HARRISON MIXBUS: The Ultimate Review


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Harrison is known for the production of high-quality audio mixing consoles found in big production houses all over the world. since 1975 

Harrison Mixbus software takes pride in its True Analog Mixing Engine (TAME), which is an emulation of Harrison’s legendary 32C console, which was used to record great songs such as Thriller, Sweetest Taboo, and many others.

Overview and background

Based on its extensive experience in console technology, Mixbus was introduced in 2009 as an entry-level, fully-featured DAW.

Harrison released the Mixbus 32c in 2017, based on its vintage 32C console. It’s also a fully featured DAW. 

Harrison has since released XT plugins (for Mixbus) and AVA plugins for other third-party DAWs.

System Requirements:

  • Mac: 10.6.8 or newer, 32bit or 64bit (PowerPC is no longer supported) with any CoreAudio device.
  • Windows: XP Pro or newer, 32-bit or 64-bit with MME or ASIO device
  • Linux system (x86 or x86-64) with ALSA
  • Two or more processors/cores
  • For more on this, visit their site here

Mixbus DAW Versions

There are two versions of the Mixbus DAW available.

You get a fully functional DAW with limitless audio tracks, limitless MIDI tracks, and limitless plugins with both Mixbus and Mixbus32C.

Mixbus:

This was the first fully-featured DAW created by Harrison as an in-the-box solution for mixing engineers and producers.

Mixbus 32C:

Harrison mixbus DAW

It is the fully-featured, premium version of the Mixbus and is said to be an “exact” emulation of their legendary 32C console.

What is the difference between Mixbus and Mixbus 32C?

The differences are mainly in the mixer panel. 

Harrison says the sound of both DAWs is very identical. 

The difference boils down to the Equalizer and buses.

  1. The Equaliser:

Harrison specifically designed the Mixbus EQ to match its historical records of user settings. A three-band sweepable EQ and a high-pass filter can handle 90% of EQ jobs. To meet a specific need, however, you may need to add a third-party EQ plugin.

The Mixbus32C EQ is a reproduction of our analog 32-Series EQ, with 4 bands (the upper bands can be switched from shelving to peaking) and both high-and low-pass filters. A larger monitor is required to fit all the controls on the screen of the 32C EQ. But in terms of features and audio quality, it fulfills almost all EQ requirements; you hardly ever need to add an additional EQ.

  1. The buses

Mixbus provides eight stereo mix-buses, and each channel strip has a send level knob. They expect that this will satisfy t demands of users who mix 8–24 channels.

Twelve stereo mix-buses are offered by Mixbus32C, and each channel strip has a send-level control. The master bus pan position can be “panned” independently for each bus send as well. Compared to the ordinary Mixbus, this offers additional grouping and effects buses and lets you control a bigger mix.

How do you use Harrison Mixbus? (Features)

  • Record audio and midi signals

You can record unlimited audio or midi channels.

Regions (or clips) can be stacked for comping or as overdubs. You can also make layers transparent (audible in this case) like in Photoshop.

You can create a session template that will be available as a starting point whenever you start a new session. You’ll find the list of available templates when you create a new session.

Unlike most other DAWs, Mixbus uses playlists, which function as a kind of track grouping but are focused on comping multiple takes at once. This can be used in conjunction with the layer system within the channels.

You can use the bundled synthesizers as well as VSTi (virtual instruments) from third parties.

Tape X, new in V7, makes monitoring multitrack recordings easy and with a tape-style interface.

  • Editing

Harrison Mixbus is packed with so many editing tools and features for midi and audio. You are well covered whether you are cutting, copying, duplicating, or pasting.

Mixbus comes bundled with tempo mapping, ripple editing, slip editing, and region editing capabilities.

 There is a piano roll view for detailed midi editing as well as in-built midi plugins.

  • Mixing and mastering

This is one area where Mixbus may have outshined all others in the DAW market.

High-quality EQ, a 3-mode compressor, and channel sends are present on all channels in the mixer.

Mixbus uses precision DSP algorithms developed by Harrison for its world-class large format digital mixing consoles.

Tone control, compression, and tape saturation are available on dedicated stereo mix buses (which can also be used for groups or aux buses).

K-meter on master output helps you make dynamic, polished-sounding mixes. The K-meter on the master output assists you in creating dynamic, polished mixes.

The mono-compatibility of your mix is indicated by the stereo phase correlation meter.

Mixbus comes bundled with lots of in-built LV2 and XT- format plugins.

  • Video Editing

Film audio scoring and sound effect creation are made simple in Mixbus. Although it is not a dedicated video editing software, basic tasks such as trimming, cutting, and audio replacement are simple. It’s not a dedicated video editing software; however, basic actions like trimming, cutting, and audio replacement are stressless.

What makes Mixbus different (advantages)? 

  • Tracks for audio, MIDI, and virtual instruments are unlimited.
  • There are an unlimited number of pre-and post-fader inserts, sends, and plug-ins on each track/bus.
  • Relatively stable since V6
  • Cross-platform and compatible plugin formats
  • The analog sound; due to its True Analog Mixing Engine (TAME)
  • Vintage console workflow for faster mixing
  • The availability of good EQ and compression per channel reduces the need for many third-party plugins.
  • Good quality inbuilt plugins

Drawbacks in using Mixbus

  • Not yet widely adopted in the industry
  • On smaller screens, the mixer may appear cluttered and difficult to see.
  • There are only a few built-in synthesizer instruments and midi plugins.
  • Midi capabilities are still lacking when compared to much older DAWs such as Cubase and ProTools.
  • .General functionalities are still in their early stages of development.

FAQ

  • Is Harrison Mixbus a DAW?

Yes, it is a digital audio workstation.

  • Is Harrison Mixbus free?

No. However, there is a trial version with full functionality but injects a certain random hiss at intervals. The premium version, Mixbus 32C, costs $349, while the entry version, Mixbus, costs only $89.

  • How do you use Harrison Mixbus?

It is used to record, edit, mix, and master professional audio projects.

  • What is the difference between Mixbus and Mixbus 32C?

Mixbus is the entry version, while \mixbus 32C is the premium version.

  • Is Mixbus based on Ardour?

Yes, it is

Wrapping up

There’s a whole lot to learn about the analog-sounding (in-the-box) DAW software, Mixbus. You can try out the demo to see if it’s the right DAW for you. If you would like to try something else, then check out my post on REAPER or CAKEWALK by Bandlab.


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One response to “HARRISON MIXBUS: The Ultimate Review”

  1. Allwell Obi Avatar
    Allwell Obi

    This is really awesome. Well done!

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