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Harman Kardon AVR330- ...Muddy?

 

New member
Username: Jliverpool

Post Number: 5
Registered: Oct-04
I was about to purchase an H/K as a gift to pair with Athena speakers. However, I read a post which gave me cold feet. Someone said that the H/K can be muddy. Will the AVR330 paired with Athenas be muddy compared to other similarly priced receivers. Maybe I read it out of context. Please advise
 

Silver Member
Username: Rh1

Post Number: 276
Registered: Jun-04
I haven't heard it particurlarly with the Athena's but I can't imagine this too be true. I have listend to this receiver with numerous speakers and never would I have considered it muddy.
 

Silver Member
Username: Bleustar

Pensacola, Florida

Post Number: 153
Registered: Jul-04
With most well matched speakers, this receiver does not sound muddy per se. However, the lower frequency range of the receiver is not quite as detailed as its mid and upper range. The mids and highs on this receiver sound exceptionally good for the price of the receiver.

Remember, for a mid line mass marketer, HK does still put sound first and features second, which is not the case with many other brands.
 

Silver Member
Username: Bleustar

Pensacola, Florida

Post Number: 154
Registered: Jul-04
One more tidbit...the HK AVR330 can lose it's composure at very high volume. That is also where some of the "muddiness" can show up.

If you like your music real loud, you may find it to be a bit muddy in the lower end. That might be a reason to go up in power to the AVR430 or AVR630. I will also tell you that depending on how trained your ear is, you may not hear this at all. At lower volume, it has a warm, detailed sound that is very musical and unfatiguing.
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 832
Registered: Feb-04
H/K is not as detailed as lets say Marantz, Denon or NAD. Muddy is probably not the right word, but it's close. Although for most people the amount of details is very sufficent. I would have to recommend you an audition with the H/K, because in spite of the full and strong sound it has, some might find the highs little harsh and annoying.
 

New member
Username: Jliverpool

Post Number: 6
Registered: Oct-04
Thankyou for your posts. This is very helpful. When you speak of a slight muddiness in the lower end will this be the case with most receivers in this price range. Or are you comparing the H/K sound to slightly more expensive systems. This is a gift for my parents who happen to be musicians so I want to make sure I get this right (even though I bet they wouldnt be dissapointed with any of these fine machines).
 

New member
Username: Jliverpool

Post Number: 7
Registered: Oct-04
I was a little worried about Denon because some were saying it would bring out a bright harshness from the Athena speakers. Am I wrong about this?
 

Silver Member
Username: Rh1

Post Number: 278
Registered: Jun-04
Denon would be the wrong choice for the Athenas in my opinion. I would stick to the H/K over the Denon, at $300 what you are possibly missing in the H/K is not going to be found in another receiver. Pioneer would also be a consideration at this price point, definately would cover the 914 but the 1014 I think is $400.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Highlands Ranch, CO USA

Post Number: 647
Registered: Dec-03
John:

Stick with the H/K with the Athenas. I tried a set of Athenas with my Denon 3803 and the system sounded very strident--hard and steely. It is a bad combo.

Now, you are correct in your original post that the comment about the H/K being muddy was read out of context. Not that you did anything wrong, but you must know what speakers were being used or you have no idea whether the comment is valid. Whoever suggested that to you that the AVR 330 may well have been right, but only in the context of the speaker he or she was listening to with that receiver. With the wrong speaker, the H/K can sound "muddy" although I would suggest a better adjective is wooly. The key to any audio system purchase is to find the right combination so that you can get the best sound for your money.

Each receiver has a different sound that you can hear if you are a critical listener (I am, I'm afraid to admit). So with the same speaker, using different receivers will produce a different emphasis and give the listener a different musical experience. So, I would never pair a H/K receiver with say, for instance, a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s (a very fine speaker to be sure). The Paradigms have a very warm and relaxed sound, yet are capable of producing a lot of detail, but as the H/K has exactly the same type of sonic profile, combining the two results in a system sound that is overly warm, and even downright muddy sounding, with little musical excitement. The problem is not with either individual component, but with the combo. This may be the contrext of the comment you read. Conversely, Athena speakers have a brightness to them that emphasizes the detail of the music, but they are not particularly warm sounding speakers. If you pair them with a Yamaha receiver, for instance, which has a similar sonic charecter to the Athenas, you will end up with a system that is overly bright and somewhat strident sounding. You will get what is known as "listener fatigue" really fast if you listen to such a system.

The key when describing a receiver's sound is to establish what its strengths and weaknesses are and to match it with speakers that will balance out the weaknesses (and every receiver has weaknesses!). Therefore, it makes the most sense to match your speakers, which are a bit on the bright side, with something that has some warmth and richness, like the H/K, which will minimize the weaknesses of the Athenas, and the Athenas wil minimize the weaknesses of the H/K. Then, they can also provide a synergy of their strengths, which is to produce good detail of the recording. No receiver nor any speaker can be described adequately without describing the context, that is, the system that was used to demonstrate them.

I have long felt it ironic that I could go into a Best Buy store and see their selection of audio equipment. They generally had Athena and Klipsch speaker systems, two of the brightest sounding speakers systems available, and also sold them with Denon and Yamaha receivers. Frankly, I can of few combos that are going to sound worse in the home than either receiver brand with either types of speakers. Yet it sold well because BB sells them from huge warehouse type stores that have no reflective surfaces and only an overly bright system can even be heard above the din of the shoppers in the store. So people believe it sounded great in the store, because it did in that environment. But, assuming their home isn't like the BB store, when they get it home to a much smaller room, with reflective walls and ceilings (and perhaps floors!), they find the system doesn't sound so good. Eventually, they either turn it way down or they stop listening to it altogether. It is so unfortunate.

In the final analysis, the Athena and H/K combo is a good one. I would stick with it. If you had different speakers, I would likely suggest another receiver that was more appropriate for whatever other speakers you had. But that is not the case here. So, to ease your concerns, take a pair of your Athenas to a H/K dealer and try them out. Also try another brand in the same store, if possible, so that you can hear whether you think the H/K makes a good combo with the Athenas. I think you will be pleased when you hear it.

Good luck!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 22
Registered: Aug-04
Hawk, thank you for such a detailed post. I'm sure now that my parents will lovge the H/K with the athenas. My wife is nevous because she is sensing the inevitable- That when I hear it at my parents, I will be on my knees begging for the same system.

Thanks everyone
 

Silver Member
Username: Rh1

Post Number: 279
Registered: Jun-04
Brian....Your wife is right unfortunately, however the same may happen to her as in my case. I love my music as much as I love my movies. However, over the past 5 years I had strayed a bit from music as my system was sub par to say the least, Yamaha receiver and Infinity speakers. Yes, you heard right, both receiver and speakers are considered bright. Hence the reason I had strayed, listener fatigue. At the time I had no idea this was the cause, I noticed that music was more enjoyable in my car (yikes). Anyway, I replaced both my receiver and speakers with a combo that works and at first my wife thought I was mad to spend money on a new system completely. Now she is the one constantly making comments on how great this system sounds and has even took a liking to the asthetics of the speakers I chose :-)

My wife is not much of a movie person and has actually become more interested since it's a completely different experience now. Just thought I'd share this with you. I hope your gift turns out well for your parents, that combo should do the trick. Good luck!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 22
Registered: Oct-04
I agree with Vols. I've auditioned the Athenas and they are quite bright, even paired with an HK.

I went with the Polk Rtis and the HK AVR430. I've never had any listener fatigue or ringing in my ears and I've pushed the reciever to its limit on several occasions for extended times.

The Polks are nice and soft and detailed. I've started browsing a lot of AV forums since my work is really slow right now and I'm surprised they're not very popular. Beautiful speakers IMO
 

Bronze Member
Username: Andyj

Van Alstyne, TX United States

Post Number: 16
Registered: Jun-04
John,
Take it from one who has this system:
H/K 330
ASC1 Center
As-F2 Fronts
AS-B2 Surrounds
Adire Rava Sub

I love to for someone to walk in when I am casually watching something on TV or listening to music at low volume. Just a slight increase of volume and the sound jumps out at you.

My son has been home on leave for the past week from the Air Force and has monopolized the system. It has been on 19 hours a day with movies, channel surfing and online multi-player war games. A much tougher work out than is normal. He says the system is "kick a$$".

Your parents ready for this?
:-)

 

New member
Username: Bable

Post Number: 8
Registered: Oct-04
H/K 330 is the best fit with energy take 5.2. I am highly recommend.
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