Best in music tech 2017
2017 feels like it’s flown by in a crazy and slightly bewildering flash, but it can’t have escaped your notice that we’re into its final furlong.
Inevitably, that means it’s time to reflect on the year just passed. It’s been a good one for new music technology gear, and we’re ready to prime the party poppers and celebrate the best of it.
You came, you voted and now we can finally reveal the results. So without further ado, here are 2017’s most impressive new products.
The MusicRadar Best in music tech awards 2017 are brought to you in association with Softube - Tools for the Audio Professional
Best new hardware synth of 2017: Analogue Solutions Fusebox
We said: "Despite the vintage sound and all-analogue signal path, the Fusebox promises much in the way of modulation and performance features, with an Arpeggiator, Patternator and Interval Generator all on hand to create new patterns and sequences."
READ MORE: Analogue Solutions Fusebox
Best new drum machine or sampler of 2017: Elektron Digitakt
We said: "With deep sequencing and a powerful sound engine, Digitakt is the ‘affordable’ Elektron groovebox we’ve been dreaming of."
FULL REVIEW: Elektron Digitakt
Best new controller or sequencer of 2017: Native Instruments Maschine mk3
We said: "Maschine Mk3 takes the essence of Maschine Studio, adds an audio interface and touchstrip, and packs it all into the optimal form factor for stage and studio. Ultimately, Maschine Mk3 is the best controller for NI’s groove workstation yet."
FULL REVIEW: Native Instruments Maschine mk3
Best new audio interface of 2017: Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII
We said: "Far, far more than possibly the best audio interface ever made, this is a musically empowering hardware/software hybrid, capable of elevating even the humblest of home and project studios to genuinely professional-quality heights."
FULL REVIEW: Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII
Best new microphone of 2017: Lewitt LCT 440 Pure
We said: "A well-rounded mic that’d be happy in most roles on stage or in the studio - especially for vocals and guitar amps."
READ MORE: Lewitt LCT 440 Pure
Best new monitor speaker of 2017: KRK V6 S4
They say: "KRK Systems' V Series 6 nearfield studio monitors are specifically designed for audio production applications where accurate reproduction is critical. KRK worked with hundreds of pro engineers/producers/mixers to develop these groundbreaking monitors. Recording and broadcast studios as well as sound design and audio production houses will benefit from adding the V Series 4 as the go to monitor of choice."
READ MORE: KRK V6 S4
Best new hardware effects unit of 2017: Elektron Analog Drive
We said: "Eight very distinct genres of analogue dirt pedal in one box can never be a bad thing, especially when they sound as good as these.
FULL REVIEW: Elektron Analog Drive
Best new effect plugin of 2017: iZotope Ozone 8
We said: "It’s ridiculously powerful, every one of its modules sounds incredible, and for in-the-box mastering made as accessible as it can be, there’s simply none better."
FULL REVIEW: iZotope Ozone 8 Advanced
Best new virtual instrument plugin of 2017: KV331 Audio SynthMaster One
We said: "With dual wavetable oscillators, stunning filters and fast-paced interface, SynthMaster One sounds fantastic and stays out of your way while you work!"
FULL REVIEW: KV331 Audio SynthMaster One
Best music tech innovation of 2017: Teenage Engineering PO-32 Tonic
We said: "The PO-32 is a fun and inspiring noise-maker, and the added MicroTonic compatibility broadens its sonic scope considerably."
FULL REVIEW: Teenage Engineering PO-32 Tonic
Best new keyboard of 2017: Nord Stage 3
We said: "There are improvements across the feature set, with one of the most eye-catching being the addition of OLED displays in the Program and Synth sections. The memory for the Nord Piano Library has been doubled, with polyphony being expanded to 120 voices, and the Synth section now features the synth engine from the Nord Lead A1, complete with sample playback."
READ MORE: Nord Stage 3
Best new Eurorack gear of 2017: Synthesis Technology E352
What they say: “The Synthesis Technology E352 combines the latest 200MHz 32-bit ARM DSP with SynthTech's Cloud and Morphing algorithms found in the legendary E340 Cloud Generator and the E350 Morphing Terrarium.”
READ MORE: Synthesis Technology E352
Best new DJ gear of 2017: Allen & Heath Xone PX5
What we said: “With few minor quibbles and many plus points, the PX5 achieves what it set out to do – take a shot at the title, and launch itself as a serious contender for the next industry-standard 4+1 channel high performance club mixer. Stunning work.”
READ MORE: Allen & Heath Xone PX5
Best new iOS app of 2017: Apple Garageband 2.3
We said: “Where GarageBand for iOS goes next is anyone’s guess but, right now, we think that Apple is striking a pretty good balance between keeping it simple and offering more to those who demand it. The compatibility with the desktop version of GarageBand and Logic Pro is a big bonus, and the Beat Sequencer could well become your first port of call when you’re starting a track.”
FIRST LOOK REVIEW: Apple Garageband 2.3
Best DAW: Image Line FL Studio
We said: "FL Studio began life as Fruity Loops, the phenomenally popular step-based beat/groove maker that’s been used by aspiring producers the world over (Deadmau5 included). However, full-on DAW status was achieved some time ago - if you think that this is merely an entry-level application that only allows you to create loops, you need to take a second look."
FULL REVIEW: Image-Line FL Studio 12