Gear Of The Year: Best outboard gear of 2020

The studio hardware market exploded in 2020, this is the processor that took the crown this year

WINNER: Warm Audio Bus Comp

Price £650
Contact Warm Audio

A company with previous when it comes to bringing the sound of those glorious keystone products of the past to contemporary audiences, Texas-based Warm Audio’s take on VCA mix-bus compression was a revelation upon its release in early 2020. The Bus-Comp is an all-analogue two-channel stereo VCA bus compressor based on the unmistakable SSL designs that have enriched music productions for decades. Presented as a pleasingly straightforward 1U 19-inch rack-mounted unit with a front panel that features an analogue dB meter, the Bus-Comp also sports a handy high pass filter. The unit comes in at a relatively affordable price too, offering professional-sounding compression that might otherwise cost a fortune to attain.

Read our full review here.

Highly commended: Black Lion Audio Eighteen

Black Lion Audio Eighteen

Price £1,000
Contact Black Lion Audio

When we reviewed Black Lion Audio’s Eighteen in issue 213, we were taken aback by the heaps of unadulterated character it brought to the table. A vintage solid-state preamp with an equaliser, the Eighteen harks back to a range of classic products and wears its old-school aesthetic with pride. Its EQ features two sections of tonal control for high and low frequency manipulation, which we found extremely useful in our tests, particularly when it came to creating lush musical EQ curves.

Read our full review here.

Also nominated:

To vote for other GOTY categories, click here.

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