Denon 1803 vs. Harman 320...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yousaf, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    This is my first post here, so I would like to start by saying hello to everybody. Hello.

    Now to the topic at hand...the two receivers that I am most interested in (and are in my price range of $400-500) are the Denon 1803 and the Harman 320. The Denon has 80 watts/channel vs. the Harman's 55, but considering that my speakers have a relatively high sensitivity this should not be too much of an issue. Personally, I prefer the looks of the Harman and like that it has actual bass, treble, and balance knobs. Additionally, the Harman gives me more choices on the low frequency cutoff to the mains....the Denon allows 80 or 100 Hz whereas the Harman gives me 40, 60, 80, and 100 Hz. I would be most likely to use the 80 Hz setting anyway but I think I might also like to experiment with the 60 Hz setting considering that the AR15 speakers go down to 39 Hz.

    Which receiver should I go with? The Harman will end up costing $80 more but it seems to be worth it.

    BTW, the speakers I will be using on this are Acoustic Research AR15s and an Acoustic Research PR1212 sub. I will probably upgrade the system to include two more AR15s for the rear and an AR2C for the center channel.
     
  2. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hello Yousaf,

    Welcome to the Forum. I'm sure you'll like it here.

    Forget the power ratings. The Harman power is all channels driven and is conservative. The 1803 will never deliver 80Wx6 channels simultaneously. In actual practice they deliver commensurate power.

    I would go with the 320 for the following reasons:

    -7.1 pre-outs give you an upgrade path (The 1803 gives 6 channels but lacks pre-outs.)
    -greater bass management flexibility...with towers there is simply more to choose from with 2 channel and multi-channel.
    -Appearance is classy and controls are straightforward with the exception of a few remote design issues
     
  3. Aaron Whitaker

    Aaron Whitaker Stunt Coordinator

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    I just picked up a 1803 for $369 which made my decision easier. The Denon has 7.1 but no preouts. I wasn't worried about the pre-outs because if I upgrade I'll get a nicer stand-alone pre-pro anyways. The Denon remote is kind of a pain but I use my universal touch screen remote, so that's not a problem. I don't know about the 320 but the 1803 has 6-channel analog in for a sacd or dvd-a player. For $369, I couldn't be happier. [​IMG]
     
  4. mike_doyle

    mike_doyle Agent

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    I am now in the middle of the same decision.. I was set on the H/K until I went to the Denon dealer and listened to the 1803 with similar paradigms to my own. Needless to say the sales guy pushed the 1803 as being just as good as the 2802 with slightly less power.(hmmm...) I did really like the sound of this unit. I have read that the H/K is better musically though... and has a better remote... I can not listen to the H/K with my speakers anywhere...

    my setup is 3SE fronts (similar to Monitor 3{older version of the monitor 3}), CC 350 and ADP 170 with 2 15" Klipsch subs.

    It will cost me around US $100 more to get the 1803.

    Any other expert opinions?

    Yousef, did you make your decision?

    Thanks for all the great help here.

    Mike
     
  5. Jose G

    Jose G Supporting Actor

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    Yousaf, I was in a similar fix not long ago comparing receivers, not the models you are looking at, but the same brands. Paul Clarke knows his stuff and I respect his opinion. I took a listen to some Denon's and HK's and ended up with an HK because I thought it had the edge in terms of music. This is not a professional opinion at all, just my .02. Look into jandr.com for good prices on HK stuff- they are an authorized dealer.
     
  6. mike_doyle

    mike_doyle Agent

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    I just ordered my H/K 320 today. Everyone says it is better musically. I should have it Thursday. I will let you know if I feel I made the right choice then. I think I did. It was 100 less and has more upgradeability.
    Now i need to find a good 2 channel amp for the second room. [​IMG]
    Does it ever end???
     
  7. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    Thanks for the replies...

    I ended up choosing the HK 320, and I'll have it by Friday. Although I do watch a lot of movies, I really listen critically to my speakers when I am playing music, so it seems that I made the better choice in that respect. Also, even though this may be the wrong reason for picking one over the other, I REALLY preferred the way the HK looked; it just has a more expensive look to it I guess.

    I did end up purchasing through JandR. Considering that I could buy it there for $400 or a refurbished one from HK for the same price, going for JandR was a no-brainer. Out of curiosity, how much did you find yours for mike?

    And one more quick question, though it doesn't pertain specifically to receivers...I was agonizing over which subwoofer cable to buy. I know that opinions are divided on premium vs. standard cables, but how much of a difference does it make? After buying the receiver and speakers, I was a bit short on cash and just picked up a "Monster Cable Standard THX 16 foot Subwoofer Cable" or soemthing to that effect. Should I wait a while and then purchase a new one in the future, or will I not notice the difference?
     
  8. mike_doyle

    mike_doyle Agent

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    I picked mine up from the Canadian counterpart of Harman Audio.. email [email protected] They honor any price on the harman audio website.
    So I ended up paying 400 for a refurbished unit. The shipping from any US etailer was around 75 US to Canada so I decided to go with the Refurb... it has full warranty here in Canada as well whereas Harman would only honor purchases from US etailers in the US.
    I paid 685 Canadian shipped (gst incl.)to my door versus the 1399 asking price at Future shop... Half price.
    If anyone in Canada is interested in a Harman refurb email the above addy and ask for a price...
    Mike
     
  9. Modena

    Modena Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Lou Loomis

    Lou Loomis Stunt Coordinator

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    I support letting the look of the receiver factor into your decision. I mean, not if it's a fancy looking piece of crap, but that is certainly not the case here.

    I was in the same situation. Actually handed my credit card to the store for the 1803, and then learned it was out of stock. Spent the weeks waiting for it to come in to rethink my choice. Ended up going with the 320 for several reasons - abilities with music, OSD, learning remote, etc. It is quite a nice unit.
     
  11. mike_doyle

    mike_doyle Agent

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    Still waiting for my receiver...small backorder issue.. [​IMG]
    Should have it by the middle of this week.
    Will update then.
    Mike
     
  12. Greg Thomas

    Greg Thomas Second Unit

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    I just bought an AVR-320 on Friday and it's pretty awesome. Fry's Electronics had a day after Thanksgiving sale and I picked it up for $299 brand new. That wasn't a typo, $299! Circuit City refused to match the price and claimed Fry's didn't have any more left when they called. So I had to make the 40 minute drive and picked one up. The place was jam packed because of other sales and waiting in line took almost as long as the drive, but it was well worth it.

    The HK is replacing my Sherwood Newcastle 956 which is a great sounding unit but didn't have Logic 7, Pro Logic II, 5 channel stereo, DTS Neo and a few other features. Newcastle is now going on the guest room.

    I really like the look of the HK Receiver too. A buddy of mine bought a Denon 1802 a few weeks ago and it's a nice unit but I think the HK sounds better, plus has a better remote.
     
  13. Jeff Weight

    Jeff Weight Stunt Coordinator

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    I too picked up the HK 320 at Fry's for my parents. We just couldn't pass up the price and features for $299!
     
  14. Michael Webb

    Michael Webb Stunt Coordinator

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    WOW, $299! Go pick one up for me and I'll mail you the money, or was it just an after turkey day special? I'm kidding, but really not!
     
  15. joe.a

    joe.a Auditioning

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    Does any of you have HK AVR320 with JBL NSP1 speakers ?

    I was about to finalize on Denon 1803 with NSP1 and came
    across this post. HK 320 at < 400 seems to be a good deal.
    So I'm now considering to go for HK320 with NSP1.

    Any experience with this setup ?

    Thanks
    Joe
     
  16. Greg Thomas

    Greg Thomas Second Unit

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    My HK 320 is paired with Energy Take 5 speakers and the Sony sub modified with polyfil. It sounds wonderful so I'm sure the bigger JBL NSP1 system would sound equally as well if not better.

    The $299 HK 320 sale was for one day only at Fry's.
     
  17. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    If it wernt for the lack of 6 ch preouts I would have suggested the 1803. But since it doesn't I would say you are better off with the 320. Also with towers you can blend in your sub better by going to 60Hz on the x-overs. The only thing bad I can say about the 320 would probably be its build quality. I dont know about the build quality of the 320 but I surely wasnt impressed by the piss poor aluminum foil heat sinks in its big brother, the 520. I was shocked that a manufacturer of HK's league wouldn't use machined aluminum heatsinks in one of its higher end models.[​IMG]
    Soundwise and featurewise the HK is a winner. If it were me I'd take the 320 (preferably for $299 at Fry's [​IMG])
     
  18. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    Well, I ended up ordering the H/K 320. Unfortunately, I bought speakers through a crappy yahoo store and it took them 1 week to get my speakers out the door [​IMG] . Anyway, I'm just playing around with the receiver for now with my headphones since my current speakers are broken; the real test will come on friday (hopefully) when I get my new speakers...
     
  19. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    $299 for an hk AVR320, what a steal.
    Yousaf: you're gonna love that unit. Crank it up! 55 watts per channel my foot! [​IMG]
    and it's a beauty to look at too!
     
  20. Bill Griffith

    Bill Griffith Supporting Actor

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    For someone that would use this mostly for Home theater use. Would yall recommend the 320 or the 1803. I've been looking at both of these models also.

    I don't see anywhere that the 320 supports 6.1. It only lists 55W x 5 channels. where as the 1803 supports the 6.1.

    The cunfusing thing on this is the 320 says something about 6.1 discrete is this a basic 5.1 setup with a phantom rear center?

    Looks I don't care about, remote control I don't care about, 6.1 capability is a big issue though, as well as quality.
     

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