Harman Kardon Avr 146 Receiver Reviews

Harmon/Kardon AVR 146 Review:

Pros: relatively low price, gorgeous, vast array of ports, HDMI switching
Cons: slightly harder than usual setup, no HDMI signal processing

Found our AVR-146 at the local Best Buy on sale (due to an opened box) and got it for $249, which, given what this beast can do, is pretty amazing. I love the three optical and three digital coax inputs for perfect audio. The HDMI switches are nice if you need them (rather than spend hundreds on a Terk switcher) but they are just pass-through ports, and you'll need to hook up your digital audio using another port.

The OSD (on-screen display) helps immeasurably with setup, so be sure to have an S-video cable lying around, so you can hook the stereo to your television. The "component out" didn't work for me for OSD, but S-video and composite were fine.

You can change the loudness of each of your six speakers, but you'll need to do it for each input; i.e., your DVD, your cable box, your radio, will all have different settings. You can even rename your inputs so they appear on the AVR-146's display. Eventually, I stopped trying to fiddle with everything and went with the suggested Surround Modes detailed in the unit's excellent manual.

This is a very aesthetic machine that looks great with either a black or silver setup. You can also purchase "The Bridge" separately for your iPod, which boasts a dedicated port and on-screen iPod menus. I haven't put it through all the rigors yet, but the AVR-146 sounds great with our HD setup, as well as AirTunes running from our Airport Express into one of the digital coax inputs.

In all, we're pleased. If you can get this system for under $290, you'll be psyched.

Source: Cnet Reviews


I feel like I have new ears:

This will be the fourth receiver I've owned and by far the best. My last was the Onkyo TX-SR500, and it was solid. But I wasn't completely satisfied with the 5.1 surround sound generated from it. The audio was serviceable, but I knew it should sound better…especially considering it was connected to an excellent set of speakers (Onkyo SKS-HT500). So, without being too serious about it, I decided to look around for a new receiver.

I was specifically looking for an AVR that would support HDMI audio output now that I have an HD-DVD player, but frankly there aren't that many available in the store. I did find several affordable receivers that might be an improvement over what I already have. I especially had my eye on a Yamaha and this Harman/Kardon AVR. Neither supported HDMI audio, but they do provide HDMI ports for pass-through. Neither support TrueHD or DTS-HD, which also intrigued me.

When it was said and done, I decided those fancy features aren't really important for me right now. What IS important is a strong 5.1 surround sound at an affordable price. Did I mention both AVRs were out-of-the-box? I couldn't resist. I had heard some good things about the sound quality of H/K receivers and it's pleasing to the eye as well. I took it. And I'm so glad I did.

First, it has an amazing number of inputs and outputs. Plenty of ports for analog cables, coaxial and optical digital audio cables, s-video and component video cables. Maybe someday I'll actually have all those cables. As it is, I have my cable box and HD-DVD player connected with the fiber-optic cables and my other DVD/CD player connected by coaxial digital cable. And everything sounds incredible!

Now I don't want to imply that Onkyo is substandard. They make a great product. But my Onkyo AVR was probably a bit old and worn out. Sounds sometimes seemed muffled, particularly when watching movies with lots of explosions or gunfire. But the H/K is definitely an improvement. Right now, I'm watching one of the Harry Potter DVD's right now and I'm just enveloped in glorious 5.1 surround sound! The audio is sharp, crisp and, when need be, loud. When I played my Brandi Carlile CD, it sounded incredibly powerful and rich…and that's just from the Dolby ProLogic II - Music setting. I used to listen to CDs through the analogue cables to get decent audio quality from all 5 speakers and the subwoofer, but I think I'll keep the AVR on digital.

One thing that may turn-off potential buyers is the low wattage per speakers from the AVR-146 at only 30 watts per channel. I suppose if you need a new AVR for a huge Home Theater room you should get something more powerful. But I've had receivers with highter watts and they never sounded THIS good. I don't know what else to say about that…Harman/Kardon makes a great audio product and I'm truly enjoying my listening experience so far.

Source: Amazon


Great Value, with a couple quirks:

Let's start with the positives; This unit has more features than most other receivers in this price range could dream of. It really is a great value. Currently I use this in a smallish room, and it has plenty of power to drive a set of small to medium size bookshelf speakers. HDMI switching works very well. Pretty solid construction, and pretty darn nice to look at too. Lastly, the On Screen Display is fantastic, this really could not be an easier unit to set up and configure. It's even easier when you need to add or replace components.

There are a couple downsides though. While it does seem to be pretty well built for a unit in this price range, I definitely wouldn't expect it to last a decade. If you're looking for a real workhorse, double your money and pick up a nice Onkyo.

Also, it has an annoying tendency to drop audio when it doesn't detect a signal, and it takes a few seconds for the audio to return. Sometimes it doesn't return at all and I have to power cycle the machine. This is especially noticeable when fast-forwarding on my Comcast DVR. For some reason, the receiver turns off the speakers when I FF, 30sec skip, or replay, and after pressing play again, it takes a second or two for it to turn the speakers back on. Seems to happen more commonly on digital inputs, like my DVR via coax, or HD-DVD player via optical.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an inexpensive way to consolidate remotes, add some additional inputs, and improve sound over a Home-Theater-in-a-Box.

Source: Amazon


Harman Kardon Review:

I bought an AVR 146 five days ago and I can't get enough of it. I coupled it with Klipsch Synergy F1 towers, B2 bookshelfs, SC-2 center, and a Sub-10, I am in awe. I have been an audiophile for around 30 years and I've owned several systems in my time. I think that this system is by far the cleanest. The AVR 146 is rated at 30 watts, something that I was a little leary of at first (no more though). This system is just as loud if not louder and definately cleaner than my 100 watt Kenwood (yes I had the Klipsh speakers hooked up to the Kenwood) I just wish i had discovered the virtues of Harman Kardon sooner.

Source: ubergizmo


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