Gear of the Year 2016 – Best Accessory of 2016

Our Best Accessory award covers pretty much everything small, from headphones to studio gadgets, from books to sample collections. There were several varied and excellent releases in the shortlist – we particularly loved both the Bright Sparks film (in which several synth pioneers are interviewed) and Sylvia Massy’s excellent Recording Unhinged book, but here’s what you (and we) voted for above all others….

Highly Commended Accessory – Fostex TR-Series

Details
Price £155
Contact SCV 0330 122 2500
Web www.scvdistribution.co.uk

The market for studio-quality headphones is booming and while we still say it’s worth throwing money at good cans, you can buy models such as these for a reasonable outlay. There are three models in the range, all identical in price, but open, closed and semi-open in design.

Reviewer Andy Price said: “We tried out a variety of tracks in many different genres, finding that, universally, the Fostex TR-Series offered a magnificent and dynamic listening experience, balanced between the weighty low end, detailed mids and sharp trebles.

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Higher-end frequency reproduction was spot on and not smothered by the bass at all. In general, sound clarity and mix analysis was top notch. The TR-Series is our new ‘go-to’ headphone for music listening.”

Winner – Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro

Details
Price €599
Contact Beyerdynamic/Polar Audio on 01444 258258
Web http://europe.beyerdynamic.com and www.polaraudio.co.uk

It’s two sets of headphones that win out, with the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pros taking the top spot. This is perhaps unsurprising, as the original 1770s are something of a studio legend in headphone circles, so many of you will be familiar with the originals.

These updates do take the design and sound on a notch – we’ll deal with the price first, as they are not cheap, but as with monitors, you do have to spend with headphones to get sets that are accurate, comfortable and vibey for long listening sessions, surely the Holy Trinity of qualities for both monitors and headphones.

Thankfully, these headphones tick the boxes for all three aspects.

Comfort levels are fantastic and the soft foam pads and the headphones’ light weight offer a great feel and isolation – among the best we’ve come across. They also sit very well on your head and aren’t too cumbersome during extended sessions.

We actually compared them to two sets of reference ’phones: our standard Audio Technicas (£269) and our new AKGs, which weigh in at £1,300. “And you know what?” we said in our review.
“The DT 1770s sit exactly where they should price-wise, somewhere in between.

They offer a great mix of both, a lovely sound and comfort balance that will have you saying ‘Ooh listen to this’ through them to anyone ‘lucky enough’ to be passing your studio, and easily accurate enough for you to pick out several mix elements and put them in the right damn place, which is really what any monitoring (speaker or headphone) is all about at the end of the day.

“Yes, they’re expensive. But, as we always say when it comes to good accuracy, comfort and long-session wearing, they’re worth it. The best just got better.”

Check back tomorrow for our next category

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