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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 (opens in new tab)!

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$12,000
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$25,500
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$1450
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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Sound+Image is Australia's no.1 mag for audio & AV – sister magazine to Australian Hi-Fi and to the UK's What Hi-Fi?, and bestower of the annual Sound+Image Awards, which since 1989 have recognised the year's best hi-fi and home cinema products and installations. While Sound+Image lives here online as part of our group, our true nature is best revealed in the print magazines and digital issues, which curate unique collections of content each issue under the Editorship of Jez Ford, in a celebration of the joys that real hi-fi and high-quality AV can bring. Enjoy essential reviews of the most exciting new gear, features on Australia's best home cinemas, advice on how to find your sound, and our full Buying Guide based on all our current and past award-winners, all wrapped up with the latest news and editorial ponderings. Click here for more information about Sound+Image, including links to buy individual digital editions and details on how best to subscribe.