Record number of MQA partner wins at What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021

MQA partners won in 9 categories at the 39th edition of the influential tech magazine’s annual awards. TIDAL triumphed again in the ‘Best Music Streaming Service’ category, thanks to a superior user experience and continued innovation. Elsewhere, 8 MQA partner products were honoured across the DACportable playeramplifier and streamer categories.

TIDAL first won a What Hi-Fi? award in 2015 – the year of its acquisition by Jay-Z – and has maintained its winning streak ever since: MQA technology was integrated in early 2017; TIDAL Connect capability was added in autumn 2020; and the number of MQA partner products with native TIDAL playback continues to grow.

Best Music Streaming Service – TIDAL
It's once again hi-res-hailing TIDAL that remains the audiophile's service of choice, having strengthened its offering in the past twelve months with TIDAL Connect and increasing hardware support.

Best DAC (under £200) – iFi Audio Zen DAC V2
“The Zen DAC V2 is also an MQA decoder this to the ears of TIDAL HiFi subscribers who devour the service’s MQA-encoded hi-res Masters.”

Best DAC (£200-£300) – AudioQuest DragonFly
“Wide-open soundstage and impressive clarity…offering still a keen sense of rhythm and expressive dynamic range.”

Best DAC (£300-£500) – Cambridge Audio DacMagic 200M
“Cambridge’s top-of-the-line DAC is a well-armed, high-performing all-rounder.”

Best Portable Music Player (£500-£1,000) – Astell&Kern A&norma SR25
“Far beyond anything that smartphones are capable of, the SR25 demonstrates just how good music on the move can sound, while also remaining reasonably affordable.”

Best Portable Music Player (over £1,000) – Astell&Kern A&futura SE180
“If you’re looking for an excellent-sounding player without spending thousands, the A&futura SE180 is among the best we’ve come across.”

Best Music Streamer (under £750) – Bluesound NODE
“At this money, (the NODE) represents one of the most entertaining and comprehensive ways of adding music streaming to your hi-fi system.”

Best Music Streamer (£1,000 -£1,500) – Arcam ST60
“Arcam has carried its decades of sonic expertise seamlessly into the streaming segment, both with and without amplification, in one box.”

Best Home Cinema Amplifier (over £3,000) – JBL Synthesis SDR-35
“This JBL is a stunner, and if we were building a high-end home cinema from scratch, it would be the first component on the shortlist.”

On 3 November at the awards ceremony, one ‘Best Buy’ product in each of the 26 categories will also be honoured as ‘Product of the Year’.

Read more on the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021.


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