Harman Kardon HK 3490
Powerful and stylish stereo receiver.
- Powerful, clean amplification, great looks
- No universal remote
If you need a powerful stereo audio receiver, then look no further than the HK 3490. Teamed up with some capable floor-standing speakers it’s able to reproduce high-quality audio with no flaws whatsoever.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Harman Kardon is a legendary name in the home theatre business. The products it releases are by and large of exceedingly high quality. The HK 3490 is no different. It’s a stereo receiver that provides fantastically clean and crisp amplification, as well as a host of extra features that make it an attractive prospect.
It’s a great product to look at: a modern yet classy A/V component with a minimalist style. The clear, simple LCD screen is integrated into the fascia of the unit, with a hollow volume control wheel taking pride of place on the right side of the face. There are plenty of buttons — we counted 20 — on the front, but thankfully they are organised into a small row. The labels are difficult to read, but we don’t foresee these buttons being used particularly often — that’s what the complex and comprehensive remote control is for.
The remote control has plenty of buttons, but it isn’t a universal model like we’ve seen with other receivers. Unfortunately, this means it can’t be used with other products in your home cinema; if you’re really serious you’ll have access to a dedicated universal remote like the Harmony One anyway.
As you’d expect, you can switch between a multitude of audio inputs: two digital audio inputs (both coaxial and optical) as well as seven analog stereo inputs, including a phono input for connecting a record player. Only composite video switching is available, but this speaks to the HK 3940’s focused role as an audio receiver rather than a jack of all trades.
There are also several analog outputs and two subwoofer pre-outs, so you’re able to daisy-chain plenty more audio equipment if you have it. There is a connector for Harman Kardon’s Bridge II iPod dock, for easy playback from compatible Apple products like the iPod touch (2nd Generation). Also present is an AM/FM tuner which has exceptionally good reception; even in difficult conditions it was able to resolve a clear signal.
The HK 3490 can handle a continuous output of 120 Watts to two channels simultaneously. This is a great number, and it’s bolstered by the fact that Harman Kardon quotes its ratings with both channels driven — some other manufacturers make quotes with a single channel driven for bogus figures. The amplifier can handle an output from 10 Hertz all the way to a ridiculous ceiling of 110KHz. Human hearing rolls off above 20KHz at the best of times — so there’s a lot of head-room — but it’s generally accepted that higher-order harmonics from these inaudible notes filter down to audible levels. In layman’s terms, it’s never a bad thing to have such a high range of frequency response.
All this translates into perfectly smooth and powerful audio reproduction. Maybe it’s just placebo effect, but we did find higher-range treble notes a little clearer and brighter when played through the HK 3490 as opposed to our benchmark TX-SR805. We used a set of AAD M Series front speakers for our testing and while these are relatively cheap they were still able to uncover a few subtle differences in sound. The HK 3490 has more than enough dynamic range to power even the most demanding floor-standing speakers.
The receiver does get quite warm during its operation, but thankfully not hot enough that it needs to be placed separately from your other home theatre components.
With a very reasonable price of $799 the HK 3490 is a great proposition for anyone wishing to enjoy pure, simple stereo sound.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSystem EngineerVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)ACT
- TPAgile CoachNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPSenior Applications Support OfficerQLD
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - Wealth AdviceNSW
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - PERMANENTACT
- CCFront-End DeveloperQLD
- CCNetwork Specialist - IPAM TelcoVIC
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- CCProject Support SpecialistVIC
- CCProject Manager - Adelaide basedVIC
- FTDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Permanent - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- FTFull Stack Web Developer .NET or JAVANSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- CCInfrastructure Solution Designer - Azure/AWSVIC
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTCustomer Support/Helpdesk Support SpecialistQLD