Pioneer Elite - 980W 7.1-Ch. Satellite Radio-Ready A/V Home Theater Receiver - VSX-94TXH

Pioneer Elite - 980W 7.1-Ch. Satellite Radio-Ready A/V Home Theater Receiver - VSX-94TXH

Our home theater setup consists of a PS3, an Xbox 360 Elite, a Mac Mini, a Verizon FioS HD DVR, a Nintendo Wii, and a Verizon FioS Internet connection. Add on top of those components, we have four Aperion Intimus 533-PT Powered Tower Speakers, and one Aperion Intimus 533-VAC Center Channel Speaker. So it goes without saying that we needed a home theater receiver that had enough digital inputs, network capabilities, as well as superior audio quality. The primary deciding point was the 4 HDMI inputs, this basically left us with the Pioneer Elite or the Denon AVR-3808CI. Price was not a factor, two reasons, both the Elite and Denon models were the same price ($1,600), and we already had spent $3,200 on the speakers and wires. So to spend modestly on a receiver would be foolish. We went with the Pioneer because of the fact that we already had one, and were pleased with its performance. As for design, well, it's a Pioneer Elite. What Apple is to computers, Pioneer Elite is to home theater. The black is polished, and the blue light on the front panel accompanies so many other of my home theater components, especially the Nintendo Wii. Performance wise, I can not complain. With my previous Pioneer receiver, I had to use the Midnight/Loud feature to get the base I wanted. I could easily summate this to the Bose speakers that were connected to it. However, with the Aperion speakers, bass is not a problem. As you noticed, I do not have a subwoofer. With four Aperion Intimus 533-PT Powered Tower Speakers, and their built in 8 inch subs, I don't need a stand alone subwoofer. The combination of the speakers and this receiver is simply amazing. Each channel is clear and clean. While watching my Hellboy Blu-Ray disc on the PS3, the receiver automatically sets to PCM mode. You can go to the THX or Dolby surround, but these settings are inferior in comparison. While watching Hellboy, you'll quickly notice during the first battle scene the different bullets coming out of different channels. Impressive is the best word to describe this. As far as networking and other perks. Meh. I have never been a fan of MCACC or any other auto-calibration feature. I'm old school when it comes to calibrating my home theater, and I do it myself, and I am never disappointed with the results. As for the on-screen user interface, um, do you remember Atari 2600? I heard people favor the Denon 3808, and knock the 94TXH because of user interfaces. This basically comes down to why you use a receiver. Do you use it to look at the menu, or as a home theater hub and audio processing? As for network capabilities. Internet radio is interesting, but if you have a PC or Mac Mini in your home theater setup, which I suggest everyone should, you don't really need the networking features. All in all, I am impressed with this unit, and highly suggest it.