Originally Posted by SK23
I'm not an audiophile, but I do enjoy great sound and future proof technology. I just picked up VSX-1020-K for $299 from Amazon,which I thought was a steal. I wanted VSX-1021-K but couldn't resist the price of VSX-1020-K. I want know if there is a major sound quality difference between the two or one lacking an important feature. I like to own my receiver for 4-5 years and don't want it to be obsolete before then. So I'm trying to decide if I should keep the receiver (VSX-1020-K) or sell it and purchase VSX-1021-K. Is it worth the trouble?
Originally Posted by RYANtheTIGER
Same here. The Airplay feature sounds cool but is it worth it?
Here's my take on it, as I've gone through the same questioning. However keep in mind that I have not actually tried the 1021.
I don't think that the 1021 is much different than the 1020 quality-wise. The specs boast a 10W RMS per channel increase, but I'm not sure the components inside the case are different. The power usage / heat seems to be increased in the 1021. Presumably, this is because Pioneer wanted the 1020 to be EnergyStar-compliant. I think they had to let that go with the 1021 in order to enable Network Standby (see below for more on that). If they're no more EnergyStar-compliant, maybe they just boosted the amp power a bit. Don't quote me on all of this though, this is mostly speculation.
In terms of important features, the differences between the 1020 and 1021 come down to:
- One more HDMI input for the 1020
- Network Standby in the 1021
- DLNA-compliant client for the 1021
- Compatibility with many net radio services in the 1021
- Network firmware updates for the 1021
The first point is major IMHO -- I chose the 1020 because 6 HDMI inputs is way over most AVRs in that category.
Network standby is the ability to wake up from standby using TCP/IP commands; this means, for example, that the iControlAV2 iOS app for the 1021 is able to power on the 1021 (it is not possible to do that with the 1020). This is important if you have home automation projects. This is a feature that I would have paid more to have, but I didn't know about it when buying the 1020. Not sure I'd have paid twice the price for this alone though.
DLNA client -- this is nice but requires a server software (such as TVersity) on a home computer. This means that the 1021 can directly access files listed by the DLNA server. This is interesting as it negates the need for a separate media player (e.g. Popcorn Hour, WDTV Live, BoxeeBox). I did not see the interface though, and I doubt it has all the features and quality of those players. A WDTV Live for example can be bought for less than 100$ and has a very usable interface. I'm not even sure that the DLNA client on the 1021 can play video (it would have to contain video decoding chips), and if so, I don't know which formats it supports.
Net radio services support (such as Pandora) may be a dealbreaker for some. However I like a lot the plain net radio URLs in the 1020, and it's rather straightforward to connect an iPhone or laptop to the 1020 if I want to use more elaborate apps/services.
Firmware updates -- that is hearsay on this forum. If they really enable that, it's a double-edged sword. More features (e.g. net radio services, etc.) could be enabled in the future; but bad firmwares and regressions can happen. The firmware in the 1020 is really simple by comparison, and I haven't found any bug.
Airplay is also big. It would be very nice to have, but keep in mind that Airplay on the 1021 is limited to audio. When I was shopping the 1020, the 1021 was at least 200$ more expensive. An Apple TV costs 120$, uses up the supplementary HDMI input on the 1020, and supports all forms of Airplay sources...
At 300$, the 1020 is excellent IMHO and whether to choose the 1021 over the 1020 depends entirely on the weight you give the features above. I for one would have loved to be able to power on the receiver by network, and I would gladly have forked at least 100$ more just for that.