“True Analog” Sound
Harrison is unique among audio companies: In 1985, we launched digitally-controlled analog consoles which were installed at many world-class music and film mixing facilities. A few years later, digital recording and playback became the new standard, and our customers requested a complete digital signal path in their facilities. Harrison made a bold proposal: we would replace the existing analog processing racks with a digital system, and leave the control surface in-place so the mix engineers could continue to work with the same workflow and sound that had served them well. Of course, to make this practical we had to make the digital engine “sound” exactly like the analog engine it was replacing.
During this process of replacing an analog console processor with a digital version, we made many discoveries about how to make digital sound less like digital, and more like analog. We’ve been refining these technologies for over 35 years since the launch of those first digital consoles. Harrison has made several generations of analog and digital consoles since that time, and has been continuously improving our DSP. This unique development path is what gives Mixbus a different sound than traditional workstations.
Most DAWs were first introduced in the stone-age days of computers. Processors were rated in megahertz and memory was measured in kilobytes.
At that time, the standard tool was the studio console; it provided nearly every feature that was needed for day-to-day recording, editing, and mixing tasks. With the addition of a few outboard boxes (such as reverbs, delays, and maybe a final compressor ) it was possible to create a polished album.
When computers were introduced, they were unable to recreate the features of then-standard tools such as a 48-track tape machine and console. Those early computer systems could only play back 4, 8 or 16 channels; and because CPU power was so desperately limited, you had to choose which of those channels would be assigned an EQ. In this model, even the most basic console features had to be treated as “outboard” gear. And so was born the “Plug-In” !
Fast-forward to the present, and you know that computers are fast enough to run hundreds of channels, each with a half-dozen plug-ins. As a new-generation workstation, Mixbus takes advantage of today’s fast computers to take the load off of the engineer, and return to the fun and creativity of mixing music.
Open Source, Open Standards, Open Community
Mixbus is largely open-source and is the collaborative effort of a worldwide team including musicians, programmers, and professional recording engineers. Many workstations provide “open” control or plugin protocols… Mixbus goes far beyond that. Like a good piece of vintage hardware, you can open the box and look inside. This transparency encourages Mixbus development to happen with integrity. We spend our time on the issues that users want and need; not just items that look good in an advertisement. In the crazy world of DAW software, it is nice to know that a sane option exists for your business or personal use.