HK 330, Onkyo 701 or Denon 2803?


Unregistered guest
I've decided on a long-overdue upgrade for my pre-Dolby Digital Denon 2500. Right now I'm considering Harman Kardon 330, Onkyo 701 and Denon 2803 - all in $500-$600 range. The use would be 70% movies and 30% music.

My front speakers are Klipsch (don't remember the model), I use Infinity subwoofer. I will be upgrading the rear and effect speakers.

I listened to both HK 330 and Onkyo 701 in local Circuit City store, and Onkyo sounded closer to what I like; I felt the mids and lows were not as bright on HK, but it could be due to the test speakers they've used.

I've read the on-line manuals for all of these receivers, and Onkyo features sound pretty good. Remove on Onkyo seemed a bit odd, and I liked HK's remote that switches to control the component once you switch the output. I think my wife would like that :-)

Any suggestions?

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 68
Registered: 12-2003
Sounds like it's time for an in-home demo. I believe Circuit City has a pretty good return policy. You should take each of those units home and try them with your speakers.

Generally, the H/K is a warmer receiver, so it doesn't tend to overaccentuate any of the frequencies than the Onkyo will. This is probably why you thought the HK was more "warm" (laid back). You may find the Onkyo is TOO bright sounding with your Klipsch, hence I recommend you taking it home and evaluating both the Onkyo AND the Harman Kardon with your own speakers in your own room. This can make all the difference.

When you tested these in-store, were you using your own music/source? It's generally a good idea to bring your favorite and more "complex" music with you to the store when auditioning equipment. Music fidelity can be different based on your listening habits as well. Bach played on an H/K with Paradigms is gonna sound different than Bach played on an Onkyo with Klipsch... and vice versa!

New member
Username: Poo

Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2004
I am looking to build a HT system and cannot make up my mind as to the receiver. My choices are the Onkyo TX-SR601, Denon AVR-2803, and H-K AVR 230. This system will be used primarily for movies. My speakers are as follows: Epos ELS 3 fronts, Hsu VTF 2 subwoofer, Polk CSi30 center, and Polk RTi38 rear. Please feel free to suggest anything that might be important. Thanks in advance.

New member
Username: Edison

Post Number: 329
Registered: 12-2003
I like the Epos and Hsu. You might want to listen to Panasonic sa-xr45 receiver - some are replacing expensive units with this.

New member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 89
Registered: 12-2003

When you listen to receivers at Circuit City, what speakers are they driving? If they aren't Klipsch similar to your own, you can't tell that much.

Your Klipsch, particularly with those horn tweeters, are pretty up-front speakers with a boat-load of detail. You should balance that with a receiver that is somewhat relaxed sounding, such as the HK or the Onkyo. However, the Denon's are pretty dry sounding and can get real grainy sounding with the wrong speakers. I know, I have one. Klipsch is not a good speaker for the Denon, IMO.

geekboy is right, you will only know if you take them home and try them out with your speakers. However, in terms of quality, the HK is better than the onkyo as it has a much better power supply and speaker protection circuit. Test reports on the onkyos are showing that the thermal protection circuit is kicking in way too soon and amps are clipping at 50% power. That's not right. But you may find you get a good one and it sounds better than the HK, so test both. My advice is to trust your ears between the two.

Good luck

New member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 90
Registered: 12-2003

Your Epos are rated at 4 ohms nominal impedence (excellent speakers, BTW), so you should forget about both the Onkyo and the HK as neither is rated to handle 4 ohm speakers. The Denon is only rated down to 6 ohms, but you could probably get away with it as then Denon is well built.

The better choice for your speakers would be the new NAD 743 receiver, which is designed to handle 4 ohm speakers (can even handle 2 ohm loads), and is probably a better match, sound-wise with the Epos. MSRP is $699 ($100 less than the Denon), but you can get it for $559, I think, from Kief's (

The Panasonic suggested above has inferior IC outputs, so it is no where near as dynamic as a true transistor based receiver--it also has much higher distortion. I think it is a bad match for good speakers such as what you have. It also has its power specified at 6 ohms, but being an IC output, it has a much smaller operating envelope. I don't see it operating well with 4 ohm speakers. It looks nice, though.

New member
Username: Poo

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2004
Thanks guys.

New member
Username: Poo

Post Number: 3
Registered: 01-2004
RE: Epos w/Onkyo 601/701

Since I am primarily using this for HT (80%), does ohms matter, as per Hawk's input?

For a 12x16 room, what is the best price/performance equipment you erudites suggest?

Remember, I am an absolute newbie to this business and therefore does not have a sense of how things ought to be done. Recently, someone asked me why Epos for HT, it is more for music! Go figure. Also, I was asked why an Hsu sub, Epos spkrs, and a POLK center of all center spkrs.!!! I had to plead ignorance! I really don't know why I got what I did, I guess reviews and prices influenced me more than anything. Thanks again.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »


Shop Related Deals


Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us