|Harman Kardon AVR 7300 Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Saturday, 01 October 2005|
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For starters, while I liked the overall appearance of the AVR 7300, I found that it might become an issue keeping it free of fingerprints and smudges. Also, I found the small flip-down drawer on the front, hiding the front AV inputs, to be a bit flimsy and possibly prone to damage. I’d like to point out that I found the external packaging box of the AVR 7300 to be a significant issue. For a flagship product, I felt by no means that the AVR 7300 was packaged appropriately.
The AVR 7300 has an internal fan to keep the Faroudja processors cool, and while I’m happy that the designers have taken the AVR 7300’s heat issues into consideration, I found the receiver still got warm to the touch. Temperature aside, the biggest issue with the fan was the fan itself. It is loud and, during even moderate listening sessions, it could be heard whirring from across the room. I recommend placing the AVR 7300 in a well-ventilated cabinet to counter the noise issue.
I took issue with the remote. It lacked the intuitive layout found on the rear of the receiver. Also, while it has a backlight option, it manages to light most of the remote’s controls without illuminating most of their labels, making it a chore to operate in the dark.
As for Harman’s EzSet feature, which was designed to make set-up a breeze, it never worked as advertised. Although I applaud the design philosophy, it failed to live up to its hype.
With an all-new format war looming between HD-DVD and Blu-ray, one thing that is certain is the need for HDMI and DVI inputs and switching. While the AVR 7300 performed very well with video and DVD sources, it in no way matched the quality of the picture I got straight from my Denon 3910 via its DVI output. I was told that HDMI switching is in the plan for the next generation flagship receiver from HK, but that doesn’t help here. While other receiver companies have multiple HDMI inputs, which allow you to flawlessly and simply switch your D-VHS deck and HD-DVR today, with room to add an HD disc player and an HD video game down the road, the HK AVR 7300 leaves you needing a switcher box.
The AVR 7300 is Harman Kardon’s latest attempt at a no-holds-barred audio/video receiver amidst some stiff competition. While the built-in Faroudja processing definitely helps propel the AVR 7300 beyond your typical Best Buy find, its lack of HDMI/DVI support keeps it from being truly state of the art. The AVR 7300 doesn’t quite pack a wallop as far as sound goes, but if your tastes lean toward the Norah Jones or Diana Kralls, the AVR 7300 may be for you. Careful speaker matching is a must, as you will want to match the AVR 7300 with at least moderately efficient speakers. There is no question the look and sound are the reason why you invest in a Harman Kardon AVR 7300. Careful consideration about future formats and how you use your theater is a must before you plunk down your platinum card.