How do you start a good hi-fi system? With a source that will make sure your system receives a solid signal from the front 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.
For the full details on each and every winner, check out the Special Awards Issue of Sound+Image magazine, on sale now in print and digital editions. Print subscriptions here; digital issues here (opens in new tab)!
Now let's meet the winners!
Turntable of the year under $500
TURNTABLE OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$500
Music Hall US-1
Judges’ Comment: The Music Hall US-1 is an excellent entry-level deck, with
a decent cartridge, a built-in phono stage offering the choice of line-level or phono-level outputs, and most importantly a solid and remarkably musical sound for the price.
Turntable of the year $500 - $2000
TURNTABLE OF THE YEAR AU$500-AU$2000
Judges’ Comment: With its piano-gloss finish and relatively no-frills focus on sound, the AT-LPW50BP should equally satisfy audio lovers returning to the vinyl fold as well as those getting their first deck and wanting something swish-looking yet easy to use.
Click to see our full review
Turntable of the year over $2000
TURNTABLE OF THE YEAR OVER AU$2000
Mark Levinson № 5105
AU$12,499, or $14,499 with factory-fitted Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge
Judges’ Comment: A superbly engineered turntable, very, very quiet in operation, and built like the proverbial battleship, more than ready to be passed down through future vinyl-playing generations of your family...
Phono Stage of the year under $5000
PHONO STAGE OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$500
Judges’ Comment: All the way from Norway, Hegel’s V10 phono stage impresses with its careful attention to power supply, versatility of cartridge handling, and straightforward sonic prowess.
Phono Stage of the year over $5000
PHONO STAGE OF THE YEAR OVER AU$500
Gold Note PH-1000
Judges’ Comment: A phono stage that caters not only to any cartridge under the sun but also to any piece of vinyl, thanks to 44 customisable EQ options in addition to the two main RIAA curves. Gold Note’s PH-1000 is a simply superb performer.
Vinyl Accessory of the year
VINYL ACCESSORY OF THE YEAR
Sugarcube SC-2 Mini
Judges’ Comment: This is a clever idea, neatly implemented. The Sugarcube SC-2 is a vinyl recording system which is helpful at splitting tracks and IDing LPs, but which can also implement digital click removal either while recording or while listening to vinyl in real time.
Click here for our full review
CD Player of the year under $2000
CD PLAYER OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$1000
Rotel CD11 Tribute
Judges’ Comment: Rotel’s CD11 Tribute is a special edition of a CD player, its tuning begun by one sound guru, then finished by another and released as a ‘tribute’. It’s a great way to prolong your CD listening experience.
CD Player of the year over $2000
CD PLAYER OF THE YEAR OVER AU$1000
Mark Levinson № 5101
Judges’ Comment: Impressive CD/SACD playback combines here with fine DAC abilities for the digital inputs and network streaming, so that the No 5101 offers a usefully complete digital playback solution.
Streaming Music Player of the year under $2500
STREAMING MUSIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$2500
Matrix Audio element i
Judges’ Comment: The element i is a super-neat streamer, Roon endpoint, digital preamp and headphone amp with excellent audio quality into either headphones or a larger system.
Click to read our full review.
Streaming Music Player of the year over $2500
STREAMING MUSIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR OVER AU$2500
Naim Uniti Atom HE
The ‘Headphone Edition’ of Naim’s Uniti Atom is a brilliant idea, catering to headgear lovers while doubling up as a top-quality streaming preamp which excels either standalone or as a simple system paired with active speakers.
Click here for our full review