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Pioneer VSX-1021-K

Home theater receiver with 3D-ready HDMI switching and Apple AirPlay®

5 Reviews

Item # 130VSX1021

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Our take on the Pioneer VSX-1021-K

The digital entertainment revolution grows by the nanosecond. If you like to be where the action is, the Pioneer VSX-1021-K will take you there. To begin with, your Blu-ray movies and concerts will come alive with up to seven channels of precision surround sound to keep you fully engrossed. And when it comes to music, this receiver has some pretty neat tricks up its sleeve.

3D TV Learn more

The digital entertainment revolution grows by the nanosecond. If you like to be where the action is, the Pioneer VSX-1021-K will take you there. To begin with, your Blu-ray movies and concerts will come alive with up to seven channels of precision surround sound to keep you fully engrossed. And when it comes to music, this receiver has some pretty neat tricks up its sleeve.

Cross a new entertainment threshold with Apple AirPlay®
AirPlay lets you stream music from your iTunes® library directly to the receiver from a wired networked computer or via Wi-Fi® — just add Pioneer's optional Wi-Fi adapter to stream right from your iPhone®, or an iPod touch®. Not only do you get a fast and convenient way to listen to your favorites, but anyone in your home can stream from their player to share their latest find. And thanks to a free Pioneer app, your device can double as a Wi-Fi® system remote through your wireless home network putting detailed receiver functions as well as program selection, right in the palm of your hand. Requires a wireless home network. Receiver requires wired connection to the router or Pioneer's Wi-Fi adapter.

Pioneer's Air Jam puts the party mixes in your hands
Air Jam technology lets you connect up to four iPhones, iPads, or iPod touch devices to your networked VSX-1021-K receiver using Pioneer's Bluetooth adapter. With Pioneer's free Air Jam app, you and your friends can make a group playlist of songs from multiple Apple devices — a great way to share music during a party. Or use the Bluetooth adapter simply to untether yourself from cables to play tunes stored on your iPod, smartphone or laptop wirelessly. Pioneer's Sound Retriever AIR technology was created specifically to enhance Bluetooth audio, so your wireless music will sound its best.

Just one cable to your HDTV
Anchor Bay® analog to HDMI processing lets you connect older video sources to the receiver and get a beautiful end result — 1080p upscaling through HDMI. Plus, the VSX-1021-K's five HDMI inputs let you connect high-definition sources for convenient switching, for a Blu-ray player, a gaming console, HD cable box and more. So you'll only need to run a single HDMI cable to your television, reducing cable clutter.

Don't get lost on your way to the fun
Pioneer includes their "AVNavigator" interactive owner's manual to make sure you won't be stymied by setup woes. This software works with your networked PC to actually communicate with your receiver during setup, so it can help you get all of your gear connected quickly. It even guides you to set up the receiver's Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system (MCACC). An included microphone measures every speaker characteristic, noting its size, distance from the listening point, sound levels and timbre to calibrate and maximize performance. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the results.

    Power and Processing:
    • 90 watts x 7 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.08% THD
    • Dolby® TrueHD, DTS-HD™ Master Audio, Dolby® Digital Plus, DTS-HD™ High Resolution Audio, Dolby® Digital EX, DTS-ES™, and DTS Neo:6 decoding
    • Anchor Bay® video processor converts analog video sources to 1080p
    Digital Music Options:
    • built-in Apple AirPlay® for ultra-convenient iTunes® music playback
    • streams music and JPEG photos from a wired PC network
    • Wi-Fi® ready, requires optional Pioneer Wi-Fi adapter
    • front-panel USB connection bypasses the iPod® DAC for higher-fidelity music playback
    • Bluetooth integration (requires optional optional Pioneer adapter)
    • Pioneer Air Jam (requires optional Bluetooth adapter) enables playlist creation and control with up to four iPod devices
    • exclusive Sound Retriever AIR technology for enhanced Bluetooth sound quality
    • DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certified to ensure optimal compatibility with other network-enabled equipment
    • streams music from your PC and the Internet, including vTuner Internet radio (broadband connection required)
      • 96 kHz / 24-Bit PC audio playback (FLAC)
      • 192 kHz / 24-Bit PC Audio playback (WAV)
    • SIRIUS® satellite radio ready (requires compatible home tuner and subscription)
    Multi-room audio/video:
    • powered and line-level stereo audio output for 2nd room (using powered 2nd room stereo output allows 5.1 home theater in main room)
    • composite video output for 2nd room
    • only analog sources can be played in the 2nd room
    Audio Performance Features:
    • high-current, low-impedance amp design
    • 192kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converters for all channels
    • Advanced Sound Retriever for better stereo sound with compressed music sources like MP3 files
    • 1080p-compatible HDMI digital audio/video switching (4 in, 1 out)
    • HDMI version 1.4 with support for 3D video, Deep Color, x.v.Color, auto lip-sync, HDMI-CEC and Audio Return Channel
    • 4 rear-panel audio/video inputs with composite video
    • component video switching (2 in, 1 out)
    • back surround speakers reassignable to front height or second room speakers (additional speaker pair required)
    • no phono input — to connect a turntable you'll need to add aphono preamp
    • 4 digital audio inputs: 2 optical, 2 coaxial
    • Ethernet port for connection to a wired home network
    General Features:
    • free Pioneer remote app lets you use your iPod touch®, iPhone® or Android™ device as a Wi-Fi® remote
    • Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system provides easy auto speaker setup (microphone included)
    • AVNavigator system setup CD-ROM
    • full-color graphic user interface (GUI) via composite or component video
    • learning multibrand remote
    • 17-1/8"W x 6-5/8"H x 14-1/2"D
    • weight: 22.1 lbs.
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    • Note: You might experience network dropouts when using AirPlay with an iPhone 4S. Apple is working to fix this software problem.

    Excellent receiver at low price point. Much better than my more expensive sony. Love the zone 2, which I never could figure out with out shouting off my front speakers.

    Boxerboy, Edmond, Ok

    What's in the Box:

    • 7.1ch A/V receiver
    • Remote control (AXD7615)
    • 2 "AAA" batteries
    • Setup microphone (with attached 16.5' cord terminated by a 3.5mm connector)
    • 39" iPod AV cable (with a iPod dock connector on one end and a USB type-A connector/composite video connector on other end)
    • AM loop antenna
    • FM wire antenna
    • AVNavigator CD-ROM
    • Operating Instructions (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • "Prevent shorting of speaker cords" note

    Pioneer VSX-1021-K Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (5 Reviews)


    Brandon from Boise, ID on 7/13/2012

    I have been using the VSX-1021 for just over a year now. No malfunctions and produces great sound. I expect a lot more though. Pioneer is touting their Apple interface and HDMI capabilities of this device. When trying to use any digital source the multi channel function will not work. In fact you will only get 2.1 channel out put. After calling support and asking if there would be a firm ware fix in the future there was a very short response. No. My response: "Thanks." My thought: "Don't buy Pioneer" For those trying to use their HDMI audio return you will run into this issue. For those trying to use their iPhone digitally connected to the VSX-1021 will have this issue. I have found that for Pandora you can select "Dock Connector" instead of "VSX-1021". The Dock Connector will allow you to play on multiple channels. Another note is that if you use HDMI audio return you must have the audio return (TV) already on before you turn on the VSX-1021. Trying to select a different source and coming back doesn't work.

    Pros: Plays good sound, has multi channel, has audio balance system, ATTEMPT to interface new peripheral devices.

    Cons: Integrating new forms of audio sources was done poorly.

    Pioneer VSX-1021-K

    Jay from Los Alamos, NM on 2/5/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Zero output from the HDMI circuitry produces a receiver that does nothing.


    Cons: Useless and a pain in the neck to have to return, Too big to fit in a normal rack shelf

    Pioneer VSX-1021-K

    John from Berkshire county Mass on 2/2/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I found the receiver to work very well. I haven't quite yet figured out how to use all the different things yet but I will eventually. Also I definitely noticed the up-convert from my analog satellite signal to HD on my TV. I do have a nice TV so a I'm sure that helped me to see the difference. Also I LOVE the apple air play.

    Pros: Apple air play

    Cons: none yet

    Pioneer VSX-1021

    Boxerboy from Edmond, Ok on 1/31/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Excellent receiver at low price point. Much better than my more expensive sony. Love the zone 2, which I never could figure out with out shouting off my front speakers.

    Pros: Great receiver for the price. All that you can do with zone 2


    Great Receiver

    Anonymous from Georgia on 1/27/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great receiver with a lot of extra features for a great price

    Pros: Airplay works like it should



    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    Number Of Channels 7
    Stereo RMS Power (watts) 90
    THD in Stereo 0.08 %
    Frequency Bandwidth (stereo) 20-20k Hz
    Minimum Impedance L/R 6 ohms
    Minimum Impedance Center 6 ohms
    Minimum Impedance Surround 6 ohms
    General Features
    Internet-ready Yes
    Bluetooth No
    Apple AirPlay Built in
    App Remote Control Yes
    USB port for iPod/iPhone Yes
    FM Sensitivity Not Given
    HD Radio Tuner No
    On-Screen Display Thru HDMI
    Auto Speaker Calibration Advanced MCACC
    HDCP 2.2 for 4K Video No
    HDR-compatible No
    HDMI Standby Pass-through No
    Composite Video Conversion From Composite to HDMI, Component
    Component Video Conversion From Component Video to HDMI, Composite
    HDMI to HDMI Upconversion Yes
    DLNA Certified
    MHL-compatible ---
    Multibrand Remote Control Yes
    Learning Remote Yes
    LCD Remote
    Width (inches) 17-1/8
    Height (inches) 6-5/8
    Depth (inches) 14-1/2
    Weight (pounds) 22.0625
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year
    Multi-room Audio--Video
    Powered Multi-room Audio Output Yes
    Preamp Multi-room Audio Output Yes
    Multi-room Video Yes
    Multi-room HDMI Output No
    Surround Processing
    Dolby Digital DD, EX, TrueHD, DD+
    Dolby Atmos N/A
    DTS DTS, ES, HD, HDMA, Neo6, 96/24
    DTS:X No
    Inputs & Outputs
    Phono Input No
    Audio-Video Inputs 8
    Audio-only Inputs 1
    Component Video Inputs 2
    Component Video Monitor Outputs 1
    Optical Digital Inputs 2
    Coaxial Digital Inputs 2
    Optical Digital Outputs None
    Coaxial Digital Outputs None
    HDMI Inputs 5
    HDMI Monitor Outputs 1
    Subwoofer Outputs 1
    Multi-Channel Analog Input No
    Multi-channel Preamp Output No
    Main Speaker Output Pairs 1
    Main Speaker Terminals Posts
    Ethernet Port 1
    USB Connections 1 Front
    Removable Power Cord No

    Product Research

    Audio Features
    Video Features
    Network Functions
    USB/iPod Connectivity
    Multi-Zone Capability
    Tuner Section
    Convenience Features
    Remote/Bluetooth Control

    Audio Features

    90-Watt x 7.1ch Amplifier: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K Multi-Channel A/V receiver is equipped with a 7-channel amplifier rated at 90 watts (into 8-ohms, at 20Hz-20kHz, with 0.08% THD, driving 2 channels) and a dedicated subwoofer (LFE) preamp output.

    Amplifier Assignment: The VSX-1021-K supports up to 7.1 channels (Front L/R, Center, Surround L/R, Surround Back L/R, and SW) for surround sound playback. The seven amplifier channels built into the receiver are typically used for 7.1 channel surround in the main room, but there are various amplifier configurations to accommodate your home theater setup:

    • Normal: The VSX-1021-K is designed to be used as a 7.1ch surround sound receiver with front left/right, center-channel, surround left/right, and surround back left/right channels along with a preamp subwoofer output.
    • Bi-Amp: You can configure the amplifier for front bi-amp operation to achieve a higher-quality 2-channel sound by connecting the receiver's front and surround back channels to your main front speakers (if compatible). Receiver will be limited to 5.1ch surround.
    • Front B: A second set of front speakers can be powered by the surround back/front height amplifier. Receiver will be limited to 5.1ch surround.
    • Front Height: To enjoy Dolby Pro Logic IIz you can reassign the power amp from the two surround back channels to the two front height channels for better front height effects.
    • Front Wide: To enjoy Wide Surround you can reassign the power amp from the two surround back/front height channels to the two front wide channels for better front wide effects.
    • Zone2: The surround back channel amplifier can also be assigned to power stereo speakers in Zone2. Receiver will be limited to 5.1ch surround.

    Note: It is not possible to produce sound simultaneously from the front height/front wide speakers and the surround back/Zone 2 speakers.

    192kHz/24-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter:  This receiver is equipped with 192kHz/24-bit DACs to decode and playback high-resolution recordings with clearer sound.

    Texas Instruments Aureus DSP Engine: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K is equipped with a Texas Instruments (TI) Aureus Digital Signal Processor (DSP) Engine for better surround sound reproduction.

    Listening Modes: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K offers a variety of listening modes to accommodate playback of various audio formats.

    StereoSound is output by the front left and right speakers and subwoofer.
    Stereo ALCThe unit equalizes playback of sound levels when your music tracks are recorded at different volume levels.
    Straight DecodeNo additional effects (tone control, etc.) are added to the stereo source.
    Dolby Pro Logic
    Dolby Pro LogicDolby Pro Logicis a matrix decoding technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. Dolby Pro Logic processes any high-quality stereo (two-channel) movie and music audio into four playback channels of surround sound - Front Left, Front Right, Center, Mono-Surrounds.
    Dolby Pro Logic II Dolby Pro Logic II transforms high-quality stereo sound into 5.1-channel surround sound. Thanks to its full-range performance, you will hear all the detail and subtleties of a compelling five-channel Dolby surround sound mix from a stereo signal. You can choose between three DPL II modes - Movie, Music, or Game.
    Dolby Pro Logic IIx Dolby Pro Logic IIx transforms high-quality stereo and 5.1ch sound into 6.1- or 7.1-cchannel surround sound. With Dolby Pro Logic IIx you experience engaging, natural surround sound. Special effects are more realistic than you ever thought possible. Your movies and television programming sound richer, with more depth. You can choose between three DPL IIx modes - Movie, Music, or Game.
    Dolby Pro Logic IIz Providing a dramatic listening alternative for 7.1 systems, Dolby Pro Logic IIz brings the added dimension of height to create an immersive 7.1-channel surround sound experience from any stereo, 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 movie, music, TV, or game audio source. Dolby Pro Logic IIz identifies and processes ambient sound energy and directs this information to front height speakers in a 7.1-channel environment.
    Wide Surround
    Wide Surround MovieUp to 7.1-channel sound (with front-wide speaker effects), especially suite to movie sources.
    Wide Surround MusicUp to 7.1-channel sound (with front-wide speaker effects), especially suite to movie sources.
    Dolby Digital
    Dolby DigitalDolby Digital has been selected as the default format for DVD video, standard 2 channel audio playback and HDTV Digital broadcasting. Dolby Digital features two independent surround channels giving same full range as the three front channels. Plus it adds a Low Frequency Effect channel LFE. Dolby Digital accomplishes this by using a technique called compression.
    Dolby Digital EXDolby Digital EX takes the Dolby Digital 5.1-channel setup one step further with an additional center surround channel (reproduced through one or two speakers) for extra dimensional detail and an enveloping surround sound effect.
    Dolby Digital PlusDolby Digital Plus is based on core Dolby Digital technologies. Dolby Digital Plus is an advanced surround sound audio codec designed specifically for evolving media. Dolby Digital Plus brings cinematic sound to Blu-ray, broadcast, online, game, and mobile phone entertainment (up to 7.1ch)
    Dolby Digital TrueHDDolby TrueHD produces audio that is identical to and every bit as spectacular as the master recording. It lets you experience the full potential of Blu-ray Disc (up to 7.1ch), and is even ready for future HD delivery formats.
    DTSDTS (Digital Theater Systems) uses the same concept as Dolby Digital, but implements a lower compression rate. This leads to more dynamic range, improved channel separation, and more subtle nuances.
    DTS-HD High Resolution AudioDTS-HD High Resolution Audio is an improvedversion of the conventional DTS, DTS-ES andDTS 96/24 signals formats, compatible with sampling frequencies of 96 or 48 kHz and up to 7.1 channels of discrete digital sound. High databit rate performance provides high quality sound.This format is fully compatible with conventionalproducts, including conventional DTS digital surround 5.1-channel data.
    Master AudioDTS-HD Master Audio is a lossless audio format created by Digital Theater System (DTS). This format provides the facility to support up to 8 audio channels with a sampling frequency of 96kHz/24bit resolution and up to 6 audio channels with a sampling frequency of 192kHz/24bit resolution. It is fully compatible with conventional products, including conventional DTS digital surround 5.1-channel data.
    DTS 96/24DTS 96/24 offers a higher quality level of multi-channel audio (up to 5.1 channels) for standard DVDs. The "96" refers to a 96kHz sampling rate (compared to the typical 48kHz sampling rate.) The "24" refers to 24-bit depth, compared to 16-bit depth used for CD sound, which means there is more audio information present.
    DTS ExpressDTS uses a system called DTS Express to deliver Secondary or Sub Audio to your player. The DTS Express audio is mixed with the Primary Audio, giving you an intensely great interactive surround experience.
    DTS-ESDTS-ES delivers 6.1 channels of discrete or matrixed audio. Movies encoded in DTS-ES will dramatically intensify the DTS surround effect with the addition of a surround center-channel speaker.
    DTS Neo: 6DTS Neo:6 takes 2-channel (stereo) audio and completely transforms it into up to six full-bandwidth matrix channels of surround sound. Your home theater system will produce six and five separate channels, respectively, to match your speaker layout. DTS Neo:6 can also generate a center surround channel from 5.1 material. You can choose between two DTS NEO: 6 modes - Cinema or Music.
    Neural SurroundUp to 7.1-channel sound (using surround back speakers), especially suited to music sources.

    Note: Dolby Digital and DTS listening modes can only be selected if your audio source is connected to the AV receiver via a digital audio connection (HDMI, optical or coaxial).

    Surround Parameters: You can adjust the following surround mode parameters:

    • Dolby Pro Logic II Music Settings: While listening in the Dolby Pro Logic II Music format, there are three further enhancements you can adjust:
      • Panorama: Broadens the front stereo image to the surround speakers to provide a wraparound effect, especially effective when there is limited output from the surround channels, panorama can be turned on/off in the menu.
      • Dimension: Allows you to move the sound field forward or backward.
      • Center Width: Allows you to adjust the width of the center channel.
    • Center Image: In the Neo:6 Music mode, the Center Image feature adjusts the output of the left and right channels relative to the center channel, allowing you to make the center channel more or less dominant as needed. This improves the image of the center channel, especially when the listener is off-center. Adjustment varies from 7 (nothing subtracted from the L/R channels) to 0 (L/R channel output is cut in half).
    • Dolby Pro Logic IIz Settings: While listening in the Dolby Pro Logic IIz format, you can adjust the following parameters:
      • Height Gain: Adjust the volume (Low/Mid/High) of the Front Height channels in Dolby Pro Logic IIz. 
      • V.Height: When you're not using front height speakers, selecting this mode allows you to hear a virtual front height channel through your front speakers.
    • V.SB: When you're not using surround back speakers, selecting this mode allows you to hear a virtual surround back channel through your surround speakers.

    Advanced Surround: The Advanced Surround feature creates a variety of surround effects for various soundtracks.

    Movie Modes

    ActionDesigned for action movies with dynamic soundtracks.
    DramaDesigned for movies with lots of dialog.
    SCI-FIDesigned for science fiction with lots of special effects.
    Mono FilmCreates surround sound from mono soundtracks.
    Entertainment ShowSuitable for musical sources.
    TV SurroundProvides surround sound for both mono and stereo TV sources.
    Advanced GameSuitable for video games.
    SportsSuitable for sports programs.
    F.S Surround FocusProvides a rich surround sound effect directed to the center of where the front left and right speakers sound projection area converges.
    F.S Surround WideProvides a surround sound effect to a wider area than Focus mode.

    Audio Modes

    ClassicalGives a large convert hall-type sound
    Rock/PopCreates a live concert sound for rock and/or pop music.
    UnpluggedSuitable for acoustic music sources.
    ExpandedCreates an extra wide stereo field.
    Ext. StereoGives multichannel sound to a stereo source, using all of your speakers.
    Sound Retriever AIRSuitable for listening to the sound from a Bluetooth wireless device.
    Phones SurroundWhen listening through headphones, you can still get a virtual surround sound effect.

    Note: You can set the effect level (10-90) for the currently selected Advanced Surround mode.

    Stream Direct: Use the Stream Direct modes when you want to hear the truest possible reproduction of a source. All unnecessary signal processing is bypassed.

    Stream Direct Modes

    Auto SurroundThe receiver automatically detects what kind of source you're playing and selects multichannel or stereo playback as necessary.
    DirectSources are heard according to the settings made in the Manual Speaker Setup (speaker setting, channel level, speaker distance), as well as with dual mono settings. You will hear sources according to the number of channel in the signal.
    Pure DirectAnalog and PCM sources are heard without and digital processing.

    Advanced MCACC Setup: The Advanced MCACC (Multi Channel Acoustic Calibration) system was developed in Pioneer's laboratories with the aim of making it possible for home users to perform adjustments of the same level as in a studio easily and with high precision. The acoustic characteristics of the listening environment are measured and the frequency response is calibrated accordingly to allow high precision, automatic analysis and optimal calibration of the sound field to bring it closer to a studio environment than ever before. Furthermore, while it was previously difficult to eliminate standing waves, this receiver is equipped with a standing wave control function using a unique process to perform acoustic analysis and reduce their influence. You can choose to calibrate the soundfield automatically or fine-tune the soundfield data manually.

    • Auto MCACC Setup: The VSX-1021-K features Pioneer's exclusive Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system (MCACC), providing a near studio-quality, multi-channel listening experience customized specifically to your listening environment. The Auto Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) setup measures the acoustic characteristic of your listening area, taking into account ambient noise, speaker size and distance, and tests for both channel delay and channel level. The included microphone measures every speaker's connection, and notes its size, distance from the listening point, sound levels, and timbre to calibrate and maximize performance specifically for your room. After you have setup the microphone provided with the VSX-1021-K, the receiver uses the information from a series of test tones to optimize the speaker settings and equalization for your particular room.
      • 3 Correction Curves: After a single calibration is performed, each of the following three correction curves can be stored separately in the MCACC memory. SYMMETRY implements symmetric correction for each pair of left and right speakers to flatten the frequency-amplitude characteristics. ALL CH ADJ is a 'flat' setting where all the speakers are set individually so no special weighting is given to any one channel. FRONT ALIGN sets all speakers in accordance with the front speaker settings (no equalization is applied to the front left and right channels.
      • EQ Pro & S-Wave: In addition to measurements at the listening position, you can use two more reference points for which test tones will be analyzed for standing waves. This is useful if you want to get a balanced 'flat' calibration for several seating positions in your listening area. Place the microphone at the reference point indicated on-screen and note that the last microphone placement will be at your main listening position.
    • Manual MCACC Setup: You can use the settings in the Manual MCACC setup menu to make detailed adjustments, after the Auto MCACC Setup has completed.
      • Fine Channel Level: You can achieve better surround sound by properly adjusting the overall balance of your speaker system. You can adjust the Channel Level of each speaker in 0.5 dB increments (+/-12dB).
      • Fine Speaker Distance: For proper sound depth and separation with your system, it is necessary to add a slight bit of delay to some speakers so that all sounds will arrive at the listening position at the same time. You can adjust the distance of each speaker in half inch increments, up to 25.5'.
      • Standing Wave: Acoustic standing waves occur when, under certain conditions, sound waves from your speaker system resonate mutually with sound waves reflected off the walls in your listening area. This can have a negative effect on the overall sound, especially at certain lower frequencies. Depending on speaker placement, your listening position, and ultimately the shape of your room, it results in an overly resonant (boomy) sound. The Standing Wave Control uses filters to reduce the effect of overly resonant sounds in your listening area.
      • EQ Adjust: Acoustic Calibration Equalization is a kind of room equalizer for your speakers (excluding the subwoofer). It works by measuring the acoustic characteristics of your room and neutralizing the ambient characteristics that can color the original source material (providing a 'flat' equalization setting).
      • EQ Professional: This setup minimizes the unwanted effects of room reverberation by allowing you to calibrate your system based on the direct sound coming from the speakers. Performing the Acoustic Calibration EQ Professional procedure is effective when the lower frequencies seem overly reverberant in  your listening room.

    PQLS: PQLS (Precision Quartz Lock System) is a digital audio signal transfer control technology using the HDMI Control function. It offers  higher-quality audio playback by controlling audio signals from the receiver to a PQLS compatible Pioneer Blu-ray player. This enables removing jitter that has a negative effect on the quality of the sound and is generated upon transmission.

    Advanced Sound Retriever: Even compressed audio such as WMA, MP3, and AAC is enhanced with another Pioneer exclusive, Advanced Sound Retriever, by filling in areas where subtle details were left out during the compression process. When audio data is removed during the compression process, sound quality often suffers from an uneven sound image. The Sound Retriever feature employs new DSP technology that helps bring CD quality sound back to compressed 2-channel audio by restoring sound pressure and smoothing jagged artifacts left over after compression.

    Phase Control: The A/V receiver's Phase Control feature uses phase correction measurements to make sure your system's sound arrives at the listening position in phase, preventing unwanted distortion and/or coloring of the sound. Phase Control technology provides coherent sound reproduction through the use of phase matching for an optimal sound image at your listening position.

    Up Mix Function: In a traditional 7.1-channel surround system with surround speakers placed directly at the sides of the listening position, the surround sound of 5.1-channels sources is heard from the side. The Up Mix function mixes the sound of the surround speakers with the surround back speakers so that the surround sound is heard from diagonally to the rear as it should be.

    Dynamic Range Control: This function adjusts the level of dynamic range for movie soundtracks optimized for Dolby Digital/DTS formats. This feature is helpful when listening to Dolby Digital/DTS soundtracks at low volume levels.

    Audio Settings: The A/V receiver offers various audio settings to fine tune the receiver for your listening pleasure.

    • Tone Control: You can adjust the bass & treble from -6 to +6 db.
    • Loudness: The Loudness function is used to get good bass and treble from music sources at low volumes.
    • Midnight Listening: The Midnight Listening mode allows you to hear effective surround sound of movies at lower volumes.
    • Dialogue Enhancement: Localizes dialog in the center channel to make it stand out from other background sounds in a TV or movie soundtrack. By moving from UP1 through UP2 and UP3 up to UP4, you can make the sound source seem to relocate upwards.
    • DNR: This function may improve the quality of sound in a noisy source (for example, video tape with lots of background noise) when switched on. This only has an effect with 2-channel signal inputs.

    LFE Attenuate: Dolby Digital and DTS audio sources can include ultra-low bass tones. Set the LFE Attenuator as necessary to prevent the ultra low bass tones from distorting the sound from the speakers. The LFE attenuator can be set to 0, -5, -10, -15, or -20 dB.

    Volume Setup: You can set the maximum volume of this receiver or specify what the volume level will be when the power is turned On. <

    • Power On Volume: The volume can be set so that it is always set to the same level when the receiver's power is turned On. It can be set between -80 to +12dB, or Last.
    • Volume Limit: Use this function to limit the maximum volume. The volume cannot be increased above the level set, without changing the menu setting. The maximum volume limit can bet to -20db -10db, 0dB, or Off  (no maximum volume level).

    Bi-Amping Front Speakers: The Surround-Back/Front-High/Zone2 speaker terminals can be reassigned and used along with the Front terminals to bi-amp the front speakers, providing improved bass and treble performance. When bi-amping the front speakers the receiver is limited to a 5.1ch speaker system in the main room.

    Assignable Digital Inputs: The Pioneer receiver is equipped with two optical digital inputs and two coaxial digital inputs. All four digital inputs are assignable.

    Speaker Terminals: The receiver has binding post terminals for all speaker outputs (Front, Center, Surround, Surround Back/Zone 2, and Front Height/Wide). The binding posts can accept bare wire, pin connectors, and single banana plugs. The terminals are spaced too far apart for dual banana plugs. The collar surrounding the binding post terminals prevent the use of spade connectors.

    Note: The front height/front wide speakers and the surround back/Zone 2 speakers cannot be played at the same time.

    Headphones: When headphones are plugged into the full-size 1/4" jack on the front panel, all the speakers are automatically muted.

    Video Features

    7 HD Inputs: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K is equipped with 7 HD inputs. Five HDMI 1.4a inputs (up to 1080/24p capable) let you connect a high-definition satellite receiver, Blu-ray Disc player, and game system for high definition video and audio. Two component inputs (1080/60i capable) provide added HD-capable connectivity and versatility.

    • HDMI: The receiver is equipped with five HDMI (v.1.4a) inputs for connecting HDMI-equipped audio/video components. All five HDMI inputs are capable of carrying uncompressed digital audio and 3D 1080p video There is also an HDMI (v.1.4a) output which supports the ARC function that feeds audio/video signals to an HDTV.
    • HD Component Video: This unit features 2 component video inputs and a component video monitor output. The component video jacks are capable of passing high-definition video signals (up to 1080i).

    1080p Video Upconversion: The VSX-1021-K provides video conversion from composite and component video to HDMI for a single-wire high-definition audio/video solution as well as up to 1080p video scaling (powered by Anchor Bay) for an exceptional high definition picture, regardless of the source.

    Note: You can also convert composite video to component video & vice-versa, without any upscaling.

    3D-Ready: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K is compatible with 3D-ready Blu-ray disc movies, video games, and other 3D content through its HDMI (v.1.4a) connections.

    Note: 3D viewing requires 3D-ready source with 3D content, 3D-ready HDTV, 3D glasses, and high-speed HDMI cable. Other 3D accessories may also be needed.

    Deep Color & x.v.Color Support: The VSX-1021-K also supports Deep Color and x.v.Color content, which can display a larger color range than standard-definition schemes. The result is a more lifelike, vibrant picture.

    A/V Sync: Some monitors have a slight delay when showing video, so the soundtrack will be slightly out of sync with the picture. The receiver can automatically correct this problem (via HDMI) or it can be fixed manually.

    • Auto Delay: This feature automatically corrects the audio-to-video delay between components connected with an HDMI cable. The audio delay time is set depending on the operational status of the displayed connected with an HDMI cable. The video delay time is automatically adjusted according to the audio delay time.
    • A/V Delay: By manually adding a bit of delay (0-9), you can adjust the sound to match the presentation of the video.

    ARC (Audio Return Channel): This feature allows audio to be sent from your compatible HDTV to your receiver through the same HDMI cable already being used to send audio and video to your HDTV. This eliminates the need for extra cables connected to your television.

    HDMI Through: You can set the receiver's HDMI jacks to output both audio and video to your television. The receiver's speakers will be muted. The receiver needs to be turned On, set to "HDMI Through", and set to the correct HDMI input.

    Note: This is different from a "HDMI Standby Pass-through" function. This receiver does not offer HDMI Standby Pass-Through.

    Video Settings: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K offers a number of video adjustments.

    • Pure Cinema: This setting optimizes the operation of the progressive scanning circuit for playing film material.
    • Progressive Motion: This function adjusts the motion and still picture quality when video output is set to progressive.
    • Video Adjustment: You can set the optimum picture quality for the type of monitor display - Plasma, LCD, Front Projection, or Professional Monitor.
    • Picture Adjustments: You can make the following picture adjustments - YNR (noise reduction), Detail (edge enhancement), Sharpness (detail), Bright (brightness), Contrast (lights/darks), Hue (reds/greens), Chroma (saturation), Blacks (black level).

    Front A/V Input: The Pioneer A/V receiver features a front-panel audio/video input which consists of a composite video and stereo RCA jacks.

    Network Functions

    Home Media Gallery: The Pioneer A/V Receiver's Home Media Gallery function allows you to stream audio files from your DLNA compliant computer, access your iTunes music via AirPlay, and listen to Internet Radio Stations on the Web; all through your home network. The VSX-1021-K is fitted with an Ethernet (LAN) port and is also WiFi ready.

    • Ethernet (LAN) Port: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K is fitted with a rear-panel RJ-45 Ethernet (LAN) Port. By connecting this receiver to the your home network via the LAN terminal (10BASE-T/100BASE-TX), you can play audio files stored on your computer, listen to Internet Radio, and stream iTunes via AirPlay, and download firmware updates.
    • Wireless Ready: Wireless connection to your home network is possible through the use of the Pioneer Wireless Network Adapter (130ASWL300, sold separately). The AS-WL wireless network adapter provides wireless (2.4GHz) connectivity for the Pioneer VSX-1021-K to your wireless (IEEE802.11b/g/n)  home network. The AS-WL300 supports WPS (WiFi protected setup), WEP (64/128 bit), or WPA/WPA2 (TKIP/AES) security settings.

    Note: The wireless network adapter connects to receiver's rear-panel Ethernet port and USB port.

    vTuner Internet Radio: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K receiver supports Internet Radio (via vTuner), so you can enjoy 1,000's of internet radio stations from around the world. Internet radio is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet. There are a large number of Internet radio stations broadcasting a variety of services from every corner of the world. Some are hosted, managed, and broadcast by private individuals while others are by the corresponding traditional terrestrial radio stations or radio networks. Whereas terrestrial, or OTA (over-the-air), radio stations are geographically restricted on the range of radio waves broadcast from a transmitter through the air, Internet radio stations are accessible from anywhere in the world, as long as there is a connection to the Internet, as services are not transmitted through the air, but are delivered over the World Wide Web. This receiver offers the following Internet Radio functions.

    • Categories: You can select Internet radio stations by genre, as well as by region.
    • Favorites: You can register up to 20 of your favorite songs or Internet radio stations in the Favorites folder.
    • Presets: The receiver can remember the Internet radio stations that you often listen to in seven classes (A-G), with up to nine stations in each class to make the total of 63 stations at its maximum capacity.

    Note: The list of Internet Radio Stations on this A/V receiver is created, edited, and managed by the vTuner database service exclusively for this receiver.

    DLNA Certified (1.5): The Pioneer VSX-1021-K is DLNA 1.5 certified. This means you can stream your MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, or even FLAC music files from your Windows PC or laptop to the Pioneer A/V receiver. This unit allows for the streaming of audio files stored on the following devices.

    • PCs running Microsoft Windows Vista or XP with Windows Media Player 11 installed.
    • PCs running Microsoft Windows 7 with Windows Media Player 12 installed.
    • DLNA-compatible digital media servers (on PCs or other components).

    AirPlay: With AirPlay you can stream music from iTunes to the VSX-1021-K and play it through your home theater system. Simply connect the receiver to your home network via Ethernet or Pioneer's optional wireless adapter (AS-WL300, sold separately) and it instantly becomes the hub for playback of your iTunes music from your connected Apple device or networked computer. You can even use the receiver to view metadata including song title, artist as well as album art on a connected display monitor. Download Apple's free "Remote" application and your can use your Apple device as the remote control.

    Note: AirPlay supports PCs or MACs with iTunes 10.1 or later. AirPlay is compatible with the iPod touch (2nd/3rd/4th gen), iPhone (4/3GS), and iPad (16/32/64GB) with iOS 4.2 or later.

    Playable File Formats: The Home Media Gallery feature of this receiver supports the following file formats.

    Audio File TypeBit-RateSampling Frequency
    MP38-320 kbps8 kHz to 48 kHz
    WMA5-320 kbps
    AAC16-320 kbps32 kHz to 48 kHz
    LPCM16-, 20-, 24-bit8 kHz to 48 kHz
    FLAC8 kHz to 96 kHz
    WAV8 kHz to 192 kHz

    Firmware Updates: You can download firmware updates from the Pioneer Website for the Pioneer A/V receiver using either an Ethernet (hardwired) or WiFi (wireless) connection.

    Note: Go to for the latest firmware update.

    USB/iPod Connectivity

    USB Port: It is possible to play audio and photo files by connecting a USB memory device to the A/V receiver's front-panel USB (type-A) port. You can display slideshows of your stored JPEG photos on your connected flat-panel TV, or play music files with Album Art support. The receiver's remote control can be used for basic playback of files stored on your USB memory device. Compatible USB devices include - external hard drives, portable flash memory drives and digital audio players (formatted in FAT16/32). The receiver can recognize up to 30,000 folders and files per USB memory device. The USB function of this receiver supports the following file formats.

    Music Files
    File TypeBit-RateSampling Frequency
    MP38-320 kbps8 kHz to 48 kHz
    WMA8-320 kbps8 kHz to 48 kHz
    WAV8-, 16-bit32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz
    Photo Files
    File TypeResolution
    JPEG40 (h) x 30 (v) to 8184 (h) x 8184 (v) pixels

    Note: Copyrighted and DRM-protected audio files cannot be played back. Not compatible with all USB devices. This receiver does not support a USB hub. The unit's rear-panel USB port can only be used for the Pioneer wireless network adapter (AS-WL300, sold separately).

    Direct iPod/iPhone Connection: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K's front-panel USB port and A/V input (via the included USB/video cable) allows you to control playback of audio/video content from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad using the controls of this receiver. You can enjoy music, videos, still-images, and apps stored on your iPod, iPhone, or iPad. You can control your iPod, iPhone, or iPad device directly; or push a single-button on the VSX-1021-K's front-panel to switch control to the included IR remote and full-color On-Screen GUI (via HDMI). You can browse songs stored on your iPod, iPhone, or iPad by Playlist, Artist Name, Album Name, Song Name, Genre, or Composer. You must use the clickwheel or touchscreen of your Apple device for video and photo control. The Apple device will charge automatically when connected. The VSX-1021-K is "Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad" compatible and supports the following iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices (as of June 2011).

    iPod/iPhone ModelGenerationTested VersionMedia TypeControl TypeDisplay TypeCharge
    AudioVideo  Out RemoteiPod/iPhoneSong/Artist TextTrack Info
    dock connector3rdN/ANNNNNNN
    mini 1stN/ANNNNNNN
    video 5th1.3YNNNTVTVY
    classic 80GB1.1.2YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    120GB2.0.1YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    160GB2.0.4YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    nano 1st1.3.1YNNNTVTVY
    2nd1.1.3YNAudio onlyYTVTVY
    3rd1.1.3YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    4th1.0.4YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    5th1.0.2YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    6th1.0 PCYNAudio onlyYTVTVY
    touch1st2.2.1YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    2nd4.2.1YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    3rd4.2.1YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    4th4.2.1YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    iPhone2G3.1.2YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    3G3.1.2YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    3GS3.1.2YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    44.2.1YComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY
    iPad8/16/32GBN/AYComposite/HDMIAudio onlyYTVTVY

    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the receiver and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to revert to the older software version or wait until a newer software update is available.

    Air Jam: Pioneer's exclusive Air Jam App has been designed in-house by Pioneer and is available for free download from Apple's iTunes store. With Air Jam, you and your friends can connect up to 4 Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPad touch with iOS 4.2 or later) to make a group playlist on your home theater through the Pioneer VSX-1021-K, via Pioneer's Stereo Bluetooth Adapter (130ASBT200, sold separately).

    Multi-Zone Capability

    Multi-Zone: This receiver can accommodate up to two independent AV systems in separate rooms after you have made the proper Multi-Zone connections. The same AV source or different AV sources can be playing in the two zones at the same time. The Main Zone offers 7.1-channel playback of your audio/video gear in your main entertainment room. Zone 2 allows audio/video playback of the same or different analog AV source connected to the receiver in another room of your home, via left/right RCA audio or speaker level outputs. Zone 2 also features a composite video output to display video in the second zone.

    • Zone 2 Speaker Outputs: When using the VSX-1021-K to power speakers in a second room of your home, the main zone is restricted to 5.1-channels.
    • Zone 2 Preamp Outputs: When using the receiver's preamp output terminals for the second room you need an additional amplifier to power those speakers, and the main zone of the receiver remains 7.1-channel.

    Compatible Zone Sources: Only tuner, analog, USB, and Network sources can be played in Zone 2. You must currently be listening to a USB device or Network audio source in the Main Zone to initially select USB or Network as a source in Zone 2. Then you can switch the Main Zone to any source you desire. You cannot select different AM/FM radio stations or different Network content for different zones.

    Note: To hear Airplay in Zone 2, the Main Zone must also be playing Airplay. You can have other sources playing in Zone 2 when the main zone is using Airplay.

    Incompatible Zone Sources: It is not possible to play the digital audio signals from the HDMI, Coaxial, or Optical terminals in Zone 2. Video cannot be sent to Zone 2.

    Tuner Section

    AM/FM Tuner: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K is equipped with a built-in AM/FM tuner with 63 preset stations, store in seven banks (A-G). For easier identification, you can name all of your saved preset stations. You can also directly tune to a station, using the included remote control. The receiver includes an external indoor AM loop antenna and FM wire antenna.

    SIRIUS Satellite Radio Ready (optional): You can listen to SIRIUS Satellite Radio by connecting the SiriusConnect tuner (item number 607SCH1 or 220SCH2P, sold separately) to the VSX-1021-K's proprietary plug. SIRIUS Satellite Radio offers over 130 channels of music, news, sports, talk, and entertainment to choose from--all in digital quality. During SIRIUS playback the AV receiver will display the channel information, artist name, and song title.

    Note: A subscription is required in order to receive SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

    Convenience Features

    On-Screen GUI (Graphical User Interface): The VSX-1021-K features an advanced, full-color On-Screen GUI for use with the included remote, so you can make guided adjustments to your home theater sound. The On-Screen GUI is only visible when connecting the receiver to your television via HDMI.

    AVNavigator: Pioneer's AVNavigator is an interactive owners manual that takes all the guesswork out of setting up the receiver. AVNavigator uses your networked PC to communicate directly with the VSX-1021-K, walking you through speaker set-up, MCACC room calibration, sound optimization, firmware updates and more. A CD-ROM is included to load the software onto your PC (Windows XP/Vista/7).

    Parental Lock: You can set restrictions for using Internet services. These restrictions are protected by a user pass-code.

    Input Name: You can choose to rename the input function for easier identification. Inputs can also be skipped.

    Display Dimmer: You can dim or brighten the receiver's front-panel display. The brightness level can be controlled in four steps.

    Sleep Timer: The receiver's Sleep Timer function can be set to 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

    Auto Power Down: This function automatically turns off the power when the receiver has not operated for several hours.

    Remote/Bluetooth Control

    Multibrand/Learning Remote Control: The supplied wireless remote is a multibrand/learning remote. The remote is pre-programmed to operate popular brands of equipment including Blu-ray/DVD players, Blu-ray/DVD recorders, CD players, TVs, and Satellite/Cable boxes. Also, the remote can learn specific commands from infrared remotes of other components. You can even program in Macros for a series of remote control commands from one button press.

    Pioneer iControlAV2 Remote App (for iPad): The Pioneer free iControlAV2 Remote App from Apple makes it easy to operate select functions of your Pioneer A/V receiver using an iPad (iOS 4.2 or later) in a Wi-Fi network environment. Download this free iPad app from the iTunes app store and enjoy controlling your home cinema system with the touch of your finger.

    HDMI Control: The Pioneer VSX-1021-K supports the HDMI Control function. With HDMI Control, you can synchronize operation between the Pioneer A/V receiver and your HDMI CEC-compatible TV or Blu-ray disc player (equipment must be connected via HDMI). HDMI Control Functions included:

    • Synchronized Amp Mode: The receiver's volume can be set and the sound can be muted from the TV's remote control.
    • Power Synchronization: The receiver and your connected TV will power On/Off at the same time.
    • Automatic Switching Inputs: The receiver's input switches over automatically when the TV's input is changed or your Blu-ray player starts playback.

    Note: Not all HDMI CEC-compatible components will be supported by this receiver.

    IR Input/Output (3.5mm): If you keep your audio/video components in a closed cabinet or shelving unit, or you wish to use the sub zone remote control in another zone, you can use an optional IR receiver (such as a Niles or Xantech unit) to control your system instead of the remote sensor on the front-panel of this receiver. Simply connect the IR receiver to the IR input of this receiver and connect your component to the IR output jack of the receiver.

    SR Control (3.5mm): Many Pioneer components have "SR CONTROL" jacks which can be used to link components together so that you can use just the remote sensor of one component. When you use a remote control, the control signal is passed along the chain to the appropriate component.

    Bluetooth Ready (optional): The Pioneer AS-BT200 Stereo Bluetooth Adapter (130ASBT200, sold separately) lets you wirelessly stream music from your Bluetooth enabled audio device to the Pioneer VSX-1021-K A/V receiver. Now, instead of being limited to headphones to listen to the music stored on your portable device or computer -- you can enjoy your music wirelessly from your iPod touch (2nd/3rd/4th gen), iPhone (2G/3G/3GS/4), iPad, BlackBerry, Android or other smartphone, as well as your PC, laptop or many other A2DP profile Bluetooth-enabled devices directly from the Pioneer VSX-1021-K A/V receiver. The AS-BT200 connects to a proprietary port on the back of all the Pioneer A/V receiver.

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