Harman Kardon PM665VXi Integrated Amplifier

Harman Kardon PM665VXi Integrated Amplifier

July 13, in Hi-Fi Systems Reviews

Specifications

Stereo Mode:

  • Continuous Average Power
  • (FTC) per Channel : 150 wpc @ < 0.08% THD into 8 ohms 150 wpc@ < 0.1% THD into 4 ohms
  • High Instantaneous Current Capability (HCC) : +/-80A 

Power Bandwidth:

  • HALF POWER – < 10Hz to 100kHz @ 8 ohms
  • Frequency Response : 0.2Hz to 150kHz (at 1Watt output, +0, -3dB)
  • Damping Factor: 65dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio : PHONOmm – 80dB PHONO MC – 76dB VIDEO & CD – 98dB MAIN-IN – 110dB
  • Input Level/Impedance: PHONOmm – 2.2mV/47k ohms, 125-425pF
  • PHONO MC – 120uV/56ohms VIDEO & CD – 135mV/22k ohms MAIN-IN – 0.8V/22k ohms
  • Phono Overload: MM – 220mV
  • MC – 12mV
  • Tone Control BASS: BASS TURNOVER – 200Hz/400Hz Tone Control TREBLE: TREBLE TURNOVER – 2kHz/6kHz Filter:
  • SUBSONIC – 15Hz, 6dB/octave HIGHCUT – 6Hz, 6dB/octave Loudness Control: +10dB @ 50Hz
  • Phase Shift: <5 degrees (300 – 20kHz) Power Supply: AC 220/240V, 50/60Hz Power Consumption: 350 watts

I’ve always been a bit partial to Harman/Kardon products. My very first decent piece of audio was their well-regarded HK680i receiver that I bought from all my Christmas earnings from working at LaBelle’s Catalogue Showroom. I remember reading over the brochure so many times that I had to tape the center crease to keep the thing together. That receiver survived many dorm stereo wars, winning all but one in beer infused voice votes. A little over a year ago I was looking for a vintage high-power integrated on a generic beer budget. Surfing thru eBay I spotted a black HK PM665VXi that was on auction with a midweek/midday ending time that coincided with a day off from work. I watch the auction and made a last second bid and thankfully won the amp.

Harman Kardon PM665VXi inside

Harman Kardon PM665VXi review

Appearance

The PM665VXi is a part of the early-mid 1980’s design style that I consider very elegant, especially when matched against the disastarously ugly gold junk of Pioneer at the time. Although I prefer HK’s champagne finish for it’s more subtle look, the blank still comes across rather stately. The controls are all logically placed across the front panel in gold lettering that was just big enough for my bifocaled eyes to spot. One of my favorite touches of this series was the record out switch in college I used it quite often. The limited budget audiophiles of the day appreciated the choice of either MM or MC phono inputs.

Interior

Lifting the hood of the PM665VXi, one sees the continued influence of the monster receiver wars of the 1970’s. At the time HK bragged about its avoidance of using chips, instead they continued using “discreet components” i.e. capacitors and such. This choice has allowed HK components and others of this design belief to still power up every day decades later. The massive heat sinks keep the unit running impressively cool even when I drove the unit at ridiculous levels.

Listening

Upon receiving the PM665VXi, I went about cleaning all the switches and pots. Like all the higher power H/K amps of the time, they have a nonstandard speaker input post, so beware when using banana plugs, they will get ruined by being forced into place.

Harman Kardon PM665VXi back

At 150wpc, the PM665VXi sound very typical of the big receivers mentioned above, with a hint of warmness. It’s like sitting at a stoplight next an old muscle car, one knows what they are in for as long as that brute is near. The noise floor in comparison to the Jolida 1501A I have on hand isn’t even close. A definitive hiss can be heard, plus a graininess in the upper frequencies. However, the transient response of mid and low bass is outstanding. There is a definite transfer of power, just as H/K claimed due to the ultra high bandwidth and high instantaneous current capabilities.

This integrated performed best with large scale rock music, songs with many instruments. Bruce Springsteen’s triple cd compilation set has several tracks that define the Boss’ desire for multiple harmonies played with a liveliness that I had not heard in quite a few years. John Mellancamp’s The Lonesome Jubilee contains wonderful thrusting moments that allowed the PM665VXi to truly strut.

On the other hand, I found the acoustical work of James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg somewhat dry. The warmth and lower noise floor of the Jolida gave off a much more natural and intimate performance. It is important to keep in mind that the Jolida 1501A is a hybrid integrated, containing two tubes in the preamp stage.

Conclusion

If you’re searching for a quality, old school integrated with a nice phono stage, for at most $250 on the used market, the Harman/Kardon PM665VXi is a fine investment. It plays classic rock with authority and has the internal design to handle many more years of usage, just make sure to use bare speaker wires on the posts.

from affordableaudio, By Mark Marcantonio

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