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Author Topic: Reaper Vs Mixbus  (Read 3425 times)

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Offline Glenn

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Reaper Vs Mixbus
« on: August 26, 2015, 04:26:15 PM »
While this comparison is with mixbus 2 (at time of posting, mixbus version 3 has just been released) - it's still a 'viable' comparison.

put your headphones on, or use some really good monitoring, ... even though it's a 'youtube' processed audio.. you can still hear the difference.



the warmth comes through when you listen closely.
 8)
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Offline neilmac

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 11:26:06 PM »
Yep ....big difference :)


BUT....
there's always a but right? lol


My first question is :


If you "turn down" the master fader in the Reaper side....so it's quieter than Mixbus, therefore Mixbus automatically sounds better side by side, right? Just from a "louder is better" standpoint....


My second question:
No FX in Reaper version at all...nothing, nada, zilch? Why then does he have a Reverb buss set up in Mixbus? Not to mention the saturation all over the busses and the Master...
Also limiting on the master however subtle....


This isn't really a direct comparison then or am I crazy? lol
Please tell me I'm crazy...I want to like Mixbus soooo bad because it looks and works and sounds soooo good lol


(BTW I feel sorry for all the poor saps who spend a pile of cash on these things and expect their stuff to sound as good as "what was in the video" - these people should put up a disclaimer :P )


There is a lovely sound to it compared to the unprocessed Reaper version...I'll give it that... I do like that warm and fuzzy thing ;)
But I can't help feeling that it's a similar situation to the difference between my mixed and processed tracks through the Master without the Master FX turned on....


One last question....or perhaps two ;)


Can the EQ/COMP/Saturation modules be turned off?Or are you stuck with them where you still have them on the strip even if they're at "0", for want of a better description?


Secondly, he mentions the "natural" compression of analogue consoles.....did Harrison sneak a compressor into the background, under the "hood" of the software, to mimic the analogue circuitry colouring the sound? Just curious...seemed like an odd thing to say....


The reason I'm so interested is that I promised when Reaper got to version 5(which it just did), if I still loved it I'd pay the fee....now this comes along for $19 more :P If it was regular price I wouldn't even give it more than an interested, theoretical look...too much money for me in the here and now.... value is all relative, right?


Over to you Glenn ;)


Great discussion BTW... :)
Hope everyone else gets as much out of it as I am :)

Offline Glenn

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2015, 01:43:17 AM »
My first question is :


If you "turn down" the master fader in the Reaper side....so it's quieter than Mixbus, therefore Mixbus automatically sounds better side by side, right? Just from a "louder is better" standpoint....

that's just it! .... you HAVE to turn down reaper's master so as not to overload.... with mixbus, it's built in analogue compression allows for the 'overage' ... while not actually going 'over' ... just as 'old school' consoles and tape machines did!  ... so, yeah, that's exactly the point... reaper has no such ability to do what mixbus does, because of the engineering that went into building the software.

and yes, most people perceive 'louder' as better, ... but even when you lower mixbus by 3dB... you'll still hear the warmth and 'difference of sound coming through.   8)

Quote
My second question:
No FX in Reaper version at all...nothing, nada, zilch? Why then does he have a Reverb buss set up in Mixbus? Not to mention the saturation all over the busses and the Master...
Also limiting on the master however subtle....


This isn't really a direct comparison then or am I crazy? lol
Please tell me I'm crazy...I want to like Mixbus soooo bad because it looks and works and sounds soooo good lol

As I watched the vid, I noticed the reverb bus on mixbus wasn't active... the guy said everything was essentially the 'same' with no difference of settings from one DAW to the next... other than what is 'built into' the DAW.  they were the same stems he said.
yep, there is built in saturation, compression and limiting on mixbus, it's part of the structure ... so of course it's fair game to utilize what's right there... built in.   

So, in a way, it's not really a direct comparison, (so you are quite sane, I assure you.. lmao)  :P ... in order to make it a direct comparison you would have to take away Mixbus's special internal circuitry design, saturation, and such in order to make it the same comparison IMO.... but then,... that's a stripped down version, and isn't really 'mixbus' anymore then, is it?

Plus, if you took that stuff away, what would you have?,... and would you want a discount on purchase because it doesn't have those extras that make it sound so sweet?    lol  ??? 

I may post a vid or audio file comparison of an exact same mix, with levels adjusted so the output of each is the same... and you can hear the difference that way... or better yet.. send me a stereo mix of something.. even if it's just 30 seconds of a piece... I can run it through both DAW's and you can hear that, since your ears are already tuned to your own mix, when you listen on your system you shouldn't hear any difference in your reaper mix, since the output source would be reaper, but I'm betting you'd hear a difference in the output mix from Mixbus, even with no limiting in place.


Quote
(BTW I feel sorry for all the poor saps who spend a pile of cash on these things and expect their stuff to sound as good as "what was in the video" - these people should put up a disclaimer :P )

yeah, if you mix a turd and put it through a million dollar console it will just sound like a turd put through a million dollar console!  lol  :P


Quote
There is a lovely sound to it compared to the unprocessed Reaper version...I'll give it that... I do like that warm and fuzzy thing ;)
But I can't help feeling that it's a similar situation to the difference between my mixed and processed tracks through the Master without the Master FX turned on....

I understand what you mean, Neil, ... I'm not trying to sell you or anyone on Mixbus, - I just like it for what it is ... when I first heard about it from Smurf, I was skeptical myself, and thought, ok, this 'Harrison' brand is big, and there's a lot of hype when launching a new product etc etc.... but when I heard the difference, I realized that not all DAW's do sound the same... Mixbus is more than just having a cool looking console, and work flow... more than the 'saturation' built in... otherwise, I could just add a 'tape saturation' vst to a mix and that would be that!  ... but they don't sound the same.

Quote
One last question....or perhaps two ;)


Can the EQ/COMP/Saturation modules be turned off?Or are you stuck with them where you still have them on the strip even if they're at "0", for want of a better description?


Secondly, he mentions the "natural" compression of analogue consoles.....did Harrison sneak a compressor into the background, under the "hood" of the software, to mimic the analogue circuitry colouring the sound? Just curious...seemed like an odd thing to say....

yes, you can turn the comps and EQ off, have no saturation or limiting etc..
but the software still has that certain something, with what's under the hood methinks .... and it could well be that 'analogue style compression' thing... how they do that, is beyond me... but if some pro engineers/designiers have put the effort into building it and putting Harrison's name on it, and if it sounds good to the ear... well....  'nuff said.  8)

Quote

The reason I'm so interested is that I promised when Reaper got to version 5(which it just did), if I still loved it I'd pay the fee....now this comes along for $19 more :P If it was regular price I wouldn't even give it more than an interested, theoretical look...too much money for me in the here and now.... value is all relative, right?

Over to you Glenn ;)


yeah, I'm with you there man! ... I was using Reaper for a couple months when I first heard about mixbus... and I did pretty much the same homework you're doing now, ... except, once I'd heard the difference and saw the advantages of the old school work flow which I was kinda missing, I bought it... not sure if it was on sale at the time.  I feel it was worth the purchase, and now it's even better with version 3.  :)   ... and no, they're not paying me to say this. lol 

While I like to finish mixes, and do mastering in Mixbus, I still like using Reaper, especially for initial tracking, because I'm so familiar with it, but as I learn more of the ropes in Mixbus 3, I'll probably start using it for tracking more, recording midi and doing full projects, with Reaper close by, along with Audacity, and my other go to tools.  8)

It's a tough decision when looking at new gear, ... is it worth the investment? is always the question... my answering question to that is... will it improve my 'sound' enough to warrant the purchase.. and is it something I'll get lots of use from, over time? In my case, the answer was a resounding yesss!

Quote
Great discussion BTW... :)
Hope everyone else gets as much out of it as I am :)
yeah, I enjoy these types of discussions with like minded people too Neil.

we need some other mixbus users here to chime in ... for added input.

I hope some of my answers to your questions helped.
 8)

« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 01:52:53 AM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline neilmac

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2015, 05:38:06 PM »
that's just it! .... you HAVE to turn down reaper's master so as not to overload....


Ah hah!
NOT if you mix to an appropriate level in the first place :P
His input tracks look a little loud in the Reaper waver just by looking at them....


Sure, it makes it easy to see the waveform (for what that's worth) without opening up the track window...but not good practice for mixing to my mind, is it?
He also mentioned "normalizing" the raw tracks... shouldn't really be necessary here, or at least you shouldn't do it to the point of having no "headroom", right? More bad practice or am I wrong?


Honestly I'm not kicking Mixbus when it's down.... :P
I'm just trying to cut through the "hype" of the advertising and get to the reality of it :)


My impression is that it's Reaper or any other DAW with an expensive plugin suite built right in.... which is fine and dandy since it sounds as good as it looks :)


I'm sorely tempted, let me tell you lol
Especially since Reaper doesn't cut you off.....or cripple it if you don't pay up :P


Of course it's fair to utilize the built in stuff, but what's not fair is to compare it to the raw mix coming out of Reaper lol
That's a bit like comparing a plate of fries with no salt to a plate of fries with salt :P


If he'd attempted to replicate the output of Mixbus in Reaper with plugins and shown how much better Mixbus is WITHOUT messing around trying to find the right settings and plugins I'd be more impressed :P


On a side note.... I was messing around last night and came across this plugin in my arsenal.... the Ferric TDS by Variety of Sound (must be free otherwise I wouldn't have it :P )


https://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/ferrictds-released-today-withi-the-kvr-dc09/


Does this perform a similar function to Mixbus' Master track minus the EQ?
I'm not saying it sounds as good as the Harrison stuff or anything, just curious....seems fairly similar in theory to me anyway...


Admin has my challenge entry if you want to use that for your demo :P
If you want it without limiting/comp/etc on the master I can get you that tonight.....

Offline Glenn

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2015, 07:47:57 PM »
I'd say, for the sake of this discussion and a fresher reference - and since I'm using both Reaper as well as Mixbus 3, we try an A/B comparison with that... apples to apples as close as possible.

So... If you provide a Reaper mix with Limiting and one exact same mix without the limiter added... I'd be able to then put "mix 1" into audacity, and park it til I got mix 2 (without limiter) put through Mixbus, using the built in limiting and saturation, but not touching any EQ or compression (turned off) so both mixes are essentially the same other than one done through Reaper and one is done through Mixbus.

Does that sound like it would be a fair comparison?


Q: do you know how many dB's of limiting you applied to the master slot for that tune in Reaper? and was your master set at "0" when it was exported?

After running mix 2 through Mixbus, I would put both files side by side on the same track in Audacity, and make sure both are the exact same level.  Then I would cut up each file into 10 second bits and alternate them in order to A/B mix to mix, .... actually I can have Maureen put them in an A/B order, and then export it as one file so we can stream it on this thread but I won't know which is which either, that way I get to join in the fun too.  Might have to just use the first few 10 second chunks if it's put up as a wav. file due to size limits, but it should give enough of a comparison.

So I need two wav. files at 24 bit please... they should be identical except for..
Mx1. Reaper Limited
Mx2. Reaper non Limited

this will be fun.  :)
cheers
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline neilmac

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2015, 08:44:36 PM »
Sounds like a party! Lol
I'll get to it after supper......

Offline Glenn

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 01:52:30 AM »
Sounds like a party! Lol
I'll get to it after supper......

ok... I'll wait!  ;D    ............................................................................................

...............................  8)

meanwhile...........

For those just checking out Mixbus..   http://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus.html

as mentioned above.....I'm not an agent or seller for Harrison ... just like the product and where it's going as an open source development that will gradually improve as those who use it provide feedback and suggestions for tweaks etc. 


From the Mixbus page:

What Makes Mixbus Different?

Harrison has a unique history. In the mid-80’s, we developed fully automated, digitally-controlled analog mixer technology which was adopted by premiere film-mixing facilities around the world. When the digital revolution came, we were asked to convert the analog “processor” into a digital processor, while leaving the control surface unchanged. Film mixers wanted the control surface to -work and sound- exactly like the analog mixer they were using for previous projects. This required us to develop a digital audio engine that operated and sounded exactly like the analog mixer they were using for previous projects. This transition was not undertaken by any other company, and it has provided us with techniques and proprietary technology that we have incorporated into all of our high-end mixers. Mixbus gives us an opportunity to share this technology with a much wider range of users.


Mixbus Sounds Better

Other DAWs are designed by companies with experience in computer sound, but no pedigree in world-class recording facilities. The Mixbus DSP mixer is designed by Harrison specifically for its great-sounding EQ, filters, dynamics, and bus summing.  If you find a music recording from the golden age of albums - the 70s and 80s - that has stood the test of time, it is likely that a Harrison console was used during the production.  Mixbus invites you to produce recordings that will stand with the very best.


here's just a few of the Mixbus v3 features from the top of the list from http://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus.html

By comparison, while Reaper has loads of great features,(good reason to cont. using it) ... you won't find many of these in Reaper, that are found in Mixbus...  here's just a few..

Straightforward “knob per function” mixer layout based on Harrison's renowned 32-series and MR-series music consoles
DSP sounds based on Harrison's famous analog and digital mixing console technology
Precision algorithms for EQ, Filter, Compression, Analog Tape Saturation, and Summing
•Unlimited stereo or mono input channels, each with unlimited plug-ins, sends, and hardware inserts. (limited only by CPU and disc speed)
•Unlimited MIDI tracks, each with virtual instrument support, unlimited plug-ins, sends and inserts
Phase, Input trim, High-pass Filter, Sweepable 3-band EQ, Compression, and 8 Mix Bus sends on every track
Mixbus has an optimized signal flow with 8 stereo Mix Buses and a master bus, all featuring Tone controls, Compression, Sidechaining, and Analog Tape Saturation simmulation
Stereo Master Bus that features Tone controls, Analog Tape Saturation,  K-meter, Stereo Correlation Meter, and Limiter
•Automatic plug-in delay compensation to support effects such as parallel compression without time misalignment
•Comprehensive "at-a-glance" metering with peak, peak hold, and compressor gain reduction visible on every track and bus


...and many more features .... http://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus.html

Metering is another aspect of DAW design that can make mixing more fluid. In the mix window, Mixbus provides the channel meter, compressor gain reduction meter, tape saturation meters, peak limiting meter, K-14 average level meter, stereo correlation meter, and a final peak limiting meter simultaneously. Compare this to other designs which require plug-ins from several manufacturers and several windows to find this important information. Mixbus provides everything you need to mix without distractions in an easy-to-use, one-window interface! Finally, mixing “inside the box” is a very sound philosophy.

Already using another DAW?

No problem. It’s a simple and quick process to export your audio files from your current DAW to Mixbus and use the exceptional Mixbus “True Analog Style Mixing” engine for your final mix.  No need to change your current workflow, just add convenience, ease, and sound quality by doing all your final mixing in Mixbus.

those other questions you have are probably answered in the link above.

==================

ok, I was really just killin' some time while neilmac has his supper.   
 :)
« Last Edit: August 28, 2015, 01:54:27 AM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Glenn

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2015, 12:25:23 AM »
Ok - here's the file for the A/B comparison for Reaper and Harrison ....
       which you choose it does not matter
       but I can hear one that's a bit warmer and fatter

To recap:
neilmac sent me two pieces he produced on Reaper.
Each selection was exported from Reaper twice...
-one with a Limiter in Reaper's Master slot
-one without a limiter, so that it could be placed in Mixbus and limited there.

The only difference in the files is the limiter on each file, and the fact that Harrison Mixbus has built in saturation and Limiting, which I didn't touch, - they are Mixbus's default settings.

The limiter in Mixbus came on only a few times for very brief moments through each piece. Neil mentioned that the limiter in Reaper was also set very lightly...so...

Once I limited the file in Mixbus, I imported it into Audacity where I placed the Reaper Limited file, and then had to LOWER the Reaper file by about 0.9 for John the Revelator, and by 0.7 for the surf tune in order to make it the same RMS (average loudness) for both files. 
They do sound the same in volume to my ears.

I think we're about as close as one can get to comparing Apples to Apples.

Both tunes are cut up into 7 or 8 second clips and repeated a few times so your ears can grab onto each section and hear it repeatedly to discern the details and nuances of each file.

There is an A/B order to each clip.... you'll hear "A" ... then the same 'time frame' clip from the 'B" file.... then a small space, then A/B again... you get the idea.

I noticed more of a difference in the Surf song than in the first. interesting.  8)

Some may have a preference for one, or the other, or .... perhaps not!  lol  :P
They do sound very close ... but ... there IS a difference, to my ears anyway.

 :)
this has been a lot of fun... I love this stuff!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 12:34:43 AM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Glenn

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2015, 10:16:29 PM »
let's take this Reaper vs MixBus-V3  A/B comparison a step further for another type of test, now with Mixbus's Tape Saturation module fully engaged and the on board comp and Limiter working, as in an actual mix situation.   8)

Neil has already put his file through Reaper's comps and Limiter etc ... so let's go head to head with an A/B comparison listen displaying more of what Mixbus is capable of.  8)

Don't get me wrong, I love Reaper, have been using it along with Mixbus for over a year now... and I'll probably keep using it for certain aspects of production, .... but Mixbus sure shines through when you listen to this comparison (MP3 attached below), with level matching of both files (so that one doesn't perceive 'louder' as being better).

Just to note, the 'Mastered' Mixbus file was lower in volume than the "Mastered" Reaper file! interesting ...  So I turned the Reaper file down (in Audacity) by 1dB so both files were the same RMS levels.  While both finished files were in Audacity, I then cut each section and repeated them so you can 'hear' the details and nuances of each mix ... A then B  ... space, - A then B again.

Which mix sounds 'better' to you? ... a very subjective thing... but one, to my ears anyway, is fuller, richer, has more umph and punch, although they are both the same level and came from the same source.

Some might say that Mixbus has an unfair advantage because it has on board processors, right on the face of the mixer console, just like an old school analogue mixer, (no hunting for vst's and going through menus for presets etc)  - The compressors, limiters, and Tape Sat processing are an integral part of what makes Mixbus what it is.   

sidenote:
In a way, it's like comparing two cars for performance, one has 4 cylinders, and the other is a 6 cyl  ... Someone says "let's compare them head to head. Should the 6 cylinder machine be stripped of 2 cylinders so it's a 'fair' comparison, apples to apples, so to speak? Would it still be the same car? I guess it would but it would be handicapped.   I'm just sayin'  :)

It's been an interesting discussion.

Ok, surf's up! 
MP3 of test 2 comparing Reaper and Mixbus with compressor and Sat and Limiting working.
 :)
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline neilmac

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2015, 01:20:50 PM »
Honestly I don't hear a lot of difference :P
I do, however, hear a "softness" in the second version, particularly in the guitar solo, not quite so harsh....
The drums seem a little bit "rounder" too....


It's very subtle if you ask me...not really enough to help with any decision making, if I was taking the plunge right now ;) lol


I think I'll do some experimentation with it too - different systems etc


Watch this space! :P

Offline Glenn

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Re: Reaper Vs Mixbus
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2015, 01:33:14 PM »
Honestly I don't hear a lot of difference :P
I do, however, hear a "softness" in the second version, particularly in the guitar solo, not quite so harsh....
The drums seem a little bit "rounder" too....


It's very subtle if you ask me...not really enough to help with any decision making, if I was taking the plunge right now ;) lol


I think I'll do some experimentation with it too - different systems etc


Watch this space! :P

That's cool Neil, - that's exactly what the 'difference' is supposed to be... SUBTLE!  :P  It's almost more of a 'feeling' rather than a 'hearing' of the difference. 

Actually, I noticed quite a difference in the files, once I locked onto that 'warmth' in the one file, it became easy to tell which was which.   The bass is fuller, and comes out in the mix more than the 'Reaper' mix IMO, and the drums are fuller.  Listen for the 'transients' and tails in the signal, in the snare too, - Plosives on the vocal mic are less pronounced (soft compression and limiting) and the overall track seems to have more depth, and more umph. IMO.  8)

subtle differences, yes...  8)
As you know, that's what 'Mastering' is all about, - it's not 'mixing', it's simply 'enhancing'... bringing out nuances, etc. 
Mixing deals with large 'changes' and tweaks, where "Mastering" deals with very small, minute changes, that have a cumulative effect on the overall finished product. 

cool,  :)

Quote
  Watch this space! :P

looking forward to what you find in your experimentation, and to your sharing it with us.
:)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 01:35:55 PM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)