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A little background on my component history first: I'm an Elite fan. I have a VSX-45TX that still works and I used up until recently as a 2 channel system. I upgraded to an SC-37 a few years ago...
Sound quality, power, build, and features
A little background on my component history first: I'm an Elite fan. I have a VSX-45TX that still works and I used up until recently as a 2 channel system. I upgraded to an SC-37 a few years ago and that receiver was stolen...well, lost it in a divorce. Since buying a new home and starting a new home theater system, I purchased the SC-68, an SVS PC12 Plus sub, KEF 3000 series surrounds, and the OPPO 103 Bluray. Older Tannoy Profile 638s are the mains and a Vienna Acoustics Theatro center channel finishes this 7.1 system (front height). It's all powered by a regulated supply from Belkin, and I also have a HTPC and DirecTV. I am running a pair of Vienna Acoustics Bachs that are in the living room upstairs in Zone 2. Those are paired with an older Paradigm PS-1000 sub.
I've owned the SC-68 for several months now. It all started out very interesting, because I had bought an SC-63 at a really decent price of $800. When that receiver came in DOA (no video), I sent it back for exchange. Unfortunately they had no more. I bought the SC-68 as a like new demo unit off eBay, but the seller IS an authorized Elite dealer, so warranty is not a concern.
Setup is as easy as other Elite units I've had in the past. Running wires everywhere was the most difficult part, but is unrelated to how easy it was to get started with the SC-68. This unit is about as heavy as the last two I've owned, and build quality is at or above anything I've owned. I have wired ethernet hooked up to the SC-68 for internet radio and Pandora.
The iControlAV2012 app on my iPhone works flawlessly and has more functionality than the remote, in my opinion. Speaking of the remote, it could be better. For a top-of-the-line receiver, Pioneer should have done a better job. They made up for it with the app. For example, you cannot control Zone 2 with the remote. You would have to use the front panel controls to control the source, volume, etc. With the app, it's super simple and I can control it from my living room or kitchen.
Sound quality, dynamics, soundstage, are all very good. This is very typical of Elite receivers. Surprisingly, Pandora quality is very good. I had to do the firmware update to get Pandora to log in, but it's been flawless since. Bluray movies are downright incredible, and I'd much rather sit and watch a movie in the house than go to the big screen. The SVS sub has a lot to do with that. :-) Internet radio quality is okay, but navigation through the channels is slow and cumbersome. A better remote would help, and maybe a search feature too. DirecTV music channel sound quality is pretty good, but seems to lack the dynamics and bass that I get from Pandora. Normal DirecTV channels sound realistic but also lack bass.
I've not yet played with the HTPC much, and I know that there is a program I need to install to get better quality from the USB input. I may do that this weekend since I've reminded myself.
Handshake time with the Sharp 60" TV takes a few seconds, but it's not frustrating or annoying. Video quality is only limited by the source and the TV itself. 4K is in my future, but I'll wait until prices come down before I jump on that wagon.
Overall I'm extremely happy with the purchase and even though it's the most expensive component I've ever purchased, it's worth it. The functionality, features, power, and the overall warm fuzzy I get inside every time I turn it on gives it a 4.8 out of 5 for my rating.