ronrex
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Harman Kardon
ohfourohnine
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Rex, it's simply true that you can't go home again, it's not there. If you could listen to that same HK equipment in the same room today, it probably wouldn't measure up to your memory of how it sounded the first time. That said, today's market is full of equipment which will provide you with better "sound" than was available from almost any manufacturer twenty years ago.

What happened to HK? I don't know in any detailed sense, but, simply put, the firm has abandoned what they were trying to do twenty years ago in favor of doing something else. They think their new goals will produce more profits and they're probably right. Potential buyers like you who are looking for really good sound aren't as numerous as you might think.

Given that HK of twenty years ago is your reference, you're not likely to be looking in the mega-bucks category. Your music source is probably digital. If those assumptions are correct, try to hear the following: Arcam, Naim, Paradigm, Spendor, Rega, Musical Fidelity, Epos, Harbeth, Marantz, Music Hall - the list goes on and on.

The Rotel demo you listened to disappointed you. Good equipment can suffer from a bad demo. It happens all the time. Find another place to listen, and keep doing that. You can buy really great sound today from about $2000 (CD player, Integrated amp., Speakers, Cables and interconnects) and from about $5,000 for that package you can beat the socks off most anything that was available back in 1985.

If you want to confirm or correct my suppositions of what you mean by a "...really good stereo..", and give us some idea of your budget, I'm sure several of the folks here will come up with some more specific recommendations.

Welcome to the forum. Happy shopping. Let us know what you find.

CECE
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www.harmaninternational.com Pro stuff of excellence, they bought up all the pro brands AKG, JBL pro,Crown, DBX, so many good brands, they ain't consumer anymore. Some neat stuff

mrlowry
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Rex

I believe that you might be experiencing a psychological phenomena which name escapes me at the moment, where memories change over time. For example everyone who was above a certain age thinks that they can remember everything that was going on around them the day that Kennedy was shot. The idea being that the experience is so emotional that every last detail is etched permanently in out brains. When the Challenger shuttle exploded psychologists endeavored to study this phenomena. They found a large number of people the next day and had them write down every detail that they could remember about that day; where they were, who they were with, what they were wearing, etc. etc. Then they followed up and asked them to do this 5 years later, then again 10 years later. The findings were quite interesting, people

CECE
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Crown and Harman Pro are a step beyond McIntosh. PRO. JBL PRO, not the JBL consumer stuff sold in Sam Ggoody at LIST PRICE, like the Advents where priced fixed, they all got in trouble for that stuff 30 years ago. AVA STILL makes the best mortal priced stuff all things don't always get worse.

59mga
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Quote:
JBL PRO, not the JBL consumer stuff...

How right you are, DUP. I had picked up a pair of small JBL "professional" studio monitors and connected them to a Yamaha int/amp. The sound is amazing - much better than the JBL Studio L880s I listened to at mass market appliance store.

Scooter123
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Harman Kardon's "golden age" was actually during the 70's. Back when they were producing the Citation line of equipment. My very first decent "stereo" rig was a Harman Kardon 330B paired with a set of Advent 2 loudspeakers. The turntable was a cheap Technics with a tonarm that had real habit of chewing up Vinyl. When I bought that reciever I can still remember that the shop insisted on demonstrating that the amplifier was capable of producing 18 watts per channel, 3 watts higher that it was rated for. It was a good sounding system and served me well for a good 10 years. In fact I still use that 330B as a tuner.

As for here and now, I just went thru the selection process. My choice was an NAD C-372 Integrated Amplifier combined with a set of PSB Image T-45 Towers. It's a damn good sounding system. Cost was probably about equal on a dollar adjusted basis to my original system. In 2006 dollars it was about 1600 bucks.

I would suggest that you totally skip the "Big Box" stores. The simple fact is that what you see there is produced to sell at a specific price point and is designed for the most "mass appeal". Which means it's basically junk with lots of "bells and whistles". BTW, while you may find some of the same brands in the Audio stores, you won't find the same models. Brands like Infinity, HK, and probably Sony basically market 2 different lines of gear, the consumer junk and the "good stuff". You won't find the "good stuff" in the Big Box stores because it costs too much and lacks the excess "bells and whistles" that the mass market loves so much. You'll also find brands like Harman Kardon has gear at a real Audio shop sells for a LOT more than what you see at the "Big Box" stores and sounds much better.

Finally plan on spending more than you may like. Quality has never been cheap and still isn't.

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