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Lawrence H. Bulk "Lawrence H. Bulk" RSS Feed
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George Foreman GRP4842P 2-in-1 Evolve Grill, Platinum
George Foreman GRP4842P 2-in-1 Evolve Grill, Platinum
Price: $99.99
9 used & new from $84.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The George Foreman GRP4842P - a Very Good Indoor Grill, February 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let me start by saying that, as you can see, this is an Amazon Vine review - which means I received this George Foreman GRP4842P 2-in-1 Evolve Grill, Platinum free of charge in exchange for a review.

When I opened the outer packing box, it was immediately apparent that the inner box (the brown box which contained the color-printed box) had been slit open.

Not only that, the inner box had been opened and the unit itself had been removed and (rather crudely) repackaged and, I presume, returned to Amazon (unless it was someone at Amazon itself who opened it).

I am certain that it had not been actually used - the plastic seal on the plug's prongs was still intact so it could not have been plugged in - but I do not know what the person (or persons) who opened and unpacked the box actually did with it.

In several years of being a member of Amazon Vine, this is the first time that I have received an item which was not brand-new and sealed.

Had I actually purchased (paid for) this particular unit, I should have returned it and asked to have an exchange for a brand-new one. This option, unfortunately, is not possible with a unit supplied by Amazon Vine.

That said, I am going to try to not let this unfortunate experience color this review.

We have owned three previous models of George Foreman grills, one of which (our second) was purchased from Amazon (George Foreman GRP4 Next Grilleration 5-Burger Grill with Removable Plates, White) and another which was supplied by Amazon Vine (George Foreman GRP2841R 5-Serving Removable Plate Grill with Variable Temperature).

ALL have been excellent units. Our first one, model unknown, lasted for a number of years before the plates wore out; it would have cost almost as much to buy new plates as it would have to buy a new unit. So we bought that new one, the first mentioned above.

It was (and is) excellent.

But when Amazon Vine offered me a new one, I thought I'd take it. It too was (and is) excellent.

This new one, much more expensive that the older ones, is also excellent but it has a couple of shortcomings which were not present on the older ones.

First, it is somewhat "wobbly." Now I do not know if that is a sample defect, something which happened (and was noticed) when the unit was first opened by the unknown person who opened it, examined it, and then (presumably) returned it to Amazon, or if it is a design fault inherent in this model. This "wobbling" is present whether the unit is tilted or flat.

This flaw is somewhat annoying.

Another shortcoming is that it takes much (quite noticeably) longer to reach the desired cooking temperature than any George Foreman we had previously owned.

This too is somewhat annoying. I do not know if this slowness is a result of the plates being made from a ceramic material but it is disappointing, especially when you consider that the longer the unit is in use, the more electrical energy it uses.

The digital controls are a ho-hum, at least for us; I really do not see any advantage to having them. I have never been a "fan" of digital controls unless they offer some particular advantage; in this case, I believe that they do not. (The fact that digital controls are far more expensive to replace/repair is not important on this machine in my opinion; the unit itself would probably wear out long before the digital controls would and, even if those controls did break down, you're not talking about a major investment to replace this grill. Anyway, it seems that nowadays we live in a disposable society so no one is going to actually have this grill repaired no matter what may go wrong unless the repair is done under warranty.)

However, on a more positive note, this unit cooks extremely well, probably somewhat better than any of our previous grills (though, truth to tell, they cook very well too). The searing option is probably nice too but, in our experience so far, having this feature seems to make little or no difference in the way the food turns out. Its tilting option, something the other models we own do not have, is nice and easy to use.

And those ceramic plates are FAR easier to clean than the plates on our other models. Frankly, this feature alone make this George Foreman model much more desirable than the other, less expensive, versions.

We don't eat waffles so we have not used the waffle plates.

But for hamburgers, hot dogs, and similar, this George Foreman is, by a small margin, probably the best one that we have ever owned.

If you are in the market for a new indoor grill, I think that you should seriously consider this one. It's somewhat expensive but overall my wife and I think it is worth its price if only for those ceramic plates (which, by the way, are very easily removed and replaced).

We like it and we are continuing to use it (the silver color looks better in our kitchen than did the red color of our GRP2841R); the others we own have been replaced in their respective boxes and are being kept "just in case."

Thank you for reading this and for considering my opinions. I want to mention again that the fact that we received an "open-box" unit, though disappointing to us, had no influence whatsoever (I hope!) on my review of the grill itself.

Thank you again.

Lawrence H. Bulk


Black and Decker CM2035B 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker
Black and Decker CM2035B 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker
Price: $59.99
38 used & new from $39.08

5.0 out of 5 stars This Excellent Black and Decker CM2035B Coffeemaker is a True Bargain, January 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife and I are very pleased with this Black and Decker CM2035B 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker.

It is very low-priced for a unit of its type but NO price would be low enough if the performance were no good.

Fortunately, this coffeemaker works as well as or better than any we have previously owned (and all of those were much more expensive).

We use dark-roast coffee exclusively and we both like our coffee strong.

Without setting any of the programmable settings or the time, this coffeemaker, at its default brewing setting, produces coffee just the way we like it.

Though the programs offered on the unit are of great value for most people, in general we shall not be using them. The reason for that is that we always unplug small appliances when they are not in use and, when this unit is unplugged, all the settings are lost.

So we'll only use those programmable settings when we have company (so we can adjust the coffee to various peoples' tastes).

And, as I stated above, for us, just plugging it in, adding the coffee and water, and turning on the coffeemaker, the coffee comes out as we like it. (Of course it is fortunate that we both like our coffee the same.)

The carafe holds the temperature for at least an hour (probably more - an hour is the longest we have yet tried); we have not had to re-heat the coffee in a microwave. And, as the unit shuts off automatically, there is no energy wasted if you don't drink your coffee right away.

The carafe and the cap are unusually well designed. It does not drip when pouring the coffee and it has a top opening wide enough for me to put my hand in when cleaning it (this is the first thermal-carafe coffeemaker we have ever owned for which I can make that statement!).

A two-year warranty is icing on the cake.

So, as I stated above, we are very pleased with this coffeemaker and regard it as a true bargain. (Though I received it courtesy of the Amazon Vine program, if I needed to buy another coffeemaker, as a gift, for example, I would buy this one, no question!)

Obviously we highly recommend it!

Thank you for reading this.

Lawrence H. Bulk


Westcott 6" Titanium Ultra Smooth Spring Assist Scissors with Lanyard - Pink
Westcott 6" Titanium Ultra Smooth Spring Assist Scissors with Lanyard - Pink
Price: $15.17
2 used & new from $15.17

5.0 out of 5 stars This Westcott 6" Titanium Scissors is an Excellent Product for Beaders and Crafters, January 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife has been a beader for over 20 years. Naturally, over that time, she has accumulated a large number of tools, including scissors and wire cutters.

However she tells me that she has not had any scissors previously which are as good as this Westcott 6" Titanium Ultra Smooth Spring Assist Scissors with Lanyard - Pink.

Not only are they sharp, they are also convenient, easy to use, and versatile.

Though she plans to continue to use her wire cutters to cut wire, she tried this scissors on the heaviest wire she uses. It cut through this wire just as well as any of the wire cutters she owns. She doesn't want to take a chance on damaging these scissors which is why she'll continue to use wire cutters but, in a pinch, she could use these in place of a wire cutter.

She tried it on thread and heavy cloth, just to see how easy it was to cut these and how well it did.

No problem with either.

Then she tried it on some heavy cardboard (just to see what it could do). It went through the cardboard like a knife through melted butter.

It seems to us that it can handle just about anything you might want to cut with it.

It comes with a lanyard by which you could wear it around your neck. But, because it is so sharp, you'd want to be extremely careful. (ALWAYS use the plastic cover which comes with it if you're wearing it!)

The lock button was initially a bit stiff, but, after a few uses, it worked in. A little tip: when locking the scissors, do NOT hold the blades together tightly; rather, have them just a bit loose. Then the button slides easily.

Needless to say, my wife is pleased in every way with this pair of scissors and she states that they will be her 'go-to' scissors from now on (unless something better is introduced!). Even its price is 'right.'

Based on my wife's high opinion of them (and take my word for it - she is tough to please!), I can wholeheartedly recommend these scissors to any beader, crafter, sewer, or anyone else who needs a really good pair.

Thank you for reading this and for considering our opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk


Dirt Devil Lift and Go Vacuum with Swipes, Red
Dirt Devil Lift and Go Vacuum with Swipes, Red
Price: $119.96
4 used & new from $105.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirt Devil Lift and Go UD70300B - Our Best Vacuum So Far and By Far!, December 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We received this Dirt Devil Lift and Go Vacuum with Swipes, Red vacuum cleaner yesterday and I have to say that it is, by far, the best vacuum cleaner we have ever owned. This is both my and my wife's opinion.

It was very easy to effect the minimal assembly and offers storage for tools (but see one minor problem later in this review) and it is easy to operate even without reading the manual. No hand tools are needed for assembly.

Every control and attachment point is well-labeled on the unit and, even if you have forgotten what you may have read in the manual (assuming you do read it - we, of course, will), you should have absolutely no problems operating this device. Just read the appropriate well-marked label on the vacuum and you'll know exactly what to do!

While fairly (though not inordinately) heavy, it is very easy to carry and use on steps because it is so well designed and balanced. As a matter of fact, it is easier to use on steps than any other vacuum cleaner in our experience.

Its suction is amazing, again far better than any other vacuum we have ever owned.

Of course it is somewhat noisy, though not as noisy as some we have owned; this evidently cannot be avoided in any such machine. (I should also mention that, on our unit, the wheels squeak. I'm reasonably sure that this is merely a sample defect and is of no real consequence to other purchasers though it is certainly noticeable to us.)

It has the longest cord of any vacuum cleaner we have ever seen. But even though it is long, it is easy to wrap on the body for storage. Some people have complained that using/winding the cord is problematic; this has not been our experience. As a matter of fact, in most of our rooms, it is not even necessary to unwind all of the cord.

Its On/Off switch is the most convenient and easy to reach one of ANY of our previous vacuum cleaners.

Its hose is also very long, as is its wand (which can reach into the tightest spaces and which my wife especially likes), and the vacuum is very easy to use with its tools. It is very flexible yet easily controllable.

It is very well designed for a convertible vacuum cleaner. Conversion is dead-simple! It works as an upright as well as any other vacuum we have owned and pushing it on carpets is very easy, easier than any of our others. And as a cannister vacuum cleaner it works better than any we have previously owned.

All of the tools are superb for their intended uses and that includes the hardwood floor dust floor tool which makes cleaning tile floors, etc., a breeze.

This vacuum cleaner is very well constructed. The unit itself is solid and the attachments do not fall off once they're connected yet they are easy to connect and remove.

Emptying the dust cup is easy too. We had vacuumed our living room with another vacuum (a Eureka Boss) just a week ago but you should have seen how much dust and dirt this unit picked up. Frankly, we were astounded.

Cleaning the two filters, the tools, and the hose is also easy and is clearly explained in the manual.

Contrary to what is written in one review here, the rotating beater brush [Turbo Tool] can indeed be easily cleaned; the cleaning instructions are in the manual. The only instruction I cannot find is how to change the belt (you're supposed to contact Dirt Devil via a toll-free telephone number if the belt needs replacement). Lubrication is, as is customary today, for the life of the product and no additional lubrication is necessary or advisable.

Mentioning that Turbo Tool brings me to the one problem we have had with assembly. Though the manual and the pictures on the carton show the Turbo Tool attached to the body for storage, we can find absolutely no way to do this. It should store underneath the 2-in-1 Combo Tool but there is just no place to attach it, at least that we can find. (My wife says that we should go to a store that sells it so we can see if it is possible to attach this tool and how it is done.) So, at least for the present, we must store this tool separately.

And there is no specific place on the body to store the Vac+Dust Floor Tool. There is a cord looped around this tool and I suppose it can be used to keep the tool "attached" to the body when the vacuum is not in use but this is very awkward and in any case the tool would have to be removed when using the vacuum even if you are not actually using this tool. Thus this tool, in practicality, has to be stored separately too.

But that aside, we can find nothing about which to complain. And in our opinion, even its price is "right."

This vacuum comes complete with every tool necessary to clean any type of flooring and, when you're using it, you will find, as I mentioned, that it can reach into and clean cramped spaces easily.

To add to its desirability, it comes with a three (3) year warranty!

This is our second Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. Our first was the Dirt Devil Vigor Turbo Bagless Upright Vacuum, UD70110 which we have owned for two years now (and with which we remain totally satisfied).

But this new one is better.

Until we received that first Dirt Devil model, we had owned only Hoover and Eureka products. They are good units but, frankly, at least in our experience, the Dirt Devil products are superior.

Can you gather from this review that we are totally pleased with this vacuum?

We are - and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. We are certain that the vast majority of those who buy one will like it as much as we do.

Thank you very much for reading this review and for considering our opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk


GE JVM3160DFBB 1.6 Cu. Ft. Black Over-the-Range Microwave
GE JVM3160DFBB 1.6 Cu. Ft. Black Over-the-Range Microwave
Offered by tristateappliances-ny
Price: $223.99
12 used & new from $189.51

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The GE JVW3160: A Truly Excellent Over-the-Range Microwave Oven, December 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My wife and I are very pleased with this GE JVM3160DFBB 1.6 Cu. Ft. Black Over-the-Range Microwave oven. We had it professionally installed and have now used it for two days. Its performance is nothing short of excellent.

Having only owned free-standing microwaves, and never previously owning an over-the-range one, we did a fair amount of research, especially on that famous consumer web site which does not allow its name to be used (I'm sure you know the one I mean). There, quite a number of such microwaves were reviewed and this one stood out: it came in second place (with a rating of 79) just behind the first-place model (with a rating of 81) and is the only one recommended as a Best Buy. (That first-place model, sells for $550.00, a good deal more than this one. So do many of the others.)

User reviews on that site were fair overall but all of the negative ones were, frankly, somewhat silly in our opinion, and could be ignored. (One person gave it a negative review because it is "only" 1000 watts and she wanted one with 1100 watts. How foolish! Why didn't she read the description before buying? Others complained that the charcoal filter was missing; my unit, purchased from Amazon, had it. Others complained that it is heavy. What do they expect?)

The consumer site's own review's only caveat was that this model lacks a sensor to determine when the food is done. It has been our experience that these sensors are not always accurate so the lack of that feature on this model is of no consequence to us (we wouldn't use it even if it had it!) and therefore this omission, in our opinion, is not significant.

The two or three hundred dollar savings IS significant though! This model appears to be one of the the least costly microwaves of its type which is made by a reputable manufacturer and that is currently available.

This unit cooks at least as well as any we have ever owned (and it makes popcorn better than ANY microwave we have used). Its controls are straightforward; neither my wife nor I have even read the manual yet (though I'll do that today) and we are easily able to use it.

I mentioned that ours came with the charcoal filter some complained was missing. We shall not be using that filter as we have tied the unit into our vent system which exhausts the air to the outside. The two small filters which are used in that type of application are easy to install, remove, and reinstall and they can be washed in the dishwasher.

As of this writing, Amazon's description states that this model comes with a manufacturer's "Free 10yr Warranty on Major Components."

It does not: the warranty is for one (1) year only but at least for that period GE provides both parts and labor. GE microwaves are listed as quite reliable on that aforementioned consumer web site. I trust that Electrolux, the company which is purchasing GE Appliances, will honor the warranty.

Therefore I can wholeheartedly recommend this microwave to you. I think that you'll be as pleased as we are.

Thank you for reading this and for considering my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk


Chemical Guys SPI10316 Sprayable Leather Cleaner and Conditioner in One - 16 oz.
Chemical Guys SPI10316 Sprayable Leather Cleaner and Conditioner in One - 16 oz.
Price: $15.60
3 used & new from $15.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Useful Automobile Leather Cleaner and Conditioner, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I want to state, right off the bat, that I dislike leather interiors in cars.

That said, my wife and I now own two vehicles with leather interiors (I shall not elaborate here as to why) and we had been considering buying some product which would maintain the leather.

When I was offered this Chemical Guys SPI_103_16 - Sprayable Leather Cleaner & Conditioner in One (16 oz) by Amazon Vine, I jumped at the chance to get it.

I used it two days ago and I am generally pleased. Following the directions, I found that application was easy and I did not have to use a lot of the product; I believe it will be very economical in use.

It did indeed soften the leather somewhat while not being slippery or greasy in feel on the seats. I also used it on the dashboard. I am pleased with the results.

On my hands though was another story. Even after four or five hand washings, the odor of the product remained with me and my hands felt greasy..

And speaking of that odor, while not unpleasant, it is very "chemically" smelling; that is both my and my wife's opinion. (Some reviewers have commented that the odor is that of leather; if it is, then it didn't some from any animal that ever lived on this planet!)

The odor does go away after a day or so but I have to say that my leather interior does not smell any better than it did before I used the product. (We have our cars 'detailed' twice yearly; the most recent procedure was done in October 2013 and our cars are both less than one year old.)

But on the whole I think that this product will be useful to us. I plan to use it probably about once a month (except in the months that we have the cars 'detailed') and, once this sample bottle is finished, I shall buy some more.

Because of the slight problems I mentioned (greasy feeling and odor lingering on my hands, "chemical" odor of the product), I do not wish to award this product 5 stars; 4 stars means "I Like It" according to Amazon and I do like it (and, as said, I shall continue to buy it as long as we own these automobiles).

Therefore I do recommend it to you if you have a leather interior in your car(s) and wish to maintain the appearance.

Thank you for reading this.

Lawrence H. Bulk


Yamaha BD-S677BL Blu-Ray Player
Yamaha BD-S677BL Blu-Ray Player
Price: $249.00
7 used & new from $198.33

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Audio Review of the Yamaha BD-S677 Blu-ray Player, November 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am very pleased with this Yamaha BD-S677BL Blu-Ray Player. I am NOT using it for playing Blu-ray discs or DVDs. I am using it strictly as an audio player for Super Audio CDs.

I believe that some people may think that my reason for purchasing this device is silly but, if you're interested, please read on.

I have three audio systems. One is a home theater, used primarily for movies but also, on occasion, for music; another is an "all-purpose" system, used mostly for music, but also for movies; and the last (really the first) is an audio-only system.

In my two music/movie systems, I now have Oppo BDP-93s. These, of course, play Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs, AND Super Audio CDs.

I formerly had three Sony SCD-CE595 5-Disc CD/Super Audio CD Player (Discontinued by Manufacturer), ALL OF WHICH have "died" (in less than ten years!). (In recent years, I have lost a great deal of faith in Sony products.) Two of these were in the aforementioned systems and one was in my main audio system.

I have a fair collection of SACDs but, after the Sonys "died," I had no means to play them in my main audio system.

I should mention that my associated audio equipment is a Hafler DH-101 pre-amplifier, a Hafler HD-200 power amplifier, and a pair of Klipschorn loudspeakers.

Recently I began to investigate SACD players for use in that system.

This Yamaha player is the least-costly high-quality player I could find which will play SACDs.

I ordered it, it arrived, I unpacked it, and placed it in my system.

Note that there is no video monitor in this system; it is audio only.

I turned on my pre-amp, amp, and the Yamaha.

I placed an SACD in the tray and pressed "Play."

The drawer closed, and, on the display, the word "SACD" appeared.

But nothing happened. I repeatedly pressed "Play" on both the device itself as well as on the remote control.

Still nothing happened.

I turned everything off, waited ten minutes, and tried again, with similar results.

At that point, I removed the small video monitor from within my home theater (I use it to preview what is going to be displayed) and attached it via an HDMI cable to this player.

AH HA! One must "Set Up" the player - selecting the language and the display parameters of the video monitor you wish to use - prior to any use. (Please note that you must do this only once, the first time you use the player; after that, it "remembers" what you have chosen.)

I did this setup, removed the video monitor and put it back where it belonged, and inserted an SACD.

Wow!

I have to tell you that I haven't heard an SACD through my main system in over a year (which was when the Sony "died') but it is my opinion that this Yamaha "blows the Sony out of the water!"

If you haven't heard SACDs, well, you don't know what you're missing!

I am going to use this player strictly for SACD playback (which is why I entitled this review "An Audio Review ... "). I cannot comment on video performance, Blu-ray disc loading time, etc., etc., etc.

I can only comment on its audio performance, specifically with SACDs.

It is superb. That is the only word I can use to describe the sound produced.

If you have need for an SACD player, I believe you could buy nothing better than this one and I HIGHLY recommend it to you.

As I stated at the beginning of this review, I am very pleased with this product.

Thank you for reading this and for considering my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2015 6:44 AM PST


Stanley Piranha 8 Inch Premium Scissor, Gray (SCI8TINS)
Stanley Piranha 8 Inch Premium Scissor, Gray (SCI8TINS)
Price: $14.28

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stanley Piranha Scissors is an Excellent Product, November 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am pleased with these Stanley Piranha 8 Inch Premium Scissor, Gray (SCI8TINS).

In an age in which we can land a man on the moon, where we can land a space-probe on a comet, and where almost anyone can communicate around the world in an instant, we still cannot design plastic packaging for toys, etc., which are theft-resistant yet EASY TO OPEN!

These scissors come to the rescue (at least somewhat!)

Now if you're like me, you have a number of scissors about your house, some very powerful.

But I'll bet that, when you need to cut something, the one you go to first is the one you have in your kitchen.

So when you have to cut open one of those plastic packages (and doesn't everything seem to come in them?), you go right to your kitchen.

I have opened several plastic packages with them (so far) and found them easy to use and quite effective (no "language" necessary!). They are superior to all other kitchen shears I had used previously.

This particular model is a very well-made product and I believe it will give many years of use.

However, I think that there are some (minor) things you should know prior to purchase.

First, they are not actually made by Stanley Tools. They are made under license by a company called Amax Incorporated.

Second, they are not made in USA; they are made in China (isn't everything?) though to an apparently high standard of quality.

Third, the ruler, one of the highly-touted features, is, in my opinion, of limited use. If you are right-handed, as I am, the scale is upside-down. And if you're left-handed, as is my wife, the ruler is on the "wrong" side.

Fourth, maybe I'm a little thick but the package states that you must go to a specific website to see the warranty. I did that but I'm darned if I could find any information at all! (No length of warranty - or even if it's "full" or "limited" - is listed on the package.) This is disappointing.

Okay, so much for all that. Now how is the performance? As I wrote above, for kitchen shears, its performance is excellent. Its comfort is outstanding. I believe it will cut through almost anything for which you could reasonably wish and will do it easily. It is very comfortable in use and has a unique "finger rest" which will make long cutting chores much easier. All scissors have a place you can rest your fingers while cutting but the one on this pair makes your fingers fall naturally onto it and this "finger rest," like the scissors itself, is extremely comfortable. I have never seen anything quite like this feature. This is superb design.

When the blades are closed, its tip is smooth, almost like a child's pair of "safety" scissors. Only when the blades are open are the tips pointed. That's not to say that when closed it could not cause damage or hurt someone, but it is less likely to do so than other scissors, the tips of which are pointed and very sharp whether the blades are open or closed. This also is superb design.

So, overall, I like these scissors a lot and so does my wife.

As for value, I feel that the Stanley scissors are a very good value and for performance and, especially, design, they are in a class by themselves. They cost more than any other scissors I have ever purchased (though you should note that, this being a Vine review, I did not pay for them). I suppose that, if you want top quality, you have to pay a little more. But really - the price for these Stanley scissors won't exactly "break the bank."

Therefore I can highly recommend them to you.

I thank you for reading this and for considering my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk


Harman Kardon HK 3700 2-Channel Stereo Receiver with Network Connectivity
Harman Kardon HK 3700 2-Channel Stereo Receiver with Network Connectivity
Price: $349.95
12 used & new from $278.95

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Okay Receiver Which May Appeal to Some People, July 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Before reading this, please take note: I must write reviews based solely on my own personal likes and dislikes which may be very different than yours.

That said, I have to state that I am very disappointed with this Harman Kardon HK 3700 2-Channel Stereo Receiver with Network Connectivity.

I am an 'audiophile' from way back and I listen extensively to classical music. Therefore I look for good quality - sound, construction, and operating parameters - in the equipment I purchase.

This receiver arrived today and I have been listening to various CDs for the past three hours and a half. I have installed it into my main system which includes a pair of Klipschorns* as the speakers. Obviously no subwoofer is necessary. I can say that the sound that this device produces is okay. The music sounds just a little different that it does via other amplification equipment (some good, some not so good) that I have tried with these speakers in the past though bass is definitely lacking (bass drum thwacks, especially, are noticeably much less palpable than that which I am used to hearing through the Klipschorns).

So the sound quality produced by this receiver is acceptable (but just acceptable, certainly not great or even very good). But it is the operating parameters and possibly the construction design of this receiver which mainly cause my doubt and disappointment.

First, the remote control MUST be used to gain access to most of the features included in this receiver, the buttons on the front panel being used for only the most rudimentary control. Some people like this sort of arrangement; I do not.

Second, in the full Owner's Manual (which you MUST download from Harman/Kardon's site - why don't they supply a printed one?), there is the statement: "Provide proper space above, below, behind and to the sides of the stereo receiver for ventilation. Maintain a clearance of at least 12" (30 cm) on each side, above and behind the unit." This is also printed on the cover of the Quick Start Guide but it is in light print and it is not as obvious nor as emphasized as in the downloaded manual. This statement must be taken seriously.

Frankly, this is ridiculous in an 85w/channel stereo amplifier. I can verify that the unit gets very noticeably warm. The volume range is -80 dB to +10 dB and I have been playing music at -47 to -40 dB (depending on the CD) which is plenty loud as the Klipschorns are very efficient. (Much to my wife's displeasure I like to listen to music at 'life-like' levels.) If this unit gets as warm as it's getting when playing at that relatively low volume setting, how hot will it get if it's playing through less efficient speakers at a higher setting? (Please read more about this, including the reason for its hot-running circuitry, later in this review.)

My next annoyance is the tuner. AM and FM yes - but where is HD radio? Yes I realize that HD radio is not all that it's cracked up to be but, come on - this is 2014 not 1994 and for many people (including myself) HD radio is a real asset.

Also this receiver offers network capability - but where is the WiFi? Again, this is 2014 not 1994 and for this facility to be absent is just plain silly. As, due to placement, it is impossible for me to connect via Ethernet cable, this facility is lost to me.

Ditto for Bluetooth (or its lack on this model). A nice Bluetooth adapter can be had for less than $10.00 (including shipping) [this is an excellent one: VicTsing Portable USB Bluetooth Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter with 3.5 mm Stereo Output Black - and please note that its price includes the shipping, at least with Amazon Prime, AND the seller is making a profit at that price!] so how much would it have cost Harman/Kardon to include it on this model? (For "only" $70.00 more for the HK 3770 you can have Bluetooth.)

And finally - a 24-bit 192 kHz DAC is included BUT it only plays MP3 and WMA. It will not play WMA lossless, much less FLAC and/or ALAC.

What a waste!

Who would want to listen to MP3s at home? Not me! They are fine for use in a car or on a portable music player but in a home system? Maybe some people don't mind the sound degradation of "lossy" music files but I do!

The USB port can ONLY be used for connecting a USB device formatted as FAT or FAT32. NTFS (not even to mention HFS+ or EXT4) is OUT!

Ridiculous!

And finally the d--- thing turns off automatically after eight hours if you do not do anything such as change the source, adjust the volume, or anything else. No matter that you might want to play music for long periods - this unit shuts off by itself.

Here is the relevant quote from the downloaded Owner's Manual:

"The receiver goes to standby mode automatically through the following:

* For digital sources (Optical/Coaxial), after remaining idle for 15 minutes

* For analog sources (USB/FM/AM/Aux/Phono/DLNA/iPod/Bluetooth), after 8 hours with no user input (for example, adjusting volume, navigating through menu options and so on)"

This "feature" cannot be defeated. (Note that this Manual is for both the HK 3700 and the HK 3770; there is no Optical/Coaxial connection or Bluetooth on the HK 3700.)

And there is also no balance control.

Now almost all of those deficiencies I mention can be rectified by use of external devices but those devices will also work with ANY stereo receiver/amplifier and they should not be required with this unit which advertises its advanced capabilities. (There does not appear to be any way to add WiFi nor, of course, a balance control.)

All in all, for the reasons I mention above, I personally am disappointed with this receiver. It may advertise advanced capabilities, but it does not truly deliver them. And, at least for me personally, the sound quality it produces is not what I should want.

You, however, may feel differently; the deficiencies I have mentioned may not be important to you. As I stated, the sound quality produced would be acceptable to some people, and this may be all you require. But I do have concern about the heat produced; this indicates poor-quality heat sinking and can lead to shortened life. Heat is the enemy of all electronic equipment. There are ventilation slots on the top PLUS on both sides - the need for these slots (and for the warning I quote above) is not good. The unit is very light in weight - too light, in my opinion and again this is not good in amplification equipment (unless it is a Class-T amp); good heat sinks MUST be heavy (this has Class-AB amplification). That is the reason for the hot running. I think that this is something to which you may want to give careful consideration before purchase.

It is very beautiful in style, with lovely blue lights, a fancy knob, etc. If this is important to you, its looks will certainly impress the neighbors. But, of course, these kinds of styling attributes do not contribute in any way to sound quality.

Obviously H/K spent their money on the looks, not the 'guts' of the unit.

I obtained my unit courtesy of Amazon Vine so I did not pay for it. Had I actually bought and paid for it, I would have returned it. It is my opinion that, at $350.00, it does not represent good value for money. (Even at $150.00 its value would be questionable; again, that's my opinion.)

As it is, this receiver is going back into its box and will be put away in a closet to be used strictly as a (very temporary) backup should one of my other amps fail.

I am giving it three stars; three stars, according to Amazon, means "It's Okay." And, in my opinion, that's all it is - no more.

I am very sorry to have to write such a review as this but I cannot personally, in good conscience, recommend this receiver to anyone. If you want something really good at a similar price I can highly recommend the Yamaha A-S300 Integrated Stereo Amplifier; it has no fancy digital connectivity, no fancy lights, not even a radio tuner, but it's an honest little integrated amplifier which produces SUPERB sound quality and is constructed to a very high standard. You don't even need to use its supplied remote control as you must with this H/K; you can operate everything from the Yamaha's front panel as it has real knobs and buttons!

Lawrence H. Bulk

*I should mention that in my opinion, the Klipschorns are positively the finest speakers I have ever heard in my life - and I've heard plenty! First hearing them when I was 14 years old, I never forgot them and was able to obtain a pair in 1992. Please note that they are corner speakers; as they MUST be placed in identical corners in a room, they are not suitable for use in many homes.

P.S. I played this receiver for about six hours today and then I removed it from my system, reattaching all of my playback devices to my Hafler DH-101 pre-amplifier/DH-200 power amplifier (both from 1980!). (As I have written elsewhere, an electronic device such as this should be 'broken-in' over a longer period of time than just five or six hours. But, due to the construction and operating flaws I have mentioned, frankly I am not going to waste my time doing so.) I then proceeded to play the last CD I had played through this Harman/Kardon receiver (Holst: Suites 1 & 2 / Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks / Sousa: Stars and Stripes) through my usual Hafler system. What a difference! Now I'm not saying that the H/K produced 'bad' sound - just that the sound produced through my 34-year-old electronics is aurally far, far better. It is my opinion, based on long experience, that no amount of 'breaking-in' will improve the sound quality produced by this unit in any meaningful way.

Now I have heard worse sound than this H/K produces many times - mostly at a few other peoples' houses and/or (especially) at 'big-box' dealers - and I do believe that this H/K receiver would be acceptable to some, perhaps many, people, especially if they're not too particular. Just don't expect superlative sound quality (regardless of the ancillary equipment used with it, including even truly fine loudspeakers). And I strongly recommend caution regarding its lightweight construction and its operating parameters.
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2014 11:07 AM PST


10k Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl with Diamond Accent Linear Drop Earrings
10k Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl with Diamond Accent Linear Drop Earrings
Price: $123.48

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Nice Pair of Earrings, July 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife is very pleased with these earrings. They are very lightweight (which she prefers) and are not too long (though she does wish they were a bit longer).

She says that, unlike some others she owns, they are very easy to put on and are not obtrusive.

They are very beautiful to see and are much nicer in real-life than in the picture.

They appear to be of high quality and are packaged very well indeed; they came in a plastic bag which was inside a cloth bag which in turn was inside a cotton-lined gift box. The diamonds are not of the finest quality (obviously, at this price) yet they do sparkle. The pearls are very nice looking and are the highlight of these earrings. The 10k yellow gold used here is very attractive.

All in all she likes these earrings very much. As a matter of fact she has some appointments and errands to run today and she has chosen to wear them. They look very nice with the outfit she is wearing and go well with the other jewelry she is wearing. She says they will go well with most anything.

Though we obtained them courtesy of Amazon Vine (and therefore did not pay for them), after close examination, we both feel that they are well worth the low price Amazon charges and it is our opinion that they represent an excellent value for money. They are much. much nicer than the inexpensive "costume jewelry" earrings one sees everywhere yet they will not "break the bank" if you want something quite a bit nicer.

If you are a man reading this, they would make a nice gift or, if you are a woman reading this, we think you would like them very much for yourself.

We both give them a strong recommendation.


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