NAMM 2020: Hands up, we haven't spent enough time looking at the new woodwind instruments and music stands - maybe next year - but from a guitar, hi-tech and drums perspective, we'd like to think we've seen as much as anyone out in Anaheim.
There was certainly plenty to see, too, but which new products won the show? We asked our team of experts to ponder that question and come up with some answers: here are the winners of MusicRadar's hotly contested NAMM 2020 awards.
Best in Guitars
Best electric guitar: PRS McCarty S2 594
PRS's 2020 is so comprehensive it can be easy to overlook the significance of the S2 McCartys. The 594 is our pick because it brings top line design to more players. It exemplifies PRS strengths in building, with its commitment to delivering those qualities at accessible prices for more players than ever.
Best acoustic guitar: Martin SC-13E
The SC-13E laughs at the idea that Martin are traditionalists with genuine innovation aimed at inspiring players who aren't hung up on heritage. We've never experienced upper fret access like this on an acoustic, and then there's that offset shape. A genuinely fresh approach to acoustic design.
Best bass guitar: Warwick Sadowsky Metro
When the announcement came in December that Warwick and Sadowsky were partnering up for a new European-made instrument line called the Metro, we couldn't wait to get our hands on the new basses. The wait is over and we're delighted to report that the Metro is playable, packed with features and definitely worth investigation.
More info: Warwickbass.com
Best bass amp: Orange Little Bass Thing
Orange's new amp, the Little Bass Thing, wowed us with its features, power and portability. Another winner for the venerable brand.
Best guitar amp: Positive Grid Spark 40
The 16,000 preorders this amp currently has speaks volumes about the reputation of Positive Grid's BIAS (opens in new tab) modelling. And we can attest this amp sounds as good as we'd hoped when we filmed a demo at the show.
But it offers more; the ability to transpose chords of streamed audio songs from YouTube, Spotify and more. You can generate your own backing tracks. Then there's the recording potential. We can't wait to get one!
Best guitar effects: Neural Quad Cortex
A genuine surprise from the plugin experts – entering the fierce multi-effects modelling unit market with confidence. Tell Helix and Headrush there's a new player in town, and what we saw and heard on the show floor was compelling…
Read more: Neural DSP's AI-powered floor modeller is 'Vulgar Display of Power' (opens in new tab)
Guitar innovation award: Gamechanger Light
The effects pedal market has never been more crowded with quality; brands are clamouring for your heard-earned cash and precious 'board real estate. So when we say we were genuinely blown away by the Light, we don't say it…um… lightly.
The Latvians bring innovation, pizzaz and superlative sonics to an optical spring reverb. See what that means for yourselves…
Read more: NAMM 2020 VIDEO: Gamechanger Audio unveils its Light Pedal, the first ever ‘optical spring reverb’ (opens in new tab)
Best in Music Tech
Best hardware synth: Korg Wavestate
OK, we're cheating slightly here, having already run the review rule over Korg's superbly rebooted Wavestation, but we don't hesitate to salute a faithful tribute to a ’90s classic that still offers cutting-edge sound design tools for the 21st century.
Read more: Korg Wavestate review
Best music software: Universal Audio LUNA
Universal Audio arguably provided the story of NAMM 2020, audaciously announced the LUNA Recording System, which is essentially a free DAW for users of the company’s Apollo and Arrow audio interfaces.
Best music tech innovation: Vochlea Dubler Studio Kit
Voice-to-MIDI is in danger of becoming the in thing, so hats off to Vochlea for providing the most convincing application yet for mouth-controlled percussive sound control, melodic parts and effect manipulation.
Best DJ gear: Pioneer DJ DJM-V10
With its new 6-channel club mixer, Pioneer DJ is taking aim at Allen & Heath's Xone series, offering up a hugely flexible-looking hub that combines an eye-watering amount of connectivity with plenty of hands-on creative tools.
Watch: Pioneer DJ DJM-V10 (opens in new tab)
Best studio gear: SSL audio interfaces
Pro audio specialist Solid State Logic is stepping into the home recording market with two affordable USB audio interfaces: SSL 2 and SSL 2+. SSL quality at these prices is more than enough to get our nod for NAMM 2020.
Best Eurorack gear: 4MS Ensemble Oscillator
Full bonks from 4MS with the Ensemble Oscillator. 16 interval-bound oscillators crammed into one module? Don't mind if we do.
More info: 4mscompany.com (opens in new tab)
Best MIDI controller: Arturia KeyStep Pro
Arturia's latest addition to its controller range, the KeyStep Pro - a 37-key MIDI keyboard equipped with a multitrack sequencer and plenty of I/O options, leads this highly competitive field at NAMM 2020.
Best in Drums
Best drum kit: Yamaha Stage Custom Hip
Yamaha’s Stage Custom has been one of the most successful drum kits in history, and now Yamaha has introduced a desirable new twist on the Stage Custom’s renowned blend of sound quality and affordability with the Stage Custom Hip.
Read more: Yamaha introduces Stage Custom Hip
Best percussion: Vic Firth RE-MIX Brushes
Co-designed by top percussionist Pete Lockett, and available in a wide range of natural material from broomcorn to African grass, these RE-MIX brushes aim to provide versatility across a number of genres with everything from trad kits to cajons and more. Job done, we reckon.
More info: Vicfirth.com
Drum innovation award: Roland Acoustic Design Series
Roland continue to innovate in the world of electronic drums. While they continue to build out their 'straight' V-Drums line, they've also revealed this e-wolf in acoustic sheep's clothing. It looks like an acoustic kit - and a rather handsome one at that - but actually it's a fully fledged V-Drums set. Sneaky.