Pioneer’s 2011 VSX 1021-K was the first receiver to integrate AirPlay. The company’s latest crop of 2012 receivers continues to chase the cutting edge, bringing AirPlay to all but the lowest end of the lineup. While all of the four midrange models have their own appeal, the sweet spot in our opinion is the VSX-822-K ($379). For less than $400, the 5.1 3D-ready unit packs AirPlay, Pandora, DLNA, and Bluetooth streaming for connecting Apple devices, smartphones, or a PC to your home theater. For audiophiles, wireless streaming of FLAC/WAV files up to 192Hz/24-bit is an added boon. On the connectivity front, there’s 6 HDMI inputs (w/ ARC, & Standby Through Mode), an Ethernet port, a front-panel USB port for connecting an iPod/iPad directly, as well as a graphical user interface for setting it all up. In fact, the only reason we’d recommend shelling out for the higher end VSX-1022-K, VSX-1122-K is if you truly need a 7.1 setup, dual-zones, or the best possible sound quality for under $600.
Buy Now: $380
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