Product Review

Harman Kardon HK 3480 Stereo Receiver Modified by Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative

Part II

May, 2007

John E. Johnson, Jr.


On the Bench

At 5 volts, 20 volts, and 32 volts into 8 ohms (32 volts is 128 watts continuous), both channels driven, THD+N stayed below 0.05%. I measured clipping (1% THD+N) at 140 watts output, both channels driven, continuous, using a single 1 kHz sine wave test. Some AC ripple (60 Hz and its harmonics) is getting through, but that is not unusual.

IMD remained low at 5 volts and 20 volts output to 8 ohms, and clipped at 28.3 volts, which is 100 watts. This is at a lower wattage output than with the 1 kHz test and tells us that as the signal becomes more complex, the maximum output before clipping becomes lower.

Maximum output at clipping was 140 watts into 8 ohms, and 220 watts at 4 ohms.

With both 8 ohm and 4 ohm loads, THD+N vs. frequency stayed below 0.5% throughout the measured range of 10 Hz to 50 kHz. This is really very good for such an inexpensive receiver.

Frequency response under all conditions measured was 10 Hz - 70 kHz 1 dB. It's down 3 dB at 140 kHz, which is an improvement over the spec of the original unmodified unit.


All I can say is, "Wow!" I did not have the luxury of being able to compare the modified 3480 with an original one, but the modified unit sounds and measures like no other $550 receiver I have ever seen. The current model is the 3485, and the mods are $350, bringing the total price of that unit to $650 plus shipping.

This is a no brainer for anyone who wants a two-channel receiver that looks like something they might have purchased at CostCo, but sounds like it came from an audiophile salon.


- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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