15th annual Dealers’ Choice Awards
The dealers have spoken, and once again Yamaha’s Disklavier, celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, gets the nod for overall Product of the Year. Votes for Product of the Year and other principal categories were solicited this fall via a ballot in the October issue and online dealer voting through MMR’s weekly e-newsletter, MMR Update.
While many have reported it being another challenging year, most in the trenches of MI retailing had strong opinions about what was selling well, achieving good turns, and drawing store traffic in ’07. In tabulating the votes, we noted that in only a few cases was an award given to a company who amassed an overwhelming number of votes. As a rule competition was keen.
As always, MMR’s editorial staff wishes to thank the retailers who participated in this year’s Dealer’s Choice voting.
|PRODUCT OF THE YEAR
Yamaha Corporation of America
On the 20th anniversary of the Yamaha Disklavier, retailers have anointed the line Product of the Year for an amazing seventh time in row. Billed as the “ultimate in personal music entertainment,” these high-tech player pianos have evolved into instruments that offer many attractive features without compromising acoustic integrity. Its advanced audio system includes powered monitors which send music away from the piano for a spacious overall sound. CD- and USB- friendly, every year new easy-to-operate features are added, underlining that Yamaha is not interested in any laurel-resting. From modest upright to concert grand versions accommodate every player (and non-player), and now with a new lower-priced model just released, few will be surprised to see this instrument vying for the top prize in 2008.
|ELECTRIC GUITAR LINE OF THE YEAR
Instruments CorporationReaders of MMR won’t be surprised to see this 53-year-old classic on this year’s list. Dealers everywhere have been quoted as saying the good old Fender Strat continues to gain in popularity. New models at every price point, and an especially keen interest in the American-made models further fuels the line’s success.
|ELECTRIC BASS LINE OF THE YEAR
Hoshino USA Inc.The bass category is always one of the most competitive, and this year the nod goes to Ibanez. Dealers cite their innovation and ability to come up with especially eye-catching models as reasons for their overall popularity, and the GSR200 was singled out in particular.
|ACOUSTIC GUITAR LINE OF THE YEAR
While this year may be remembered as the year Taylor went electric, dealers focused on the company’s meat-and-potatoes acoustic selection at the ballot box. The 100 and 200 Series models with their accessible price point continued to be a highlight.
|AMPLIFIER LINE OF THE YEAR
Line 6 Spider Amplifiers
Line 6, Inc.Another tough race tilts to Line 6’s Spider Amplifiers. The models continue to sell as they add more features every year. The groundbreaking partnership with Reinhold Bogner for the Spider Valve helped put this line over the fence.
|RECORDING EQUIPMENT LINE OF THE YEAR
Boss Digital Recorders
Roland Corporation US
For a third year running, Boss is rewarded for its continuing quest for making recording equipment for musicians, not just gearheads. Small recorders as a whole saw an upsurge this year, and Boss seems to be riding the wave with stylish and reliable products at every price point.
|SOUND REINFORECMENT LINE OF THE YEAR
Peavey Electronic CorporationFor 15 years Peavey’s name has been in the Dealer’s Choice winners’ circle in one category or another, and they continue to be loved by retailers for what they are arguably known most for: sound reinforcement. Their PR 15 two-way speaker cabinet and their CS 2000 power amps were standouts.
|MICROPHONE LINE OF THE YEAR
Again and again, year after year, retailers turn to Shure for their microphones. Despite an increasingly crowded field, their SM 57, SM58, and Beta 58s continue to be the microphone of choice. The affordable PG mics also were frequently cited.
|BAND INSTRUMENT LINE OF THE YEAR
Jupiter Band Instruments
Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc.
Jupiter continues to endear itself not only to players and retailers alike, earning top honors in the band category.
|ACOUSTIC PIANO LINE OF THE YEAR
Yamaha Corporation of America
For a second year in a row, Yamaha claims the acoustic piano line honor as well as overall product of the year. In addition to their Disklavier, their M500F seems to have been an especially bright spot among the upright segment.
|HOME DIGITAL PIANO OF THE YEAR
Kawai America Corp.
Kawai’s first digital piano with a real wooden spruce soundboard seems to have caught the attention of buyers and sellers alike. It gets top honors this year, topping an extremely competitive field.
|PRO DIGITAL PIANO LINE OF THE YEAR
Yamaha Corporation of America
Rounding out their hat trick, Yamaha makes an appearance in this category as well. In addition to the powerful and popular Clavinova line, the P-series has also struck a chord with players.
|PERCUSSION LINE OF THE YEAR
Mapex USA, Inc.
Mapex continues to be the go-to set for many cost-conscious percussionists, and the company is especially well regarded by independent drum stores. Their VX series was singled out as a favorite for the starter drummer.
|LIGHTING LINE OF THE YEAR
American DJ Supply Inc.
While ADJ companies continue to expand beyond lighting, they don’t forget their roots. This is yet another solid win for them in this competitive category — their third in a row.
|DJ LINE OF THE YEAR
Numark says their TTUSB turntable is the easiest way for a DJ to digitize his or her vinyl. Apparently, MMR retailers agree.
|PRINT MUSIC PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Hal Leonard Corp.
The world’s largest print music publisher has yet to lose in a decade and a half … the volume of affiliations they forge and new titles they release every year make it easy to understand why.
|ACCESSORY LINE OF THE YEAR
Korg USA, Inc.
Last year dealers singled out the GA-30 tuner, this year they salute entire Korg tuner lineup. This is Korg’s third appearance in a row in this category which has become increasingly important as slower times place high importance on accessory sales.
|SUPPLIER WEB SITE OF THE YEAR
Avedis Zildjian Co.Zildjian is a first-time Dealer’s Choice winner in a category that gets more competitive every year as manufacturers realize the critical role Web sites play in supporting both end-users and their dealers.