36th Annual NAMM TEC Awards

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NAMM 2021 has been a strange one this year! Winners of the NAMM Technical Excellence and Creativity (TEC Awards), honouring the best in professional audio and sound production, were announced in a virtual event on the final day of NAMM’s Believe in Music week, a global online gathering to unify and support people who bring music to the world. 

Universal Audio picked up the day’s biggest collection of prizes in the Technical category for its Apollo x 4 (Computer Audio Hardware); Neve 1084 Preamp & EQ Plug-In (Signal Processing Software-Dynamics/EQ/Utilities), and the company’s LUNA Recording System (Workstation Technology/Recording Devices). Two pro audio brands who each have a long history of sound gear innovations took two awards apiece, also in the Technical category. They are JBL and AKG both recognized for professional gear in several categories including Amplification Hardware-Studio & Sound Reinforcement, Headphone/Earpiece Technology, and respectively, as well as additional categories listed below.

“Despite the global pandemic, the industry continued to innovate, creating one of the largest collectives of product Nominees in the 35-year history of the awards. And given the world engaged in virtual interaction on an unprecedented level, the products honoured helped connect us all by delivering music and sound across the world,” shared Eric Geer, TEC Entries & Nominations Supervisor. 

 Many projects in Creative categories were recognized as well, including the Disney+ show featuring the evergreen Star Wars-theme: “The Mandalorian, Season One” (Television Sound Production). A salute to the posthumous legacy of Prince won out in Remote Production/Recording or Broadcast for “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince, CBS.” A full list of winners in Creative Excellence is below.

For the first time, award content, including the category and 35-year retrospective videos, were streamed live to Believe in Music attendees for free. Viewers enjoyed companies and experts who were feted in 22 Technical Achievement categories and seven Creative Achievement categories.

Recently, the TEC Awards also announced the induction of five historical audio products into the TECnology Hall of Fame. The honourees were selected by a panel of audio experts, including authors, educators, engineers, and other professionals. The TECnology Hall of Fame honours audio products and innovations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology and production. The inductees included the Western Electric 639A Ribbon Microphone (1938); RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer (1957); 3M M56 16-Track Recorder (1968); Constant Directivity Horn, Don Keele (1975), and the Near Field Monitoring, Ed Long (1977).

If you missed the event premiere, parts of the program are still watchable online after registering online http://attend.believeinmusic.tv.

Here is a list of all the TEC Awards Winners:


Amplification Hardware – Studio & Sound Reinforcement: JBL – DSi 2.0

Audio Apps & Hardware/Peripherals for Smartphones & Tablets: Eventide – Blackhole

Computer Audio Hardware: Universal Audio – Apollo x4

DJ Production Technology: Native Instruments – TRAKTOR KONTROL S3

Headphone/Earpiece Technology: AKG – K300 Series

Large Format Console Technology: Solid State Logic – ORIGIN

Microphone Preamplifiers: Neve – 1073OPX

Microphones – Recording: AKG – Lyra

Microphones – Sound Reinforcement: sE Electronics – V Series for Drums

Musical Instrument Amplification & Effects: Ampeg – Heritage 50th Anniversary SVT

Musical Instrument Hardware: Moog – Matriarch

Musical Instrument Software: Celemony – Melodyne 5

Production Essentials: Audinate Dante AVIO Adapters

Signal Processing Hardware: API – 2500+ Stereo Bus Compressor

Signal Processing Hardware – 500 Series Modules: AMS Neve – RMX16

Signal Processing Software – Dynamics/EQ/Utilities: Universal Audio – Neve 1084 Preamp & EQ Plug-In

Signal Processing Software – Effects: Waves – Abbey Road Saturator

Small Format Console Technology: Allen & Heath – Avantis

Sound Reinforcement Loudspeakers: JBL – EON ONE Compact

Studio Monitors: Genelec – W371A Adaptive Woofer System

Wireless Technology: Shure – Axient Digital AD3 plug-on wireless transmitter

Workstation Technology/Recording Devices: Universal Audio – LUNA Recording System


Studio Design Project: Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU-FM Design

Film Sound Production: “1917,” Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures/Entertainment One

Interactive Entertainment Sound Production: “Star Wars Jedi – Fallen Order,” Respawn Entertainment

Record Production/Album: Hyperspace, Beck, Capitol Records

Record Production/Single or Track:  Fear Inoculum, Tool, Tool Dissectional and Volcano and RCA

Remote Production/Recording or Broadcast: “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince,” CBS

Television Sound Production: “The Mandalorian (Season 1),” Disney+

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