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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 (opens in new tab)!

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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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.