Harman Kardon AVR 500 A/V Receivers

3.75/5 (149 Reviews) MSRP : $899.00


Product Description

5 channels. Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic, Vmax, Logic7, and Theater modes. 65 W x 5 into 8 ohms from 20 Hz-20 kHz with 0.08% THD. 4 audio and 4 video inputs; front-panel A/V input; 6-channel input; 2 coaxial and 2 optical digital inputs; 1 coaxial and 1 optical digital output; S-video input and output; subwoofer output; remote-control jack. High-current amplifier design with low-impedance capability, discrete amplifier stage; low negative feedback; discrete D/A converters with 96-kHz/24-bit capability. 30 tuner presets; on-screen display; bass and treble controls; sleep timer; remote control. FM: 50-dB quieting sens 50 dBf stereo; cap ratio 2 dB; alt-ch sel 70 dB; S/N 70 dB mono, 68 dB stereo; THD 0.4% stereo at 1,000 Hz. Black


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Reviews 1 - 5 (149 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by open_book_test a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I purchased my AVR 500 a little over a year ago knowing full well of the reliability issues. I too encountered the volume problem which was repaired by H/K with a two week delay. I later encountered an issue with the sub pre-out which was fixed by H/K in less than one week. H/K's customer service rep in Canada is a pleasure to deal with.

Since having everything up and running, the system performs exceptionally. Although stereo sound is quite good, the real value of this receiver is in home theatre.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   FS (CDN)



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by johnny26 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 19, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Nice and heavy 35 pound amp. This thing has more than enough power than most normal people need. I got mine for a dirt cheap price, which was a good thing because the left surround channel made a crackling/buzzing noise in all surround modes.I had it sent to H/K for repair. When they sent it back, the problem was still there. After reading some of the negative reviews here, I have concluded that H/K must be getting a little weary of repairing avr 500 lemons.
For the price I paid for this thing, however, I am not too bitter. It sounds fantastic for both music and home theater. The sound is so warm, bass is deep tight powerful, the highs crisp and clean. The ultra-wide bandwidth amplifier can reproduce the drop of a pin to the explosion of a volcano with mind-numbing realism.With its +/- 45 amperes of high instantaneous current capability, it can drive almost any speaker effortlesly. I was watching "Twister" on DVD down in my den with a pair of 200 watt towers. I turned the volume to max, and was amazed with how it controlled the speaker drivers from distorting with its high-current power. With a receiver so powerful, it seems a waste of its endless power to use just bookshelfs and a sub, although it can make my Paradigm Titans sound like they are subwoofers. That is the beauty of high-current. It actually protects your speaker drivers from damage at high volumes.
I laugh at people who say it needs more power. This thing can pump 70 watts of continuous average power into your speakers.Most of the time only about 15 to 20 watts are being powered into your speakers at any given time with a receiver. But with this 70 continuous high-current watts, there is an enormous headroom for things like explosions gubshots, sudden loud sounds etc, that draw extra power. The peak power of this receiver is easily 250 to 300 watts with all channels driven: It chews up and spits out most budget amps, who can only muster a brief 100 watt spike a 1khz while driving a single channel.
The high-current power also allows for use with power sapping low impedance speakers. With lower resistance in a speaker, more current rushes to it, straining the power supply of the receiver. But as we know, the h/k avr 500 has plenty of power and curent to back it up, so low impedance isn't much of a problem.
I think its a good idea to use at least 12 gauge speaker cable. Perhaps many of the problems with overheating that some people were having could have been in part due to using very thin gauge cable, which stifles the receiver's ability to pump out current to the speakers, and causes it to run very hot after a short while.
The clicking sound on the volume adjustment that so many people are crying about doesn't bother me much, but I do agree the remote could be better.
Initially I had all my speakers set to "LARGE." But I discovered that when I changed the setting on the surround speakers to "SMALL" and kept the rest of the speakers on "LARGE", there was a sudden and dramatic increase in volume from the receiver. I was watching Fight Club at the time, in Doly Digital, during the car crash scene when I discovered this, and I have since discovered that the increase in volume works in all surround modes.
I also have a piece of advice for people who are using large mains with no subwoofer. When you watch movies or listen to music in Dolby Pro logic mode, put the center channel setting to small and you will notice a huge response in bass from the mains, because frequencies below 90 hz will be fed to them. This goes for a lot of receivers. I always set my center to "SMALL" in spite of its size, because all it really takes care of is dialogue, which doesn't need much bass.
I can't say I really recomend this receiver, But I think the avr 520 looks like a real killer, judging by the reviews on this site. As I type this, the 525 has just been released. It has full bass mangement on all 7 speakers.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $320.00

Purchased At:   F S



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeremy - a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 8, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I purchased a referbished unit on uBid, even after all of the horror stories about the 500. But when they worked the review from critics was raving, so I took the gamble. We I got a bad one, the right channel didn't work and because of some intense buzzing and the unit would shut down 1 min after turning on.

But...I had it sent to a repair house in Califonia and the fixed the whole thing on harman's tab. It was apparently one bad circut that was causing all of the malfuntions.

Now the thing rocks. It is amazingly clear, I am running paradigm monitor 5s and I am consitintly blown away by the natural sound. It is incredible to hear mistakes in some of my favorite recordings.

The home theater functions are fantasting although they are cumbersom to deal with. Once it is set then you are ready to roll, but that inital set up is a pain.

Bottom line, don't get on of these unless you have a real warentee and paid very little. Go for the 510, problems have been fixed and performance is even greater. I would get a 510 in a heart beat, harman put out a lemon but stood by their work.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   uBid



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Chris Siegel a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 14, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Absolute total complete piece of trash. Unit has problem after problem after problem. First it's the clicking in the rear right speaker when adjusting volume. Next is the random streaks of total distortion in anything from rears to fronts to center channel. Then we have the slow deterioration of functioning video jacks. Now all the piece of trash is really capable of is playing music. You ask, "what about HK support". They suck so bad it is truly disgusting.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $579.00

Purchased At:   Online



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Yves a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2002

Bottom Line:   
First of all, in 1999, I bought a Harman Kardon AVR65, but I had a "Humm" problem with it, when I turn on the AVR, I had Humm lines (diagonales lines) over the image on my TV set but only on some channels. Six months later I had the sound too, i.e. with the "Humming" image, I heard this Humm in all five channels... After some negociation, Harman exchange my AVR-65 for an AVR500 (my choice). Since this time it's wondefull.
The AVR500 have 32 pounds of power... 70 Watts on five channels in a 170 foot square room it's astounding. I used this AVR with Bose Acoustimass 10 speakers and Energy e:XL-S10 Sub.
With the AVR500, I have the opportunity to configure the channel gain of all five channels and the LFE channel. I can increase the strenght for 10 Db in positive or negative range. In my sitting room (theater room) on the right side I have an open area to the kitchen. This fact cause a lack of power on the right channel (because it's an open area and no wall to reflect the sound of this speaker). With the AVR500 I can increase the gain of this channel to balance with the output power of the other channels. This set up was possible for Dolby Pro logic (four channels), for Dolby Digital, for DTS, and other processing like Logic 7 C, Logic 7 M, Theater and Vmax.
The power of the AVR500 means + or - 45 Amps of High Instantaneous Current Capability. I used a 14AWG wires to connect all five speakers. Originally Bose send a 18AWG wires kit with the speakers. When I change the speakers wires (from 18AWG to 14AWG) I notice a difference in BASS response, it was stronger and deeper.
The remote control was very good, I can configure it for use with my TV set (1985 RCA), my DVD (Pioneer DV414 = 1999) and my RCA VHS (1997). For Home theater this remote control was perfect.. it's provided with built-in backlight for better legibility of the buttons in my darkened room. On this remote control, you have a OSD button, that's mean On Screen Display, you can configure all fonctions of the AVR on your TV screen.
I have a friend who own a Yamaha SX-620 (100 Watts/channels) with Bose Acoustimass 15 speakers (amplified Sub).On the installation day (at the beginning of december 2001) I try the power of this Yamaha AVR, in room similar to mine, with the volume at 80% and, my feeling is: the Yamaha was not stronger than my AVR500 ! :)))

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Futur Shop




Reviews 1 - 5 (149 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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