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The People’s Choice

There’s been a lot of controversy about awards lately. Stars such as The Weeknd have chosen to boycott the Grammys, while the Golden Globes have been cancelled altogether. Other gongs such as the Oscars have faced mounting criticism, with charges of corruption, bias and lack of diversity being fired from all directions.

Sam Inglis, SOS Editor In Chief.Sam Inglis, SOS Editor In Chief.Photo: JG HardingThe roots of these problems lie with opaque judging criteria. When nominations and winners are chosen by shadowy groups of industry insiders, it’s hard to convince the world that these decisions are always made purely on merit.

The annual SOS Awards don’t have the same illustrious history as the Oscars. Winners don’t get to thank their mum and dad at a lavish ceremony, hosted by whatever edgy comedian is in vogue that week. In fact, most of the hardware designers and software coders I know would be horrified at the thought of getting up on stage at all. But when you talk to manufacturers and developers whose work has been honoured, you’re in no doubt as to how much importance they attach to winning.

Why? Because the SOS Awards aren’t decided by obscure committees meeting behind closed doors, or influenced by lobbying from smarmy PR executives. They are voted on by the people who actually buy the products that are nominated: you, the readers.

Now you might argue that a reader vote isn’t an ideal system for deciding awards either. Yes, it has the merit of being transparent and democratic, but at the same time, no‑one is likely to have tried every single product nominated, so how can it be a truly informed choice?

Your votes really do matter. In fact, they’re the only thing that matters.

Well, if there’s anyone out there who really does have in‑depth, real‑world experience of several hundred new products, I’d hope they would be writing for SOS as well as voting in our awards! But with over 7000 people taking part this year, we can be confident that the winners really deserve their recognition. Even when awards are carried off by high‑end products that are aspirational rather than universal, it still shows the manufacturer is doing something right. The fact that few of us can own an Arturia Polybrute doesn’t mean people were wrong to vote for it; it means that Arturia have succeeded in creating a truly desirable instrument.

Check out the 2022 SOS Award Winners and Highly Commendeds in this month's results feature.

So, thank you for taking the time to log on to the SOS website and put your crosses in boxes. Whether you have used this equipment every day in a professional context, or just looked at it from afar with lustful thoughts, your votes really do matter. In fact, they’re the only thing that matters. And if you want to know how much they matter, ask the manufacturers who won.

Sam Inglis Editor In Chief