Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH A/V Receiver Conclusion
I'm sure you figured out by now that I'm impressed with the Pioneer VSX-94TXH. I should reveal a slight bias in that I've never encountered a Pioneer Elite model that was not at least equal to the best AVRs in its price class. Moreover, I just love the glossy Urishi finish, which helps Pioneer Elite AVRs exude class and sophistication.
A few months ago, I reviewed the VSX-91TXH for hometheatermag.com. I thought it was a terrific buy and gave it stellar marks in all areas (except the remote, which is the same one packaged with the 94TXH). The VSX-94TXH will run you an extra $600 for some additional power (140 vs. 110Wpc), two more HDMI inputs, Home Media Gallery, and the Faroudja video scaler, which is of questionable value according to my experience.
The 94THX is remarkably similar in sonic performance to the Sony STR-DA4300ES I recently reviewed for hometheatermag.com. (A separate review of the DA4300ES for UAV can be found here.) The Sony's superior GUI stands out as a significant advantage over the 94TXH, but it doesn't provide LAN connectivity or anything resembling Home Media Gallery. If the extra networking capabilities of the 94TXH are not important to you, the STR-DA4300ES is a great option for $400 less.
On the other hand, if you want your AVR to be network-capable, the VSX-94TXH has everything you need to build a next-generation home-entertainment system. It's easy to set up and generally simple to operate once you learn the remote. The few negatives I encountered are minor compared with its overall performance. You really can't go wrong with this AVR, especially if you want to integrate old and new media into one central location.
Exceptional sonic performances from all sources
Enveloping and coherent surround
Easy and effective audio calibration/EQ
Four HDMI inputs
Access to all types of audio media
Outdated menu design
Remote control is too busy with a relatively long learning curve
Analog video upconversion flattens color compared with HDMI signals