In our best accessory category, we’ve got a range of exceptional, tricky-to-categorise items here – from portable speakers to cloud-based sample resources to a really brilliant book!
Scroll to the bottom of this article to cast your vote on which should be crowned the winner.
1IsoAcoustics ISO-Puck Mini
Monitors, by their nature, vibrate. That’s great when those vibrations are travelling to your ears as sound waves, but less desirable when they are causing your desk to vibrate in sympathy or causing the speakers to move back and forth. IsoAcoustics has made its name on products designed to prevent this phenomenon.
The ISO-Puck mini is their latest design and its made for nearfield and midfield monitors.
Our reviewer placed four ISO-Pucks under each of his monitors, placed on his desk and found focus and intelligibility were restored immediately. He even described the difference as “night and day… back comes bass control, precise stereo imaging, detail and coherence.” The ISO-Puck Mini comes highly recommended to help you realise your monitors’ true potential.
2Kali Audio Mountain View
We first came across Kali Audio through the company’s debut offering, the sensibly-priced Lone Pine studio monitors. The company’s follow-up product, Mountain View, is a smart but simple device that delivers a Bluetooth signal to a professional audio setup. For playback, checking ideas and simply enjoying music wirelessly through your pro setup, this is a brilliantly executed idea. And it’s good value, too.
3Loopmasters Loopcloud 5
Loopcloud is becoming a more creative app with every upgrade. Version 5 is the biggest overhaul yet and reaches inspiring new heights for song creation. Loopcloud 5 is a massive step up from 4 and almost unrecognisable from the sample-management app that was version 1.
With the Loopcloud multi-track feature and new effects rack, it’s now capable of creating complete productions without the DAW. And, while Loopmasters are not claiming that they are edging into DAW territory, you can produce a good tune or two with it easily. If you’re stuck for ideas or need some slick injections of audio drama, it’s time to loop.
The benefits of owning a mobile recording device are obvious. Capturing ‘found sound’ is the primary goal, environmental noise and atmosphere that no plug-in can really offer. Then there are those moments of inspiration. A small device to catch fleeting musical ideas would be the ideal net, but isn’t that device your phone? Good question, but the Olympus LS-P4 has some good answers.
The LS-P4 is a great device for capturing the moment, but also good enough for getting good acoustic recordings very quickly into your DAW. Yes, your phone will do that particular job, but the LS-P4 will do it with less fuss, better quality and more mobility.
5Push Turn Move
There are plenty of books that look at classic synths, but none that really delve into the concepts behind how we interact with them. Written by Danish designer, author, lecturer and electronic musician Kim Bjørn, the 352 pages are filled with beautiful images of instruments, controllers and interfaces, from a wealth of industry heavyweights including Moog, Korg, Ableton, Elektron, NI, Roland and more. The bulk of the book unpacks the art and science of interface design through well-chosen chapters that focus on the user, sound, control, layout, concept and time.
As such, it works as a quick-fix, coffee table book that can be flicked through, and also as an extensive essay on the concepts of instrument design that could inspire developers new and old. Also, the research and scope are wide enough that we can’t see any need to update it for some time to come. The quality of the content and design is exceptional, making it something to cherish and return to again and again.
Audient’s Nero fulfils a specific role that is sometimes lost in the modern, DAW-reliant studio. This is the slab of mixing console that drives different monitor systems, switches sources, lets you talk to artists and all the rest of it. Audient’s offering is a well-built monitor controller that can easily slot in alongside a keyboard or DAW controller.
Nero neatens up monitor routing and control, providing a clean, transparent sound. If you’re after some console-style monitor control and routing, then Nero is an excellent and satisfying choice.
Cast your vote here:
Check out all the Gear Of The Year 2019 categories here.