Gear of the Year: Plug-ins & Consoles

We’re just getting warmed up with all of the fantastic kit that has been named 2013 Audio Media Gear of the Year winners.

While the last few days have seen this year’s top microphones, DAWs, recorders, and live consoles, we’re now moving onto plug-ins and consoles.

These represent the top gear being used by our stable of professional reviewers ranging from post-production specialists to grammy-award winning producers and engineers.

Remember to tell us what you think on Twitter using #AMGearoftheYear.

Plugged In:

iZotope RX3 Advanced

One of the most talked about releases in the last few months of the year has been iZotope’s upgrade to its popular RX series of audio restoration software/plug-ins. Designed for everything from recording and post production to forensics, RX3 features an intuitive spectral editor along with more than ten modules that help get rid of clipping, noise, hum, and buzz. It even won a 2013 Engineering Emmy.

The bottom line:

“Sets new standards for audio restoration – the must have gold standard suite for the working pro.” – Mike Aiton, owner, Mikerophonics Post

UAD Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection

One of the most iconic optical compressors, the warmth and smoothness of the original Teletronix LA-2A models have been captured with unrivaled accuracy in this collection for the UAD Powered Plug-ins platform. Each model has had its entire electronic path emulated including transformers, tube amplifiers, and luminescent cell aging process for added analogue character and colour.

The bottom line:

“Having the luxury of all three versions of the classic LA2A compressor is simply amazing. This is at the top of the desert island studio wish list. It oozes character and sonic richness – drums, bass, and vocals all come alive!” – Alan Branch, Grammy award-winning producer and engineer

In the Mix:

Avid S6

With Avid’s acquisition of Euphonix in 2010, the company set about to combine the creative powers of the Icon, Pro Tools, and Euphonix teams. The result? S6 – a fully customisable and scalable modular control surface incorporating intelligent studio controls, extensive visual feedback, and an ergonomic design providing deep integration with Pro Tools and other DAWs.

The bottom line:

“With an aesthetic that wouldn’t seem out of place in a sci-fi film and every feature you could want, the S6 should solidify Avid’s position as one of the leaders in the world of post production.” – Jory MacKay, Audio Media

Presonus StudioLive AI

The ever-growing ‘studio live’ category of consoles has had some fierce competition this year but PreSonus’ offering brings something a little extra to the table. Based around the idea of Active Integration (where the AI in the name comes from), the 32.4.2 can be controlled over Wi-Fi by a PC or tablet, or via Ethernet using Dante and AVB networking.

The bottom line:

“Whether in the studio or on the stage, the new PreSonus StudioLive AI consoles are powerful, intuitive, and, most of all, reliable. The increased integration with software solutions just further shows PreSonus’ commitment to staying ahead of the curve.” – Jory MacKay, Audio Media