Best Audio Gear of 2017
Let's bring the year to a close with the best new tools for audio enthusiasts.
Sound can make or break a story. Dialogue, effects, music all play their part, and if mixed properly, a soundtrack can transport you to otherworldly locations with only a few notes, push plots in subtle ways, frighten the hell out of you and emotionally move an audience. Even in its absence, it strikes a tone.
Let’s look back at the some of the coolest new audio gear that improved our workflows in unique ways in 2017, alphabetized for your reading pleasure.
iZotope RX 6
As many post-sound peeps already know, iZotope’s RX software can be on the list every single year. With the release of its sixth incarnation, RX 6, the company has improved upon the familiar De-Click, Ambience Match, Deconstruct, Voice De-Noise and De-plosive while adding in new tools like De-wind, De-rustle, De-bleed, De-ess, Breath Control, and more in its RX 6 Advanced version.
Lectrosonics SMWB and SMDWB Wideband Transmitters
Did you catch our story or podcast about the FCC auctioning off the 600 mHz wireless spectrum? Just like net neutrality, it’s happening. While audio companies like Audio Technica and Sennheiser are offering trade-ins for gear that will become obsolete, Lectrosonics is now too offering wideband transmitters to cover several frequency ranges that still remain available for production sound mixers.
The SMWB and SMDWB Wideband Transmitters are for those looking for a high-end solution and offers frequency tuning and selectable power of 100, 50 & 25 mW in a wireless transmitter that can also record internally to a microSD card as a backup or in place of a wireless transmission. The difference between the two, the “D” version is larger offering a longer battery life.
Various Lectronsonics $2,349 via B&H
Rycote Stereo Cyclone
If you’re a sound recordist in need of improved wind protection when it comes to stereo recordings, the Stereo Cyclone is a considerable option. Rycote is hand-building each unit individually to include a multi-suspension system for better isolation, a re-tooled Connbox, a removable outer windshield and its special 3D-Tex material to cover the windshield from unwanted noise and wind. With 30+ different configurations to choose from, you should be covered.
Sound Devices MixPre-10T
Adding to its line of aggressively priced sound gear, the MixPre-10T joins the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 introduced in 2016. The newest iteration combines 12 track recording, mixing, a USB interface and timecode all controlled by a responsive capacitive touchscreen that runs off multiple power options including eight AA batteries or hot-swappable L-Mount Li-on batteries.
The New Jersey-based company rolled out three new products this year: a super-small portable recorder dubbed ZFR400 which records broadcast wave files or MP3 directly onto an internal microSD card, the ZMT3-Phantom, a wireless boom transmitter that’s placed on top of the boom pole directly behind the microphone, and a unique handheld transmitter, the ZMT3-HH which can transmit audio either wirelessly or through wired connection simultaneously or as a backup.
Any audiophiles out there who would like to add to our list, let us know what we missed in the comments below.