Harman/Kardon AVR 8000 A/V Receiver Page 2
I was pleased to hear that the voices in Snatch maintained the same natural and attentive detail that I heard with music. If you can decipher half of what Mickey says, you know you've got electronics that give dialogue the care it requires. Again, both speaker systems offered substantial space and a highly successful balance of localization and diffusion. There were times when the AVR 8000's amps didn't exhibit quite as much control over the Cantons' woofers as I would've liked. However, few amps short of the best multichannels or monoblocks have maintained complete control over these woofers in my experience with them, and they have gotten away from most receivers at times. The H/K wasn't quite as successful as the more-expensive Denon AVR-5802 in this regard, but it had an edge over some of the more-expensive and similarly priced receivers that I've reviewed.
The AVR 8000's amps can take their share of punishment, too. We keep the big MartinLogan Odyssey electrostats (see the review in this issue) around for many reasons, including amp torture—thanks to their occasional near-single-ohm loads. Just for kicks, I hooked the MartinLogans up to the AVR 8000, as I've done with many receivers, and attacked with all five channels firing Snatch's chapter 17. The AVR 8000 hung in with the best receivers and only shut down at punishing levels—which, if memory serves, were slightly above those that shut down the Denon, Pioneer, and Yamaha. This also gave me the opportunity to confirm that the AVR 8000 has ample overload protection and maintains its sonic composure up to the breaking point, rather than stammering, compressing, and finally shutting down. The AVR 8000 does get hot, though, so pay attention to placement in terms of ventilation and what you place around it.
At last call, I see no reason why the AVR 8000 won't find plenty of space for itself on the top shelf of A/V receivers. It's got a warm, approachable sound that should match well with a variety of speakers, and it's solid in the areas where receivers need to be solid: features, ease of use, and flexibility. The only major thing I see working against it is that it's about the only one on the top shelf that offers only five channels of power, but this won't be as big an issue for some people as it is for others. So, if bigger-ticket receivers are your thing, I'd give the AVR 8000 a listen. Whether it's whiskey, receivers, or anything else, a top-shelf performer at closer to a medium-shelf price is always something to consider.
• Warm, approachable sound
• Lots of processing options, including LOGIC7
• Plenty of clean, efficient power for five channels