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Official Harman Kardon AVR 254 & 354 Owners Thread

post #1 of 4529
Thread Starter 
Both AVR 254 and 354 models are available in July 08' as per Harman Kardon's website. Let me know if anything is incorrect or if updating is necessary and I'll try my best to make the corrections/updates.

AVR 254 introduction...

7 x 50W 7.1-Channel A/V Receiver with HDMI™ 1.3a Repeater, Audio/Video Processing and Upscaling to 1080p.

The Harman Kardon® AVR 254 is the most affordable Harman Kardon receiver to feature both Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ decoding on the audio side, and Faroudja DCDi Cinema® video processing to 1080p on the video side. But there's plenty more to recommend the AVR 254, including three HDMI™ inputs, connections for external amplifiers, EzSet/EQ™ technology to fine-tune your system to the acoustics of your room, and an RS-232 port for future firmware upgrades. Perhaps the highest recommendation of all? As do all Harman Kardon A/V receivers, the AVR 254 features a high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth design for maximum fidelity.

AVR254 front panel is same as AVR 354, scroll down for a photo of the AVR354 front panel.

Official Harman Kardon AVR 254 page






AVR 354 introduction...

7 x 75W 7.1-Channel A/V Receiver with HDMI™ 1.3a Repeater, Audio/Video Processing and Upscaling to 1080p.

The AVR 354 includes a full complement of Dolby® and DTS® decoding technologies, HDMI™ repeater capability, Faroudja DCDi Cinema® processing, EzSet/EQ™ equalization and multiroom capability. It connects to a universe of digital and analog sources, as well as to external amps. And with The Bridge II docking station (included), it will even play, control and charge your iPod. To ensure that everything works together seamlessly, the AVR 354 features a full-color graphical user interface and an eight-device programmable remote. Harman Kardon® founder Dr. Sidney Harman has always believed technology should serve users, not intimidate them. The AVR 354 is a perfect case in point.








Official Harman Kardon AVR 354 page


Breakdown of AVR 254 and AVR 354 Feature Listings...(354 in BOLD)

Audio Section
• 50 Watts x 7, seven channels driven at full power at 8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz, <0.07% THD (surround modes), 350 watts total
• 75 Watts x 7, per channel seven channels driven at full power at 8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz, <0.07% THD, 525 watts total
• 65 Watts x 2, two channels driven at full power at 8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz, <0.07% THD (surround off mode), 130 watts total
• High-current capability, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier design with low negative feedback
• All-discrete amplifier circuitry
• Quadruple-crossover bass management
• 24-Bit, twin-core Cirrus Logic® CS 49700 DSP processor
• 192kHz/24-bit D/A conversion
• Sampling upconversion to 96kHz
Surround Modes
• Dolby® Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD
• Dolby Pro Logic® II and IIx (Movie, Music and Game), up to 96kHz
• Dolby Virtual Speaker Version 2 (Reference or Wide, two-channel)
• Dolby Headphone Version 2, up to 96kHz
• DTS-HD, DTS-HD Master Audio™
• DTS® (5.1; DTS Stereo; DTS-ES® 6.1 Discrete and Matrix)
• DTS 96/24™ (DTS Stereo)
• DTS Neo:6® (Cinema 5- or 6-channel; Music 5- or 6-channel), up to 96kHz
• Logic 7® (Movie, Music and Game – 5.1 and 7.1), up to 96kHz
• 5- or 7-Channel Stereo, up to 96kHz
• Surround Off (DSP or Analog Bypass)

Audio Inputs
• AM/FM/XM®* tuner
• Analog Audio 1 through 5 (assignable)
• Front-panel Analog Audio (assignable)
• 6-/8-Channel Analog Audio (assignable)
• Stereo mini-jack (assignable)

Audio/Video Inputs
• Three Analog Video (assignable)
• Front-panel Analog Video (assignable)
• Component Video 1 and 2, 100MHz (assignable)
• Three Component Video 100MHz (assignable)
• Three HDMI™ (V.1.3 with Deep Color and audio/video processing)
• Faroudja DCDi Cinema® video processing
Transcodes composite and S-video to component video
Transcodes 480i video to component video format, with upscaling to 1080i
Transcodes 480i video to HDMI output, with upscaling up to 1080p
• for iPod** connectivity with audio/video playback

Digital Audio Inputs
• Coaxial: two rear-panel/one front-panel
• Optical: two rear-panel/one front-panel
• Optical: three rear-panel/one front-panel

Outputs
• 7.1-Channel preamp outputs
• Analog Audio 2 and 4
• Analog Video 2
• Video monitor (composite, S-video and component)
• Digital audio (one coaxial)
• HDMI (V.1.3 with Deep Color)
• Multizone audio: speaker- and line-level (shared with surround back channels)
• Multizone audio: speaker- and two line-level (one dedicated, one shared with surround back channels)
• Headphone

Ease of Use
• EzSet/EQ™ automated setup (microphone supplied)
• Full-color user interface and setup menu, generated in high-definition video
• Two-line dot-matrix front-panel display
• Color-coded connections
• Programmable 7-device main remote control
• Programmable, learning 7-device main remote control (includes AVR control over The Bridge II)
• Source input renaming
• Lip Sync Delay (up to 180msec)
• RS-232 serial port for system upgrades
• Switched accessory power outlet
• Remote infrared (IR) input and output
• Zone 2 IR input
• Zone 2 IR input and Carrier IR Output
• IEC detachable AC power cord for easy installation

Supplied Accessories
The following accessory items are supplied with the AVR 254. If any of these items are missing, please contact Harman Kardon customer service at www.harmankardon.com.
• System remote control
• System and Zone 2 remote controls
• EzSet/EQ microphone
• docking station for iPod
• AM loop antenna
• FM wire antenna
• Four AAA batteries
• Six AAA batteries
• Two covers for front-panel jacks
• AC power cord


End of manual specifications for 254 and 354, 354 in bold.

Audio Section

Stereo Mode
Continuous Average Power (FTC)
65 Watts per channel, 20Hz–20kHz,@ <0.07% THD, both channels driven into 8 ohms
75 Watts per channel, 20Hz–20kHz,@ <0.07% THD, both channels driven into 8 ohms

Seven-Channel Surround Modes
Power per Individual Channel
Front L & R channels:
50 Watts per channel @ <0.07% THD, 20Hz–20kHz into 8 ohms
75 Watts per channel @ <0.07% THD, 20Hz–20kHz into 8 ohms
Center channel:
50 Watts @ <0.07% THD, 20Hz–20kHz into 8 ohms
75 Watts @ <0.07% THD, 20Hz–20kHz into 8 ohms
Surround (L & R Side, L & R Back) channels:
50 Watts per channel @ <0.07% THD, 20Hz–20kHz into 8 ohms
75 Watts per channel @ <0.07% THD, 20Hz–20kHz into 8 ohms

Input Sensitivity/Impedance
Linear (High-Level) 200mV/47k ohms
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (IHF-A) 100dB
Surround System Adjacent Channel Separation
Pro Logic I/II 40dB
Dolby Digital (AC-3) 55dB
DTS 55dB
Frequency Response
@ 1W (+0dB, –3dB) 10Hz –130kHz
High Instantaneous
Current Capability (HCC) ±35 Amps
Transient Intermodulation
Distortion (TIM) Unmeasurable
Slew Rate 40V/µsec
FM Tuner Section
Frequency Range 87.5–108.0MHz
Usable Sensitivity IHF 1.3µV/13.2dBf
Signal-to-Noise Ratio Mono/Stereo 70/68dB
Distortion Mono/Stereo 0.2/0.3%
Stereo Separation 40dB @ 1kHz
Selectivity ±400kHz, 70dB
Image Rejection 80dB
IF Rejection 90dB
AM Tuner Section
Frequency Range 520–1720kHz
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 45dB
Usable Sensitivity Loop 500µV
Distortion 1kHz, 50% Mod 0.8%
Selectivity ±10kHz, 30dB

Video Section

Television Format NTSC
Input Level/Impedance 1Vp-p/75 ohms
Output Level/Impedance 1Vp-p/75 ohms
Video Frequency Response
(Composite and S-Video) 10Hz–8MHz (–3dB)
Video Frequency Response
(Component Video) 10Hz–100MHz (–3dB)
HDMI™ Version 1.3a with 10-bit Deep Color

General

Power Requirement AC 120V/60Hz
Power Consumption 65W idle, 540W maximum (7 channels driven)
Power Consumption 118W idle, 890W maximum (7 channels driven)

Dimensions (Product) (Shipping)

Width 17-5/16 inches (440mm) 21-7/8 inches (555mm)
Height 6-1/2 inches (165mm) 10-1/2 inches (266mm)
Depth 15 inches (382mm) 18-5/16 inches (465mm)
(Product) (Shipping)
Weight 27.1 lb (12.3kg) 32.8 lb (14.9kg)
Weight 31.5 lb (14.3kg) 36.7 lb (16.7kg)

========================

Resetting the Remote
To reset the remote to its factory defaults, simultaneously press and hold the TV Source Selector and the “0” Alphanumeric Key. When the TV Button re-lights, enter the code “333”. When the TV Button goes out, and all of the Source Selectors flash, the remote will have been fully reset.

Processor Reset
There may be instances when you wish to fully reset the AVR 254 to its factory defaults, or the unit may behave erratically after a power surge. To correct erratic behavior, first try turning the Master Power Switch off and unplugging the AC power cord for at least three minutes. Plug the cord back in and turn the receiver back on. If this doesn’t help, try a system reset.

NOTES:
• A system reset erases all user configurations, including video resolution, speaker and level settings, and tuner presets. After a reset, you will need to reenter all of these settings.

ADVANCED FUNCTIONS
• The RS-232 Reset Button on the rear panel of the AVR 254 does not perform a system reset. DO NOT press the RS-232 Reset Button.

To reset the AVR 254/354, place the receiver in Standby mode (press the front-panel Standby/On Switch so that the Power Indicator turns amber).
Then press and hold the front-panel OK Button for at least five seconds until the RESET message appears in the display. Follow the directions in the note on page 32 or page 34 for 354 to restore the picture if necessary.

If the receiver still does not function correctly after a processor reset, contact an authorized Harman Kardon service center for assistance. Authorized service centers may be located by visiting our Web site at www.harmankardon.com.

Memory
If the AVR 254/354 is unplugged or experiences a power outage, it will retain user settings for up to four weeks.
post #2 of 4529
Thread Starter 
Firmware Check Sequence
Member QZ1 posted here for the firmware check sequence.

"From HK's Support page:

"With the AVR turned on, press the 1, 2, 3 and 4 buttons on the remote in that order; then press the SET button.
After a short pause, the software version number will appear on the AVR's front-panel display."

EDIT: The x54 line doesn't have a SET button; so, the OK button is used instead."


Issues with the PS3

Member Jayhawk11 started a thread here for issues regarding the HK x54 models with the PS3: Official H/K AVR X54 & PS3: Problems and Solutions.


reserved for other updates...
post #3 of 4529
Great job! There are no dim buttons on any of the remote controls or the front plate that I could see. Do you go into some kind of menu to dim the display? Can it be done by looking at the front display on the receiver, or do you need to use a monitor? Thanks.
post #4 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1 View Post

Great job! There are no dim buttons on any of the remote controls or the front plate that I could see. Do you go into some kind of menu to dim the display? Can it be done by looking at the front display on the receiver, or do you need to use a monitor? Thanks.

I can't remember if you can do it without the onscreen or not, but if you have it set to dim it will brighten itself for a few second as the status changes ( volume, input,sound mode, etc.) then return to the dim setting, so you shouldn't have to go back and forth on the setting.
post #5 of 4529
Thread Starter 
There is a Front Panel dimmer setting under System Settings Menu, page 52 for 254 and p55 for 354.

Here's a cut and paste of the 354 manual...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1 View Post

Great job! There are no dim buttons on any of the remote controls or the front plate that I could see. Do you go into some kind of menu to dim the display? Can it be done by looking at the front display on the receiver, or do you need to use a monitor? Thanks.
post #6 of 4529
Good job Mather!
post #7 of 4529
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishLegend View Post

Good job Mather!

Thanks, always appreciated the many well laid out threads started by others and decided to try to return the favor.
post #8 of 4529
I would not recommend buying these until the real shipment comes in starting the second week of July. It's obvious that there is something very wrong with the batch that was initially released.

Why else would a company release limited quantities? I have considered the fact that the Cirrus chip used inside may have been hard to obtain in large numbers, but come on now.
post #9 of 4529
Good to see someone has the time! BTW 354 has a learning 8-device remote.
post #10 of 4529
I completley agree. I think the original batch was a limited release test batch. It really seems strange that Best Buy probably their largest customer has not recevied any at all. IMO I think that when BB gets them they will be fine with all the bugs out. They do not want to lose BB as a customer like they did with Circuit City.
post #11 of 4529
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by T2k View Post

Good to see someone has the time! BTW 354 has a learning 8-device remote.

Thanks, I updated the first post. Is it 8 device or 7? The manual stated seven.
post #12 of 4529
Wow! Very nice job mather! Nice to see a proper thread. You even got the spelling and model numbers correct!
post #13 of 4529
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

Wow! Very nice job mather! Nice to see a proper thread. You even got the spelling and model numbers correct!

LOL, yes, I had to do some double takes, I never thought it would be so difficult...Harman, Harmon, Kardon, Kardan, a simple HK would have made it so much easier.
post #14 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by zman60 View Post

I completley agree. I think the original batch was a limited release test batch. It really seems strange that Best Buy probably their largest customer has not recevied any at all. IMO I think that when BB gets them they will be fine with all the bugs out. They do not want to lose BB as a customer like they did with Circuit City.

So far I had mine over a week now and no issues yet. So I guess I might have got one with little or no bugs so far, but then again I am not looking for any!
Nice Thread so far Mather!!
post #15 of 4529
Also had mine a week and I love it, the sound of course is amazing, but the video is great too. No issues with mine either.
post #16 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zacrobmer View Post

Also had mine a week and I love it, the sound of course is amazing, but the video is great too. No issues with mine either.

Where did you get yours?
post #17 of 4529
Logic 7 Music with Digital PCM is all screwy. Volume goes uppp and down its weird. PLII is fine.

Anyone with an Apple TV and these receivers, do your sound fx work through HDMI? Mine cut out.
post #18 of 4529
Thread Starter 
I know there was discussion about the Logic 7 not acting right in the HK 745 thread. Not sure about the 247/347 thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid05 View Post

Logic 7 Music with Digital PCM is all screwy. Volume goes uppp and down its weird. PLII is fine.

Anyone with an Apple TV and these receivers, do your sound fx work through HDMI? Mine cut out.
post #19 of 4529
Logic 7 does NOT apply on anything above 2-ch audio on 254/255/354/355, period.
post #20 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by mather View Post

There is a Front Panel dimmer setting under System Settings Menu, page 52 for 254 and p55 for 354.

Here's a cut and paste of the 354 manual...



Thank you. It's just like my 7 year old 320. You need a tv/monitor just to dim the receiver's display. No hard button to do this simple thing. Those who buy these receivers for music only for their bedroom can forget about turning off the display.
post #21 of 4529
But but but.... once it's been set it remains like that, isn't it?
post #22 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishLegend View Post

Where did you get yours?

I broke down and bought it at JR's the local bestbuys around here, Noblesville and Indy, will not have them until mid July, and according to the "experts" in te Magnolia sections "Harman Kardon are low to mid range so we may not carry them".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidt1 View Post

Thank you. It's just like my 7 year old 320. You need a tv/monitor just to dim the receiver's display. No hard button to do this simple thing. Those who buy these receivers for music only for their bedroom can forget about turning off the display.

I could have swore the menus show up on the front panel, I'll check when I get off work. However why buy a AVR for "music in the bedroom" when HK makes stereo only recievers with practically the same features (minus video etc) for less?

Quote:
Originally Posted by T2k View Post

But but but.... once it's been set it remains like that, isn't it?

Yes sir it does. Makes for an intersting few minutes when you are playing with the features, turn it off and come a few hours later to no display and no volume light.
post #23 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by T2k View Post

But but but.... once it's been set it remains like that, isn't it?

Yes it does.
post #24 of 4529
I am extremely tempted to buy the Pioneer 1018 today from BB since I know they have it in their warehouse now and I could have it by next week sometime. I may just buy it and then compare it to the AVR-254 when/if it comes out and keep which one I like better.

Any reason why I'm out of my mind and should just wait for the 254 instead?
post #25 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

I am extremely tempted to buy the Pioneer 1018 today from BB since I know they have it in their warehouse now and I could have it by next week sometime. I may just buy it and then compare it to the AVR-254 when/if it comes out and keep which one I like better.

Any reason why I'm out of my mind and should just wait for the 254 instead?

H/K has a big fan base for their sq. Pioneer makes a solid product, but gets little respect outside of the Elite lines.

Knowing that the H/Ks will be available in mid July, you could buy the Pioneer now from someone with a liberal return policy, like BB, and later get the H/K when it's released. Try them both and keep the one you like best, with your speakers, etc.

Now some will likely jump in and criticize this approach as using the retailer as a loaner of equipment. In my local BB, the receivers are on a rack, connected to nothing. No way to see how the thing sounds or works, much less how nicely it plays with other equipment.

When you buy an audio component, you do so primarily for the sound it produces. Like test driving a car, it makes sense to see which one fits you and your needs best.
post #26 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by mather View Post


General

Power Requirement AC 120V/60Hz
Power Consumption 65W idle, 540W maximum (7 channels driven)
Power Consumption 118W idle, 890W maximum (7 channels driven)

are those "idle" power ratings for when the receiver is in standby mode (powered off)?
post #27 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie22 View Post

are those "idle" power ratings for when the receiver is in standby mode (powered off)?

I believe those are for when it's powered on but not doing anything.
post #28 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

I am extremely tempted to buy the Pioneer 1018 today from BB since I know they have it in their warehouse now and I could have it by next week sometime. I may just buy it and then compare it to the AVR-254 when/if it comes out and keep which one I like better.

Any reason why I'm out of my mind and should just wait for the 254 instead?

Nothing on their website about it and it's not in any stores in my area. How do you buy something from them if the SKU isn't even in their system? Do you work for them?
post #29 of 4529
The SKU is 8713788, it is in their system.
post #30 of 4529
Posted this in the "anticipation" thread but this looks like the thread that will get more hits.

Looks like Abes of Maine has the AVR-254 and AVR-354 in stock at the best price right now. However, I learned that they are not listed as an authorized dealer according to HK's web site.
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