The models you list are similarly priced but not nescessarilly of similar levels though and the Onkyo TXNR696 would be in fact comparable to the lower tier Denon AVRX2500 and not the X3500. The Only reason you'd be paying more for the Onkyo is the fact it has only just recently been launched and as such will have a premium price and not be subject to the discounts being offered in relation to older models such as the Denon X3500. Depite the prices, both the Denon and the Pioneer receivers are higher tier products than the Onkyo. The Pioneer is also technically an even higher level model than the Denon due to it being a 9 channel model as opposed to the X3500's 7.
I'd recommend the Denon as being far better value for your money, but the Pioneer has one advantage over the other two options. The Pioneer receiver is a 9 channel AV receiver as opposed to having only the 7 channels of integral amplification associated with the Denon and the Onkyo options.
Would you want or need 9 channels of amplifucation? This would allow you to have an 7.1.2 or a 5.1.4 Atmos setup while the Onkyo or the Denon receivers would be limited to no more than a 7.1 or a 5.1.2 setup.
Hi All - I'm looking at the Onkyo TX-NR696 vs. Denon x3500. Both are about the same price! I know everyone says the Denon is better but the Onkyo has a few features I think I may like: Chromecast, Sonos and Airplay 2 (not sure if Denon has airplay 2) - Need advice before the Black Friday sales are over. Thanks in advance. What would you purchase?