What's wrong with this picture?
Kind of breaks your heart a little bit, wouldn't you say?
Here's the story:
I bought my AVR 7550HD us model shortly after it hit the market. I had been eagerly waiting and waiting for them to finally release it because I had heard that this beast should sound better than anything else (Ok I will admit I drank the Koolaid on this one). So when it finally came, I had the opportunity to get it shipped to europe where I live and thus get it early before a Euro model would be introduced. I was very impatient and looking forward to receiving it with glee.
The day came and I finally got it, and right off the bat: It truly does sound awesome. No question about it. There, I won't talk about the sound quality anymore because that is not the issue.
The issue is the Build quality of the thing. Because of my geographical placement there was no way I would be able to send it back in case something was wrong with it.The buttons and physical appearance
All of us gear lovers, the first thing we do when we get such a piece of equipment is of course drool over the looks and push all the buttons and see how it "feels". Well I must say, it feels cheap and flimsy and not at all what I've come to expect of such expensive equipment. The volume knob on the front turned with difficulty, and would sometimes not work at all.
It's hard to explain, but it sort of gets stuck when you turn it, and you have to use a bit of force to make it turn.
As time went by it worked less and less. Now it is effectively completely useless. I had a problem not long ago where the remote ran out of batteries and just died while the system was playing something FAR too loud and I couldn't turn it down - that caused some panic - I hit the power switch on the front that thankfully still works!The coolingClick thumbnail for larger version
As mentioned, I live in europe so there is no way I'm sending it in for repairs unless it's some catastrophic failure.
So when the tiny tiny fan on the inside started making horrible loud screeching sounds - I had a technically able friend take out the culprit:
Here we have a great big piece of tech with a list price of $2,999.00 that took years of development and what does H/K put in to make sure it doesn't overheat?
A 5 cent fan from china.
I was dumbfounded. And then we did what any sane person would do:
Yank out the fan and slap a 140 mm noctua fan on the side of the thing with some plastic straps to get rid of that horrible screeching sound and make sure the thing doesn't overheat. Hey - it's not pretty, in fact I die a little on the inside every time I look at it. My friend is not known for subtlety when it comes to fixing things, but he makes things work.The importance of turning on your equipment in the right order
I have always had my preamp on 24/7 and then turned on my source whenever I needed it and my projector whenever I needed it.
I had to change that habit with the AVR 7550HD.
Several times when I was watching a movie I would be scratching my head wondering where all the bass went. (I use it as a preamp only - I have seperates for every channel) I'm used to having to somewhat adjust the bass a little bit every time I watch a movie because the movie studios have a hard time agreeing to how the levels should be - but sometimes the levels would be VERY out of whack. Oh well I thought; ****** sound mixer and then I'd boost the bass +12 db or something outrageous like that to get it to sound better. Anyway, I'd be watching the movie with dismay wondering why everything sounds so thin and lifeless, and then the GF has to insert a pee-break. So I pause the movie long enough for the AVR 7550HD to forget what the signal was and then eventually resume playback - BOOM THE SOUND IS SO LOUD MY EARS ARE BLEEDING. Time to turn it down and wonder what the hell. It took me a while to find out that the only way to avoid this issue is to first turn on the projector - then the AVR - and then the source.
I have succesfully avoided that buggy sound mode ever since I found this out.
So all in all I'd say to potential buyers - if you've read other people slag on this product or the smaller siblings in the line for being buggy and of poor build quality - I must agree with them. Avoid Avoid. I have some serious buyers remorse, but due to my geographical location I'm pretty much stuck with it. I also can't sell it to anyone, because really: who would buy something that looks like this, and has a voided warranty to boot:Click thumbnail for larger version