A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is more than just a recording device. It is not only a processor or editor, but it is also actually an entire studio environment with multiple workflow possibilities. In the modern era, the meaning of DAW has extended further to combine a recorder and mixer into one product.
There are numerous DAWs with a lot to offer but there is one brand that inspires you to re-embrace the notion of purchasing hardware on the basis of the sound features.
Harrison offers an entirely new kind of DAW to add to one’s studio with the Mixbus software and an alternate version, Mixbus 32C. Both these intend to bring enhanced human workflow to one’s DAW experience.
In this article, we take a closer look at Harrison Mixbus review the features and advantages to help you make an informed decision.
Harrison Mixbus Review – UPDATED 2021
Harrison has been making analog consoles since 1975 and has earned a reputation for producing world-class consoles, both analog and digital. While the brand is not so famous as Neve or SSL, their consoles are used in top music mixing and film studios around the world.
With such a long manufacturing history, Harrison makes it clear that their DAW is aimed at emulating the feel and sound of mixing on a console. Let us take a closer look at Harrison Mixbus.
Harrison Mixbus offers a few screens to work – the editor view that represents multitrack while the mixer view which represents console and others. The Editor window is laid out comfortably with tools for editing, transport, counters, playback modes, song map and selection. There are timeline lanes like Range which allows bouncing at any pre-defined range, ideal for mixing live albums or exporting a part of a mix.
Tracks are laid out well with left pane displaying the currently selected channel strip and right side displaying the session lists at a glance. Another primary window is the Mixer.
Harrison Mixbus provides an unlimited number of MIDI, audio and auxiliary tracks which are fed into subgroups and the main stereo bus. It also has a signal flow order window which allows arranging each piece of processing, hardware inserts and auxiliary sends in any order.
Mixbus operates in two different ways – Mixer and Editor. It opens with a Mixer window by default and lets you play around with controls. You can get tracks into Mixbus by either importing or recording.
It is easy to drag and import tracks as well as record tracks. Editing audio is also easy and flexible with a lot of comprehensive editing tools and modes. One can draw fades in place and get accurate crossfades.
There are multiple fade taper options to choose from. Harrison Mixbus does a great job at balancing the tracks with the mixer. Use of faders and built-in EQ and filters lets you get a feel of an analog console.
Bouncing a mix is also easy and powerful. It is possible to bounce out multiple formats, stems and time ranges at the same time.
- Analog approach to mixing
- Easy to access controls
- Extremely fast workflow
- No hardware dongle required
- High-resolution monitor required
- You need to import tracks from another DAW
Harrison Mixbus is ideal for engineers and producers working with live musicians. Mixing with Mixbus is definitely a big step in the right direction. With an extensive range of tools and features, it offers an amazing value for money.
Harrison Mixbus 4
Harrison Mixbus 4 is a fully-featured DAW running on Windows XP or newer, Mac X 10.6.8 or newer and Linux Kernel 2.6 or newer. It supports both 32 and 64-bit architectures. It gives unlimited audio, instrument and MIDI tracks and up to 8 buses for signal routing.
Though it has MIDI, instrument and audio plugins included, it is possible to use third-party offerings in different formats including LV2, UA and VST. You can also use the XT-series of Harrison plug-ins purchased individually.
The most significant feature of Mixbus 4 is the addition of VCA faders. You can add unlimited VCA faders with mute, level and solo control available for each. VCA faders can be automated and assigning channels to a fader is quite simple. Individual channels can be assigned to multiple VCA faders.
Another useful feature is tempo mapping. The most common application is creating a tempo map for a source recording made without a click track. The track allows entering markers along the timeline to create tempo changes.
Harrison Mixbus Vs 32c
Harrison Mixbus, as well as Mixbus 32C, are quite similar. While 32C has more busses, the overall feel and functionality remain the same. The difference is in the sound as Mixbus is modeled after the Harrison console sound while 32C is modeled after a specific console, the one that Bruce Swedien used to mix records.
Mixbus 32C is a full-fledged DAW with mixing, recording, using MIDI tracks and instruments, sequencing and other functions. It even supports video syncing and locking up with other systems. LTC generation and sync are built into 32C and it also includes Persistent Undo.
It has support for video window, video timeline and audio/video exports. It also comes with loudness analysis tools like Loudness Unit histogram, LUFS loudness measurement, Waveform display, LU range and more.
Mixbus 32C also incorporates export features like simultaneous multi-format exports, multitrack stem export, CD track markers, multiple export ranges, silence trimming, command-line arguments to run scripts or third-party encoders.
The channel strip is powered by a 4th generation DSP engine to provide a sound quality as analog as possible. The master bus and stereo mix buses include side-chaining, tone controls, tape saturation emulation and compression.
Harrison Mixbus Manual
The installation process for Harrison Mixbus is pretty straightforward. Mixbus works on Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems and each system has its unique convention for installation. For Windows, Mixbus provides a step-by-step installer which prompts for the installation location and installs Mixbus automatically.
When you run Mixbus for the first time, you are required to enter the license for the purchase. The first time you launch it on the machine, you also see some basic setup options. You get an option to change the default session folder. You can always change your preferences later.
Harrison Mixbus is a capable and powerful DAW with a lot to impress first time users, seasoned pros as well as those who want to switch to other systems. It is efficient, fast and sounds great. Mixbus is available in different variants and gives an instant flavor of world-class mixer to your sessions with powerful DAW editing in a single package.