HK 525


I have the 525 and have it just about figured out. My question is this:

I have to turn the volume up to -15 or -20 and it still isnt as "loud" as I think it should be. I have the DVD hooked up via optical. It sounds good on some DVD's and on others, I can crank it up all the way and not get to that "loud", turning head, jaw dropping ear piercing sound.

What volume level do other owners listen at? Is this some what normal? My older HK AVR 20 II old Pro Logic, with 60 watts, was louder and stronger than this one. I have the same speaker setup and powered sub that I know can rattle the walls (very clear sounding too). Dont get me wrong, it sounds good, but I have to crank it to -5 to get that kind of punch. I dont think thats right.

Help me man, I've fallen and I cant get up.

On a DVD like Star Wars I and II, it sounds pretty good at -15. On some old movies that were put out on DVD, they don't sound quite as good, and sometimes the dialog is hard to understand. For example I had to turn it up to -10 or more to watch to the Godfather, but when they blew up Mike's car it almost took the walls out.

For comparison of listening habits, I play my FM radio in the background at -35 most of the day, might need to turn it up to -30 or -25 if I want to listen while in another room. TV usually at -30 to -25. My CD player seems to require a lot less, it's pretty loud at -30

Hope this helps

Yes, that does help. Mine is like that too. I cant say about that movie though, havent heard it from this receiver yet. I can tell ya that the Lord of Rings, 2 Towers, at the first of the movie, when the ol man is fighting that thing, and they fall off that cliff, I have to crank it up there. That scene just isnt loud on my set. It seems that whole DVD requires me to listen to it at something like -10.

It just seems that is pushing it pretty hard.

Thanks, and feel free to add

How big is your room and what speakers are you using? Mine is 15x18 and I have the 525 set-up with NHT all-around, which are 86db. On both LOR movies at -20db it sounds loud and powerfull.

Ronnie, I just watched the Fellowship of the Ring last night to refresh my memory in prep for watching Two Towers. My wife is bothered by the dynamic range of the HK, so had to keep it down to -20 db so it didn't bother her. She had to turn on the closed caption to hear what they were saying some of the time, not because of volume, just poor clarity from the actors speech at times. We watched in Dolby Digital 5.1 not DTS 6.1.

I'll give you another update when I watch the second movie, and I'll watch for the scene you mentioned. I'm using a Panasonic DVD player DVD-RV32 and my front speakers are all JBL Northridge series in a small room (16 x 11).

The poor speech clarity/quality could be coming from your northridge center not the HK or the movie itself. I have no problem hearing the dialogue at -20db with my NHT.

Ronnie, did you ever run EZset or have you even adjusted your speakers? After I ran EZset, my H/K 525 woke up. It did adjust most of the channels by +5dB. Also, DTS sounds much better -- and more dynamic -- than DD 5.1. I was "hearing" the same problem as you before, but now I listen to TV at ~-30dB and Movies between -15dB and -20dB. You can look at my older review under At first, I experienced the same problems as you had, but after using EZset... it got better. Then I did alot of manual tuning and it's where it needs to be! I do not go below -15dB for anything now.

My system setup:

Room: Family Room 18'W x 20'L with 11'4" ceiling
Room: mostly box (rectangular)
Rack: Salamandar Systems - Archetype 5 )open)
Paradigm Reference Eclipse/BP (L/R)
Paradigm Reference CC-450 (C)
Velodyne CT-80 Sub
Mirage 390is (Rear Surround)
Sony NS725P Progressive Scan DVD
Viewsonic PJ-550P (HDTV Front Projector)
Da-Mat 92" Diag. Hi-Contrast Matte White HDTV Screen
(Lots of Monster connectors, wire, and Niles connectors)


The H/K is a very fine receiver, but care in the choice of speaker is a must. I would agree with Anon that the source of your problem is probably your JBL center. The H/K 525 is a very warm and laid back sounding receiver that really needs a speaker with a forward sound to get the best out of the receiver. You need something cleaner than the JBLs.

I still think I may have had a bad receiver. Although, I do agree that my speakers arent the best setup with the HK receiver. But I'm telling ya man, that older HK AVR 20 II would rock the house at 60 watts!
First off, there were many times, even on different movies, that my volume level on the 525 was -10, and that wasnt ear shattering. My "average" listening volume was at -10 !!. Even with the EZ Setup, and several different settings, I still had the same problem as mentioned by someone else. It sounded clear, and good, but when a sudden burst of action would break out, it would blow the walls down. I tried all I knew of, even the tone in, to no avail.

I am now with Onkyo 701 and I gotta say, the sound is great. I have 2 more weeks before the 30 days runs out so I am going to try many different things with it.

Back on the subject, the HK is really laid back. I really want to convince myself to get the new 630, but I still dont know.

I purchased a Yamaha 1400 last week, had it 2 days and returned it. It was laid back like the HK. Just goes to show ya, its all in the set up, and in the ears. Nothing wrong with any receivers mentioned in this thread, you just have to find that magical sound. Right now, Onkyo 701 is leading, at least with my set up and for my taste. I'm going to start another thread concerning the Onkyo and the FM radio problem I have. I think the HT Gods are frowning on me for some reason.


I am impressed. You are really doing what it takes to get the right sound for your system and your ears. I tip my hat to you and wish you the best of luck.

Howdy again folks,

Ronnie I promised you an update after I watched the 2 towers, even though it sounds like you don't need it anymore. At the beginning of the movie, there's some whispering as the camera zooms in over the mountains. Then the "old man" (Gandalf) is fighting the Balrog. This scene is actually from the first movie, but it continues with the part about what happens after they fall. There isn't any unintelligible dialog while he's fighting the balrog, he says "fly you fools" to the rest of the guys. The music and sound effects are quite loud, in fact on this movie we watched pretty much at -25 db. There's some whispering while the camera is panning over the mountains, and that part is almost unintelligible, perhaps it is because of my center speaker.

If you're watching at -10, I agree, there must be something wrong with the system you had, because it was quite comfortable for us at -25. The only thing in your setup (other than the EzSet - which doesn't control the SUB by the way) is the 3-way crossover lower limit settings. If any speaker is set too high, and the sub doesn't take over at that frequency, then you'll have a hole in the bass frequencies between the lower limit you set for any of the main/center/surround speakers, and the upper limit of the sub. For example, if your MAIN speakers are set to a lower limit of 100 Hz, and your SUB is set to an upper limit of 50 Hz, then you'll be missing all the sound out of your main speakers between 50 and 100 Hz. Similar discussion goes for the center and surrounds.

Thanks everyone for the advice on the center speaker, I agree it's a very important part of the system, and I'll likely upgrade it before long. This set was my first Home Theatre, so I'm still on the up-hill slope of the learning curve.

Thanks Hawk, its a lot of work. If the open boxes wouldve worked out fine, I would have never been down this road. I guess it was just meant to be.

Jackiewalks, thanks for the comaprison. It helps to compare.

Here comes another strange one. I couldnt change the AM/FM stations on the 701. I called CC and we went over everything. Can you beleive the new 701 was defective. Instead of getting a new 701, I elected to get a new 525. NO MORE OPEN BOXES FOR ME! Well, The reason I did this is because I wanted to hear a brand new 525 to compare to the open box. There is a world of difference between the open box and this new one. Like you said Jackiewalks, -10 is LOUD now.

I am no longer a novice when it comes to hooking up these systems in my house. Too bad they dont have zippers!!!

All in all, I want to convince myself that HK is the way to go. I am fighting hard not to order a brand new HK 630. I just havent been able to hear one yet. I assume it will be very close to the 525, at least sound wise. But I tell ya what, so far, that Onkyo 701 still sounded better to me. I have been HK for several years now, and didnt want to like any others, but the ears dont lie.


ps If any of you find a mind running around your screen, it's mine. !!!
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