2.1 Receivers Yamaha R-S500 vs. Harman Kardon HK-3490 - diyAudio
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Old 22nd December 2011, 05:21 PM   #1
ODougbo is offline ODougbo  United States
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Default 2.1 Receivers Yamaha R-S500 vs. Harman Kardon HK-3490

Does anyone have any experience with 2.1 receivers?

The HK is less $$ and has a digital/optical input.

The Yamaha has good reviews. Which would be the best buy?

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-R-S500BL-Natural-Stereo-Receiver/dp/B0044779GI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324577299&sr=8-1


http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-Receiver/dp/B00198F89A/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1324296991&sr =1-1
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Old 25th December 2011, 08:12 PM   #2
T2T is offline T2T  United States
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I actually bought the integrated amplifier equivalent of the Yamaha S-500. The integrated amp version is the A-S500 (model #.) I received mine about 2 weeks ago after trying very hard to use a home theater receiver for a 2.1 configuration. I just couldn't do it. The home theater receivers didn't bring me joy - and, believe me, and my wallet, I've tried almost every brand out there.

The integrated amp features a continuously variable "loudness" control that helps to keep your music frequency constant at lower volumes. Being one who grew up through the 1970s, I was very familiar with the "full" sound of the receivers of that era, which is what I tried so hard to achieve. Also, being in a basement setting, meant some drawbacks when using a subwoofer - because less slam could be achieved than if I were using it on the main level of my home. So, I've essentially given up on watching movies through a home theater system for the time being in favor a 2.1 system for music. I have Monitor Audio RS6 speakers and an Acoustic Elegance subwoofer. The sub has a crossover that can go as low as 30Hz. Sure, I'm running "double bass" with my speakers at full range + some of the sub. However, with the Squeezebox feeding my Yamaha A-S500, I am finally quite content. The Yamaha integrated amp also has a motorized volume control - just like Bryston and others. Kind of a nifty feature.

If you're serious about such a setup - and you don't need the receiver, consider the integrate amplifier itself. What turned me onto this Yammy was kind of a coincidence. I had been buying up some vintage Pioneer and Sansui receivers when I came across a Yamaha RX-496. It is a stereo receiver with similar power, but from 2001 / 2002. The one I bought didn't have the remote with it. But, from an auto audio store, I did buy a speaker out to line out converter, which converted the "B" channel to a line out capable channel. I initially used this to send a signal to my sub, with great results. I liked it so much, I was digging around with Yamaha's current products and found the new integrated stereo amps and their 2-channel receivers. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I thought that market was dead and gone. So, I hopped on the amp instead.

I see you're in Maryland - not sure which part. I live in Northern Virginia. If you're interested in seeing how the amp performs, get in touch with me. Also, the RX-496 that I have is available for sale with the speaker out to line out converter for $80. A new remote (Yamaha) for this receiver can be picked up off of eBay for $21.00, including shipping. The sound is almost, if not the same as my amp.

Enjoy!
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Old 26th December 2011, 06:41 AM   #3
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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Can't directly comment on the R-S500 but I recently bought a R-S700 and it's a cracker. Been a real surprise and exceeded my expectations and makes me wonder why I did over a score of DIY amps. Reminds me of the great receivers from the 70s.

I do have other receivers such as a Yamaha RX-396 (which is a bit forward but great fun) and a NAD C730 which doesn't have the drive or life of the others even though tonally it's very good.

The R-S700 gives very little away to my NAD C162 + AKSA 55N+ + BAKSA 55 and in fact, they will be sold off as any advantage in sound quality is minimal at best. I still use a Yamaha HT amp for HT use and will use the other for music.

I've tried the sub output from the R-S700 and works well. The user manual has little information on it but the service manual shows it's fixed at 90Hz with a 12dB filter and works with the volume control even though the overall gain can't be adjusted. That would have to be done in the sub amp module.
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Old 26th December 2011, 08:37 AM   #4
ODougbo is offline ODougbo  United States
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Thanks T2T,

Didn’t know Yamaha had a HT integrated model, is it only 2 channel? One would think it would be 3 or 5 channel. The receiver model is $50 less, so that is also a surprise; maybe the integrated model has more watts.

My friend (who is in southern MD) and I thought the Yamaha probably does have a good sound quality; the HK appears to have more features.

“rabbitz” brought up a good point (thanks) the sub-out is already filtered, so “sending” a 90hz signal to a sub woofer crossover; say 50hz – 180hz may not work correctly, probably end up with a “thumpy” subwoofer sound – I bet this happens to installs all the time*.

My dad likes his HT also, he has an Onkyo receiver, it has two subwoofers out. I couldn’t get any umph out of one of them, so the choice was easy, used the one that worked. I opened the manual, the subwoofer “out” section was vague, why can’t they just tell you e.g. <80hz I could take a generator and volt meter over there and test, but as rabbitz mentioned, if there is no way to adjust it, no point.

*If somebody could go into more detail about filtering the bass signal “twice” I am sure a many folks would like to know.
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Old 26th December 2011, 09:34 AM   #5
T2T is offline T2T  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitz View Post
I've tried the sub output from the R-S700 and works well. The user manual has little information on it but the service manual shows it's fixed at 90Hz with a 12dB filter and works with the volume control even though the overall gain can't be adjusted. That would have to be done in the sub amp module.
I was trying to find a service manual for free on the Web, but ran into issues and various hoops that many sites made me try and jump through. I wanted to see if the 90Hz filter applied to the integrated amps, too. I'll keep searching in this regard.

@ODougbo,

I can't answer to the filter on the integrated amp. At the moment, I'm only using the sub with the filter on the subwoofer itself set to 45Hz or so. Yes, Yamaha really makes a 2-channel integrated amplifer with a sub out. No additional channels, etc. Actually, you can connect a B-set of speakers at the same time and drive the A, the B or both sets at the same time - according to the manual.

I found my as a "B" stock item off of eBay. The box was marked as "B" stock, but was a new box, professionally sealed by Yamaha or the company doing the refurbishing. Also, above the serial number on the rear of the component, it also has an additional label indicating "B" stock, but it is pristine. I paid $289, with free shipping... making this a real no brainer for me.

The retro look is pleasing - very pleasing. Also, on the integrated amp, you only have two very small amber LEDs that are on and not obtrusive when listening in the dark. One is for the power and the other is for the input selector. That's all.

Additionally, the rear speaker terminals are a bit more professional over what we're used to seeing from a product in this price league. They are the clear plastic connectors with silver contacts.

Also, Yamaha makes a 2-channel integrated that sells for $2,499 (MSRP) if I'm correct. The same company that sold me mine has that offering for about $1,199 and free shipping as a "B" stock. The weight jumps from about 22 Lbs. to 45 Lbs. when going up to the top.
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Old 26th December 2011, 10:12 AM   #6
ODougbo is offline ODougbo  United States
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T2T,

Jumper jacks would be nice, then you could run the sub’s plate amp down and back up to the “pre out – pre in”. I did that with a Luxman R 117, it was very pleasant sound/setup.

I saw a review on the RX 496, they say something about a “work around” sub out, I have no idea what that would be.

Thinking about the Onkyo, maybe the sub-out that seemed too weak was filtered, so to answer my own question, maybe “double” filtering won’t even work.
Again the Onkyo has a second sub out that seemed to work fine; just curious if it was filtered.
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Old 27th December 2011, 07:09 AM   #7
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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I had no issues with double filtering of the sub out from the R-S700. I used an Oaudio BASH 300W and had it set to 60Hz 24dB slope for my setup. Using the direct by-pass was too high a crossover point for my situation. It's handy to have a variable phase control in the sub amp.

Most HT amps filter the sub out or use the full LFE channel so the sub amp does not have to have filtering applied. I have my HT sub set to by-pass the internal filtering.

The only Yamaha integrated stereo amps I know that have a sub out are the A-S500 and A-S300.

I've attached a block diagram of the in/out on the R-S700 which has some additional items over the R-S500..... such as: CD direct with it's own volume control, Zone 2 pre out with it's own source selector / volume control, external split pre out / main in (coupled via a link). Other than those, the R-S500 should be the same.
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Old 27th December 2011, 09:28 AM   #8
T2T is offline T2T  United States
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Originally Posted by rabbitz View Post
The only Yamaha integrated stereo amps I know that have a sub out are the A-S500 and A-S300.
Yes, and it also seems that the amps above the A-S500 level also don't include the variable loudness feature either. To me, that feature has been a real gem to have. To be able to use that feature has meant more music enjoyment for me at lower volumes as opposed to having to push the volume level to get some appreciative sounds from the amp.

Though I haven't read the owner's manual for the receiver, the R-S500, I suspect they have an option for turning the subwoofer on or of. In doing so, if it is set to "ON", then the crossover of 90Hz would apply and that would be the area of break between the sound sent to your main speakers and the sub. I'm not sure if the receiver has a setting to run your mains at full frequency with the sub connected which is considered as "double bass."

I do know, though, that my A-S500 integrate amplifier doesn't have any such controls for the subwoofer pre-out. I believe it is "live" 100% of the time. There are no settings in the setup of the integrated amplifier to turn it on or off. From the standpoint of the A-S500, it is essentially an "old school" set up, which I'm sure many could appreciate.
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Old 27th December 2011, 09:37 AM   #9
T2T is offline T2T  United States
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Originally Posted by ODougbo View Post
T2T,

Jumper jacks would be nice, then you could run the sub’s plate amp down and back up to the “pre out – pre in”. I did that with a Luxman R 117, it was very pleasant sound/setup.

I saw a review on the RX 496, they say something about a “work around” sub out, I have no idea what that would be.

Thinking about the Onkyo, maybe the sub-out that seemed too weak was filtered, so to answer my own question, maybe “double” filtering won’t even work.
Again the Onkyo has a second sub out that seemed to work fine; just curious if it was filtered.
The "work-around" that they are referring to is using the crossover control on the subwoofer itself. In the case of the RX-496, you would run your L and R speaker wires to the subwoofer inputs. You would then use the subwoofer outputs, or speaker outs, to run the wires to your main speakers. This would mean that you would adjust the initial crossover point and sub volume level from the subwoofer itself, then things would be controlled (main volume, etc.) from the receiver itself. The other way that I've come up with is using the speaker out --> Line out converter designed for many car audio applications. Many people in car audio only have speaker out connections and not necessarily line out connections. The device I have, cost $20, and does that job for you. This ensures you are running a full frequency to your main speakers and just a signal to your sub. At the subwoofer level, you control the crossover (just the frequency level and below) that you want it to play as well as its overall general volume level. This is essentially the same way that they've implemented it in the A-S500 integrated amplifier.
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Old 28th December 2011, 05:54 AM   #10
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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Originally Posted by T2T View Post
Yes, and it also seems that the amps above the A-S500 level also don't include the variable loudness feature either.

Though I haven't read the owner's manual for the receiver, the R-S500, I suspect they have an option for turning the subwoofer on or of.
All the amps from A-S700 down (as well as all the R-Sx00 series) have the variable loudness control. I agree that it's a great feature for low level listening and heaps better than a fixed loudness button.

The R-S700 and R-S500 doesn't allow for the sub output to be turned off.... it's live all the time.
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