SCORE: 6 / 10
Positive Grid came into the amp sim world with a bang. Everywhere you looked there was a youtuber or audio blogger talking about how amazing Bias FX and Bias Amp were. I sat there thinking “hmmmm well all of these reputable people couldn’t be wrong, this has to be incredible right?”
They rolled out these programs with custom presets featuring presets and endorsements from popular guitarists and youtube guys. The big seller being a tone cloud feature where you could go for tones made by the aforementioned hyped artists and bands. I remember it all very vividly because the G.A.S was real for this product. So I bought it.
Positive Grid have some great graphics people and they know how to make a handy and easy flowing layout so it really has that going for it. The graphics for this one could use a kick in the pants but I assume the time is being spent getting Bias FX 2 ready to roll out.
This is not professional quality software by any means but it’s not supposed to be. I would put Bias FX on par with the Toontrack EZmix guitar expansions as far use and quality go. So it’s not bad but it does have the same hiss that has been my nemesis with Positive Grid plugins across the board. It’s meant more for a quick traveling riff rig or a little portable recording situation rather than a professional studio solution.
I will say that while this product is not a professional grade product, on the iPad it can be a good resource for recording riffs, making easy demos or just riffing an afternoon away. The tones they give you are good enough for that purpose and the suite provides a lot of possibilities tone so it’s easy to nail down your ideas on the road or just on the go in general. This factor earned Bias FX a little more of a score than Bias Amp 2.
The amp selection is pretty decent but like Bias Amp 2, there’s really almost zero authenticity in the amps provided. I say again, if you roll out an amp sim as representing a specific amp, you need to ensure at least the signature tone characteristics are there, otherwise what’s the point?
Positive Grid really pushed the hi-gain elements of this plugin and sure, you can have some fun sitting around jamming on it but when you try to crank the gain up, things start to get thin, noisy and plastic sounding. I tried processing but things just get even thinner. I had to keep the gain under 3-4 to keep things reasonable. I had to figure I was probably processing it way more than the average hobbyist so I moved on.
The pedals are worth a mark because they look cool and they sound OK so they are definitely worth mentioning. They don’t save the plugin but they don’t hurt it either. You can make some pretty cool signal chains with the pedals just don’t try stacking tube screamers or adding too many pedals. Keep the plugin within it’s abilities.
The impulses could be better but they get you where you want to go as long as you aren’t expecting too much. I tried a few of my own and they did improve the tone enough to add at least a little warmth.
UPS / DOWNS:
I will give it some credit for being a really good program to put on a mobile device for the purpose of creating demos. You can have a lot of fun with it that way. I know several guitarists that use it on their iPad on the road, in the van, in their office and even while camping. For that, it deserves some respect.
I feel like Bias 2 could really be a game changer if it’s done right so I guess we will see.