Okay so here is the deal. I have a HK 3480 receiver and a AVI 200 MkII integrated amp (both Harman Kardon products) so I sent HK support a message.
It said, paraphrased, "Which is a better two channel amp, aside from power otuput? I'm just referring to 2 channel listening."
Now, I know we're talking 75watts versus 120watts. And it's probably a sit down and listen to see which seems like a better amp. Heck, technically speaking they probably both suck balls compared to anything good. But I thought hey just for the heck of it I will mail HK and see what they say.
To which I responded:Hi Steven,
Good morning and thanks for your inquiry. Both the HK 3480 and AVI 200MKII are great units...But on the other hand they are completely different units and there really is no way to say which is the superior unit. The HK 3480 is a stereo receiver and the AVR 200 MK II is a surround sound Integrated amplifier. In the end, if you are looking just to have a stand alone stereo receiver for listening to music, in my opinion the HK 3480 would be my choice out of the 2 units. If on the other hand you were looking for basic analog surround sound, the AVI 200MKII would be an excellent choice. I don't feel that you would be making a bad choice on any product.
Sounds reasonable, right? So this was there comeback:Well, this is for listening in stereo. Two channel. At lower volume levels, not trying to shake the windows out of the wall.
I know the HK 3480 has more power, but from looking at the spec sheets all I could tell was that the AVI has a much higher frequency response. True, it is outside the range of human hearing, but it would seem to indicate there must be something about the design of the amp/pre-amp which may indicate a better design. Also, the AVI has a circuit to bypass the tone control section of the pre-amp.
The AVI also has much better slew rate, and a shockingly better rise time. While HK doesn't specify damping factor, I would almost guess the damping factor of the AVI would be much better than the 3480. But I don't know, maybe the damping factor is better on the 3480. Each channel will be driving two 7" woofers, so damping is important given the mass in question.
Also, even though the AVI 200 mkII is rated at ~2/3rds the power output of the 3480, the HCC shows +-40amps for the AVI where the 3480 shows +-45amps. It seems like this would indicate the AVI 200 is a "higher current amp" watt for watt than the 3480. This would indicate, to a layperson like myself, higher quality transformer and higher quality output transistors. But being a non engineering type I know I could be misconstruing things.
But you are saying that (not taking maximum continuous power output into account) you feel the HK-3480 is an overall better amp for driving two channels?
Of course I realize specifications don't tell the whole story, and I understand you probably have more in-depth knowledge of what the differences between them beyond what is listed in the specifications. I certainly don't want it to sound as though I have come to any conclusion the AVI is a better amp, because I know I don't really know anything. Specs can lie just like statistics.
I just want to be sure you are saying this based on actual knowledge of both products, and a solid understanding of the engineering differences between the two. What is it about the HK-3480 you feel makes is better than the AVI ??
Well this seems to me the equivalent of saying a four door yugo is better at carrying four people than a 2-door Honda Accord, because the Accord is generally designed for one or two people, and the Yugo is generally designed to carry four people. Once could of course say it is also like saying a 4-door Accord is better at carrying four people than a 2-door Yugo for the same reasons in reverse. One statement is wrong, and the other right, using the same reasoning.Like I said in my previous reply. The 3480 and AVI 200MKII are two completely differnet products. Current for both products are different because one is for 2 channle and the other is for 5 channels being driven. In the end, if you are looking for 2 channel listening the 3480 is your best bet out of the 2 units.
I just have no confidence this response is based on anything other than "one is a 2 channel amp, one is five channels, therefor the 2 channel amp is better for hooking up to two speakers"
Does anyone else feel this response kind of lacks?