sc-1221 is the same as the Elite SC-61 which is the same as the SC-63 except some custom install stuff you don't need and the SC-63 destroys everything on this page x 1000 so it is no contest at all. DO NOT listen to the people that say go Denon it cals the sub. I had a AVR-2112CI with sub cal $350 amp and liked it until I upgraded to a Pioneer Elite SC-57 with no sub cal $2000 amp and the Pioneer absolutely annihilated the Denon. Not even close, pure murder, just ugly how not close it was and the SC-1221 is very close to my SC-57. I have owned both most are just telling you what they read. This is not even a semi-close comparison. Go with Pio, nothing comes close except maybe a last year model of an Onkyo that is an open box or refurb from acc4less but why go used when can get brand new from newegg. There really is no other option in the $500 range that can compete. Seriously the XT sub has very little value. Now if you were to say the XT32 then maybe but the XT does nothing to close the gap everything else that is vastly superior... That said the TX-NR717 is way better than the Denon because for the money you get more for you money from Onkyo than you will form Denon. To beat the 717 you would need to 3313 and whats that over a $1,000 or whatever. I like the value in the Onyko and the sound its just the sale price on the SC-1221 is untouchable at $500 unless you go refurb, leftover or get lucky with left over open box even better or display you get my point.