Currently on the App Store For: £10.49
Preface: In the past The Pro Audio Web Blog team has owned scores of iOS Apps that have been promptly cast aside from lack of an intuitive user interface, or a slow experience that inhibits workflow. However, recently Positive Grid came to the fore with a brand new amp modeller named BIAS. BIAS is reasonably priced, for what it is, on the App Store for £10.49. You may initially gawp at this price in comparison to cheaper, or free, alternatives, but when you discover what this little beauty can do, you will really see why this is a serious contender for your cold hard cash.
User interface: Following download and install onto only an iPad device, double tap the BIAS App icon, and immediately the user interface oozes artistic flare with beautiful retina graphics. Don’t worry because this App will work with all previous generation iPads, it just may run a little slower. It looks professional, clean, crisp, detailed, and intuitive even though
Above: An In-App View of BIAS By Positive Grid
though the App has hundreds of features. Now we won’t go in to all of these because it would take all day, but the beauty of this App means that they are simply available upon exploration without looking overly complex.
The user interface uses control dials that are a joy to use. Unlike many other Apps that feature frustrating or fiddly unpredictable gestures to control, BIAS have coded this App to make these settings easy on the finger; frustration free. Simply put, they work flawlessly. On the floating toolbar that is located towards the top of the screen you will notice easy to access save functions, I/O (Input/Output) utilities, App info, and a social toolbar for Positive Grid.
Sound Quality and Function: Although there are many perfectly useable presets that come bundled without any extra downloading, we found creating our own sounds to be a joy. To get to the stage where you would want to make your own sound you might want to have a play around with the presets. From here you can alter the parameters to create a custom sound that you know works best for your choice of genre and/or input equipment, remembering that you don’t have to just use this App for Guitars, Bass, or any other piezoelectric pickup device, you can input line level signals (with the correct amount of gain) to attain a grungy type sound etc.
Navigating your way around the App when creating custom presets is made even simpler by the fact that you are shown the exact signal path of each effect that is input into the chain. This is great as no attribute is fixed, for example you can equalise your reverb or place anything anywhere. The accessible features on user interface are labelled as Amp Head, Cabinet Type, Preamp, EQ, Tone Stack, Power Amp, a Transformer selection (very rare to see), Tube Type, Breath, Microphone type and placement. The two microphones that are on offer are the classic Shure SM57, and the versatile AKG C414. There is just so much detail and thought that has been put into this App that it sets itself miles in front of the current competition, and when saving your signal path or settings, you can quick-save up to eight presets on any single switch-board for easy programming of sets which expand this apps abilities into the live realm very quickly. The addition of a noise gate for cleaning up the input signal is a feature that most apps either get right or very wrong. The nature of the Gate within the BIAS App gates the sound well enough to cut line signal noise to leave the original sound unaltered.
Throughout our use of this App we have found the sound that it produces to be in the region that we could call ‘Class A’. You can create sounds that are as complex as you may need for practically any genre. In fact the sound that this App can offer you is much better than you might find with any other standalone digital device. If you are thinking of getting one of those products then saves yourself time, go for an iPad (2 or above), download BIAS, use an input device such as the iRig HD or Pro, and you will be away with reliability and a user interface that just makes sense; not wastes your time with frustration.
Conclusion: Simply put, the BIAS App is by far the best one that we have ever used on the iPad. Being able to not just to load a preset, but sculpt a tone from scratch is amazing. We have found it to be intuitive, responsive, flexible, and yet produce an outstanding sound all for such a low price. This is an App that every musician should have; it really is incredible. With this noted The Pro Audio Web Blog awards the Positive Grid BIAS App with a very well deserved five stars.
Edd Harris & Chris Pavey