Mixbus and Ardour 6 this month?

I received an exciting email this morning about Mixbus 6 arriving this month! Watching the video, it was satisfying to see how many boxes Mixbus and Ardour check as a complete DAW. A few comments:

  1. It was really strange not to hear any mention about new features! Definitely a “teaser” without teasing much at all :wink:

  2. Is Mixbus 6 going to be released with Ardour 6 code before Ardour 6 is even in beta? I’ve never paid attention to release order of new Mixbus vs new Ardour so maybe this is absolutely normal.

Anyhow, I’m excited for the new release but only because I already knew about the under-the-hood stuff from reading the Ardour and Mixbus forums.

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Discussion in Mixbus forum:


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Wasn’t sure how many Mixbus users were on these forums. I’m likewise a little disappointed by the video they posted. You can see some visual differences in the video and they do mention something about MIDI functionality, but otherwise its more of a general 32C promo video. Either way, I’m very excited.

I would wait and see whats new. I was watching ardour git the past few months and the invovled people did a lot of work. So lets wait a couple of weeks

There was an estimate/hope of a beta by the new year but I don’t think that’s happened.

Ardour6.0 is definitely not yet in beta. The impression I get from this forum, is that its getting pretty stable, but still alpha.

Interesting, then, how Mixbus 6 is to be released by the end of this month. They must use the stable alpha code?

I imagine that the version numbers simply do not have any correlation. It just so happens that Mixbus 6.0 is being released during the Ardour 6.0 development cycle. Either way, I’m kind of excited and more so anxious to get a more definitive list of the changes. I just recently wiped my computer and installed 5.3 and re-enabled all my Harrison plugins so I definitely want an idea of whether or not it’ll be worth going through all the hassle again or hanging tight for a minute.

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I just assumed that the Ardour and Mixbus development cycles would be well-synced given the underlying code aside from the mixer part in Mixbus is Ardour. If Mixbus 6 also has the full latency compensation stuff then it must be using the new code? Oh, well. The devs must be having fun watching me speculate. I can assure them it is purely out of excitement :wink:


Version 5 of Mixbus already has some Ardour 6 features in the editor (e.g., the improved auditioning function, where you can click on any track, region, or layer and type “a” to audition it; this is especially useful for comping multi-layer takes). In general, it seems Harrison is free to integrate new elements of Ardour into Mixbus before they appear in official Ardour versions, and as a commercial product there’s more time pressure on Harrison to release new versions that can bring in more revenue. Out-of-sync version numbers wouldn’t seem odd from that perspective.


It is indeed a healthy collaboration.
Mixbus used to be one major version behind:

  • Ardour 3 <-> Mixbus 2
  • Ardour 4 <-> Mixbus 3
  • Ardour 5 <-> Mixbus 4

Mixbus 5 caught up. It is based on Ardour 5.12, with a few forward-ported features from Ardour-6/git. Eventually Mixbus 5.2 overtook Ardour: Harrison overhauled the plugin-manager and added a new audition feature among many other things in Mixbus 5.x, those have been backported into Arodur/git.

Mixbus 6.0 (release due this week) is based on Ardour 6.0-pre0-3359 from 2020-02-04.

However Harrison disables/hides some incomplete or known buggy features (e.g. timecode sync), for their dot-zero release. This way remaining Ardour release-blocking issues are not relevant for Mixbus.

It is likely that Arodur 6.0 will become the basis of Mixbus 6.1 or 6.2 - The idea is to retain major version parity between the Ardour/Mixbus. Minor versions are somewhat arbitrary anyway.


Can Ardour projects be opened in Mixbus and vice versa? How is Mixbus licensed? Is it free software?

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Yes, except mixer-settings (and routing) may be lost when moving projects forth and back (Mixbus has dedicated bus-sends and EQ).

Some users record in Ardour (because it’s more lightweight) and later move to Mixbus for mixing and mastering.

Mixbus itself is licensed in terms of the GPL, however the Mixbus DSP is proprietary (EQ, Compressor etc are closed-source plugins).


I can testify that I’ve come a cropper trying to do this (Mixbus --> Ardour, methinks). I didn’t have time to figure out if it could be salvaged so just copied media files and re-built the minimal plugin structure in a fresh project file.

Since Ardour does not have Mix-busses information is lost. The other way around (Ardour -> Mixbus) is usually safe, but keep in mind that Mixbus is stereo only.

Either way all record and edit operations are retained. The difference is only the Mixer, and switching DAWs halfway through mixing is not something one should do anyway.

PS. Ardour and Mixbus also load Waves Tracks Live sessions (another Ardour derivative).

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Hindsight is a lovely thing :wink:


So MB6 is out today and they just emailed out a pretty extensive list of changes as well as this video:

I’m totally trying to finish my current project before I upgrade, but I am super excited! They gave us the scissor tool (why was that ever not there when it was in Ardour?) and made all additional busses fully latency compensated. They also addressed the issue of the EQ on small monitors!

But where is regular ol’ Mixbus 6? :frowning:

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Oh wow, I didn’t even consider that. That would be a shame. But get on the email list if you aren’t already. They always have crazy sales. I got 32c for $99 and at a later point in time they had it marked all the way down to $79.

Harrison probably focused on 32c first since it’s probably more of a money-maker for them and also because it’s more complex; I imagine they’ll release v.6 of regular Mixbus before too long.