Neither, Look into Pioneer "Elite" or Sony ES receivers.
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Didn't say they were better.
Cannot comment on the Denon or Yamaha. That is why I recommended something I have experience with. I owned the Pioneer Elite VSX-29tx, VSX-39tx and the VSX-59txi, also several Sony ES receivers. I compared them at the time with offerings from Yamaha, Denon, Marantz and Integra Research. Based upon my comparisons and research I chose Pioneer "Elite" as my favorite time and again for home theater and surround sound receiver duties in a 5.1 and 2.1 set up.
They consistently excelled at Video processing and Music playback. They look great as well and have stellar audio system set-up software and microphone. http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Elite+Receivers/VSX-53
Although I am not currently In the market I would not hesitate to look at the current SC or VSX series of receivers from Pioneer 'Elite". Read the reviews and judge for yourself.
I think that's wonderful that the reponders here all like their brands of AV receiver. I'd recommend the Denon, which has historically had a sound that's a match for a wider variety of speaker systems, is forgiving and yet detailed, warm and solid sounding, and has the superior Audyssey EQ system - particularly on up the price ranges.
I also find Denon's stronger, dollar per dollaer, than the yamaha's. At least that's my years experience.
I do like the Yamaha's when mated with an outboard amplififer, often. But Still can't beat the Audyssey processing.
YOu'll have to try something and find out though. I'd start Denon, yes.