If you listen to music at home--don't buy an AV receiver!

If you listen to more music than watch movies don't buy an AV receiver.

Harman Kardon

Today's audiovisual receivers are complicated things. They can be a real pain to use, have excruciatingly complicated menu systems, and many don't even accommodate turntables! Point is if you're mostly interested in playing music do yourself a big favor and buy a stereo receiver.

Like Harman Kardon's new HK 3490 two times 120 watt receiver($449). In my opinion Harman makes the best sounding AV receivers, and I have every reason to expect their stereo models to be even better. The engineers invested in a high-performance phono preamp, pre-out/main-in jacks, and high-current amplification. You also get front panel access to bass & treble controls, dual subwoofer outputs and if you ever miss surround sound switch on the Dolby Virtual Speaker processing that simulates surround from two speakers.

You can, of course, use the HK 3490 with a 2.0 or 2.1 channel home theater system.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.


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