I have never compared Sony v. Pioneer Elite but can comment on my recent upgrade from a Denon 3801 to an Elite 45tx...I just hooked up the 45tx yesterday and after 2 years with the Denon, which I loved btw...the Elite blew me away. After hooking up the 45tx I was shocked to see how easy it was to achieve a perfect calibration. I have watched bits and pieces of several movies so far and the dialogue and effects are much more clear on the 45tx. The soundfield on the 45tx also seems much more expansive than the 3801. All I can say is that after a day and a half I am in love with this receiver.