Harman Kardon AVR-325 - No Phono Input? Help


I was all set to buy the HK AVR325. but see that it does not have a phono input. I could get a B unit for $440, so it seemed the most bang for the buck.

Any other thoughts for $400 - $450. I want Bass Management in the Analog and Digital domain. I don't necessarily need a zone 2, but it was a nice feature of the HK. As for the latest and greatest decoding schemes....are they really necessary, or will 5.1 do. I am more audio (SACD, DVD-A, analog) then video, though I will have a full surround set-up.


If you watch much television the Dolby Pro Logic II, HK's Logic 7 and even the Neo:6 are very nice to have. If you're primarily using SACD or DVD-A, the bass management feature will come in very handy. Actually I'm wrong. It's the 525 and 7200 that have the bass management for the 6/8 channel analog inputs. The 325 has the crossover bass management but not for the 6 channel analog input. Still its a very fine receiver and you'd be hard pressed to find something as full featured and good sounding in that price range, especially since audio is a key concern.

As far as the phono input, you can buy a pretty cheap phono preamp that lets you run a phono thru the normal rca inputs. Here's the link. http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog_name=CTLG&category_name=CTLG_007_002_012_005&product_id=970-1018. It's funny how many receivers nowadays don't have phono inputs. Makes me feel old.

If you're not totally sold on HK, I think the Denon 1803 and above offers phono inputs.

GT is correct that the Denon 1803 does have a phono input. However, the sound of the two units are very different. The H/K is very warm and mellow, whereas the Denon is rather "dry." I know, I have a Denon which I purchased precisely because it has a phono input. However, you may find you do not like the sound. I find it ironic that the two major brands that put phono pre-amps into their receivers are the two companies who are among the least musical receivers--Denon and Onkyo. They are both more focused on HT applications.

That does not mean you shouldn't get the Denon, just be sure it sounds the way you want a receiver to sound. It will be very different sounding than the H/K. If you think you wanted the H/K, I would not dismiss it now simply because it doesn't have a phono input.

You should consider getting an outboard phono pre-amp. There is a very nice Sumiko (all Class A circuitry) available for $119 mail order, and it accepts either moving coil or moving magnet cartridges. It will be a very good combo with the H/K and it is reasonably priced.

Yeah, I think there is a clear difference in sound from the HK and Denon also. I have a large LP collection for the 70's and 80's but those things sit in a crate for many many years at a time. I've got a Sherwood Newcastle receiver I can use if I ever feel the need to hook my turntable up again. My HK 320 is my primary receiver.

Hawk, let me ask you this. Since the Denon is more focused on HT, would you recommend it over say a HK-525 since usage would be 90% home theater vs 10% music? I'm thinking about the Denon 2803 or the 1082 which is the same as the 3802.

I've got a friend that recently bought a 65" big screen and we've finally got her talked into a surround sound system. She's got a Denon progressive scan DVD player and asked about Denon HT receivers. As far as speakers we're looking at floorstanders like the Polk RTi70, Athena AS-F2, Monitor Audio Bronze 4, Energy C-5 or the Klipsch RF-3 which I saw on clearance recently at Good Guys. It has to be something purchased locally because she likes the ability to return/replace/service from a local B&M. That takes Ascend, Axiom, Aperion and others out of the game.

I've seen the Polks and Klipsch for less than $500 pr on clearance recently but like the sound of the Monitor Audio and Energy myself. I've seen the Athena at Best Buy but with no sound room and bright receivers there, it's hard to tell how good they really are. But the online reviews have been positive.

What are your thoughts?


I have not been ignoring your question, but I keep getting an internal server error everytime I try to reply.

I don't think that the Denon is necessarily a better HT receiver just because they are more focused on HT than audio. Either the H/K 525 or the Denon 3803 would be a good choice and are very fine products, but as you agree, they have very different sounds, so which speaker they are paired with may have more to do with which one your friend chooses than anything inherent in the receiver.

I also agree that the Energy C-5s or the Monitor Audio Bronze speakers are the better sounding speakers, although I have not heard the Klipsch RF-3s. Although the Athenas and the Polks are good speakers, neither of them seem to create a good soundstage for me. The sound is too two dimensional for me.

I think that the H/K is the better receiver for either the Monitor Audios or the Klipschs. Its warmer sound will mate well with the somewhat bright charecter of those two speakers. Conversely, the Denon is the better choice with the Energy speakers, as the Energy is too laid back for the H/K, IMO.
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