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WINNERS: Amplifiers: Sound+Image Awards 2021

Sound+Image Awards
(Image credit: Future)

Your amplifier is the heart and soul of your hi-fi system - a hub for all your inputs, and these days often a source in itself, with onboard streaming, whether simple Bluetooth. or network-enabled to stream popular music services like Spotify and Tidal straight to your music system. Plus, of course, all the while delivering high-quality power to make your speakers sing.

Our award-winners rise from the year's best stereo integrated amps up to the pristine power providers of separate preamp + power amp combos - plus one stonking stereo solution loaded with HDMI inputs so that it's ready to transform your TV sound into something rather more special. 

You can read the Judges' Comments below: for the full details on each and every winner, check out the Special Awards Issue of Sound+Image magazine, on sale in December in print and digital editions. Print subscriptions here; digital issues here!

Now let's meet the winners!  

Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$2000
Cyrus One Cast
AU$1999
Judges’ Comment: With streaming, HDMI audio and voice control, the Cyrus One Cast is certainly smart, while delivering power a-plenty for a solid and musical hi-fi sound.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR AU$2000-$5000 (joint winner)
Cambridge CXA81
AU$2499
Judges’ Comment: The Cambridge CXA81 is well-designed and equipped, while its amps drive music with the timing, separation and power of true hi-fi. Read What Hi-Fi?'s full review here.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR AU$2000-$5000 (joint winner)
Arcam SA30
AU$4995
Judges’ Comment: Recognisably Arcam still, though now under Harman and Samsung, the SA30 combines classic strengths with modern streaming. Click here to read What Hi-Fi?'s full review.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR AU$5000-$10,000
NAD M33
AU$8999
Judges’ Comment: It’s quality all the way with the M33 — it has the looks, the app, the streaming, the inputs, the control and, best of all, wondrous sound from its Purifi Eigentakt-derived power.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR AU$10,000- $20,000
Musical Fidelity M8xi
AU$10,999
Judges’ Comment: More power than you’ll ever need, super-low distortion, a great range of inputs, plus it sounds superb... this is serious amplification.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR OVER AU$20,000
Boulder 866
AU$24,500
Judges’ Comment: A unique amplifier, with a spectacularly powerful and musical performance, the Boulder 866 is our top integrated of the year. Click to read our full review.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

STEREO PRE-POWER AMPLIFIERS OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$20,000
Michi P5 / S5
AU$5999 / AU$10,399  
Judges’ Comment: Simply superb. If the Michis were actual performers, as they so often sounded to be, we would be on our feet calling for an encore.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

STEREO PRE-POWER AMPLIFIERS OF THE YEAR OVER AU$20,000
McIntosh C53 / MC462
AU$14,995 / AU$20,995
Judges’ Comment: An amplifier that has zero audible noise at low to normal listening levels, but which can also kick serious arse - because it’s a Mcintosh pre-power. Dig it. 

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

STEREO AV AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR   
Marantz NR1200
AU$1299
Judges’ Comment: A Marantz stereo amplifier with five HDMI inputs — this is the perfect solution for superb music, movie and TV sound system.

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Sound+Image Awards

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