I've been trying to point out that the comparatively priced Denons, Pioneers, Yamahas, etc. are closer in SQ than they are different. When someone says that the Denon makes speakers sound like "Bose satellites", then IMO that info should be taken with a grain of salt. I just purchased my first Denon (4306) after owning the likes of Yamaha, HK, and Pioneer receivers. I can tell you that I am very pleased with the Denon, and it does not make my speakers sound like Bose satellites. Rather than just take my word, I've put together a handful of quotes from several AVS threads. My suggestion is that the readers make their own judgements as to whether the Denon is audibly inferior to the Pioneer or any of the other brands noted in this thread.
When compared to the Yamaha 2600
I'm just astounded at how much better the sound is on this Denon 4306. It's not that the sound's better (as in clearer), but it's more encompassing. I begin to forget there are speakers and just hear sound.
General comments about the 4306
And, once I realized that much of my problem was that I have a feature-rich A/V receiver, the operational complexity is only to be expected? The user interface is not what I would call great and IMO the manual is barely better than useless... But the receiver itself? Fantastic!
Another comparison to the Yam 2600
well I returned my yamaha 2600 and got the avr 4306 and I can say that I'm so beyond pleased with the sound that you have no idea. I'm pretty new to HT setups and I have an axiom epic 50 system with the 12 in sub (a little overkill for my apartment) and I was really unhappy with the way the yamaha sounded.
Comparison to the Pioneer VSX-82
A/Bing the 3806 and the VSX, the 3806 had much better bass response and lower midrange (vocal) response. The pioneer had almost no bass response, little lower midrange and sounded very compressed overall. I really didn't like the Pioneer Elite.
Another comparision to a Pioneer Elite VSX-74 vs. Denon 4306
As an aside, on more subjective territory, after spending the past couple of hours listening to the Denon 4306, I'm now rather pleased the Pioneer has a problem. I would not have considered replacing the Pioneer with the Denon without some reason, and now that I have, well, let's just say even if Pioneer gets this issue sorted out, I won't be giving up this Denon.
Finally, a quote from an Audioholics 4306 review
Denon has scored several goal-winning points in the last several years, and the AVR-4306 may actually be a product that hits the mark for many consumers looking for an affordable high end product to control their home theater system. I would highly HIGHLY recommend this receiver to anyone looking for the best performance and feature set available for a receiver under $2000. This is a true benchmark, trend setting product!
Just to be clear, I am not dissing the other receivers, it just seemed that there have been a lot of statements in this thread stating that the Denon does not measure up audibly to the Pioneer and some other receivers. You can go search for yourself and find any number of reviews (both user & professional) which clearly believe otherwise.