AVR-325 vs. Panasonic SA-HE200

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by raoC, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. raoC

    raoC Stunt Coordinator

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    what would be better for music? better for movies? i dont care for seperate zones...would that make the 325 basically similar to the panny? is the harmon underrated in wattage? only 50 watts? panny says 130 watts per channel...? is that the truth. am i paying a premium for just the name, harmon? thanks.
     
  2. raoC

    raoC Stunt Coordinator

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    sorry, also i have been reading a lot about harmons shutting down and etc. has anyone here expereinced this with there 325 or panny. thanks.
     
  3. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    HK tends to rate their amp sections conservatively.

    Power ratings are always a fun game (lots of information about this, do a search on it)... The Panasonic's spec'd output is rated at 1 Khz, 6 ohms. This pumps up the numbers a tad [​IMG]

    Conversely the HK is rated at full range, 8 ohms if I'm not mistaken. Since the Panasonic is rated at 100 wpc in STEREO mode (6 ohm), their respective total wattage is probably identical, enough that all in all there isn't much of a *significant* power difference between the two receivers.

    HK reliability issues seem to be with the x20 models. I haven't seen posts about problems with the x25s. I don't know much about the Panasonics, other than the HE-100 seems to be a popular budget choice.

    Glancing at the spec sheet, the Panasonic doesn't look like it has a full set of preouts (useful if you want to upgrade later); anything else will be harder to guess at given the lack of a shot of the Panasonic's rear. [​IMG]
     
  4. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Only had my 325 for 10 days so it's too early to say anything with pure confidence. But, it did fine with a Minority Report and Bourne Identity double feature Sunday night. No shut down, and the fan didn't even go on. The thing has been running constantly, no shut downs to speak of.

    My only comparison involves the Onkyo 494 which the 325 replaced. That thing shut down about an hour and half into a DVD.

    Jason's totally right about the wattage rating for the H/K, and their website has some info about how they rate as well. Far as sound goes, the sound is way superior to anything I've owned and it's wonderful for music.

    Personally, I'm sorry I didn't buy a more fully featured HT receiver from the start because it didn't take me long to feel the need to upgrade [​IMG]
     
  5. raoC

    raoC Stunt Coordinator

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    well, im wondering whether buying an HK is more for the name or more for the quality.?
     
  6. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    Well im not a fan of HK, i am impressed at the he100 pany...the 200 I don't know.....there are better recivers in that price range, check the pioneer, yamaha, denon, and onkyo.....i used to sell hk, and shit loads were coming back for warranty claims....not good....

    Just my 02. Of course Hk sound unbelivealbe....
     
  7. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    i'd take the HK in a heartbeat. i own the '520 and have had ZERO problems with it so far (purchased 4th quarter of last yr). if you really care about music, go HK.

    and about the wattage ratings...i'm willing to bet the HK puts out 30% more juice (and cleaner power too) than the panny. IMO, HK is the best receiver manufacturer in the sub-$1000 range.
     
  8. DanielM

    DanielM Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the panny sa-he200 I listened to the hk I liked the panny.......it does not have preouts and the remote sucks BAD but for under $400 it cant be touched I would go so far to say for under $800-$1000 it cant be touched
     
  9. raoC

    raoC Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks for your help fellas. looks like contrasting views on these two models.
     
  10. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I've had both an AVR320 and an HE200 at home. The HE200 has more power - lots more. That's not to say that the 320 didn't have enough though. In terms of sound quality, the HE200 is more detailed, the 320 is smoother and more laid-back. I still haven't decided which I like better [​IMG]

    In terms of features, the HE200 has digital audio re-mastering, which makes a subtle but nice difference on MP3 and DVD soundtracks, and a variable gain control amplifier mode which noticeably improves sound quality, but limits maximum volume (still plenty though). The 320 has dual zone (which I never thought I'd be interested in either until I tried it!) and is more tweakable (adjustable speaker levels for each surround mode). It also has Logic7 which is very nice, but I stopped using it most of the time in favour of Pro-LogicII.

    There are a few relatively minor issues I have with the HE200. First, the 'auto' input switching feature will detect a digital input, but won't fall back to analog when the digital signal stops. If you've got an SA Explorer cable set-top, this is an issue for you (the HK doesn't have auto switching at all though). Second, there is only one set of speaker level memories for channel balancing. It does a pretty good job of equalizing levels for DD/DTS/Pro-Logic, but it's not perfect and I would prefer to make it so. Finally, if you're on a digital input, the analog switching is completely off. For example, if you've got a set-top connected both by digital audio and analog audio, there is no audio output at all on any of the analog outs when you're set to digital input. So, you have to remember to switch the input on the receiver to analog before you try to record something on tape or PVR. This has tripped me way too many times! The HK doesn't have this issue as the ananlog switching is always on.

    In the end, they are both great units and as long as you know the limitations, I would not hestitate to recommend either.
     
  11. raoC

    raoC Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks john, great explanation!
     
  12. Serge Ch

    Serge Ch Agent

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    I've heard Panny 200 has very clean sound. The power rating at 8ohm was tested at 78watt. It was on my list but yesterday I bouhgt refurbished Harman Kardon 7000 for $540 rated at 110 real watt, that's the money you would pay for Panny 200 in my local store.
     
  13. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    Love my HK 320 haven't had any problems for the year I've had it.
     
  14. raoC

    raoC Stunt Coordinator

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    been a long time since i replied to this post, but its been a long time since ive reported in i guess. the panny has held up perfectly and i have it set up with fluance sx-htb and audiosource sw15. it is an amazing budget system, reccommend it to anyone considering hometheater for under 1 grand.
     
  15. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Panasonic (and Technics, same company) have always had great amplfier sections IMO. From what I can tell, it seems their engineers sacrifice certain "fluff" features to make sure the things that actually make a real difference (power, better-than-average reliability) are allowed to remain.

    And I used to sell Technics, Pioneer, Sony & JVC components for three years and played with all of them in-store, and talked to many owners of all these brands, so got a good real-world education on what's real and what was just slick marketing.

    While others may disagree, I do believe different amps have different sonic signatures (there are SO many different ways to build an amp circuit!!) and IMO Panasonics lean toward the bright/analytical side. Others may characterize this as harsh or cheap sounding--to each his own (conversely, certain warm-sounding amps sound dull & uninvolving to me). Compared to my previous "smooth" Pioneer receiver, my Technics SA-DA8 receiver reproduces more detail, has quicker & more powerful bass and just sounds cleaner overall. To be honest, there is a downside to this higher accuracy: badly recorded CDs and vinyl now sound really badly recorded because the Technics is reproducing everything better, not just the music! This includes analog tape hiss, tape edits, microphone distortion effects, etc. But the flipside of higher accuracy is well-recorded CDs & vinyl sound awesome. It all balances out.

    And if a CD sounds really crummy, and since usually it's the high frequency crumminess that is most noticeable, I just give the treble knob a twist and that can really help to make the disc more listenable. And at least on my model, the treble control's "center" point is all the way up at 20kHz. This is so it doesn't mess with the very important midrange frequencies. And the bass control is all the way down at 50Hz, useful for controlling "tubby" bass on many rock/pop recordings (my Pioneer's control is at around 120Hz which just made the music more boomy or less boomy--usually not real helpful).

    And lastly, most of the time Panasonic/Technics amps are very good at handling low impedance speakers. As I've mentioned here before, I have operated two sets of speakers at the same time (one pair 8 ohms (my Bostons), one 6 ohms (my buddy's Infinity's) which the Technics operates in parallel**, meaning the amp "saw" a load of less than 4 ohms. I played a 311 track ("Come Original") at 75% full volume & did not activate the reciever's low impedance mode while doing so and I let it play for exactly two minutes. During this time the lights actually dimmed slightly in time with the music--kewl! Anyway, nothing happened--the reciever just kept playing cleanly at denture-loosening levels. I chickened out though after those two minutes passed by and stopped my little test as I was satisfied my "lowly" $350 receiver was designed pretty damn good.

    And one more thing: Panasonic/Technics receivers really CAN have some really sucko remotes--I blew 50 bucks buying a SA-DA10's remote so I could get a decent one (& it still didn't have a button for the phono input--arrgh!).

    ** operating a pair of speakers in series is safer for an amp, since the impedances add together (6 ohms + 8 ohms = 14 ohms) but this can also cause problems with all the speaker's crossovers--internally they are wired in parallel--and this can possibly cause funky frequency response variations. How to tell if your receiver is a parallel type: If you only have one pair of speakers connected, push the "B" speaker button. If the "A" pair remains playing, it's a parallel connection system.

    Readers of my posts know that I don't care about glitzy-but-useless features, hence my attraction to Panasonic's stuff. I like NAD, Arcam and McIntosh equipment too for this same reason. My next large receiver though ($800 range) will most probably be a Yamaha.

    LJ
     
  16. David_Stein

    David_Stein Second Unit

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    are you sure that the technics just didnt use a pair of surround amps to power the B speakers? i know with my old onkyo if you had the B speakers on then you were limited to Stereo mode because it would use the surround amps to power the B speakers.

    also, just a clarifcation (though it only makes your story more impressive). an 8 ohm and 6 ohm speaker in parallel is actually 1/(1/8+1/6) which is (24/7) ohms, or somewhere just below 3.5 ohms.
     
  17. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Well, you got me on that one David. You could be right about the surround amp thing. When I try to use "A" and "B" speakers together, the receiver locks out any 5.1 modes. I assumed it did that because otherwise it would be trying to power seven speakers at the same time.

    And the fact my receiver has a built-in bi-amp capacity makes your theory sound pretty plausible (the "B" outputs are for the low frequency part of a bi-ampable speaker)

    Time to experiment again.

    I directly connected--in parallel--the Infinity SL30s (two-way with ported 6.5" woofer) to the banana plugs on my Boston CR9's (two-way with ported 8" woofer) to 100% ensure the amp saw the intended resistance load. And again, the "Low Impedance" mode was OFF. I again played "Come Original" for two minutes at 75% full power (sorry just can't risk burning something out using 100% power--no job yet). The receiver kept playing normally and cleanly. For good measure, I stuck in Thievery Corporation's Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi and played track six--a very bass-heavy song, more so than the 311 song--for one minute at 75% power (put clucking sound here [​IMG]). Again no problems. The cooling fan sure was blowing though! And as far as actual loudness is concerned (if my 75% figure was off) the sound level was so loud in my apartment living room, to hear a person standing next to me they would have had to yell directly into my ear.

    Whew, what a relief. :b

    Obviously if these speakers were large floor models with dual 10" woofers I'm not sure what would have happened. But I'm satisfied with the reciever's performance anyway.

    Whew!

    LJ
     
  18. Gus Smith

    Gus Smith Extra

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    I had a Technics SAX 930, it was good for the price but it in know way compares to the sound of my HK 525.

    These units are in different leagues and I'm actaully glad that the Technics (Panny) died after only one year of use and that I was able to upgrade to the 525.
     
  19. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    If you like that "warm" sounding characteristic, go HK, but "warm" does not equate to accurate. Listen to live concerts and you will find that it sounds more like "bright" than "warm". I prefer my equipment to reproduce music accurately to the extent possible. For example, I have seen enough postings here about Sony ES receivers being "bright" and/or "forward sounding". It sounds fine to me. So if the HE200 is "bright", I would probably prefer it to the HK325. Bottom line, I think this is a subjective thing, depend on your taste. Unless, you insist on "accuracy" over your own taste.
     

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