Best Audio and MIDI Software - 2019 KVR Readers' Choice Awards Winners
Miroslav Philharmonik by IK Multimedia
Strum GS-2 by Applied Acoustics Systems
We're excited to announce the winners of the KVR Readers' Choice Awards 2019!
Let's start at the top. The fact that u-he has been voted Favorite Developer will not surprise any of their customers because u-he takes care of them with timely updates, excellent support, and constant communication from top to bottom. u-he's extraordinary Diva circuit-emulation synth also took the honors of Favorite Soft Synth. Well done u-he.
Favorite Audio Software
Cockos REAPER may not be as well known as some of the other digital audio workstations on the market, but it's easy to see why it resonates with the tech savvy KVR community, who voted it Favorite Audio Software. REAPER is not just a DAW, but an entire DIY programming environment.
Steinberg Cubase wins for Favorite DAW for Production. Understandable because Steinberg, was one of the first companies to make a MIDI software sequencer. As many KVR readers in Europe know, musicians, and recording engineers, and producers would buy Atari computers just to run Steinberg software. They were also the inventors of VST, the first open audio plug-in format that helped get KVR on the map back in 2001.
The choice for Favorite DAW for Performance is Ableton Live by a large margin. In fact, in addition to being an electronic music production tool, Live is an instrument unto itself for the many artists who perform with it. Ableton has kept their feature set focused and consistent, and of course, fun to use.
The winner for Favorite Software for Notation / Scoring Presonus Notion, is available on iOS as well as Mac and Windows, making it truly portable. Originally released in the 90s, Notion was the first tablature program with sampled orchestra built into it to allow for truly realistic and reliable playback. There's still nothing as well-suited for notating expression because articulations are automatically tied to their respective samples.
Overall Favorite Virtual Instrument
The overall winner for Favorite Virtual Instrument is the many layered and feature rich Spectrasonics Omnisphere. It's a classic "go-to" instrument because it incorporates just about every type of synthesis imaginable, the ability to import, process and playback samples, an extensive arpeggiator, and even has a database of mapping for many popular hardware keyboards and controllers. If you have an opportunity to watch designer, Eric Persing, demonstrate it, jump on it.
Multi-Sampled Virtual Instruments
iZotope had a very strong showing. As Favorite Audio Editor, KVR's readers give iZotope RX credit for having its own AU and VST plug-in host, in addition to its original audio repair application. The machine learning enhanced iZotope Ozone was voted Favorite Mastering Virtual Effect Processor, and in a surprise, their visual instrument iZotope Iris (samples displayed as spectrograms) was voted Favorite Sampled Virtual Instrument.
Not surprisingly the most dominating win was Native Instruments Kontakt as Favorite Sample Platform. In addition to its extensive factory instruments Kontakt feeds itself by offering a powerful development environment for independent sound designers. That's a win for both developers and end users. Some people interpreted this category as a sample distribution platform, so an honorable mention must go Loopcloud by Loopmasters.
IK Multimedia has been making sample libraries for years and Czech bassist and composer Miroslav Vitous is a legend of jazz. That combination led to IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik being voted the winner for Favorite Orchestral Virtual Instrument. Not far behind was Spitfire Albion 3: Iceni.
The very cool Applied Acoustic Systems Chromophone physically modeled percussion instrument wins in the Favorite World/Ethnic Virtual Instrument category, but one might not think of Chromophone as a World Instrument in the same way as runners up Best Service Ethno World and UVI World Suite.
AAS Strum GS-2 is the Favorite Guitar Virtual Instrument. GS-2 features realistic physical models and a well-crafted arpeggiator/sequencer to produce convincing guitar patterns.
In its third iteration and with a steady release of expansion libraries covering every possible genre (especially metal), Toontrack Superior Drummer is the choice as Favorite Drum Virtual Instrument, proof that writing code and playing music are well chosen pastimes during Swedish winters. As readers know Superior Drummer is helpful for drummers that want their personal feel and non-drummers that want to get real.
Modartt Pianoteq is voted Favorite Keyboard Virtual Instrument. As with the AAS products it's physical modeling, so one can add realistic piano sounds without needing an external disk drive for samples. They also have a huge selection of instrument packs that span just about anything with strings that can be struck, plucked, or hammered.
As MPE Controllers (like Roger Linn's Linnstrument) arrive on the market and MIDI 2.0 has ratified the standard's extension, Favorite MPE Virtual Instrument was a close category with Melda Production MSoundFactory taking the crown ahead of FXpansion Cypher by and ROLI's pioneering Equator. MPE support will likely be an important feature for soft synths in the future.
FabFilter has two strong wins, with Pro-Q for overall Favorite Virtual Effect Processor and Pro-C for Favorite Dynamics Virtual Effect Processor. KVR Readers rewarded FabFilter for delivering exceptional sound with rich and unique GUIs.
Native Instruments Guitar Rig wins for Favorite Guitar Virtual Effect Processor. One of the earliest releases in this category, Guitar Rig allows creation of truly unusual sounds regardless of what kind of audio is passed through it.
Favorite Reverb Virtual Effect Processor goes to ValhallaVintageVerb, which dominated the voting. Valhalla DSP further distinguished themselves by taking three of the top ten positions in the Reverb category.
And last, but definitely not least is SoundToys, who won the Favorite Multi FX Virtual Effect Processor for their SoundToys Effect Rack. Even before SoundToys created the Effect Rack, they had a diverse set of creativity stimulating plug-ins covering a wide spectrum of effects, with outstanding presets.
The entire staff at KVR sends our heartiest congratulations to the companies and developers who have produced these magnificent products. We also congratulate all of the nominees, who were chosen by KVR Readers from thousands of products in the categories.
The RCAs have received such a great response that we have decided to do them every year, so stay tuned.
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