Originally Posted by Defcon
I don't think Yamaha is bright. I also don't think YPAO is as good as Audyssey.
IMO both are good brands and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference sonically in a blind test. I switched from a Yamaha to Denon a few days ago, so far I like some things and dislike others.
I attended a shootout at Allnet, one of the big distributors in Illinois. Having handled Elite, Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, etc. they pitted two models below your inquiry from both Denon and Yamaha (Onkyo is a big-box brand and Elite is just about finished for now). The models were in the $850 range, one Yamaha, one Denon. 22 dealers attended, mostly Denon guys since Allnet had distributed Denon forever. 21 chose the Yamaha,only one left with a Denon.
Audessey does EQ more effectively in the sub area but woofer setup and positioning can ameliorate the difference in many cases. As far as mid bass, midrange and highs, the Yamha's YPAO, a parametric EQ considered one of the better receiver on-board systems, was developed by their Pro-Sound division, the biggest in the world. It includes two sets of filters--the EQ section and RSC, their reflective sound control which analyzes room reflections and optimizes the sound in that difficult area.
To me, however, it really does help to try both in the two channel mode with no processing. That's what Allnet did and we came away preferring the Yamaha. Why not look at Marantz? It's circuitry is superior to its sister (Denon) top to bottom, yet with the same EQ. See if there's an Anthem in that price range. They too have an excellent EQ system.
The Yamha does have MusicCast (nine more wireless zones for free), a big power supply (will drive any speakers) and they do not break in general, enjoying a far superior reliability record over all Japanse (actually from any country) receivers. 3-year warranty.
I'd listen to the units, not to me or any other poster. By the way, it's impossible to compare EQ systems without listening to identical level matched ssystems using a wide variety of material and sources. You'd need to ensure the mic position is identical for both. Bottom line? EQ will not correct a dull sounding unit or one that clips harshly. Listen and decide.