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Old 07-30-2015, 02:27 PM
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Harmon Kardon A300 review

Harmon kardon A300 mini review

Not only this is the first real piece of tube Hi-Fi gear that I've found, but it's also a unrestored healthy one which is even rarer. Typically By the time most tube gear gets to me that I score for $5 or $10, it's beat to death, very tired and usually blows up only getting a month or two of decent sound out of it. This one was out of use for decades sitting in a climate controlled environment unused, so it's still got a lot of life left. Although caps will age and go out nomatter what simply due to age, but so far so good with this one.

Last night, I finally had a chance to really spend some time with it and give it a good listen and scrutinization, and to be honest not only did I forget just how good tube sound is especially thru a true hifi component system.

I tried it with three sets of speakers, ranging from paradigm sv-7s, pioneer Hpm-40s and more age appropriate Jensen Tr-10s, which are from its era. The paradigms were simply too new to really get a good listen to this thing, and although the Jensen Tr-10s were of its era and correct impedance (16 ohms), although loud the mids were a bit overwhelming even at low volume, and didn't do well with very low bass response under 800 C/s. Seems like the "newer" Pioneer Hpm-40s were the shining star with this amp. Very easy to drive and covered just about the entire frequency spectrum.

This little amp has basic controls, nothing too fancy and honestly not much of a looker. Just a basic brushed aluminum face with grey knobs and a light up purple power button. Fit and Finish wasn't bad but not as solid as most sherwoods and fisher stuff. The output transformers seem a little puny for what it is but that doesn't seem to affect the sound of the amp. It's a 9 tuber based by 7048 outputs, which are extremely rare today and not widely used in hi-fi applications so if one goes you can basically forget a replacement, but the silver lining is that the 7048 is a hot 6V6GT much like the 7189 is to the 6bq5, and is a direct plug in with no modifications needed. It's also got 4 12ax7s in the preamp which seems to be pretty standard fair on integrated amps of that era, as well as a 12au7. Ofcourse you have the standard double gang bass and treble controls, loudness, comp, rumble filter but also has a few things that were on early HiFi stuff that seemed to disappear with the tube, which is a phase reverse switch incase you phased your speakers wrong, as well as a "blend" control which increases or decreases the intensity of stereophonic affect.
Also a small word of warning. This amp was introduced in 1961 and was produced till 1963, making it anywhere between 52 and 54 years old, and more than likely some of the internals were made a year or so before that so you are looking at 55 year old capacitors which are 100% guaranteed to be leaking and out of value, thus putting the amp at an extremely almost certain eventual meltdown so if you decide the A300 is the amp for you, I highly suggest you get the caps replaced.

This little amp is very conservatively rated at a mere 15 watts per channel with a total output of 30 watts but is by no means a wilting flower. It seems more like a 50 watt solid state amp and has more then enough power to fill the room and even shake the floors with the right speaker setup. After a good 30 mins after initial power up allowing the amp to bias itself correctly and warm, I began to test it. I threw everything from doo-wop to dubstep into it with a marantz Cd-126 and it performed quite well. At low levels it is a bit bass heavy and lacks brilliance, but around the 11 o'clock position seems to be where it really shines. It's crystal clean sounding without the sharpness and distortion, with very very warm undertones. Where it really shines is in music of its era, jazz and popular music from the early mid 60s, and I can only describe Buddy Hollies voice on this thing as "haunting".

All in all its a delightful little amplifier that although isn't a monster, it apologizes to no one. It would be an excellent bedroom or or even a primary system for a small apartment.
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:46 PM
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Hey Rob! How have you been?
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:11 PM
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Nice writeup!
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:25 PM
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Welcome to the darkside, Rob.
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Old 07-31-2015, 02:33 AM
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Oh boy - are you kidding??? Please tell me that you are kidding!!!

Otherwise I would like you to respect the correct spelling of this great brand.

By the way - check this forum:

www.audiohaven.com
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:37 AM
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Looks like you snagged a nice one!
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