Harmon Kardon 2550 vs Marantz sr4300


I have decided on purchasing some Kef 2005 sat speakers. Now I need to decide on a receiver. I like the look of the HK but its only 40 watts per channel compared to the marantz which is 70 per channel. can anyone assist in helping me make my decision easier?

Save your money for the best, Krell, Bryston, Mark Levinson, etc

Yes. The KEFs need power and lots of it. However, that does not mean you should get the Marantz. One watt for H/K is more powerful than most other receiver's one watt simply because they have better power supplies. Frankly, I don't think either is right for the KEF system.

What is your budget for this receiver?


My budget is about USD300-500. They will be mainly used for watching DVD's. I noted your comments about HK, this there a model that you would recommend? I note that most of them are under 100 watts. Any other recommendations?

Lo Mei
i am too looking at the same combo, slightly worried that the HK's won't be sufficient in powering the Kef's. what's the power difference between the two? specs say there is a 30 watt difference, but have read some reports that the HK's are much moe powerful than the specs.

I do not believe that the Harman/Kardon is the right receiver for the KEF 2005.2 system. Both the H/K and the KEFs have a very laid back sound, and I just don't think it works well together. It becomes too laid back. The KEFs need something that will push them because they are capable of great sound with a high quality amp.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but you can get the NAD 742 from Saturday Audio for $449 (MSRP is $649). Saturday Audio can be found at www.saturdayaudio.com. Conservatively rated at 50 wpc x 5, this receiver can do a real 100 wpc on musical transients. I have compared it directly to several other brands 100 wpc receivers and the 742 sounds like the bigger amp. Cleaner, too. It is clean, detailed and very musical. The sound is better than anything else I have heard under $850. This is because:

1. It appears to be using the same pre-amp section as the bigger NAD's, so you are getting a preamp section that is far better than the competition below $800.

2. It has very high quality DACs (Crystal Sigma-Delta DACs with 192/24 bit resolution) and a very high quality Crystal DSP processor. these are usually only found in quality separates or some other receivers that cost more than $1K;

3. It has a far better power supply than anything else under $1K. Capable of driving 2 ohm speakers if necessary, it has plenty of power for either musical transients or explosions.

I not only like this receiver, I think it has the right tonal quality to get the most out of the KEF system, IMHO.

Dear Hawk

Thanks for the advice. Does your suggestions make any difference if I am getting the old kef 2005 speakers? I will definately check out the Nad's.

No, the sound charecteristics between the older and newer KEF system is very similar. Both need quite a bit of current (not watts) to get the most out of them.


I am quite infatuated with HK, if I went with the mission fs-1's instead of the Kef's would this be a good match.

I have not heard the Mission FS-1s, but I personally owm a pair of Mission 71s and they sound very nice. A bit forward and very dynamic--just the kind of qualities one would need with a H/K receiver. Quality speaker makers tend to have the same sonic qualities throughout their line. Based upon that, I would say that yes, the Missions FS-1s would be a good match with the H/K receiver. Try it out first, if you can.

Good luck.

i might go for the missions which have the new NXT technology. they are not rated as good as the Kefs but if they are more suited to HK then i will get them. the HK i was thinking of getting is the 2550 which i think is the US equilivent of the 125, 5 x 40 watts per channel. you mentioned b/4 that HK's wattage is more powerful than the standard. the missions can handle 100 watts so i hope this is enough to power them.

I was interested in your comments on the H-K and the Kef 2005s being too laid back.
I was considering a Marantz 4300 or 5300 with the KEFs.
Does the Marantz have the current to get the best out of the KEFs?

Hmmm. Interesting quesiton. My friend elitefan and I have come to a disagreement over how "laid back" are the Marantz receivers. He thinks they are more so than his Pioneer Elite, while I felt just the opposite. but I respect his opinion and have decided I need to spend a little more time evaluating the Marantz line. However, based upon what I have heard before, I currently believe it would be a good combo--subject, however, to future revision. As always, you should try them out yourself, but I don't see a problem at this time.

Again, I must reiterate that the KEF sub/sat system is a power hungry little sucker and you need lots of juice. Therefore, do not get the 4300. Although the difference is only 10 wpc, the 5300 has a much higher S/N ratio (105 db vs. 92 db for the 4300) which tells me you have much more usuable power and it has a better power supply. Also has better DACs--worth the difference alone IMO.

Many thanks for the advice.
I am a bit of a KEF fan, having a pair of old KEF 103.2 Reference series that I made from "KEFkits" in the mid 1980's (carried the drivers into Australia from the UK as hand luggage, together with an Audiolab 8000A Amp!)
Once the speakers and the amp are warmer up, the sound they sound really good (to me)..
I am in Sydney, Australia, and while the gear you discuss is available here, only just, the prices ar higher than UK or US. For example the 2005s are about $US 1,650 (GBP 1,050). I am still checking out the Marantz (4300 and 5300)and some Yamaha (540, 640,740) prices. I will post the prices on the forum, just for international interest.
Thanks again.

John A.
Anonymous, If you have KEF 103.2 (wow) not much has happened to knock those off the "reference" pedestal. And you will hardly need a sub. KEF KTS satellites are good. I have one for a center with old (but less impressive than yours) KEFS for the other channels. I have an NAD receiver with 5 x 60W . and it drives the KEFs to beautiful and very high sound levels with no sweat. Hawk is right about KEFS needing a real amp,, but new KEFs are not such low sensitivity as the old ones. I think my center "egg" is 88 dB.

This is where NAD's real-world power makes all the difference. You would find the the T752/3 fine, the T762/3 would have tons of headroom. Remember in the days of the 103.2., 40 W per channel was a serious amp, 100 W per channel was almost unheard of, and then we only had two channels.

I am probably getting boring on this, but from what you say you should definitely try NAD.

BTW if you get an active sub, it takes a big load off the amp, and all power worries disappear, anyway.

Must go now. Will be brief. With class speakers like that, don't get the Yamaha, for Ch..... sake. Their quoted power is b----cks. See link above. Pardon my French.

John A.
Hawk is right. How many times have I said that. The NAD 742 would suit you. I too worried about power and my KEFS, so bought a recycled 760, but it has so much headroom I know I worried unnecessarily about the 742.

Hawk and John A,
Many thanks for the continued thoughts.
Sorry for losing contact for a few days, I had to go "bush" with work.
As promised here are some current Australian prices for Marantz and Yamaha A/V Amps.
Marantz 4300 $A999 (conversion $us 650, UKP410)
Marantz 5300 $A1399 ($US 900, UKP575)
Marantz 6300 $A1699 ($US1100, UKP700)

Yamaha 440 $799 ($US520, UKP330)
Yamaha 540 $999 ($US650, UKP410)
Yamaha 640 $1199 ($US780, UKP490)
Yamaha 740 $1499 ($US975, UKP615)

Decisions, decisions.


Wow! Your after conversion prices would make most peple here choke. I know the Marantz 4300 has a MSRP of $430 here, the 5300 has a US MSRP of $549, etc.

I re-read your posts and I have one observation--if you like the sound of your Audiolab amp, I would not get a Yamaha. Much better to get a Marantz or NAD, as they will more closely match the sound of your Audiolab than would the Yamaha.

Meanwhile, you may need to go back to work to afford those prices!


Anonymous. Just to make you feel worse. I purchased the Marantz 4300 a/v reciever for just £179 here in the UK. I knew it was good value, particularly as i'm an Aussie living up-over and intending returning to QLD next July with my gear.
Incidentally I also picked up a pair of KEF cresta 3's (£99) and a Marantz 4100 DVD multi (£169). The thing i love about Marantz stuff is it not only does it do the surround sound bit well, its not a bad 2 channel hifi either. Other DVD players i've listened to didn't quite cut it when it came to CD's.

Damn you, Phil. Where'd you get that price? I had to pay £199 at Richer Sounds!

(Sorry, Anonymous, just rubbing it in. I'm going to Oz in November, so I'm qualified to chip in to this thread) :)

Strewth Phil and Tim!!
What deals. Make sure you bring the stuff back to Oz. I'm still saving like mad to try to get a 5300 soon.
I could get revenge and talk about the weather here, but that wouldn't be fair.

hello hawk.

Thank you for all your helpful suggestions.
I've been reading a lot of your answers and I've learned a lot about home theater stuff.

I'm thinking of changing my reciever to H/K.
H/K 5500. or the marantz 5300

I will be pairing it up with wharefdale speakers.

Which do you think this is a good/ better match?


I originated this thread, and i am pleased to inform you that a few months back I went with the Marantz. Very pleased with it, although from a looks and style point of view I was hoping someone would persuade me to go with the HK.

Hawk recommended Nad which is hard to get in Hong Kong for some reason, but for my purposes I think the Marantz was a good buy.

Anyway I noticed some of you discussing prices, but I think we have some of the cheapest prices here in Hong Kong. The Marantz SR4300 cost me USD240. If I had brought the HK2550 it would have cost me USD128 more than the Marantz but probably still cheaper than elsewhere?
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us