Harman/Kardon HD 990 CD Player

The CD-player Harman/Kardon HD 990 (600 euro) offers not only a special output with he digital connect to amplifier HK 990 from private home last, but also a detailed sound with the internal transformer.

  1. Harman/Kardon HD 990 CD player
  2. Data sheet

Is the Harman HD 990 as the cheapest player with balanced outputs for 600 euros. Also phenomenal: Based on an optical and wired digital input, he accepts sampling frequencies of 32 to 96 kilohertz and offers converters skills such as satellite receivers or DVD players, to enhance their usually modest two-channel sound quality.

Network operators now are wondering whether the HD 990 via its Ethernet port (common to the connection to local data networks) can download even high-resolution-music files from the Internet? Unfortunately no: via the RJ45 jack called HRS-link (high resolution synchronization), and he repeated the enclosed cable clock data of the same brand (also in issue 7/09) tested stereo amplifier HK 990, whose D/A-Wandler can optimally handle the delivered music data.

The match Tästchen of Harman require tact and finesse, the caption on the player and the remote control is hard to read in dim light.

The inner workings of the Harman reminiscent of a DVD player. A generously dimensioned power supply powered the mechanics and electronics. The central coordinating body in the player is called “Black-fin”, a high-performance processor module for multimedia audio and video of the American circuit specialists analog devices.

It decodes MP3 data-reduced and increases the pulse with an asynchronous sample rate conversion asynchronously means the CD from 44.1 kHz to 384 kHz., that fresh clock rate – is newly calculated differently than at the classic oversampling -. The advantage: The young data are no relation more the origin values along with their mistakes.

But that’s not the only trick in the Harman. During the conversion, the developer turned back on a finesse in the 4/93 of tested HD 7725. The distortion concept RLS (real time linear smoothing) divided the data stream on two converters; one receives time-shifted him to a sample value. The converter of both differential signal reflects the shape of the output curve. Thus, Harman dined a capacitor which not by leaps and bounds, but only ever can change its voltage and thus smoothes the staircase-shaped transducer output signal. The third generation of RLS is used in HD 990. Same converter ICs as in the amplifier of HK 990 in the are in the actual implementation of the data. From the D/A converters, he treated inverted and non-inverted signal separately up to the balanced outputs.

The documents from the measurement lab once again underline the differences between the players. A slow decrease in height in the frequency response arises from the activated filters at the NAD. At the Harman, the line only about 40 kHz ends if the digital inputs accept the measurement signal. Exemplary: The jitter, i.e. temporal ailments in the analog signal, is both extremely low.

According to the sound, but only the hearing test can answer the question. Already on his RCA outputs, the Harman proved to player that just focused on details and to imagine and large-scale traced the play spaces. However, Orchestra sounded somewhat colorless, gritty rock sounds minimal lack of driving force in the bass.

The opponents NAD compact formed off the recording rooms, gave much more flow the actions on stage. The bass had the timbres of the instruments tighter, more intense. The jury wished for and more presence and grip, especially when filter switched to: the NAD slightly slowed. In other comparisons, the Cambridge Azur C showed 640 V 2 (3/06, 54 sound points) as an adequate opponent: he gave guitar more elegance and slimmer formed off votes, the NAD has linked the single chords and instrumentation for seamless.

Clear winner in pair skating NAD/Harman was the 545 BEE. Especially bad that HD 990 in deeper regions of sound slightly hang the wings left. But there were still more listening passages.

Above all was to clarify whether the Harman reached more sound points about his balanced outputs. Compared symmetrically contra cinch the XLR connection was somewhat smoother movements. The harsh peaks disappeared had previously the voice of British folk-rock legend Richard Thomson (from the CD “Across A Crowded Room”) somewhat rough and static sound, using the XLR outputs. The barrels of the song “Fire In The Engine Room” won drama, the bass was taut. But atmospheric sounds, from Loudon Wainwright “Social Studies”, was still the NAD flowery scene.

“Yet always tends to be slightly uninvolved”, the testers recorded if a recognized CD drive played to the music data via the RCA digital input and balanced issued the analog signals of Harman. But Bass won again to contour, increased information content.

Drew perhaps in conjunction with the brand-same amplifier (also stereoplay 7/09) a sensation off? The testers compared the analog, symmetric, SPDIF and HRS-link inputs and found a clear precedence. The analog RCA fixed-route ended up in last place, number one was the data rate over the Ethernet connection. Took over the timing amplifier HK 990 that was data conversion, the sound more vivid, significantly smoother. HRS link is so off the small weaknesses of the player solo. HD 990 + HK 990 are a dream team. How perfect for each other.

Harman / Kardon HD 990

Manufacturer Harman / Kardon
Price €600.00
Rating 53.0 points
Test procedure 1.0

Technical data and test results

Dimensions (W x H x D) 44.0 x 6.3 x 33.0 cm
Weight 3.8 kg
Remote control / Adaptive / No
Outputs unbalanced / symm. /
Digital output TosLink / ST / coaxial / XLR / /
Display CD / SACD text /
capable of reading CD-R / CD-RW /
Volume control No
Headphone output / adjustable nabaasa
Random track selection
HDCD playback No
Measured values
Error correction information layer CD 2.50 mm
Error correction surface CD 2.90 mm
Power consumption standby / operating 1.0 / 11.8 W
Sound Top-class
Sound points
(maximum 70 points)
Measured values
(maximum 10 points)
(max. 15 points)
(maximum 10 points)
Overall rating (max. 120 points) good – very good-78 points
Price / performance good – very good
tested in issue: 7 / 09