New flagship receiver
Harman/Kardon has announced the introduction of its top-of-the-line AVR-8000 audio/video receiver. The THX Ultra certified AVR-8000 includes built-in MP3 decoding, THX Surround EX, Logic 7, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS-ES Discrete and DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 channel processing, DTS Neo:6, VMAx 3D Virtual Theater and a host of additional refinements. The AVR-8000 features 192kHz/24-bit audio capabilities using a pair of Crystal DSP processors and high-resolution Analog Devices DACs for the highest quality audio playback possible. In addition, the AVR-8000 will upconvert the digital signal from most CD players for dramatically improved sound quality.
Logic 7 is a sophisticated DSP system that provides multichannel reproduction from matrix-encoded and two-channel stereo recordings, while the VMAx Near and Far Mode Virtual Theater audio processing provides a method of producing realistic, high-fidelity 3D surround sound audio with just two speakers.
The AVR-8000 utilizes high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifiers and delivers 100 watts into each of the five main channels (20Hz-20kHz @ 8 ohms, less than 0.08% THD), or 110 watts in stereo. Preamp outputs are provided for the additional surround back channels delivered by the new 7.1 system. Harman/Kardon's Advanced Digital Bass Manager enables the LFE channel to be routed to the left and right front speakers, as well as the subwoofer. It also employs a fourth-order low-pass filter, rather than the more commonly used second-order filter.
The new EzSet remote includes a built-in sound pressure level measuring and calibration system that enables the user to automatically balance speaker channel levels for optimum sound listening. In addition, when connected to any computer with a compatible S/P-DIF or a USB computer with H/K's own software, the receiver will decode MP3 or "streaming media" programs. The AVR-8000 includes HD-compatible component video inputs, selectable input/output front panel jacks, S-Video down-conversion to composite, multi-room audio and video with separate remote, on-screen menus, AM/FM tuner, discrete 7.1 inputs and much more. The AVR-8000 will be available spring 2001 at a suggested price of $2199.
Harman/Kardon is also offering the new EzLink system as a separate item, for streaming MP3, WMA and WAV format audio from a computer's USB port to the coaxial digital input of any A/V receiver. The processing circuitry up-samples low bitrate MP3 files for high quality decoding and amplification within the receiver. The DAL-150 EzLink will be available this spring at a retail price of $119.
Also available this spring is the new $899 PA-4000 8-channel amplifier, an ideal companion to the AVR-8000 receiver. The PA-4000 delivers 45 watts into each of its 8 channels and can be bridged to provide 100 watts by 2 and 45 watts by 4. With dual input channels, the PA-4000 can operate as two amplifiers in one, such as a high-powered rear surround channel amplifier for the AVR-8000 while simultaneously powering a second, separate system at the same time.
New 5-disc progressive DVD changer
The Harman/Kardon DVD-50 DVD player was awarded at CES 2001 with an Innovations award. The DVD-50 is the first 5-disc changer to include built-in MP3 decoding, compatibility with CD-R and CD-RW discs, and progressive scan output. The DVD-50 employs a 10-bit/27MHz D/A video converter, standard scan-rate component video (in addition to progressive scan), S-Video and composite video outputs. On the audio side, the player incorporates a Wolfson 24-bit/192kHz audio D/A converter and provides built-in HDCD processing. The DVD-50 will be available in February 2001 at a suggested retail price of $649.
Harman/Kardon has also announced a new "all-in-one" home entertainment convergence product, the DMC-100. The new device incorporates a built-in DVD & CD player, broadband Internet access with web browsing and email, 30 gigabyte hard drive, MP3 playback plus a variety of audio, video and data connections. It comes complete with a wireless keyboard and full remote control. The DMC-100 will be launched this spring for $899, plus $9.95 per month for the required ZapMedia service.