Another year, another dazzling parade of pedals, guitars, amps, modelers, and accessories that made our noggins spin.
Ovation Applause Elite AE44II-VV
Acoustically, the AE44II has a balanced sound that’s great for both strumming and gently fingerpicked passages. The bass response won’t threaten a dreadnought, but it’s still respectable. Plugged in, the Applause confronts challenges similar to those of other affordable, single-element piezo systems, but boosting the mids a bit and reducing treble and bass a tad yields impressively usable tones—especially considering the price point.
This year’s Premier Gear Award winners are, as usual, an eclectic set—full of old-school vintage homage, leading-edge digital developments, and imaginative meetings of those worlds. Dig in and dig it as we revisit the gear that fired the enthusiasm and wonder of our editors and contributors in 2017.