Harrison Mixbus is now available for Windows

Harrison Mixbus is now available for Windows! This marks the first launch of the Ardour DAW platform on Windows. You can download a free demo from Harrison:


Developers and users, feel free to post your comments here!

Best Regards,
Ben Loftis
Harrison Consoles

So, when will we be able to compile or install normal ardour in a windows environment? Mixbus is great, but a little out of my price range at the moment…

Not till after A3 is released at least.


As far as I can tell the Harrision link is really: http://www.harrisonconsoles.com/mixbus/website/purchase.html

I’ve tried it in Windows. Question: When I close it down and then go to open it later I get a message that it cannot start JACK and it is possibly being used by another app. Of course I don’t have any other apps that use JACK in Windows so I assume that when I closed Mixbus it did not stop JACK. If I reboot it starts up fine. Is there some way to terminate JACK in Windows when I close Mixbus so I can reopen it again later without rebooting?

@geoffsct: you can kill it using Task Manager. Look for “jackd”.

We’ve had this reported a few times in the past but we don’t know how to recreate it. What version of Windows are you on?



Congrats! Ardour-Mixbus on Windows will certainly increase the user base.

I have a couple of questions:

1- As far as I know, mixbus is based on the ardour2 baseline. Do I understand that mixbus on Windows is also based on the ardour2 baseline ? This is a little confusing when seablade mentions that the windows port of ardour will only be available for A3 (but I might have misunderstood)

2- If I save a mixbus session on windows, transfer all the wave files to a linux machine, recreate the session directory and file tree, and open the session file in mixbus-linux, will this work ? Are Windows vs Linux file path names totally transparent to a mixbus session file ? (talking about “” vs “/” and spaces)

2b - Mixbus-windows can use VSTs natively I presume. If these VSTs can also be used in linux via libfst or whatever mechanism used by ardour-vst, could there be a Mixbus-vst for linux and would the windows session open correctly under linux with the VST states preserved (provided that the VSTs were actually opened correctly in Mixbus-vst under linux) ?

Ill answer what I can clarify with certainty, I have good guesses about the others, but this is the only one I can say for certain.

Yes MB on Windows is based on A2. Ardour v2 will not be released for Windows. After Ardour v3 is released more attention may be payed to a windows release. Until then Mixbus will be the only thing on Windows based on Ardour.


Answers to Windows questions:

Hi Thorgal!

  1. what Seablade said. Mixbus (on all platforms) is currently based on A2. Now that MB is released for Windows, and we’ve worked through some of the issues involved with that, you will likely see our involvement in A3 being to increase.

  2. Yes, you can share sessions across all three platforms.

  3. our plan is to implement VST on all 3 platforms eventually, so plugins can be shared across sessions. We are also working on suite of high-end LV2 plugins that will be available for all 3 platforms. LADSPA should also be portable although we haven’t yet focused on this issue because most Windows users are unaware of LADSPA.

The Windows port has been quite a challenge, in many ways. JACK had to be adapted to accept programs built with MSVC++, drivers had to be added and tested, and VST support will continue to be a huge challenge, just like AU plugins are a challenge on OSX.

But this massive effort will pay off for Mixbus/Ardour in the future. We continue to send a portion of every sale to Paul, which helps him continue to develop the platform. We’ve also added a new developer (John Emmas) to the scene. John has a long history working as an audio editor and as a product specialist for high-end workstations, and his involvement with the Windows port is only the beginning of what he will bring to Ardour and Mixbus.

The support of the Ardour community has always been very important to us. I hope everyone will give the Windows demo a try. Now you’ll finally have a chance to share Ardour/Mixbus sessions with your friends who choose to stick with Windows!

Best Regards,
Ben Loftis
Harrison Consoles

@LeatusPenguin: no, he means that Ardour/Mixbus will eventually support VST plugins that are native to each of those 3 platforms. It has no bearing on supporting (for example) windows VST plugins on Linux (or OS X) or vice versa. If the plugins exist in native form for each platform, then they can be used on all 3 platforms.

@Ben : I’m using it on my Win 7 Home Premium laptop. I’m fine with just closing down JACK w/task manager when closing MB. I’ll be headed back to Linux when I can bring all my vst along anyway. (I’m aware of Festige & all but it’s been hit & miss). This is the perfect temporary solution for me.

Make certain you email Harrison, this really isn’t an official support venue for them.


Hi all,

I am completely new to Mixbus, have been waiting a long time for the windows release:-)
I have been trying several times to install and run mixbus, but in the audio setup I get this mixbus log error message:

[ERROR]: cannot open JACK rc file C:\Documents and Settings\René/.jackdrc to store parameters

I checked the Doments and Settings folder, and it doesn’t contain a René/.jackdrc file.

Anybody know what the problem is?
Any help with this is highly appreciated:-)

Best regards,

René Thomsen

@renthomesen you will likely get better service if you use the Harrison email support address you received when you purchased Mixbus. Its not that Harrison doesn’t see stuff here on the Ardour forums, but the email address is their primary support mechanism.

Hi Paul,

Thank you, I will do that.



I would love to try Mixbus under windows, but the installer seems incapable of coping with the standard folder structure under windows vista 32, resulting in an error message that the installer cannot create a necessary folder.

I have tried repeatedly with the same result, and since the installer offers no option to self select folders, but always defaults to wanting to install to a folder that simply doesn’t exist on my ‘vanilla’ system, I’m going nowhere fast.

Any help/suggestions gratefully received !

Greetings Geoffsct,

     I've also got this message but I was able to fix and I can explain what happened to me:  I have TASCAMUS2000 Drivers installed on my Windows 7 Laptop. And as soon as I finished installing it, I tried to run it but my USB Interface (the TASCAM) was not plugged. That's when I got the same message you had. Then I shut the laptop down, rebooted, and then plugged my tascam then I run the Harrison Mixbus worked just fine. 

    I hope it helps

All the best

Quoting Thorgal:

As far as I know, mixbus is based on the ardour2 baseline. Do I understand that mixbus on Windows is also based on the ardour2 baseline ? This is a little confusing when seablade mentions that the windows port of ardour will only be available for A3 (but I might have misunderstood)


I don’t work for Harrison, but I have been watching the windows port commits for, well, as long as they’ve been happening. There has been a huge amount of work gone on in the windows port; I count a total of 159 svn commit log messages, starting back in July 2011.

It’s been quite exciting watching the commit logs, to tell you the truth, even though I’m not a Windows user in the main. Having Windows as a supported platform should increase the revenue into the project, and that’s a good thing.

For grins and giggles, I diffed (using diff -uNr) the mixbus2 and mixbus2-win trees (at revision 11447, current as of my writing this post); a ‘patch’ to take the mixbus2 tree to mixbus2-win is quite large, over 16MB in length (uncompressed, and only touching text files, and not including the closed-source Harrison DSP).

So a great deal of work indeed.

the port of a3 to windows is NOT in svn. its been done by tim mayberry and will likely start showing up in svn after 3.0 is released. unlike the code for mixbus on windows, which was based on using the MSVC++ compiler and its associated libraries, which are substantively different from gcc, tim’s work uses mingw (g++ compiler and its libraries) to provide a development platform much closer to Unix/POSIX/Linux.

Thanks for the clarification, Paul.