Why HDMI input on receivers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-06-2012, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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So I have a Blu-ray player and a Gaming Computer that I'd like to use with my TV and my main audio system. I'm pretty new to modern receivers.

Currently I bought a Pioneer SC-1222-K from newegg when they had it for $599. I think it is way more complicated than I need. I may send it back

So my TV is a 55" Sony LCD with alot of different inputs. I really just need two HDMI inputs.

I never understood why modern receivers have all of the video inputs. Why would you use your receiver to process video signals, when the TV already processes them?

If I just go HDMI from my source to the TV, I can use an SPDIF cable to get the sound back to the receiver. So what benefit, if any, is there for running my HDMI inputs into the receiver?

Do I only get surround through the HDMI cable?

I always thought a receiver was supposed to be about audio, why put so much effort and money into video processing when the companies could be putting that into better sound quality?


I've got a ton more questions, but one at a time I figure.
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-06-2012, 12:52 PM
 
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If you go from your source to your tv, then to your AV receiver, you are just going to get stereo. As for HDMI inputs, with the newer surround formats, they use the HD format, which they do not for the optical. If you are smart, you get a AVRS that allows active hdmi output when it is in standby, so that if you want to use a soundbar vs the AVRS for stereo sound, you could do that through RCA or Optical to the soundbar from the device, such as your CATV or Satellite stb or Blu-Ray, or even computer.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-06-2012, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

If you go from your source to your tv, then to your AV receiver, you are just going to get stereo.

Except in the past they were able to send ALL surround sound signals through stereo RCA cables. Is that no longer the case? do modern codecs requirethe HDMI cable?
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As for HDMI inputs, with the newer surround formats, they use the HD format, which they do not for the optical. If you are smart, you get a AVRS that allows active hdmi output when it is in standby, so that if you want to use a soundbar vs the AVRS for stereo sound, you could do that through RCA or Optical to the soundbar from the device, such as your CATV or Satellite stb or Blu-Ray, or even computer.
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-06-2012, 06:10 PM
 
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Surround sound never really went through RCA, in the reality that it was truly Surround sound. Yes, the newer Codecs require HDMI. If you have not been paying attention to various postings or threads on here, this subject has been discussed over and over.
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-06-2012, 06:23 PM
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Generally so you can use the receiver as a switching center...it's not any longer simply an audio receiver, it's an audio visual receiver (well, most of them). I believe some tvs can feed back more than a 2.0 audio signal via hdmi but many don't, so often optical is a better choice if you insist on feeding sources direct to the tv. Some AVRs, especially newer ones, can process or upscale the video signal, useful if you're using older equipment as sources. I don't use my avr to change the video signal from my hdmi sources, I just pass them through for simplicity of connections and the better audio possibilities. I don't use tv-based sources for audio generally (in that my apps have better sound formats through my PS3). You can get some surround formats via optical but not the higher codecs.

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post #6 of 20 Old 11-06-2012, 10:49 PM
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If you watch blu ray movies they have HD audio which a TV cannot process. So you need more than an optical output for that.

Plus many people have more than 2 HDMI devices. I know I do. If your TV only has 2 HDMI inputs what do you do then?
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Originally Posted by gregzoll

If you go from your source to your tv, then to your AV receiver, you are just going to get stereo.
Quote:
Except in the past they were able to send ALL surround sound signals through stereo RCA cables. Is that no longer the case? do modern codecs requirethe HDMI cable?

RCA only sent a stereo signal which your receiver processed into simulated 5.1 surround sound. Not close to discrete audio like DD 5.1 or DTS and definitely not in the same league as TrueHD and DTS-HD.

Run your blu ray player thru your new Pioneer receiver, I think you'll notice a huge difference.

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post #7 of 20 Old 11-07-2012, 04:16 AM
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Although you'll definitely want to connect the Blu Ray player to the AVR (as suggested by others), some HTPC video cards have issues connecting to AVRs, in which case you may need to connect the HTPC video to the TV with an audio connection from the HTPC to the AVR. You may also want to use this configuration to avoid any game lag issues.

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post #8 of 20 Old 11-07-2012, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Surround sound never really went through RCA, in the reality that it was truly Surround sound. Yes, the newer Codecs require HDMI. If you have not been paying attention to various postings or threads on here, this subject has been discussed over and over.

Sorry, I haven't been paying attention to threads on here. I am mostly a newb. I have purposely ignored all things surround for my entire adult life. Mainly because funds have been limited and I preferred to put the funds into good sounding stereo.

As far as the old sound not being surround? In what way? They were 5.1 setups? Left, Right, Center Rear Right, Rear Left., and Subwoofer. I remember this stuff because that's the last time I experimented with surround, but if a sound was supposed to come out of the center channel it did come out the center. As far as I understand they did it through phase shifting signals. 180 degrees for the rear channel, 90 degrees for the center channel.

What do the new formats really offer? 7.2? 9.2? Are modern movies even compatible with the old surround format?


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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Generally so you can use the receiver as a switching center...it's not any longer simply an audio receiver, it's an audio visual receiver (well, most of them). I believe some tvs can feed back more than a 2.0 audio signal via hdmi but many don't, so often optical is a better choice if you insist on feeding sources direct to the tv. Some AVRs, especially newer ones, can process or upscale the video signal, useful if you're using older equipment as sources. I don't use my avr to change the video signal from my hdmi sources, I just pass them through for simplicity of connections and the better audio possibilities. I don't use tv-based sources for audio generally (in that my apps have better sound formats through my PS3). You can get some surround formats via optical but not the higher codecs.

What higher codecs? How do they differ from the old days when they could send 5.1 sound over two RCA cables using phase shift?

You say we can use the receiver as a switching center, but why should I do that? What benefit does it have? Just simply having to press one less button? My TV has stereo RCA cables and an SPDIF output. Supposedly SPDIF is only stereo output, right? But I have been using that output for surround sound for the last year with a cheap HTIB setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Although you'll definitely want to connect the Blu Ray player to the AVR (as suggested by others), some HTPC video cards have issues connecting to AVRs, in which case you may need to connect the HTPC video to the TV with an audio connection from the HTPC to the AVR. You may also want to use this configuration to avoid any game lag issues.

Game lag issues huh? That makes things complicated.

Part of the idea was to send digital sound from the computer to the receiver, and use it to decode my surround sound. If that introduces lag issues it defeats the purpose.
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-07-2012, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kytann View Post

Sorry, I haven't been paying attention to threads on here. I am mostly a newb. I have purposely ignored all things surround for my entire adult life. Mainly because funds have been limited and I preferred to put the funds into good sounding stereo.
As far as the old sound not being surround? In what way? They were 5.1 setups? Left, Right, Center Rear Right, Rear Left., and Subwoofer. I remember this stuff because that's the last time I experimented with surround, but if a sound was supposed to come out of the center channel it did come out the center. As far as I understand they did it through phase shifting signals. 180 degrees for the rear channel, 90 degrees for the center channel.
What do the new formats really offer? 7.2? 9.2? Are modern movies even compatible with the old surround format?
What higher codecs? How do they differ from the old days when they could send 5.1 sound over two RCA cables using phase shift?
You say we can use the receiver as a switching center, but why should I do that? What benefit does it have? Just simply having to press one less button? My TV has stereo RCA cables and an SPDIF output. Supposedly SPDIF is only stereo output, right? But I have been using that output for surround sound for the last year with a cheap HTIB setup.
Game lag issues huh? That makes things complicated.
Part of the idea was to send digital sound from the computer to the receiver, and use it to decode my surround sound. If that introduces lag issues it defeats the purpose.

Your old "5.1" was stereo converted to 5.1 like Bose was famous for doing in their demo rooms. It's 2.0 and that's all. Left, right and that's all.

If you plan on watching blu-ray and want to get the best sound possible you'll want to run the HDMI through the AVR. You don't need to worry about what surround format is being used. The AVR will figure it out.

There are many benefits to using the AVR as a switching center especially when you add more and more devices.

You don't need to worry about any lag from processing "digital sound" (is that MP3s and the like?), there won't be any.

I game on my system. I'm not a hard core gamer and notice no lag. Most lag that gamers complain of is video lag and that has more to do with the TV than the AVR in most cases.

If buyer's remorse is getting to you this much you might want to send it back while you still can.

If it were me I'd keep and learn to use it and then experience what a modern AVR can do to make your audio visual the best it has ever been.

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post #10 of 20 Old 11-07-2012, 04:34 PM
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Without reading these replies in depth,

I can add that HDMI supports 7.1 which is the Bluray format, whereas optical or coaxial S/PDIF supports 5.1 at most.

Personally I'm going to draw a HDMI cable over 7.5 meters from my Bluray-disk Player to the receiver instead of optical. There's going to be a cable anyway, might as well be HDMI.

As others have said, the receiver is then a switching device. Ideally, you can keep your TV tuned to your Receiver, and connect your cable box and your other devices to it as well. Then you merely need to select sources on the receiver rather than the TV.
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-07-2012, 05:54 PM
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old fashioned dolby extracting multichannel from a stereo feed cannot give you the precise multichannel mix that movie mixers create, because the extraction depends on phase differences that might or might not be present natively in the real surround mix. If you don't care if you hear the real mix, you can still extract a five channel surround from the stereo returns from a TV. It just won't be the actual surround mix. ALso, AFAIK, downmixing a 5.1 mix to stereo does not guarantee a good matrix extraction since the downmix assumes you are going to stereo, not taking the mix to stereo so you can re extract it to multichannel. Might be satisfying though. I (to my great audiophile shame) use extraction to get multichannel out of stereo music although to my modest credit I have the settings set pretty conservatively. But to actually hear what the mixer put in the left surround actually move to the right surround like the mixer heard it you need the real surround mix not a matrix. Which is to say the matrixing was better than nothing but is not as good as actually having the real surround mix.

And it is dandy and convenient and simpler to have the receiver act as the switching device. No different as a practical matter (from a button pushing point of view) from having the TV act as the switching device. Just lets you get the real surround. Of course HDMI also lets you get the real surround in lossless format when it's available on the disc, which is, if nothing else, comforting from a mental/psychological point of view. (I don't have to worry whether I MIGHT be able to hear a difference between lossy and lossless formats if I compared appropriately. I just know I'm good).
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-07-2012, 06:00 PM
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Here's a nice rundown of the various sound formats and cables needed http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=41820

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post #13 of 20 Old 11-15-2012, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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So I've been playing with my setup, and both myself and the girlfriend agree that in surround mode it sounds like crap. Whereas in stereo mode it sounds pleasing.

For context I am currently using Pioneer SP-FS52's floorstanders and a center as a SP-C22 sitting on the floor angled up towards me. So they should be matched to each other. When in surround mode, it sounds like ALL of the sound is coming from the center channel, even music. I thought only dialogue would come from the center. Kinda defeats the purpose.

I did try multiple surround modes and the Auto Mode.

Oh,and I did try gaming a few times. Defeintely like the Stereo best. When gaming I sit so close that I block the center channel with my feet. Which obviously sucks.

I do like that the SC-1222K has a subwoofer output. And Pre-amp outputs. And I can Bi-Amp my front speakers directly from it. And that I can play Pandora through it. I'm just not impressed with surround sound, and it seems like the extra surround capabilities of this amp are going to go unused.

I've been looking to see if I can find a quality stereo integrated amplifier with:
-Subwoofer Output (internally crossed over)
-Pre-amp outputs (For future expansion)
-Lots of power, to run my future RTi12 (coming next week!)
-Bi-Ampable would be nice, see above. I am also hoping that since it's digital and internally Bi-Amped it crosses the signal over before amplification
-DAC would be nice, so that when I listen to music on the computer I can use a higher quality DAC.

It seems like there is not anything available that isn't an AVR, and what is available is more expensive. So I'll probably stick with the SC-1222K, even though I won't end us using it's surround sound capabilities.
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-15-2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kytann View Post

So I've been playing with my setup, and both myself and the girlfriend agree that in surround mode it sounds like crap. Whereas in stereo mode it sounds pleasing.
For context I am currently using Pioneer SP-FS52's floorstanders and a center as a SP-C22 sitting on the floor angled up towards me. So they should be matched to each other. When in surround mode, it sounds like ALL of the sound is coming from the center channel, even music. I thought only dialogue would come from the center. Kinda defeats the purpose.
I did try multiple surround modes and the Auto Mode.
Oh,and I did try gaming a few times. Defeintely like the Stereo best. When gaming I sit so close that I block the center channel with my feet. Which obviously sucks.
I do like that the SC-1222K has a subwoofer output. And Pre-amp outputs. And I can Bi-Amp my front speakers directly from it. And that I can play Pandora through it. I'm just not impressed with surround sound, and it seems like the extra surround capabilities of this amp are going to go unused.
I've been looking to see if I can find a quality stereo integrated amplifier with:
-Subwoofer Output (internally crossed over)
-Pre-amp outputs (For future expansion)
-Lots of power, to run my future RTi12 (coming next week!)
-Bi-Ampable would be nice, see above. I am also hoping that since it's digital and internally Bi-Amped it crosses the signal over before amplification
-DAC would be nice, so that when I listen to music on the computer I can use a higher quality DAC.
It seems like there is not anything available that isn't an AVR, and what is available is more expensive. So I'll probably stick with the SC-1222K, even though I won't end us using it's surround sound capabilities.

There's this-
http://www.harmankardon.com/estore/hk/us/products/HK-3490/HK%203490_HK_US?skuId=HK%203490_HK_US

You should be able to find it for less on line. It doesn't have preamp outs though.

And bi-amping is a waste of time.

Or there's these-
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa200

with this-
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/usp1

For a pretty reasonable price.

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post #15 of 20 Old 11-15-2012, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

There's this-
http://www.harmankardon.com/estore/hk/us/products/HK-3490/HK%203490_HK_US?skuId=HK%203490_HK_US
You should be able to find it for less on line. It doesn't have preamp outs though.
And bi-amping is a waste of time.
Or there's these-
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa200
with this-
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/usp1
For a pretty reasonable price.


Thanks for the links. I was looking at the Harman Kardon 3490 you posted. The one thing I do not like about it is the subwoofer output is full range, which tells me it also runs the main speakers full range. On the SC-1222K it splits off the signal at 80 or 100Hz to the subwoofer output or the main speakers. Seems like that would give me more real-world head-room over the 3490 which just runs all signal paths full range. Otherwise I do like the 3490 alot. Very seriously thinking of returning the SC-1222K and buying a 3490.
Newegg now has a restocking fee though, so that sucks.



Hadn't thought of Emotiva before. I like the adjustable corssover frequencys on the Pre-amp. But it has no tone controls. No bass / treble knobs or EQ. Which I think is a must. I'm not as much of a purist for sound, I like some boosted bass and treble levels.

Also, it doesn't look like it has a DAC. Which I would like for computer output. Either Games or Music. I figured the DAC in a receiver would be better than the one integrated on my motherboard. This part isn't a requirement, it would just be nice to have.

If it weren't for those two things it looks like exactly what I was looking for.


As far as Bi-Amping.... I've read numerous thoughts on the subject. If I keep the SC-1222K I'll Bi-amp it, simply because I have all of those un-needed channels. You know, using a 7.1 amplifier for 2.1 mode. So it probably has alot of extra headroom. If I return the SC-1222K then I won't worry about it.
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-15-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Or there's these-
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa200
with this-
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/usp1
For a pretty reasonable price.

Looks like nothing else on the emotiva site has what I was looking for.



Actually this is looking really nice.
http://nadelectronics.com/products/hifi-amplifiers/C-356BEE-DAC-Stereo-Integrated-Amplifier
Even though it's only rated at 80 Watter per channel, I know NAD's have alot of headroom.

It's just rather pricey at the moment.



Any other suggestions?
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-16-2012, 08:55 AM
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You did check whether you can change the relative amplification on the center channel, right? AVRs usually come with Audigy-like setup features that will auto-configure volume levels for each speaker. Even then, you can manually adjust it. If the center is too strong you can just make it less.

A surround mode that takes 2.0 and makes it 5.1 or 7.1 will just split 2.0 and distribute it over surround, perhaps using some matrix decoding (wouldn't know) so it won't be able to put dialog over just the center. On the other hand, if you have a 5.1 or 7.1 track (Dolby Digital / DTS, or one of the equivalent HD codecs) then the dialog will have been encoded for the center channel and you won't hear it coming from the stereo speakers.

Don't be so quick in concluding that your AVR is crap and won't do as asked; probably you haven't considered all possibilities yet. Is my guess.
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-16-2012, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xennex View Post

You did check whether you can change the relative amplification on the center channel, right? AVRs usually come with Audigy-like setup features that will auto-configure volume levels for each speaker. Even then, you can manually adjust it. If the center is too strong you can just make it less.
A surround mode that takes 2.0 and makes it 5.1 or 7.1 will just split 2.0 and distribute it over surround, perhaps using some matrix decoding (wouldn't know) so it won't be able to put dialog over just the center. On the other hand, if you have a 5.1 or 7.1 track (Dolby Digital / DTS, or one of the equivalent HD codecs) then the dialog will have been encoded for the center channel and you won't hear it coming from the stereo speakers.
Don't be so quick in concluding that your AVR is crap and won't do as asked; probably you haven't considered all possibilities yet. Is my guess.

Actually yes, I did adjust the center channel levels. That wasn't the problem.

It was probably because it was an older movie (1990s). But I do watch old movies on DVD alot. Or TV Shows.

I did also figure out how to EQ the sound to my liking, instead of just the auto setting. Which sounded too flat. My main gripe with that is when on the EQ screen it plays only white noise, instead of the source music I was listening too. But it's a small gripe.

The AVR is pretty nice. Alot of power, and a ton of options. I just do not like surround sound. I prefer simple 2.1 channel stereo sound. In my environment it sounds better, and I can spend my speaker money on a nicer set of 2 rather than having to buy 5.

Therefore it has a ton of features that I am not going to use. I will probably keep it though, since it does have features I consider important:
To Clarify my list of features I need versus would be nice (Mainly writing this for my sake)

Needs:
  • Subwoofer Output - Internally Crossed Over
  • Pre-Amp Outputs - For future expansion with power amps
  • Powerful two channel performance. @ 120 Watts / channel RMS, this is just on the edge I think. It'll be enough until I move into a larger house someday.
  • Tone controls. Bass and treble at a minimum. Actual knobs would be awesome.

Would Be Nice
  • DAC - to play my extensive mp3 (all ripped myself @ 320 bit, and no clipping of sounds out of the 20-20k range) music collection cleaner than the on-board audio
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post #19 of 20 Old 11-17-2012, 06:43 PM
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The built-in effect modes, like Hall, Stadium, etc., aren't meant for movies if you are using those modes. Use the MCACC's test tones to properly set up your speakers. If your system is set up properly, you shouldn't be able to tell WHERE the sound is coming from when using your multi-channel stereo modes -- unless you move out of your sweet spot. Use the ProLogic modes for converting stereo to surround for movies. Since the 1222K is a Network Receiver, you should be able to run Ethernet from your PC ( you'll need a router for this ) to the receiver to have access to any MP3's on your computer. If you don't feel like having your computer on then you can pick up a NAS hard drive enclosure and dump all your mp3's to that. The DACs in the receiver should be way better than anything a computer can output as far as MP3's go. I get awesome results running my mp3's through the receiver using the 9-channel stereo mode. I really can't pinpoint where the sound is coming from. It is all around me -- just like in a live environment -- like a stadium or concert hall.

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post #20 of 20 Old 11-17-2012, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
There's this-
http://www.harmankardon.com/estore/hk/us/products/HK-3490/HK%203490_HK_US?skuId=HK%203490_HK_US

You should be able to find it for less on line. It doesn't have preamp outs though.

The HK 3490 definitely has preouts. There are only two of them since it is a stereo receiver. I circled them for you. It has Pre Out and Main In.

Quote:
Thanks for the links. I was looking at the Harman Kardon 3490 you posted. The one thing I do not like about it is the subwoofer output is full range, which tells me it also runs the main speakers full range. On the SC-1222K it splits off the signal at 80 or 100Hz to the subwoofer output or the main speakers. Seems like that would give me more real-world head-room over the 3490 which just runs all signal paths full range. Otherwise I do like the 3490 alot. Very seriously thinking of returning the SC-1222K and buying a 3490.
Newegg now has a restocking fee though, so that sucks.

Because the 3490 is only a stereo receiver you wont get any bass management, everything runs at full range. You need an AVR for bass management.

Afro GT
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