Onkyo "SR600" vs Harman Kardon "AVR-320" or "AVR-520"


I am looking for some opinions on recievers. First, my background was that i bought the Onkyo-HTB650 from CC and returned it after about 2 weeks. In my opinion, it is a very good system, but for the $$ i felt that i would be better of going the route of seperate components over time, so i won't outgrow my system.
In my search for a new start i have narrowed down some decisions. I feel that the Polk Audio RTi38 speakers are really great, so I am trying to match a reciever that will do them justice. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the REAL difference between the Onkyo SR600, and the Harman Kardon AVR-320 or AVR-520 for that matter. There is quite a bit of difference in price for the HK 520, but going for a refurbished unit puts it in within my grasp.
So what is the big difference? I have read tons of opinions and all Onkyo reviewers say that it is great power for the money, and HK reviewers say that Onkyo is not good for music (which is one of the reasons i returned the HTB-650). I have a 1000W system in my car, so obviously i like power. I want something that i will really be able to crank no matter what i have, and that will still sound good.
I was leaning towards the HK-520 as of today, but when i went to CC to check it out, the sales person "Jen" was in favor of the Onkyo SR600 over the HK models. She said that it was just as good and that HK is just more "known" so it is more expensive. She said that the Onkyo has the same type of High Output Amplifier that is present in the HK, so if that is true then the Onkyo should be hands down way better because it is cheaper for the same wattage? Is this true?
Unfortunately, the SR600 was NOT set up next to the HK's or the Polk RTi38's for that matter. This is very anoying for trying to test the difference. But what would the difference be?
I don't want this discussion to turn into a HK vs Onkyo brand bashing from people who are loyalists to either brand. I know there must be other people out there that have had to have compared these models, so what is the verdict? Please reply with your opinions and experiences...

TO: Jon V

After extensive research...

Me and my brother decided on the Kenwood VR-6070 THX Select Receiver over the other candidate of Harman Kardon AVR-225.

The link to this excellent Kenwood is here;

Also check the thread on the VR-6070 on this message-board bbs by selecting at the very top section of this Ecoustics site: DISCUSSIONS / HOME AUDIO / RECEIVERS

we are using JBL SCS-150 speaker system...link to here...


sincerely yours, Michael

Honestly out of the 2 brands and 3 models you listed, I would go with the HK AVR520. I have an Onkyo TX-SR700 and I choose it over the HK because of the way it sounded in my house (I bought both and tested them). However, the TX-SR600 is of less wattage and believe it or not, it does make a difference. I like my sound to be upfront and in my face with plenty of power to spare, and the TX-SR700 was able to do that. I tested the AVR520 and it is a great sounding receiver. Check it out!

I'm gonna chime in on this thread as I just also labored over this decision and all three of the receivers you mention (and one set of speakers were also on my list). I was dead tied on the Kenwood 6070, HK 525 (NOT the 520), Onkyo 700 and 800, and the Yamaha 5590.

Well the UPS guy dropped off the HK525 and the Polk RTi38s the other day and I am in ecstasy (also got the Yamaha DVC6480...AMAZING!). I've been in professional digital audio software development and audio/video broadcast for a decade and this Harman Kardon 525 is one of the finest pieces of gear I've run across.

The HK simply had everything that a $1000 must have and more. One of the few receivers today that has 7 full bandwidth channels with 192k DACS on every channel, 7.1 pre inputs and outs, triple crossovers for each input, the ability to digitize the pre-ins before the crossover settings (amazing!), i/o switching for front panel inputs, input assignments, ABUS compatible, RS-232, AND MOST OF ALL, stunning sound. Yes, it has all the surrond modes, BUT THE SOUND QUALITY on movies AND mousic is wonderful.

OH, and perhaps most of all, HK's proprietary (or ahold we say Lexicon's) Logic7 processing...it is awesome....or as my wife said, "it sounds like a concert in here."

PS, the Circuit City salespeople are idiots! They push Onkyo because they have an exclusive on it and you can find all the other brands they sell at their competitors stores.

Good luck!


Greetings all.
I am thinking of purchasing a Harman Kardon AVR 525. The only "fly in the oinment" is a Kenwood VR 6070 with THX for $300 less. Any ideas/suggestions/comments. What speakers? I was thinking of the Infinity Modulus system to match up with, and then build from there at a later date due to funds!!!or lack of.

I own a HK AVR 320. It has absolutely everything you need and then some. One of the more amazing features is the pressure gauge in the remote. Yes, the audio levels are measured in the remote and volume levels are set automatically. No more tape measures and guessing. Logic 7 is really nice also. The learning remote works great and is easy to program. It routes HDTV signals. Basically, it does every thing. My only gripe is that it doesn't have 7 amps. But, alas this years model, the AVR 325 does! It even has an ABUS jack and cooling fan on it!

Mine is paired with the Klipsch Synergy System 6, HK DVD 25, Sony SCD-CE775 SACD Player, Mitsu HD1080 55", and all monster cabling.

Not the least to mention is HK's looks. When powered down its just a smooth sheet of glossy black mirror. Not a bunch of clunky knobs and gauges. The only unit that is cooler is the new Krell. Which if you can afford it, you are probably paying someone else to read this.

CC Associates are not indiots. Onkyo is a quality product. I personally work for CC and own a HK AVR310 (Great Equipment). However, if I were buying today, compare the HK AVR225 and the ONK TXSR600. The Onkyo has WRAT technology, similar to the ultra-wide bandwith provided by HK. The Onkyo is 80 x 6 (6.1 not 5.1), has component video switching, learning remote with 2 macro functions (each macro can perform up to 16 different keystrokes-easy for novice to program and operate), and it has speakers A/B (may run a stereo pair to alternate room-run stereo from two rooms). I will be the first to admit that the HK is "cleaner", but for the same price ($499) each, the Onkyo is a better buy for most people.

To the guy that says CC people are idiots, stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!

Sorry...i would have to agree that they are mostly useless. I asked two different associates to explain the difference b/w the HK AVR125 and the Onkyo TXSR500. The ONLY RESPONSE they gave me was "look at the tag" and "the number of inputs is really important"

Ha. Considering what kind of help u get at most large retail chains is hit or miss, Im surprised by how much some Circuit City associates know. But its even worse at best buy, have fun finding a guy there that even knows what half the connections are used for on a back of a receiver, if u do consider urself lucky. And the fact they treat most customers like idiots(ive had some experiences where i was told "are u sure ur receiver has that connection, most receivers from 3 years ago dont, and that receiver right there has them" and similar responses). my circuit city experiences have been great, and considering ive seen what training u get at best buy(wait they have training?), which they dont(at least about product knowledge). Even though it doesnt help alot, Circuit city associates have to take courses on their products, but they are not extremely detailed when it gets down to product differences(just watch out for the *ssholes, and the idiots, they do work everywhere) enough of my rants.

Back to the topic at hand. If ur willing to spend money for the HK-AVR520 get it(it is the best out of the three)

P.S. If ur looking for someone who knows audio, go to a store dedicated to it to get information about products, dont expect a store that is a jack of all trades(electronically) to be a master of one.
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