After much back and forth deliberation between this receiver and the Sony 5300ES, I finally decided upon the Pioneer VSX-94. I went to Best Buy/Magnolia yesterday just to see if they had one kicking around. At first the guy told me they'd sold the one they received for display, but then he checked out back and discovered that they had one in stock. Excellent!
I've had time to hook the receiver up, configure my inputs and the sound to a degree, and play around a bit with settings. I can't offer an in-depth or expert review, but here are my initial thoughts:
1) Love the sound quality! I watched The Prestige last night on Blu-ray via my PS3, with Linear PCM output, and the sound really packed a punch and was clear as a bell, even with my cheap and slapdash speaker configuration.
2) The upconversion feature of this receiver is a bit disappointing. For one thing, a 480i signal upconverted to 1080p does not display full screen: there's a black border about an inch wide on my 40" display that surrounds the entire picture. It does this on all my upconverted sources. For another thing, the receiver does not upconvert 720p or 1080i, even with component video sources. However, most of the video processing settings can be done per source (except analog aspect ratio for some reason), which is a nice feature.
3) The Home Media Gallery is phenomenally useful. I've already used it to listen to music both on my PC and on internet radio stations, with zero setup: I snapped in an ethernet cable from my router and it just worked. The only downer is that it still uses the baroque low-res OSD of years gone by, rather than the flashy GUIs of the new Sony ES and Denon receivers.
4) This receiver is incredibly versatile when it comes to plugging in and configuring sources. I had nine video sources I wanted to run through the receiver, and the Elite handles them all with a few input labels to spare. You can configure a single input label with any combination of component, HDMI, s-video and digital audio inputs, and rename it with ease. Perfect.
5) The MCACC auto-configuration utility isn't perfect, but it gives you a good starting point from which to make fine adjustments. And the fine adjustments it lets you make are myriad.