Gear of the Year: The Game Changers

In the past week we’ve announced the 2013 Audio Media Gear of the Year winners. From microphones to monitors, consoles to DAWs, plug-ins to recorders, and more, the Audio Media team has narrowed the competition down to just 20 items.

Put together by the magazine’s editorial staff along with our hardworking reviewers and contributors, the Gear of the Year awards represent the top new gear releases in 2013 that represent something unique be it for functionality, innovative design, or just plain old value.

After the dust had settled we still had a few pieces of kit that really show the evolution of the industry. So without further ado we present to you, the Gear of the Year 2013 Game Changers.

As in the past few days, have a look and tell us what you think on Twitter using #AMGearoftheYear

Game Changers:

Slate Raven

When it was first premiered at the 2013 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California, the new Raven series of multi-touch sound mixers turned a lot of heads. While some were drawn to its touch screen, many realised that the unit could potentially change the way modern mixers work.

The Raven comes in two forms: the MTX is a 46inch touch sensitive high-definition LCD virtual 32-fader sound mixer with built-in monitor controller (Stereo or surround), while the MTI is a 27inch version with no monitor controller available. (Read the review in Audio Media July 2013)

The bottom line:

“The Slate Raven is by far the most unique and paradigm-shifting product I have tried, ever. The mixing desk rethought – truly revolutionary and worthy of a technical Oscar.” – Mike Aiton, owner, Mikerophonics Post

Yamaha Nuage:

The collaborative effort of industry veterans Yamaha and Steinberg, Nuage is a new contender attempting to disrupt the post-production status quo. A complete system, Nuage is comprised of a fader-based controller, a master/monitor section, I/O cards and interfaces, the Syncstation, and Steinberg’s latest Nuendo 6 software. The system is modular (making it scalable depending on your facility’s needs) and can use up to three different DAWs (not just Nuendo) simultaneously). Yet, it is the connectivity with one of the top DAWs for ADR and post-production that makes Nuage such an appealing product. (See full review in Audio Media June 2013)

The bottom line:

“Nuage is an ‘out of the box’ solution for audio engineers that integrates (in my humble opinion) the best post-production DAW in the business with a superb dedicated hardware controller/interface platform.” – Stephen Bennett, musician, engineer, writer

Waves DiGiGrid:

2013 was a year of big collaborations. DiGiGrid, which combines the power of Waves DSP technologies with DiGiCo’s mixing consoles, provide users of Native DAWs, Pro Tools, and MADI-enabled devices direct access to the Waves SoundGrid real-time processing platform bringing powerful plug-ins to the live stage.

The bottom line:

“The audio over Ethernet concept taken to a new extreme. I think this technology is the future for live and studio use, and Waves DiGiGrid is one of the best I’ve seen and heard. Waves plug-ins are now a standard for all my live FOH gigs.” – Alan Branch, Grammy award-winning producer and engineer

Studer VistaMix:

The latest in a long line of enhancements to the company’s Vista range, VistaMix is an incredibly powerful solution for managing an array of microphones at once. When engaged, VistaMix dynamically opens and closes contributing microphones while keeping the overall level constant – a must-have feature for panel programs, reality TV, conferences, as well as on stage. (Read the review in Audio Media August 2013)

The bottom line:

“From now on surely the ‘go-to’ solution for automixing, but don’t ever admit to the clients that we now have this!” – Simon Bishop, chairman, Institute of Professional Sound