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WINNERS: Music Sources: Sound+Image Awards 2021

Sound+Image Awards
(Image credit: Future)

Garbage in, garbage out, they say – so let’s make sure your system starts with a source that will ensure a solid sound from the very top of the chain. These are the products that have wowed us over the last 12 months of our magazines Sound+Image, Australian Hi-Fi, Best Buys Audio & AV, and Audio Esoterica, and which represent our recommendations of the very best hi-fi sources available in Australia today.

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

(Image credit: Future)

TURNTABLE OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$1000
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB
AU$649
Judges’ Comment: This direct-drive turntable is a thrilling combo of classic and modern, an evolution of the Technics SL-1200 design which adds a built-in phono stage and an output for USB recording, together with sound quality above its price bracket.

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

TURNTABLE OF THE YEAR AU$1000-AU$5000
Mo-Fi Electronics StudioDeck+
AU$2499
Judges’ Comment: The StudioDeck+ charmed us utterly, from its looks to its build and especially its sonic performance, a testament to Mobile Fidelity in pursuing the highest quality for its hardware, as well as its legendary vinyl disc releases.

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

TURNTABLE OF THE YEAR OVER AU$5000
Yamaha GT-5000
AU$12,995
Judges’ Comment:  It may impart quite the physical presence to your music rack, it may be a marvel of engineering, but once the music is playing the GT-5000 simply gets out of the way and delivers the highest joys of vinyl.

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

PHONO STAGE OF THE YEAR
Parasound Zphono XRM
AU$1249  
Judges’ Comment: The Zphono XRM drew additional clarity, detail and solidity from every cartridge we connected, allowing new insights into the artists’ performance. Which is, of course, what hi-fi is all about. Read our full review here.

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

CD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Metronome AQWO SACD/CD/DAC
AU$27,995
Judges’ Comment: It’s an investment, sure, but this ‘forever’ CD/ SACD player doubles down as a thrilling DAC for other sources, and consistently performs to its price with accuracy and timing that brings the best from all genres. Read our full review here. 

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

PERSONAL MUSIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Fiio M11
AU$799
Judges’ Comment:  The case for owning a PMP is well made by Fiio’s M11, a player capable of use at home and away, with great sound, features, DAC abilities and networking.

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

BLUETOOTH STREAMER OF THE YEAR  
iFi Zen Blue
AU$199
Judges’ Comment: The iFi Zen Blue brings Bluetooth streaming to a system which doesn’t otherwise support it, using high-quality codecs, good conversion, and versatile outputs.

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

NETWORK MUSIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Lumin U1 Mini
AU$3290
Judges’ Comment: This digital renderer of streaming music is about a third of the price of the non-‘Mini’ version, yet the performance is still magical. 

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Sound+Image Awards

(Image credit: Future)

DAC / HEADPHONE AMP OF THE YEAR
Questyle CMA Twelve    
AU$2299
Judges’ Comment:  The CMA Twelve proved a versatile and very high-quality DAC, while it handled all our headphones, delivering beautiful, powerful music. The longer we played, the more we fell in love with it.

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Sound+Image Awards

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