Let's talk Positive Grid's Bias Amp / FX!

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Guitarjon, Dec 27, 2017.

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  1. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys!

    Time to talk about Positive Grid's Bias amp and FX plugins.

    Up until a while ago I tried and owned many guitar amp modeling platforms including the Axe FX, Helix, Kemper and many more...
    I had never tried any of the Positive Grid amp modelers so I felt it was time to see what the fuss was all about.
    I decided to get Bias amp pro and Bias FX pro to get the full experience.
    I also picked up the metal pack for Bias FX since I love high gain tones so much.

    The whole concept of editing or designing your amps is a cool.
    It's not unique but Bias amp seems to have it's own approach, or at least, it looks a little different.
    There are plenty of options in this program that lets you customize your amp tones.
    After you 'made' your own amp you can also use it in Bias FX which I think is cool.
    As you may already know, Bias amp doesn't feature any effects, only the amps.
    Bias FX on the other hand features many effects but it doesn't allow you to edit the amps.
    That's why it's handy that you can import the edited amps.
    It does leave me wondering why they just couldn't do all of this in one plugin...
    Of course they need to make money so I guess that's the main reason.

    Bias FX allows for a dual amp setup and cool routing options.
    Many effects can be added and of course you can customize the order of the effects etc.
    Feature-wise Bias FX has most things you'd probably want out of an all in one amp modeling/fx platform.

    But now let's talk about the most important thing.
    How does it sound?

    I'm going to be completely honest here because I don't think I'll be of much use if I don't.
    In the end I was able to get some pretty good an convincing sounds as you'll hear in the video below.
    So there are definitely ways to make this platform sound good.
    However, it took quite some effort in some cases and this happened too often for my taste.
    In most cases this had to do with a kind of spikey harshness that some of the amps seem to have.
    There seem to be some harsh frequencies going on in the 1 to 4k area and they can be hard to tame.
    Usually the solution was to just pick another amp or dial it out by using another IR.
    Sometimes the eq settings also helped with this of course, but sometimes the eq tonestack was helpless.

    A good example of amps that exhibited this problem were the Rectifier amp models.
    I'm a huge fan of Mesa Boogie rectifier amps so I know how they should sound.
    They definitely don't sound harsh by default in those areas.
    I know, some people feel like those amp are too 'loose' or fizzy, but not ear-piercing harsh.
    Having said that, some amps still sound pretty good.
    An example of good sounding amps were the metal expansion amps by Ola, Keith Merrow and Jeff Loomis.
    The only drawback for me is that those amps don't let you turn off the cabinets.
    The cabs are fixed so you're not allowed to choose your own IR's.
    Too bad because this does limit the tonal versatility.
    I'm also not a huge fan of the stock cabs so it would be great if Positive Grid also added a dedicated IR loader into the platforms.

    A representative of Positive Grid has recently acknowledged this issue of this harshness recently in one of my threads and he has assured us that they're developers are looking into this.
    I think that this is a good sign and it shows that this company is willing to listen to their customers.
    Also, maybe it's just me so I'd love to hear more about your experiences with this platform.

    How do YOU think this plugin sounds?
    And if you have any cool clips or videos, please share them here!

    I definitely don't want to knock Bias because I really think the concept is cool and there definitely are some great sounds in there.
    Just expect to have to put some time into getting some convincing tones.
    Perhaps more so than with other platforms...

    Here is a video of the platform in 9 different styles:

     
  2. vertibration

    vertibration SS.org Regular

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    Bias sounds very fizzy and harsh, and weird with imported IR's. Ive been using it since it came out, and it sounds good in a mix 2 times out of 10 for me. S-Gear is my go to for everything. However, I think positive grid needs to revamp the whole plugin. The GUI to make custom amps as far as grills, and tolex and stuff looks rough. The knobs look rough. Their graphics team did a shoddy job in that regard. The amp match feature is their bread and butter. Its not perfect, but it could sound good at times if done right. They dont make the kind of engine improvements that directly affect sound quality that other companies do. The issue is that every knob you turn, and button you push is loaded with a fizzy tone. Its weird and hard to describe but its almost like everything sounds like a tin can. You really gotta EQ out the fizz

    P.S. It does have a dedicated IR Loader, are you using a crack?
     
  3. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    Dude I never use illegal software.
    I paid quite some cash for these plugins too.
    Anyway, maybe I forgot or overlooked the internal IR loader.
    I just used an external one and bypassed the stock cabs.
     
  4. zarg

    zarg guitar nerd

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    I tried BIAS FX a lot too, very fizzy most of the times. I have 2 presets that actually sound very good, an EQ matched 6505 and a matched 5150 with an ownhammer impulse in IR loader. But overall I'm not very happy with the tones. I really like the preset sharing, it should be like that on every ampsim.

    For fun I then opened up Amplitube 4 again and man... it sounds just so much better. I have a really good Mark IV preset and a really insane awesome 5150 profile that I love and play the crap out.... sad for the money I spent on BIAS FX but it's just not as good as some other options.
     
  5. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    Been using their iOS stuff since FX launched in 2015; haven’t looked back since buying an Axe FX in November. In my case, the Bias stuff only holds its own as an ultraportable iPad rig. As a VST, it’s grossly overpriced and inferior to something like Helix Native.
     
  6. rahnvu

    rahnvu SS.org Regular

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    I have always wanted to like it, bur after giving it close to 10 separate chances, i always end up uninstalling. Never liked the tones i got and i don't think a plugin designed to be an amp sim/amp designer should rely on an eq match to become useable. There are way too many great alternatives for that to be the selling point of Bias.

    I even prefer some LePou amps over it.

    #harsh
     
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  7. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    I saw all the hype back in the day and at asome point saw it was on sale. Luckily I opted to download the demo first to see what kind of sounds to expect and boy was that a smart decision. After several hours of tweaking, with the continuous cutoffs of the demo version, my results left a lot to be desired so I never bothered again. Tried he demo versions of Amplifire and boom after a few minutes a decent tone. The same with the Lepou plugins.
     
  8. ThomasUV777

    ThomasUV777 SS.org Regular

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    Tried it and had applied for a refund after. Like others said, it's quite fizzy and takes some time to get a tone to my liking. Meanwhile, my axe fx 2 gets to that point pretty fast. However, Bias has great potential and I think after some tweaks this software could be a must-buy.
     
  9. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    Such as disabling refunds.
     
  10. sezna

    sezna undermotivated

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    Spent a long time with Bias, convinced it was better because I paid for it. Eventually went back to Lepou after fighting with Bias for a good gain tone for hours, and loved it so much more haha.
     
  11. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

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    I have been digging Bias tons lately. The product has been continuously improved and PG has made great strides over the last year or so. It is in my top 3 plugins right now, and using the Amp match feature has gotten me huge tones that work on the desktop and are portable to mobile devices.

    I have been critical of PG in the past but I think they are on the right track now and after putting in the work I have some presets I love. It does take more time to dial than some of my other plugs but I was willing to put in more time on it because of the mobile features and I feel like it has been a good return on investment.
     
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  12. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I grabbed BIAS FX Std edition as soon as I played the demo when it was first released. In comparison to Line 6 POD Farm it was leaps and bounds higher quality and I felt like I had to actively work to dial in a bad sound, lol! Overall I found Bias FX to be great for an all-in-one VST at a reasonable price (at the time of its release).

    With that being said, I will say the cab modelling was always a downer for me. I felt that they only had two cabs that weren't fizzy (a 2x12 blue and the 4x12 v30, I believe?), but I was able to get any tone I wanted from these two cabs so it wasn't a big deal for me. More recently, I tried using an IR Loader and found that my tone improved dramatically in realism; the problem was that now I couldn't use any of the timed/mod/reverb effects. PG offers an IR Loader but only if you buy BIAS Amp Pro, which is just way too expensive. Soon after, I tried some other VST's and liked a number of them (Amplitube 4 with the Mesa and Soldano packs especially). I was going to pull the trigger on Amplitube but tried out Line 6 Helix Native before doing so and was very impressed not just with the high gain stuff but also with the mid gain and clean tones; needless to say I went with Helix Native.

    Overall Bias Fx served me well for a few years, but I've definitely found there are plenty of better alternatives.
     
  13. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    Anything come to mind?
     
  14. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    I have Bias FX, and it's a tool like any other.

    I have Helix Native, S-Gear, and an AxeFX. Bias still gets used for certain specific things. I honestly find that it's fizzy harsh grossness is an asset in my writing arsenal

    I use it on my iPad for portable jamming as well (My Axe is in a fuck off big rack). I also use it when I'm demoing or writing and I have a tonal idea in mind that I want to start as a basis, and don't want to tweak and just throw a quick placeholder on, like "Oooo this could do well with a classic metallica tone *proceeds to look up classic Metallica patches*"

    The other reason I like it on demos, is that the way I demo is that I rough demo, I proper demo, and then I do the real recording. In the proper demo I'll use the axefx and then I might use it in the final, or use real amps. But with the rough demo I can't be assed dialing in patches on the AxeFX unless I have something specifically in mind - and even if I did I still need to set up the DI as well if I want the unmodified sound to work out what the hell I was playing.

    The bias sound takes no post processing really well, and in a rough mix, where there's no real processing on anything, I find it holds up really well to show what I'm thinking because of its tonal characteristics.

    Native and S-Gear sound too good for that purpose, and S-Gear takes almost as much fiddling with to get tones I want as The AxeFX does. Native is fucking sweet, but for those rough demos, it's again too nice.

    But yea, fuck using it on a final mix
     
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  15. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    It got a bit ridiculous when they paid a ton of djent/proggy artists to "demo" it and give it a 10/10 rating to build up hype which resulted in "but xxx uses it" responses to any criticism.

    I don't think EQ match should ever be seen as a plus feature for a product in regards to sound since it has nothing to do with the quality of the amp modelling.
     
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  16. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    Better get used to it, old man. Here’s a HeadRush for you to review and keep. Just make sure the video isn’t scheduled to publish until between the 25th and 28th, and add tags for whatever anyone else is publishing during that time.
     
  17. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

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    That fizzy/harshness can be EQ'd out pretty easily using a chain of parametic EQs. That said, two feature I'd really like to see BIAS explore would be cab customization and an extended selection of mics.
     

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