The Ardour Manual
Updated on Nov 29, Plug-ins designed to imbue your music with the sound of analog are everywhere, but did you know there is an entire DAW built around that concept? The Harrison Mixbus 3, made by Harrison Consoles—a major manufacturer of large-format analog mixers—offers a complete production environment based around the analog mixer paradigm. In its latest incarnation, Mixbus adds important features such as MIDI and virtual instrument support, as well as an upgrade of its sound engine, a new look, and more. Contextual edit and plug-in windows have a barebones look to them. In addition to channel strips for individual audio and MIDI tracks, the mixer has eight builtin buses that are easy to configure see Figure 1.
Review: Harrison Mixbus 3
Updated on Nov 29, Plug-ins designed to imbue your music with the sound of analog are everywhere, but did you know there is an entire DAW built around that concept? The Harrison Mixbus 3, made by Harrison Consoles—a major manufacturer of large-format analog mixers—offers a complete production environment based around the analog mixer paradigm.
In its latest incarnation, Mixbus adds important features such as MIDI and virtual instrument support, as well as an upgrade of its sound engine, a new look, and more. Contextual edit and plug-in windows have a barebones look to them. In addition to channel strips for individual audio and MIDI tracks, the mixer has eight builtin buses that are easy to configure see Figure 1. Like a real analog mixer, each channel strip has its own compressor and EQ. Each of the buses and the master bus offer adjustable tape saturation called Drive.
The master bus also has a built-in limiter. The input channels feature standard bar graph meters, but the buses have VU-style meters to indicate the level of tape saturation. The master bus has its own tape saturation meter as well as a VU-like level meter. Sonically, the tape saturation in Mixbus 3 adds warmth that is both smooth and natural-sounding. The Compressor, which is available on the channel strips, buses and master bus, has been revamped to include a number of different modes.
Leveler, which is the default, has a low, fixed ratio. I found it handy when mixing and used it liberally. If you want to add heavier compression with more character, the Compressor mode is for you. It provides compression with a fixed attack and release, but an adjustable ratio.
The third mode is Limiter, which gives you the heaviest compression of the three, and is designed for squashing down transient peaks such as those on a drum track. Each channel strip has a sidechain-send button, which makes configuring sidechain compression—something that can be confusing on some DAWs—really easy. The compressor is controlled with a Threshold slider, a parameter knob that differs depending on the Compressor mode set, and an LED-ladder-style gain-reduction meter.
The EQ on each channel strip consists of a high-pass filter and 3-band semi-parametric operation. It lets you quickly sculpt the sound of each track without having to open a plug-in. The buses and the master bus all have a three-knob Tone section, providing some additional, although rather broad-brush, EQ options. Following the latest trend in DAW design, the new look is dark and monochromatic. The graphics have been optimized for Retina Displays, where they look amazingly crisp. My problem with the new design is that the channel EQ knobs are now smaller and harder to read than they were in Mixbus 2.
These problems can be alleviated to some extent by adjusting the theme colors and mixerstrip scale. Previous versions of Mixbus required that you use the third-party utility called Jack to facilitate inter-application audio.
Expanding a MIDI track vertically reveals a piano-roll-style editor. You can move notes around, shorten and lengthen them, and change their velocity, among other editing functions. When you select a note and turn the scroll wheel, the velocity value of the note is shown in large letters next to it, and updates as you turn the wheel.
As an aside, I should mention that Harrison recommends a three-button mouse with a scroll wheel as the optimal pointing device for use with Mixbus 3. Many functions are accessed via right-clicks, and some with center-clicks that require the third button. I got around just fine with a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel.
As a result, I found myself a bit hindered when trying to control Mixbus 3 from the trackpad on my MacBook Pro. In some ways, this is useful, as it allows the developers more flexibility, but the downside is that some aspects of Mixbus are not particularly intuitive, due to their unfamiliar structure. A good example of this is the Quantize function, for which Mixbus substitutes unusual nomenclature in the place of standard rhythmic values found in most quantize features.
Some are pretty easy to decipher: A large selection of MIDI plug-ins come with the program, typically offering a single function each, such as channel filtering, velocity randomization, and chord creation, among many others.
I had no problems opening any of my AU instruments. Mixbus 3 comes with two instruments of its own. Reasonable Synth is essentially a placeholder that appears by default in a newly created MIDI channel. It has no controls and only one sound. It sports virtual drawbars and a Leslie simulation, switchable Percussion, and Vibrato, Overdrive, and Reverb.
If this were a full-priced DAW I would complain about how few there are. That said, the lack of included plug-ins is more problematic when it comes to processors. However, it does offer a bunch for sale from its online store. A number of other bundles and individual plug-ins are available; some cost more than Mixbus 3 itself. You can make a great mix without any plug-ins at all! If not, expect to spend some additional funds, whether you get your plug-ins from Harrison or others.
BUS ME ON OVER Mixbus 3 is a worthy update thanks to new features like the revamped compressor section, with its multiple modes and sidechain support, the bit engine, and bit floating-point processing. Now you can do soup-to- nuts projects in it, rather than just audio recording and mixing.
Considering its minimal cost, one could also use it simply as a mixing platform, importing stems and MIDI files, if you want into it from another DAW, and taking advantage of its excellent sound, tape saturation effects, and analog-style workflow. My wish list for future versions would include better visibility of the EQ controls on the channel strip, a more thorough manual, inclusion of reverb and delay in the basic plug-in set, and perhaps more standardized nomenclature and structure for some of its features, in order to make it more intuitive.
Overall, Mixbus 3 improves what was already an intriguing product. Compressor and EQ on every track. Simulates analog-mixer workflow. Tape saturation. MIDI tracks and virtual instruments. Buses assigned with a single click.
Control Harrison Mixbus Softube Console 1
Harrison’s Mixbus offers large–format console sound at a budget price, and the addition of MIDI and third–party plug–in support broaden its appeal considerably. Harrison’s MixBus promises the sound and user experience of a large-format Both offer unlimited numbers of audio tracks and MIDI tracks, and plug-in support . Is there a way to hook up my synth and have Mixbus transcribe into music notation? See Mixbus MIDI Editing for an explanation of MIDI in Mixbus. I did a mixbus test between Studio One and Harrison Mixbus which is best.
Audio + MIDI channel routing
In many simple cases such as selecting an audio input for recording it does very well. Some examples: A mono audio track’s Input list will show you all of the “mono” sources that can be quickly assigned to it. A stereo audio track’s Input list will show you all of the “stereo audio” sources that can be quickly assigned to it. For example you should see the outputs of the mixbus and master bus here; but you won’t see your soundcard inputs in the list.
I could write a novel. I’ve used MIDI sequencing since
Watch: Review: Harrison Mixbus 3 – EMusician
Connecting Audio and MIDI Devices · Using More Than One Audio Device · Monitor Setup in Ardour. Ch. 7: Synchronization · On Clock and Time · Latency and. Urghh found out today that even Harrison Mixbus 32C has MCU support plus 2 extenders!!! and they don’t have nearly the development that. Have been attracted to Mixbus for a while as a Linux native DAW with a solid .. Mixbus slaved very well to a MIDI clock when needed and the.