The Harman Kardon AVR 1710S is a thoroughly modern, though not future-proof, AV receiver. It comes in a sleek and slim chassis and can power up to seven speakers and two subwoofers. It’s missing decoders for the most recent upgrades in audio formatting, something the best home theater receivers have, but it has excellent connectivity options.
The AVR 1710S has some of the most impressive audio specifications we saw in our research. For example, it boasts the lowest total harmonic distortion (.07 percent) of any receiver we reviewed. This means the signal that comes out of the receiver is nearly identical to the one that goes in, which allows your speakers to shine.
One of the AVR 1710S’s significant shortcomings is that it doesn’t have Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoders – audio formats that include overhead channels for added depth. It’s also missing the older matrix decoders, Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X, which are primarily used for upmixing a stereo track to surround sound. That said, it has the newer Dolby ProLogic II and DTS Neo:6 decoders, which also upmix audio tracks. Still, many people prefer the older matrix decoders over the newer ones, and ideally it would feature both.
The receiver’s power output is above average. It’s rated to provide 100 watts of power per channel for both 6-ohm and 8-ohm speakers, though technically the 8-ohm speakers must have an output closer to 80 watts. Because it has two subwoofer pre-outs, you can produce bass that rattles the windows and shakes the floorboards.
Connectivity is where this Harman Kardon receiver really shines. Not only does it feature all the common wireless options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and DNLA, but it also has six HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs. The additional HDMI output is rare because most people only need to connect their receiver to a TV. With two outputs, you can connect a second TV or computer monitor.
Its two-zone audio feature allows you to separate two channels from the surround sound. As such, you can have a second room hooked up with two speakers and a TV – the kids can watch a movie in the room with the smaller setup while you watch yours with surround sound in the main entertainment room.
You can control the receiver using either the included remote control or an app you download to your smartphone or tablet. You can access almost all the receiver’s settings and features without even touching it, which is nice when you’re planted firmly to the couch.
At 4.75 inches tall, this isn’t the slimmest receiver, but it’s one of the smaller models we reviewed. This makes it a good choice if you have a lot of components to connect and not much space.
The Harman Kardon AVR 1710S is a good receiver for your home theater surround sound system. It has above-average power and more connectivity options than similarly priced receivers. It just doesn’t have as many audio decoder options as the best models on the market.