"Great Receiver, Great Price!"5.0 starson by HallockH2
Pros: + Setup was easy
+ Sound and video quality are great
+ Airplay is an amazing
+ Features abound
Cons: - When changing from SD to HD channels, it sometimes takes several seconds to decode the video signal
Summary: I had been trying to decide between the VSX-1021-K and the Onkyo TX-NR609. Depending on the review, I had found reasons for and against both. I upgraded from a Sony DA3ES, which even though it's 10+ years old, is still a great unit, but was built well before HDMI and the new HD sound formats.
Finally I decided on the Pioneer. It arrived solidly packed, and setup was easy. I plugged into my router and grabbed an IP address with no problem. Speaker connections are all binding posts that also accomodate banana plugs (no spring-loaded jacks here.)
Inputs can be renamed from either the receiver menu or the iPad control app. You can also turn off inputs you don't use so they won't appear when turning the input knob.
After making my speaker and input connections, I connected the included setup microphone, and started the full-auto MDACC setup. It proceeded to run a series of test tones to test each speaker. It came back and told me I had a speaker out of phase, and sure enough, I had connected one set of wires backwards. After correcting, it continued on and set the levels, balance and distance on all speakers. I've used Video Essentials and a sound level meter in the past, and I have to say that the auto-setup did a great job.
Sound and video quality are great. The 1021-K is 90 watts per channel compared to my Sony's 100, but it puts out good clean sound at all volumes and I haven't noticed any loss of power. Previously all my sources were plugged directly into the TV's HDMI inputs, but the additional video processing the receiver performs definitely gives HD images a pop and clarity they didn't have before. I have it set to upscale everything to 1080, and while it makes things look a little better, it's never going to look as good as a true HD image.
One negative I do have about the video processing: When changing sources or changing from SD to HD channels, it sometimes takes several seconds to decode the video signal. For example, when turning on my XBox360, it takes long enough that I miss most of the startup screen. Not a huge deal I suppose, but it's something that I wasn't used to before. I also have a DirecTV DVR and have had a couple of cases where the picture just flashes off and on repeatedly, until I turn the DVR off and back on. I suppose it could be an issue with upscaling, so I may turn off that feature to see if the issue goes away.
I have an iPad, and I do like the remote control app, though I do agree with those that have said certain aspects of the app are gimmicky. Airplay works well, and though the 1021-K doesn't support Pandora natively, that can also be streamed using Airplay.
The included remote is not laid out the greatest, there are a lot of buttons and most are the same shape and size, so working it in the dark isn't the easiest. A backlit remote would've helped quite a bit. I've had limited success with programming codes for other devices into the remote, but the learning feature (putting remotes face to face) works just fine.
All in all, I'm very satisfied with this unit. I feel I definitely got my money's worth and would recommend it to others ( but before you will buy the Pioneer VSX-1021-K I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: lowest-pricing.info/VSX-1021-K ).
Hope this review helps.