Pioneer has undeniably been the main innovator in the midrange AV receiver space over the last few years. For example, the company added the ability to connect an iPod/iPhone directly via USB, and included a cable for that purpose, before anyone else. Now Pioneer is making iPod support one step easier with the VSX-1021-K, letting you wirelessly stream music from an iOS device--such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch--using AirPlay, Apple's proprietary media-streaming format (check out our full hands-on). In addition to AirPlay, the VSX-1021-K also features a slew of other attractive features, including five HDMI inputs, DLNA compatibility, and Pioneer's iOS remote-control app, iControlAV2. Not to mention the fact that it sounds pretty great, too.
As impressive as that package sounds, it's still not quite enough to make the VSX-1021-K our top midrange receiver pick of 2011. The Denon AVR-1912 edges it out just slightly by also offering AirPlay, plus one more HDMI port, a two-year warranty, more built-in streaming media services, and slightly better sound quality. That still makes the VSX-1021-K our second-favorite receiver of the year and it could be the top choice for some buyers who really can't stand the inferior onscreen display of the Denon.… Read more