Much later than originally planned, but here are the final results of the KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2013 (!?!!). Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote. It's the best kind of customer feedback a company can get.
There were runaway winners in a couple of categories, and some categories that were very closely contested, even after the voting extension.
Major congratulations are in order for Urs Heckmann and u-he. Not only did his company win several product categories, but they also won for Best Support, maybe the most important award of them all.
Feel free to discuss these results in the forum here.
Without further ado (please note that "honorable mentions" are in no particular order):
|Best Overall Instrument Plug-in|
The plug-in voted Best Overall Instrument Plug-in is, drum-roll please - u-he's comprehensive and versatile Zebra (or as my British colleagues like to call it, "Zebra").
There were no real surprises when it came to the Honorable Mentions in this category, with the big hitters Alchemy from Camel Audio, Kontakt and Reaktor by Native Instruments and Omnisphere by Spectrasonics all up there with loads of votes.
|Best Synth Plug-in|
If one votes for Zebra as the best overall instrument then it sure follows that Zebra would be the Best Synth Plug-in as well. Nuff said...
The Honorable Mentions in this category go to Massive from Native Instruments and u-he's other synth powerhouse, Diva, with SynthMaster by KV331 Audio and, again, Alchemy from Camel Audio doing well too.
|Best Sampler Plug-in|
In the most lopsided vote, Kontakt won Best Sampler plug-in. Taking more than 10 times the votes than the next most popular sampler plug-in, Kontakt is clearly the Sampler of choice for an ever expanding group of content developers and the platform is well-maintained by Native Instruments.
The Honorable Mentions in this category go to MOTU's Mach V and a surprise appearance by FXpansion's Geist, which is kind of in a category by itself. TX16Wx Software Sampler by CWITEC and HALion by Steinberg also did well in the fight for best-of-the-rest.
|Best Drum Instrument Plug-in|
Toontrack's Superior Drummer was the winner in the Best Drum Instrument category. They continue to support this platform with new libraries every few months that keep the same superior level of quality.
|Best Analog-Modeled Instrument Plug-in|
In the Best Analog-Modeled Instrument the winner is... um... Er... Diva, from u-he, again.
Honorable Mention goes to Z3TA+ from Cakewalk, proving that if you make a great product you don't have to change anything (other than porting it to the Mac) or add new features to keep it relevant.
|Most Creative Instrument Plug-in|
Reaktor, the graphical modular software music studio by Native Instruments, was the winner in the category. This is a testament to its longevity (it was first hatched in 1996 as "Generator") as well as its quality.The Honorable Mentions go to Camel Audio's Alchemy, the quirky Synplant by Sonic Charge and Absynth by Native Instruments.
|Best Overall Effect Plug-in|
Voting in the Best Overall Effect Plug-in category was so close that three products should be called out: ValhallaVintageVerb (Valhalla DSP), Reaktor (NI) and Guitar Rig (NI) were all within a couple of votes of each other.
|Best Reverb Plug-in|
In a bizarre twist of voting, although ValhallaVintageVerb (jointly) won the Best Effect Plug-in category it only came second in the best reverb category (WTF !?!?!). It was a very close second to its ValhallaDSP stable-mate ValhallaRoom though! Congratulations to ValhallaDSP.
|Best Dynamics Effect Plug-in|
The Best Dynamics Effect Plug-in category winner is The Glue by Cytomic. It probably doesn't hurt that they are blessed as the compressor of choice by the developers of Ableton Live.
|Best Mastering Effect Plug-in|
The runaway winner in the Best Mastering Effects Plug-in category is Ozone by iZotope. A comprehensive program from a company that is doing cool things.
The Honorable Mention goes to T-RackS CS by IK Multimedia.
|Most Creative Effect Plug-in|
Native Instruments Reaktor makes it a komplete sweep in the "Creative" categories, taking the Most Creative Effect Plug-in title too. There is plenty of community respect for this powerful tool and a lot of people developing Reaktor Instruments.
|Best Analog-Modeled Effect Plug-in|
IK Multimedia's guitar modeling plug-in Amplitube was the big winner in this category. Amplitube was one of the first products in the modeling category and their Custom Shop is a creative way to keep the plug-in current and relevant.
|Best DAW/Sequencer/Multitrack For Recording|
Sort of newcomer (in the last 10 years anyway) REAPER from Cockos was a surprise winner over the more established sequencers. Justin Frankel has shown us that it's never too late to bring a DAW to the marketplace...
Honorable Mention goes to Cubase from Steinberg. Yamaha continues to develop the DAW, and pairs it with a growing number of hardware products. It was a pretty tight category with Live by Ableton, Logic Pro by Apple and Studio One by PreSonus making good showings too.
|Best DAW/Sequencer/Multitrack For Performance|
Ableton Live was the runaway winner in the Performance DAW category. Its elegant design lends itself especially well to DJs and rehearsing bands. To Ableton's credit the design has remained consistent in its presentation of the program's primary elements, a very important feature for people performing music and don't want to have to think about anything else.
The Honorable Mention goes to FL Studio by Image Line.
|Best Mobile App For Recording|
The winner in the Best Mobile App for Recording should not be a surprise for anyone that does music on an iPad. GarageBand is an amazingly comprehensive program for $5 bucks.
The Honorable Mention goes to Auria by WaveMachine for both getting the votes and for hanging in there with the Empire.
|Best Mobile App For Making Music|
There are two winners in a virtual tie: FL Studio Mobile by Image Line and the free Alchemy Mobile by Camel Audio. Both apps have built in step sequencers as well and sound generators. In the case of FL Studio a user can import their files created on the mobile version to the desktop version. In the case of Alchemy, many of the desktop version sound libraries can be imported and a user can control the desktop version from their mobile device.
An important Honorable Mention goes to Audiobus by Audiobus Pty Ltd. It received a bunch of votes from people who know how important IAC is on any new platform.
|Best New Plug-In Released In The Last 12 Months (July 1 2012 - June 30 2013)|
ValhallaVintageVerb by Valhalla DSP wins this after also taking Best Effect and narrowly missing out on winning Best Reverb.
|Most Customer-Focused Developer (AKA Best Support)|
The winner in the all-important Most Customer Focused Developer (AKA Best Support) category is, not surprisingly, u-he. This proves that if you provide great customer experience (support, communication, listening, etc.) you're going to get great customer feedback.
The top 5:
|Favourite Plug-in / Application Developer|
Again, it's appropriate to mention the top 5 in the category because it means they are all doing a great job.
Three from the previous category are here again. In order of their finish they are:
|The Plug-In That Changed My Life (Best Plug-in Everrrrr)|
The Honorable Mentions go to three other hugely successful plug-ins: Reaktor by Native Instruments, Diva by u-he and of course Omnisphere from Spectrasonics. This is a solid showing for Omnisphere, without any major updates (see Z3TA+ above) in several years. It's a huge program with a huge library of sounds, and there's an iPad controller to boot.
That's it then! Sorry again that's it taken us so long to publish these results... We'll try to get the next awards going soon (which should be for samples / soundware), along with a new Developer Challenge.