I need some help picking out a new receiver. I'm currently looking for a receiver to upgrade my Sony STR-DE945 which has served me well since 1999. It powers my Athena S3 mains, S1 Rears, C1 Center and feeds my P3 sub giving me what I consider to be great sound quality. Although I don't "really" need to upgrade, I would like to get a newer receiver which supports the newer formats (especially DTS NEO6, DTS 96/24, and Prologic II). While I'm at it, I might as well get something with better amplifiers (after all my DE series receiver was never considered high end in the amplifier section) Looking at Sony equipment, the receiver that seems to fit my needs best is the DA4ES. It supports the formats I want (not really concerned about a THX sticker on the box), has the 4 optical inputs I need, has nice bass management (even my 945 has better bass management than many "higher end" receivers I've seen), has dual multichannel inputs (useful if I want both DVD Audio and SACD), and standard 5 year warranty. My problem is that almost everyone I talk to says that my Sony receiver is a piece of crap and isn't letting me take full advantage of my speakers without me even mentioning whether I have a DE, DB or ES line receiver. On many places on the internet, Sony owners seem to be considered "inferior" because you don't have Denon, Onkyo, Harman Kardon, Marantz, etc equipment. It's as if Sony audio equipment is considered a joke everywhere...even ES stuff. This makes me second guess even considering another Sony product if everything else is "so much better" The receivers from other brands that I've been looking at primarily are the Onkyo NR900, the Denon 3803, and the Harman Kardon AV7200. The Onkyo NR900 seems to be the closest match to the DA4ES but it lacks the extra multi-channel input. It also lacks the RS232 port for firmware upgrades but I don't know how important this is anyways. The Denon 3803 also seems to be a worthwhile choice. It has tons of inputs and has some neat looking video features like converting composite and svideo to component but lacks the RS232 and extra multi-channel inputs. The 4802R also looks rather interesting but it doesn't have the new video features of the 3803 (although it has 3 component video inputs) I guess they want you to get the 5803 which is way out of my price-range so I'm not even considering it. The HK 7200 is a bit of an oddball, but my friend who is worked in the HT industry loved the sound on the older 8000 model. The 7200 is the closest they have but it only has 2 optical inputs and all my devices except my DVD are optical only. There is also the Sony DA7ES which is the most expensive of the receivers I've mentioned (excluding Denon 5803 of course), but I don't quite understand what the extra money gets me in terms of sound quality besides 10 watts/ch extra. (the fancy remote does nothing for me since I already have an AV3000 and I don't need 3rd (or even 2nd) room output. So I guess my question is this, are the Sony ES Receivers really that bad compared to some of the others? If so, which of the non-sony receivers that I've mentioned would you people recommend considering the requirements I've given? Thanks in advance.