Gear Of The Year: Best products of 2019

Our special category, which highlights the two products that have been voted as the finest examples of hardware and software released this year.

2019 has been a near-perfect conclusion to a decade of remarkable innovations in music technology. There have been so many breathtakingly good products released this year that it’s been rather difficult to compile the shortlists for our Gear Of The Year 2019 awards. But somehow, we managed!

We’ve seen more interesting uses of artificial intelligence this year. From the deep, intelligent integration of iZotope’s Ozone 9’s Mastering Assistant to Musiio’s clever, high-speed tagging service to AI-powered songwriting assistants such as Amadeus all the way to Google’s intelligent, Bach-themed Doodle, AI is revolutionising the way we approach the music-making process – and it will undoubtedly continue to flourish in the upcoming decade.

Here’s the best products – hardware and software – of 2019, as voted by you!

Hardware product of the year: Dreadbox Nyx V2

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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.

In our review we said “There’s no space to cover all the patching options, but here you can maintain this experimentation but also bring in more control and calm it down. You’ll have to work to discover all its nuances, but as they’re revealed, you’ll discover a beast of a synth. A god, even. Nyx V2 packs a lot of punch (and reverb!)”

£469. More information here and here

Software product of the year: Ableton Live 10.1

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.

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In our review, Martin Delaney said “For anybody dithering about upgrading to Live 10, or maybe considering moving to Live from another DAW, this update contains yet more reasons to make the move.”

Martin continued “Whether you’ll be drawn in by the workflow enhancements or by the refinements to the Wavetable synth. It also confirms that Ableton is following its practice of adding new features throughout the version’s lifespan, adding more value to the original purchase. We wouldn’t be surprised if Live 10 continues to benefit from additional content right up until the release of Live 11.”

Read our full review here.

Check out all the Gear Of The Year 2019 categories here.

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