MusicRadar's tech gear of the year

If you wanted to try something different in 2007, you had to try Tenori-on.
If you wanted to try something different in 2007, you had to try Tenori-on.

With 2007 almost over, it's time to reflect on the music technology products that - to quote The Spice Girls - made the headlines during these past 12 months.

As usual, we saw more software releases than any sane person would ever dream of trying to install. Two of the most eagerly-anticipated arrived towards the back end of the year: Apple's Logic Studio and Propellerhead Software's Reason 4.

Both are impressive, though it's perhaps fair to say that, given their long development times, neither is quite the wholesale reinvention that we might have expected.

New versions of many other big-name music-making apps came to market too: Mackie Tracktion 3, Cakewalk Sonar 7 and the just-released Ableton Live 7 all turned out to be worthy updates.

At the consumer end of the DAW market, Steinberg made a splash with Sequel. This rivals GarageBand '08 in the ease-of-use stakes - Apple's entry-level software was also tweaked this year - and is only let down by a lack of plug-in compatibility.

Elsewhere, our appetite for new and updated plug-ins seems to be as strong as ever.

The success of Arturia's Jupiter-8V (and others) demonstrated that vintage synth emulations are still very popular, but we should also make special mention of Lennardigital's Sylenth1. It doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but it sure sounds fat.

The hard stuff

Don't go thinking that 2007 was all about software, though: there have been plenty of eye-catching hardware launches, too.

Roland proved that you can complete pro-quality production without a computer by releasing the MV-8800, while Korg managed to pack a digital mixer, audio interface, MIDI controller and effects processor into its Zero8. Its M3 workstation is also a heavyweight contender.

The same can be said of Yamaha's MotifXS, though for many, the company's most interesting release was the mesmerising Tenori-on. It's not perfect, but it represents a brave and at least partially successful attempt by a major hardware manufacturer to step outside of its comfort zone and do something different.

In the world of Pro Tools, meanwhile, Digidesign continued to expand its Mbox range and also dispensed with its 002 control surface/interface to make way for the 003 model. JazzMutant's DAW-friendly Dexter was another noteworthy controller release.

Oh, and just to prove that classic synths aren't only reappearing as plug-ins, Dave Smith popped up with his Prophet 08.

That's our list, then, but what are your 2007 highlights. Have we covered all the good stuff here, or are there some glaring omissions? Let us know.

The MusicRadar team

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