Official Harman/Kardon AVR x54: Problems and Solutions Thread - Page 25 - AVS Forum
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post #721 of 2863 Old 11-04-2008, 01:31 AM
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I can also report problems with the black/white levels. The firmware upgrade was successfull, no problems in there. After the upgrade I hooked up the cables through AVR and was hoping to finally get rid of switching cables behind my projector (only one HDMI input), but no. Can someone tell whether I am doing something wrong, or does the AVR still have problems?

Setup:

Source: HTPC with DVI-HDMI adapter
Amp: AVR255, video processing is disabled and output set to 720p
Projector: Panasonic ax100

The blacks are easy to test for example with a test dvd's contrast calibration pic. If the picture is going through AVR, it is impossible to tune contrast from the projector so that you would see all blacks and whites. When the HTPC is connected directly to projector the blacks and whites are there. Its really annoying!

Any ideas I could try? Should I tune contrast from HTPC's media player instead of the projector?

Thanks,
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post #722 of 2863 Old 11-04-2008, 06:02 AM
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well, no joy on the beta ati 8.11 drivers for hdmi audio thru the 254

anyone get the ati cards to pass audio to our HK's?
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post #723 of 2863 Old 11-04-2008, 07:46 PM
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Updated my 354 successfully using serial to serial cable.

Generally good update with much improved pcm lock with PS3.

However:
1) I now get an audio "pop" every time audio mode changes (game or video changing from 2ch to DD on ps3 with HDMI to receiver, or every time I change TV channels on my OTA HDTV with optical connection to receiver). "pop" is independent of volume setting on the receiver.
2) Switching video sources seems to take a couple seconds longer than it used to. used to work fast and reliable with my Sony KDS55A2000 over HDMI with old fw. but maybe HK made the switching longer to be more compatible with more devices?

Aaron
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post #724 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 12:14 AM
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I'll have to do more testing but seems thing good so far with the new firmware. I used a USB to Serial adapter in Vista 64.

I got this one from Monoprice:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

With the drivers from here:
http://it.us.syba.com/support_downlo...73-0801-1.html
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post #725 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceonu View Post

Recently updated my avr254 firmware and hooked up a PS3 via HDMI.

I am only getting 2 options for surround modes when using audio via HDMI.

Auto and 2CH, all others are greyed out.

When using opitcal, I get all the options.. 7.1 etc

When playing games I'm only getting 2ch sound front L+R when selected to auto, when in fact it should be at least 5.1 sound. There doesn't seem to be a way to select surround sound using HDMI when playing games. Do I have to use optical only?

thanks

Check your PS3 HDMI output settings, make sure it's PCM and not bitstream. Your symptoms sound exactly like that.


I don't have any more dropouts from the PS3, but the forced upscaling is going to KILL me as I watch Dish Network.. some things are 480i, some are 1080i. The upscaling in the 254 is HORRID. The PS3 does a MUCH better job of upscaling DVD's, but that won't help with my Dish receiver..

I guess I'll have to try and set the Dish receiver to 1080i only, have the AVR254 pass 1080i, and let the projector do its thing.

This unit may have a short life in my equipment rack...

No replacement for displacement...
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post #726 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 10:37 AM
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With all the posts about the firmware upgrade can someone confirm or not the following have been fixed. Its time to buy a new receiver and if HK hasn't fixed the 254/354 to satisfaction its time to move to the Marantz!

Will all connections to the AVR being made through HDMI ONLY are the following issues corrected:

1) Audio dropouts at the beginning of new tracks or from the DVR when doing a FF/REW

2) Does the AVR pass thru 1080i or 1080p (any frame rate) without modification. The source of this would be from a Directv DVR output set to 1080i and one of the new Panasonic Blu Ray playsers output at 1080p.

3) Switching sources from the DVR to the BR Player is there an issue of the receiver not being able to handle this correctly?


Thanks in advance!
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post #727 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn jack View Post

Will all connections to the AVR being made through HDMI ONLY are the following issues corrected:

1) Audio dropouts at the beginning of new tracks or from the DVR when doing a FF/REW

2) Does the AVR pass thru 1080i or 1080p (any frame rate) without modification. The source of this would be from a Directv DVR output set to 1080i and one of the new Panasonic Blu Ray playsers output at 1080p.

3) Switching sources from the DVR to the BR Player is there an issue of the receiver not being able to handle this correctly?

1. This seems to be MUCH improved. It may still happen, especially if you pause for several minutes, but for the most part, this is fixed.

2. The quick answer to this is "No," but it really depends on what you mean. If Video Processing is turned off, AND if the input signal is the same resolution as your output setting, then the AVR does very little modification to the signal. Technically, it's not passed through, because it still will put it's overlays on it, and I believe it still gets "scaled" to the new (albeit same) resolution, but the reality is that the signal should look unchanged. However, some have reported that the deep blacks are still getting crushed, so there's some question as to whether "Blacker than Black" is working correctly.

It should be noted, however, that you must select a single output resolution, so if you should pick 1080p, and have a 1080i input signal, it WILL get upscaled to 1080p. So, in reference to your question, it would handle both signals, but send 1080p to your TV in both cases.

3. I still had a huge problem with this. It seems like they did a good job with the audio synch, but a TERRIBLE job with the video synch. Some have reported improvements, but many more have reported little or no change in this regard.

Hope this helps.
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post #728 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jctiii View Post

1. This seems to be MUCH improved. It may still happen, especially if you pause for several minutes, but for the most part, this is fixed.

2. The quick answer to this is "No," but it really depends on what you mean. If Video Processing is turned off, AND if the input signal is the same resolution as your output setting, then the AVR does very little modification to the signal. Technically, it's not passed through, because it still will put it's overlays on it, and I believe it still gets "scaled" to the new (albeit same) resolution, but the reality is that the signal should look unchanged. However, some have reported that the deep blacks are still getting crushed, so there's some question as to whether "Blacker than Black" is working correctly.

It should be noted, however, that you must select a single output resolution, so if you should pick 1080p, and have a 1080i input signal, it WILL get upscaled to 1080p. So, in reference to your question, it would handle both signals, but send 1080p to your TV in both cases.

3. I still had a huge problem with this. It seems like they did a good job with the audio synch, but a TERRIBLE job with the video synch. Some have reported improvements, but many more have reported little or no change in this regard.

Hope this helps.

in reference to 2. The output resolution is set for each input device. Therefore when using blu-ray as the source feeding 1080p, you can set output to 1080p, and when watching the directv with a 1080i input, the output could be set to 1080i
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post #729 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jctiii View Post

1. This seems to be MUCH improved. It may still happen, especially if you pause for several minutes, but for the most part, this is fixed.

2. The quick answer to this is "No," but it really depends on what you mean. If Video Processing is turned off, AND if the input signal is the same resolution as your output setting, then the AVR does very little modification to the signal. Technically, it's not passed through, because it still will put it's overlays on it, and I believe it still gets "scaled" to the new (albeit same) resolution, but the reality is that the signal should look unchanged. However, some have reported that the deep blacks are still getting crushed, so there's some question as to whether "Blacker than Black" is working correctly.

It should be noted, however, that you must select a single output resolution, so if you should pick 1080p, and have a 1080i input signal, it WILL get upscaled to 1080p. So, in reference to your question, it would handle both signals, but send 1080p to your TV in both cases.

3. I still had a huge problem with this. It seems like they did a good job with the audio synch, but a TERRIBLE job with the video synch. Some have reported improvements, but many more have reported little or no change in this regard.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for your clear reply.

#1.. excellent!

#2, I am using a Samsung 1080p LCD with 1.3a and i prefer to let the Samsung do any upconvert of the signal over the AVR. It sounds if i understand correctly that the pass thru with the Video Processing turned off is still not working.

#3 What do you need to do to synch up the signals should you change sources?
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post #730 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn jack View Post

Thanks for your clear reply.

#1.. excellent!

#2, I am using a Samsung 1080p LCD with 1.3a and i prefer to let the Samsung do any upconvert of the signal over the AVR. It sounds if i understand correctly that the pass thru with the Video Processing turned off is still not working.

#3 What do you need to do to synch up the signals should you change sources?

The AVR remote has 7 source selection buttons: cable/sat, DVD, Media Server, Radio,TV, Game,AUX

In the AVR setup you "setup" each of these source buttons, You define where the audio input comes from and how it is to be processesd and sent to the output(s), the same for the video. The AVR automatically senses the input type, hence the complaints about how long it takes to determine the type. The video processing can be turned off as to whether the system modifies brightness, contrast, color & sharpness. But the output resolution is always whatever you choose in the output resolution setting. The "purists" are complaining that the system always up converts/down converts the resolution, they want the receiver to just pass the video without any resolution modification.
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post #731 of 2863 Old 11-05-2008, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgcss View Post

The AVR remote has 7 source selection buttons: cable/sat, DVD, Media Server, Radio,TV, Game,AUX

In the AVR setup you "setup" each of these source buttons, You define where the audio input comes from and how it is to be processesd and sent to the output(s), the same for the video. The AVR automatically senses the input type, hence the complaints about how long it takes to determine the type. The video processing can be turned off as to whether the system modifies brightness, contrast, color & sharpness. But the output resolution is always whatever you choose in the output resolution setting. The "purists" are complaining that the system always up converts/down converts the resolution, they want the receiver to just pass the video without any resolution modification.

So because my TV is set to 1080p all sources will by upconverted to 1080p. Do other receivers do this? I thought that most do not convert HDMI signals and only convert componenet and below.
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post #732 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 07:00 AM
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You're right, most either don't convert HDMI, or at least give you the option of pass-through. The AVR-x54 series doesn't have this option, which is why people are complaining.

As to each source having its own output resolution, you're probably right. I wrote my reply from work, and wasn't in front of my AVR. I couldn't remember if it was set for each source or globally, but I'm sure you're right. Still, I'm not sure WHY you'd want to have 1080i sent to your TV if it supports 1080p, unless, as the original question asked, you're hoping for a pass-through. Since that's not happening anyway, I'd probably just set both to 1080p, and be done with it.

The question about whether the video-mode "off" setting is working or not is leading to a lot of misunderstanding. Yes, the Video-mode "off" setting is working, meaning it's not applying extra brightness, contrast, and saturation settings to the picture, as the other modes do ("film," "sports," etc.) Too many people are confusing this with resolution scaling. These are two separate settings, and two separate things. Having the mode setting off, and having that NOT affect the scaling, doesn't mean that the mode setting is "broken." Now, claiming that the video processing is still killing "blacker-than-black" abilities... that's a different story. If that's indeed true, then video processing may indeed be happening if the setting is off, which would indeed indicate that it's broken. We just have to make sure we're comparing apples to apples here.

I'd love to see the ability to have the output resolution match the input resolution, but that doesn't seem to be on the horizon; and to think that they'll turn off "processing" altogether, meaning a true pass-through, well, that would kind of kill the onscreen overlays, and I'd bet that they're not about to do anything like that.
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post #733 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jctiii View Post

You're right, most either don't convert HDMI, or at least give you the option of pass-through. The AVR-x54 series doesn't have this option, which is why people are complaining.

As to each source having its own output resolution, you're probably right. I wrote my reply from work, and wasn't in front of my AVR. I couldn't remember if it was set for each source or globally, but I'm sure you're right. Still, I'm not sure WHY you'd want to have 1080i sent to your TV if it supports 1080p, unless, as the original question asked, you're hoping for a pass-through. Since that's not happening anyway, I'd probably just set both to 1080p, and be done with it.

The question about whether the video-mode "off" setting is working or not is leading to a lot of misunderstanding. Yes, the Video-mode "off" setting is working, meaning it's not applying extra brightness, contrast, and saturation settings to the picture, as the other modes do ("film," "sports," etc.) Too many people are confusing this with resolution scaling. These are two separate settings, and two separate things. Having the mode setting off, and having that NOT affect the scaling, doesn't mean that the mode setting is "broken." Now, claiming that the video processing is still killing "blacker-than-black" abilities... that's a different story. If that's indeed true, then video processing may indeed be happening if the setting is off, which would indeed indicate that it's broken. We just have to make sure we're comparing apples to apples here.

I'd love to see the ability to have the output resolution match the input resolution, but that doesn't seem to be on the horizon; and to think that they'll turn off "processing" altogether, meaning a true pass-through, well, that would kind of kill the onscreen overlays, and I'd bet that they're not about to do anything like that.

I'd love to see the passthrough option as well, especially since my 254 scales everything to 480P all the time. HK tech support doesn't seem to see a problem with it though.
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post #734 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 07:19 AM
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i have a question here... my directv box allows for upconverting... 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and just recently 1080p (but only on some movies)

so.. should I have my directv box (hdmi to 254, 254 hdmi to samsung 50a550) upconvert to 1080i, and have my avr254 upconvert that to 1080p? or have the directv box do 720p and let the 254 up to 1080p? or leave the directv as "native" and have the 254 up the native to 1080p?

I guess what i'm asking is, what would be a better quality upconvert, 720p to 1080p or 1080i to 1080p?

cheers!!

Kasp
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post #735 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by -Axle- View Post

The PS3 cannot bitstream any HD codecs (ATM), which is why you have to have it set on Linear PCM to hear the HD tracks (FYI, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD are types of compression). Setting the PS3 in Linear PCM makes it decode the track and send it uncompressed to the receiver. Since the receiver is receiving an uncompressed track, it doesn't know what it originally was, therefore, won't ever display DTS/Dolby but only PCM/MPCM.

Hi everyone, I just bought the AVR-254, for use with my PS3 as a blu-ray player (sound is via Optical for now, waiting for my hdmi cable to arrive).

I am reading a lot of stuff these last days, but there is something I do not understand. I'm sorry if the answer is out there somewhere..

I was watching Cars in Blu-Ray using my PS3, and I had the same problem than jlohojo7 with Transformers, i.e. the receiver was detecting only 2 channel.

However, in the Blu-Ray audio setting option, I was using "Linear PCM". When I switched it to "Bitstream", the receiver was suddenly receiving 7.1 channels.

It seems to be the contrary than you are saying.. what am I getting wrong?

Thanks!
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post #736 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by OmegaMan98 View Post

Hi everyone, I just bought the AVR-254, for use with my PS3 as a blu-ray player (sound is via Optical for now, waiting for my hdmi cable to arrive).

I am reading a lot of stuff these last days, but there is something I do not understand. I'm sorry if the answer is out there somewhere..

I was watching Cars in Blu-Ray using my PS3, and I had the same problem than jlohojo7 with Transformers, i.e. the receiver was detecting only 2 channel.

However, in the Blu-Ray audio setting option, I was using "Linear PCM". When I switched it to "Bitstream", the receiver was suddenly receiving 7.1 channels.

It seems to be the contrary than you are saying.. what am I getting wrong?

Thanks!


if using optical and you pick pcm you will only get 2 chanel pcm as the optical cable cant carry anything above 2.0 pcm, however if you switch to bitstream over optical you can get 5/6/7.1 audio, but its not the hd audio you are getting its just the standard digital audio. When you you get your hdmi cable you would set your ps3 to send pcm over hdmi and you will get 5.1 pcm and all your hd audio will be decoded by the ps3 and sent as 5.1 pcm to your amp.
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post #737 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by HOOPY View Post

if using optical and you pick pcm you will only get 2 chanel pcm as the optical cable cant carry anything above 2.0 pcm, however if you switch to bitstream over optical you can get 5/6/7.1 audio, but its not the hd audio you are getting its just the standard digital audio. When you you get your hdmi cable you would set your ps3 to send pcm over hdmi and you will get 5.1 pcm and all your hd audio will be decoded by the ps3 and sent as 5.1 pcm to your amp.

do you know how to force an ati 4850 card to pass PCM over the hdmi? (winxp) can't get sound outta that yet, works with the TV, but not the receiver
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post #738 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Kasper-pA- View Post

do you know how to force an ati 4850 card to pass PCM over the hdmi? (winxp) can't get sound outta that yet, works with the TV, but not the receiver

no sorry i dont, not good with anything pc related.
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post #739 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 09:11 AM
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Firmware link is broken: http://www.harmankardon.com/product_...5A54CE8701E57#

Does anybody know where can I get the firmware now?

-- jaydillyo

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post #740 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jaydillyo View Post

Firmware link is broken: http://www.harmankardon.com/product_...5A54CE8701E57#

Does anybody know where can I get the firmware now?

-- jaydillyo

its right here (for the 354) http://www.harmankardon.com/product_...85BACAA74CC1F2
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post #741 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 10:20 AM
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Hey I'm looking into buying 254 or 354 if I buy it now will I still get all the problems with it?...
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post #742 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 11:46 AM
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I dont see that the firmware upgrade did a damn thing hardly I mean it still cuts of the first 3 seconds of songs on cd's.

Nothing seems to have changed much I am rather dissapointed.

jj
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post #743 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlohojo7 View Post

I dont see that the firmware upgrade did a damn thing hardly I mean it still cuts of the first 3 seconds of songs on cd's.

Nothing seems to have changed much I am rather dissapointed.

jj

Are you sure the FW updated ? I ask only because it did fix the exact same problem on my 354.

Sean
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post #744 of 2863 Old 11-06-2008, 08:38 PM
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I just received my replacement 354 directly from H/K. They actually shipped out the new unit before I had returned my problem unit. The main issue was pulsing fan noise.

I am amazed at the difference. The new 354 (build date of 9/08) is so quiet that I began to wonder if the fan was working. It is... I can feel air moving out the top of the receiver and all else seems to be working fine though I was puzzled that the FW verification (1,2,3,0,OK) did not work. So I went ahead and ran the update just to be sure. The FW update worked without a hitch and the verification also worked this time.

Looks like I may have a keeper now. To those with the pulsing fan noise, I think it would be worthwhile to request an exchange. HK customer support was top notch.

Sean
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post #745 of 2863 Old 11-07-2008, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by stash64 View Post

I just received my replacement 354 directly from H/K. They actually shipped out the new unit before I had returned my problem unit. The main issue was pulsing fan noise.

I am amazed at the difference. The new 354 (build date of 9/08) is so quiet that I began to wonder if the fan was working. It is... I can feel air moving out the top of the receiver and all else seems to be working fine though I was puzzled that the FW verification (1,2,3,0,OK) did not work. So I went ahead and ran the update just to be sure. The FW update worked without a hitch and the verification also worked this time.

Looks like I may have a keeper now. To those with the pulsing fan noise, I think it would be worthwhile to request an exchange. HK customer support was top notch.

click the "avr" button on the remote and then do the 1,2,3,4,ok
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post #746 of 2863 Old 11-07-2008, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staticks View Post

Does anyone else notice that the AVR-254/354's video output is really, really dark? I mean, hooking up my PS3 to my HDTV directly (with Component cables), I only need to use a brightness setting of around 65.

But hooking up the PS3 to the back of the AVR-254, and then from the receiver to the TV (once again, using Component connections), I have to turn the brightness setting to something around 80 to get the same levels.

I have the same problem regardless of whether I turn video processing ON or OFF. I don't have HDMI inputs on my TV, so I can't test that to see if it's any different.

Is there something wrong with my receiver, or is this how it's supposed to be?

Hi, I noticed the same thing here. I have a cable HD STB hooked via components to the AVR-254.

The picture is dark, very dark, and the picture quality is horrible. It almost looks like I'm in SD even though everything is set to 1080i. And when the picture moves, there is a lot of flickering... And I'm not even talking about aliasing-like artifact everywhere straight lines are displayed..

I am so discouraged.. is there a solution or the unit is just garbage?
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post #747 of 2863 Old 11-07-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jctiii View Post

...The question about whether the video-mode "off" setting is working or not is leading to a lot of misunderstanding. Yes, the Video-mode "off" setting is working, meaning it's not applying extra brightness, contrast, and saturation settings to the picture, as the other modes do ("film," "sports," etc.) Too many people are confusing this with resolution scaling. These are two separate settings, and two separate things. Having the mode setting off, and having that NOT affect the scaling, doesn't mean that the mode setting is "broken." Now, claiming that the video processing is still killing "blacker-than-black" abilities... that's a different story. If that's indeed true, then video processing may indeed be happening if the setting is off, which would indeed indicate that it's broken. We just have to make sure we're comparing apples to apples here...

Not to pick on you specifically, but people are rightly so confused due to the presentation from Harman Kardon in the user manual;

page 49, under Video Modes - see [i]Figure 66 - Video Modes Menu

Code:
Press the Video Modes Button on the front panel or remote, and the
screen shown in Figure 66 will appear. The menu may also be accessed
from the Setup Source menu by pressing the Info Settings Button and
selecting the Video Modes line.

Video Mode: The default setting of Processor Off passes the video 
signal through to the display without any processing.
I'll ignore the incorrect reference of 'Processor Off' vs just 'Off' since that is also misleading but interpreting scaling and de-interlacing as video processing would be a logical assessment to make. What HK needed to say was simply 'picture settings' since there are many types of video processing outside of the color/contrast/brightness/etc settings.

Having said that, it would appear that the setting is "broken" but none of us will know what HK's initial intent with that setting truly was (unless they rename/fix it or whatnot). What is slightly comical is the notion that whoever prepared the manual was probably themselves confused too with the functionality behind the setting and the logic of its 'label'.
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post #748 of 2863 Old 11-07-2008, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper-pA- View Post

click the "avr" button on the remote and then do the 1,2,3,4,ok

No... I tried this several times. My remote was in AVR mode and the verification still did not work. I suspect that the new FW included this verification feature whereas the old FW did not.

Sean
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post #749 of 2863 Old 11-07-2008, 07:02 PM
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As it turns out, my new 354 is not all roses. Even with the FW update, I am noticing a missing second or so from the beginning of each song when playing CDs. That is not so bad and probably something I can live with. The bigger problem is that the static discharge sound is back. It happens randomly at the start of 1 out of every 5-6 songs.
I will probably get hold of HK again but I've reached a point now that if I could simply return the receiver for a refund, I would do so. This is just too much hassle and expense (return shipping costs). It is likely my last HK AVR.

Sean
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post #750 of 2863 Old 11-07-2008, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper-pA- View Post

click the "avr" button on the remote and then do the 1,2,3,4,ok

try 1,2,3,0,ok
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Reply Receivers, Amps, and Processors

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Harman Kardon Avr 354 7x75w 7 1 Channel Home Theater Receiver , Harman Kardon Avr 254 7x50w 7 1 Channel Home Theater Receiver With Hdmi 1 3a Repeater
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