Buy “Harman Kardon AVR 500 Dolby Digital/DTS Audio/Video Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer) Home Audio & Theater” Online
I just picked up one of these now antiques on Ebay for less than $50 shipped and it still works well. Since I only use 2. 0 speakers and maybe soon 2. 1 (I want a subwoofer soon, amybe the HS10W or HS8S) this fits the bill perfectly. All I needed was a DA converter for spdif inputs sending uncompressed 2-channel PCM and have preouts for my powered studio monitors (Yamaha HS50M). I don’t need HDMI or the new fancy lossless codecs like TrueHD or DTS-HD since I don’t have a full surround sound setup anyway. I am glad I got this model. It sounds nice. I like the AM/FM tuner too since I have not had one outside of a car for about a decade now. I do not use any of the video connections on this (I am sure they are fine for what they are) or the built-in amplifier (I hear it is good since it has high amperage). I don’t even really use the audio switching since I have an mbox pro (3rd gen) in mixer mode sending all inputs to this Harman through a single spdif cable. I only switch to AM/FM tuner and back to coaxial 1. It is great. I would have gotten a preamp / processor but there were none at this price point, even on ebay when I was in the market for one. A pre/pro would only match this though since I don’t think they could produce any better sound since it is the studio monitors handling that. And this model does have 24bit/96KHz DACs which is all that is necessary for me. Again, I would have rather had a prepro, but there are just none at this price. If you only have 2. 0 or 2. 1 speakers, there is almost no reason to get anything better than these now 10+ year old receivers since uncompressed PCM can be used. Just use a coaxial or optical toslink cable and you are set. Although this does do DTS and Dolby Digital as well, but PCM is uncompressed and desirable for 2. 0/2. 1 systems. Check it out!
Harman Kardon’s AVR 500 is a shining example of a fine audio-video (AV) receiver with superb sound. In addition to standard Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital surround decoding, the AVR 500 also comes with built-in DTS (Digital Theater Sound) decoding as well as Harman Kardon’s proprietary Logic 7 and VMAx surround modes. Most importantly, though, the AVR 500 is simply a superb sounding receiver. For example, with CDs the AVR 500 presents a big, natural window on the music. The qualities we expect from separates (preamplifier and amplifier components) but don’t usually get from integrated receivers abound here: a wonderful sense of air and ambiance; complex layers of rich harmonics; a beautiful nuance in vocal delivery; wide dynamics and subtle microdynamics; smooth, extended high frequencies; and a bottom end that is at once powerful and well defined and never muddy. Surround decoding of Dolby Digital- and DTS-encoded discs, performed by 24-bit, 96-kHz Crystal DSP (digital signal processing) circuits, is just as impressive. The AVR 500 creates one of the most convincing and enveloping soundscapes we’ve heard from a receiver, rivaling the performance of many fine (and pricey) configurations of separates. Unlike most of the overhyped proprietary DSP modes out there, Harman Kardon’s own Logic 7 (multichannel) and VMAx (two-channel) surround modes work extremely well, in most cases audibly improving regularly decoded, discrete source material (such as Dolby Digital and DTS)–which is no small feat. Logic 7 also instantaneously generates 5.1-channel information from two-channel material from CDs, television, VHS tapes, and other sources, letting you take full advantage of your surround system. Setting up the AVR 500 is–not surprisingly–a complex and time-consuming effort, but one that pays off. To its credit, the unit boasts a terrific onscreen display menu for setup, one of the best owner’s manuals we’ve seen, and an uncluttered, full-function, illuminated remote control. Although the AVR 500’s price is higher than that of the average AV receiver, its performance is anything but average. In this case, the extra money buys you one of the most dynamic and satisfying receivers we know of. Pros: Sound quality rivals separates Excellent build quality Loaded with features Controls are easy to navigate Cons: Lengthy set-up procedure No phono input
Harman Kardon AVR 500 Dolby Digital/DTS Audio/Video Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer) Review
The “Harman Kardon AVR-500” Surround Sound Receiver,is, without a doubt, The finest receiver I’ve ever had the privilege to experience “Over the Top!! Being a classical Violinist, I listen to various aspects in music mostly from the perspective of a “live performance”. The dynamic and transient responces of the AVR-500, offer the listener who is unfamiliar with accurate “True to the Source” Sound Re-Creation, a most shocking and delectable surprise!! What I look for in home music listening, are the subtle nuances of a whisper and the thunderous rage of an immensely powerful organ, tearing up the Earth. Without these characteristics, it quickly becomes tedious to listen to. H/K’s High-Current design, is meant to express these delicate and votile surges without fatigue, all the while preserving the intimate details underlying the music’s “hidden harmonics”. The H/K AVR-500, handles this effortlessly and with aplomb. +)*(+ If this sounds like a description of a fine musical instrument, it is. The H/K AVR-500 is easy to set up, and the remote is straight-forward, you will not find divergent discrepancies prompting constant visitations to the unit proper. After initial set-up, you can relax, everything else is handled via remote, which also has an attractive “Blue-Green” backlit illumination. H/K is known to be ultra-conservative in their Power Ratings, as well as THD (total harmonic distortion). With the AVR-500 at no more than . 07% THD, that’s driven “Wide Open”! A very Very Clean Machine Indeed!! I could say much more, but its better to let H/K’s AVR-500 tell you!! Harman Kardon AVR-500. Elegant, Understated, Smooth Highly Recomended ***** Stan Slonski +)*(+ -Read Reviews-
Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital, and DTS decoding
80 watts per channel (x 5)
Ultrawide Bandwidth amplifier with High-Current Capability
Logic 7 and VMAx surround modes
It runs on 45 amps. Simply put this is the number you should be looking at. Other receivers at higher price points run less amps compensating with more watts. I auditioned an Onkyo (36 amps I think & 105 watts/channel) with the HK AVR500 (45 amps & 80 watts/channel). At the same volume level, the HK blows away the competition with rich, full sound. The pros outweigh any of the cons with this unit. As with all HK products, this particular unit is very sleek and elegant looking. The surround modes are easy to setup using on-screen menus which also allow for plenty of customization. As for the remote, I’ve seen better but this one does allow for macros permitting you to turn-on your entire system with the touch of one button. And again, this unit sounds GREAT with all inputs including cassette, CD, DVD, VHS, and cable producing very vivid and accurate sound. Now for the cons. .. . ..this model lacks many of the surround modes (theater, cinema, auditorium, arena etc) that other systems have. My personal feeling is that this is not necessarily a con. I don’t need all of these other “processed” modes but it may be something you like. I have just replaced a Dolby ProLogic receiver that had all of these extra modes which, after playing with them at first, I forgot about and never utilized for many years. It does have Pro Logic, Dolby Digital and DTS which are all essential. Please let the following con pay tribute to the outstanding output of this unit. The AVR500 does not have an input for phono. I love my vinyl and have hundreds of albums. Because of this I almost decided to purchase the Onkyo which included a line-level input for phono. The HK’s sound was SO convincing that I opted to retire my turntable to the closet (I have since hooked it up to a separate amp). There you have it, my thoughts on the AVR500. I hope my review has helped and I wish you the best on your search for a receiver.