To be fair, it IS rather strange to feel compelled to write a review for a discontinued product which i have owned for more than 5 years now... I hope though this might still be useful for someone out there... As some of you may be aware in strict 'audiophile' terms a stereo receiver (tuner+amplifier in the same box) might not be everyone's idea of 'proper hi-fi' - even for the budget sector. I bought this unit on the spur of the moment, and regreted immediately that I hadn't instead looked for one of the higly reviewed amplifiers from NAD, Marantz or Cambridge Audio. I got stuck with it though due to lack of funds (yeah it's been THAT bad...) but have had the chance in the meantime to audition units from the above mentioned brands, plus Sony, Kenwood or others. Thus I have come to realize that the old'n'cheap receiver from HK had not been such a bad deal after all...
Indeed it took some time to come to appreciate this humble machine - not only because I compared with other similar products - but because it needed some time to break in (I don't understand why but 'breaking in' is a real concept after all).
To cut the long story short - this amplifier is no masterpiece; it has its clear weaknesses and it's better perhaps if i start with these.
This is no warm amplifier - its character is quite 'shouty', meaning the midband is slightly forward and aggressive. Conversely the bass is not as strong as with other competitors, nor is the treble very smooth or silky. This gives the amplifier (especially before the breaking-in period) a somewhat rugged, shouty sound. To make things worse this cannot be rectified through the tone controls as the treble control seems to amplify the upper midband sector at the same time.
In any case no one expects a 300 dollar receiver to be smooth and warm - so the above mentioned weaknesses are not all that surprising.
There are pluses however - even unexpected ones. Despite its shouty character, this unit paradoxically has a very refined sophisticated sound. The sound is airy, and the soundstage extends well beyond the speakers. There is space between instruments, and music flows in a 'spacious' atmospheric manner. That 'airy' character on its own made me rate the HK above other more famous amplifiers when auditioning those. Another plus is the very powerful, dynamic sound; that 'high current capability' claim from HK is not a joke. The power reserve brings several benefits to music, like good timing, good transients and the amplifier never sounds out of breath. The midband may be forward but its transparency is very rewarding indeed.
The conclusion is that given a good source and (especially) a good recording (more and more rare to find these days) this unit sound WAY beyond its price tag. It bring an airy, atmospheric, transparent sound sound that has no place in this price range. This paradoxical 'shouty' yet transparent, rugged yet refined sound has been mentioned I think before in another review (on some specialist site) and of course it may make it very frustrating if one thinks that with a little tuning this could have been a perfect amplifier. But it seems that for that extra effort and good-will one has to pay loads in this world... As this unit is however, it may still prove immensely rewarding IN THE RIGHT SYSTEM. Meaning if paired with a good source and with warmer (not bright) speakers this amplifier can generate a very accurate, detailed, precise, dynamic sound. I have it paired with a pair of KEF Cresta2s and, as those are slightly bright speakers, the combination is not that perfect. However even as it is I prefer it to boring 'bass and treble without midband' budget systems; going for the 'safer' sound isn't always a good idea.
I picked up the HK3270 mainly for its low TIM distortion power amp design as well as the bonus of flexibility in operation. With the separate independent A/B speaker switches you can quickly hook up two pairs of speakers for A/B speaker comparison, or you can easily establish a bi-wiring connection without having to use the integrated bi-wire cables.
The pre-out/main-in loop enables users to use the receiver as a power amp. If you have a pre-amp that you like very much you can still use it with HK3270.
The power amplifier section is seriously designed and well built, and it gives very good sound, detailed, balanced, musical, and with excellent sound field definition. It handles and controls both my Mission speakers and Axiom speakers (both are bookshelf type) very well under all sound volume levels. There is no surprise with the FM reception, sensitivity is more than enough for where I live - I got my FM through the TV cable, noise is very low, human voices are true and vivid, and it beats my kenwood receiver in extention at both high end and low end of the sound band.
The unit came with a slight 60Hz transformer hum, common in HK receivers. I heard lots of such complains from HK receiver owners, not only 3270, but 3370 and 3470 also. It's not easily audible in the day, but once your room is quiet or when you listen to classical music, it's noticible and annoying. I had to modify the mounting structure of the transformer by putting in some isolating foam and using rubber gromet on mounting screws to stop it.
When the tuner is tuned to a station, you can hear it even if you switch to CD or tape. The crosstalk isn't perfect, though I don't see it bothering me so far.
The tone control can not be bypassed, though I never use it. I finally spent a weekend modified the pre-amp/tone-control circuit and made it a flat response 14db gain pre-amp.
I noticed during my modifying the unit that all signal coupling caps used within the pre-amp PCB are polar electrolytic style, though the DC voltage across the caps is zero. This is IMHO a design fault, as polar electrolytic caps are supposed work at a bias of certain DC voltage, and on the other hand, it is bi-polar electrolytic caps that should have been used in such zero DC places.
Overall, HK3270 offers a lot of value for its price, and especially a sound quality in the class of a decent integrated
I just received the HK3370. My trusty 100W Yamaha A-1020 blew a capacitor after 13 years.
The home-theatre-surround-sound-bells & whistles-marketing glitz gadgetry in the consumer cattle pens didn't impress me. All I wanted was something like my old integrated amp, with a phono in (yeah, I'm THAT old), main in/pre-amp out for my EQ (4KHz hearing loss), CD, and two tape in/outs. At a resonable price. The 3370 was the best bet.
Some reviews mentioned poor sound until after "breaking in." I was a radio/electronics bench tech in the military and afterwards for a SATCOM manufacturer. Found this "breaking in" bizarre. There's "burn-in" at the factory for quality-assurance testing. Either it meets specs after burn-in, or can be aligned into specs after burn-in, or doesn't ship. (Trust me...I measured and tweeked all these specs on the bench everyday for over 4 years. I'm warped!) Things will definitely drift out of spec over time, but never seen anything drift INTO spec if it was aligned properly in the first place!
I was right. Hooked this puppy up to my Klipsch Heresy speakers and what a clean sound. Been a joy to play with it the last week. Just what I wanted... all the right ins/outs and it was $100 less than the ole Yamaha was 13 years ago.
One more thing...I studied music in college before joining the military, and I'm very pleased with the sound quality. Rock, Jazz, Classical, Folk...all sounds good. Of course, the EQ helps here. But the audio into the EQ has to be spot on, and it is.
If you're looking for a no-nonsense receiver/integrated amp, with a phono input and main-in/pre-amp out for an EQ, that sounds great, I recommend this puppy.
Oh, even my ole LPs sound better...who'd of thunk it?
This is a review of the HK3370. I bought this to replace a 100W/ch Sony receiver that I stupidly fried. Frying it was a blessing in disguise, because after hooking up the HK3370 I felt that I'd never really heard stereo the way it was meant to be heard. I've always owned mass market products, and went for power and volume, not quality.
I did a lot of research before selecting the HK3370, and this site was a great help. I considered an NAD integrated, but didn't want to invest in a separate tuner, didn't want to invest in a product that I could only obtain repairs on by shipping it out (I can get HK service an hour away), and, while I appreciate that the point of stereo equipment is the sound, I'm a visual artist and did not want to look at NAD's battleship gray box. The HK3370 is very attractive, yet simple, not overdone like receivers that attempt to do everything but make espresso.
I'm in a rural area and attached to TV rabbit ears antenna FM reception is fine. I haven't had the volume past 9 o'clock in a 12 X 12 room. Sounds great at low listening levels and over headphones. Cabinet gets warm but not hot, but I wouldn't take a chance and put it in a space where air circulation wasn't ample.
Before I had it I used the Sony to drive Boston Acoustic A40 bookshelf speakers and an Advent passive subwoofer. The improved sound quality of the HK3370 made me realize that the subwoofer was making music sound muddy, so now I just use the A40's. Someday I'll add a powered sub. I'm also thinking of buying Axiom bookshelp speakers to replace the A40's.
Other equipment: HK FL8380 CD changer, Sennheiser HD580 headphones, and I replaced 18 guage Radio Shack cable with 12 guage cable bought from Lowe's and it makes a huge difference. (I'm not convinced that brand name cable makers make better cable, and I do know that the consumer pays for their ads.)
I am very pleased with the HK3370 and would recommend it to anyone who isn't ready or interested in investing in pure audiophile equipment. I emailed HK prior to purchase; I described my listening space and my needs and asked if they'd recommend the HK3370 or the higher watt, higher priced HK4370. I got a fast reply and advice that explained why the cheaper receiver would work fine for my situation. I called twice since my purchase with questions and each time got a knowledgable person on the other end very quickly, and got the answers I needed. I have gotten nothing but automated replies when emailing Sony, and after waiting 15 -20 minutes on the phone, got an operator who was 100% useless - hadn't a clue where I'd find a fuse in a Sony receiver.