Harman Kardon 930

You can spot an early 1970’s Harman Kardon from a mile away. This top-of-the-line Harman Kardon 930 is no exception. The blackout dial face, classic green dial lighting, brushed aluminum bottom panel and red illuminated power button make it a very distinctive receiver. It was introduced in 1972, with an MSRP of $399.95, and produces a very conservative 45 watts per channel. The other receiver in the x30 series from Harman Kardon was the 30 wpc model 630. The 630 and the 930 were followed by the 430 and the 730 in 1976.

The 930 has some chrome plating in places and the knobs are machined metal. It’s later replacement, the 730, had a thick foil covering the face plate and plastic knobs with metal caps.

The signal and tuning meters leave a little to be desired as they are fairly small and hard to see.

The Contour switch, similar to a loudness switch, is used to compensate for the Fletcher-Munson effect. What? You’ve never heard of the Fletcher-Munson effect? Well, human hearing loses sensitivity to the lower frequencies as volume is reduced. This makes listening to music at low volume sometimes feel thin. Activate the Contour switch and the lower frequencies will get a boost relative to the high frequencies. This gives the music a more full sound at lower volumes.

The tone controls are two piece (dual concentric) knobs. You can adjust the tone for the left and right speakers independently. The outer knob adjusts the left channel and the inner knob adjusts the right channel. The three push button switches to the right of the tuning knob are the FM muting switch, MPX Filter switch and the Stereo Auto switch. The Stereo Auto switch allows you to listen to a poor FM signal in mono rather than stereo. The button should normally be depressed to listen to FM in stereo.

The Mode control is interesting too. It switches between stereophonic and monophonic operation depending upon the source. REV will reverse the left and right channels. STEREO is normal stereo. L+R combines the left and right channels. L sends the left channel signal to the left and right channels and R does the same for the right channel.

The HK 930 really looks nice in the optional wood case. You don’t see too many with the wood case. Another cool aspect of the Harman Kardon 930 is that the dial scale is lit when AM or FM is selected but goes dark when any other source is selected so it is less of a distraction.

Specifications:

  • Tuning range: FM, MW
  • Power output: 45 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
  • Frequency response: below 4Hz to above 70kHz +/- .5 dB
  • Total harmonic distortion less than 0.5%
  • Damping Factor: 30 or better to below 20Hz
  • Input sensitivity: 1.5V
  • 2 Phono inputs
  • 2 Tape inputs
  • 2 Aux inputs
  • Dimensions: 432 x 121 x 350mm / 17 x 13 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches
  • Weight: 13.2kg / 29 lbs
  • Year: 1972

Under the 930 logo on the front panel you’ll see the words Twin Powered. This means that the 930 has dual power supplies. One for each channel. Notice the two large transformers in the above picture. It’s essentially like having a mono amp for each channel. The two transformers also make the HK twin powered receivers heavier than they look. I believe the HK 930 was the first solid state receiver to utilize dual mono amps in its design. Notice the four large 6800 mfd filter caps as well.

The dual power supply amp design is claimed to add more imaging and dynamics to the sound. Some original reviews stated that at low power output the difference is not that noticeable but that at higher power levels the dual amp design really begins to shine, especially with more dynamic source material.

In the 930, Harman Kardon utilized their famous ultra wide band frequency response circuitry and a 4-gang tuner. It uses a FET for the first of its two r.f. amplifiers. Overall, the FM tuner is pretty good but is not the 930’s strong point.

The power amp and pre-amp sections are separate so you can use an EQ if you want. Jumpers on the back of the unit connect the power and pre amps. In total, the HK 930 has 53 NPN transistors, 3 IC’s, 1 FET, 22 diodes and 8 power rectifier elements. There is a hole on the bottom panel for adjusting FM muting as well.

The Harman Kardon 930 receiver is a great receiver. Its unique dual power supply design gives it a place in audio engineering history as well as a great sound. While you can find the later model 730 fairly easily, the 930 is harder to find. The performance ratings are all very conservative and, if you like the HK x30 series look, then you should try the model 930 out if you get the chance.

Available on Ebay

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10 thoughts on “Harman Kardon 930

  1. I own a 930 that I purchased in Toronto in the early 1970’s which still works fine and now will go to my oldest son shortly, mine has the wood covering

  2. I have a 930 from new in the 70s I think I paid £ 270.00 what a very good deal. and can vouch for the comments in this article, Sure it’s old now and still giving superb service sounding very good. But what can I replace it with when it finally goes to the the great reper in the sky?

    1. Don’t replace it, fix it. You owe it, it does not owe you. I hear this over and over and I can truthfully say over 90% of the people that get rid of them are very, very, sorry and can never find a piece to replace it, unless they are into theatre. I will buy it if it dies from you. Keep my #. If you go the tech route and fix it, wait for an excellent tech that does it in his sleep and put out the money, tech reviews, and be patient so it will be properly re-capped and last another 50 years. It will. Kevin.

    2. I keep my HK 930 for those nostalgic nights. An integrated amp (preamp plus amp, no tuner) that is getting hard to source, and that has similar slew rates and 100KHz frequency range is the Onkyo A-9110. It is significantly better sounding than the 930. You won’t be disappointed.

    3. I, too, have an HK-930 that I purchased in the 70’s. It still wows me. If you like the sound of your 930, you’ll love the sound of an Onkyo A-9110. Same full wide band 100KHz and high slew rate attack with a solid low end and a captivating and often surprising sound stage. It’s actually better than the 930 and has become my go to amp.

  3. I purchased a 930 with wood case a couple years ago on a whim for 200$. It sat for a year or so as I’m using several other vintage rigs and just didn’t get it into the rotation. Well I finally got it out and ready. I polished the wood case and hooked it up. I’m sure glad I did. It has replaced my beloved Marantz 2335B. I have it hooked to Klipsch Fortes and the sound, to me, is sublime. Powerful and clean. Tight yet robust. I will never part with it.

  4. I keep my HK 930 for those nostalgic nights. An integrated amp (preamp plus amp, no tuner) that is getting hard to source, and that has similar slew rates and 100KHz frequency range is the Onkyo A-9110. It is significantly better sounding than the 930. You won’t be disappointed.

  5. I bought an hk 930 in 1972 in santa clara california where I lived for several years. I moved to chile in 1981 and I brought with me my excellent, faithful and old hk930. In its construction, practically only discrete elements were used, which makes it very robust and if repair is necessary, it is easy to obtain parts. I have always used it connected to four large speakers and its 45 watts per channel really is more than enough to power all the speakers. The lack of a digital tuner is not a problem since it is extremely stable in frequency. Apart from having it connected to a teac 1230 open reel, a turnable empire and a technics sh8020 equalizer, all from the 70’s, I use it as a casio sk3500 keyboard amplifier, the only modern element of this rig. The hk930 is something that, due to its quality, robustness, efficiency and fidelity, is difficult to replace.

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