Are Harmon/Kardons crap? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-18-2010, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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On eBay Harmon/Kardon sells factory refurbished receivers for pretty decent prices sometimes. I cold probably get something for under $150 with HDMI switching. Are Harmon/Kardons any good? My dad always had Yamaha and Onkyo receivers which were always great. Would you buy a refurbished Harmon/Kardon for around $150 or would you spend a bit more and get a brand new low-end Onkyo like the 308?

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post #2 of 24 Old 07-18-2010, 12:01 PM
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I don't think HK is any worse than any other brand. I would only get a refurb if it had some sort of warranty. You figure if it lasts a few months, it will probably last for years.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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Just purchased a refurbished Harman Kardon 3485 120 Watts/channel 2.1 stereo system a few months ago from ebay (make an offer auction). It looks as if it was brand new off the box, no scratches, still has the plastic film over the face, etc. Never been satisfied with a purchase that was less than half the price of a brand new unit.

I maybe wrong but I believe Marantz, Harman Kardon and Denon are brands you can never go wrong purchasing (my preference). I do believe Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer are just as reliable.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK1997 View Post

On eBay Harmon/Kardon sells factory refurbished receivers for pretty decent prices sometimes. I cold probably get something for under $150 with HDMI switching. Are Harmon/Kardons any good? My dad always had Yamaha and Onkyo receivers which were always great. Would you buy a refurbished Harmon/Kardon for around $150 or would you spend a bit more and get a brand new low-end Onkyo like the 308?

Depending on your needs I would buy the refurbed H/K before I would buy the Onkyo 308. What model H/K is this?
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 12:41 PM
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If you buy from eBay seller "harmanaudio" you will get the full warranty with the unit.

I've bought from them in the past and this past Sat bought their 3600 AVR for half list price. No regrets! This will be my third HK AVR and I've been pretty happy since 1995.
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-20-2010, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreyS View Post

If you buy from eBay seller "harmanaudio" you will get the full warranty with the unit.

I've bought from them in the past and this past Sat bought their 3600 AVR for half list price. No regrets! This will be my third HK AVR and I've been pretty happy since 1995.

I bought in April 2008 a refurb Harman AVR 247 off ebay that has been replaced 3 times under warranty with refurb AVR 354 and AVR 3550HD. the AVR 3550HD just went out and is now past warranty from the original purchase of which they won't cover.

I like Harman but i don't think i'll buy a refurb again because of the problems with their replacements. remember, they're replacing a refurb with another reburb - at least that's been my experience.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-20-2010, 10:10 AM
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It appears they have about a 5-year life span. I've had two that died or stareted to show signs within three years, friends have had issues within 3-5 years. Seems centered around the processor.

Dropping $150+ on something that will survive 3+ years doesn't seem too bad, but I hate watching the landfill overflow with gear that should last 20 years.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-20-2010, 10:14 AM
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HK are great avr's...
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-21-2010, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augmont View Post

I bought in April 2008 a refurb Harman AVR 247 off ebay that has been replaced 3 times under warranty with refurb AVR 354 and AVR 3550HD. the AVR 3550HD just went out and is now past warranty from the original purchase of which they won't cover.

I like Harman but i don't think i'll buy a refurb again because of the problems with their replacements. remember, they're replacing a refurb with another reburb - at least that's been my experience.

FWIW.........after a few emails, HK will be replacing my bad AVR 3550HD with a AVR 3600. I'm sure it will be another refurb but i'm happy that loyalty is more important than an expired warranty.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-23-2010, 07:02 AM
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I had an older model from the late 1990's & had lots of problems with it! I was just using it for 2 channel stereo & even when the settings were set correctly nothing would come out but distorted sound. I tried many different volume levels even adjusted Bass & Treble! no luck Model # AV-R55 My friend bought this new in 1997.
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-23-2010, 07:53 PM
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I had an AVR-247 that failed right after the warranty expired (2 year warranty). I contacted HK and they replaced it anyway. I was blown away when they replaced it with a BRAND NEW AVR254 -- a brand new unit that costs twice as much as the AVR-247 plus the AVR 247 warranty had expired. I have never had such good customer service.

Because of the awesome customer service, I just purchased another AVR 254 -- a refurb from HK on ebay. I got it for $293 with free shipping (less than half of list price). It is in brand new condition -- still has the film on it and the remote was brand new too. It has worked flawlessly.

My understanding is the HK seems to release products a little bit early and they are still somewhat buggy. But with the upgradeable models like the AVR 254 it isn't a big deal -- you just upgrade the unit when the new software comes out. What happens is that folks get the new unit, run into one of the bugs and return them without researching the bug and upgrade path. When they are returned, HK upgrades the software and sells them as refurbs. There probably are some returns that truly are failures, but a lot of them are due to software bugs.

I loved my AVR-254 so much that I bought another one. The onscreen menu system is really cool and the sound is superb.
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-23-2010, 08:15 PM
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There are many HK fans on this board including me. I have owned a number of HK receivers and other equipment through the years, all of them either used and bought through private sale or refurbed and bought from either the Harman website directly or through their ebay store.

In all cases HK stood by any issue that arose (in one case I received a new remote for an AVR510 without even asking for it and in the second case I returned a digital receiver simply because of cosmetics). HK handled both issues professionally and with no questions asked. I still own the AVR310 and AVR635 as well as an HK CDR20 all 3 in storage and also currently use a CDR2 for CD playback and recording.

As to SQ HK is similar to Marantz, at least the Marantz of old, before Denon acquisition. But I haven't heard much Marantz equipment the last few years so who knows? HK always delivers the honest juice to your speakers. Since moving production to China some years back, they have suffered their fair share of issues which results in the availability of refurbed units. But they stand behind their products IMO better than most of the competition and represent great bargains.
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-23-2010, 09:35 PM
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In my opinion...they all used to be better than they are these days.
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post #14 of 24 Old 07-23-2010, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colour View Post

In my opinion...they all used to be better than they are these days.

Ah, nostalgia.

I remember when amps would walk 10 miles uphill (both ways) in the snow, just to play some light chamber music

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-24-2010, 07:56 AM
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I have 4 H/K products that all work flawlessly. An HK795i stereo receiver from 1987, an AVR325 from 2002, an AVR7200 from 2003, and a PA4000 from 2003. The only thing wrong with any of them is a light bulb burned out on the AVR325. All are still in use with the exception of the AVR7200, which I just took out of service last month in a move to separates. They have been very reliable in my experience.
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post #16 of 24 Old 07-24-2010, 08:07 AM
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My HK AVR 325 is 7 years old and I use it daily. I'd have no problem buying another one.

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post #17 of 24 Old 07-24-2010, 08:45 AM
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I bought my first HK AVR about 9 years ago - an HK AVR 520. I sold it to my sister and brother in law 3 years ago. It's still going strong for them. I bought an HK 3480 4-5 years ago that a friend talked me out of - its still being played daily at high volumes without a hitch.
I've also owned a pair of 247 AVRs - a funky AVR at best - both had Alzheimer's - couldn't remember their settings. The 254 that replaced the second one (under warranty) was a gem - it worked very well as a prepro. My last (so far) HK purchase was a 3390 stereo unit from Harman Audio (ebay) about 6-7 months ago - great performance for $128 and it was brand new with the plastic still on the front face.

All in all I've made well over 30 purchases from Harman's ebay store either for myself or family/friends. I've had to use customer service several times. Each was a prime example of customer service that works to make the purchaser happy - not to help improve the bottom line of the corporation.

As to the statement made by someone above about the huge numbers of refurbished items HK has - the numbers they sell on ebay is a drop in the bucket of total retail sales made. These numbers are visible because of these auctions and do look huge. Imagine if Onkyo Pioneer or Yamaha started selling on ebay instead of using outlets like accessories4less. And that is the beauty of HK selling on ebay. It cuts out the middle man making refurbished items cheaper for the consumer.

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post #18 of 24 Old 07-24-2010, 09:14 AM
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I have an AVR 135 that has been driving 6 ohm speakers every day for about 5 years. Not a single problem. Plus, I love the way both of my HK amps look AND sound.
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post #19 of 24 Old 07-24-2010, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Ah, nostalgia.

I remember when amps would walk 10 miles uphill (both ways) in the snow, just to play some light chamber music

LOL

(With apologies to Lance. Don't get off the bike!)
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post #20 of 24 Old 01-07-2011, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5seonds View Post
I have an AVR 135 that has been driving 6 ohm speakers every day for about 5 years. Not a single problem. Plus, I love the way both of my HK amps look AND sound.
Agreed! I have an AVR 146, VERY good sound. Only thing, I connect video outputs from DVD, cable box direct to TV, and connect audio outputs to AVR. Maybe more wires, but I believe in direct connections where possible.
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post #21 of 24 Old 01-07-2011, 02:00 PM
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I purchased a 525 refurb from them back in 2003, and it is still going strong in my nephews home theater now. I can say that I the 525 was not treated with tlc. It was kept in an enclosed cabinet and was left on constantly as well.

I currently have a 3600 that I purchased from ebay refurb and has had nothing go wrong either. Both of them looked as new when I received them.

I'm sure there are some who would say I'm lucky, but so far I can say nothing but good things about HK.
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post #22 of 24 Old 01-07-2011, 02:13 PM
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My impression is that because of the pace of technological change firms have little incentive to build products with parts that last years. So an older HK or Denon or any other product might have lasted us for years but it is unlikely that a newer product will.

However I am not sure this would be true for their upper end models. I think anyone, no matter how wealthy, would get peeved if they spent money on the most expensive top of the line model and then had to change it after 2-3 years.

Of course this is just all conjecture.

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post #23 of 24 Old 01-07-2011, 04:12 PM
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I have an AVR 310 (9 or 10 years ??) that is still running strong. It is doing preamp duty on a stereo system for now. I have never had any problems with it.
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post #24 of 24 Old 01-07-2011, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabbu1 View Post
My impression is that because of the pace of technological change firms have little incentive to build products with parts that last years. So an older HK or Denon or any other product might have lasted us for years but it is unlikely that a newer product will.

However I am not sure this would be true for their upper end models. I think anyone, no matter how wealthy, would get peeved if they spent money on the most expensive top of the line model and then had to change it after 2-3 years.

Of course this is just all conjecture.
There's little to go wrong with modern AVRs. If treated well, they are likely to last many years.

Not sure how the change in solder has affected AVRs.

Premature failures seem somewhat common with a few brands. Not sure if it's owner abused or not.

Adequate ventilation seems like a good idea, as well as not pushing your receiver to it's limits. The amount of heat in some AVRs is very high. It's possible even with good ventilation some receivers may fail earlier than others due to that factor.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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