2017 was an amazing year for music tech. With countless new improvements and innovations to choose from, we present a selection of our top 10/10 releases from across the year…
[Click each title for the full review]
Though the price tag may shake you, RME’s Fireface UFX+ is undoubtedly worth every penny, and thanks to the addition of TotalMix FX, its applications extend beyond the studio into live mixing.
We Say: “I want one! This is a perfect hub for a pro, futureproof studio. The Fireface UFX+ with TotalMix FX combine to deliver a sublime workflow and crystal audio quality.”
Price €599 + VAT
Contact Orchestral Tools | +049 (0) 7665 939 8678
We know at the time of writing that Metropolis Ark 3 has been out for a little while now (we loved it!), but a year on and there’s still so much to love about Ark 2. The shift to much darker sonic palettes and reviewer Dave Gale coming up empty when it came to cons has immortalised it as one of the finest library’s available.
We Say: “This is an exceptional collection of orchestral and non-orchestral instruments, with many, many highlights that could easily make a real difference to your sonic palette.”
Price £1,599 + VAT
Contact Spitfire Audio
In what was, at the time, their most extensive symphonic library, Spitfire Audio created something very special in Symphony Orchestra. Both comprehensive and rooted in British sonority it remains one of the best examples on the market to this day.
We Say: “This is a very fine volume of work, that will perform in all areas. It represents one of the finest in its class available today.”
Though our review of 9.5 is imminent, we couldn’t not mention Cubase 9. Upon release we were blown away by its array of groundbreaking features, easy-to-use workflows and new plug-ins. We don’t want to spoil it, but 9.5 doesn’t disappoint. Stay tuned!
We Say: “Cubase 9 is an elegant and powerful DAW that is a delight to use. The workflow is highly efficient and the interface is beautiful. An exceptional DAW to create inspired music with pristine quality.”
Despited being limited to Mac users and carrying a hefty price tag, Focusrite’s Red 8Pre managed to quash any doubts that may have been harboured against it. Covering almost all interfacing scenarios, reviewer Mike Hillier and MusicTech as a whole were blown away by the creative opportunities afforded us.
We Say: “An absolutely incredible interface, which ensures connection possibilities for almost all conceivable analogue and digital needs.”
Considered a classic-in-the-making by reviewer Marc JB, the Sontronics Mercury was a real highlight of 2017. Delivering precision and warmth in spades it becomes easier every time to justify the price tag and dream of adding it to your collection.
We Say: “The Mercury is a classic microphone in the making. The level of detail and warmth in the sound reproduction make this an inspiring tool to use for recording. The sound is subtly driven and open, with a shimmering air that pushes through the mix, the Mercury needs very little signal processing to sound amazing. Sontronics is passionate about its products and the Mercury is a beautifully designed microphone for the modern producer.”
Price SOLO £699 | DUO £899 | QUAD £1,299
Contact Universal Audio
Winner of our best interface in our most recent Gear of the Year awards, the Apollo Twin Mk II combines high-quality interfacing with UA’s stellar plug-ins, boasting endorsements from studios across the globe.
We Say: “With a host of new improvements, the Apollo Twin Mk II is the most complete solution for tracking and mixing on a desktop computer.”
Awarded not only a 10/10 but also the innovation of 2017 award, the P0-32 tonic remains a pint-sized favourite at MusicTech. Not only a fantastic portable beat-making companion, it’s “the best £180 you can spend on beats.”
We Say: “P0-32 tonic has certainly added a tonic to our beats in both hardware and software. Separately, the hardware and software is superb. Together, they are unbeatable.”
Price RX 6 Advanced £939 | RX 6 Standard £315 | RX Elements £99
It’s long been a critically-acclaimed piece of software, but RX’s brilliance truly shines in its latest iteration. The seemingly magical ability to remove not only distortion and clips, but even advanced issues like excessive reverb make it a must-have – if you can stomach the price tag.
We Say: “Now an essential tool for both music and post production, iZotope’s RX 6 has matured to be a dependable and highly useful audio editor.”
Contact Melda Production
Lush and creative reverb, ‘one button’ simplicity and infinite programmability, the MTurboReverb is as versatile as it is ambitious – a plug-in that as Marc JB points out will result in “instant reverb delight.”
We Say: “A stunning-sounding reverb with lots of character, MTurboReverb is highly usable in the mix and quick to navigate. Look under the hood and there’s an infinitely programmable engine for to immerse yourself in reverb algorithm design.”
Contact Nova Distribution | 0203 589 2530
Eye-watering price aside, Chandler’s REDD Microphone simply can’t be beat and was a favourite amongst our readers when it picked up the ‘Highly Commended’ award at our most recent Gear of the Year awards.
We Say: “The Chandler REDD Microphone is one of the most glorious-sounding microphones we’ve had the pleasure of testing. But such quality comes at a price.”
Laying claim to the ‘Highly Commended’ award in last year’s Gear of the Year, the Focal Shape 65 are an impressive set of monitors, a deal sweetened by their incredibly low price when compared with their main competition.
We Say: “The Shapes are a step up from the cheaper Alphas. In fact, they’re a step up from much more expensive options. Quite superb.”
Whilst some may consider this an expensive and unnecessary luxury, we were enamoured by the X1-R. With precision control and versatile mounting options we think you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll enjoy using it.
We Say: “Do yourself a favour and get a DynaMount… I’m pretty sure you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one.”
Contact Propellerhead Software
An incredible reimagining of a well-loved DAW, our readers ‘Software Product of the Year’ and just months after 9.5 was awarded a 10/10, Reason 10 knocked it out of the park. Boasting the added VST support, a score of new features, including the monstrous Europe synth we can’t praise it enough.
We Say: “Reason 10 gives the DAW a nicely rounded set of fresh beats, electronic extremes, acoustic sounds and experimental dreams. You want more? You got it.”