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22nd Annual Dealers’ Choice Awards

Christian Wissmuller • Dealer's Choice Awards • November 30, 2014

The 2014 Dealers’ Choice Awards again brought together hundreds of enthusiastic music products dealers to nominate the lines that made this year a success.  This winning slate of instrument, sound, lighting and other categories, was provided by over 800 votes from dealers eager to promote their best-performing favorites.

Yamaha again returns as the “Product of the Year” category winner with its much-loved Disklavier Piano, a clear favorite among voting dealers in 2014. Many familiar companies are again represented this year, as dealers made their voice clear about the lines that rocked the year, and rang the register.

So its no surprise that we see companies like Hal Leonard, Peavey, Yamaha, Shure, Kawai and others returning to claim their honors. MMR congratulates the class of 2014 Dealers’ Choice Awards and would like to thank everyone who participated in the voting process!


Product of the Year: Yamaha Disklavier

Yamaha Corporation of America

Yamaha’s Disklavier returns for another year as MI dealers have again placed this hot-selling keyboard above all others, making it the 2014 Product of the Year. Dealers love its margins; consumers love its features, including a vast collection of effects and sounds, at a great price. And what’s not to love about that? From its more humble beginning in 1987 as the original MX100A (as an addition to Yamaha’s U1 acoustic piano), to its PRO model, capable of reproducing the full range of dynamics in a performance, to the release of DisklavierTV allowing Internet connectivity and live streaming of performance playback, to its coupling with the finest pianos from Yamaha’s catalog, Disklavier has led the way as the innovator in the  modernization of the piano.



Electric Guitar of the Year: Fender American Standard Telecaster

Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

In honoring the American Standard Telecaster as Electric Guitar of the Year, MI dealers have again presented this honor to the legendary Fender Musical Instruments Corp., and again presented the award to the Telecaster. This year, it was specific to the American Standard Telecaster, a guitar that has captivated tone-seeking players from rock to country, and genres across the musical spectrum. With an MSRP that begins at $1,299, this all-American made gem a top-seller for MI dealers who enjoy nice profits while putting a quality instrument they can be proud to sell into the hands of players who will be thrilled to own one.



Electric Bass of the Year: Yamaha RBX

Yamaha Corporation of America

Dealers’ Choice Awards voters selected the Yamaha RBX this year, hands down – besting the previous run of winners from Fender and others by a large majority. An awesome price-point for entry-level and even seasoned bassists, combined with a solid craftsmanship and pounding bass tone made the RBX unbeatable for 2014.



Acoustic Guitar of the Year: Taylor

Taylor-Listug, Inc.

Taylor produces something for everybody interested in top-quality acoustic guitars, from their entry-level Baby Taylor models to top-of-the-line limited editions offered annually. The variety, quality, sound, and most importantly, consumer demand rocketed Taylor to the top of the voting list for this year’s award.



Sound Reinforcement Line of the Year: Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America

Our voters gave two thumbs up to Yamaha for Sound Reinforcement Line of the Year. From value-priced mixers, to powered PA mixers, speakers, and more, Yamaha’s expansive offerings made them the frontrunner for all things live sound.



Amplifier Line of the Year: Peavey

Peavey Electronics

The MI dealers turned up the volume for Peavey amps this year. This line has been a rock-solid mainstay of musicians for decades now, making this home-grown Mississippi manufacturer a favorite of players seeking tone, road-worthy construction, dependable quality, and great prices on everything from solid-state entry-level amps to state-of-the-art, boutique-level tube amps.



Microphone Line of the Year: Shure


With their SM58 and SM57 lines, the go-to microphones for musicians the world over, Shure is the company to beat for the Dealers’ Choice Awards in this category – and that’s a task that’s getting harder to do each year. When your microphones are the  dealer’s choice, the musician’s choice, and the sound engineer’s choice… it’s easy to see why Shure is again the Microphone Line of the Year.



Recording Equipment Line of the Year: ZOOM

ZOOM Corporation

ZOOM is again taking home the award in this category, an honor bestowed across its selection of products for recording. From self-contained hand-held stereo recording devices to audio interfaces for computers, to other great video and audio production tools, ZOOM presents a line popular with musicians and dealers alike.



Band and Orchestra Instrument Line of the Year: Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America

Yamaha won again this year for its expansive, high-quality band instrument offerings, from woodwinds to brass, giving dealers a wide selection to offer their B&O customers in 2014. The competition was pretty fierce in this category this year, so next year should be pretty interesting.



Acoustic Piano Line of the Year: Hailun HG178

Hailun Pianos

In an overwhelming avalanche of dealer votes, China’s Hailun Pianos and its HG178 grand piano was a gigantic winner in acoustic pianos in 2014, giving this honor to the brand for the second year in a row.


Percussion Line of the Year: TAMA

Hoshino Group

TAMA is on its way to Dealers’ Choice Awards winning-streak status with its second-in-a-row victory after besting previous multi-year winner, Pearl, last year. Given TAMA’s commitment to making great drums for all levels, price points and styles, it’s not surprising that dealers are again excited about selling this line.



Home Digital Keyboard of the Year: Kawai CN Series

Kawai America Corporation

Outstanding performance features, affordable quality, and quality construction made the Kawai CN Series the home digital keyboard favorite this year, giving Kawai another win in this category with the honors switching from the higher-end CA series that won in 2013, moving to the more affordable CN series in 2014.



Lighting Line of the Year: Chauvet Lighting


Once again, the massive range of products, features, and price points gave Chauvet Lighting the win for Lighting Line of the Year. Two wins, two years in a row, make it clear Chauvet is absolutely pleasing dealers and consumers in 2014.



Pro Digital Piano Line of the Year: Kawai MP Series

Kawai America Corporation

Realistic sound, intuitive operation, and genuine acoustic piano feel brought players back to dealers throughout 2014 asking for Kawai MP Series pro-level digital pianos, and Kawai dealers made sure the Dealers’ Choice Awards honors were bestowed on Kawai this year for giving them a great keyboard to sell to eager customers.



DJ Line of the Year


Interestingly enough, Chauvet is not known for its turntables, or mixers or traditional DJ tools, but it is known for making users of those DJ’ing tools look amazing with spectacular lighting and effects used by professionals to deliver the complete DJ dance club experience. And that was enough for dealers to give this award to a DJ products company that doesn’t offer two turntables and a microphone.



Print Music Publisher of the Year: Hal Leonard

Hal Leonard Corporation

In a tight race this year, Hal Leonard claims this honor 22 years in a row, an honor no other MI company can claim. Their ever-expanding catalog of print titles is the industry’s largest, and the company continues to evolve its dealer offerings, expanding in recent years into a distribution source for non-print products as well, including turn-key offerings in pro audio which let dealers stock everything from the hardware and software needed to make music, in addition to the training materials to learn to use those products. Hal Leonard clearly has the respect of dealers everywhere and will be a formidable, undefeated champion of the Dealers’ Choice Awards for their competition in years .



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

D’Addario & Co.

Top-quality, innovative products ranging from straps, micro-tuners, strings, capos, and a vast array of cable choices have garnered D’Addario/Planet Waves accessory line the Dealers’ Choice Award now for three years in a row.



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Website of the Year:




As excited as dealers were about Hailun’s HG178 grand piano, it makes perfect sense they would also overwhelmingly vote for Hailun’s website for its clean design, dealer-supporting features and in-depth information on its entire product line.


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