Electrovoice Re-11. My fave vocal mic of the moment. Managed to get 3 full takes in w/o any barking or police sirens. Yay.

I made a #PZM. #diyrecording #science

Got the house to myself so I’m making a racket. #ribbonmic #reamp #bedroomstudio

A few thoughts about Harrison Mixbus v2.5

WARNING: Serious Geeking Out To Follow

Over the last year or so I’ve finally gotten comfortable mixing music on the gear I have available.  Software and hardware-wise I’m sort of at the point where if something doesn’t come out as well as it should, then PEBKAC.

However…I’m always looking for places where a small amount of efficiency can be gained.  Case in point: in Reaper (the recording software I use) it often takes a lot of mouse clicks to a.) get at a thing I need to adjust; and b.) switch between editing and mixing.  Some of these things can be mitigated if you’re willing to take the time and customize dozens of options to your liking, but I find that to be a major creativity buzzkill.  Moreover, it’s not always explicit what some settings actually change, leaving you in the dark as to what you’ve possibly screwed up (and how to undo the damage).

Recently, Harrison put their Mixbus software on sale as part of a promotion for TapeOp magazine readers and I decided to give it a ride.  At the price, if it didn’t work out I wouldn’t be at too much of a loss.

So far, I like the results I’m getting (with a few caveats).

Pros:

  • Built-in console strips and tape saturation sound really good!
  • Having the most important stuff (e.q., compressors, faders) on the mix window saves a lot of time by putting everything at your fingertips.
  • The console strips force you to listen, rather than “mix with your eyes” (read: get distracted by fancy plugin GUI’s).
  • The metering is nice, and again does not require flipping through multiple screens.
  • Supports AU plugins on Mac.
  • Built on an open-source back end (Ardour) and helps support continued development of the software.
  • Version 3 will be built on Ardour 3, adding 64bit and multicore processing support.  And MIDI!

Cons:

  • No MIDI, so it probably won’t replace your favorite DAW for writing purposes.
  • Editing is slightly clunky and slow in the arrangement window…not a problem if you are simply using Mixbus for mixing only.
  • Does not include basic “utility” plugins, like Gain, De-essing
  • No VST support on Mac
  • 32bit only (can’t use more than 4gb system RAM)
  • Can’t use multicore processing- things can get a bit laggy / glitchy when mixing 25+ tracks.
  • Requires JACK to be installed and running before opening, and JACK setup is a little more complicated than regular CoreAudio.

So, should you dump your favorite software to use Harrison Mixbus?  Definitely not!  As a tool or supplement for mixing, at the current sale price it is a no-brainer (for me).

tl;dr version: I’m getting better sounding results (and faster) with Mixbus.  YMMV.  Thumbs up, with a few caveats.

The Amigurumi Heart ep is now available for streaming to your heart’s content over at Soundcloud.  Enjoy.

P.S.- 100% of album sales benefit AFSP.org’s mission to prevent suicide.

Sleepy Thursday Izzygram.

“Why is it these days that people (especially mainstream media) constantly refer to musicians being able to record at home as if it’s a recent development? Home recording has been happening nearly as long as any kind of sound recording existed. In the 1940’s Les Paul cut hit records in his garage. Emitt Rhodes delivered pop masterpieces from his home studio in the early ‘70s. I know computers are powerful and can do all sorts of magical things, like recording more tracks than any home setup from the past, or emulating analog hardware and real instruments. But this doesn’t mean people were not resourceful back in the day, or that they didn’t find ways to record under any budget. And it certainly doesn’t mean that music was any less valid, despite the recording methods used. Viva home recording – it’s been around a long time and it will always exist!”
— via Larry Crane, TapeOp

Pre-production demo for a cover of Tom Behrendt’s song Wake Up, Jane from the album The West Allis Makeout Sessions. <Song ©Tom Behrendt>

This song really encapsulates Tom’s ability to wrap a story in catchy riffs and clever lyrics.  FYI- the “fully” produced version will appear on a tribute compilation this fall / winter.  Watch this space for more info.

More crazy vintage guitar love via Premier Guitar.  Custom Kraft was St. Louis Music’s house brand, so there should be a bunch of these floating around in the STL metro area.