Last preamplifier before the sale to Beatrice Food and subsequent departure of the US-built Harman/Kardon.
The proeminent feature, the EQ, uses broad slopes for its two extreme points (50Hz and 8Khz) to tailor the sound rather than correct it ; active circuitry is used.
The volume pot is a 32-step / fixed-resistors attenuator while the headphones is fed by the connected power amp's loop through, allowing direct speaker selection from the Seventeen as well. Reaction to square waves is exemplary and the phono stage is difficult to overload.
Even if discreetely, at least more so than Pioneer or Marantz, Harman Kardon was tops and chose to show its Art not with more buttons, functions or displays but by remainig true to its name : Citation.
Produced as well was a rare EQ-less and blackface Citation 17S and an even more rare black version Citation 17 with added rack handles made to fit an optional wood / rack frame called RPM.
"Ideally, a preamplifier should behave as though it were a "straight wire with gain".
Any change in the input signal (other than amplitude) must be regarded as a form of distortion. A preamplifier should have wide bandwidth, no trace of harmonic or intermodulation distortion, no phase shift, no transient distortion, no hum or noise and a broad dynamic range.
The Citation Seventeen comes remarkably close to achieving this theoretical ideal."