Harrison and SSL

SSL’s parent company (Audiotonix) purchased Harrison Consoles and we (Harrison) are joining forces with SSL to make a ‘super-group’ (their wording) of analog and digital systems for pro-audio. Details TBA :slight_smile:

Harrison is (and I expect will remain) our own brand with our own ethos. Nothing has changed in our development plans, or our staffing.

Mixbus is only one of many products that Harrison makes. Like SSL, we service a lot of different segments of the audio industry, from at-home producers to enterprise-class post and live/broadcast. BUT I think it’s clear that Mixbus was an important consideration for their purchase (it’s the only product mentioned by name in the press release)

Any community support for Mixbus and our open-source development that we can generate, would likely go a long way to accelerate developments on the platform.

-Ben at Harrison


And to offer perspective from the purely-Ardour side:

In the best case scenario, Audiotonix/SSL involvement with Mixbus brings more resources to software development, and both Ardour & Mixbus benefit (probably significantly) from this.

In the worst case scenario, Ardour (including Harrison’s non-proprietary contributions up till now) learns to do better at loading Mixbus sessions and continues along its own two-decades-plus path towards… well, whatever it is we’re moving towards.

In short, I don’t see any downsides for Ardour itself, and there is a significant possibility of really significant upsides. However, we likely won’t know for sure for at least 6-12 months.


Audiotonix got started about 10 years ago and they’ve acquired a number of well known brands - Allen & Heath, SSL, DiGiCo, Slate Digital and now Harrison. All the previous brands have continued to produce audio products years after acquisition so from my POV I wouldn’t worry too much about the next year or two.

On the upside I think there’s an opportunity for synergy in the plugin market and, Supreme Dietys and upper management willing, possibly Mixbus32C (and by extension Ardour) could become a DAW that’s on the list supported platforms by folks like Steinberg & Native Instruments. If that’s the vision and there’s a real plan then I expect we’ll see it sooner than later.

On the (very) downside SSL just wants Harrison’s future console customers for their own console sales and they are buying market share. Bigger fish eats smaller fish. Happens all the time.

I’d bet a bit more on the positive side due to Audiotonix’s history but only time will tell. I’ve been part of acquisitions that have gone both ways. Sometimes you just have to wait and see how it works out but I have no intention of changing DAWs due to this announcement.


Look at their faces. Audiotronix seems happy. Harrison seems happy.

SSL guys don’t look happy about it at all.

I predict… higher prices.

I think the reason all the Linux users’ hearts sank at the news is pretty obvious. I don’t think it’s cynicism to assume a larger corporate interest is going to have some built in antagonism to open source and niche markets, both. Ben’s throwaway comment on the forum that he does his “real” work on Mac when responding to a question about Linux support may turn out to be more prescient than humorous.

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I really don’t know what to make of this.

Audiotonix, SSL’s parent company, is in a niche market. They don’t do consumer electronics, they own a bunch of companies that make audio production stuff (mostly hardware): Allen & Heath, Digico, SSL, etc. They are the big fish in a rather small pond. Several of these companies (including Harrison) already use Linux as the fundamental technology in their products, so it’s not as if open source is something new here. Sound Devices, also owned by Audiotonix, was one of the first companies I’ve ever seen that made sure their audio interfaces had Linux drivers at the time of release.

What is new, of course, is that Harrison, unlike Audiotonix’ existing companies, has a DAW, and that DAW happens to run on Linux (and Windows and macOS). Consequently, rather than just being an internal OS for specialized hardware, they now may have some users who actually sit in front of a computer system running Linux. Audiotonix was also quite concerned that I certify that Harrison has been fully compliant with the GPL, which I did.

And while Linux continues to be the platform that I work on 99%+ of the time, and the one to which I am extremely strongly attached, it also remains true that more than 50% of the revenue that allows myself and x42 to work on Ardour as we do comes from Windows users. The same is true of the overall number of users. I think a little less cross-platform antagonism and a little more optimism is not only called for, but also justifiable.


Ardour/Mixbus may actually be one of the obvious survivors, as it is one of the more unique products in the catalog (under Audiotonix). IMO, honestly, what Linux (desktop) may need is some major engineers/producers/artists creating on the platform. Let’s see if we can do that soon :slight_smile:

But really, love to be a fly on the wall for a zoom meeting between London and Nashville, just to hear the accents :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the insight, Paul.

It is encouraging.

My comment wasn’t meant to be overly fatalist. I’m heavily invested in Linux as a recording/mixing/mastering platform. My only concern is, having seen several large commercial endeavors use Linux to their advantage within their products (it is clearly the superior tool in many cases), the Linux desktop user base doesn’t necessarily benefit as it isn’t a ripe marketing target.

In either eventuality, I’m glad you’re in it for the long haul. My foray into Ardour from MixBus may turn out for the better.

Couldn’t agree more! I’m back on Windows part time for special Video needs for a couple years now after leaving it in 2006 or so and 90% of my favourite Linux apps are now available to install and they work well on Windows (most notably Ardour). Things change, markets change, CEO’s change, strategies change… Windows is no barrier to enjoying a lot of top-notch FLOSS software and it is no longer outwardly antagonistic towards Open Source and Linux, in fact it has made significant time and labour investment into supporting platforms for FLOSS developers (Github) as well as their substantial internal work on WSL. The perpetual naysayers will always suspect any and every corporation is up to something nefarious and who knows maybe they are… In the meantime I’m very much enjoying this period of having to pause for a moment to remember which OS I’m running Ardour on at the current moment. In a world that is polarized in every direction I look I actually take some comfort that the screen I’m typing this on is far less fueled by polarization (well, at least for me) than it was not so many years ago.

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No need to be suspect. It is a fact that Microsoft is nefarious and became even more so in recent years. Just read the Win 11 ToS and enjoy the personalized Ads.

My motivation to provide Windows builds is to make it easier for Windows users to eventually migrate to Linux.


Well, I’m on Windows 10 and I turned off as much of the Advertising telemetry as I could when I installed it, Windows 11 may be a whole other story… To be clear I did not say it was perfect and I’m not taking anything away from all the positive attributes of Linux, which I obviously have made significant investment in…

You also omitted the “and who knows maybe they are” from the end of my quote… It’s not like Canonical hasn’t been using the same playbook for the past few years, there’s plenty of trouble to be found everywhere if you want to look for it…


I wasn’t invoking any nefarious, corporate bogeyman, just stating the apparent economics of catering to the smallest sliver of the market (Excepting possibly BSD?) My sincere hope is that there is, indeed enough momentum to keep the MixBus marketing going for three platforms, and it may be that there is some advantageous symbiosis between Ardour’s development on Linux and incorporation into MixBus that will make keeping the Linux product available an obvious choice.

I believe and hope that Linux is constantly growing and will become an increasingly attractive option for audio and media work. This SLL thing might be a really significant opportunity, also in terms of device support. And if things develop well, other manufacturers will follow.

I hope Glen doesn’t get too lost in the Windows world and manages to continue his wonderful work on AvLinuxMXE. I really appreciate it.

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The bit I find interesting is the relationship with Soundscape (a DAW provider). When Audiotonix acquired its other companies, it seems they left them alone - the exception being Soundscape which got merged into SSL. That in itself doesn’t surprise me. SSL has spent decades trying to become a big name in the DAW world. They’ve had their own products (ScreenSound / Scenaria / Omnimix) and they’ve shown a long interest in helping other distinctive DAW’s (Ardour / DAR SoundStation / Soundscape). Yet somehow, a reputation in the DAW world has always eluded them. I’m wondering if they see Mixbus as a step along that journey and one day, they’ll be able to offer a DAW to rival ProTools?

Mixbus deserves a bigger audience, that’s for sure…


Also consider that the subset of developers (in the world) with the necessary complete skill-set to create and maintain a modern DAW is probably smaller than a lot of people realise. A modern DAW is a hugely complex piece of software with many subtle aspects which require specialist knowledge at a deep technical level, both conceptually, and in terms of technical implementation.

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This is historically wrong, AFAIK.

SSL purchased Sydec/Soundscape more than a decade before SSL itself was acquired by Audiotonix, by which time Soundscape was long gone.

SSL told me (I have no way to know if it was true or they were just trying to save my feelings) that they didn’t really have much interest in Soundscape - they bought Sydec for their I/O boxes, but then found themselves “supporting” two DAWs (Ardour and Soundscape). Clearly one of them had to go, and the Sydec folks made it plain that if SSL dropped Soundscape they would walk.

That, to me, is a good sign in itself.




Ah, that makes more sense !

5 posts were split to a new topic: Ravenna Linux Driver

I don’t want to derail a topic that I am of no consequence in but if there are others that feel this way or have concerns let me say this: The fact that I enjoy some attributes of Windows and some of the unique production opportunities that it provides doesn’t have to take anything away from Linux, things aren’t always a ‘one or the other’ proposition, multiple things have multiple merits (and multiple deficits). I have always been an apolitical Linux user and I will be using (and hopefully distributing) Linux as long as there is Linux to use, or I die… whichever happens first… I prefer it for many things and yet it can aggravate me to no end with it’s penchant for incessantly re-inventing the wheel… I will not be lost to Windows, I simply look at it as having found another useful specialized tool set. Not everything requires a political stance or an us and them mindset.

Nuff said, back to our original programming!