HK 3490 vs. Onkyo TX8050 vs. ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-21-2012, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm thinking of upgrading our old Yamaha 5.1 receiver to a newer model that has an on-board DAC and is dedicated for stereo listening (we have a separate home theatre set-up, don't need 5.1 in this room). Most of our listening is via Airport Express or turntable, some CDs.

I'm considering the Harmon/kardon 3490 and the Onkyo TX-8050. They both have phono stages and optical in for the Airport Express. Any thoughts on either of these units? HK is rated 120wpc, Onkyo has 80wpc. Would this matter for sound quality if the system is not being played very loud? They will be mated to Aperion Verus Grand bookshelf speakers. Are there any other receivers that have a phono stage and optical input?

Going in another direction, would I get much better sound with an integrated amp + external DAC? If you think yes, could you please explain why? I can't seem to get a clear answer on onboard vs outboard DACs... a lot of controversy it seems.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-21-2012, 04:35 PM
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There was a topic on the forums recently speaking of this very subject.

I don't think that you could go wrong with the HK-3490. It is a nearly univerally highly praised unit. I personally prefer Yamaha but they have no offerings with a built in DAC. The HK exceeds its specs in every parameter, looks to be built well, and looks very nice!

The HK is available on Amazon for a very nice price...How can you go wrong? Go on the Amazon site and read the reviews, take the jump and try it!
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-21-2012, 07:13 PM
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I've been a fan of HK for some time now and they really make great stuff for the $$$. I had the AVR 25mkII a long time ago... have the AVR 7200 now and just bought an HK 3390 (the 3490's little brother @ 80wpc minus a DAC) for my bedroom. The 3390 can be a great choice if you decide to get an outboard dac. After owning an HK and an Onkyo I'd easily pich the HK for the sound quality...IMHO

Just a few DAC ideas here...

Check out http://www.computeraudiophile.com and http://www.head-fi.org/f/ for DAC info.

http://emotiva.com/xda1.shtm

Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 (DAC/Amp): http://www.mavaudio.com/ [$200] *my favorite so far*

NuForce uDAC: http://www.amazon.com/NuForce-Icon-u.../dp/B002VN9CRG [$100]

NuForce Icon: http://www.nuforce.com/hp/products/icon/index.php [$225 @ amazon]

Musiland 02 Monitor: http://www.overclock.net/sound-cards...s-essence.html [for sale @ ebay for $130]

HRT Musicstreamer II: http://www.cryo-parts.com/hrt_music_streamer.html [$150]

Purepiper DAC A-1: http://www.purepiper.com/?p=56 [$170]

E-MU 0404: http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=15185 [$180 from http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Profe...dp/B000IXNE3E]

Musical Fidelity V-DAC: http://www.musicalfidelity.com/produ...-DAC/V-DAC.asp [~$300] *rated highly; very interesting review: http://www.stereophile.cbom/digitalp..._da_processor/

Audio-GD Sparrow, Fun & DAC-19: http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/DACsEN.htm [$?]

NOS Valab DAC [$200 @ ebay: http://stores.ebay.com/Vintage-Audio...3amesstQQtZkm]

iBass D2+: http://www.ibasso.com/en/products/show.asp?ID=42 [$169]

Styleaudio Carat-RUBY2: http://styleaudio.typepad.com/stylea...aratruby2.html [$200+? YES] http://styleaudio.co.kr/default/business/part_06.php

Styleaudio Carat-HD1V:
http://cgi.ebay.com/eBay5-Styleaudio...#ht_3077wt_911 [$170]

Fubar II: http://www.audiophileproducts.com/fubar2 [$137]

Beresford TC-7520: http://www.beresford.me/PP/_TC2D7520...Converter.html [$270]

Audinst HUD-MX1: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Audinst-HUD-mx...item27b1c20383 [$170]

Musical Fidelity V-DAC: http://www.musicalfidelity.com/produ...-DAC/V-DAC.asp [$300 @ amazon]

Pop Pulse 1796 DAC: http://www.cryo-parts.com/pop_pulse_1796_dac.html [$260]

Pacific Valve Lite DAC AH: http://www.pacificvalve.us/LITEDACAH.html [$220]

KingRex UD-01 + PSU: http://www.kingrex.co.uk/dac.html [official] http://www.audio-magus.com/product_p/109109.htm [reseller] [$190 + $190-60 = $320]; Pics + More Info: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...-ud-01-and-psu

HeadRoom Micro DAC: http://www.headphone.com/headphone-a...-micro-dac.php [$350]

Wavelength USB DACS: http://www.usbdacs.com/index.html [starting at $900]

Benchmark DAC1: http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/system...eries-overview [starting at $1000; $1300 for USB] *best you can get for under 2k*


Brian
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-21-2012, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06S2k02Si View Post

I've been a fan of HK for some time now and they really make great stuff for the $$$. I had the AVR 25mkII a long time ago... have the AVR 7200 now and just bought an HK 3390 (the 3490's little brother @ 80wpc minus a DAC) for my bedroom. The 3390 can be a great choice if you decide to get an outboard dac. After owning an HK and an Onkyo I'd easily pich the HK for the sound quality...IMHO

I have the 3390, too, although I use it with Xonar Essence STX sound card as my DAC (equivalent to many of the DACs mentioned). It's been great.

However, the 3390 went up on price and is now the same as the 3490 on Amazon. I'd say get the 3490, see how the onboard DAC sounds, and go from there. Unless you had a high end Yamaha Receiver, I would imagine the built in optical would be fine on the 3490.

Had an HK 350i receiver in college (was an idiot to get rid of it). Had an HK AVR35, so this is my 3rd HK receiver. I love the sound of HK receivers

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post #5 of 14 Old 02-22-2012, 08:47 AM
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The 3390 and the 3490 can drive all but the most demanding 4ohm speakers. I've had a 3390 for a couple of years now. I've used it to drive a pair of Emotiva ERT 8.3s (4ohm) and Infinity IL40s (8ohm) with very satisfying results. I also had a 3480 for many years prior. I let a friend talk me out of it - he is still using it daily. It is pretty much the same as the 3490 sans the dacs. Its hard to go wrong with a HK stereo receiver. The HT receivers ~ eh - not so good unless you step up to the top of the line.
I also owned the HK 990 for a few months. If you want to get something with all the power you'll ever need in a stereo integrated and with top of the line dacs the 990 is the one to get.

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post #6 of 14 Old 02-22-2012, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I have the 3390, too, although I use it with Xonar Essence STX sound card as my DAC (equivalent to many of the DACs mentioned). It's been great.

However, the 3390 went up on price and is now the same as the 3490 on Amazon. I'd say get the 3490, see how the onboard DAC sounds, and go from there. Unless you had a high end Yamaha Receiver, I would imagine the built in optical would be fine on the 3490.

Had an HK 350i receiver in college (was an idiot to get rid of it). Had an HK AVR35, so this is my 3rd HK receiver. I love the sound of HK receivers

OOOO I see the price hike! Glad I bought it on Sunday! I paid $220 for it. Its amazing how much the price changes in just a day or two!
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-22-2012, 03:31 PM
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Get the HK 3490 right now at JR's! $279
http://www.jr.com/harman-kardon/pe/HK_3490/
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-23-2012, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06S2k02Si View Post

Get the HK 3490 right now at JR's! $279
http://www.jr.com/harman-kardon/pe/HK_3490/

Yeah I saw that it looks like a heck of a deal!

Only question in my mind is $279 for HK 3490 vs $500-$800 for separate amp + DAC... is the extra cost really worth it, would my system sound twice as good? tough call!
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-23-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seekr613 View Post

Yeah I saw that it looks like a heck of a deal!

Only question in my mind is $279 for HK 3490 vs $500-$800 for separate amp + DAC... is the extra cost really worth it, would my system sound twice as good? tough call!

If you get a separate DAC, you'd be spending $200 to $300. That would leave $500 or $600 for the amp. Hard to imagine that the amp would be that much better than the HK. And if you decide you want an even better DAC, you can still add one to the HK.

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-23-2012, 03:42 PM
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I just received my HK 3390 today (haven't even unboxed it yet). I'm trying to decide if the extra $60 for the HK 3490 is worth it or not just for the DAC, the DSP and the extra 40wpc. I dont really care about the power, but the DAC might be nice in the future. I'm connecting it to an HK DVD47 for its audio playback so I probably wont be using the DAC right away. Its just $60 more from what I paid for the HK 3390, plus the cost of return shipping for the 3390 (maybe $30 or so).

To the OP...I'd jump on that if I had it to do again! I should have just waited til Tuesday when the sale at JR's started!

Good luck with your decision!

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post #11 of 14 Old 02-23-2012, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seekr613 View Post

Yeah I saw that it looks like a heck of a deal!

Only question in my mind is $279 for HK 3490 vs $500-$800 for separate amp + DAC... is the extra cost really worth it, would my system sound twice as good? tough call!

If you get it from JR's you have 30 days to try it according to the return policy on their website (http://www.jr.com/information/help.jsp#returns). If you decide that it is not good enough for you, then just return it. Other than the cost of the return shipping it seems worth it to give it a try!
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-23-2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06S2k02Si View Post

I just received my HK 3390 today (haven't even unboxed it yet). I'm trying to decide if the extra $60 for the HK 3490 is worth it or not just for the DAC, the DSP and the extra 40wpc.

Brian

Plus the 3490 includes both co-ax and optical digital inputs (for the DAC), XM-ready tuner, Dolby® Virtual Speaker, Dolby® Headphone, and true The Bridge® compatibility with a full 30-pin cable (instead of the 3390's "A/V" cable).

I'll likely never use XM radio, but the rest of this is in regular use on my 3490, especially true The Bridge® integration.

What I can afford, when I can afford it...
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-23-2012, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by filecat13 View Post

Plus the 3490 includes both co-ax and optical digital inputs (for the DAC), XM-ready tuner, Dolby® Virtual Speaker, Dolby® Headphone, and true The Bridge® compatibility with a full 30-pin cable (instead of the 3390's "A/V" cable).

I'll likely never use XM radio, but the rest of this is in regular use on my 3490, especially true The Bridge® integration.

Yea Yea I know...I should have waited! Now because I have to pay for "insured" return shipping it will most likely be +/- of $40 to ship it back. So its probably $100 additional for me at this time for the upgrade. I'm probably just gonna forget the HK 3490 for now and keep the 3390.

Oh well!
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-25-2012, 05:34 PM
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Since there are so many here trying to sell you on the HK, I'll hop in with a vote for the Onkyo TX-8050. It has everything you need, including DLNA and built in online services (Pandora, Slacker, Mediafly, etc.). I'm loving mine. It's driving Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 speakers on my desktop and preamped out to an Anthem amp and my Polk LSi9 speakers in the living room (the Onkyo drive the 4 ohm Polks just fine, by the way). Wired or wireless networking, Android and iPhone app available, built-in iPod controls, iPod DAC bypass, two digital optical and two coax inputs.

For a two channel receiver the Onkyo is a pretty good deal for $260.

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