Hmmm. I bought this "pack" for my apartment. Despite of the excessive price compared to other all-in-one systems with similar characteristics from mainstream vendors, I chose HK for two reasons:
- relatively positive review
- I needed a compact and stylish ensemble that could be used both for music (including many line-in connections) and video, as my current apartment is too small to fit large equipment in.
Well, it was the wrong decision. I was “used” to an old Marantz amp on KEF speakers, which together had the most extraordinary sound: clear yet extremely “soft”, perfect balance, dynamics and responsiveness, for any style of music. In comparison, the HK does not even come close to decent. It works for video, but you can forget about music. At low volumes the sound feels “drowned”, lacking clarity and definition. At medium and higher volumes the sound totally lacks balance and would basically require re-adjusting the high and low frequencies for every music style – if not every CD – you play on it. The mid-frequencies are absent (no matter how you tune the lows and highs). In brief, the sound is extremely flat and is artificially “enhanced” on the low and high spectrum. Second negative aspect: limited responsiveness and dynamics. This is something you will particularly notice with faster music, as there is point beyond which the HK is simply not capable to cope in terms of definition, leaving place to some king of “noise soup”. You will also notice this for complex, multi-instrumental music: the HK has limited capability for reproducing several instruments simultaneously, especially if they lie in the same spectrum. Third negative aspect: the way this thing sounds actually depends on where you stand in the room. While my KEF speakers actually do “occupy” space uniformly, you need to sit in front of the HK to get something out of it.
Other negative aspects: the device actually has a response time of about 1s to the remote, i.e. you can not quickly switch from coaxial-channel to optical2-chanel but have to give the HK amp a second or two to get to the optical1-channel first. Or, you cannot jump from song 1 to song 6 on a CD by quickly pressing next five times – if you do, you will have to wait 3-4 seconds before the HK amp reacts. I did not even know such a thing was still possible nowadays.
And now that I think of it. The manual will tell you that you can program the remote to control your other devices, etc. Well, honestly, I’ve had moderate success with this and it’s not by lack of trying.
So, anything positive? I guess it is stylish, compact and ok for video, even though there is only one HDMI entry. In terms of music, it is depressing: not worse than the competition for similar packs, but much much more expensive. Hence, you’ll definitely have no trouble finding an equivalent device at a much better price.
Hmm, is indeed hard to believe. We'll ask Harman-Kardon to confirm.
In another review I read this system apparently does not support (almost unbelievably) movies at 24fps, is this true?
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A cable with an impressive level of detail and dynamic clout. Recommended
A hugely talented amp and a real comeback for Marantz
This versatile all-in-one solution has plenty of features to root for, but sound quality isn’t one of them
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