I'm on day 2 with my harman kardon hk 990 and I think I can say I'm pretty happy with it. I was concerned about whether the headphone out was better because I wanted something that could be an all in one unit that does everything I need and it seems to do the trick. The noise floor on the headphone out is low enough that I can't hear it. Not that it was bad on the hk 3490 but there was a little background hiss. I can't hear it at all on the 990. It also sounds a bit smoother and detailed but maybe a bit less thud. I'm still making my mind up there but it's definitely sounding good through the phones. Apparently it uses the same headphone out as my old asus xonar essence stx which I also loved. I love that it has digital crossover for the speakers and sub. I was always trying to dial in the crossover knob before on the 3490 but the 990 makes it simple by only sending the exact information you want to the speakers and sub. It makes it easy to get a seamless sound between the 2. The built in dac does a fine job of making a nice clean sound and lets me hear every little thing in the song. I know everyone always says that and I had doubts about the differences between dacs but it does seem to be cleaner sounding and very easy to pick out little things I didn't notice. It's not night and day but it's noticeable. I also like that I can turn up the gain and adjust bass\treble\sub output separately for each input. It was sounding lower than the 3490 at the same volume so I just put gain at +3 and it's just right for these speakers with my particular blu ray player. As an added bonus, if my oven ever breaks I can put a pan on top of the heatsinks and use it to cook. I think I can recommend this to anyone with good speakers that loves music. So far so happy. Currently using with some ascend sierra 1 speakers and a rythmik f15 sub. It's like heavens choir. I don't know if I'd pay the $2000 they're asking but I talked a sales guy way down and I'm glad I went for it. Ok I'm done blabbing. Just putting this here for anyone like me a few weeks ago wondering about getting one. Thumbs up.
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10/25/12 at 5:44pm