned.

    The HK sometimes sounded a bit confused and during loud sequences is was quite harsh. During the opening sequence of Twister the wooshing and swirling of the storm became a crashing noise at points, where as the Arcam coulds alway pick out the tiniest details which made up the whole effect of the storm.

    I have also done comparisions with Arcam and several other big brands, the Arcam got the nod everytime. If music is of more interest to you than movies, then the AVR250/300 is definately worth a listen and I would be surprised I you don't get your cheque book out shortly afterwards ;-)
     
  6. pacificwave123

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    I disagree with radio, Harman Kardons sound nothing like Yamahas trust me I have had both! Harman Kardon is not bright in my opinion either, infact I consider its sound to be on the warm side.

    chrisp1 if you are happy with your Harman Kardon I would advise keeping it and not throwing your money away on an Acram receiver that may not be any better after it is all set up. But the Acram is most likely a better performer though so the choice is up to you. However I have a Harman Kardon AVR520 which is kind of like the AVR630 and I listen to it quite frequently and I an perfectly happy with it.

    If you want to upgrade anything I would suggest upgrading your speakers because when you upgrade your speakers you ussually experience a more dramatic change in the sound. :)

    Hope I was able to help :thumbsup:
     
  7. hornydragon

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    not sure that using kef eggs is going to show either off to the MAX the HK's LOVE big Lazy speakers and can really bring them to life, I think Arcam are very good both are lacking in the features present on the Japaneese equivalents....WHy i dont know but Logic 7 processing on the HK's is superb but i think the Whole HK range has gone down hill the DVD22 is not a patch on the 25 ande the 630 not up to the quality of the 7500/8500 (OK big step in price on RRP) that it replaced
     
  8. flexiondotorg

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    I agree that the Kef Eggs are not the best speakers, but every dealer has them so I used them for every audition until I started auditioning the speakers I actually wanted :) Using the Kef Eggs did prove useful though, as they do perform much better when the quality of the sources improves. My farther in law was very critical of the Kef Eggs until we heard them powered by the Arcam kit, the sound was totally transformed even when we compared the DV78/AVR250 with Denon DVD-3910/AVR-3805 combinations. This was particularly apparent for stereo music, a truely amazing jump in quality but extra detail in surround sound production was also more noticeable.

    I also agree that the Arcam kit has a lower feature count than comparitively priced equipment from other big brands and for this reason alone I did not demo any Arcam equipment for 5 months! I couldn't justofy the higher price and lower spec. I only gave it a listen after my dealer said I really should give Arcam a chance, when I did I could see and hear that the higher price was buying me additional quality in audio and video performance. This won me over, and I actually feel like I have got a right bargain now as I managed to pick up my DV78/AVR250 as second hand and ex-demo :-D
     
  9. chrisp1

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    Thanks for your replies guys.

    Its interesting how different listeners can gain different impressions of the same equipment, or range if equipment. I've never been sure if the AVR 630 could be categorised as 'bright' sounding or not. That may sound like a strange thing to say as I listen to it several times a week, but I think the issue is that the sound is quite 'up front' and punchy, which can be a bit wearing on the ears over longer listening session. I was also using Mission 75 series speakers and they are almost agressively 'forward' in their presentation - definitely not a good match with the HK.

    Anyhow, this is why I was considering the Arcam series of amplifiers, which I am lead to believe are quite warm and smooth sounding. Its a pity I didn't audition them at the time, although I'm never sure how useful dealer demo's are. Most equipment I've heard in these situations sounds utterly different once its installed at home. What to do, hmmmm..... :)
     

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