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Amplifier Harman Kardon HK6250 review

The ?250 HK6250 appears to offer very little, if any, practical advantage over its cheaper HK6150 sibling. It seems that Harman Kardon has simply added 3W to its rated output, put an extra sixty quid onto the pricetag and given it a different type number.

The matt alloy fascia is dotted with a series of rotary controls for A/B speaker selection, balance, bass and treble control, tape monitoring and input selection. Like the HK6150, it’ll cope with MM phono, three line and two tape sources, but larger power supply adds a little extra grunt at the output.

Sound quality

Although obviously unaware of the origins of this player, our panel of blind listeners proceeded to offer a carbon-copy of the HK6150 review! In typical HK fashion, this amp fired the enthusiasm with its strident and gutsy performance, even if it was a little brash in the process.

Something of a rough diamond, this amp certainly captures the perspective of an orchestra, the ‘body’ of large, resonant instruments such as piano and the spirited flourish of violins with equal aplomb. Animated and courageous it is, to be sure, but it also lacks the warmth and subtlety that would distinguish a truly sophisticated design.

Plenty of good, firm bass clearly revealed the somewhat contrived ambience of Peter Gabriel’s So, projecting his voice with a gruffness glossed-over by other amplifiers. Once again, a solid, forthright and dynamic sound was delivered.

A similarly big, bold and brassy sound was noticed with CD even if it did try a little too hard at times, causing the jazz trombone to sound stretched and strained. Likewise the Tracy Chapman selection was taken in its stride, giving plenty of power but not always the weight or civility to match.

Yet Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet benefited from a genuine sense of enthusiasm and verve, building tension and anticipation from note to note. Here at least the bubbly character of the HK6250 was welcome.

Conclusion

The sheer impetus of this amplifier carries it sailing through any style of music, despite hauling a little ‘unwanted baggage’ along the way. Then again the HK6150 startled our listeners, albeit at a saving of some ?60!

With that pecuniary blot against it and very little technical advantage by way of defence, Harman’s HK6250 is worthy of recommendation.

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