As I posted back in April, Positive Grid created a bit of a splash with their new BIAS FX app when it was first released. The app is undoubtedly a step up in terms of the processing and sound from PG’s JamUp Pro (although that is still very good in its own right) and links brilliantly with BIAS Amp. For iOS guitar tone-heads, the BIAS combination is undoubtedly a very tempting one.
The app has had a number of updates since release, adding new features and a number of IAP expansion packs. However, a further update arrived on the App Store on New Year’s Eve taking the app to v.1.3.2.
This update brings a number of useful tweaks. There are a few bugs that have been squashed (for example a ‘popping’ noise made by the Cloner Chorus pedal has been dealt with). The Audiobus SDK has also been updated to provide improved compatibility under iOS9 while some tweaks to the underlying engine have improved overall performance.
However, there are two more obvious highlights in the new version. First, there is a free effect pedal – a Pitch Shifter – that you can unlock by simply liking the Positive Grid Facebook page. It includes both harmony and pitch-shift modes and works pretty well. Second, this update sees the addition of the Metal Signature Pack as a UK£7.99 IAP. This is a re-working of the same pack that I reviewed when it was released in its original JamUp Pro format. The various amp and effect models – there are 6 new amps and six new effects included within the pack – have all been substantially re-worked to take advantage of the superior modelling algorithms available in BIAS FX so the sound should be even better than in the original.
Positive Grid coped a bit of flack with BIAS FX was first released. This was nothing to do with the quality of the app nor the guitar tones it could create (on those fronts the app was very well received). However, in making BIAS FX a ‘new’ app and not simply an update to JamUp Pro, and not really offering a price incentive for JamUp users to ‘cross-grade’ over to BIAS FX, existing JamUp users (and especially those that had invested in lots of IAP content) were left feeling a bit unloved.
It’s a view I have some sympathy with (and a ‘complete my bundle’ option on BIAS FX for JamUp Pro owners might have been nice to see) but PG’s business model is, of course, PG’s own business. However, I do think they paid some attention to the complaints and we have seen a couple of very good sales on BIAS FX since where users could pick the base app up for a heavily discounted price (including right now; the app is currently selling for just UK£7.99).
The new IAP is also being handled in a pretty fair fashion. If you were a JamUp Pro user who had already owned the Metal Signature Pack in that app, you can get the BIAS FX version of the IAP for free. You might have to wait a day or two to get this free access though…. it requires an update to JamUp itself and that is currently still with the Apple elves waiting final approval. Hopefully it will be with us shortly…. and it is also worth noting that this does suggest that Positive Grid are still investing some time and effort in keeping JamUp Pro working for those users that are happy to stay with that app rather than move to BIAS FX…. that’s also got to be welcome.
If you are just making your first steps with mobile virtual guitar rigs, BIAS FX is undoubtedly a brilliant piece of software and would be a great place to start…. You can check out the full review here but, as BIAS FX is currently available for just UK£7.99, it represents very good value for money whether you opt for any of the additional IAP content or not.