In looking through the full list of NAMM TEC Awards, we couldn’t help noticing that a significant number are partner brands that support us here at Production Expert to enable us to deliver so much of what we do here free for you to use. So we wanted to say thank you to Audio Technica, Avid, EastWest, Eventide, iZotope, JBL, Neumann, PreSonus and Universal Audio for all they do to help us help you.
Here is the list with a summary of each of the winning products with links to learn more about each winning products from our partner brands.
Computer Audio Hardware - Universal Audio Arrow. Much like its slightly bigger brother the Twin, Arrow features two Unison mic preamps allowing real-time processing of your microphone or instrument input with fantastic sounding Universal Audio conversion. This portable 2 in 4 out bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 audio interface ships with a generous collection of UAD plug-ins in the form of the Realtime Analog Classics bundle to record album-quality vocals, guitars and more at near-zero latency with the built-in SOLO core UAD-2 DSP processor.
Headphone/Earpiece Technology - Audio-Technica ATH-M60x. James Ivey says “The M-60x design means the earpads sit more on the ear rather than the M-50x which sit more over the ear. This may slightly affect the isolation factors of both sets of cans but not to a level which I have noticed. There is no noticeable click bleed while tracking drums with the M-60x for example. The new ATH-M60x are a little more at around £179 but for me these are the jewel in the collection. These are the headphones I want to work with.”
Microphones – Recording - Neumann U 67. These mics are very popular and we have had trouble in getting one to try, but with some help from our friends at Blackbird we were able to compare the Neumann U67 Reissue against the TLM107 as Mono overhead mics and ask, how much difference does a tube and a transformer make to the sound?
Musical Instrument Amplification & Effects - Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box. First of all, OX is a reactive load box. In short, this means that you can run your super loud 100-watt guitar amp at full tilt to get all that lovely tone without causing you to go deaf or your bandmates wanting to kill you. The second trick OX has up its electronic sleeve is as a speaker, microphone, emulator and effects unit. You can choose to turn off your real-world speaker cabinet and play through dozens of different cabinets, be those 1x10, 2x12, 4x12 the list goes on. Couple that with 2 microphones per "Rig" then add room mics and master effects and you have thousands of amazing sounding tone options for every style of music.
Musical Instrument Software - EastWest Sounds Hollywood Choirs is a sample library of beautifully recorded choirs in virtual instrument form from Doug Rogers and Nick Phoenix who have produced some of the most popular sample libraries for the EastWest collection. Featuring blockbuster female and male choir with unprecedented dynamics that will instantly transform your next project into a cinematic masterpiece.
Production Essentials - PreSonus FaderPort 16. This Mix Production Controller connects via USB 2.0 to provide precise tactile control over your favorite DAW’s mix and automation functions, including complete transport control. The new control surface offers full level, solo, and mute control over 16 channels at once, with 16 touch-sensitive, motorized, 100mm faders, and 89 buttons covering 102 different functions. Quickly zoom in on audio files for editing, adjust a click-track tempo with a simple tap, modify plug-in parameters, manage aux mixes—and, of course, control track levels with the touch of a finger.
Signal Processing Hardware - Eventide H9000. This is a powerhouse featuring x8 the processing power compared to the current Eventide H8000. It also feature MADI, Dante, Ravenna connectivity. The H9000 comes loaded with 1600 unique algorithms from recreations of beloved classics to Eventide's latest and greatest effects. The H9000's quad-core ARM processors reside on four upgradeable modules. In the future, as new, more powerful ARM chips become available, the H9000’s DSP modules can be upgraded. The H9000’s remote control application called emote will enable users working ‘in the box’ or over an audio network to control the H9000. emote is a standalone app for Mac and PC, and as an AU, VST, and Pro Tools AAX plug-in.
Signal Processing Software (Dynamics/EQ /Utilities) - iZotope Ozone 8 Mastering Suite. With the Advanced version of Ozone 8 iZotope have added a ground-breaking technology, including the ability to communicate with each other through the new Tonal Balance Control plug-in. This new level of inter-plug-in communication is designed to put more power in users’ hands, allowing you to produce tonally balanced, professional mixes and masters that sound great in any listening environment. Ozone 8 now features machine learning technology with the introduction of Master Assistant, allowing you to reach an optimal starting point for your master in seconds. Version 8 also includes Track Referencing, a Spectral Shaper to tame problematic frequencies, improved signal processing, and refinements to the user interface and workflow.
Studio Monitors - JBL 3 Series MkII. First impressions are very good indeed, there is a pleasing impression of detail at the top end and an impressive amount of genuinely deep bass from this medium sized two way design. Listening through some well known references confirmed that, as promised, the sweet spot was wide and even. The 306 is lighter than I expected, probably due to the use of class D amplifiers in a not too heavily built wooden cabinet. They are bi-amplified with two 56W amps each. The gloss black baffle, while striking might not be to everyone’s taste. The bass/mid driver is a 6.5” long throw driver which, in this generously sized rear ported cabinet, is good down to 47Hz (-3dB). The soft dome tweeter is surrounded by the large, visually striking Image Control Waveguide and between the two there is a silver JBL logo which contains a white LED power indicator.
Workstation Technology/Recording Devices - Avid Pro Tools Ultimate. Pro Tools Ultimate is the new name for what until recently was always known as Pro Tools HD Software. Until Pro Tools 12.6, Pro Tools HD software was only available as part of a bundle comprising of the Pro Tools cards that went in your computer, the Pro Tools HD software and the Pro Tools HD interface which connected to the card via a DigiLink cable. From Pro Tools 12.6, it is possible to buy each of the elements, an HDX card, and HD Native unit and the Pro Tools HD software now called Pro Tools Ultimate separately as well as bundles in different combinations. Check out our article Pro Tools FAQs - How Much Does It Cost To Buy Pro Tools?
These are the features that come with owning Pro Tools Ultimate software that don't depend on having Pro Tools HD Native or HDX hardware. Check out or article Pro Tools HD Native And HDX Hardware - Do We Still Need Them? to see which features are tied to the hardware and which come with the Pro Tools Ultimate Standalone software.