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Versatile 7.1 budget receiver with excellent upscaling

A Review On: Pioneer VSX-1020-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver

Pioneer VSX-1020-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver

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Pros: Plenty of inputs, Excellent upscaling and deinterlacing of sub-1080p signals.

Cons: Headphone jack has issues, limited output power.

The Pioneer VSX-1020-K receiver is a nice 7.1 home theater centerpiece for a budget conscious shopper. It's many inputs, including 6 HDMI 1.4 ports, provide plenty of connectivity. It will handle all your components, and provide some nice video quality boost in the process.

I have attached multiple devices to my 1020, including a Pioneer BDP-320 blu-ray player, a Toshiba HD-A30 HD DVD player, a Cisco RG-200 cable box (Comcast) and a home theater PC. The 1020 allows you to individually control video and audio settings for each input. For instance, I always allow my BDP-320 to do the upscaling of DVD, but the 1020 handles the upscaling and deinterlacing of the cable box (which supplies either 720p or 1080i source) to 1080p. The resulting image from the cable box is greatly improved over what I got from letting the TV (VIZIO 47" LCD) handle the duties. Audio wise, the 1020 handles either PCM or bitstreamed (DTS-MA or Dolby TruHD and lesser lossless codecs) without any issues. The Pioneer exclusive PQLS jitter reduction works in concert with the BDP-320 to produce a subtle but noticeable improvement in CD audio playback.

The one issue I have had with the receiver is it has on occasion defaulted to believing there was a pair of headphones plugged into the jack, thereby turning off speaker output. This is corrected by a inserting a plastic straw or other non-conductive instrument into the jack and pushing lightly at the contacts. This happened three times but has not reoccurred in the last 6 months or more.

The MCACC audio calibration is done with the included microphone and seems to do a decent job balancing your audio. Correct microphone placement and elimination of environmental disturbances (barking dogs!!) if vital for success.

The remote is large with rather small buttons, but I don't use it much preferring to use another universal that is programmed with the vital commands.

This was my first major receiver purchase, but I would be happy to invest in Pioneer equipment in the future.


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