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Harman Kardon AVR3650 vs. Onkyo TX-NR717 - Thoughts and opinions needed

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I’m in the process of building a new home theatre system and I’m having issues deciding on the AVR. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to an Onkyo TX-NR717 or a Harman Kardon AVR3650. I have owned two HKs in the past, the most recent being an AVR 320. I purchased it about 10 years ago and it is still running strong, but it’s seriously outdated. I have heard the new HKs aren’t as good as the older ones, so I’m a little hesitant, but I’m not sure if that rumor is true. I have no experience with Onkyo, but I have read good things. Does anyone have any opinions on either or any other suggestions? The HK is at the top of my price range, which is around $800.00. Any and all responses will be most appreciated.

Regards,

~Rob
post #2 of 18
For $800 I'd get a refurbished Onkyo NR818. Its better than either of those two you are considering. The NR717 line was downgraded to Audyssey 2EQ - the most basic Audyssey available while the NR818 has the top of the line Audyssey MultEq XT32 version. I've owned Harman Kardon AVR for years - I had an AVR 520 that is still going strong and being used every day with my sister. I've owned a pair of AVR 247s (junk!) and a slightly better 254. The 3600 is pretty much the same machine as the 254/354. The only HK receiver I'd own today is one of the stereo units - and I have one - the 3390 which works just fine.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
From what I understand, the 3650 is much better then the older 3600, although the 818 is far superior. The refurb model is a great idea! Thanks! I'll add that to my list.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan 1771 View Post

From what I understand, the 3650 is much better then the older 3600, although the 818 is far superior. The refurb model is a great idea! Thanks! I'll add that to my list.

Actually, you got that backwards. The 3600 is the better receiver as it was among the last developed before they sent the R&D to China. Harman also changed the way they rate their receivers beginning with x650 series to match everyone else instead of their old overly conservative ratings. Check out several of the posts of this thread, particularly post #24.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1338866/official-harman-kardon-1565-1650-2650-3650-thread


Refurb 3600s can be had for $400 from Harman's ebay store and they come with the full factory warranty of 2 years. They don't have nearly the features of the Onkyo though. Most early issues with the 3600 have long been fixed. The first batch they made had a few problems which they corrected.
Edited by bargugl - 12/7/12 at 10:17pm
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Years ago I used to have a connection at HK. He was located in Upstate NY. I believe he was part of the AVR design team. After reading that I assume he either retired or was let go. Very sad to hear they have cheapened their brand. I LOVE my AVR 320 and was hoping to stay loyal to HK for another ten years, but I'm finding it hard to spend my money on something that truly isn't worth it.

I did look at the 3600 for sometime, but the fact that it was older strayed me away from it. Although I love HT equipment, I usually buy something and keep it for around 7-10 years before replacing it, so I want to get something that is very current and will last the duration. So as of right now a refurbed 818 is on my list, but it is at the absolute top of my budget. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Any other Onkyo's or maybe a Dennon or Marantz?
post #6 of 18
They were still making the 3600 and 2600 up until early this year so it has had a long production run. (I'd guess that they have now stopped with the intro of the 700 and 1700). It has been updated to do hdmi 1.4 as well so it is up to current standards other than no ARC, no 4k, and no standby pass-through. If you don't see the need for those features, than it is as likely to go 7-10 years as any other brand. If you do see the need for those features, then look elsewhere. However, you should definitely check what Denon and Marantz have to offer in your price range, as well as Yamaha. There are tons of choices out there and with as many problems as Onkyo has had as of late, I'd hesitate a little before putting that much money into one.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I really would like stand-by pass through, but it's not a deal breaker. I have read about the issues with Onkyo, and that's why I hesitate. I have no experience with Marantz or Dennon, although I know they are reputable. Any suggestions on specific models?
Edited by Spartan 1771 - 12/8/12 at 2:24pm
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bargugl View Post

They were still making the 3600 and 2600 up until early this year so it has had a long production run. (I'd guess that they have now stopped with the intro of the 700 and 1700). It has been updated to do hdmi 1.4 as well so it is up to current standards other than no ARC, no 4k, and no standby pass-through. If you don't see the need for those features, than it is as likely to go 7-10 years as any other brand. If you do see the need for those features, then look elsewhere. However, you should definitely check what Denon and Marantz have to offer in your price range, as well as Yamaha. There are tons of choices out there and with as many problems as Onkyo has had as of late, I'd hesitate a little before putting that much money into one.

I thought all HDMI Version 1.4 AVRs were ARC capable. Am I wrong?
post #9 of 18
HK has really gone downhill IMO with the x650 line. I would easily take the 3600 over the 3650. As for the 717, I would step up to the 818 or look for the older 709 which was a better unit IMO.
post #10 of 18
The HDMI 1.4 spec doesn't require any device to implement ARC, it just defines how a device would do so if it did claim to support ARC. Pretty much every feature is optional in HDMI. An AV receiver could support little more than passing through 480p video and be completely complaint with the latest HDMI spec.

Because saying a device is compliant with a given version of the HDMI spec doesn't imply that it supports any of the new features in that version, companies are no longer supposed to use HDMI version numbers in their marketing materials.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnatalli View Post

HK has really gone downhill IMO with the x650 line. I would easily take the 3600 over the 3650. As for the 717, I would step up to the 818 or look for the older 709 which was a better unit IMO.

Why do you say this? I'm just curious to know why your opinion of HK has changed.

So if given the choice between an HK AVR 3650 and a refurbished Onkyo 818, you would take the 818?
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

The HDMI 1.4 spec doesn't require any device to implement ARC, it just defines how a device would do so if it did claim to support ARC. Pretty much every feature is optional in HDMI. An AV receiver could support little more than passing through 480p video and be completely complaint with the latest HDMI spec.
Because saying a device is compliant with a given version of the HDMI spec doesn't imply that it supports any of the new features in that version, companies are no longer supposed to use HDMI version numbers in their marketing materials.

Thanks for clearing this up. I haven't read up on this stuff in years and HDMI has changed everything since then. I have a lot to catch up on.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

The HDMI 1.4 spec doesn't require any device to implement ARC, it just defines how a device would do so if it did claim to support ARC. Pretty much every feature is optional in HDMI. An AV receiver could support little more than passing through 480p video and be completely complaint with the latest HDMI spec.
Because saying a device is compliant with a given version of the HDMI spec doesn't imply that it supports any of the new features in that version, companies are no longer supposed to use HDMI version numbers in their marketing materials.

Lets clear the air for this subject..

To qualify for HDMI 1.4 the AVR must be capable of handling/decoding for (6) defined 3D formats protocols, note that there are about (20) different 3D formats. Regarding the other parts of HDMI 1.4 standards these include:
  • Auto Return Channel
  • Ethernet Channel
  • 4K Support
  • Additional Color Spaces for Camera and Computer Applications
  • Micro Connector

However these are optional and not mandatory.

Just my $0.02.. wink.gif
post #14 of 18
Support for 3D is completely optional in HDMI 1.4. The 6 3D formats you refered to are only mandatory for devices that claim to support 3D. Just like TVs and Blu-Ray players, AV receivers are not required by the HDMI 1.4 (or 1.4a or 1.4b) specifcation to support 3D video modes.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

Support for 3D is completely optional in HDMI 1.4. The 6 3D formats you refered to are only mandatory for devices that claim to support 3D. Just like TVs and Blu-Ray players, AV receivers are not required by the HDMI 1.4 (or 1.4a or 1.4b) specifcation to support 3D video modes.

Can you list any brand/model AVRs that are HDMI 1.4 but do not support 3D...

Just my $0.02... wink.gif
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan 1771 View Post

I really would like stand-by pass through, but it's not a deal breaker. I have read about the issues with Onkyo, and that's why I hesitate. I have no experience with Marantz or Dennon, although I know they are reputable. Any suggestions on specific models?

If you don't mind going refurbished, I would look at the Marantz SR6006 or Denon AVR-3312CI at accessories4less. For new the Marants SR5007 or Denon AVR-2313CI would be right at your price limit (or buy refurbished and be below your limit). For Yamaha, I'd look at the lower models in the Aventage line.
post #17 of 18
As I said, there shouldn't be any AV receivers claiming to support HDMI 1.4 anymore. If I could name any model of receiver released in 2012 claiming to support HDMI 1.4, whether it supports 3D or not, then the manufacturer is in violation of the Adopted Trademark and Logo Usage Guidelines, a legally binding part of their agreements with HDMI Licensing, LLC.

Trivially any AV receiver can implement support for 3D, all it has to do is pass the video straight through and not screw up the EDID. That's why even bottom of the line AV receivers support it, not because they're required by the HDMI spec to do so.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

As I said, there shouldn't be any AV receivers claiming to support HDMI 1.4 anymore. If I could name any model of receiver released in 2012 claiming to support HDMI 1.4, whether it supports 3D or not, then the manufacturer is in violation of the Adopted Trademark and Logo Usage Guidelines, a legally binding part of their agreements with HDMI Licensing, LLC.
Trivially any AV receiver can implement support for 3D, all it has to do is pass the video straight through and not screw up the EDID. That's why even bottom of the line AV receivers support it, not because they're required by the HDMI spec to do so.

The HDMI chips for 1.3 are capable of handling 1.4 streams for specs such as bandwidth...
However, it is significantly more complex than just the EDID..
The software stack must be written specifically to handle the mandatory (6) 3D protocols required by HDMI 1.4...

Just my $0.02... wink.gif
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