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Harman Kardon 3490 120-Watt Stereo Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

4.2 out of 5 stars 309 customer reviews
| 38 answered questions

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  • Affordable stereo receiver with Remote A/B switching
  • Compatible with the Bridge II docking station for iPod playback, control, and charging
  • Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker surround modes
  • Dual subwoofer output, with trigger for direct connection to powered subwoofers
  • XM Tuner Ready
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Technical Details

  • Remote A/B switching
  • Dolby headphone
  • Dolby virtual speaker
  • Dual subwoofer output
  • XM tuner ready

Product Description

Product Description

In the years since Harman Kardon invented the high-fidelity receiver, we have taken to heart the philosophy of bringing the joy of home entertainment to as many people as possible, all the while improving performance and adding features. The HK 3490 offers the best in traditional analog two-channel audio, including a 30-preset AM/FM tuner, an integrated phono preamplifier and a tape monitor loop that lets you listen to your tape recordings as they’re being made, while adding digital audio inputs, an XM Ready tuner and a connection for The Bridge II docking station, which delivers audio playback and control for iPod, iPod touch and iPhone models (not included). If high-performance audio reproduction weren’t enough, we’ve added composite video switching. Use the included audio/video cable to connect your iPod or other portable player to the HK 3490, or just enjoy your favorite television programs in stereo without firing up your main home theater. Whether listening to an LP record pressed in the last century or watching a movie you downloaded to your digital media player last night, your new HK 3490 delivers the powerful, detailed performance you’ve come to expect from Harman Kardon.

From the Manufacturer

Harman Kardon® HK 3490
High Performance 120W X 2 Stereo Receiver with XM Radio-ready Tuner and Dolby Virtual Speaker

Designed to Entertain.™

For more than 50 years, Harman Kardon® products have been engineered to deliver the ultimate listening experience. In 1954, Harman Kardon produced the world’s very first high-fidelity receiver, and the company has introduced many of the technologies associated with the world’s best amplifiers. One example: high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier design, which is still in use. Today, Harman Kardon leads the industry in the pursuit of the finest audio and video quality, and its commitment to performance continues with advanced high-definition A/V receivers. Delivering a complete package of performance, design, flexibility and ease of use, Harman Kardon products are perfect for enjoying everything that today’s high-definition digital content has to offer. So treat yourself to the ultimate at-home listening experience – one that only a Harman Kardon system can provide.

The HK3490's high current amplifier delivers stunning, high-performance sound.

Power with Passion
Harman Kardon receivers have earned worldwide accolades for their uncompromising sound quality. To deliver all the detail and realism from what you’re listening to, the HK 3490 uses a high-current power supply. Current is the energy, created by the amplifier, that moves and controls the loudspeaker drivers. The more current that an amplifier generates, the more real-world power your system has on hand. The HK 3490 uses a large power transformer to deliver more current, so you always have the power you need, even at high listening levels. All of your favorite sounds--from cinematic explosions to the beat of your favorite song--are played effortlessly and with incredible realism.

Connect with your System

Bring Satellite Radio in from the Car
If you’ve invested in an XM satellite radio subscription, why enjoy it only in the car? The Harman Kardon HK 3490 gives you the world of XM satellite radio right from the comfort of your couch. Just attach an optional XM-ready antenna module designed for home listening, and activate XM service for it. That’s it. You can now browse all that great XM content using the HK 3490’s remote control. (XM service required, antenna module sold separately) So sit back and enjoy all that XM satellite radio has to offer. With the HK 3490, it’s never been easier.

Connect with your iPod using the optional Bridge II iPod dock.

Spend More Quality Time with Your iPod
Just as easily as the HK 3490 can connect to the time-honored turntable, it can connect you to all the music and movies stored on your iPod. And the HK 3490 makes it easy with the optional The Bridge II (sold separately) docking station for iPod. A universal dock that connects with a single cable, The Bridge II lets you navigate your music and video libraries using the HK 3490’s remote. Browse your iPod the way you usually do, whether by artist, album or genre. Audio is played back in rich, room-filling detail that only a Harman Kardon audio system can deliver. And The Bridge II keeps your iPod fully changed even when the receiver is powered off. With the Harman Kardon 3490 and The Bridge II, there’s no better way to get the most from your iPod at home.

Multichannel Extras from a Two-Channel Amplifier
It should come as no surprise that the HK 3490 will delight audiophiles with its powerful, high-current amplifier and high-performance phono preamp. What is surprising is finding a stereo receiver with as many multichannel extras as the HK 3490. It’s the perfect building block for that second system or for when only two speakers will work. It starts with digital audio inputs for the best-sounding connection possible to CD players, DVD players and even satellite dishes. Add composite video switching and an included A/V cable for portable media players, and the HK 3490 instantly brings high-quality Harman Kardon sound not only to your music, but to movies and television programs, too. When it comes to surrounding yourself with sound, you won’t feel left out, even though the HK 3490 is a stereo receiver. Engage the Dolby Virtual Speaker surround mode and you’ll be amazed by the realism and feeling of sound coming from all around you--all from just a pair of speakers. And why not add a powered subwoofer...or two? The HK 3490 features dual subwoofer outputs to complete the high-performance listening experience.

So go ahead and enjoy. It’s not often that you get more than you bargained for.

The HK 3490 delivers connectivity not often found on stereo receivers. Click to Enlarge.

  • Stunning Harman Kardon Sound Quality
  • Elegant and striking design
  • iPod compatible with optional Bridge II iPod dock
  • XM Satellite radio compatibile with optional antennea
  • Digital audio inputs for the best-sounding connections to digital sources

What’s in the Box
HK 3490 Stereo receiver, FM antenna, AM antenna, remote control

Product Information

Product Dimensions 15 x 17.4 x 6.4 inches
Item Weight 22.9 pounds
Shipping Weight 29.5 pounds
Manufacturer Harman Kardon
ASIN B00198F89A
Item model number HK 3490
Batteries 4 AAA batteries required. (included)
Customer Reviews
4.2 out of 5 stars 309 customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #227 in Electronics > Home Audio & Theater > Home Theater Systems > Receivers & Amplifiers > Receivers
#290 in Electronics > Televisions & Video > AV Receivers & Amplifiers
#1,330 in Electronics > Home Audio & Theater > Stereo System Components
Date first available at June 10, 2004

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Revis on January 26, 2009
I used the HK 3480 (the precursor to this model) for five years and loved it. The 3490 is even better. The sound is more robust and full, not different, but just more refined. It easily powers my Klipsch Synergy speakers and would pair well with any mid-level speakers. With 120w even inefficient speakers will have more than a enough power to move air.

Further, the 3490 has an important new feature: digital inputs. This is a very nice option for those who have made the jump to an all digital music library and use a digital jukeboxes like the Roku Soundbridge or the Squeezebox. Both players have digital outs and pair up nicely with the 3490.

The difference in quality from digital inputs or analog is debatable, but to my ear, going from the 3480 with analog cables, to the 3490 with optical TOSLINK, there was an immediately improvement in clarity. Songs with delicate sound work came alive. Soft details were more apparent. It's been a great upgrade for me.

It's important to note that the 3490 doesn't leave analog fans in the cold either. It has a very nice tape loop and a wonderful gold plated stereo pickup. In short, whether you're library consists of vinyl or mp3s this amp will do it all.

I have always been a fan of Harmon Kardon, and I bought the older 3480 because I'm a strict fan of stereo music listening. The 3490 is a very smart update to the 3480, bringing it into the 21st century with a host of digital options. For those who rely on an iPod for music, there is specific iPod cradle for this amp that allows you to play your iPod's music effortless over the stereo while controlling it with the HK remote. This amp is also XM Radio ready, just plug in your XM receiver and the HK will allow you to control it.
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I've owned my previous HK receiver for over 15 years, and it still works wonderfully. I wanted to upgrade to more power and features, so my old receiver will be relocating to my basement. First off, the HK 3490 is absolutely stunning. I've always been a fan of HK's commitment to minimalism but this receiver takes it to a new and beautiful level. The one horizontal row of slim buttons is not visible at all when standing a few feet away, creating the appearance of a completely buttonless perfect space, but when you're standing at the receiver, each button is clearly visible for easy operation. When turned on, the white glow of the power light and volume knob is very cool; the reading is clear, but along with the volume knob light, it can be dimmed or shut off. When turned off, the power light glows red. The sound is amazing. I'm noticing strong bass but more impressively strong mids and highs, so much so that, maybe it's just my imagination, but I think I'm hearing things in my music I never heard or noticed before. Stereo separation is good, and the receiver creates a very wide soundstage with a lot of presence. I do have two issues with the receiver, though they're very minor. The Volume takes some getting used to--I can be listening through the speakers at a perfectly comfortable volume, but when I switch to headphones, it's deafening. I have to remember to lower the volume by at least 15db before putting the headphones on. The other issue has to do with the power button on the remote control. Some have reported that the remote is rather big, and, well, it is, but that's not a problem for me because I use a Sony Universal Remote instead.Read more ›
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I doubt there are a lot of people who own both of these receivers, but I now do. It's a long story as to why I did that, some of which will be explained here. If you are trying to decide which 2 channel HK receiver to buy, I can now share with you what I found in terms of how much difference 120 watts per channel makes vs. 80 watts, as well as the value in some of the extra features in the 3490.

Having put together an upgraded system about a year ago with the 80 watt HK 3390, Klipsch RF 62's and high quality cables from UltraLink, my older Yamaha CD changer (CDC-685) seemed to be the weak link in the system. Not only was the quality of sound not as clear and detailed as I would have wanted, but it was not as good as what I was getting when I put a CD in my Blu-Ray player. I assumed the problem was related to the older DAC's (digital-to-analog converters) in the CD player vs. the latest 24-bit DAC's in the Blu-Ray. It looked like my best solution was to replace the old CD changer with a state-of-the-art unit with 24-bit DAC's, which is what I was planning to do.

I then saw that there was an instant rebate / sale price on the big HK 3490 receiver, making it less expensive than what I was finding for a 24-bit CD changer. And it had the option of a digital optical connection from my current CD player that effectively re-routed the task of digital conversion to the HK's 24-bit DAC's - a feature the 3390 does not have. Getting that upgrade in DAC technology for less than a new CD changer, while adding another 40 watts to each channel, was irresistible. You might wonder how I know it has 24-bit DAC's when nothing in the Amazon description or the HK website actually says that.
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