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Official Harman Kardon AVR 254 & 354 Owners Thread - Page 12

post #331 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozcot View Post

Looking at a few recievers to replace my B&K to get the new codecs and TrueHD. Was all set between the Pioneer 1018 and the Denon 1909. Heard the Harman Kardon had good SQ but saw the specs 350 watts total power: 50W x 7, 20Hz - 20kHz?? How on earth can this high end of a an AVR has such little power? Most have 90 watts X7 min Pioneer has 130 X7 and this has 50? How could this even push higher end speakers my Energy Speakers recomend 100 watts. Would this even be able to run with my speakers let alone produce any punch? Not meaning to bash have not heard one just was floored by seeing 50 watts per channel...

Search. Please. Harman/Kardon's are notorious for under-RATING their receivers. A Pioneer 1018 is only capable of doing 110 watts when you measure it from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and thats only one channel driven, too.
An H/K's specs are always 20 to 20, all channels driven. It would be nice if every electronics company did that, instead of burying their specs on page 97 of their user manual.
post #332 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawk11 View Post

Search. Please. Harman/Kardon's are notorious for under-RATING their receivers. A Pioneer 1018 is only capable of doing 110 watts when you measure it from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and thats only one channel driven, too.
An H/K's specs are always 20 to 20, all channels driven. It would be nice if every electronics company did that, instead of burying their specs on page 97 of their user manual.

Yeah, this has got to be the biggest reason why people don't seem to even take a second look at H/Ks, but those that do don't regret it due to lack of power. For fun, I pushed -10db with my Athena WS series setup today. I don't have a subwoofer, but the receiver was pushing 'em easily and made my wife yell at me to turn it down before our neighbors start knocking on the door... and the sound was still crystal clear. The family is gone for a week on Wednesday and I'm going to piss off a few neighbors every day.
post #333 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

Yeah, this has got to be the biggest reason why people don't seem to even take a second look at H/Ks, but those that do don't regret it due to lack of power. For fun, I pushed -10db with my Athena WS series setup today. I don't have a subwoofer, but the receiver was pushing 'em easily and made my wife yell at me to turn it down before our neighbors start knocking on the door... and the sound was still crystal clear. The family is gone for a week on Wednesday and I'm going to piss off a few neighbors every day.

Ha I wish I had neighbors like you. Most of mine are retirees. I wonder if they could even hear me really pushing my system...something to test in the future .

I completely agree with you...the H/K AVR's can push a speaker with the best of them, without distortion or clipping, all while maintaining that awesome H/K sound.

Oh dear...I think I'm turning into a fanboy. Somebody stop me
post #334 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

I did this in the Pioneer 1018 Thread, so I figured I might as well do the same in this one for the 254's scaling/video processing capabilities.

Looking at the pictures more subjectively after taking the pictures I think the "Processing Off" picture looks the best out of them all. The coloring is way better and the image more defined (ie look at how solid the border around the sign in the background is). The absolutely worst quality picture is the "Movie Mode" processing. EVERYTHING looks like crap in that mode if the source is a 480i video. Playing with the custom mode this is all due to the "Sharpness" setting cranked all the way up. Instead of "sharpening" the image it turns everything into big squares (Trinities eyes look more like an octagon than a circle). Dreadful.

Anyhow, I'm much more pleased with the quality of image coming from the 254 than I originally though. 480i is never going to look HD (and like I said before the video processing for HD sources actually does make it look better). So, looking good!

Flabioh,

Thanks for posting pics of the processing!

I agree that the "processing off" looks the best, but it is clear from your photos that the "Torino" chip is still de-interlacing and scaling the image. Notice how her hands and the cuff of her jacket are "jaggee" free in the processing off image. There also appears to be less noise in the background.

As for the other processing modes I wonder if "sharpness" is the same thing as edge enahncement? I can't tell of if that is mosquito noise or ringing from too much edge enhancement in the last two photos. Have you tried reducing the sharpness and turning on the noise reduction features?

jayhawk will be happy to know that I picked up a 254 from Best Buy today. I was going to try and combine a 10% coupon with the sale price, but decided not to after his posts.

I ordered some HDMI cables from monoprice on friday so I am going wait to set it up until they arrive on Wednesday. I also picked up a Harmony 620 at Target(it's a black version if the 670), but am going to hold off using it until Logitech sets up the 254/354 correctly.

All these fun toys sitting in my media room waiting to be enjoyed!!
post #335 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogarty5 View Post

Flabioh,

Thanks for posting pics of the processing!

I agree that the "processing off" looks the best, but it is clear from your photos that the "Torino" chip is still de-interlacing and scaling the image. Notice how her hands and the cuff of her jacket are "jaggee" free in the processing off image. There also appears to be less noise in the background.

As for the other processing modes I wonder if "sharpness" is the same thing as edge enahncement? I can't tell of if that is mosquito noise or ringing from too much edge enhancement in the last two photos. Have you tried reducing the sharpness and turning on the noise reduction features?

jayhawk will be happy to know that I picked up a 254 from Best Buy today. I was going to try and combine a 10% coupon with the sale price, but decided not to after his posts.

I ordered some HDMI cables from monoprice on friday so I am going wait to set it up until they arrive on Wednesday. I also picked up a Harmony 620 at Target(it's a black version if the 670), but am going to hold off using it until Logitech sets up the 254/354 correctly.

All these fun toys sitting in my media room waiting to be enjoyed!!

Good to hear you picked one up. You're helping write my paycheck this week . You'll have to give us some more hands on impressions. I love all the first hand info I can get, even if I have a ton of experience with the product in question. Any little quirks or tips you guys have found I love hearing. I'm trying to break the mold with my HT department. We just got a new employee and the first thing we told him was to forget everything he learned in training, go home and start reading AVS. All of my employees read the forums regularly, and a couple of us post regularly as well. And no, none of mine are the idiotic troll employees. I'd have them re-classed as a delivery driver so fast their head would spin

As for the firmware...have we ever gotten an ETA on it? I have told all my customers that buy them not to expect it before September. Underpromise and over deliver, right?
post #336 of 4529
Nice to see all the info on here...

I talked to Scott at Soundpros and he should get them next week to ship.

A quick note to those not happy with the video even with Processing off-

Since you are adding a new element in the video chain, it would be wise to recalibrate with a DVE blu-ray or something similar. It may be tricky, as you may have to try some different settings on the TV and AVR at the same time, but my guess is that it will very much improve your results.
post #337 of 4529
Flabioh - What resolution were you outputting in those pitures? I am curious of just 480i to 480p from a receiver, if it would be any better.
post #338 of 4529
Hey guys, with the ps3 and the 254 I only see multi channel pcm on the display of the receiver regardless of what the dvd or blu-ray are set to on the audio menus of the disc. Does the ps3 convert everything this way or should it always say multi-channel pcm now instead of dts or DD? Which is better anyway multi channel PCM or the other codecs? Would i see dts-hd or any of the other newer codecs on a blu-ray disc or would it still say multi-channel pcm? I'm still trying to figure out all of this new codec technology
post #339 of 4529
PS3 does not pass lossless bitstream IIRC.
post #340 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLeSure View Post

I have a question pertaining to the surround modes. The user manual says it is possible to turn on Dolby EX mode even when an EX signal is not present. Does anyone know how to do this?

just switch on dolby PLIIx movie it will then matrix any 5.1 into 6/7.1 which is what the ex mode do if the flag was there, it will give you the same effect. Thats what i do, mines is left switched on all the time so any 5.1 dvd/hddvd or bluray gives me 7.1, and any flagged 6.1 or
7.1dtsma discs still play in proper 7.1.
post #341 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by HOOPY View Post

just switch on dolby PLIIx movie it will then matrix any 5.1 into 6/7.1 which is what the ex mode do if the flag was there, it will give you the same effect. Thats what i do, mines is left switched on all the time so any 5.1 dvd/hddvd or bluray gives me 7.1, and any flagged 6.1 or
7.1dtsma discs still play in proper 7.1.

Mine is grayed out!

I have a 354 and an XBOX 360 with the HD-DVD add-on. All I seem to get is Dolby Digital. Why? Can the Add-on HD-DVD not pass the Dolby HD sound through? When watching TV all I get is Dolby Digital. Why is everything else grayed out? Why can't I get any of the other codecs?

Thanks.
post #342 of 4529
Obvious noob question:

I'm running a 254 with just some little energy take classic speakers. For some sources (like SD channels on my cable box) - I have to have the receiver set to around -10 db to get good sound. Are my speakers just not efficient enough? Is the AVR set to output a certain amount of wattage? Is there anyway to increase it? Or should I just be investing in better front speakers? It sounds great with the PS3 on games/dvds/blu-rays....but the tv isn't always great. In any case though - I still have to get to about -15 db for good pin-you-to-your-seat sound. Is this normal? Should I have more leeway? Is it unhealthy for the speakers or avr to be running at that level. BTW - I have a small apartment with brick walls and a wood floor - maybe I'm losing the sound in the echos? Is a nice thick rug the answer?
post #343 of 4529
If your PS3 is set to PCM then you see PCM on the receiver. Try setting the PS3 to bitstream. Of course, you'll have to play the Dolby Digital or DTS track on the BD then.

Mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by Escrotumus View Post

Hey guys, with the ps3 and the 254 I only see multi channel pcm on the display of the receiver regardless of what the dvd or blu-ray are set to on the audio menus of the disc. Does the ps3 convert everything this way or should it always say multi-channel pcm now instead of dts or DD? Which is better anyway multi channel PCM or the other codecs? Would i see dts-hd or any of the other newer codecs on a blu-ray disc or would it still say multi-channel pcm? I'm still trying to figure out all of this new codec technology
post #344 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escrotumus View Post

Hey guys, with the ps3 and the 254 I only see multi channel pcm on the display of the receiver regardless of what the dvd or blu-ray are set to on the audio menus of the disc. Does the ps3 convert everything this way or should it always say multi-channel pcm now instead of dts or DD? Which is better anyway multi channel PCM or the other codecs? Would i see dts-hd or any of the other newer codecs on a blu-ray disc or would it still say multi-channel pcm? I'm still trying to figure out all of this new codec technology

You can set the PS3 to send LPCM in which case it will internally decode all audio (including Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD MA) and send it to the receiver via MPCM, or you can set it to bitstream, in which case it will send the DTS and Dolby Digital tracks, but you will be limited to sending these as the ps3 cannot bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD MA.
post #345 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishLegend View Post

Mine is grayed out!

I have a 354 and an XBOX 360 with the HD-DVD add-on. All I seem to get is Dolby Digital. Why? Can the Add-on HD-DVD not pass the Dolby HD sound through? When watching TV all I get is Dolby Digital. Why is everything else grayed out? Why can't I get any of the other codecs?

Thanks.

IIRC the xbox add-on cannot pass any high definition codecs- the best it can do is DD+.
post #346 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishLegend View Post

Mine is grayed out!

I have a 354 and an XBOX 360 with the HD-DVD add-on. All I seem to get is Dolby Digital. Why? Can the Add-on HD-DVD not pass the Dolby HD sound through? When watching TV all I get is Dolby Digital. Why is everything else grayed out? Why can't I get any of the other codecs?

Thanks.

you cant get the hd audio out from the 360 add on, however when playing a movie go to the settings menu (use the controller to do it) it will bring up a set of options, go to audio and select dts, you can then select the hd audio such as dolby true hd which the 360 will decode, but it will send it as 1.5mb dts which sounds very good. Most hddvds have a 1.5mb dolby digital + track so if you use the dts renecode to 1.5m you will loose nothing of the original dolby digital + track.

As for the sound modes for any digital audio coming in you should be able to select dolby prologic iix movie for processing any 5.1 to 6/7.1 or stereo to 5/6/7.1.
post #347 of 4529
OK thanks guys, so mpcm is what it should be then. I didn't realize the ps3 did everything internally like that and sent it via mpcm. So basically i will never see anything on my receiver from the ps3 except for mpcm even if it is sending dts-hd and true-hd?
post #348 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escrotumus View Post

OK thanks guys, so mpcm is what it should be then. I didn't realize the ps3 did everything internally like that and sent it via mpcm. So basically i will never see anything on my receiver from the ps3 except for mpcm even if it is sending dts-hd and true-hd?

Correct. There is literally no sonic difference between sending MPCM and Bitstreaming though. You just don't get to see Dolby TrueHD light up on your receiver. Just make sure you select the correct audio track on the disc menu...the 254/354 will flash "3/2/.1 96 kHz" and voila - lossless audio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOOPY View Post

you cant get the hd audio out from the 360 add on, however when playing a movie go to the settings menu (use the controller to do it) it will bring up a set of options, go to audio and select dts, you can then select the hd audio such as dolby true hd which the 360 will decode, but it will send it as 1.5mb dts which sounds very good. Most hddvds have a 1.5mb dolby digital + track so if you use the dts renecode to 1.5m you will loose nothing of the original dolby digital + track.

As for the sound modes for any digital audio coming in you should be able to select dolby prologic iix movie for processing any 5.1 to 6/7.1 or stereo to 5/6/7.1.

What he said. One of a couple drawbacks to using the Xbox 360 add on. Oh well...we all got them for ridiculously cheap
post #349 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogarty5 View Post

Flabioh,

Thanks for posting pics of the processing!

I agree that the "processing off" looks the best, but it is clear from your photos that the "Torino" chip is still de-interlacing and scaling the image. Notice how her hands and the cuff of her jacket are "jaggee" free in the processing off image. There also appears to be less noise in the background.

As for the other processing modes I wonder if "sharpness" is the same thing as edge enahncement? I can't tell of if that is mosquito noise or ringing from too much edge enhancement in the last two photos. Have you tried reducing the sharpness and turning on the noise reduction features?

Yeah, "processing off" is definitely not turning the scaler off. But I hate jaggies, and so I'd probably keep it running the way it is even if I could turn the scaler off. I'm wondering if the firmware fix for the BTB/WTW issue really will allow you to fully turn off the processing. If that is the case then I'll turn it off for the HTPC because like I said earlier there is definitely something funky going on with that source and the 254 video processor.

I believe sharpness is very closely related to edge enhancement. In the "custom" shot I turned sharpness down to 0. If I turned it up to 100 the jaggies looked more like they do in the "movie" setting. It only seems to be an issue with 480i or 480p sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post

Flabioh - What resolution were you outputting in those pitures? I am curious of just 480i to 480p from a receiver, if it would be any better.

On the "before" picture I was outputting 480i from the DVD player directly to my TV and the TVs scaler was taking it to 1080p. In the other ones it was routing them through the respective AVR at 480i and they were outputting it to 1080p to the TV.

You're suggesting to output 480i from the DVD player to the 254 and have the 254 output 480p and then have the TV scale it to 1080p? I can try it I suppose. I would hope that the 254's Torino scaler is better than my TVs Triton scaler, but maybe if the de-interlacer of the Torino is better than the Triton's it would be worth it. I haven't messed around with outputting other resolutions on the 254. I tried it with the Pio 1018 though and outputting anything but 1080p looked like crap with it.
post #350 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

You're suggesting to output 480i from the DVD player to the 254 and have the 254 output 480p and then have the TV scale it to 1080p?

Yes, exactly. I was just curious if you had tried this option yet. Depending on how good your TV's scaler is. I just need decent deinterlacing, and I'm wondering if I could count on a receiver for this or if I shouldn't even bother. I just want a clean picture to start with, before I scale. Considering the video processor in this unit is one of the better ones available in a mid level AVR, it would be a good benchmark, I suppose. (for me) (If you did try this, you certainly wouldn't need pictures for me, I'd take your word on what you thought.)
post #351 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by HOOPY View Post

you cant get the hd audio out from the 360 add on, however when playing a movie go to the settings menu (use the controller to do it) it will bring up a set of options, go to audio and select dts, you can then select the hd audio such as dolby true hd which the 360 will decode, but it will send it as 1.5mb dts which sounds very good. Most hddvds have a 1.5mb dolby digital + track so if you use the dts renecode to 1.5m you will loose nothing of the original dolby digital + track.

As for the sound modes for any digital audio coming in you should be able to select dolby prologic iix movie for processing any 5.1 to 6/7.1 or stereo to 5/6/7.1.


?It's grayed out? I'll mess with it when I get home and let you knw what options it gives me.

Thanks.
post #352 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post

Yes, exactly. I was just curious if you had tried this option yet. Depending on how good your TV's scaler is.

He seems to have a Westinghouse LCD which is not something that famous about its scaling quality...

Quote:


I just need decent deinterlacing, and I'm wondering if I could count on a receiver for this or if I shouldn't even bother. I just want a clean picture to start with, before I scale.

I'm not sure what are you suggesting... do you expect it to be better to start with deint in a DVD player - let's forget famously good units e.g. A30/35/XA2 - then scaling with another one, a TV - usually the 2nd worst offender after the DVR when it comes to scaling - then do it in one unit? Just asking, I'm not sure what you're expecting...

Quote:


Considering the video processor in this unit is one of the better ones available in a mid level AVR, it would be a good benchmark, I suppose. (for me) (If you did try this, you certainly wouldn't need pictures for me, I'd take your word on what you thought.)

Hardly a good benchmark for anyone else but for flabioh - we don't know anything about his setup, his surroundings, his calibration, I have a plasma versus his LCD etc etc. It might look worse on his setup but it could be due to several reasonsand weare not sure which one.

BTW that "processing off" is actually a pretty decent work, far better than the straight connection - which tells me all I will need to do is fine tune the settings to my worst source (TWCNYC SA8300 SD crap) and hope it won't screw up much my best one (HD-A35) until H/K done with testing their new firmware.
post #353 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post

Yes, exactly. I was just curious if you had tried this option yet. Depending on how good your TV's scaler is. I just need decent deinterlacing, and I'm wondering if I could count on a receiver for this or if I shouldn't even bother. I just want a clean picture to start with, before I scale. Considering the video processor in this unit is one of the better ones available in a mid level AVR, it would be a good benchmark, I suppose. (for me) (If you did try this, you certainly wouldn't need pictures for me, I'd take your word on what you thought.)

I don't mind helping out a fellow AVS member! My wife will probably mind, but she'll get by. I need to setup some of those remote macros for her. The kids wanted to watch a movie today and she couldn't get it to come up. I need to be able to have her press one button and have everything turn on the way it is supposed to for that one activity. Anyhow, I'll keep you posted.
post #354 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by T2k View Post

He seems to have a Westinghouse LCD which is not
BTW that "processing off" is actually a pretty decent work, far better than the straight connection - which tells me all I will need to do is fine tune the settings to my worst source (TWCNYC SA8300 SD crap) and hope it won't screw up much my best one (HD-A35) until H/K done with testing their new firmware.

The cool thing is that you can set the processing mode to each source, so one setting won't be applied to any other setting.

T2K, when are you getting yours by the way?
post #355 of 4529
Hah, that's a great question. Before doctors let our little one to come home I'll take some days off and redo the entire floor (moving around furniture, installing safety stuff etc.) incl. living room (rewiring). I'll get a week notice so it's not urgent to me to pay +$200 just to get it here and every day gets me closer to the new firmware as well, remember.
I'm almost done with my PC upgrade - 2x4850 in CF instead of my good-ol' GF8800U -, now I have to start getting rid of all the accumulated crap from my office room...

BTW you're right, I forgot it allows you to set your mode per source - it is great, indeed.
post #356 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsofats View Post

Obvious noob question:

I'm running a 254 with just some little energy take classic speakers. For some sources (like SD channels on my cable box) - I have to have the receiver set to around -10 db to get good sound. Are my speakers just not efficient enough? Is the AVR set to output a certain amount of wattage? Is there anyway to increase it? Or should I just be investing in better front speakers? It sounds great with the PS3 on games/dvds/blu-rays....but the tv isn't always great. In any case though - I still have to get to about -15 db for good pin-you-to-your-seat sound. Is this normal? Should I have more leeway? Is it unhealthy for the speakers or avr to be running at that level. BTW - I have a small apartment with brick walls and a wood floor - maybe I'm losing the sound in the echos? Is a nice thick rug the answer?


Anyone have any ideas on this? I had noted something similar in my Report from 7/19, though mine is not as significant (-22 db area for solid sound).

Also, anyone have ideas about the Ipod photos issue?
post #357 of 4529
Those are good points T2K. I am only interested in an AVR's "video processing" for SD cable. Mainly just deinterlacing. I take any and all objective opinions as just that, objective opinions. But the more opinions the better, since I currently don't have an AVR that is able to process video. I also have an Algolith Flea (dedicated NR unit) That I can use after the deinterlace and before the display.

I have SD DVD's covered with my Oppo 983.
post #358 of 4529
Are there any former denon owners that have switched to HK (preferably 254)?

I'm currently waiting for all my speakers to arrive before deciding on a new receiver, but I was strongly considering the new denon 1909 as my top choice due to all the audessey features. I'm coming from a ~10 year old yamaha receiver and having a solid calibration function along with enough HDMI connections are my two main factors for consideration. I've kept tabs on this thread due to all the glowing reviews regarding sound quality (and despite that two-tone finish, bleh) and am happy to see more and more positive reviews coming in. I like the fact that the 254 has pre-outs as well, even though I'm not 100% on adding an external amp in the future.

All that being said, can anyone comment on the difference in sound between the denons and hks? I know it's all subjective, but it's still informative for me. I will be connecting a 360, ps3, and cable box via HDMI, playing through Swan Diva 6.1s/C3/2.1s with MFW-15 sub, displaying on a 1080p Samsung DLP.
post #359 of 4529
Did anyone of you reported the PCM issue the 254/354 has in conjunction with (probably not only the) PS3 to H/K in the US? I created a pretty lengthy note to the local H/K support here and now I'm curious how they'll respond.
post #360 of 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabioh View Post

I don't mind helping out a fellow AVS member! My wife will probably mind, but she'll get by. I need to setup some of those remote macros for her. The kids wanted to watch a movie today and she couldn't get it to come up. I need to be able to have her press one button and have everything turn on the way it is supposed to for that one activity. Anyhow, I'll keep you posted.

Two words: Harmony. Remote. Its tough to take the kick to the nuts as far as pricing, but you will never go back once you buy one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeonx View Post

Anyone have any ideas on this? I had noted something similar in my Report from 7/19, though mine is not as significant (-22 db area for solid sound).

Also, anyone have ideas about the Ipod photos issue?

The large volume difference only happens on SD channels right? The same thing happens to me with my Motorola box from the cable company. HD is fine, but as soon as I switch it to and SD channel there is a volume change. Is there an option in your cable box for change the Volume Output? Mine has an option for "Fixed" or "Variable". See if those help you out any.
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