Welcome to my BIAS Amp vs. BIAS FX comparison! These are two guitar amp simulator plugins from Positive Grid.
Like you, I was confused as crap between two at first! But I'm going explain the differences so that you can make a decision on which one's best for you.
You'll hear my amp tones from both plugins, side-by-side. And I'll share which one I prefer, and why.
Oh, and I'm also going to show you how to use BIAS Amp with BIAS FX (it's actually pretty simple!).
Difference Between BIAS Amp and BIAS FX
Let's get right into the meat and potatoes (now I'm hungry). Both BIAS Amp 2 and FX plugins are similar, and just at a glance, they look the same.
The main difference between BIAS Amp and FX is:
- (Amp) has more amp features but no effects.
- (FX) has limited amp features with a hefty array of stomp box and rack mount effects.
It's not necessary to have both plugins, but you can indeed use them together. And I'll show you exactly how to do that. But first, let's get deeper into BIAS Amp and FX as you may find you're ok with just one of them.
What is BIAS Amp (and BIAS Amp 2)?
BIAS Amp 2 focuses solely on the amps by replicating all of the capabilities of an amp rig. This goes beyond jut messing around with the amp and cab/mic settings. You can edit tubes, transformers, preamp, power amp, and all the settings that comes with those.
This plugin comes with a good amount of amp simulators from most popular amps (Fender, Marshall, Orange, Peavey, Mesa, ENGL, Bogner...to name a few). And the interface has them split up into categories:
- High Gain
The game changing feature of Positive Grid BIAS Amp is the ability to capture and match your tone from your real amp. You can mic your guitar amp, feed it into the BIAS Amp plugin, and save that tone within the plugin (and edit from there).
There's also a deep editing capabilities with the cabinets, speakers, and mics.
*BIAS Amp 2 is an upgraded version of BIAS Amp. There's a Celestion impulse package available with this. You can read (and hear) more about that on this post: BIAS Amp 2 with Celestion Impulses.
What is BIAS FX?
BIAS FX is similar to BIAS Amp in the fact that you have the same list of amps (give or take a little) to choose from. But it does not give you the amp matching feature or the deep editing capabilities, although you can still modify the amp and cab settings.
The highlight of BIAS FX is it contains several stomp boxes and rack mount effects (hence 'FX' - hey, I wonder if Positive Grid realizes this is a pun?). The effects categories include:
- Modulators (chorus, flanger, phaser, etc.)
And many of the effects you'll see are modeled after popular brands, such as the Screamer 808OD modeled after the Ibanez Tube Screamer. In fact, this is my go-to BIAS FX stompbox for my metal tones.
*You can hear more BIAS FX tones in my post: BIAS FX Metal Tones.
BIAS Amp vs. BIAS FX
Alright, now let's a metal tones test to compare BIAS Amp vs FX! You're about to see (and hear) a side-by-side comparison in the video below.
A few notes about the video...
- Amp settings are identical in both plugins
- I did not do any deep editing in BIAS Amp
- I did not add any major effects in BIAS FX
I needed to make sure this was a fair comparison.
Video Comparison: Metal Tones
So which tone did you like best? The BIAS Amp or BIAS FX? An even better question is could you tell the difference between the two!
As I mentioned in the video, I used the same method of recording for both tones. I'll share some more details...
- 2 rhythm tracks for each tone
- each track was hard panned (track 1 = left, track 2 = right)
- BIAS Amp amp used = Triple Treadplate
- BIAS FX amp used = '92 Treadplate
- Cabinets used = standard 4x12 Treadplate cab
- Mics used = C414 sim on left panned track, SM57 sim on right
- No effects used for the amps (reverb, delay, additional EQ, etc)
This was indeed the raw tones for the Triple Treadplate (Amp) and '92 Treadplate (FX).
I had to go back and listen really close to tell the difference. And if I didn't know that this was a comparison, I probably wouldn't notice any differences.
What this tells me is that either plugin will work great. The decision comes down to what you want out of the plugin.
Are you satisfied with the amps and FX and want the effects? Or do you want to get into the deep editing and have the amp matching capabilities of BIAS Amp?
**You can read more about both plugins on Positive Grid's website here: https://www.positivegrid.com/
My Personal Favorite and Story
I started out with BIAS FX and was very happy with that. But I wanted to see if I could get different tones from BIAS Amp.
I'll be honest...I was a bit frustrated that I had to buy 2 separate plugins. That's been my gripe with Positive Grid. It's like 'Dudes, just make ONE freakin' plugin that does it all!!'
Anyway, at that point if I could've gone back in time, I would not have purchased BIAS Amp. I found that the deep editing was overwhelming (I'm more of a plug-in-and-play dude). BIAS FX did everything I needed.
However, everything changed when Positive Grid released BIAS Amp 2. And it had nothing to do with the amps. It had everything to do with the CELESTION Classic pack that came with the elite package.
Since, I've been using the BIAS FX effects with the BIAS Amp 2 amps and Celestion speaker impulses. Those Celestions were a serious game changer, at least for me.
**UPDATE: The new version of BIAS FX 2 now allows you to the Celestion speakers! Here's more features: https://www.positivegrid.com/bias-fx/
How to Use BIAS Amp 2 with BIAS FX
One of my pain points with Positive Grid was that I wanted to be able to use the BIAS Amp amps with the BIAS FX effects. I was stumped on this at first but finally figured it out.
So I want to show you step-by-step how to use BIAS Amp 2 with BIAS FX!
- Make sure you have installed both BIAS FX and BIAS Amp (2)
- Open a new track in your DAW/studio (I use Presonus Studio One Pro)
- Insert the BIAS FX plugin in that track
- Open BIAS FX
- On the lower left you'll see the option BIAS Amp 2
- Click on that option and it will bring up those amps
- Select the amp you want and it will be pulled into your BIAS FX interface
- Start playing some metal!
Here's a video I made that will help you as well...
BIAS AMP with FX Video
BIAS Amp 2 vs a Real Amp?
I'm sure at first most will jump to saying things like:
- 'Nothing beats a real amp, bro!' (the 'bro' is optional)
- 'A plugin can't possibly give you the same feel as an amp!'
- 'Amp sims sound too processed!'
And much of this may be true. But before you jump to that conclusion, I have a way for you to put those tones to the test.
The Tone Challenge
Alright, so here's a challenge for you. And the ultimate goal here is to get an un'BIAS'ed opinion (couldn't resist that pun!)...
- Record a short song with multiple guitars using BIAS Amp 2 (or BIAS FX)
- Now record that same song miking a real amp
- Dump the files down to mp3s, but do not name them 'BIAS Amp tone' or BIAS FX tone' - name them something unrelated (of course write down which one is which)
- Don't listen to these files for a week
- After that week goes by, listen to both songs
Which tone did you truly like the best? What did your ears gravitate more towards? Which one sounded more captivating?
Then go back and look where you wrote down which is the plugin and which is the amp. You may be surprised on what you chose!
Keep it Metal,