Gear Of The Year 2020: The best DAWs, hardware instruments, monitors and accessories

We asked you to vote in 13 categories, and our experts have since deliberated on the results. Here are the winners for our Gear of the Year roundup of the ’20s.

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This year has given us more time than ever to spend in our studios. And, despite the challenges across the music industry, the pace of new tech releases didn’t slow, with stacks of new software, hardware and instruments now in the world.

For our Gear of the Year awards, we asked you to vote in 13 categories online, with the results solidified by an evenly split combination of reader votes and expert opinion from the MusicTech team. The list collates 2020’s big-hitters and draws attention to those products that flew under the radar. Above all, it’s with the Gear of The Year awards that we pay homage to the pinnacle of the past year’s music technology. Check out all the winners below.

Best Hardware Instrument

GOTY Best Hard Inst WINNER UDO Super 6

Winner: UDO Super 6

Highly commended: Native Instruments Maschine+

Also nominated:

  • Moog Matriarch
  • Waldorf Iridium
  • Korg WaveState
  • Roland Jupiter X
  • Erica Synths Bassline DB-01
  • Akai MPC Live II
  • Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth
  • Dreadbox Typhon

Check out the full list here.

Best Interface/Mixer

GOTY Best Interface WINNER UA Apollo

Winner: Universal Audio Apollo X4

Highly commended: Audient Evo 4

Also nominated:

  • RME Babyface Pro FS
  • Arturia AudioFuse Studio
  • SSL 2+
  • Steinberg UR24C
  • AMS Neve 1073 OPX
  • Presonus Quantum 2626

Check out the full list here.

Best Accessory

Best Accessory GOTY Winner

Winner: Plugin Boutique Scaler 2

Highly commended: Soyuz Launcher

Also nominated:

  • GIK Acoustics VISO Booth
  • IK Multimedia ARC System 3
  • Producertech Advanced Bass Music Production Techniques 2
  • FaderPro Drum Grooves and Vocal Production with Eddie Thoneick
  • Musicforincome: An Introduction to Writing Music For Television

Check out the full list here.

Best Monitoring/Headphones

GOTY Best Headphone Monitor

Winner: Adam Audio T8V

Highly commended: Austrian Audio Hi-X55

Our nominees are:

  • AKG K371
  • Dynaudio Core 7
  • Presonus Eris E8XT
  • Kali Audio IN-8
  • HEDD Audio HEDDPhones

Check out the full list here.

Best Microphone

GOTY Best Microphones Winner

Winner: Aston Microphones Element

Highly commended: Sonotronics Podcast Pro

Our nominees are:

  • Austrian Audio OC818
  • Neumann BCM 705
  • Golden Age GA-800G
  • Telefunken TF-11
  • Rode PodMic

Check out the full list here.

Best Software Effect/Utility

Best Software Utility Winner oeksound

Winner: Oeksound Soothe 2

Highly commended: iZotope RX 8

Our nominees are:

  • Sonnox Oxford Drum Gate
  • Cableguys CrushShaper
  • Leapwing Audio DynOne 3
  • Celemony Melodyne 5
  • Heavyocity Damage 2
  • Mastering the Mix Mixroom
  • FabFilter Saturn 2
  • Denise Audio Perfect Room
  • Waves OVox

Check out the full list here.

Best Modular Gear

Winner: Dreadbox Hysteria

Highly commended: Studio Electronics MiniMidi V30

Our nominees are:

  • Qu-Bit Bloom
  • ALM Busy Circuits System Coupe
  • Endorphines Milky Way
  • 4ms Ensemble Oscillator
  • Erica Synths Black Stereo Delay

Check out the full list here.

Best Outboard

Warm Audio Bus Compressor

Winner: Warm Audio Bus Comp

Highly commended: Black Lion Audio Eighteen

Our nominees are:

  • AMS Neve RMX16 500 Series
  • Peach Audio Savannah M196sx
  • Arturia AudioFuse 8pre
  • Thermionic Culture Snow Petrel
  • Erica Synths/Ninja Tune Zen Delay
  • Dreadbox Hypnosis

Check out the full list here.

Best Controller

Arturia Keystep Pro Winner

Winner: Arturia KeyStep Pro

Highly commended: Sensel Morph Controller

Our nominees are:

  • Arturia MicroLab
  • Roland A-88 MK II
  • Novation Launchkey MK3
  • Presonus Atom SQ
  • ROLI LUMI Keys 1
  • OSC/Pilot
  • Akai MPK Mini MK3

Check out the full list here.

Best Innovation

GOTY Innovation ASM Hydrasynth

Winner: Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth

Highly commended: Endlesss

Also nominated:

  • iZotope RX 8
  • Aston Microphones Element
  • VirtualDJ 2021
  • Audio Design Desk
  • Celemony Melodyne 5
  • UDO Super 6
  • Roland Zenology
  • Audio Test Kitchen

Check out the full list here.

Best Software Synth

GOTY Soft Synth Arturia Pigments 2

Winner: Arturia Pigments 2

Highly commended: Slate and Ash Cycles

Also nominated:

  • UVI Vintage Vault 3
  • Roland Zenology
  • Rob Papen Quad
  • Krotos Audio Concept
  • Imaginando FRMS
  • Tracktion Collective
  • Audio Damage Continua
  • Audiaire Zenith

Check out the full list here.

Best Virtual Instrument

Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra

Winner: Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra

Highly commended: EastWest Hollywood Backup Singers

Also nominated:

  • Orchestral Tools Time Micro
  • VSL Big Bang Orchestra
  • Toontrack EZBass
  • Sonokinetic Ibrido Cinematic
  • Cinesamples Randy’s Prepared Piano
  • UVI Key Suite
  • Native Instruments Straylight
  • Heavyocity Vento

Check out the full list here.

Best DAW

PreSonus Studio One

Winner: PreSonus Studio One

Highly commended: Cakewalk by BandLab

Also nominated:

  • Apple Logic Pro
  • Avid Pro Tools
  • Ableton Live
  • Steinberg Cubase
  • Image-Line FL Studio
  • Reason Studios Reason
  • Cockos Reaper
  • Universal Audio Luna
  • Bitwig Studio

Check out the full list here.


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