I don’t know who the wizards behind the curtain at Positive Grid are, but their new BIAS FX 2 Mobile app offers guitar players a one-two combo of stellar amp and guitar simulation that would make the Great Oz himself melt into a cold, swirling digital funnel of 0’s and 1’s.
We recently reviewed the Positive Grid Spark amp, which is a ‘Swiss Army knife of sounds.’ The 40-watt amp is full of great guitar tones, amps, effects pedals, backing tracks and more. The engine behind those tones is the manufacturer’s BIAS FX sound library.
The BIAS FX 2 Mobile effects app for iOS phones/tablets is a major update from their first iteration, offering a revamped guitar effects processor with a higher-resolution DSP engine and multiple tonal improvements and amp/effect choices, a looper for creating tracks to jam along, and GarageBand compatibility.
The big update is a new addition: the ability to play whatever guitar you have in your hand, and with a few taps on your iOS device, transform it into another model. Say what!? Yes, you can turn your Strat into a Les Paul or vice versa, plus a myriad of other guitars. And BIAS FX 2 Mobile goes deep and granular with possibilities, outlining the neck, fretboard, year, body and pickups that the chosen guitar is emulating.
BIAS FX 2 Mobile is offered at four different levels, each offering more sounds: Free, Standard, Professional and Elite. We reviewed the Elite level, which has 106 guitar and bass amp presets, 141 Effects, 45 Cabinets, 84 Factory Presets and 20 Guitar Match models. There’s also a robust user-generated ToneCloud with thousands of user presets and artist selections. Positive Grid often runs special offers, especially during the holiday seasons, which makes it affordable to purchase a higher level at a lower price.
Setup is done through an iOS compatible audio interface, such as an IK iRig, Apogee Jam, PreSonus Audio Box or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. A simple balance adjustment of the input and output volume levels is fairly quick and then you’re ready to dive in.
BIAS FX 2 Mobile gives you friendly, familiar looking ‘here are pedals and amps that you know’ visuals, with knobs that are smooth and easy to manage. Gone are the old days of algorithms or menu screens that older virtual amps had. Here, they’re literally the pedals you would find on your pedalboard. Everything is laid out in an easy to understand visual format. If you want an amp that sounds close to what an artist’s rig setup is, a few choices are here for you. And BIAS FX 2 Mobile goes deep beyond standard amp selections, with a few boutique amps included.
Want to hear how a different pedal or amp sounds in your setup? A simple double tap on the icon opens up the selections for you to sample. Want to change the routing order? It’s an easy drag and drop and you can move pedal order to your liking. If you’re a stickler for a particular speaker cabinet, say a 4×12 Greenback 25, it’s there for you to sample and choose.
As mentioned, Guitar Match is the big addition to BIAS FX 2 Mobile. For the guitar tone matching, BIAS FX 2 learns the source guitar and then by clicking on the picture within the app it matches that guitar’s signature sounds. The setup time for Guitar Match is involved, matching each string level by tracking at different frets, so patience is needed. I’d be certain that future updates will smooth this process out.
How does it all sound? Pretty convincing I must say. We used a Strat and a Les Paul Jr. and ran through different selections of guitar modeling, amp and effect setups. The tones were very good and clean up nicely. Tube amps reacted and felt like a tube amp. The amps have characteristics of the amps they’re emulating and it’s easy to go in and get the sound you want right away.
Who is this not for? Anyone who doesn’t own an iOS device is out of luck. That being said, BIAS FX 2 is also available in a desktop version, for both Mac and PC. Guitar strummers who rely on other players to accompany them with textural sounds will be lost and find BIAS FX 2 Mobile is overkill. And though the workflow routine is pretty straightforward, anyone who is not accustomed to the virtual world of guitar sounds may be intimidated at first. But there’s a free version with less to offer, which means a more focused path to learning how BIAS FX 2 Mobile can help your creative process.
By using BIAS FX 2 Mobile, songwriters looking to demo new material have a world of quality sound choices literally at their fingertips right at that inspiring moment of a song’s creation. Your newest song can take on a whole different feel and vibe by spending some time with all this plugin offers and sampling different selections to get just the right vibe you want.
Standard: MSRP $19.99 $11.99 (40% off)
Professional MSRP $49.99. $29.99 (40% off)
Elite MSRP $99.99 $59.99 (40% off)
Learn More – https://bit.ly/2UmuYVT (goes to the FX 2 Mobile product page)
Download Now – https://biasfx2.onelink.me/b3zs/ae64ed04 (goes to the App Store page)
Review assistance: Nick Ryan Piescor and Christian Seaman