Positive Grid are well known within the iOS music making world for their highly regarded guitar rig/amp modelling software with BIAS Amp and BIAS FX being the current flagship products. Having started with iOS, they are, however, one of the few iOS developers that have attempted to ‘go the other way’ and expand their product line into the desktop world. Equally, they have also moved into hardware and their latest product – the BIAS Head amplifier – is an ambitious undertaking, especially as they are entering a market already occupied by some established big-hitters such as Line 6 and Kemper. BIAS Head has, however, been getting very positive reviews….
They have also stepped outside the pure guitar-based products with, for example, the Final Touch iOS mastering app and some rather nice processor plugins for the desktop. However, on their website, there are also details on an upcoming project – AI Drums – a new sort of virtual drummer app for iOS and that was originally slated to arrive in Q4 of 2016 (doh!). While things may have slipped somewhat on that front, the project does appear to still be live and the interesting thing about AI Drums is that it ‘listens’ to your guitar performance (play a riff or strum some chords) and will then attempt to cough up a suitable drum part….
…. all of which made the appearance of GoBeats from Positive Grid – it arrived as a free app on the App Store back in August – rather a surprise because it is an app into which you strum a few chords or play a riff and it attempt to generate a suitable drum part for you to then play along to. Anyway, I reviewed the initial release of GoBeats so feel free to check out the details (such as they are; the original release was a pretty simple user experience).
Anyway, while I was away last week, GoBeats received an update to v.1.7.1. There are a number of new additions to the app. For example, the voice control features introduced in a earlier update seems to work a little better and you can now use this to access two new features; a metronome and a tuner. Both are basic but get the job done.
However, there are more changes than that. The selection of drum styles seems to have grown and, once the app has ‘learned’ your guitar part, you now get offered a genre selection that seems to have grown so you can pick the style that best fits. You can also ‘pin’ (save?0 your jams to later recall and these seems to survive quitting and then reloading the app…. quite a cool feature if you have a new music idea and you want to return to it on a number of occasions as you develop it.
Perhaps the highlight new addition is the addition of a bass line though…. the app tries to recognise the root note of any chords you played in the ‘learn’ phase and then auto generates a simple bass line to go along with the drum part. I’ve not tested this extensively – and I suspect, at this stage, the bass lines are pretty limited is scope – but it does mark a bit of a transition for GoBeats from ‘AI drummer’ to ‘AI jam band’. It will be interesting to see where PG go next with this….
I’m fairly sure GoBeats is a bit of an experiment by Positive Grid and a precursor to the planned AI Drums. OK, in its current format, GoBeats is perhaps limited to the ‘occasional practice tool’ category (and, as a free app, there is no shame in that). I am, however, still intrigued enough by the basic concept to now be looking forward to AI Drums. That is, I suspect, what Positive Grid might be hoping…..