Harman/Kardon AVR 125 review: Harman/Kardon AVR 125

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Above-average sound; very high-quality digital-to-analog converters; six digital inputs; Stereo Direct analog-bypass mode; two-year parts-and-labor warranty.

The Bad No A/B speaker switching; lacks phono input; no onscreen display.

The Bottom Line This receiver offers a glimpse of high-end sound quality for a real-world price.

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Amazingly enough, budgetary constraints don't hamper the performance of Harman Kardon's overachieving entry-level receiver, the AVR 125. This superb-sounding unit offers a host of new features, including higher power output, a Stereo Direct analog-bypass mode, and other refinements--at no increase in price over the model that it replaces. Amazingly enough, budgetary constraints don't hamper the performance of Harman Kardon's overachieving entry-level receiver, the AVR 125. This superb-sounding unit offers a host of new features, including higher power output, a Stereo Direct analog-bypass mode, and other refinements--at no increase in price over the model that it replaces.

Entry-level receiver with high-end sound
The AVR 125 is HK's least expensive receiver, but the company didn't scrimp on build quality. Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS 5.1 surround decoding are handled by the sort of leading-edge, 192KHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converter that we usually see in more expensive components. Fussy audiophiles can bypass the converter by selecting the Stereo Direct mode for external analog sources, an option that most comparable receivers don't offer. The high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier section incorporates discrete output devices; power is rated at 45 watts into each of the five channels.

OK, HK deleted a few standard features, such as a phono input, component-video connections, and A/B speaker switching, but the six digital inputs and the fully adequate video/audio connectivity options should satisfy most buyers. There's a set of analog inputs for hooking up a DVD-Audio (DVD-A) or a Super Audio CD player. Front-panel digital and A/V inputs are ideally situated for gamers and video-camera users, and the color-coded speaker connectors should reduce the possibility of mixing up cable hookups. We also loved the AVR 125's easy-to-use front-panel-mounted bass and treble controls.

The receiver lacks an onscreen display, so we relied on the unit's front panel for information. Luckily, everything about the setup procedure was easy to understand and fairly intuitive. If you have large left- and right-front speakers, you may want to take advantage of the AVR 125's Advanced Digital Bass Manager, which allows you to send the LFE/subwoofer channel signals to the front speakers in addition to the subwoofer.

A quick note about the remote: The slender, preprogrammed clicker is partially backlit, and its different-sized and -shaped buttons are nicely organized.

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Where to Buy

Harman/Kardon AVR 125

Part Number: AVR-125
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Output Power / Total 225 Watt
  • Response Bandwidth 10 - 100000 Hz
  • Color black
  • Additional Features pink noise generator
  • Functions AV receiver
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Type AV receiver