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#142347 - 06/24/06 10:24 AM Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's
LHawes Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 71
I am no audiophile but I so appreciate all the information I've received from this forum I wanted to share my experiences.

My recent listening experiences have revolved around the inexpensive Onkyo HT-S767c Home Theater in a Box which has served its purpose pretty well up to now. Then began the upgrade train of which I find myself firmly on board.

Our room is about 15 x 20 and the first stop was of course an upgrade to Axiom M22's. They seem to sound better every day.

We also noticed we don't watch movies much, so we jetisoned the surround speakers. The Axioms were a major improvement over the Onkyo speakers which weren't exactly horrible but no where near the Axioms and as mentioned we listen to stereo music about 80% of the time.

Next stop was a new sub. We don't like big bass either but wanted to fill in the bottom end a bit so we chose a Mirage Omni S8 to replace the blubbering mess that was the original Onkyo subby. This added a lot of musicality to the Axioms and was plenty of bass for our rather quiet listening habits.

Next stop was on to find a nice 2 channel receiver or integrated amp (since we don't use the tuner either) that had plenty of power, bass management for the sub, and a great list of features.

The ONLY 2 channel receiver I could find that even came close was the Oulaw RR2150 but as you all know you can't have one. You can only go to the web site and read the review and specs - and drool.

But I wanted to begin learning about different receivers, their power ratings and general character and through a lot of research discovered the HK3480

Also learned they were available refurbished on e-bay for about $150.00. So with little to lose I purchased one (I overpayed at $165.00) and set it up yesterday. Took 2 days from Arizona to San Diego and set up was really easy, even though the manual pretty much sucked. No pictures to show set-up options, just text to guide your adventure and if I didn't have the Onkyo to disect and duplicate the hook-ups, it would not have been that easy for the rank beginner.

Got everything working and noticed what I knew was going to be the biggest limitation of the 3480 - features. No digital or coax input so I assume I'm using the DAC from the Onkyo cd player and routing that analog signal into the 3480 and no way around it I also assume. I knew going in that for $150.00 I wasn't buying features, but instead, 120 watts of power into 2 channels.

The rest of the set-up was pretty undramatic and straight forward. Then we threw in a cd and both my wife and I noticed a dramatic difference. Much better clarity and a smooth dynamic but a strange reverb kind of thing that caught my ear. Was wondering what was up then discovered the dreaded VMax feature?. Turned VMax off and it came alive.

Clear and rich and way easier to listen to than the Onkyo. The Onkyo was just loud when turned up and the HK seems to be much clearer at the same SPL which of course should come as no surprise. So even though it was no surprise it was a pleasant upgrade to say the least.

Another feature lacking is bass management. It does have a sub pre-out but no crossover management (I have read it is set at 100Hz) which doesn't seem to be such a big deal. I'll miss it one day though I am sure.

So overall much better sound, seriously lacking features, but for $165.00, well worth the effort.

The remote is also pretty weak and I SO miss the ability to adjust each channel's volume, especially the subby from the remote but will learn to adjust.

STILL want the Outlaw 2150 and really hope the features are up to an AVR's though that may be indeed too much to ask.

I imagine I'll keep it for a while and learn about Harmon Kardon's sound and character then upgrade again - perhaps to the RR2150 or to another feature rich 2 channel receiver/amp if there were to be anything of the sort appear in the near future.

The M22's seem to really like the Harmon Karden. Someone described the HK's as smooth and warm and even though those terms are so hard to quantify I really think that sums up the sound pretty well.

The Onkyo sounded pretty good but maybe a bit harsh with the M22's and we have both noticed that where the Onkyo seemed to just get loud the 3480 gets better at higher SPL's.

Another thing I have noticed is that with the Onkyo I was constantly reaching for the remote to adjust the subs output. With the 3480 everything seems to sound just right even though the 3480 doesn't have an internal adjustable crossover, I beleive it is set at 100Hz.

In conclusion the 3480 is feature poor and sound quality rich but for price it would be hard to imagine a better upgrade if somone is looking for a different listening experience. And even though it is so hard to accuse a receiver and speaker of being compatible considering all the variables, the 3480, and perhaps HK's in general sound really good with the M22's

Larry

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#142348 - 06/24/06 10:42 AM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: LHawes]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7463
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Quote:

the 3480 is feature poor and sound quality rich




I'd say that that is a more than fair tradeoff. If you like what you hear, that's all that matters.
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#142349 - 06/24/06 11:51 AM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: LHawes]
bridgman Offline
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Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6024
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I think you made some great choices there. The 3480 seems to be the "best kept secret" in stereo receiver selection and seems to be built around a very solid amplifier.

BTW, I have a slightly older HK stereo receiver (3270, I think) which also has subwoofer out but as far as I know there is no built in crossover either in my receiver or the 3480 -- the subwoofer out just gives you a convenient line level jack to hook up the sub, but all frequencies go to the jack.

Since all frequencies will also be going to the M22s, I think you would want to use the crossover on the sub to roll off subwoofer output at about the same frequency the M22s start to roll off, somewhere in the 60-80 Hz range.

Maybe check the manual re: crossover on the subwoofer out jack -- if the manual for a stereo receiver doesn't mention a crossover then you have to assume "no crossover", unlike for an AV receiver.
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John

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#142350 - 06/24/06 03:12 PM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: bridgman]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6789
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

The 3480 has no crossover feature. It sends a full signal to the mains and sub.
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Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#142351 - 06/24/06 09:37 PM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: Wid]
LHawes Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 71
Interesting comments. Was wondering how one would know that there is no crossover? No mention in the manual seems a bit non-conclusive and the manual doesn't mention quite a few things. I don't mean to challenge anyone's specific knowledge as I have so much to learn but how would one 'know' there is no crossover? Can I read about it somewhere?

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#142352 - 06/24/06 10:11 PM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: LHawes]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6789
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
How is it you have the sub set up now ?

The H/K manual does not state there is no crossover but all the sub out is on the 3480 is a second set of preouts that send a full range signal.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#142353 - 06/24/06 11:02 PM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: Wid]
LHawes Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 71
I just have an rca cable run from the receiver to the input on the Sub. Bypass on, and I just adjust the level at the sub.

The Omni has only 4 high level inputs and no outputs so I can't figure out how to run the signal through the sub and adjust cross over at the sub, other than to turn off the bypass and adjust there.

It really sounds good though even though sending the whole signal to the sub and mains is considered bad form, the blend seems to be really good. Getting it better is the whole idea of course.

I just had an idea, if I unplug the mains and listen to just the sub will that give an idea of the signal and its character - full range or not?

Larry

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#142354 - 06/24/06 11:14 PM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: LHawes]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6789
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
You should have the bypass set to off and adjust the crossover by using the control marked frequency control on the front panel.
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Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#142355 - 06/24/06 11:30 PM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: LHawes]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10621
Larry, JohnB. and Rick are correct; the extra set of sub outputs on the 3480 are simply a duplicate set of full-range line-level outputs and have no crossover at 100Hz or any other frequency. Sometimes you have to read between the lines in the manual to determine this and sometimes, like this, there's nothing even between the lines. If you want to satisfy yourself that this is the case, it's easy to do. Disconnect the sub cable from the sub; remove the jumpers on the back of the 3480 that connect its amp sections to the pre-outs; connect the sub cable to one of the main inputs. You'll then hear that main speaker playing a full-range mono output, not one sharply rolled off above 100Hz. If it was just 100Hz there would just be low thuds; despite the use of the term, subs in and of themselves can't be "musical". It's the combination of good subs playing the the 20-80Hz fundamental frequencies well and good speakers playing the upper harmonics to the fundamental frequencies that make a low frequency note sound "musical".

You may not have your setup adjusted to your best advantage yet. Although it's possible to buy separate filters(e.g. Harrisons from Parts Express)to handle bass management, with what you have now the filter on your S-8 should be switched in so that you can roll its response off. Since, as JohnB. mentioned, the M22s will be rolling off below about 60Hz, the S-8 crossover should be set for that same frequency area. Note that the 40-120Hz markings may not be very accurate, but nevertheless a setting at or just below the 60Hz mark may give good results.
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#142356 - 06/25/06 10:30 AM Re: Harmon Karden 3480 and M22's [Re: JohnK]
LHawes Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 71
Thanks john,

I may find some time to play today. I'll post any discoveries.

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