Gear of the Year 2018: Best Innovation

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2018 was an innovative year for music with plenty of ingenious creations that helped make music making a little easier (and more fun) for everyone. We crown our favourite…

Loopmasters Loopcloud

WINNER: Loopmasters Loopcloud

Price FREE
Contact Loopmasters or Loopcloud

Like many a good innovation, you might not need Loopcloud until you actually use Loopcloud. It’s what you might rather blandly call a ‘sample management utility’ but, like we imply, it goes very far beyond that, and it could well turn into your creative, innovative and most-speedy-at-composing new best friend.

Loopcloud acts as a plug-in within your DAW, but then connects to a separate shell or GUI that shows you what Loopmasters samples you have up in the Loopcloud. The clever part is that you can then audition them both in time and in key with whatever you’re composing within your DAW. Got a few loops you need to beef up? Go into Loopcloud, search with an excellent engine by tempo, genre, instrument and a lot more, and then play whatever samples are spat out at you along with whatever you’re looping.

The software is absolutely free and version 2, which we reviewed this year, revealed how Loopmasters is making its cash with the Loopmasters store nicely tied into the Loopcloud GUI/environment. Yes, it is very easy to audition and buy new Loopmasters samples in Loopcloud but you really don’t have to (and if you do, you can buy them from as little as 15p per sample). You even get a GB of samples when you download the software for the first time and a bunch of samples every week while you use it.

So, what’s not to like? Well, perhaps the fact that version 2 still only worked with Loopmasters samples? What about the rest of your samples? That didn’t seem to put you lot off, as you voted in your droves for Loopcloud. Now, version 3.0 lets you add non-Loopmasters samples into the Loopcloud ecosphere.

Here’s what Andy Jones said about Loopcloud 2.0. “The Auto Key auditioning is my highlight and I’ll probably end up using it to finally finish off some tunes I’ve had festering for a while, or turn some old looped ideas into full arrangements.

“It’s about nudging your creativity in the right direction and Loopcloud does that with some aplomb. From managing and auditioning samples to boosting your creativity tenfold, there’s a hell of a lot to love about Loopcloud. A simple, easy and inspiring concept.”

Read our full review here.

Highly commended

Leaf Audio Microphonic Soundbox - Hero

Leaf Audio Microphonic Soundbox

Price €149 Kit, €199 Built
Contact Exploding Shed

We love the latest technology here at MusicTech. You know, something with flashing lights, something that bends circuits to provide space-alien textures, something that maybe teleports into our studios, composes a hit song, and then hurtles off back to Jupiter’s moons without taking any royalties. That kind of thing. So here’s an empty wooden box winning our Highly Commended Innovation Award. A monophonic one at that. But actually, it’s what is mounted on the outside that gives this box its tricks and it can produce some incredible sounds…

“Even a single strike, bow, pluck or scrape will offer some rich harmonic content to play with,” Dave Gale said, “so if you like to experiment with sound, either with outboard effects or within the DAW, it has a useful sonic palette that’s loads of fun to use. There’s lots of diversity in sound, too, so it should be useful in a number of settings. As a source of new and exciting sampled or processed tones, it’s a very strong and useful contraption, and one that I can see being in great demand at the creative end of business.”

Read our full review here.

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