Gear Of The Year 2019: The best DAWs, hardware instruments, monitors and accessories

    It's the awards season once more and in this final year of the decade we have a bumper crop of them to give out.

    2019 was a fantastic year for music production gear. So much so that we have had to up the number of categories in our regular Gear Of The Year Awards to 14. We now have everything from the Best Accessory to Best Soft Synth and you’ve been voting in your droves for the winners over the past few weeks.

    Without further ado, let’s welcome to the best gear of 2019. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses…

    Product of the year: Hardware and software

    Dreadbox Nyx 2

    Hardware product of the year: Dreadbox Nyx 2


    A completely unique synth walks away with one of our biggest prizes this year. The Dreadbox Nyx V2 is the latest product from the Greek company who have been making striking looking gear for the last few years, not least of which was the original Nyx, which was a masterfully made ambient-producer’s delight. Version 2 takes its cues from Dreadbox’s Erebus 3 and has a raft of connectivity and patching options, with 30 ins and outs in total. It’s the kind of synth you could lose yourself in, with an incredible long reverb.

    Ableton Live 10.1

    Software of the year: Ableton Live 10.1

    This was a hard one to call, but Live’s 10.1 update certainly improved the workflow significantly enough to re-enforce Ableton’s dominance in the creative DAW market. Live 10.1 adds a host of new features including user-customisable Wavetables, enhanced and more specific automation allowing the user to finally be able to type specific values. 10.1 also includes reorganised effects and support for VST3, as well as more thorough export options.


    Check out the full list here

    Best DAW

    Steinberg Cubase Pro 10

    Winner: Steinberg Cubase Pro 10

    Highly commended: Reason Studios Reason 11

    Also nominated:

    • Ableton Live 10.1
    • Bitwig Studio 3
    • Logic Pro X
    • Avid Pro Tools 2019
    • Korg Gadget for Mac
    • Steinberg Nuendo 10

    Check out the full list here.

    Best soft synth


    Kilohearts Phase Plant

    Winner: Kilohearts Phase Plant

    Highly commended: Audiaire Zone

    Also nominated:

    • Arturia Pigments
    • Brainworx bx_oberhausen
    • Reason Scenic
    • Native Instruments Massive X
    • Softube Monoment
    • UVI FM Suite
    • Rob Papen Vecto

    Check out the full list here.

    Best hardware instrument

    Arturia Micro

    Winner: Arturia MicroFreak

    Highly commended: Korg Minilogue XD

    Also nominated:

    • Waldorf Quantum
    • Modal Electronics Skulpt
    • Studio Electronics Boomstar MKII
    • Dreadbox Nyx 2
    • Modal Electronics CRAFTsynth v2.0
    • Behringer Odyssey
    • Behringer MS-101
    • Novation Summit

    Check out the full list here.

    Best virtual instrument

    Spitfire Audio LCO Textures

    Winner: Spitfire Audio LCO Textures

    Highly commended: Native Instruments Komplete 12

    Also nominated:

    • EastWest Voices Of Opera
    • Best Service Dark Era
    • Slate and Ash Auras
    • Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark 4
    • Sonokinetic Indie
    • UVI Drum Designer
    • Arturia V Collection 7

    Check out the full list here.

    Best outboard gear

    Black Lion Audio Seventeen

    Winner: Black Lion Audio Seventeen

    Highly commended: Cranborne Audio 500 Series

    Also nominated:

    • Thermionic Culture The Kite
    • Warm Audio WA273-EQ
    • OTO Machines BOUM

    Check out the full list here.

    Best controller

    Nektar Panaroma T4

    Winner: Nektar Panorama T4

    Highly commended: Native Instruments KK M32

    Also nominated:

    • zeroDebug touchAble Pro
    • Akai Pro Force
    • StudioLogic Mixface
    • Pioneer DJ Toraiz Squid

    Check out the full list here.

    Best software effect/utility

    iZotope Ozone 9

    Winner: iZotope Ozone 9

    Highly commended: Oeksound Spiff

    Also nominated:

    • Blue Cat Audio Late Replies
    • Denise Audio The Sweeper
    • Universal Audio Lexicon 480L
    • Mastering the Mix BASSROOM
    • iZotope Nectar 3
    • PROCESS.Audio Sugar
    • Isotonik Studios Modular Series
    • Apogee FX Rack
    • TC Electronic Finalizer
    • Mixed In Key Captain Melody
    • Antares Auto-Tune

    Check out the full list here.

    Best modular gear

    Qu-Bit Electronix Scanned

    Winner: Qu-Bit Electronix Scanned

    Highly commended: AJH Next Phase

    Also nominated:

    • Qu-Bit Prism
    • AJH V Shape
    • AJH Synth Fixed Filter Bank 914
    • Erica Synths Black Stereo Delay

    Check out the full list here.

    Best interface/mixer

    Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen

    Winner: Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen

    Highly commended: Universal Audio Apollo X

    Also nominated:

    • SSL SiX
    • Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
    • Steinberg AXR4T
    • Roland Rubix 44

    Check out the full list here.

    Best innovation

    Spitfire Audio Orbis

    Winner: Spitfire Audio Orbis

    Highly commended: Loopmasters Loopcloud 5

    Also nominated:

    • Steinberg SpectraLayers Pro 6
    • Nugen Audio SigMod
    • iZotope Neutron 3 Advanced
    • VSL Ensemble Pro 7
    • Olympia Noise Patterning 2

    Check out the full list here.

    Best microphone

    Aston Microphones Stealth

    Winner: Aston Microphones Stealth

    Highly commended: Warm Audio WA-251

    Also nominated:

    • Tul Microphones G12 Retro
    • Chandler Limited TG Microphone
    • Audix DP7 Drum Microphone Pack
    • Golden Age Premier GA-251
    • LEWITT LCT 140 AIR
    • Sontronics Corona

    Check out the full list here.

    Best monitor/headphones

    Winner: JBL 306P MkII

    Highly commended: Neumann NDH 20

    Also nominated:

    • Brainwavz Audio HM100
    • Focal Listens
    • Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
    • ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5
    • JBL One Series 104
    • IK Multimedia iLoud MTM
    • Quested S8R and V2108

    Check out the full list here.

    Best accessory

    Loopmasters Loopcloud 5

    Winner: Loopmasters Loopcloud 5

    Highly commended: Audient Nero

    Also nominated:

    • ISOAcoustics ISO Pucks Mini
    • Kali Audio Mountain View
    • Olympus LS-P4
    • Push Turn Move

    Check out the full list here.



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