2 ch receiver with HK sound

I have a couple of Polk RTi setups with HK receivers and I can’t get past their sound. I love the warmth and bass response of both the hk3370 and hk550vxi. I tried an onkyo 2 ch receiver and I was never happy with it. To the point where it is hooked up to some old Aiwa speakers from an all in one u it in the garage.

What is out there that has similar amperage ratings and isn’t drastically over-rated power wise? There isn’t a shop near me to demo units so this is a challenge. I want that HK sound.

RTiA9’s, RT35i, RT55i are the speakers I currently have in the house.
Ryan Jozwiak

"Because music was meant to be felt and heard"

polkaudio RTiA9
polkaudio RT35i
polkaudio PSW 404
HK 3370
HK FL8380
HK DVD 22
Adcom GFA 5500
Samsung 40" LCD 120 Hz

Comments

  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,790
    Not really sure what you're trying to accomplish -- i.e., what's wrong with an hk3370 or hk550vxi if you like what they do?

    In terms of "hk sound":
    1) Do you really want/need a "receiver" (i.e., with on-board FM tuner)? It's more heat, more demand on the power supply, and more to go wrong. If you really want FM, consider a separate tuner. hk made some very good ones over the years.
    2) The 1980s saw a handful of still highly regarded (and not inexpensive) hk integrated amplifiers based on Matti Otala's work on TIM (transient intermodulation distortion). The best-regarded hk amps of that era are easy to spot on eBAY by their selling prices :)

    One that comes to mind is the PM660.
    swirbolcerwe.png
    (random internet photo of one)
    https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/harman-kardon/pm660.shtml

    The only hk integrated I have is an A402 -- more or less the amp and preamp of the hk730 receiver, AFAIK. I am quite favorably disposed to this era of hk hardware (FWIW). :)

    10426100496_851b19fe71_c.jpg

    There were also some pretty good hk separates from the era. I can vouch for the hk770 stereo power amp as a pretty nice piece. Got one of these ;)

    14035890691_3d18bb9e8d_b.jpg
    https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/harman-kardon/hk770.shtml

    There was a monoblock variant called the hk775 as well.

    Note that many of the better hk products of the '60s through '90s have dual mono power supplies (although some have only a single power transformer, albeit with dual secondaries for the two channels).

    Oh, a parting thought. the mid-80s line of hk receivers might float your boat. I have one of these. It's OK but finicky (i.e., hard to keep all of those little pushbuttons and other controls clean and properly operating).

    10425974964_3e57e29c73_c.jpg
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,790
    couple-three other thoughts.

    1) if you want FM and hk, look for one of the Citation series of tuners. Realistically and practically, the Citation 18 would be a nice choice.

    eag9tzebnzqq.png
    again a random internet photo

    2) Citation was hk's premium line of separates -- any "Citation" class hk component is worthy of consideration! Side note: Lafayette Radio Electronics (a catalog company similar to Radio Shack) sold their own house brand of loudspeakers and a few receivers using the "Citation" name, too -- those are not what you want! :#

    3) The OP mentioned something about "drastically over-powered".
    Practically speaking, there is really no such thing, as long as the amplifier is well designed and engineered and it's in good working order.

  • RyanJoz
    RyanJoz Posts: 116
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    couple-three other thoughts.

    3) The OP mentioned something about "drastically over-powered".
    Practically speaking, there is really no such thing, as long as the amplifier is well designed and engineered and it's in good working order.

    The Yamaha stereo receivers on Crutchfield have received a lot of reviews stating they don’t compare to the equipment they replaced, even with lower power ratings. I’ve always felt HK rated their power ratings on the low end. The onkyo receiver I have in the garage has more power than either of my HK receivers, but lacks the low end and volume of the two that are in main 2 ch. rigs in my house.

    I’ve been burned with used gear a few times. It’s tough for me to find used equipment like what I have. I have original boxes for all of my gear going back to 1990. Dad still has the original boxes and packaging for his 1985 model 10’s before the A or B distinctions.

    Is there anything new with this type of sound or is my best option to go deeper into vintage gear? I’ve heard Marantz equipment has a similar tone to the HK gear, but I don’t know how I can demo that with any of my other equipment reasonably. I don’t know anyone with any of this gear, so that isn’t an option.

    Thanks for the suggestions already provided.
    Ryan Jozwiak

    "Because music was meant to be felt and heard"

    polkaudio RTiA9
    polkaudio RT35i
    polkaudio PSW 404
    HK 3370
    HK FL8380
    HK DVD 22
    Adcom GFA 5500
    Samsung 40" LCD 120 Hz
  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,167
    Answer the question about needing a receiver. Do you really NEED a receiver or is that just what you are looking at. I’d be looking at a Marantz or Musical Fidelity integrated amp, what sources do you use?

    Modern day companies don’t put much stake at stereo receivers because they just aren’t popular. An integrated amp will have much more longevity, better resale value etc. You can get one from any reputable dealer and return if you don’t like.
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,790
    edited February 2023
    stangman67 wrote: »
    Answer the question about needing a receiver. Do you really NEED a receiver or is that just what you are looking at. I’d be looking at a Marantz or Musical Fidelity integrated amp, what sources do you use?

    Modern day companies don’t put much stake at stereo receivers because they just aren’t popular. An integrated amp will have much more longevity, better resale value etc. You can get one from any reputable dealer and return if you don’t like.

    Plus, you almost always get more for your money with an integrated amplfier. I think that the integrated amplifier has been a sweet spot on the value continuum since the 1950s -- and still is (for stereo audio). :)

    @RyanJoz Point taken re: vintage equipment: It's a crapshoot, and since COVID it's become an increasingly poor value.
    Nothing wrong with modern hardware -- but I am far less familiar with current electronics, and the hk comparators you mention in the OP aren't exactly up to the minute, so to speak, either. ;) Generally, tastes do seem to have changed towards a leaner presentation than that popular from the era of mostly analog sources.

    What's NAD offering in the way of modest, midpriced integrated amplifiers nowadays? Historically, the NADs weren't terribly reliable over long time periods, but they do/did sound good.
    RyanJoz wrote: »
    The Yamaha stereo receivers on Crutchfield have received a lot of reviews stating they don’t compare to the equipment they replaced, even with lower power ratings. I’ve always felt HK rated their power ratings on the low end. The onkyo receiver I have in the garage has more power than either of my HK receivers, but lacks the low end and volume of the two that are in main 2 ch. rigs in my house.
    ...

    The differences you're mentioning don't relate to power output per se. Plus, there's more to the perceived performance of any given amplifier with any given loudspeaker load than "RMS Watts per channel"*. If nothing else, the ability of the amplifier to provide however much current the loudspeakers require is essential to good performance, especially with modern loudspeakers which tend to have low nominal impedance and brutal impedance curves. :# I do realize you're not necessarily interested in modern loudspeakers, but it's still something to consider.

    EDIT: How do the Crutchfield reviews of the current crop of Yamaha integrated amplifiers look? They still have a pretty good reputation, AFAIK. :)
    __________________
    * There's no such thing as "RMS watts", but the Federal Trade Commission didn't know that in 1974 :p Power output in continuous watts is usually calculated using RMS voltage measurements of the input signal (2.83 VAC = 1 watt into a load of fixed 8 ohm impedance). ;)

  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,167
    NAD stuff is fantastic as always. This may be a bit more than the OP wanted to spend. Don’t know his budget at this point.

    https://www.crutchfield.com/S-7QJt8tiiQ8Y/p_745C368/NAD-C-368.html?XVINQ=GZ0&XVVer=106D&awcr=628551800044&awdv=m&awnw=g&awug=9008552&awkw=pla-295083256256&awmt=&awat=pla&gclid=CjwKCAiA_vKeBhAdEiwAFb_nrVkrY4zcDEDhkM5Uns_lhKITpdHu6L3otft7x2kaDjZDZVolkt9S-RoCf8IQAvD_BwE

    I ran one downstairs for a while before upgrading to the M10V2 but it’s really an awesome all in one unit. Not a powerhouse per se but will do well with reasonably efficient speakers.

    The negative is NAD probably won’t fit the sound characteristics the OP is looking for. NAD is likely more analytic and has less warmth than the purported HK “house” sound.
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • RyanJoz
    RyanJoz Posts: 116
    I don’t have to have a “receiver”, it is just currently what I have.

    Sources are oppo players. I do have an external DAC magic 200, but the oppo DAC seemed on par with it. I get that these aren’t as high quality as some of the items of forum members here, but they sound nice to my ears. I have an adcom amp (GFA-5500) that I was using with one of my receivers as a preamp, but it sucked all the lows out of the sound. I bought a 5503 from a forum member, but it fried after 3 days of use. It had more oomph in the low end by a mile compared to my 5500. I even sent the 5500 off to have it calibrated and inspected thinking something was wrong with it.

    The only thing pushing me towards receivers is that my wife still likes to listen to the radio when she is cleaning. If I knew someone local, I would

    I opt for the warmer toned sound since the RTi line can be bright. I’ve never felt that way about my 35i’s, but the A9’s can be at times.

    I was looking into some options like audiolab, but my preference is to opt for the higher powered options. I’m surprised integrated amps don’t come 200+ wpc. Maybe they do, but I haven’t come across them.
    Ryan Jozwiak

    "Because music was meant to be felt and heard"

    polkaudio RTiA9
    polkaudio RT35i
    polkaudio PSW 404
    HK 3370
    HK FL8380
    HK DVD 22
    Adcom GFA 5500
    Samsung 40" LCD 120 Hz
  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,167
    There are integrated amps with that much power, you are just gonna pay for it. Regardless with any modern day receiver, you generally have to take power ratings with a grain of salt.

    IMO a true 100WPC integrated will be all you ever need unless you are driving some incredibly inefficient speakers.

    I don’t know what your budget is but Musical Fidelity stuff is awesome and this is a powerhouse. A4L refurbs are all factory refurbs and carry a manufacturers warranty. 150WPC will get you there I promise!

    https://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/mufim5siblk/musical-fidelity-m5si-150wpc-x-2ch-integrated-amplifier-black/1.html?gclid=CjwKCAiA_vKeBhAdEiwAFb_nrYWA7T07cVi9y-I2frAxm6LlwOwnu035zFqhJxaFZQCHdRN4fab8FBoCS3AQAvD_BwE
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,790
    Aren't the Oppos reputed to be kind of crispy sounding for music reproduction? Speaking of analytical. :|
    I would think an outboard DAC might help?
  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,167
    Yes they definitely are! I know that from experience. Maybe the warmth from the amp and the harshness from the Oppo are a match made in heaven!
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,214
    So the first question was what are you trying to accomplish - was it just that you wanted to get newer stuff or some issue you're trying to resolve? Apologies if I missed it.
    #MobileSucks #FlipPhoneRevolution #WhyAmIAllAloneInThis

    PS
    RTxxi good for music
    RTixx primarily best for theater, issues with brightness and fatigue are not uncommon.

    Maybe another direction to consider would be a speaker upgrade instead of trying to make something work with RTiA9s (had a similar experience and spent a lot of money chasing trying to force a speaker that was the wrong selection for music-first).

    Modern gear is likely to be more resolving than your HK stuff, and you may actually find an increase in edge and high end presence.

    B&K made some stuff that was fatter sounding, but could also present as too thick with the wrong speakers compared to Parasound components, for example. In some cases this was a great thing, not in others. In my experience, B&K paired better with speakers that have a greater presence up top. Out of business, so you'd be limited to the used market, and it's not new if that's your goal.

    +1 on the MF integrateds. One of the best moves in my audio obsession. Funny enough, I'm currently using an HK piece myself while I investigate an issue with the MF A5. Using an HK 990 integrated, and it beats my MF A5.

    Speakers are still going to play the biggest part in terms of audio presentation, imho.
    I disabled signatures.
  • RyanJoz
    RyanJoz Posts: 116
    edited February 2023
    My initial thought was to find a new product that has similar sound characteristics to the 80’s and 90’s HK products. 99% of the time I am very happy with my system. It doubles as sound for TV and movies so I am not hindered by the upper end of the sound spectrum with my A9’s.

    One of the buttons is giving me fits on my receiver, and I want to drop something in that sounds very similar.

    I have tried to find the part to solder in the board, but I can’t find either the board or the part.
    Ryan Jozwiak

    "Because music was meant to be felt and heard"

    polkaudio RTiA9
    polkaudio RT35i
    polkaudio PSW 404
    HK 3370
    HK FL8380
    HK DVD 22
    Adcom GFA 5500
    Samsung 40" LCD 120 Hz
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,790
    edited February 2023
    RyanJoz wrote: »
    ...

    One of the buttons is giving me fits on my receiver, and I want to drop something in that sounds very similar.
    ...
    This is almost certainly a dirty control and those little pushbuttons on the hks are particularly aggravating in terms of getting noisy/dirty.
    BTDT. That's why I have lots of pictures like this ;)


    11952027833_bcfbfd7d63_c.jpg

    They're pretty straightforward to clean. Use the right stuff. I like DeOxit products, but there are other decent ones.
    You can do a search here at Club Polk on cleaning pots and switches, or here's a primer from the vintage nutcases devotees @ audiokarma.

    https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/the-idiots-guide-to-using-deoxit-revisited.207005/



  • gitesh
    gitesh Posts: 1
    Hello . I have Harman Kardon 3380 stereo receiver . I am planning it to pair it with B & W 706 s2 speakers which I read review are on slightly brighter side.
    Is HK3380 a bright amp or the arrangement will work fine ?
  • skrol
    skrol Posts: 3,330
    edited February 16

    I had serviced a HK PM665 integrated amp and TD392 cassette deck for a friend. Beautiful sounding amp but HK must have cheaped out on switches. They were so oxidized that the thing wouldn't even function and I though there was a major problem. It took A LOT of Deoxit but it came back to life.

    The T55C turntable was another story. There is a solenoid in the tonearm mechanism that wasn't working. It had voltage going to it but would not activate to lift the tone arm. I could manually activate it. It was so berried in the mechanism that I didn't dare mess with it further.

    7339nbrsymyd.jpg
    9e6p797qbrmw.jpg
    yerujdck0fwg.jpg
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Benchmark DAC1, Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i; Technics SL-J2, Parasound PPH-100.

    HT:
    Marantz SR7010, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW110 , Marantz UD5005, Pioneer PL-530, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, AVR-888, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, 5B, TSi100, RM7, PSW10 (DXi104 upgrade); Pioneer: CT-6R; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, CDR-615; Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii, Sony CDP-650ESD, Technics SA 5070, B&W DM601
  • skrol
    skrol Posts: 3,330
    I just picked up a PM665 today for $75 at a thrift store. There wasn't a way to really check it out. When I powered it on, the power light flashed several times and then went solid. I figured it was a good sign. Money is on dirty switches. I need to get another can of Deoxit since I spent the last can on the previous PM665.
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Benchmark DAC1, Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i; Technics SL-J2, Parasound PPH-100.

    HT:
    Marantz SR7010, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW110 , Marantz UD5005, Pioneer PL-530, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, AVR-888, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, 5B, TSi100, RM7, PSW10 (DXi104 upgrade); Pioneer: CT-6R; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, CDR-615; Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii, Sony CDP-650ESD, Technics SA 5070, B&W DM601