When Positive Grid first started in 2013, they were a small company focusing on simple music apps, their specialty being in guitar amps and effects simulations. They have since grown into a large company made up of sound designers, engineers, programmers, musicians, and more all dedicated to digital sound emulation software.
Basically these companies take all the old and modern guitar amps and effects pedals, and then recreate them digitally so you can use them in a DAW recording.
I remember buying the Positive Grid app in the early days, it was very similar to IK Multimedia and other guitar effects apps.
If you honestly want to know which one is better it all depends, they all have strong and weak points. However the most recent Positive Grid software released is called BIAS FX 2 (14 Day Free Trial here) and it not only sounds incredible it has brought me back again to really liking this company.
If you have been a little tech reluctant you may have missed some of these cool apps that reproduce the sounds of recording studios and live shows over the years. If you always dreamed of having the exact guitar tone of a late 60's psychedelic rocker, well this software makes it easy.
By reverse engineering old technology and digitally reproducing various vintage electronics, the programmers can make all these sounds so easily accessible.
And yes there is the old argument of whether analog or digital is better, of course most of the time analog is way better! But can you honestly afford to buy every effects pedal and old boutique amplifier you want?
If the answer is no then digitally reproduced effects are a wonderful thing to take advantage of.
The best part about software like BIAS FX 2 is what they can do for creativity. Having access to hundreds of classic and modern guitar sounds is a boon for coming up with new ideas.
Again all companies have their upsides and downsides. It is similar to the analog vs digital argument; your ears will be the final judge. Most companies provide free demos, so it is wise to load them up in your DAW of choice and see which sounds the best for your needs.
If you are a gigging musician than you are likely aware of the problems software can have in a live situation. However for home recording use you really can't go wrong with most any amps and effects simulators.
Your biggest problem with this kind of software is latency. Depending on your computer or tablet you are using it will need to have the processing power to handle the guitar and the digital effects. Latency can kill the fun of these apps very quickly.
Plucking your guitar string and hearing the overdrive and fuzz a second late is very annoying! If it occurs, you will need to troubleshoot your computer and software and hope it's not a matter of needing a better machine!
The new BIAS FX 2 software is an extension of their BIAS FX mobile app and the BIAS Amp designer. The latter is a pretty cool piece of software for those who really like to slave over the perfect sound, you can really dive deep into making your own specific amp!
BIAS FX 2 is essentially a pedalboard heaven. Almost any amp, cab, stomp box, rack effect, or pedal you can imagine can be found in this software.
All the older sounds from the early versions have been updated to sound as realistic as possible. And that isn't just on the press release, as soon as I gave the demo a whirl it was very obvious how much better it sounded from the older versions.
And you get access to more sounds than just the specific amp and effects pedals provided as BIAS allows users to customize their sounds and save them for other users of the software. You can essentially plug your guitar into BIAS FX 2 and emulate almost any sound you want.
Of course there are few different packages to purchase depending on what you may want to do with it.
The standard edition comes with 30 amps, 45 pedals, and 60 factory presets. The user interface is very simple and is for those who may not be sure how much they will use the software; they are maybe just looking to noodle around and have some fun.
The Pro edition has 60 amplifiers, 100 effects pedals, and 120 factory presets. It also allows for MIDI automation of the different parameters on each amp and pedal. If you are looking to get a little more out of this software and may use it for recording than this is the package to buy.
The Elite has 100 amplifiers, 100 effects, and over 200 factory presets. You also get all the new effects and racks available along with access to the user made ToneCloud pedals. If you find this software is perfect for getting new ideas and recording great songs than this Elite package will be pricey but suitable for your needs.
You will immediately find that amp and effects software is incredibly easy to use. The best way to start is using factory presets and a good set of headphones or speakers. If it is your first time using effects simulator software, you will be pretty amazed at how realistic it all sounds.
In fact you will likely wish you had access to this software many years ago as it is pretty awesome.
And that is the funny thing about the analog vs digital argument. If you could build a time machine and take software like BIAS FX 2 back to any studio in the old days, the musicians would love it! They would gush over the fact that they had a near unlimited program that would allow them to create any sound they could imagine
! At the end of the day BIAS FX 2 will give you so many new ideas it will simply make you want to practice and play your guitar more.
Which is never a bad thing!
To try the software out, free for 14 Day, jump to Positive Grid website now.
Share with your fellow guitar players!