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Harman Kardon Debuting AVRs

9/10/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Harman Kardon will unveil three A/V receivers (AVRs) to go with its previously announced top-end AVR 7550, which shipped in August.

The $2,999-suggested AVR 7550HD, the new $1,199 AVR 3600 and the new $799 AVR 2600 are the brand's first AVRs to incorporate Dolby Volume, which maintains a consistent volume level when TV channels are changed, a TV program transitions to a commercial or inputs are switched. It also dynamically compensates for the human ear's lower sensitivity to bass and treble sounds as volume levels decrease within a program.

All four models, including the opening price AVR 1600 at a suggested $599, decode all authorized Blu-ray surround formats, and all feature an onscreen display that can be used for daily system operation, not just for system setup. In the AVR 7550HD, AVR 2600 and AVR 3600, consumers can view the onscreen display in a transparent window over a video program playing on the connected TV.

Two of the models — the AVR 2600 and AVR 3600 — are the first to connect to the new Bridge III dock, which is the brand's first Works-With-iPhone-certified iPod dock. The dock is included in the price of the AVR 3600 and sold separately at $129 for use with the AVR 2600. When used with either AVR, consumers can display iTunes-downloaded HD video programs on an AVR-connected TV.

The $599 AVR 1600, which became available in late August, features 7x50-watt amplification, HDMI repeater, three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output with 12-bit Deep Color support and xvYCC passthrough, component-to-HDMI transcoding, no video up-scaling, proprietary Harman Virtual Surround to emulate surround sound through two front speakers, Harman headphone to deliver surround sound through headphones, Logic 7 processing to create a 5.1 and 7.1 soundfield from two-channel sources, minijack input, AV Sync delay and USB software upgrade capability.

The step-up 7x65-watt AVR 2600, shipping in the early September, adds Dolby Volume, four HDMI inputs, transcoding of all video inputs to HDMI, transcoding of composite and S-Video to component, up-scaling of all video inputs to 1080p via the Faoudja Torino processor, onscreen displays in HD via HDMI output, Bridge III connectivity to control a docked iPod/iPhone via the AVR's remote, Sirius-ready port and second-zone audio using the back-surround amps to power the second stereo zone.

The $1,199 7x80-watt AVR 3600, also due early this month, adds included Bridge III dock, 7.1-channel preamp outputs, and a full suite of multi-room options, including a Zone II remote and A-BUS Ready connectivity to direct audio to amplified A-BUS in-wall keypads in multiple rooms.

The top-end AVR 7550HD, which shipped at the end of August, adds such features as networking to stream Internet radio and PC-stored music and photos.

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