Doing all of your processing 'in the box' is fine, but taking your audio out for a trip into the real world can be extremely rewarding. Yep, hardware effects processing is alive and well, as evidenced by the wide range of products that are being released to do it.
We shortlisted our favourite processing boxes of 2017 and asked you to vote for your favourite. Now it's time for the results...
The MusicRadar Best in music tech awards 2017 are brought to you in association with Softube - Tools for the Audio Professional
Stam Audio SA4000
We said: "While the SA4000 may not sound exactly the same as the early SSL units, it comes extremely close. This compressor exhibits all the the characteristics for which the original became popular, including its ability to ‘glue’ a mix together, and at an extremely competitive price."
Analogue Solutions Dr Strangelove
We said: "A useful tool that combines two decent-sounding processors in one place. However, the addition of extra patch points and a ring mod ‘wet/dry’ control would have upped its flexibility considerably."
We said: "Like other ‘9’ series EHX pedals, this is a pretty specialised offering that’s not going to appeal to all and sundry, but it does its job really well and it may be a couple of hundred quid well spent if you find a mixed bag of synth tones appealing, either as a direct feature or as a tickle of interest underlying your guitar tone."
We said: "The Superego+ does the atmospheric polyphonic glissando pad effect like no other, so if that’s your bag then look no further. This ‘+’ model really ramps up the control and creativity."
Erica Synths Acidbox III
They say: "Erica Synths' Acidbox III brings you the core of the famous Polivoks VCF in stereo version with unique audio signal overdrive circuit, built-in LFO and envelope follower in a compact, full aluminium case."
Analogue Solutions Mr Hyde
We said: "An excellent-sounding filter box with some good modulation and useful patching possibilities, but there are other options with more features and flexibility."
Winner: 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.