Mixbus and ArdourXchange

(this announcement comes from John Emmas, developer of ArdourXchange)

Owners of Harrison's Mixbus can now obtain a very cheap copy of ArdourXchange if they act quickly. Throughout July 2010 AxC will be on sale for just $20 (US) - that's less than half its normal retail price.

For those of you who aren't familiar with ArdourXchange, you can find information about it (the info was written for Indamixx users but it's mostly relevant to Mixbus users too....) here: http://www.creativepost.co.uk If you decide to buy it, visit https://sites.fastspring.com/creativepost/instant/ardourxchange Here are some questions that people typically ask:-

  • What does AxC do?
    ArdourXchange allows you to import sessions from 3rd-party audio and video workstations, such as Avid and Pro Tools.
  • What format are the sessions in?
    The 3rd-party workstation must be able to export in AAF format (most of the good quality ones support AAF).
  • Is OMF supported?
    Not at present but OMF could be added quite easily, if there's sufficient interest.
  • Is AxC open source?
    Again, not yet - but a sponsored feature request aims to release it as open source eventually (http://tracker.ardour.org/view.php?id=2652). Please think about pledging some sponsorship if you'd like to see AxC released as open source.
  • I'm a Linux user. Can I use AxC with Ardour2?
    AxC comes free with Indamixx. Also, if you contact 64studio, they'll soon have a new distro that supports it.
  • How many people are already using AxC?
    Over 250 copies have been sold to date.
  • When will the special offer end?
    The offer runs throughout July 2010.
  • Can AxC do sample rate conversion?
    SRC is currently in development.
  • Does it preserve stereo material?
    Stereo tracks are preserved as stereo. Stereo clips on mono tracks get imported as dual-mono.
  • Does AxC import pictures?
    No, only the sound.
  • Can I try a demo version?
    If you're a MIXBUS owner, you can obtain a time limited trial version here:- http://www.creativepost.co.uk/ardourXchange.zip The zip file contains a conventional OS-X app, which you can install, just like any other (i.e. by dragging it to your Applications folder).
  • Where can I obtain a small AAF file for testing?
    There's a simple test file (just 1KHz tone) here:- http://www.avtoolkit.co.uk/100_BARS.aaf (Safari users might need to Option-click to begin a download).
  • How long will the trial version run for?
    30 days - BUT... don't wait until your trial period ends. Remember that the discount price is only available until the end of July!!

I found an online forum for Cakewalk users here:-


However, from a (very) brief forum search it looks like Cakewalk does not support AAF. You could try OMF (via AATranslator) but even Cakewalk’s OMF support seemed to be pretty hit-and-miss from what I could tell. :frowning:


Overnight I’ve received an email from someone who purchased AxC last week… then only realised later that his OTHER workstation doesn’t support AAF export…! :frowning:

The discount offer will be available throughout July, so there’s no need to panic buy. Try out the evaluation version first:-


Also, make sure you’re using an Intel based Mac and an up-to-date version of Mixbus, since the AxC support modules were only added a couple of months ago. Anything from release 2.8.8 onwards should be suitable.

Can AxC import from Cakewalk Sonar 8?

But how useful is AxC if it can only do AAF, and maybe OMF later on? Also, it can only convert non-embedded AAF files, making its usefulness very limited (protools cant even export to that format unless you buy digiTranslator). There are many things AAF and OMF cant carry in the format, so wouldn’t it make sense to use something that more completely converts a session to ardour format? Just food for thought, but I’m sure there are better tools for doing what AxC claims it can do.

Hi tbonedude,

I don’t believe there is another OSX app that converts from anything to Ardour. Also, AxC takes advantage of the open-source nature of Ardour to make it tightly integrated with Mixbus. You just select the .aaf file from the “open” dialog; you don’t have to open a separate app. That’s a level of third-party integration that you can’t get in a typical DAW.

Regarding the non-embedded AAF files: John’s business is in high-end post-production, and he is solving a specific workflow problem with his products. I believe this technology was originally used to convert between AMS AudioFile workstations and ProTools for the BBC. I think it’s cool that he’s decided to move to the Ardour/Mixbus platform. If this allows a few more “pro” users to adopt the platform, it’s a good thing.

As a side note:

I’d love to see the Ardour format adopted as the interchange format, rather than AAF. It is much richer than AAF, it is a published and open standard, it is extensible, and there is a “reference implementation” (Ardour!) to verify compatibility.
However I don’t think we have much chance of that happening anytime soon with commercial apps.


Absolutely. The main attractions of AxC are that:-

  1. It’s a simple, slick, yet tightly integrated solution for both Mixbus and Indamixx users.
  2. Once I’ve recouped my development costs I will (not “might”, but “will”) release AxC as open source.

Before I started development I put a lot of effort into market research and it was very clear that a stand-alone, proprietary app was not what users were looking for - hence my commitment (even before I began the work) to release the source code. Just like Ben, my goal is to see Ardour’s session format eventually being adopted as a recognised standard. But that can’t happen until Ardour itself supports open source import and export. By investing in AxC, users are helping to make that a reality.

tbonedude - Maybe I should also take this opportunity to correct your assertion that AxC only handles non-embedded media. In fact, it handles embedded media effortlessly - and always has done.

It didn’t handle embedded aaf files the last time I compiled it, and you also told me via email that it only handled non-embedded aaf. Also, is this app still reliant on wine, as that would make it less intigrated? Also, last I checked, an app is “commercial” the moment you start charging for it’s use. If you cared so much about making the ardour format a standard, you wouldn’t charge the community for it! I understand that there are dev costs, but you said this wasn’t commercial software.

tbonedude - On Feb 26th this year I sent you an embedded aaf file to test. On Ist Mar you replied, telling me that AxC imported it successfully. You even described its contents! So I don’t know why you persist in spreading the rumour that AxC doesn’t handle embedded media. You’ve seen and heard it working yourself…!

To answer your other point - AxC is being sold to Mixbus (OS-X) users as one of a number of initiatives to help me recoup my development costs. It’s already available to Indamixx (Linux) users and there’s also a sponsored feature that people can support if they wish. So there are two commercial options, a sponsored option and even a couple of “do it yourself” options for people who don’t mind building Ardour from source. And in time, there’ll be an open source option too. So there’s plenty of choice for everyone. Anyone who wants AxC now can try one of the existing options or if they prefer, they can wait until another one comes along.

The range of options couldn’t possibly be more flexible but by far the best one at present (at least for Mixbus users) is the discounted price that they’ll be able to get during July. That would definitely be my preference if I was a Mixbus user.

I must have been confused, I meant non-embedded AAF. I tried exporting AAF from logic, and remembered it only non-embedded AFF, and that ArdourXchange couldn’t import it to an ardour session. And it is fact that that session did not import (I tried several different non-embedded aff files). Also, you didn’t answer my question as to AxC’s reliance on WINE. To each their own I suppose…

Then to avoid any further confusion, I’d suggest that users be allowed to download the demo version and try it for themselves! If they’re quick enough, they’ll get a nice, long evaluation period where they can try it out on their own machine and make up their own mind. And for those who like it enough to buy it, the discount price is now showing in my web store:-


@tbonedude: One of the reasons it took so long for AXC to appear in Mixbus is that we wanted it to be seamless. It’s a drag-n-drop install into your Applications folder, and then you never have to see the app itself, Mixbus just uses it to transparently do AAF translation. You don’t have to install WINE.


So easy to use. Impressive. oO

Thx for the soft. 19 euros : great with my H. Mixbus. Waiting now for Ardour 3/ next release of Mixbus, with MIDI. :wink:


Just a last follow-up to say that we’re now in the final few days of the special offer. ArdourXchange will revert to its full retail price from August 1st.

Thanks to everyone who took the plunge. Admittedly, only a few tens of sales but every little helps and I’m delighted by the encouraging emails I keep receiving from everyone. Just the one refund so far (and even that wasn’t AxC’s fault - read above, 2 posts higher).

With enough sales and pledges we’ll eventually get this into Ardour as open source, so thanks to everyone who’s supported it.

Anyway to make it work with Logic 9?

The best way would be to contact Apple and ask why they don’t export in embedded format. Embedded is the format they should be using if they want their sessions to be readable by other workstations. Non-embedded sessions don’t usually include any media. They’re primarily intended for transferring projects “in-house” - i.e. between products from the same manufacturer or between workstations which can already access the media from a common network drive.

there is also fairlight which can t export in embedded .aaf format as far as i know…

@John E

"contact Apple and ask why they don't export in embedded format"

That was sarcasm right?

Not at all. Integration is a key component in multimedia applications and other manufacturers get rightly panned when they bring out products with poor third-party support. Apple hosts a whole range of forums for getting user feedback about their products, so let them have it:-


You can’t blame a company for not listening to your views if you don’t make your views known in the first place…!

Coming onto this thread super late, but there is a valid reason. I’ve recently decided to give Harrison Mix bus a serious look, and one of the features I need in place to use it professionally is AAF importing. Reading this thread and seeing that there is a great community here makes me want to dive right in. Especially seeing how John E engages with us.

Now to my point: John I’m a long time Pro Tools mixer specializing in post production re-record mixing and sound supervision. I agree with you on the embedded AAF comments, however If I may raise a counter point that has not been brought up yet.

Being able to handle linked AAFs would benefit us in post production greatly. When being given a large project from offline, I always ask that they send me a linked OMF/AAF along with the consolidated file folder that goes with it. That way they don’t have to send over multiple AAF/OMF files and I can have generous handles on the media (which I often utilize in my seemingly never ending hunt for tone). So far Media Composer is (to my knowledge) the only platform that can export a linked OMF/AAF, and it’s a much overlooked feature. It’s actually how we used to send OMF media over to audio post in the '90s (which we would then replace with Post Conform using the set DATs). Even now, whenever I show an AE how to do this, they go nuts because it saves them a lot of time doing multiple exports. While by no means a deal-breaker for me, it would be a shame for that trick to fade away. If you ever feel up to it, it would be a fantastic feature to add.