|The Harman Kardon AVR 254 is the most affordable Harman Kardon receiver to feature both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding on the audio side, and Faroudja DCDi Cinema video processing to 1080p on the video side. But there's plenty more to recommend the AVR 254, including three HDMI inputs, connections for external amplifiers, EzSet/EQ technology to fine-tune your system to the acoustics of your room, and an RS-232 port for future firmware upgrades. Perhaps the highest recommendation of all? As do all Harman Kardon A/V receivers, the AVR 254 features a high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth design for maximum fidelity.|
|Product Type||Home Theater Receivers|
|Output Power||65 Watt|
|Amplifier Output Details||50 Watt - 8 Ohm - 20 - 20000 Hz - THD 0.07% - 7 channel(s) ( surround )|
|Surround Sound Effects||Dolby Headphone, Dolby Virtual Speaker|
|Sound Output Type||Surround Sound|
|Built-in Decoders||DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS Neo:6, DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, DTS-ES Matrix 6.1, DTS-ES decoder, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD decoder, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby TrueHD|
|Receiver Tuner Type||Digital|
|Receiver Tuner Bands||AM/FM|
|Response Bandwidth||10 - 130000 Hz|
|Input Impedance||47 kOhm|
|Input Sensitivity||200 mV|
|Power Consumption Operational||540 Watt|
|Coaxial Digital Input||Yes|
|Coaxial Digital Output||Yes|
|Optical Digital Input||Yes|
|Remote Control Type||Universal remote control|
|Built-in Display Type||Fluorescent|
Average review score based on 19 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
This is a temporary receiver until a new receiver I am waiting to purchase arrives on the showroom so I wanted something cheap but does the job. I think there are better receivers in the market with similar price point. I used external amplifiers but did test the receiver's amplifier for short listening session which wasn't bad. Modest amp rating is probably underrated so it should have no problem driving most speakers to moderate listening level. I've used 7.1 setup using this receiver which really puts the load onto the receiver's amplifier and sound stage seems to clip at loud volume. By using a separate amplifier did solve this problem but sound stage is not convincing at all.
Pro: Digital domain was easy to use and setup. Can rename each input to avoid confusion. Has 3 HDMI which should suffice for most users. Video processing is decent. Power output is decent for low price receiver. On screen setup is relatively easy to do and use. Front panel is easy to read and attractive.
Con: Front panel input selection is awkward and time consuming. Included microphone does not accurately determine the speaker distance and level output (check the level with sound meter). Analog stage is mediocre and not very musical. Cannot activate rear fill channel when source is automatically to detect the encoding format.
Conclusion: If you live in a apartment and want to setup a 5.1 sound system investing low budget this receiver is a good choice. Most people will be skeptical with 50 Watt power output but good 50W is better than cheap 100W so just ignore it. Simple surround sound selection will not confuse people not familiar with all sorts of surround format which is good. This receiver looks handsome and will fit the decor.
HK has removed preamp outputs from AVR 2600, the successor of AVR 254. If you do not want to pay extra for AVR 3600, AVR 254 is your best chance to hook up a high end stereo amp to an HK receiver.
HDMI compatibility is an issue with AVR 254, as it does not have a pass through mode like in AVR 3600. If the receiver does not recognize your TV, it downconverts the signal to 480p with no option for a manual override. In particular, AVR 254 is not compatible with professional 720p Panasonic plasma displays utilizing the TY-FB8HM HDMI Terminal Board. Newer HK models like AVR 3600 also are not compatible, but at least have an option to disable the video processor and pass through the signal as it is. The older models like AVR 745 were compatible with Panasonic, but had only 2 HDMI inputs.
The maximum consumed power of HK receivers stated on the back of the unit is almost a half of that in the specs. The maximum total output power cannot be more than a half of the consumed power in the AB Class. This explains why only the front channels are rated for continuous power with the rest of the channels only for peak output.
If HDMI works for you, AVR 254 is by far the best value for the money today. At this price point you would not even get into the same class with other brands. With Cirrus Logic DAC's and no double conversion for analog inputs like in most other brands, HK achieves the best balance between sound quality and today's connectivity for the price.
First off, I am writing from the perspective of a newcomer to the home audio market. I have heard many good things about Harman Kardon's products for years, figured I would try one of their receivers when I got around to building a home theater.
I purchased this system for my bedroom. I am currently using it in a two-channel format, But am planning on expanding it when I get a bigger place.
The sound quality is what impressed me the most. I have yet to really bring the system up to reference level. Even in a two Channel format, it sounds WONDERFUL!! Harman Kardon's sound quality is not overrated. I almost think it sounds better than my reciever I have set up for an actual home theater in the living room with double the watts per channel!!
The only gripes I have with it are that it can be a little difficult to program without a TV (saving for a good HD!! and only need one right now!) But once that is figured out it is a joy to listen to. I have a Harman Kardon DVD 48 hooked into it right now, and the combination is excellent for what I paid for it. I purchased both off of the Harman Audio Ebay page, and was extremely satisfied with the service of the site. All in all, an great bargain!!
I replaced a three-year-old Yamaha 7.1 receiver with the AVR-254, and I'm very glad that I did. The -254 has excellent on-screen menus that are comprehensive and easy to use. It is the first receiver that I've owned that has no analog controls at all - everything is done through on-screen menus using the remote. That seemed awkward at first but, having grown used to it, I really like it.
Processing of both audio and video signals is very effective, and there are plenty of audio processing selections available.Support from Harman Kardon has also been prompt and effective.
The only negative comment that I have is that this unit gets quite warm, so installing it in an open-topped cabinet or use of a cooling fan is absolutely necessary.
Overall, an excellent product for a very reasonable price.
This is the best receiver in its price range, period. For a mid-level receiver, this unit has features often found in higher-end models. Out of the box, setup was a snap. Directions are clear and easy to flow. The included microphone for the EZ setup made calibrating this unit a breeze. The sound is phenomenal. Crisp highs and deep lows. Plenty of power for the user looking to bring their speakers to life. The High Definition on-screen interface makes adjusting the AVRs features simple, and users hooking up multiple components (DVD, Bluray, Cable) will rejoice at the levels of customization. With support for all the newest lossless audio encoding, this model is sure to please well into the future.