BIAS FX 2 by Positive Grid is an award-winning amp and effects processor that’ll turn your PC or laptop into a fully customisable guitar rig – it is really, really cool. Here’s what you need to know…
What is BIAS FX – A Brief Introduction
We love our gear, here at ELECTRIKJAM. From cabinets to practice amps, amp hardware will always hold a special place in our hearts. But as a player, you cannot afford not to embrace technology these days. And when it comes to digital amp and effects software for your laptop and PC, BIAS FX is just about as good as it gets right now.
If you’ve never heard of BIAS FX before, allow me to introduce you.
BIAS FX is software that runs on your laptop or PC (or phone or tablet) that, when connected to your guitar, gives you access to thousands of amps, heads, and effects.
You can build out your own bespoke rigs, use presets, and effectively mess around with settings and things for days on end.
All you need to use this software is a cheap USB audio interface. Once you have this, you’re good to go.
BIAS FX will also emulate super-expensive guitars too, so if you only have a $150 Squire Telecaster, with BIAS FX you can make it sound like a Gibson Les Paul Custom or a proper Fender Telecaster. Or, if you’d prefer, a screaming hollow-body electric guitar like a Gretsch or something similar.
And prices start from just $49, making it a no-brainer – even if you’re not exactly swimming in cash!
When I first started using BIAS FX, I don’t think I left my office for about 9 hours. I was hooked from the moment I downloaded it. With BIAS FX installed on your PC, all you have to do is hook up your guitar – you’ll need an input, something like this – and start playing. From here, you can build and create your own guitar rigs to your exact specifications.
To really hit home just how cool BIAS FX is, you’d have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do what this software can do. No one can afford to run multiple cabinets and heads, or hundreds of pedals. Not only that, even if you could, you’d need somewhere to store them all. And if you live in a small place, as I do, the less hardware you have the better. This is where BIAS FX really shines – you’ll never need a hardware amp again. Unless you’re playing live, obviously.
BIAS FX 2, the latest version of the software, acts as a standalone guitar processor, so you don’t need any other guitar software or DAW. You can hook up BIAS FX to pretty much any recording software you have, so with respect to recording guitars at home, it makes life a lot easier – you no longer have to worry about microphones, amps, wires, and correct sound engineering. You can do all your guitar recording using BIAS FX.
That’s a basic overview of how BIAS FX 2 works. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for a detailed overview of all of BIAS FX’s features and capabilities below – we’ll cover everything from guitar effects, setting up virtual microphones on virtual cabinets, guitar emulation, building your own rigs, and much more…
BIAS FX 2 Features & Capabilities – What It Can Do
An All-In-One Guitar Effects Processor
Most players do not have a myriad of amps and pedals laying around their home. And most cannot afford to buy multiple pedals and amps. This is where BIAS FX 2 comes into play. Once you have BIAS FX 2 installed on your Mac or PC, you will have access to tons of classic and modern amplifiers, as well as hundreds of pedals and effects.
Everything is customisable too, from the pedal settings to the amp settings, so you can really dial-in your tone and make it yours. Once you have a solid base sound, you can then start adding in pedals to develop it. Again, you can add as much or as little as you like, the sky’s the limit in this context. And you can get all of this for less than $100 – Positive Grid has three plans for BIAS FX 2, check them out here.
The only downside to all of this is that, at first, it can feel slightly daunting. I mean, you have hundreds of potential options right at your fingers. Where the hell do you begin? Me personally, I like to come to BIAS FX 2 with a sound in mind, something I want to create. That way, I don’t get bogged down in the all the options. I know what sound I want and I set about creating it. Although, I must admit, I do love spending hours just messing around with different setups and effects.
Access To Thousands of Analog-Like Pedals
Any metal/doom guitarist worth their salt has an extensive pedal board which they use to craft unique sounding guitar tones. Yob, one of my favourite bands of all time, has a totally unique guitar sound and a large part of it comes from Mike’s mastery of his pedal board. Most people, however, cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on pedals.
And with BIAS FX 2, you don’t need to. BIAS FX 2 comes with hundreds of pedals, so you can test out and pair loads of different options. You have everything from Fuzz pedals to straight up distortion and everything else in between, including delay pedals, guitar looper pedals, and reverb. And these pedals can be paired with any number of different amps inside BIAS FX 2.
For this reason, BIAS FX 2 lends itself to any style of guitar playing from sludge to doom and metal, to things like funk and jazz. The sheer number of effects and potential rigs you can build is effectively endless, so you can build something to suit any style of music – from rock to pop and everything else in between.
Guitar Emulation Software
As I noted in the introduction, one of the coolest features of BIAS FX 2 – especially if your current guitar is a piece of shit – is its built-in guitar emulation software. With BIAS FX 2’s guitar emulator, you can basically recreate the sound of ANY guitar you’d like – something like a Gibson Les Paul 57’ Reissue for instance.
And this means that you can get a $5000 guitar sound from your $150 piece of junk. And if that isn’t one of the coolest things you’ve ever heard, nothing will impress you.
The benefits of this technology are myriad. You can use it to layer different sounding guitars in your recordings or, just for messing around. For instance, a Telecaster has a more twangy sound that a Les Paul which makes it great for clarity in fast parts. With BIAS FX 2’s guitar emulation, you can turn any guitar into a Les Paul and then, when that part is recorded, switch it over to a Tele.
And it’s not just the sound that is created either, you get full control over all the switches on the emulated model, so you can alter the resonance, the presence, the high, the mid, the low, and the blend, just as if you were actually playing the guitar itself. I’ve tested this feature out A LOT and it works beautifully. If you’ve ever wanted to know what a $5000 guitar sounds like, this is the cheapest way to do it!
Studio Rack Processors & Advanced DSP
Positive Grid has added a bunch of new studio rack processors to BIAS FX 2 that are designed to help at-home-players create studio-rich sounds and tones on their PC and Mac PCs.
Here’s what the company said about BIAS FX 2’s new studio rack features at launch: “From essential workhorse guitar effects processing tools to creamy vintage effects and sparkling modern outboard gear, BIAS FX 2’s eight brand-new studio rack processors—EchoreX HD, Tri-Chorus, Tube Compress, Spring Reverb, Wah and more—polish your project to sound like a state-of-the-art studio’s ultra-high resolution production.”
You also have access to advanced DSP emulation software that includes the new Echorec Drum Delay, Tube Multiband Compressor, and Rotary Speaker. You can then use these tools to add more dynamic range and wider-tone to your recordings. And it sounds killer, just like it does in the studio – only here it won’t cost you thousands of dollars to do it.
BIAS FX Has Exclusive Partnership With Celestion Cabs
Positive Grid inked a deal with Celestion Cabs to bring its innovative technology to BIAS FX 2. With this aspect of BIAS FX, you can setup a custom Celestion Cab inside BIAS FX and then start moving around virtual microphones to alter the sound, just as you would with a real amp in the studio. How cool is that? No wonder expert players like Pete Thorn and Scott Henderson swear by Celestion Cabs.
This means you will never have to Re-Amp a track again. You can simply cut and paste the track, and then use BIAS FX 2 to try out a different cabinet, or amplifier, until you nail the mix. Re-Amping used to take hours to do, and you would need to have physical amps and cabs to do it. Never again!
You can also use BIAS FX 2 this way if you already have a physical amp track that you want to modify. If you have recorded a track with a real amp, you can add effects, boosts, or even combine a virtual amp with your “real” amp track.
Effects patches and presets can also be carried over when doing virtual Re-Amping, so you never lose the original settings that you had dialed in. This can save hours of time when your guitar mix doesn’t “sit” right.
Access 50,000+ Preset Guitar Tones Inside ToneCloud
If you’ve used Positive Grid’s Spark Amp – I have one in my office, it’s sick – then you’ll know all about ToneCloud which is a cloud-based guitar tone solution where you can download and browse over 50,000 different guitar tones created by other Positive Grid users.
Want to sound like Adam Jones? There’s a preset for that. What about James Hetfield on Ride The Lightning? Yep, there’s one for that too. Basically, if you can thing of a guitar ton or specific player, there will be a guitar on ToneCloud that you can use and fully customise. I love downloading the tones used on famous albums and then tweaking them to see if I can make it a closer match.
ToneCloud is great, especially if you don’t like messing around with settings. Perfect for messing around, ToneCloud lets you instantly change your guitar’s tone without having to lift a finger. If you want a good doom metal guitar tone, for instance, just search for doom metal in ToneCloud and you’ll find hundreds of options. And best of all, once you’ve used a few presets, you see exactly what goes into creating different sounds, pedal-wise.
ToneCloud isn’t just about guitar tones though; you can also download custom pedal boards – like the one used by David Gilmore or Bring Me The Horizon. Once you’ve downloaded the user-created pedal board, you can tweak it to your exact specifications, adding and subtracting things. For newer players, this aspect of BIAS FX 2 is one of its best features. It is super-simple to get started and it makes a massive difference to how your guitar sounds.
Is BIAS FX 2 Worth It?
I mean, yeah – BIAS FX 2 is totally worth the asking price. If you’ve just read all of the above and you’re not impressed, I have no words for you. BIAS FX 2 is one of my favourite tools and, in my opinion, is an essential piece of software for guitar players of all levels of ability. You can use it to experiment, to learn more about how tones are created, and you can use it to record professional, studio-quality guitar tracks on your computer.
The price of entry, for what you get, is also exceptionally low, especially when you consider just how expensive hardware guitar processors are – they can range from anywhere from $300 to over $5000. With BIAS FX 2, you get all the stuff you get with hardware processors, just for a lot less and it runs on your PC.
Prices for BIAS FX start from just $50 – that is incredible value for money. This price-point certainly gives some of the popular free amp sims a run for the money. Most free sims are bare bones, and have no effects built in.
In order to get the most from BIAS FX 2, you will need a decent set of studio monitors (I use these; they’re relatively cheap and they sound great) and a PC/Mac that can handle the software. Most modern PCs and Macs will be able to run BIAS FX 2 without any issues. My iMac is from 2014 and BIAS FX 2 runs great on it.
I’ve been using BIAS FX for years now, and I honestly cannot imagine life without it. I love my gear and my hardware but when space is not something you have in your home, a solution like BIAS FX 2 makes a ton of sense. Also, it is a hell of cheaper than buying loads of different pedals and amps. If you play guitar, and you like sounding good, there is literally no reason why you shouldn’t be using and abusing BIAS FX 2.
BIAS FX 2 Packages Compared: Standard, Pro, & ELITE…
|30 Amps, 43 Effects, 70 Factory Presets|
Guitar Match – 4 Guitar Models
Looper/Backing Track Player
Download Thousands of Presets on ToneCloud®
|Everything in Standard|
60 Amps, 115 Effects, 130 Factory Presets
Guitar Match – 8 Guitar Models
14 HD Rack Units
Dedicated IR Loader
|Everything in Pro|
100 Amps, 122 Effects, 210 Factory Presets
Guitar Match – 20 Guitar Models
18 HD Rack Units
New Fuzz Modeler
New Time Modeler
New Harmonizer Modeler
FREE – BIAS Pedal software (included : Distortion, Delay, and Modulation )
How Good is BIAS FX 2?
BIAS FX 2 is amazing. As a guitar and effects processor, it is more or less unparalleled at this price point. You have hundreds of potential options with respect to cabs, amps, and pedals, as well as access to over 50,000+ guitar tones and pedal boards via ToneCloud. But that’s just the start, BIAS FX does way more cool stuff – and for the price, it is almost certainly worth buying.
How Much Does BIAS FX Cost?
Prices for BIAS FX start from just $49 a month for the standard package. For the Pro version, you’ll pay $99, and for the Elite version $149. If you’re just looking for something to mess around with, the standard package will be fine. But if you want to record or do anything more professional, you’ll need to go with either the Pro or Elite versions.
Is BIAS FX Free?
The mobile app for iPhone is, yes – you can download BIAS FX for iPhone for free. However, it lacks many of BIAS FX 2’s features. If you want a proper guitar effects and tone processor, you’ll need to go with BIAS FX 2 – and prices start from $50.
What Do You Need To Run BIAS FX?
With Mac, you’ll need the following:
OS X 10.11 or later
Format: Standalone and plugin: Audio Units, VST 2, AAX Native
4GB of RAM minimal, 8GB or more recommended
1GB free disk space
An Internet connection
And here’s the minimum spec for PC users:
Windows 8 or above
Format: Standalone and plugin: VST 2, AAX Native
4GB of RAM minimal, 8GB or more recommended
1.5GHz Dual core processor minimal, 2.0GHz Dual core or more recommended
500MB free disk space for per version (32 or 64 bits)
An Internet connection