Review Date June 16, 2009
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5
Used product for 3 Months to 1 year
This was the first new stereo receiver I ever bought. Previously I used solely vintage (and just used) equipment.
I will go through some of the bigger features ( The ones I used in depth):
Powerful, good sounding receiver that just needs a bit of breaking in to sound really good. Attractive and well built for it’s price. Features such as dual subwoofer outputs, optical and coaxial digital inputs, decent DAC, excellent phono pre, and pre-out/main-in offer many possibilities to the consumer.
The pre-amp section takes a few hours initially to sound good. I turned it on and left the house while it played for a few hours, so it was the receiver burning in, not me. From the minute or so I was in the room with it it sounded harsh feeding a older Adcom GFA-535 amp. I came back to a smooth sound similar to My Acurus L10 feeding the same amp. Switched the Adcom with the Acurus and the sound was similarly hard at first. The amp section also sounded smoother after a few hours (about 4). I don’t believe in hundreds of hours of breaking in new equipment (for the most part, took about 100 hours for my K701s to sound great). I don’t know the technical aspects of the process, all I can tell you is that this amp needs 4-5 hours of breaking in to sound it’s best.
With my vintage Denon DCD-815 CD player feeding the Digital coaxial input the sound was very good, definitely near as good as the internal DAC on the Denon (which is very nice for a mid 90s CDP lol). Expect a “warm” sound. I’m not going to comment on the “soundstage” of the 3490′s DAC or whatever, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference in this price range, All I can say is that it sounds very natural for digital and wasn’t fatiguing whatsoever.
The phono section was a great treat. With a older (80′s) Onkyo turntable hooked up it rivaled the Parasound phono pre I had at the time (“only” 100 bucks, but still very impressive that a $300 receiver that does so much equaled it). Same with a Rega P1. It did not hide any detail but still had the trademark natural warm quality to it that many well made vintage turntables possess.
The only real complaint is the volume knob seems a bit weak and bendable, but that won’t make a difference with normal use, just be careful not to bump it. It is pretty cool looking though…hard to see, but it glows all around the inner edge.
The power switch on the back is a plus, binding posts presented no problem (fairly sturdy and not too close together) and the front mounted tone controls and video game input are helpful.
It is heavy in comparison to the average crappy surround receiver, but not difficult to move unless you have a bad back (I am 17 and bench 305 so weight is subjective lol).
The dual sub outputs as I mentioned before are nice, don’t expect them to be L/R though, the output is mono (same for both, combo of both channels)
It is simple to use interface-wise, no complex menus.
The remote is attractive and well thought out. I would recommend leaving the plastic protective screen on, the glossy black plastic underneath is soft and scratches easily.
I would recommend the HK3490 to anyone looking for a non fatiguing multi-function receiver with plenty of power for most applications and a high ease of use. It is cheap for what you get. To get anything substantially better you must spend 700 for the outlaw audio receiver,after that you are in the thousands.
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