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Harrison Mixbus whats the verdict?
Old 21st April 2015
  #1
Harrison Mixbus whats the verdict?

So guys I've always been intrigued by Harrison Mixbus, and its on sale atm for $39 which is kinda a no brainer. However i'd like to hear what some real world users have to say about it. I don't want to buy another piece of software that I never end up using!

I am considering using it just for mix downs (stems) since I'm happy with Ableton for composing (Bigwig is on my mind too but I'm too invested in Ableton atm). I use Logic for final mix down and can continue to use that but as I said I was always interested in Mixbus. My main question is how does it compare sonics wise to Logic, Ableton, Cubase, PT, et al.

Thanks in advance.




ps... and all you null boys out there I'm not interested in discussing how all daws sound the same thanks
Old 21st April 2015
  #2
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Jim Stout's Avatar
I just bought Mixbus for the $39 deal so I'll share my thoughts so far with it.

I use Logic as my main DAW and I have some tracks that I'm currently working on for release. The tracks were done and I just bounced everything out using the Bounce and Replace function. I took all of those parts and imported them into Mixbus.

Once in Mixbus I grouped parts together over the 8 busses, I experimented with some of the compressors and tape saturation settings to see what they sounded like.

I haven't had much time with it but the results are pretty shocking. It sounds like a console. It has a certain weight to the mix now. I played the new mix for a friend and he said it sounded more open and the bass sounds more natural.

For me, It's a winner. I'll do everything in Logic and then just export the audio and mix it in Mixbus. It's really simple to use and sounds great. For $39 it's an amazing deal.

I know there are some crazy routings you can do with Jack but I haven't had time to dive that deep.
Old 22nd April 2015
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stout View Post
It sounds like a console. It has a certain weight to the mix now.

You have my attention

Well that is their main selling point so it would make sense.



.
Old 22nd April 2015
  #4
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robot gigante's Avatar
I got it on the first release, but it was somewhat buggy so I waited for a while and then picked up v2.5, and have had few to no bug issues to speak of now (Mac and Linux).

I really like it.

My thoughts on the sound are the same as Jim's, I've posted enough about how I dig it already so I don't want to repeat myself.

I route the outputs of my other DAWs to Mixbus' inputs via Jack and use it as a virtual mixing console. I got a taste of what the next version might be like with the just barely released Ardour 4.0. Ardour 4.0 is actually a quite decent DAW now. So maybe will start doing it all in Mixbus with certain projects once the next version is released.
Old 22nd April 2015
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

It's a winner in my books. I had a bit of trouble connecting an audio interface, but that was my bad. It sounds great and is simple. It's like recording to "tape" but with editing. Super simple, cheap and easy. It's my main audio DAW
Old 22nd April 2015
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
My thoughts on the sound are the same as Jim's, I've posted enough about how I dig it already so I don't want to repeat myself.

Right thanks, I admit I didn't bother looking for older threads


Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
I route the outputs of my other DAWs to Mixbus' inputs via Jack and use it as a virtual mixing console. I got a taste of what the next version might be like with the just barely released Ardour 4.0. Ardour 4.0 is actually a quite decent DAW now. So maybe will start doing it all in Mixbus with certain projects once the next version is released.
So pseudo rewire so to speak. I'm thinking just to use it with audio stems from Ableton, that way also keeping separate the composing stage from the final mix.


.

Last edited by msl; 22nd April 2015 at 02:45 AM..
Old 22nd April 2015
  #7
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robot gigante's Avatar
You'd probably want to use individual tracks, not stems, for the full effect. Not sure what they cooked into the summing algorithm to make it sound different from other DAWs, but it does. Yes, I know that in general all DAWs sum exactly the same. Mixbus is different.

Couple more thoughts:

The tape sim is excellent, but it may be different than using tape sims that basically add harmonics. What it does unless you push it is limit inaudible transients to raise the entire signal, while remaining transparent. If you push it harder then it starts to add more of a saturation effect. This in my experience is actually closer to what a good tape machine like a Studer does.

The built in EQ's and compressors are great and extremely usable, especially for a fast workflow, but the excellent stuff is their proprietary plugin set. Better is a subjective thing, but I'll just say that they are on par with the best software I've used.

The fast and easy workflow is probably just as good of a reason to use Mixbus as the sound.

I think the reason for the low cost is that it is built on the open-source Ardour DAW, and they just ported the algo's from their digital consoles and changed up the mixer UI. Not sure if they are really trying to make money from it, which is kind of a refreshing thing. Ben Loftis from Harrison is listed as one of the Ardour developers. May be more of a labor of love and support for open source as much as anything. Certainly I have had bad experiences and not-so-good sound from software that is quite expensive.
Old 22nd April 2015
  #8
Please, someone post a before the mixbuss and then after.... this is a great thread! I am always siked to hear any extra bits to a digital mix. At 39 I would try it as well.
Old 22nd April 2015
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Interesting...... has anyone used it like robot with something like Logic? I mean, does jack work in OSX? Can I port separate Logic channels into Mixbus just for a virtual mixing console? That would make me buy it to have a go.....

Off to google....

EDIT: Bought. Seems one can Jack straight from Logic into Mixbus and use it as a mixer/summing. Looking forward to trying it out tomorrow!! After such glowing talk from you robot I am very curious indeed as I know you have taste. This will be fun me thinks......

Last edited by Karloff70; 22nd April 2015 at 11:40 PM..
Old 22nd April 2015
  #10
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Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Interesting...... has anyone used it like robot with something like Logic? I mean, does jack work in OSX? Can I port separate Logic channels into Mixbus just for a virtual mixing console? That would make me buy it to have a go.....

Off to google....

EDIT: Bought. Seems one can Jack straight from Logic into Mixbus and use it as a mixer/summing. Looking forward to trying it out tomorrow!! After such glowing talk from you robot I am very curious indeed as I know you have taste. This will be fun me thinks......
I need to check this out as well as I got it on sale last year for like $20. It was a no brainer but it's just sitting on my drive right now. Have not had time to open it up and do a session completely inside it. Would love to be just port my channels out of Logic into it to check it out.
Old 23rd April 2015
  #11
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Interesting...... has anyone used it like robot with something like Logic? I mean, does jack work in OSX? Can I port separate Logic channels into Mixbus just for a virtual mixing console? That would make me buy it to have a go.....

Off to google....

EDIT: Bought. Seems one can Jack straight from Logic into Mixbus and use it as a mixer/summing. Looking forward to trying it out tomorrow!! After such glowing talk from you robot I am very curious indeed as I know you have taste. This will be fun me thinks......
Ahhh, I'd feel better if you thought I was full of it, 'cause I probably am.

Jack can be kind of a pain to set up in OSX, hopefully that won't be the case for you. Awesome when you have it all set up though, if you are a routing fiend.

Have fun!
Old 23rd April 2015
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
You'd probably want to use individual tracks, not stems, for the full effect. Not sure what they cooked into the summing algorithm to make it sound different from other DAWs, but it does. Yes, I know that in general all DAWs sum exactly the same. Mixbus is different.
I will be using individual tracks, just called them stems for convinience

Summing is my main thing, thats what interests me the most...



Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
Couple more thoughts:

The tape sim is excellent, but it may be different than using tape sims that basically add harmonics. What it does unless you push it is limit inaudible transients to raise the entire signal, while remaining transparent. If you push it harder then it starts to add more of a saturation effect. This in my experience is actually closer to what a good tape machine like a Studer does.
Well I'm using uHe Satin on my master bus, which I love and am very happy with... so was going to continue using that actually...



Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
The built in EQ's and compressors are great and extremely usable, especially for a fast workflow, but the excellent stuff is their proprietary plugin set. Better is a subjective thing, but I'll just say that they are on par with the best software I've used.

The fast and easy workflow is probably just as good of a reason to use Mixbus as the sound.

I think the reason for the low cost is that it is built on the open-source Ardour DAW, and they just ported the algo's from their digital consoles and changed up the mixer UI. Not sure if they are really trying to make money from it, which is kind of a refreshing thing. Ben Loftis from Harrison is listed as one of the Ardour developers. May be more of a labor of love and support for open source as much as anything. Certainly I have had bad experiences and not-so-good sound from software that is quite expensive.
Well thats it really, I'll pull the trigger, its so cheap anyways.


.
Old 23rd April 2015
  #13
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mpresev's Avatar
Thank you posting this..

i'm currently using Logic as well. I've seen this Harrison Mixbus ad here on gearslutz. I will check it out.

Ok, I see, it's 39 for the DAW

Did you also buy their plugins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stout View Post
I just bought Mixbus for the $39 deal so I'll share my thoughts so far with it.

I use Logic as my main DAW and I have some tracks that I'm currently working on for release. The tracks were done and I just bounced everything out using the Bounce and Replace function. I took all of those parts and imported them into Mixbus.

Once in Mixbus I grouped parts together over the 8 busses, I experimented with some of the compressors and tape saturation settings to see what they sounded like.

I haven't had much time with it but the results are pretty shocking. It sounds like a console. It has a certain weight to the mix now. I played the new mix for a friend and he said it sounded more open and the bass sounds more natural.

For me, It's a winner. I'll do everything in Logic and then just export the audio and mix it in Mixbus. It's really simple to use and sounds great. For $39 it's an amazing deal.

I know there are some crazy routings you can do with Jack but I haven't had time to dive that deep.

Last edited by mpresev; 23rd April 2015 at 01:32 AM..
Old 23rd April 2015
  #14
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Jim Stout's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpresev View Post
Thank you posting this..

i'm currently using Logic as well. I've seen this Harrison Mixbus ad here on gearslutz. I will check it out.

Ok, I see, it's 39 for the DAW

Did you also buy their plugins?
I did not get any of the plug-ins yet. I like the UI but I already have the Lexicon PCM bundle, Valhalla Vintage Verb, NI and the UA 224. So, I'm set on verbs
Old 23rd April 2015
  #15
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by msl View Post
Well I'm using uHe Satin on my master bus, which I love and am very happy with... so was going to continue using that actually...
Cool, just thought I would mention that for anyone who wants to use the tape sim so they could use it most effectively. Haven't used Satin yet, maybe I should pick it up. I think it works the same way with transients, iirc. Before Mixbus I was using Cranesong Phoenix, with both I like to use it on all my busses in small amounts, including the master.
Old 23rd April 2015
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

....soooooo what was meant to become a great fun morning piping this mix I'm working on from Logic into Mixbus turns into a bit of a feast of wrong.

I put it on my Hackintosh running Mavericks, and whilst Jack installed and seems to work fine Mixbus crashes out at launch. Haven't even seen the faders yet. Just won't open.

So then I put it on my Hackintosh laptop running Yosemite and law and behold, installing the version of Jack that comes with Mixbus 2.5 completely shut down my access to booting OSX at all!! Still boots into Windows, but OSX has gone fishing completely. Obviously doesn't play nice with Clover....

So I just found Harrison have a version of Jack they say to use on Yosemite, but this was not exactly well advertised. Maybe that one wouldn't have crashed out the laptop, who knows....

So now I have one main machine with Mixbus on it that won't even open and the other machine completely twatted by this until I fix it. Nice. Seems like the morning is for fact finding and sorting out boring ****e, not mixing......

Hackintosh users, beware!!!
Old 23rd April 2015
  #17
ouch....


No probs here so far installation wise anyway, won't get round to trying it out till next week probably.

.
Old 23rd April 2015
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Fresh Pants's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
....soooooo what was meant to become a great fun morning piping this mix I'm working on from Logic into Mixbus turns into a bit of a feast of wrong.

I put it on my Hackintosh running Mavericks, and whilst Jack installed and seems to work fine Mixbus crashes out at launch. Haven't even seen the faders yet. Just won't open.

So then I put it on my Hackintosh laptop running Yosemite and law and behold, installing the version of Jack that comes with Mixbus 2.5 completely shut down my access to booting OSX at all!! Still boots into Windows, but OSX has gone fishing completely. Obviously doesn't play nice with Clover....

So I just found Harrison have a version of Jack they say to use on Yosemite, but this was not exactly well advertised. Maybe that one wouldn't have crashed out the laptop, who knows....

So now I have one main machine with Mixbus on it that won't even open and the other machine completely twatted by this until I fix it. Nice. Seems like the morning is for fact finding and sorting out boring ****e, not mixing......

Hackintosh users, beware!!!
Are you getting an error where it gives you the crash report and nothing else? I installed mixbus and had it crash on startup everytime. In the crash report, is there any info about not being able to find a usr/local/lib file or directory?

Check the Harrison forums, but I found this solution right after I emailed support.

cannot start jack server (RESOLVED)

I believe I had an issue with permissions from an old install of Audacity. All seems to be working fine after resetting permissions via console per the above link/thread.

Good luck!
Old 23rd April 2015
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Thanks for the help attempt! Different issues here it seems though. But I have Mixbus running on the desktop now, by way of juggling around a bit. It still moans about not being installed properly/registry problem, but it is only an app to sling into the Applications folder, so not sure what it wants from me....lol

In any case it seems up and running, now I just have to grasp how to route my Logic outs into it....oh, and first the small and unsettling matter of reviving my Hack laptop, which is going to be a bloody pain....

I hope this thing turns out to be worth all this aggro....
Old 23rd April 2015
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

It seems whatever I do my Jackpilot Preferences stay greyed out so I can't set up any virtual ins and outs and am stuck on 2i/o ........must be something stupidly simple I'm missing....
Old 23rd April 2015
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
..It still moans about not being installed properly/registry problem, but it is only an app to sling into the Applications folder, so not sure what it wants from me....lol
Hi Karloff,

This problem is caused by a plugin, not Mixbus. (Google is your friend!):
IK Multimedia • registry error

Perhaps it's an old demo or something that you forgot was installed. When you first launch Mixbus, it's going to scan all of your plugins, and find stuff that didn't work, or wasn't being used in your previous DAW.

-Ben at Harrison
Old 23rd April 2015
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLoftis View Post
Hi Karloff,

This problem is caused by a plugin, not Mixbus. (Google is your friend!):
IK Multimedia • registry error

Perhaps it's an old demo or something that you forgot was installed. When you first launch Mixbus, it's going to scan all of your plugins, and find stuff that didn't work, or wasn't being used in your previous DAW.

-Ben at Harrison
Thank you! I'll go through them and see whether it doesn't like one somewhere then. There are a couple who don't instanciate properly in Logic either for whatever reason quite often and need forcing through the AUVal. maybe it doesn't like those either.

Any ideas about the greyed out Jackpilot Preferences which stop me getting in there to set up virtual lines between DAWs?
Old 23rd April 2015
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Sorry jumping on this - but how do you get it to find and scan the VST folder?

Can't find it in the manual or find a drop down.
Old 23rd April 2015
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Any ideas about the greyed out Jackpilot Preferences which stop me getting in there to set up virtual lines between DAWs?
Although JackPilot is included in the package (due to the jack library installer), we do not encourage new users to use JackPilot.

I suggest you restart your computer, and then just launch Mixbus like a normal app. It will provide controls to set the samplerate, etc.

Once you are familiar with Mixbus, power-users can use JackPilot to route between "any" apps on their system. But it's not really a Harrison or Mixbus-specific thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by groundbass View Post
Sorry jumping on this - but how do you get it to find and scan the VST folder?
Can't find it in the manual or find a drop down.
Window->Preferences->Plugins


Just FYI, your purchase includes email support; you can get the fastest answers by writing us directly.

Best,
-Ben at Harrison
Old 23rd April 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Thanks - sure - I didn't mean to corner you here...!
Old 23rd April 2015
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLoftis View Post
Although JackPilot is included in the package (due to the jack library installer), we do not encourage new users to use JackPilot.

I suggest you restart your computer, and then just launch Mixbus like a normal app. It will provide controls to set the samplerate, etc.

Once you are familiar with Mixbus, power-users can use JackPilot to route between "any" apps on their system. But it's not really a Harrison or Mixbus-specific thing.



Best,
-Ben at Harrison
That's all good and whatnot, but the only reason I bought Mixbus is to use it by piping Logic into it via jack, not to mix independently with it........hence what you suggest doesn't help me at all, unfortunately. Basically, if I can't get Jack to do that for me Mixbus won't see any use here.
Old 24th April 2015
  #27
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Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
That's all good and whatnot, but the only reason I bought Mixbus is to use it by piping Logic into it via jack, not to mix independently with it........hence what you suggest doesn't help me at all, unfortunately. Basically, if I can't get Jack to do that for me Mixbus won't see any use here.
These are kind of my feelings as well.
Old 24th April 2015
  #28
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mpresev's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stout View Post
I did not get any of the plug-ins yet. I like the UI but I already have the Lexicon PCM bundle, Valhalla Vintage Verb, NI and the UA 224. So, I'm set on verbs

oh thank you for the feedback.. I'm always looking to improve dynamically..
Old 24th April 2015
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Cintronic's Avatar
 

Another happy user here. No crashes or compatibility issues here.

I use mainly its own built in comps and EQs with a few exceptions on problem tracks. I picked up one of their more surgical EQs too in a sale which fills a missing gap. I can mix so much quicker due to the layout and not have to keep opening loads of 3rd party guy's. The overall mix is so much better than anything I can do in Ableton with all my my best plugins. Wont be mixing in "Live" again.
Old 24th April 2015
  #30
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
See how good jackpilot works heh

Jack OS X - a Jack implementation for Mac OS X
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