SOS Hi-Tech Awards
What were the best products of 1987 according to Sound On Sound readers? Here are the long-awaited results of our poll.
Our thanks go to all readers who took the time to send in their votes for the first ever SOUND ON SOUND HI-TECH AWARDS. Below is a list of the winning products. However, behind every category is a story...
The BEST SYNTHESIZER award went to the Roland D50, the runaway leader, with the Yamaha DX7 MkII and Kawai K5 following some way behind. The Akai S900 won the BEST SAMPLER award against stiff competition, with both the Roland S10 and Ensoniq Mirage samplers receiving a lot of support. However, Akai were most popular across the board as both the X7000 and S700 got plenty of votes too!
In the BEST DRUM MACHINE section, it was a close win by Yamaha over Roland. Overall, Roland drum machines received more votes but these were dispersed amongst several different models. The Yamaha RX5 just scraped in with the most votes.
As for BEST MUSIC SOFTWARE, the Steinberg Pro-24 won hands down. As to hardware, the BEST SEQUENCER award went to the Yamaha QX5, with the QX7 and QX21 also getting plenty of votes. In fact, this whole section was dominated by Yamaha sequencers. Perhaps Roland MC500 owners were too busy using their machines to vote!? Predictably, BEST COMPUTER was won by the Atari 1040ST - a firm favourite - with the 520ST claiming second place.
The rest of the awards were for products in the recording field. It seems many of you are fans of Seck mixers, with both their 1882 and 1282 models taking the lion's share of votes. Overall, the 1882 took the honours for BEST MIXER. The BEST MULTITRACK RECORDER award was just clinched by the Fostex Model 80 over the Fostex E16, though the Tascam 38 ran a close third.
In the BEST 4-TRACK CASSETTE award the Tascam Porta Two won, and if you include all the other Tascam models together, they got the biggest share in total. Fostex did well but didn't quite reach a big enough total with any one machine. BEST SPEAKERS: it seems a good percentage of you are listening to Yamaha NS10M monitors (which probably accounts for the sudden increase in tissue paper sales last year!) but Tannoy Little Reds came second, and there were many different hi-fi speakers voted for as well. The BEST MICROPHONE award was easy to judge, as there was also a clear winner. It seems that the good old Shure SM58 is still the favourite. Beyer and AKG mics also got plenty of votes but, as in many other product categories, the votes were diffused across many different models.
The BEST AMPLIFIER award was won by the Quad 306. This is an interesting result as it shows that many of you still look towards hi-fi amplifiers, with their reputation for clean sound, to supply the power to your speakers. Having said that, the Yamaha range of power amps got the most mentions overall.
In the BEST SIGNAL PROCESSOR category it was a close fought contest between the Alesis Midiverb II and the Yamaha SPX90. Alesis just snatched the award and, interestingly enough, both they and Yamaha had the same total number of votes for their products when you included the Midiverb, Microverb, REX50 and REV5.
Finally, the BEST ACCESSORY award was very diverse with some amusing suggestions like an understanding bank manager or wife! The Korg Sampling CDs got a few votes, and someone thought the best accessory if it were to exist would be a shelf bracket to put your Atari computer on! Overall, most voters mentioned audio cassettes, with brand names like TDK, BASF and Sony cropping up. So the award for this category went to 'audio cassettes'.