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Harman Kardon AVR 1700 Review

By Sean W. On Jan 2, 2013 4
4.5 out of 5 Rating

OVERVIEW

The Harman Kardon AVR 1700 is the latest in the company’s line of A / V receivers. The AVR 1700 was built to be rich with features that meet today’s needs as well as deliver the sound quality that Harman Kardon has been known to deliver. Besides being a 5.1 receiver with support of the latest digital formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, the AVR 1700 can also be hooked up to a network and stream audio from computers.  It has integrated Airplay streaming and houses a USB port on the front for direct connection of an iOS device like an iPad or iPhone as well as system upgrades. The AVR 1700 also supports the vTuner protocol giving direct access to the online radio streams for those who are looking for an alternative to traditional over-the-air radio options. Power-wise, the AVR 1700 will power two speakers at 100 watts per channel and 5 speakers at 95 watts per channel.

AUDIO REVIEW EXCERPT FROM THE LTG SHOW #133
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UNBOXING

The AVR 1700 comes with a universal remote control that will control set top boxes, cable boxes, TVs, Blu-Ray players and more. It also comes complete with an AM antenna, a FM antenna and a measurement microphone. The FM and AM antennas are the wire type and plastic type that usually are included with most receivers and the reception is dependent on location of the antenna as well as where you live from the radio source.

FEATURES
“The AVR 1700 is surprisingly light, weighing less than 13 LBS. yet the build quality is good, on par with other comparable products.”

The physical dimensions of the receiver are comparable to other Harman Kardon products but slightly more shallow, measuring 18 inches by 6.5 inches by 14 inches. The AVR 1700 is surprisingly light, weighing less than 13 LBS. yet the build quality is good, on par with other comparable products.  The volume knob has been recessed into the body of the receiver and has a glowing white light that outlines the shape.  The front buttons are invisible to see from a distance which is great for aesthetics, but it makes it necessary to really look hard to see what the buttons do. The buttons are for controlling the important functions of the receiver like selecting source, changing surround mode, selecting the digital input, tuning the radio and more.

A USB port and another set of audio inputs are hidden behind a small removable plastic cover on the front bottom right of the receiver. The rear of the receiver houses the 6 HDMI inputs, HDMI output to TV, a RS-232 connector, master power switch and the analog I/O.  The speakers terminals are of the large twist type but they are very close together.  This makes attaching large speaker cables without a banana style connector very difficult.  The internet connection on the receiver is the standard ethernet port that accepts a CAT 5 style cable.

SET UP

The setup of the receiver is relatively painless but may not appear as such with the limited instruction manual that is included. The setup can be performed in the more traditional way of button presses and reading the front of the receiver but it is a much better experience to use the receiver’s on-screen-display. Setting up the receiver involves setting speaker distance, volumes and crossover points.  Using the included microphone will make this part a simpler experience as the receiver will send test tones through the speakers at varying volumes to even out the speaker levels evenly for the listening position. This is a very loud test and it might be better to leave the room and let it do it’s thing.

Any of the HDMI connections can be assigned to any of the labeled inputs (Disc, STB, Server, etc) and these can be changed in the menu. The HDMI output is not a “pass-through” output, meaning if all the video is wired to run through the receiver, when the receiver is off, the video will shut off. There is not a way to shut off the receiver yet have the video still pass through to the TV set. The HDMI outputs are HDMI v1.5 giving the receiver the ability to pass along 3D video content.

EASE OF USE / EXPERIENCE

The sound quality of the AVR 1700 is excellent. It doesn’t matter what is played through the system, whether it be movies, music or video games, the sound quality was always clear yet punchy and powerful. This is even more so for Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD content and most so with uncompressed PCM audio, as those formats really shine through the system.

The receiver defaults to an Auto-Select surround mode which will work for most people. The receiver also supports virtual surround, 2 channel stereo, 5 channel stereo and varying options of music and movie specific surround modes. These modes can be selected via the front of the receiver or via the remote control. There isn’t a “surround mode” button that cycles through all the modes on this receiver, though. Each of the surround modes are broken down into “like” groups. For example, if you want to use the 5 channel stereo mode and you’re on the auto-select option, then you have to scroll down to stereo, then within stereo pick 5 channel stereo. The modes are arranged like this on the on-screen-display as well as the receiver’s front display and grouping them like this may inadvertently hide the fact these features are present in the receiver.

“The remote codes are on the online instruction manual that is available on their website but it’s a strange move to not include them with the receiver.”

The AVR 1700 comes with a universal remote control that will control most current devices including cable boxes, TV, DVDs and more. This remote will control the basic functions of these devices but not the most specific so this remote can not be considered a complete replacement. What is not included are the codes for programming the remote.  To program the remote, there is the option to auto-search the code but that is a futile way of doing it. The remote codes are on the online instruction manual that is available on their website but it’s a strange move to not include them with the receiver.

SOFTWARE

The AVR 1700 is a network capable receiver.  On the back is an ethernet connection for a CAT5 cable for connection to a internet router. The receiver will auto-configure to the network or it can be manually configured with all the standard networking options. Setting this up will give access to the DLNA features of the receiver, which can allow audio from a computer or even a DLNA enabled phone to play though the system. This is a really cool feature but the navigation is extremely basic and limited to just folders. The navigation through the folders in the receiver’s menus is a very slow process and is not pleasant to the eyes in any way. The sound from the networked audio, on the other hand, is excellent.

The AVR 1700 also supports Apple’s Airplay feature. This allows instant connection of any audio playing from iTunes to play from the receiver.  For warning, the AVR 1700 volume control is disabled in this mode as the volume slider from the iOS device or iTunes becomes the master volume. If you have the volume on full when you start Airplay, the volume on the receiver will raise to full and most likely distort and blow speakers. What makes this more exciting is that Airplay can also turn on your receiver, so do not accidentally activate Airplay as the receiver will turn on and match the volume of the the device.

Available is a iPhone and Android remote control app for the receiver for phones on the same network. These apps control all the important functions like input selection and navigation for the receiver.  This is helpful if you misplace the remote but it is still much faster and easier to use the included remote. Harmon also is giving registered users a media manger software that can be used to stream content to the receiver if non is available on your computer.

WRAP UP

The Harman Kardon is an excellent modern day A/V receiver with great sound.  The amount of HDMI inputs and the 3D pass through will make this receiver a good fit in many home audio systems.  Making it DLNA compliant with the vTuner and the RS-232 connection expands the use of this receiver into more professional settings in a good way, and this was done without loosing the basic features like analog inputs, analog outputs, composite video connections and a headphone output on the front.  Navigating the network features is slow when using the DLNA features, but Airplay works as advertised, even though one should check the volume in iTunes before activating it.  The AVR 1700 is a great product that covers most needs of people, delivers excellent sound quality and contains great features.

avr1700

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THE GOOD, THE BAD, ETC.
  • Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD
  • Compatible With 3D Video
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Networking Features
  • Airplay Disables Receiver Volume
  • Sometimes Receiver Will Not Connect to Network
  • Included Instruction Manual Is Extremely Limited
AT A GLANCE
Model No: AVR 1700
Type:
Manufacturer:
Price: $499
Other Stuff
Features: General Specifications



Multichannel Power (all channels driven) 95W per channel, two channels driven @ 8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz, <0.07% THD

Power Consumption (full power/idle) 260W

Transient intermodulation distortion (TIM): Unmeasurable

Power Requirement 120V AC/60Hz

Audio Specifications



Surround system adjacent-channel separation: Dolby Pro Logic/PLII: 40dB Dolby Digital: 55dB DTS: 55dB

Output Level/Impedence (ohm) 1Vp-p/75 ohms

Distortion (Mono/Stereo) 0.2%/0.3%

Signal-to-Noise Ratio (dB) 38dB

Frequency Range (MHz) 87.5 – 108.0MHz

Usable Sensitivity (IHF) 1.3?V/13.2dBf

Selectivity (±400kHz): 70dB

Frequency Range (kHz) 520kHz – 1720kHz

High Instantaneous Current Capability ±34 amps

Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Mono/Stereo dB) 70dB/68dB

Stereo Separation @ 1kHz (dB) 40dB @ 1kHz

Input Sensitivity/Impedence 250mV/27k ohms

Signal-to-noise Ratio (IHF-A) (dB) 100dB

Distortion (1kHz, 50% mod): 1.00%

Input Level/Impedence (ohm) 1Vp-p/75 ohms

Usable Sensitivity (Loop) 500?V

Stereo Power 100W per channel, two channels driven @6/8 ohms, 1kHz, <1.0% THD

Selectivity (±10kHz): 70dB

Frequency Response 10Hz – 100kHz

Connectivity



HDMI Version with 3D

HDMI 12-bit Deep Color 12-bit Deep Color

HDMI Input / Output 6 Input / 1 Output

Video Specifications



Video Frequency Response (Component Video) 10Hz – 8MHz (–3dB)

IF Rejection (dB) 80dB

Image Rejection (dB) 80dB

Television Format NTSC

Dimensions



Depth (in) 13-13/16″ inches

Depth (mm) 350mm

Height (in) 6-1/2″ inches

Height (mm) 165mm

Weight (lb) 5.8kg

Width (in) 17-5/16″ inches

Width (mm) 440 mm
GALLERY

 


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  • Rob

    Great reciever. Sounds Amazing. Network options and USB seal the deal on this one… not to mention 6 HDMI inputs!

  • PoPo

    “Losing”. Not “Loosing”.

    • Michael

      Great article. Never mind the spelling troll

  • @swenlin

    Thanks for this. Read the article and listened to the review (Um… why does the one guy sound like he’s making a racket in the bathroom – that was kind of annoying). I can’t believe this receiver has been out as long as it has, yet there are so few in depth reviews that talk about the actual sound. It’s nice to hear a practical review that’s discussing hands on experience as opposed to just regurgitating the spec sheet. I’m currently struggling between this and the AVR 2650 to replace my ailing AVR 300.