Sound&Vision Magazine evaluated three midline Receivers- JVC RX-8040 ($450), Sony STR-DE897 ($400) and Yamaha RX-V750 ($650) back in Sep 2004, and here are the results.

Out of three, they choose Yamaha as the best, They really liked Yamaha's YPAO automatic acoustic customization and setup, and gave a high mark for it. For testing, they deliberately wired the right surround channel out of phase and ran the YPAO setup routine again. Yamaha automatic acoustic setup caught the mistake, and gave them a warning. Pretty cool!

Here are a brief description of each receiver (full link at the bottom):

JVC RX-8040: Defeatable Compression Compensative Converter, converts all incoming digital audio signals to a 196-kHz/24-bit format.
Five-band graphic equalizer, which boosts or cuts only the front left/right channels. Excellent DPL IIx 7.1-channel playback of two channel stereo sources.
No onscreen display or setup menus and only one coaxial digital audio input. Sound slightly metallic at extreme volumes. Almost all of DSP modes added some artificial reverberation in all channels.

Sony STR-DE897:The receiver sports two multichannel analog audio inputs, one with eight channels and one with six. Sony also includes DTS Neo:6, which provides 6.1-channel playback.
No onscreen display or setup menus. Unlike the JVC and Yamaha receivers, Sony’s STR-DE897 provides only Dolby Pro Logic II, not the newer DPL IIx, for enhancing stereo or matrix-encoded four-channel surround sources.

Yamaha RX-V750:Least expensive auto-calibrating A/V receiver, YPAO can automatically select speaker “sizes,” levels, distances, and all those other potentially confusing setup parameters that, when set properly, enable your system to sound its best.

Excellent DSP modes for movies and music. Onscreen display and menus via component-video output as well as the composite- and S-video output jacks. All video signals upconverted to component-video format. Power was plentiful in all of movie-sound torture tests.