Pioneer VSX-1021K 7.1 A/V Receiver


Design And Setup of the Pioneer VSX-1021K 7.1 A/V Receiver

The 1021 looks like your average A/V receiver these days, with a glossy black front and two knobs, one for source select and one for volume. There are a few layout changes to the front façade from last year's model, the 1020K, but nothing major. In terms of the rear panel, the cheap spring-clip binding posts for the front height channels have been replaced with binding posts. Also the video and audio inputs have been rearranged. Unfortunately there are no pre-outs for adding a separate amp, although that is not a common feature in this price range. Rounding out the connections on the rear panel are five HDMI inputs and one output, two component inputs, FIVE composite (for all those VHS players and 16-bit video game consoles), three RCA analog audio inputs and five digital audio inputs.

After getting all my connections in order, I did a quick pass through the menu system and double-checked the firmware version; it was already loaded with the latest version. Like other Pioneer receivers, the 1021 features MCACC room correction software and I went ahead and ran the full automatic setup with this. It takes several minutes and emits some unpleasant sounds in order to calculate distances, levels, and standing waves. Small children and pets might scurry out of the room to save their eardrums. The MCACC did a pretty good job at determining my setup. Since I have no subwoofer, front speakers were set to large and the distances seemed close enough.

Pioneer also provided me with the AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter, which is a small device, similar in size to a USB memory stick, that plugs into a special port on the rear panel. Pairing my iPhone with the 1021 was a matter of drilling down a few levels in the menu system to the Bluetooth Pairing section. Once there, the devices communicated for a few seconds and my iPhone was connected. Using the Pioneer remote was not the most pleasant of remote experiences I have had, so it was a good thing I could use the iControlAV2 iPad app. The master volume control on the remote was roughly the same shape and size as all the other buttons making it hard to locate from feel alone. I also didn't like how changing the source also changes the remotes functionality to that of the selected source. You always have to hit "Receiver" again to regain control of the VSX.