General Conventions

Over 40 years, Harrison developed a methodology for our user interfaces. We aim to make the easy things very easy, while keeping the hard things possible. If you are going to access a feature hundreds of times each day (like: boost the bass, or start playback), then we assign it a very prominent space. If you use a feature only a few times a day, then we make it slightly less prominent: for example you might have to right-click to access it. And if it’s a feature that you only access once per week or once a year, then you might have to open a preferences dialog, or even edit a text file somewhere.

The following tips will help you navigate Mixbus fluidly. These tips generally apply throughout Mixbus and may not be documented in the individual sections where they apply. New users should learn these conventions quickly, in order to avoid developing “bad habits” that impede fast operation.

Menus and keyboard actions:

Mixbus follows your OS’s convention for the main menu. On Mac OSX, the main menu will appear at the top of your monitor. On Windows, the main menu will appear on the top of the main window.

Every menu item can have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it; you will see the assigned keyboard shortcut next to each menu item, if one is assigned. You can change the keyboard shortcuts, but if you are a new user we suggest that you learn the existing shortcuts before making changes. The existing shorcuts have been painstakingly developed to be easily learned, be ergonomic, and provide access to the most-used features of Mixbus. One exception to this rule: if you are using a non-US, QWERY keyboard, then you might find the need to remap some actions for your keyboard layout.

Keyboard shortcuts are MUCH faster than accessing the menu item; so if you find yourself using a menu item frequently, you might consider memorizing the action.


  • A Mixbus “selection” can be one of:
    • One or more Tracks ( or their equivalent Mixer Strips, in the mixer )
      • Optionally in addition to the track selection, there can be a “time” selection on those tracks.
    • One or more Objects on the timeline ( Regions and/or Automation Control Points )
    • One or more MIDI notes inside a MIDI region
    • One or more plugins in a mixer strip

However, these selections are mutually exclusive: you can select several tracks, but you can’t select a track and a region. This avoids some common causes of confusion. For example, if you have selected a region in the editor, and a plugin in the mixer, then what should happen when you press “Delete”? Mixbus prevents you from selecting unlike items to avoid this possibility. The selection might change when you select tools. For example if you have a Range selection with the range tool, and then you switch to the “Object” tool, the range selection will disappear. ( in the very rare case when you didn’t want this, there is an “undo selection change” in the Edit menu )

In almost every case, a selection will be identified with a “red border” around the selected items. And in most cases the items will change to a red color to indicate selection.

Mouse wheel:

Mixbus uses the mouse-wheel ( or 2-finger drag, on a touchpad ) extensively. Here are just a few of the things you can do with the mouse wheel:

  • Zooming the editor canvas timeline by mouse-wheeling in the ruler-bar, or anywhere by holding Ctrl. ( “Cmd” on a Mac ).
  • Adjusting knob and fader values.
  • Adjust the metronome volume, by mouse-wheeling on the metronome button.
  • Nudge the playhead forward & backwards in the Mini-Timeline.
  • Advancing a clock value (such as bars) by mouse-wheeling over the appropriate number in the clock.


Mixbus uses the right mouse button extensively. Nearly every item has a context menu that can be accessed with a right-click. Try right-clicking on tracks, regions, mute buttons, solo buttons, group panes, regions, selected ranges, markers, mixer redirects, clocks, the region list, and the marker bar area.

Right-click actions are those items that aren’t necessary to see hundreds of times a day, but perhaps dozens of times in a day. So for example the Solo button is activated with a click; but if you want to “isolate” the solo (so the channel always plays even if other channels are solo’ed), then the Solo Isolate function is accessed from the right-click menu on the Solo button.

Shift+Right-click: (Delete shortcut)

Shift+Right-click is a shortcut to Delete objects. Some examples include regions, plugins, and automation control points. Holding shift while right-clicking on one of those objects will delete it.

Shift+click on mixer controls: (Group Override shortcut)

When two or more channels are in a “group”, and the group has “gain” enabled, many mixer functions will function together. For example: if you drag a fader, then the grouped channels will all move together. But if you hold Shift when you click the fader, then only the clicked fader will move; not the grouped channels. This is called a group override. This also applies to “momentary” mutes and solos as described below.

Shift+Ctrl-click: (applies to ALL tracks)

Holding Shift and Ctrl (Shift+Cmd for Mac users) while clicking on a track button will apply that operation to “all” tracks. Some examples include the Mute, Solo, and Record-arm buttons. Clicking on those buttons with Shift+Ctrl held will apply your click to ALL tracks. This is a fast way to un-solo all tracks, or to rec-arm all the tracks in a session simultaneously. Other functions also respond to Shift+Ctrl+Click: for example if you hold these keys while selecting the “meter point” for a channel, the menu selection will apply to all channels.

Middle-click: (non-latching mute/solo)

Clicking a Mute or Solo button with the middle mouse button will trigger a “non-latching” button push; this means that when you release the mouse button, the solo/mute button will also release. This provides a quick way to temporarily mute or solo a track while you hold the mouse down.

Mixer Knobs and Faders:

  • When a knob is in the “default” position, the indicator is very dim. This allows you to scan the mixer for settings that are not at default.
  • Mixer strip knobs can be double-clicked to instantly return them to their default value.
  • Holding Ctrl/Cmd while turning the knob provides a fine-adjust mode, while Shift+Ctrl/Cmd allows super fine adjustments.
  • Hold Shift to override any actions that might be grouped; ( see Group Override, above )
  • Mixbus knobs and sliders incorporate an “in-on-change” feature. When any knob or fader is clicked and changed, it will automatically enable the control by also setting the “in” or “on” control for that section.

Floating-Point processing:

Mixbus uses a floating-point internal architecture, it is possible to exceed 0 dBFS (decibel full scale i.e: the loudest sound in the digital domain) on the channel and mix bus strip meters without ill effects. For this reason there is no colored indication of overly-loud signals on input and mix bus strips.

Master Bus Volume:

The master bus is not a “volume” knob for your speakers. The master fader level is applied to the exported file; so if you turn it down to make your speakers quieter, you will likely make a very quiet mix, on export.

If you are not using the monitoring section built into Mixbus (Session>Properties>Monitoring tab) you will use the volume knob provided by your computer or I/O device to control the loudness of your speakers. If you are using the fader of the Master strip to control speaker volume, remember to set the fader to the correct level before you export your project to a .wav file. Use the K-14 meter to verify that the export volume is at a reasonable level.

“If you asked a hundred engineers, mixers and producers to define the “perfect console” you would probably get a hundred answers. The answers, however, would all contain the same salient points.
The “perfect console” would have totally transparent sound, capturing the true musical quality of all performances. It would have unlimited features, facilities, and functions. It would perform all required tasks with a minimum of operator effort. It would be totally reliable and require no preventive or corrective maintenance…
You can spend the rest of your life looking for the “perfect console”. You’ll never find it. You will find, however, that we have what you need.”- Harrison MR20 brochure, circa 1982


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