I was wondering where to go from there, and especially if I should stay within the Pioneer brand or not.
Pioneer is a good bang for the buck.
If you were going to up the budget then I would say, "look at the Elite's"
I replaced my 1020 with an Elite VSX 60 and so far I really like it a lot, though it is more money.
Starting with the Elite VSX 60's you get a 2 Year Warranty, the Elites below that are only 1 year!
The Elite VSX 60 at an Authorized seller goes for $650.00 with a 2 year Pioneer Warranty but $499.00 on Amazon and then you would have to pay for a Warranty.
Amazon / Online and non Pioneer Authorized sellers voids all Pioneer Warranty and leaves you on your own, thusly you would have to purchase a warranty from a 3rd party.
I also have the Elite VSX 53, which is in my living room and I really like it.
When my 1020 went down and I contemplated looking outside of Pioneer, I liked what I saw and read about the Yamaha RX-V673, on Amazon it's in the $600.00 range.
Myself I am not crazy about Onkyo but I have heard good things about Denon.
I would advise that you head to a Best Buy "Magnolia" store because they will have Pioneer's, Denon's, Onkyo's and I think Yamaha's setup, so you can See, Hear and Feel each unit.
Then when you narrow down what you like go to google and type in something like Pioneer Elite VSX 60,reviews
and read what comes up.
Download an "Operators Manual" for the receivers that you are considering and read and compare to each other and to the 1020 that you now have.
If you cross your T's and dot your I's this way, that's about the best that you can do!
Also do not forget to check out AVS Forums for the "Owners Thread" and see what people say about the receivers, exactly as you are doing here!
Lastly, when you are ready to purchase, buy an Extended Warranty
for the most years possible!
Two, three or even four years down the road that $$$ spent on an Extended Warranty will be long gone, but if something happens, trust me,
you will thank yourself over and over again that you did something right and took it!
Plus for the time that you do not need it, you will just feel better that if anything does go wrong, your covered and not out looking for another receiver or
without a receiver all together for months while going through what I did with Pioneer to get a VSX 60!!!!"Fool me Once, Shame on You, Fool me Twice, Shame on ME!
I don't care who the Manufacturer is, Receivers / Electronics of today, is not built with the Quality and Durability of Yester-Year!
Good Luck and keep us posted as to how it goes!
Bud BEdited by Bud B - 1/15/13 at 4:56pm