Hands On with BIAS

Keith White
25 November, 2013
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At my live gigs I’m really happy with JamUp Pro, an ingenious and versatile iOS guitar modelling tool from the folks at Positive Grid. Recently I’ve been using the Share function to download a wide range of preset amp/FX setups to give me the sounds I need on stage. For the Elvis stuff there’s a slapback Scotty Moore preset, a Roland Jazz Chorus for the ’70s numbers and a nice clean delay when I need to lift my Strat above the mix. I didn’t think it could get any better. Then last week they released BIAS.

BIAS takes guitar modelling down to individual amp component level. I’ve had a good play with it but only sufficient to give me a general feel of how powerful this little beast is going to be once I get the hang of it all. So this is a heads up and I’ll give you more detail on how I’m travelling further down the track.

To get started I get a choice of 36 classic amps from the 1940s to the present with a range covering sweet acoustic, crunchy blues, metal and bass. Four factory preset amps in nine categories, showcasing the best of valve and solid state technology. I choose an amp and start to tinker. On a superficial level I can customise the look of the amp from a wide range of options. Then, as I work through the sound chain the potential options become infinite. The amp stages I can customise are preamp, tone stack, power amp, transformer, speaker cabinet and mic (for recording.) I have the option of dropping in a parametric equaliser after the preamp stage and again at the very end. But that’s not all. There are many other customisable features which I’m looking forward to trying out. A quick Snap function lets me save up to 8 setups for a quick comparison between rigs. When I’m done I can send my finished amp to JamUp Pro with a single touch where it is added to my amp library. Now that is really neat!

You don’t need to be an electronics expert to use BIAS. Just trust your ears. You’ll know the sound you want when it arrives. Incidentally I’ve already learnt quite a bit about the more technical aspects of amp construction just by using the app.

To learn more go over to the Positive Grid website. They’ve got a nice three-part video from Steve Senes which will give you a quick overview of some of the things that BIAS is capable of.

And there’s more to come! I’ve been in touch with Calvin Abel, Product Manager at Positive Grid and he’s given me a peek into the future:

“We will be launching ToneCloud for BIAS next month, so users can create and share their custom amps,” Abel said.

“We think BIAS is a platform, more than a product, think Spotify for tone, tone on the cloud. So, once you are in BIAS, you will have access to thousands of artist/user created amp models, and then we will build social utilities so you can like, follow, comment, etc. This is the idea of building an open platform in this guitar amp/fx space. Instead of buying a product to get 36 amp models, now you get the whole cloud.”

 

BIAS  $20.99 from the iTunes Store. Watch this space.

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