I recently bought the HK 3490 for my brother. I have an HK 3475 (stereo receiver rated at 110W/channel) and I have been pleased with it, which is why I bought the HK 3490. However, it doesnt seem to have the power it should have.
When the HK 3490 is at -20 dB, it is fairly quiet. My brother's old receiver is a ~15 year old, cheap 5 channel Kenwood that is much louder at -20 dB (for the HK 3490 to match it at -20dB, it has to be roughly at -7dB). For louder music (not deafening), the HK 3490 has to be at close to 0 dB. So I think something is wrong. My HK 3475 has loads more power and much better sound quality at higher volumes than the Kenwood (I tested it quite a few years ago). I can't directly compare the HK 3475 and the HK 3490 because I live a few states away now.
Harman Kardon customer service could not help much regarding the lack of power output, just saying to reset the unit, which didn't change anything. I am not an audiophile, but I know how to hook up speakers and a CD player and MP3 player to the receiver, and use the radio. I also have a direct comparison by hooking up the Left speaker to the old Kenwood and the right speaker to the new HK 3490. I could not find a simple reason for the problem. The speakers are JBL northridge E60, if that makes any difference.
Before I return it, I was wondering if there is anything else to consider. Is it possible to just get a "dud" that is weak? It seems unlikely. Would it even be worth going through the hassle of exchanging it? I like my HK 3475 enough that I don't want to give up on the 3490...
All the reviews I have read, and all the forum posts say that the HK 3490 is powerful with good sound quality
Any help would be appreciated.