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Review: Harrison MIXBUS Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Harrison Mixbus DAW Review

The time has come to test and review a new DAW! Harrison Mixbus is basically a DAW to produce music with. What makes it different from other DAWS is that it’s profiled after a very popular large format mix console from the 70´s.

Harrison Console’s have been used on some of the most iconic records of 70’s through till now.

Harrison Console

They are cherished for their world-class groundbreaking ingenuity and the beautiful color they bring to recordings.

The Harrison Workstation has been modeled after the hardware console and replicates its color. This means the DAW itself has a particular sound built in.

Harrison Mixbus DAW Console

This is a very interesting and new concept. A DAW that sounds like a piece of hardware. We’ve heard of plugins like this but not whole DAWs.

If everything I’ve read about Harrison Console’s is true than it is the right one to simulate.

Although the software functions are intended to be a fully functional DAW is has specific advantages for the mixing process and perhaps a few disadvantages for the production process depending on what kind of music you create.

Having said that there are few very interesting editing functions that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Getting Started

After purchasing Mixbus the user will receive links to their license file. As a convenience feature, you have the option to copy / paste the hyperlink into a dialog box so that Mixbus may download, and place the file in the proper folder for you. Once that text file is placed in the proper folder, Mixbus will be licensed.

You can also use the hyperlink to download and save the text file to a USB drive, Dropbox, or wherever. So you’ll never need to get back ahold of us at that point, the file is saved locally, and they may make a copy of it and place it back to the home folder if needed, will continue to work indefinitely.

Simply saving the license file is all that needs to be done by the user. If they need the file again, simply make a copy and paste it into the proper folder and they will be up and running.

The software interface itself reminds me of Logic and Cubase so for those at home in either of those programs getting started will be easy.

For Ableton users, it will take little getting used to it. After importing the files I give them a quick listen before adjusting anything.

Just playing the track back I’m astounded at the warmth and depth before I’ve done anything. There is no denying that the software adds a distinct sound and punch to the tracks that they didn’t have before.

Mixbus 4 DAW

Each channel strip comes with a built compressor and Eq. Once again just engaging them to create satisfying results.

They are both simple and logical, anything but fancy but nonetheless extremely powerful. Minor adjustment to the bass drum gives it an incredible clarity.

It’s becoming clear to me is how simple this is. It all feels real down to earth and assessable.

The urge to throw 20 plugins on each track is gone because it already sounds awesome. Each channel can be routed to a mixbus.

Each mixbus comes with an Eq and compressor as well but the mixbuses also have a built-in tape saturator.

This like the eq and compressors offers very notable results. There’s something very old-fashioned and just plain good about mixing with Mixbus.

The sound it gives the instruments and the integrity of the effects is so impressive.

Mixbus does offer slots for plugins though if you need them and offer a plugin series of their own to round off the Mixbus platform.

Mixbus Plugins

They have the essentials, reverb (Gverb) and Delay (Triple Delay). They also have an XT series of plugins for which include a compressor, an expander, tom gate, a bass character to name a few.

They also follow the Harrison philosophy of being straightforward and high end giving you everything to ensure a solid and professional mix.

Another really interesting feature is the Monitor channel. This channel allows you to apply different EQing for example or plugins that are not printed in the mix.

Mixbus EQing

They can only be heard when monitoring. So if you are aware of some nodes or frequency irregularities in your mixing room you can compensate for them in the monitor channel without messing with the final mix.

As far as editing or composing in Mixbus recording, working with MIDI and automating is all easy enough.

One process I discovered is phase optimizing. If you have for example 3 bass drums playing simultaneously and they are not quite in phase the phase optimizer offers you several options for cleaning them up without having to do it by hand.

There is also Midi mapping functions. Here you can map the midi timeline to a track that is not perfectly in time. For example, if you would like to double the bass drum of a live performance that is not perfectly timed.

Conclusion

There is something so straightforward about Mixbus and I love it. For producers of Electronic music editing and composing in Mixbus might not be advantageous.

For producers and engineers working with live musicians, it is perfect. For all producers of any genre, I think mixing with Mixbus is a huge step the right direction.

There is so much wisdom in the concept of Mixbus that it’s awe-inspiring. It’s also an amazingly great price starting at $79. A total no-brainer.

If I were starting out again recording live instruments and bands I would choose Mixbus. It’s affordable and it’s the equivalent of buying one of the greatest Console in music history.

Find more details here: Mixbus