21st Annual Dealers’ Choice Awards

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Dealer's Choice Awards
• Created: November 30, 2013

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As the Dealers’ Choice Awards enter their third decade, we see amongst the 2013 winners some familiar faces, some newcomers, and the return of champions from years past.

While 2012 seemed to possibly be ushering in a new era, as Yamaha’s AvantGrand was the top vote-getter in the “Product of the Year” category after first ending the previous winner’s ten-year streak, 2013 sees that previous instrument reclaim the distinction. 

There are a few surprises and a few “been there, done that” results, but plenty to discuss, whatever the case. This year saw very similar results to 2012’s record final tally of votes cast, with just under 640 casting their selections via email, our online ballot form, fax, or good old snail mail (the embattled USPS thanks you, no doubt).  Many thanks to all of you who participated in the voting process and congratulation to the class of 2013 Dealer’s Choice Awards winners!



Product of the Year: Yamaha Disklavier

Yamaha Corporation of America

After a one year-hiatus, MI dealers have voted Yamaha’s Disklavier back into the top slot as the 2013 Product of the Year. What needs to be said that hasn’t been said already? This hybrid keyboard can play by themselves, or with human accompaniment, feature a wide array of quality sounds and effects, and are available at price (and profit) points that are appealing to consumers and retailers. Pretty cool.



Electric Guitar of the Year: Fender Stratocaster

Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

The iconic Stratocaster which, was designed by Leo Fender and Freddie Tavares and first released in 1964, has never gone out of style. While recent years have seen some “dark horses” take the crown (Gibson’s Les Paul and Fender’s own Telecaster), in the two decades-plus history of the Dealers’ Choice Awards, the Strat has pretty convincingly owned this category. Playability, classic aesthetics, and versatility make the Stratocaster a hit with players of all genres. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the instrument is indelibly linked to players the likes of Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan … (I could go on, but this issue of MMR is only 80 pages.)



Electric Bass of the Year: Fender Jazz Bass

Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation completed a sweep of sorts this year, taking both electric guitar and bass categories. Featuring bright, rich midrange and treble, the Fender Jazz Bass has been the instrument of choice for bass players from just about every conceivable, genre from heavy metal to hip hop, dance to reggae.



Acoustic Guitar of the Year: Martin DRS1 

C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.

 For the second year in a row, Martin Guitars were voted the best acoustic by participating dealers. The DRS1, Martin’s most affordable solid wood model, is an acoustic-electric that features solid maple top, back, and sides.



Sound Reinforcement Line of the Year: Peavey

Peavey Electronics

For the second year in a row, Peavey’s line of sound reinforcement products was voted the collective winner of this category. With a suite of products that include the new Escort Series of portable PA systems, the TriFlex II 1000-watt three piece sound system, and the two-piece Audio Performer Pack that comes with the PVi 4B Mixer, it’s no wonder that voting dealers couldn’t single out just one product.



Amplifier Line of the Year: Fender

Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

For yet another year in a row, the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation takes the top honors in the Amplifier category, this year winning for their full line of products. After delivering with the Mustang in 2011 and the Mustang II in 2012, FMIC followed up in 2013 with the release of the solid-state Champion combo series, available in 20, 40, and 100-watt versions. Meanwhile, classics such as the Fender Twin, Vibrolux, and Princeton continue to be strong sellers.



Microphone Line of the Year: Shure SM57, SM58


Another year, and yet another victory for Shure with their ubiquitous SM57 and SM58 sharing the honors for Microphone Line of the Year. It’s tough to beat the widely acknowledged “industry standards” in unidirectional dynamic (SM57) and cardioid dynamic (SM58) microphones. Just try and find a club or performance venue of any size that doesn’t have a handful of these bad boys onstage and elsewhere. Best of luck to those hoping to take down Shure in ’14…



Recording Equipment Line of the Year: ZOOM

ZOOM Corporation

ZOOM has become a bit of a bully in this category – not in a “bad” way, but it’s just decimating the competition, this year having more than two times the total votes as its nearest competitor. As with 2012, no single product is awarded the prize, but rather the full line offered by ZOOM gets the nod.


Band and Orchestra Instrument Line of the Year: Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America

There are plenty of qualified candidates in B&O and many who receive a good amount of votes from participating dealers. Yamaha’s product line is so exhaustive and quality (and value) so great, though, that this year was no contest.


Acoustic Piano Line of the Year: Hailun HG178

Hailun Pianos

Las year it came as a surprise that longtime winner as “Acoustic Piano Line of the Year,” the Kawai K-3, was dethroned by China’s Hailun Pianos (the HU 5P, specifically). This year, Hailun flat-out dominated, although this time with its HG178 grand piano heading to the winner’s circle.


Percussion Line of the Year: TAMA

Hoshino Group

A streak comes to an end with TAMA blocking Pearl from taking top honors for the fifth time in 2013. Quality kits ranging from the beginner’s Imperialstar line to the flagship Star drum kit series offer an array of product suitable to any player’s ability level, as well as budget.



Home Digital Keyboard of the Year: Kawai CA95

Kawai America Corporation

While Kawai’s stranglehold on “Acoustic Piano Line of the Year” appears to have been broken, it may well be on its way to establishing another win streak. Once again the versatile CA95 – with Harmonic Imaging, XL Sound Technology with 88-key piano sampling, the capability to play and record MP3 and WAV files, built-in practice exercises and Alfred Lesson Songs – were cited by dealers as the primary reason behind Kawai’s console getting their votes.


Lighting Line of the Year: Chauvet Lighting


Another streak bites the dust. ADJ had won in convincing fashion for eight years up until the 2013 ballot went out. This was far from a run-away success for new winner Chauvet, but retailers appreciated the range of products, features, and price points enough to give the company the win.



Pro Digital Piano Line of the Year: Roland FP-80

Roland Corporation U.S.

In a very tight race, Roland narrowly edged out Yamaha’s AvantGrand, last year’s “Pro Digital Piano Line of the Year.” The FP-80 is a go-to for numerous gigging musicians and can be seen on tour with some of the biggest names in popular music.


DJ Line of the Year: Rane

Rane Corporation

This category is (seemingly) a tough one. With a different winner nearly every year, it could be speculated that rapidly advancing technology within the field, as well as quickly changing trends amongst DJs, makes it difficult for any one model or even company to establish a foothold as “DJ Line of the Year.” Rane narrowly beat out the competition this year.


Print Music Publisher of the Year: Hal Leonard

Hal Leonard Corporation

While it’s certainly not the only print publisher worthy of selection (and the votes certainly demonstrate this), Hal Leonard just seems unbeatable. 2013 makes the company “21 for 21,” standing quite alone with that distinction. The massive library of titles, coupled with an ever-expanding distribution arm is going to continue to make HL tough to beat in coming years.


Accessory Line of the Year: D’Addario/Planet Waves

D’Addario & Co.

As with last year, this one was a slam-dunk. Not surprising, given the selection of straps, micro-tuners, strings, capos, cables (and so on…) that fall under the D’Addario/Planet Waves umbrella.


PIC: to come


Cap: no caption


Website of the Year: D’Addario


D’Addario & Co.


Easy to navigate, with a clean design, and serving as a portal to any number of products and services, daddario.com was selected as “Website of the Year” in convincing fashion in 2013.

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