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We at Magnetic consider it an absolute privilege to be able to review all of the latest gear, synths, plug-ins, and production tools on the market in order to help better recommend them to you (or help you avoid the nasty ones). And over the course of an entire year, we are able to form some strong opinions about what works in our studio and what doesn’t.
This makes coming up with the yearly “best of” lists always so damn hard. Because not every product or piece will be perfect for you. Some might be out of your budget and some might be designed for a style of music you don’t produce. There’s a lot of pressure curating a list like this, but we put in the time and got the work done.
Below is our comprehensive list of the best production tools we crossed paths with this year. Not every item will be the industry standard, in fact, we avoided simply filling this list with the most expensive and unobtainable gear in the world. Instead, we filled it with innovative, vibey, cool, and forward-thinking products and companies that made some serious waves in 2022.
Best Monitors: KRK GOAUX 4
Are these monitors the absolute best monitors ever to be created and will mix your music for you and win you a Grammy singlehandedly? No – but the KRK GOAUX 4 easily made this list both of its novelty and its impressive sound that you can bring with you on the go.
KRK’s hyper-portable studio monitors allow you to mix on the go and feel comfortable with the end result no matter where you are. Featuring a powerful driver that puts out clear and accurate sound (even at high volumes) and a small, room-calibrating microphone that helps tune the monitors to whatever space you’re producing in, KRK truly has rethought it all with these.
Learn More About These Monitors While Helping Support Our Small Team Of Writers Through Our Partnership With Sweetwater Here 👈
Best Audio Interface: THE VOLT 476P
After producing music for the better part of a decade now, I have built up a stigma about budget interfaces and how they aren’t worth a single penny of your investment. They have poor quality, only a few inputs, and are usually spare on features despite their often-high price tags.
But Universal Audio’s Volt series solves all of these issues in a near one-fell swoop.
Personally, I am a fan of the Volt 476P as it offers additional inputs to record multiple instruments, synths, and vocals simultaneously. And while you might pay a bit of an extra premium for these extra inputs, the laundry list of other features that come standard across all interfaces in the Volt line is astounding.
Analog internals, drive-friendly onboard compressors, an awesome aesthetic, and a powerful bundle of production plugins to use in your music make the entire Volt line of interfaces an easy recommendation for those looking to spend their money wisely on their first audio interface.
Help support the Magnetic Team through our partnership with Sweetwater by checking out more about the Volt series right here 👈
Best Studio Mic: LA-320
This is a top-shelf condenser tube mic that sounds absolutely phenomenal in a studio setting. Sure, it comes at a bit more premium price, but I found that this mic quickly became my workhorse mic for vocals, guitar, podcasting, keys, and more.
The tube factor in this mic is what makes it a game changer for me, as it allows for vintage warmth while at the same time obtaining that modern clarity that most mics, even at this price point, always struggle to miss. Another added benefit is in this mic is the hand-tuned transducer elements, which control the dynamics of the signal in a natural and balanced way without the need for a complex routing and processing chain.
Help support the Magnetic Team through our partnership with Sweetwater by checking out more about Lauten Audio’s mics right here 👈
Best Live Performance Mic: DPA 2028
The right microphone can feel like an impossible thing to find. There are some mics that. are better for studio work and others that are better for live performances and few mics can handle doing both flawlessly.
And while the new DPA 2028 certainly can handle its own in the studio, I found that this thing’s bread and butter is really in a live performance setting. With its rugged durability that allows it to withstand the rigors of touring, its feedback control to avoid those screeching moments on stage, and its crystal clarity this thing is an easy recommendation for the best live performance and gigging mic that hit the markets this year.
Learn More About This MIcrophone While Supporting Our Team Of Writers Through Our Partnership With Sweetwater Here 👈
Best Hardware Synth: Moog Mavis
The Moog Mavis that dropped earlier this year is a fantastic little budget synth kit that allows you to build the unit from the ground up. In doing so, you can learn all about the fundamentals of synth building and see how some of the internal dots connect.
What’s even more fun is that the Moog Mavis is Eurorack compatible, meaning you can build the synth and then slot it into your modular setup and be off to the races.
Moog also included a ton of extra bells and whistles on this, like a step sequencer and an amazing patch bay, that really help you get the most out of this synth right away.
Learn more about the Mavis while helping support our team via our partnership with Sweetwater right here. 👈
Best New Soft Synth: Tomofon
Tomofon is a brand new synth, released on December 13th, that really changes the game in terms of complex sound design and intricate atmospheres. Taking the best parts of both granular synthesis and wavetable synthesis and blending it into a single synth allows you to blend sounds and morph them into something completely different.
As a producer who loves using atmospheres in all of his productions, this thing easily creates amazing textures that feel right at home in my music and which is why it’s an easy recommendation for this list.
Learn More Here. 👈
Best Plug-In: Various
Alright, I know this is a little bit of a cheat, but there simply were too many amazing plug-ins that hit the market this year to narrow it down to a single one. So instead, I’ve created two buckets, one for plug-in companies and one for larger plug-in bundles overall, that really wow’d us throughout 2022.
Best Plug-In Company In 2022
Baby Audio stole the show this year, releasing a couple of different plug-ins over the course of 2022. Baby Audio focuses all of its attention on making simple, effective, and amazing-sounding plug-ins that sidestep the complicated GUIs of many of its competitors.
As an added benefit, they closed out the year by introducing a new and entirely free plug-in to the production community which only helped to solidify their place on this. comprehensive list.
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Best Plugin-In Bundle Of 2022
Soundtoys is back this year and establishes its hold as my favorite bundle of production plug-ins I’ve ever owned. In a bundle of just a handful of tools, SoundToys manages to create some of the most powerful analog emulation tools in the industry.
Sure, okay – they’ve been around for ages now. But even after using SoundToys for the better part of the last five years it still remains as my desert-island bundle of plugins.
Best Harddrive For Music Production: LaCie Mobile Drive
LaCie Mobile Drive is a budget-friendly portable USB-C drive that is amazing for producers on the go. Sure, it’s not the premium-tier drives that cost thousands of dollars, but the majority of the producers among our readership aren’t looking for that. You’re looking for something durable, reliable, and portable that comes with a boatload of storage place, and that’s exactly what the LaCie Mobile Drive brings to the table.
It works great as a primary drive or a backup drive to make sure that everything stays safe while you are working. I have two of these in my arsenal, and never regret picking up the second one.
Learn more about this great hard drive on their website Here.👈
Best Treatment For Bedroom Producers: Acoustic Solutions
Acoustic Solutions has been in the acoustic treatment game for some time now, but with the rise of bedroom producers and music makers working in smaller spaces, there is no better time than now for them to be clued into what this company is up to. What makes them perfect for bedroom producers is their bundles of acoustic treatments that you can purchase in one go that match the size of your room.
All of their acoustic treatment is made with quality materials in a range of colors, which means they are sure to have the right aesthetic for you and your studio. And what’s crazy is how affordable they are! You can treat your entire room for less than the price of that PS5 you have been eyeing.
Learn More About Their Bundles And Treatment Here 👈
Best Acoustic Paneling: The Wood Veneer Hub
The Wood Veneer hub has only come onto my radar in the last two months, and I am pinching myself for not having these acoustic, wood-paneled slats in my studio sooner. You can find no better supplement to your studio than these things, and they simply look amazing all of my producer buddies are incredibly jealous when they see my room decked out in these).
The acoustic paneling helps break up the sound waves, helping control the sound in the room while also making it flatter and more predictable for your mixes and the naturalistic wooden aesthetic instantly adds an instant vibe of tranquility that does wonders for your creativity.
Learn More About This Acoustic Paneling Here 👈
Best Drum Machine: Syntakt
Elektron’s latest addition is one of the best drum programming machines and grooveboxes imaginable. The Syntakt takes much of what is popular with the other devices in the Elektron ecosystem and injects more functionality, sounds, and shaping options into the device. Sure, it has a specific sound to it that might not be for everyone, but the ease of workflow, customizations of the onboard sounds, and how fun it is to jam on make the Syktakt my favorite new piece of studio gear I have gotten in a minute.
I use this thing to create the core foundation of my rhythm in my track and then add in all the extra details and percussive flourishes using samples and edited loops. The end result is an incredibly unique foundation that is still as detailed and delicate as I want in my drums when producing melodic house, organic house, and techno.
Learn More About This Drum Computer While Supporting Our Team Of Writers Through Our Partnership With Sweetwater Here 👈
Best Guitar Pedal: Boss Slicer SL-2
This was a pedal that was brought back to the market in a way that nobody saw coming in 2022. But after seeing the extreme functionality and creative potential this little box has in it, it’s quickly become one of our favorite studio tools.
Not only can the Slicer SL-2 handle tremolo-like volume wobbles; but this pedal can also create some truly interesting sequences that add filter modulation, volume automation, and more to the signal. This pedal sounds awesome on guitars, synths, and more and came out of nowhere just a few months ago and I’m certainly glad that it did.
Learn More About This Guitar Pedal While Supporting Our Team Of Writers Through Our Partnership With Sweetwater Here 👈
Best Piano: Roland RP107
While being billed as a perfect digital piano for learners and instructors, I have quickly found this piano to be an essential part of my studio setup. The keys feel authentic to pianos far more expensive and the action of the keys is simply inspiring to use. Add this to the fact that it has a MIDI out in the back means that I’ve ditched my standard MIDI keyboard and made this the motherboard of my compositions.
Plus the fact that it’s small and digital, while still feeling about as close to a real upright as you can get, makes it an ideal piano for anyone playing in the modern age.
Learn more about this amazing piano on Roland’s website here. 👈
Best MIDI Controller: Jamstik Studio
The Jamstik Studio Guitar is far ahead the most innovative and powerful MIDI controller this year. Jamstik has been at it for a few years now, but this forward-thinking interaction of their previous model is a game changer. Improvements to the tech, a more slender and aesthetic design, and higher-quality hardware allow Jamstik users new levels of functionality in the studio more so than ever before.
Sure, this thing works great as a MIDI controller for playing synths and everything in your DAW, but that really only scratches the surface, and using a tool like this only as it’s intended is often a massively missed opportunity. Because Jamstik’s latest update allows you to control individual pitch bends on a held chord, bend and slide MIDI in new ways and so much more. It’s only when you’ve gotten your hands on one do you realize just how powerful they truly are which makes the Jamstik Studio our favorite MIDI controller of the year.
Learn more about this amazing tool on Jakstik’s website here. 👈
Best Keyboard For Music Production: Editor’s Keys
Aye, this is a bit of a trick question as I’m sure this is a different keyboard than what you were expecting. But the truth of the matter is, it can be hard to recommend the best MIDI keyboard for music producers in 2022 because every producer will have different wants and needs that different MIDI controllers address.
But this keyboard is universal, allowing producers access to all of the hotkeys and commands nestled in Ableton (or any other of the popular DAWs, as Editor’s Keys makes versions for Logic, FL, and more). One of the biggest time savers in music production is learning and knowing the key commands, but nothing is more labor-intensive and mind-numbing than committing all of the key commands listed in your DAW’s user manual to memory. This keyboard solves these issues with an awesome-looking, LED-backlit keyboard which is why it’s earned its place on this list.
Learn More About These Keyboard on Editors Keys’ website here 👈