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23rd Annual Dealers’ Choice Awards

Christian Wissmuller • Dealer's Choice Awards • November 30, 2015

The 2015 Dealers’ Choice Awards saw a comprehensive overhaul of the entire nomination and voting process. Safeguards are now in place to ensure against “ballot stuffing” (multiple votes from the same parties) and the early nomination procedure allows for more reader input at a much earlier stage.

A happy byproduct of the new system was that 2015 saw the highest level of participation – by FAR – in the entire history of the Dealer’s Choice Awards, leading to the most meaningful and verifiable balloting ever. This also marks the first year of the MMR Legacy Awards, bestowed upon products, which have won in their respective categories for multiple years, and now both recognized for their achievement and retired from consideration.

Many thanks to all who cast their votes and made 2015 the most active year yet in the history of the Dealers’ Choice Awards. Read on to learn more about this newest crop of winning entries…

Product of the Year: Zoom Q8

Zoom North America

Something of a surprise winner in this category at first glance, upon closer examination Zoom’s Q8 is a no-brainer for “Product of the Year.” With high-definition video combined with high-resolution audio and boasting a160-degree wide-angle lens, this compact overachiever is a resounding hit with end-users and dealers reported the Q8 simply flying off of the shelves in 2015. Kudos, Zoom!



Electric Guitar of the Year: Ibanez PS10

Hoshino Group

The enduring popularity of KISS isn’t up for debate and the winner in this category only underscores that fact. Aside from the connection to one of hard rock’s most iconic frontmen, the PS10’s mahogany and maple body, Seymour Duncan pickups, and Gibraltar bridge – all at a very reasonable price-point – make this guitar a favorite with retailers, nationwide.


Electric Bass of the Year: Music Man StingRay Bass

Ernie Ball Music Man

An absolutely iconic instrument, the StingRay has been making an impression with players and fans since its introduction 40 years ago. In 2015, MI stores reported that this bass is going stronger than ever, with features such as a six-bolt neck joint, contoured body, and active electronics resonating (no pun intended – but it stays!) with end-users.


Acoustic Guitar of the Year: Breedlove Oregon Concert

Two Old Hippies, LLC

An absolute landslide – this guitar’s distinctive look, midrange tone and clarity, and high quality materials make it a hit with players and retailers, alike.


Sound Reinforcement Line of the Year: Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America

Yamaha once again finds itself in the winner’s circle in this category and it’s easy to see why – an exhaustive array of well-priced, high quality options in all areas of sound reinforcement (monitors, mixers, wedges, et cetera) make this win a no-brainer.


Amplifier Line of the Year: Blackstar Series One


It was a minor (or major, depending on your point of view) dust-up when KORG and Marshall parted ways a few years ago, but the partnership with Blackstar has proven more than up to the task of picking up any slack in the amplification department. Rich, classic tube (valve for you Anglophiles) tone at an almost unreasonably low price is making the Series One a “new classic” that will, no doubt, be coveted by collectors in years to come.


Microphone Line of the Year: Audix

Audix Corporation

30-years young and only getting better, Audix offers U.S.-made, quality engineered, and affordable microphones that connect with live sound engineers, recording professionals, home-studio enthusiasts, and weekend warriors.


Recording Equipment Line of the Year: PreSonus StudioLive

PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc.

A truly potent piece of gear, StudioLive has revolutionized mixing. With unbelievable signal processing abilities on every channel, recall of settings, and the ability to record with just a few mouse clicks, it’s no surprise that buyers are snatching up this sure-to-be-legendary innovation from PreSonus.


Band and Orchestra Instrument Line of the Year: Jupiter Band Instruments

KHS America, Inc.

Years ago, the theory went that “offshore” band & orchestra musical instruments were – while affordable – simply not up to the standards of more established European and American brands. While it’s certainly true that there are lower-level instruments to be found made in any region, globally, Jupiter has proven that well-made instruments sold at attainable price-points touch a nerve with buyers – regardless of where they were built (the instruments – not necessarily the buyers).


Acoustic Piano Line of the Year: Pearl River

Pearl River Pianos

China’s largest piano manufacturer continues to make inroads in the U.S., as evidenced by this – somewhat surprising! – dominant win in the category of “Acoustic Piano Line of the Year.” With an ever-expanding line that now covers entry-level through to upper-tier instruments, Pearl River is a force to be reckoned with.


Percussion Line of the Year: Zildjian K Series

The Avedis Zildjian Company, Inc.

With classic tonal characteristics first defined by Kerope Zildjian, the K Series makes a splash (word-play!) with players from all genres and is a revenue-generator for dealers.


Home Digital Keyboard of the Year: Roland RP Series

Roland Corporation

Unrivaled tone and touch, with classically styled cabinetry – all at a very attainable price – made the RP Series a hit in 2015.


Lighting Line of the Year: Chauvet Lighting


What’s there to be said about Chauvet that hasn’t already been printed in the pages of this annual write-up? Innovative features, reliability, unmatched customer service, and competitive pricing makes the entire line of Chauvet tough to beat in this category.


Pro Digital Piano Line of the Year: Casio

Casio America, Inc.

To those who still think of Casio as synonymous with cheesy, low-budget keyboard toys from the ‘80s, consider this you final wake-up call. The company continues to innovate and lead in this category, producing some of the finest and most cost-effective instruments available.


DJ Line of the Year: Numark

inMusic Brands, Inc.

A hotly contested category, “DJ Line of the Year” was taken by Numark in 2015, thanks to the brand’s expansive line of feature-rich, innovative products.


Print Music Publisher of the Year: Hal Leonard

Hal Leonard Corporation

23 years in a row. That’s really all that needs to be said about Hal Leonard and the company’s absolute dominance in this category. Quite literally the only brand to win every single year since day-one of MMR’s Dealers’ Choice Awards, HL is seemingly unstoppable – and it’s really not a mystery as to why. With a catalog that is unrivaled and a dealer service network that is consistently singled out as being above the pack, it’ll take something special to unseat this perennial winner.



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

D’Addario & Co.

Care to take on D’Addario in this category? Best of luck. With high-quality tuners, straps, strings, cables, reeds, drumsticks, and so much more under the company’s umbrella, these guys have had a virtual lock on this category for years. Step up your game, competitors!


MMR Legacy Awards


With this newly established award, MMR recognizes specific instruments, which have dominated their respective categories. These are truly the crème de la crème – products that have so definitively led – and, in most cases, lapped – the pack, that they deserve special commendation.


Yamaha Disklavier

Fender American Stratocaster

Shure SM57/58

Hailun HG 178

Kawai CA95



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