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Published on August 21st, 2013 | by Greg


Harman Kardon AVR 1510: Best-in-Class Receiver

If you have a home audio/video receiver, chances are that it’s a bit old- it might have a couple of HDMI inputs, but it’s probably a heavy behemoth that is perhaps even a holdover from an analog age. Most things are digital these days, from our MP3 music sources to our digital streaming movies. If you rely on HDMI connectivity, and are looking for a great, fairly low-cost but capable receiver, look no further.

The Harman Kardon AVR 1510 isn’t the best receiver out there. It lacks some features found in more expensive models, and it won’t support more than 5.1 channels. The remote is nothing special, and if you have a VCR and other components that require analog inputs, then this isn’t your best option. But despite the drawbacks, we don’t hesitate to recommend this model. After all, few families or households need more than the five surround sound speakers supported, and we primarily used a universal remote or the nifty smartphone app to control this one (iOS and Android compatible), all but rendering the included remote unnecessary.

Plus, the AVR-1510 one looks great too- it’s a bit lighter weight than the old beasts, and likely as a consequence, is much less power-hungry. It also produces far less heat than the vast majority of A/V receivers. You still get 75 watts per channel of power, four 3D-ready HDMI inputs, and some computer-friendly pluses like DLNA 1.5 network connectivity, a boon if you’re doing a lot of network streaming. There’s also a front-panel USB port for connecting a portable thumb drive or even your iPhone (it will charge the device as well). Let’s see your classic receiver try that!

The build quality could have used a few tweaks- audiophiles prefer banana plugs or twist connectors rather than spring clips. But you’ll be impressed by the minimal noise of the unit- it’s practically silent- and by it’s compact size. Plus, though it doesn’t offer much in the way of EQ tweaking, we were mightily impressed by the sound- it even beat out our old Onkyo in Blu-ray and video gaming tests with the same speakers. Support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD certainly help.

Harman Kardon offers a wide range of models, including some with AirPlay or Bluetooth built-in, more power, and connections for additional components or future 4K upgrades. This is their entry-level receiver, but it’s nothing to sniff at, offering just about everything most people will want or need. Available online and in stores for around $300, it’s the best receiver in it’s class that we’ve seen, and a fantastic bargain.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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