Yes, I didn't think you were saying they were bad.
I must say though that regular Pioneer receivers really do not sound as good as Elite.
I am not saying there is a HUGE difference by any means, but it will be noticeable in an A-B comparison of the two.
Whether the price difference is justifiable, is an entirely personal opinion.
(Some of this is possibly repetitive, since I typed the response to JamieW in this same post, after typing the rest):
The Elite line really does have better components and design than the regular line, honest.
Whether the price difference is justified is another matter entirely, and is probably a matter of personal opinion.
Quite frankly, I would NOT
have paid the $1200 that is quoted as the MSRP for my Elite VSX-43TX or even the $799 it sells for at some non-online retailers (I paid $484 + $29 shipping for a NEW unit).
For $800, I would probably have gotten a reasonably-priced NAD or Marantz model, or even a used Rotel.
For $484, however, the VSX-43TX is definitely worth $100 more than a regular Pioneer receiver of similar power ratings IMO
Many of the people at ecoustics have been into high end audio for 20 - 30 years, and they are into this in a big way (I am not to be honest, although I have done research).
They have done side-by-side comparisons with regular Pioneers, as have magazines such as Stereophile etc.
I use it for both HT and music, so muscality was important to me.
As jase says, sound quality isn't critical in a HT-only system, since HT is more about special effects than music.
Rotel, which was mentioned by JamieW, is probably one of the top two or three receiver lines out there, period, in terms of musicality etc.
However, there is no Rotel (NEW) anywhere near $484.
I decided to keep my budget down due to other realtively recent purchases.
I agree that for $1200, you could probably buy a very nice Rotel, slightly used if you want a newer model with new surround sound capabilities such as dts es and DD EX, and DPL-II etc.
Rotels also look great!
I also believe that the real world power output of Elite models, on the whole, seems to be much better than the regular Pioneer receivers, when it comes to a comparison to mfr rated output
Check the latest Pioneer in the chart to the latest Elite, since it is a bit old.