Harman Kardon AVR520 A/V Receivers

AVR520

Harman/Kardon AVR520 7.1 Channel Audio/Video Receiver

User Reviews (68)

Showing 1-10 of 68  
Knucklehead   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 01, 2008]
Strength:

It has more than enough power to drive everything I'm asking it to. It delivers great sound. If you can find one on Ebay, get it!

Weakness:

The setup is a PITA because of the remote, but only because I have to be so close to make it work. Must be a weak signal.

I've owned this receiver for more than 5 years now, and know it very well. In that time the only problem I've had is the quirky remote. Its range is limited, so thankfully I don't have to do setup much, I use the same remote that I use on my HK 3480 two channel receiver. Music just don't sound right on more than two speakers, IMO.

I drive 4 JBL E50 Northridge 3 way speakers for the corners, a JBL C-Center center speaker and a JBL E150P sub. The sound is incredible. I love to play the first few minutes of the Lord of The Rings where the ring is cut from the finger of the Dark Lord. It shakes the whole house as it vibrates outward. Incredible sound!!!
I've played it on my HK3480 (120 wpc) with two Infinity IL-40's and the JBL E150P with close, but not quite the same results. Power isn't everything.



Customer Service

Never have had a problem that needed them. I hear they are pretty good.

Similar Products Used: So many Sonys and Kenwoods, I can't remember then all. I've sold all of them except the STR D1015 I use in the bedroom for some decent sound. Marantz, Sansui, Pioneer, Onkyo,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
FutureShopAssociate   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 09, 2004]
Strength:

overall sound Vmax HDCD decoding component video switching

Weakness:

no amplifier for 6.1/7.1 section (not a weakness, just a limitation) no DD ex volume nob issues that happen to almost all HK's: when u turn it down manually sometimes the volume shoots up! colour coded speaker connections :S (wierd! reminds me of a sony home theatre in a box) i can live with that though.

All round beautifuly designed reciever. music and movies sound very detailed at either low or high volumes, and the 5 channel stereo function is great for parties when you just want it loud. This is the second reciever ive ever purchased which replaced my technics SA-DX830. cosmetics are great! I love the charcoal and champaigne colours aswell as the colourful display. If you only own 2 speakers, Vmax is awesome! ive only used it once or twice because i have a full speaker compliment but its by far the best 2 channel home theatre experience ive ever had! in a good room sitting in the sweet spot theres little difference between DD and Vmax. 6.1 and 7.1 decoding... wtf no built in amplifier for the suround back speakers! That was honestly my only dissapointment with this reciever, aswell as the fact that there is no dolby D EX. HK seems to fall behind with surround decoders every year :S this model is no longer in production and has been replaced by the AVR 525. the 525 has been replaced by the 630. both the 525 and 630 are equipped with the amplification for all 7.1 channels but the downside is that they use cooling fans now. and the 630 has a totally new look which i dissaprove of mainly because of the fact that it doesnt match up with my other HK components. Bottom line is ; if you come across a 520 for around 800 canadian its a pretty good buy, just bear in mind u need an additional ampifier for 6.1 and 7.1:S

Similar Products Used: AVR510 AVR520 AVR525 AVR630
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
442   Casual Listener [Sep 27, 2003]
Strength:

Good power. Lots of different music modes and features.

Weakness:

Quality.

After 1 1/2 years of use I am not terribly impressed. I have been without my reciever for a total of two months due to it being in for repairs of the same problem. The last time I got it back it worked for 18 hours before shutting itself off. I spent a lot of time eliminating all external possibilities before taking it in for repair. I expect better quality from a unit in this price range.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
philip shelly   AudioPhile [Jul 03, 2003]
Strength:

The processed sound is very good. If I did not listen to music on a CAL Icon II PB, tube preamp, tube amp, and DQ20s, I might be ablepraise the 520 sound more lavishly. The 520 makes DVDs and digital cable sound really good. It appears to me to be well built. Options. The 520 is certainly a great way to listen to movies. I am not able to hear any significant drawbacks to the processed sound, and with this 520 I am using unheralded Dahlquist Profiles and lamp wire for cables. Things could always be better, but probably not at the 520s price. Also this thing looks good, and best of all, my wife likes its looks and sound as well.

Weakness:

The FM seemed to have a thin sound. This could be because of my reception. sacd processing would be nice. The analog amplification does not seem to sound as good as the 520s own processed sound.

The 520 is a great machine. It processes very detailed very quiet sound. The detail can give it a laid back feel particularly at lower volumes. Higher volumes will make the music grab you. There is a lot to learn on the 520s operation, which I haven't learned. I am running only two speakers. The sound processed by the 520 is much sharper than the analog input amplified by the 520. With an optical input from a denon dvd 1600, the movies sound great. As with music, you'll note the difference in the source quality. A THX certified or Super Bit dvd will sound much better than a other less carefully remastered discs. The same is true for cds. You need to be careful to input from the dvds the correct sound track for the speakers that you are running. Running a 5.1 signal into the 520, when you are powering only two speakers will obviously cut out aspects of the soundtrack, and cause what seem to be fluctuations in volume as the signal is "moves" the sound among only two of 6 intended speakers.

Similar Products Used: none.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jason4774   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 17, 2003]
Strength:

Nice rich, dark, smooth, and powerful sound. Onboard decoders work wonderfully. Preout/Main-in's for all amplified channels. Has ample power for full range tower speakers (in stereo mode)

Weakness:

Only 5 channels of amplification. No Dolby EX No analog pass-through for any inputs except the 6/8 channel input.

I found this receiver at Circuit City for 500 bucks, so decided to take the home theater plunge. This receiver mates well with my NHT 2.5i's, with a dark and rich sound that counters the often top-heavy sound of the NHT's. DD and DTS decoding are far superior to the onboard decoder in my Sony DVP-NS755v. On-board DAC sound smooth and competent, especially with HDCD disks. 6/8 channel inputs let me finally hear SACD in gloriful surround sound. This is the way Dark Side of the Moon was supposed to be heard. Also offers a ton of flexibility with mating my sub with my towers. The sub setting L+R+LFE with the selectable 40/60hz crossover setting allows the sub to help out on the lower register of music, while the floorstanders maintain full range sound. No, this receiver is not the last word in audiophile nirvana, but it sure sounds good. It's sound is rich and powerful, as opposed to the overly detailed receivers I've heard in the past. Runs pretty warm, so give it some space to breathe on the rack. In stereo mode, the internal amps have more than enough current to run my power hungry NHT's, without a sub. Placing something small and heavy on top of the case helps the sound become smoother, and replacing the stock preout/main in jumpers with something like the Audioquest Jumpers brings out more smoothness and detail, while eliminating some of the harshness to the sound. A good power line conditioner helps smooth out the sound even more. The Monster HTS2000 works prety good. The Richard Gray Power Company works even better. No, there's no DD EX, but there's DTS ES, NEO 6, Pro Logic 2, and best of all, Logic 7, which is the best matrix surround decoded I have ever heard, period. I use it in 5 channel mode only, so the absense of EX is not a worry for me. VMax is a nice add on feature for people starting with only two speakers, and works better than anything I've heard like it (it kills the 'spatializers' on DVD players) The user interface and manual leave much to be desired, but the receiver's capability more than makes up for that. At retail, this receiver had alot of stiff competition, but it's sound would have won alot of fans. At the prices these things can be had for now, it's the best bargain for a budget minded HT enthusiast. Use some good speakers, with good wire, and you're in business. There are better receivers out there, but for five hundred bucks, I doubt you'll find anything that can hold a candle to this receiver.

Similar Products Used: Denon 3200/3300 Onkyo 777
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
dynaudio_rules   AudioPhile [Mar 17, 2003]
Strength:

Very good all around esp HT, pre-amp is great. Remote is great with marcos and learning. Look is great, sound is clean with air, depth and very good bass as well as very good detail in movies and music. YOU WILL HEAR THINGS YOU NEVER HEARD...for sure. The pre-amp section is on par with any mid priced pre amp on the market

Weakness:

None

Very, good pre-pro section...would be on par with any on the market. Everything works fine, sounds great for DD even as a dedicated pre-amp. Imaging is great, with air and depth to music. Just a little thin on the mid-base vocals but the +'s far outway the -'s, in fact the thin mid-based is most likely due to my cables.

Similar Products Used: Sony, Yamaha, Classe pre-amps, Audio Research-pre-amps, Anthem pre-amps, Adcom (junk)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
joneg   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 16, 2003]
Strength:

Great sound!!! good power

Weakness:

lack of amp on the extra 2 channels (7.1) just 70 x 5, the new 525 70 x 7.

Hey it's the HK Fan again, I took the plung! and went from AVR 55, 65, 300,510 and now 7.1 Doby Digital AVR520, I want to say it has outstanding souund, in stereo and in Doby Surround. I will say this I was wanting to buy the lastest but HK decided they change the front-panel buttons to that ugly-silver-gray. Doesn't match my current setup, being gold and all. 85watts in stereo is plenty at +-45amps.

Similar Products Used: Yamaha audio/video, kenwood, pioneer
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
flanger   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 10, 2003]
Strength:

Great sound, can play HDCD format from digital stream, build quality.

Weakness:

Little delay when reacting to PCM stream from digital inputs,subwoofer output filter(40-120Hz) should have ability to set "off".

Bought recently AVR5500 - this is european analog fot AVR520. Price shown above in dollars,these things are more expensive in europe.It took a long time to make a right decision,but now I can say - almost great deal. Using CD player's digital output I can get most from my CD's and I discovered that I have some HDCD's in my collection. This HK reciever can play HDCD stream from CD player's digital out. But there's a little unpleasant thing with digital streams when playing CD's that have pauses or silence beetwen tracks (and usually they have) - reciever can't react as fast as necessary to get PCM stream when next track begins after pause or silence. Then beginnings of the songs are sometimes cutted off... Some CD's are OK but some aren't. Maybe this is usual problem with such digital connections? Surprisingly the remote is not so bad and useless I've read before from some reviews - after "teaching" this learning remote I can use it to manage all my audio equipment.

Similar Products Used: HK3370,some AKAI
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
pablox   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 27, 2003]
Strength:

2 channel stereo

Weakness:

Every thing else especially quality of build!

Purchased from J and R Music World at the special sale price of $499.00 and right off the bat I have to say this is the worse purcahse Ive ever made from them. First off it was obviously a repack which they didnt say and I ve never had that experience from them , ever! Second the damn thing didnt work out of the box. In only worked in 2 channel stereo. In the other modes, vmax etc. the sound flitered in and out. Sure that I had done something wrong in my over 1/2 hour setup I re-read the worse manual ever written for the american consumer and redid the set up steps. Ssme results. This turkey is going back. Id like to say that in 2 channel stereo the sound was marevelous. My search continue for a resonable upgrade to my sony str da 777es. I think I will now try the denon 1803 or 3803 and see if i can suffer through the remote.

Similar Products Used: pioneer vsx 811 (terrible in 2 channel stereo)Sony 5560 (just as bad in 2 channel stereo), denon 3802 (award winner for worse remote ever in the history of audio/video), sony str da2es ( an es in name
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
tulegit   AudioPhile [Feb 27, 2003]
Strength:

Fully configurable 7.1 pre-outs and 5.1 main-ins allow for additional amps DTS ES discrete logic 7 6/8 channel direct inputs high current power beautiful looks

Weakness:

no dolby EX

This is the best AV Receiver, period. It is fully configurable. It has 5 channels of amplification but 7.1 processing. This enbles you to add additional amplifers to complete your 7.1 system. As with most AV Receivers, the avr 520 is awesome in home theatre, but only above average in music. If you truly want high quality stereo music, you can't get it from most receivers. But the AVR 520 lets you add your own amps to power which ever speakers you want. You can chose to add a small amp to power the surround backs or add a high end amp to power the fronts. Most other receivers with 7.1 processing, come with 7 channels of amplification, and if you wanted to add additional amps for your fronts, you essentially waste 2 channels of power. With the AVR 520 you don't have to pay for any extra channels that you won't be using. I added Denon monoblock amps (POA 4400) to AVR 520 to power AAD C series speakers and the sound is phenomenal. From music to movies, the sound quality is nothing short of spectacular. The AVR 520 has 6 channel input for DVD Audio and even 8 channel input for future formats. The AVR 520 has one short fall. No Dolby EX. However, it does has DTS ES and this decodes Dolby EX just fine. Although it officially can't decode Dolby EX, with DTS ES, you're really not losing anything. Overall, this receiver does everything I want a AV receiver to do and more. You'll be hard pressed to find a receiver with these functions.

Similar Products Used: Kenwood 505 Pioneer VSX 810 Denon 1803 Harman Kardon 525
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 68  

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