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Harrison Mixbus Thoughts?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software  
Author Harrison Mixbus Thoughts?
Waz
Has anyone here used Harrison Mixbus extensively? Pros? Cons? How does it work with making modular/electronic music? How do you like it?

I tend to record my live noodles with no post editing. Working on a workflow that is almost exclusively geared towards recording live in linux. Ardour is pretty good, but I want something a bit more user friendly.
Phil999
for me (and for electronic music) it is a very good DAW. Routing audio and MIDI is easy, remote control via OSC is exceptional, and it sounds good. Maybe Mixbus doesn't sound better than other DAWs. It certainly looks good, like a mixing console. For many years I was using Cubase 5.5.3 because of its MIDI and remote control options, but switched entirely to Mixbus32c. It's a joy to work with.

The only downside I can see in Mixbus is that it doesn't recognise all VSTi plugins when you insert a MIDI track, one has to leave that entry blank, select the plugin afterwards, create two audio outputs, connect them with the plugin outputs, until you are there what could have been accomplished with one mouse click instead of a dozen mouse clicks. Another disadvantage is that projects with SWAM instruments can be created, recorded, saved, but they won't load because Mixbus instantly crashes. So if one uses VSTis a lot Mixbus might not be the best DAW. But in general it is very stable and reliable.
Waz
Phil999 wrote:
for me (and for electronic music) it is a very good DAW. Routing audio and MIDI is easy, remote control via OSC is exceptional, and it sounds good. Maybe Mixbus doesn't sound better than other DAWs. It certainly looks good, like a mixing console. For many years I was using Cubase 5.5.3 because of its MIDI and remote control options, but switched entirely to Mixbus32c. It's a joy to work with.

The only downside I can see in Mixbus is that it doesn't recognise all VSTi plugins when you insert a MIDI track, one has to leave that entry blank, select the plugin afterwards, create two audio outputs, connect them with the plugin outputs, until you are there what could have been accomplished with one mouse click instead of a dozen mouse clicks. Another disadvantage is that projects with SWAM instruments can be created, recorded, saved, but they won't load because Mixbus instantly crashes. So if one uses VSTis a lot Mixbus might not be the best DAW. But in general it is very stable and reliable.


How do you like the tape saturation added to the mixbus to simulate the old consoles? I heard an A/B of a Reaper session and the same session using HMB. HMB sounded superior. I'm not one to jump on the "this DAW sounds better than that one" bandwagon, but that subtle saturation made an audible difference. As far as VSTs go, the only VST I really miss after switching to Linux is Valhalla Vintage Verb, so I think I'll be ok with the included plugins since I plan on using some outboard for processing.

How often do they issue patches/ bug fixes? Do you use the software in Linux?

I'm hesitant to buy it since it's a bit obscure and the webpage looks dated. I don't want to drop 80 bucks to get burned, especially if it's not going to work well in Linux.

Thanks for the info. smile
sp1200
The onboard stuff sounds nice but it’s not necessarily offering anything compelling enough for me to switch to it.

If I were to keep it around I’d probably bounce stems to it for mixing but keep my regular DAW (Reaper) which isn’t an ideal situation if you’re on Linux.

If you’re just recording your live inputs it may work just fine for you. Something like Bitwig might be overkill for your needs but it could maybe get you thinking of how you could integrate it with your hardware setup?

The Bitwit site says it pretty well: “Today it’s possible to make music with any DAW. What sets each one apart is workflow, how quickly you can realize your ideas, and the freedom to choose how you produce and perform”.
Waz
sp1200 wrote:
The onboard stuff sounds nice but it’s not necessarily offering anything compelling enough for me to switch to it.

If I were to keep it around I’d probably bounce stems to it for mixing but keep my regular DAW (Reaper) which isn’t an ideal situation if you’re on Linux.

If you’re just recording your live inputs it may work just fine for you. Something like Bitwig might be overkill for your needs but it could maybe get you thinking of how you could integrate it with your hardware setup?

The Bitwit site says it pretty well: “Today it’s possible to make music with any DAW. What sets each one apart is workflow, how quickly you can realize your ideas, and the freedom to choose how you produce and perform”.


I have a copy of Bitwig and it's not my thing. I almost never make music in the box and the workflow feels like it's geared more towards beat production and studios with a lot of MIDI gear.

The Linux rumor keeps popping up on the Cockos forums, but I've given up on that since it's been a rumor for as long as I've been using the DAW.
Phil999
for recording only, without virtual synths, I can fully recommend Mixbus. For additional buses and more sophisticated EQ per channel I recommend Mixbus32c.

When you create a session, all channels are routed to the master by default. Most of the time I disable this and route to the buses, to make use of the tape saturation. It sounds good to my ears. I had similar experiences when the u-he Satin plugin was introduced. Satin has an internal link, to combine a number of channels to the same virtual tape machine. That was done in Cubase, and could have been done in any DAW. And it sounded good.

The advantage I take from Mixbus is that I don't need dynamic processing and filter plugins anymore. Every channel has, like in a good console, a full channel strip with LP/HP, parametric EQ, and one dynamic processor switchable between Leveler, Limiter, Compressor. The channels or channel groups can be routed to buses with tape saturation, similar to the method described above with Satin, but easier.

Mixbus has certainly accelerated the way I work. It supports the Mackie MCU protocol, works perfectly with my iCon ICON, reacts to MIDI clock variations if needed, and has probably the best Open Sound Control (OSC) implementation. Here's a Lemur controller I built for Mixbus:



https://forum.liine.net/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=4621#p22007

And another one from Harrison:



https://forum.liine.net/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=6002

I think it's important to mention if one works tempo-based or without tempo. I mostly use Mixbus as a tape machine, as a multitrack recorder. Leaving the defaut 120 BPM at 120 BPM and record material from my modular system in any clock speed, play with different MIDI controllers at any speed. Re-arrange the single tracks in Mixbus (move, delete, copy, paste). But Mixbus is capable to do much more. It has (new in v.4) a tempo track, which can be edited manually, and as mentioned, can be a MIDI clock slave. Although I use Mixbus since some years I haven't explored all the possibilities.

Updates occur not often, which is something I appreciate. When you're working you don't want to be disturbed by updates/bug fixes every month. Bugs should be fixed before a release, and that's what Harrison provides. Point releases are free, full releases have to be purchased.
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