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Harman Kardon PM650

Most hi-fi enthusiasts know how many watts their amplifier can produce, but does that figure tell the whole story? In the early ’80s, Harman Kardon’s HCC (High Current Capability) range of integrated amplifiers gave listeners another number to think about, which was how much current an amplifier was able to source.

The PM650 of 1982 reviewed here was one of a three-part series of integrated amps produced in Japan. Rated at 50W per channel, the amp offered greater power and more facilities than the basic 35W PM640 model in the lineup, while for those wanting a little extra, the range-topping PM660 offered 80W per channel and a few more knobs and buttons to fiddle with.


The purpose of the high current output capability of the PM650 is difficult to fathom at first. Schoolboy mathematics suggest that the peak current drawn by an 8ohm load at 50W will be 3.5A, so why go to the trouble of supplying more? The answer lies in the true nature of loudspeakers, which do not present a load that is equivalent to a perfect 8ohm resistor. The impedance profile of a typical speaker can vary widely over the audio frequency range, from perhaps only a couple of ohms up

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