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

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.

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. We’ll be updating this page over the coming days as categories are announced.

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.

To be announced…

Best Outboard

Our nominees are:

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

Check out the full list here.

Best Virtual Instrument

Our nominees are:

  • Orchestral Tools Time Micro
  • VSL Big Bang Orchestra
  • Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover and Core
  • Toontrack EZBass
  • Sonokinetic Ibrido Cinematic
  • EastWest Hollywood Backup Singers
  • Cinesamples Randy’s Prepared Piano
  • UVI Key Suite
  • Native Instruments Straylight
  • Heavyocity Vento

Check out the full list here.

Best Software Synth

GOTY 2020 Best Software Synth

Our nominees are:

  • UVI Vintage Vault 3
  • Slate and Ash Cycles
  • Roland Zenology
  • Rob Papen Quad
  • Arturia Pigments 2
  • Krotos Audio Concept
  • Imaginando FRMS
  • Tracktion Collective
  • Audio Damage Continua
  • Audiaire Zenith

Check out the full list here.

Best Controller

GOTY 2020 Best Controller

Our nominees are:

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

Check out the full list here.

Best Software Effect/Utility

GOTY 2020 Best Software Effect/Utility

Our nominees are:

  • Oeksound Soothe 2
  • Sonnox Oxford Drum Gate
  • iZotope RX 8
  • 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

GOTY 2020 Best Modular Gear

Our nominees are:

  • Studio Electronics MiniMidi V30
  • Dreadbox Hysteria
  • 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 Interface/Mixer

GOTY 2020 Best Interface

Our nominees are:

  • Universal Audio Apollo X4
  • Audient Evo 4
  • 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 Innovation

GOTY 2020 Best Innovation

Our nominees are:

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

Check out the full list here.

Best DAW

GOTY 2020 Best DAW

Our nominees are:

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

Check out the full list here.

Best Hardware Instrument

GOTY 2020 Best Hardware Synth

Our nominees are:

  • Moog Matriarch
  • Waldorf Iridium
  • Korg WaveState
  • Roland Jupiter X
  • Erica Synths Bassline DB-01
  • Akai MPC Live II
  • Native Instruments Maschine+
  • Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth
  • UDO Super 6
  • Dreadbox Typhon

Check out the full list here.

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