Harman Kardon’s AVR 460 is a really nice 8 channel AV receiver that provides a lot of functions for those who want the complete home theatre experience. It combines great audio and video processing with a whole lot of other neat extras such as iPod and iPhone connectivity, automated speaker setup and lots more. We’ve already had the AVR 147 for a while now and it’s a killer receiver, but this one’s a more high-end device, so we obviously expect a lot more from it.
Design and Performance
I’ve always felt that Harman Kardon’s products are a class apart from the rest; and it shows right from the packaging to the finish of the product. The AVR 460 has a very classy looking, understated design that really works well. The entire unit has a metallic finish and is quite heavy; however, the sturdiness of this receiver more than makes up for its weight.
The front of this AVR 460 has a few buttons such as Setup, Info, Surround Modes, etc. These buttons will be barely used, as the remote does all the work for you. As for input, you will see a composite connection, a USB slot, optical in and coaxial input, as well as a headphone jack, which also serves as the input for the setup microphone provided for the automated speaker setup function.
Not as complicated as it looks
At the back, you might get a little intimidated with the amount of connections provided; but fret not, as the ones you will use are very simple. The AVR 460 has almost everything you could want as far as input and output options are concerned. These options include three HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, an Ethernet port, Harman Kardon’s proprietary Bridge III iPod docking station, four optical inputs and three coaxial inputs to name a few.
I found the most interesting feature to be the automatic speaker setup choice, which uses a proprietary technique called EZset/EQ to calibrate speaker settings such as delay, crossover point etc. This function is really easy to use, and will automatically setup your speakers according to how you’ve placed them. They’ve also provided a manual calibration option, but I recommend that you use this only if you know what you’re doing. I must point out though that even the AVR 147, which is Harman Kardon’s budget model, has this function so it’s nothing extra.
The auto-calibration function
The AVR 460 has a few options when it comes to surround sound modes, video modes and audio effects. Surround sound modes included are Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6 and Logic 7. Harman Kardon has also provided separate settings for movies, music and gaming, as well as virtual surround and 2-channel, 5-channel and 7-channel stereo. But I’d use those only if I didn’t have a killer home theatre system. Of course, if you can’t be bothered with choosing settings for yourself, you can just let the receiver do it for you with the Auto Select function.
Another attractive function that the AVR 460 has is the programmable remote. With this remote, you can control up to eight devices including the receiver itself as well as your iPod/iPhone. The manual includes a list of popular brand codes, which you will have to punch in; and once you’ve done this, you can start using the remote as a universal remote.
Mommy remote and baby remote?
The AVR 460 also provides a multi-zone function, where you can setup another home theatre system in another room altogether. This is a really cool function as you can now have a separate setup in two different rooms of your home. Harman Kardon has provided a separate connection for this function called Zone 2. There are various ways you can setup this system, such as connecting an external amplifier to the Zone 2 outputs or connecting the remote room’s speakers directly to the surround back or Zone 2 outputs. However, only analogue audio sources are available to the multi-zone system.
I really liked the way the AVR 460 performed. Each of the channels delivers 85 Watts of power, and the sound quality is sublime, with superb clarity; the lows are well pronounced and the mids and highs seem to be well within control. This receiver even plays music really well, so it can definitely be termed as a versatile device. The AVR 460 is also really loud, but be warned, as you will hear some amount of distortion if you pump it up over 0 dB. But then again, you’ll probably go deaf if you listen to music that loud for a prolonged period of time
Elegant at all angles
When it comes to movies, the AVR 460 is absolutely brilliant. I popped in our test disc, and it played back everything beautifully. The colours seemed to be out of this world, and the black levels very great as well. This AV receiver also does justice to sound reproduction, as everything was crystal clear even when the volume was pumped up almost all the way. The ambiences seemed surreal, the dialogues crisp and clear, and the way the swords clanked against each other in the battle sequences was fantastic. Of course, the fact that I was using the LG Infinia 55LX9500 TV and the LG BX580 Blu-ray player added a lot of value to the experience.
The only problem I had with the AVR 460 is the remote and menus. The remote is the size of a child’s arm, and felt a little too bulky in my hand. Some might even feel that it’s a little complicated to operate. The menu is pretty simple to use, but lags a bit. I actually had to press certain buttons a couple of times to make something work, which is really annoying.
Menus - easy to use, but a little slow
The AVR 460 is not cheap; it costs Rs. 74,990, but this kind of money has to be spent if you want something this good. So if you have that kind of money to throw around, I would definitely recommend this product. Match this AV receiver with a killer set of 5.1 or 7.1 speakers, and get ready for a veritable treat.
I give this product 4 stars, as it truly does stand out from the ordinary. Like I mentioned before, the only problems I had with the AVR 460 are the remote and the menus. I am not taking into consideration the fact that the sound distorts at super-high volumes, as those sound levels are deafeningly loud. So if you have a home with a nice TV and love music and movies, the AVR 460 could just be the right companion for you.
Published Date: Jan 05, 2011 04:39 pm | Updated Date: Jan 05, 2011 04:39 pm