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WINNERS: Headphones: Sound+Image Awards 2021

Sound+Image Awards
(Image credit: Future)

Some of the most euphoric musical experiences come from the private world of headphone listening, whether you're safe at home with the joys of open-backed home headphones, or braving the streets with the wonders of True Wireless earbuds. 

These are the models that have most impressed us for the sheer value of hteir ear-pleasing performance during the last year of testing in Sound+Image, Australian Hi-Fi, Best Buys Audio & AV, and Audio Esoterica magazines. 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)

HOME HEADPHONES OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$1000
Sennheiser HD 560S
AU$319.95
Judges’ Comment: The open-backed cabled HD 560S headphones deliver what Sennheiser does best — neutral, natural and high-value shining sound.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

HOME HEADPHONES OF THE YEAR OVER AU$1000
Stax SR-009S/SRM-700S earspeaker system
AU$5900
Judges’ Comment: This classic Stax earspeaker+driver combination brings ear-beguiling and scintillating electrostatic performance. Click to read our full review.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

WIRELESS HEADPHONES OF THE YEAR
DALI iO-6
AU$699
Judges’ Comment: DALI nails the wireless noise-cancelling headphone with its first attempt — built like a speaker, the iO-6 delivers thrillingly rich and musical sound.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

IN-EAR HEADPHONES OF THE YEAR
Nura NuraLoop
AU$299
Judges’ Comment: Your personal sound profile is the first step to sonic success in these innovative compact, rugged, portable, and affordable noise-cancelling in-ears.

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Sound+Image Awards 2021

(Image credit: Future)

TRUE WIRELESS HEADPHONES OF THE YEAR
Sony WF-1000XM3
AU$278  
Judges’ Comment: These are easily the market-leading True Wireless designs for sound quality, facilities and value... at least until Sony releases an XM4... Click to read What Hi-Fi?'s review.

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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

CLICK to return to our main list of categories (Image credit: Future)

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.