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Harrison releases Mixbus
8th October 2009
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Harrison, manufacturer of analog and digital consoles, along with Paul Davis, lead developer of Ardour, have announced the release of Mixbus, a customized version of Ardour for Mac OS X.

MixbusMixbus enhances Ardour by providing critical mixing functions in a knob-per-function interface called "True Analog Mixing". True Analog Mixing is based on Harrison's renowned 32-Series and MR-Series console designs, combined with Harrison's proprietary digital mixing technology. Mixbus enables the user to record, edit, and mix a musical performance "in the box" while achieving a sound that harkens back to the golden age of album recordings.

Mixbus Features:

  • Straightforward "knob per function" mixer layout based on Harrison's renowned 32-series and MR-series music consoles.
  • Precision DSP algorithms for EQ, Filter, Compression, Analog Tape Saturation, and Summing based on Harrison's world-renowned large format analog and digital mixing consoles.
  • Unlimited stereo or mono input channels (based on available CPU power) featuring High-pass Filter, EQ, Compression, and 4 Mix Bus sends on every channel.
  • 4 Stereo Mix Buses (can be used for groups or auxes) featuring Tone controls, Compression, Sidechaining, and Analog Tape Saturation.
  • Stereo Master Bus that features Tone controls, Analog Tape Saturation, K-meter, and Limiting to help you make polished mixes.
  • Plugin delay compensation to support effects such as parallel compression.
  • Comprehensive "at-a-glance" metering with peak, peak hold, and compressor gain reduction visible on every track and bus.
  • Extensive DAW features via the Ardour Digital Audio Workstation.
  • Supports AudioUnit plugins and any CoreAudio interface.

According to Harrison product director Ben Loftis, "Harrison didn't want to launch a "me too" workstation in an already crowded market. Instead, we used the Ardour open-source workstation as the Mixbus recording/editing/playback engine. Because Ardour has been around for nearly 10 years, and has thousands of users, it is a stable platform that doesn't further add to the fragmentation of the workstation market." Harrison has had an ongoing collaboration with Paul Davis since 2004, when they used Ardour as the basis for the Xdubber product

The original idea behind Mixbus was a simple Harrison "channel strip" plugin. But after some experimentation, it became obvious that simple plugins don't interact correctly to recreate console functionality, and freeform DAW summing architecture does not lend itself to analog production styles. So during an extensive testing and experimentation phase, the design morphed into a combination of Ardour and Harrison features in the channel strip.

For those who are familiar with Ardour's existing design, Mixbus was implemented using a single closed source LADSPA plugin to provide Harrison's channel strip DSP, along with a set of extensive but non-intrusive changes to Ardour's core. The source code for everything except the plugin is available as usual via the svn repository at ardour.org. Harrison has been a long-time supporter of Ardour, and they will continue development of the Ardour open-source platform. Some of the proceeds from Mixbus are being directed towards Ardour developers and increased development efforts.

Pricing & Availability

Mixbus is currently available for Mac OS X for the introductory price of $79.99.

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