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Entries in Positive Grid (10)

Friday Fun: Audience Surprise at iPad Guitar Amp

Positive Grid sent us this video of guitarist Vali Caceres surprising his audience by turning up to a gig with just his guitar, his iPad and the JamUp app.  We think it sounds pretty great, so do his audience by their reactions. What do you think?

Video: BIAS and GarageBand Play Nicely Together

Positive Grid are doing a good job of sharing tutorials and demos on YouTube of their new BIAS amp modelling app. If you don't know much about BIAS check out our review.

This video shows how to use your carefully crafted BIAS tone with Apple's Inter-App audio feature built in to the marvellous GarageBand. We hope you find it as useful we did.


Giveaway: Win a Copy of the Epic BIAS Guitar Modelling App

BIAS Logo

A couple of days ago in our review we told you how we were blown away by Positive Grid's new infinitely tweakable sound engine, BIAS for iPad.

Well, if you really fancy trying BIAS but haven’t yet splashed out on the app yourself, we have one free copy to give away.

All you have to do is:

1) Ensure you follow us on either Facebook or Twitter

2) Leave us a comment below that includes

a) Your favourite feature of BIAS (hint: check out the BIAS homepage)

b) Your email address in the comment form so we can contact you if you win (don’t worry, we are the only ones who see your email, it isn’t made public)

Important Info.

That’s it.  You must meet both criteria 2a and 2b above or, in fairness to other entrants, we cannot consider your entry.

We’ll randomly select one of the commenters below after 1900 GMT on the closing date Wednesday 20th November 2013.

BIAS Blows Us Away

“…We threw out convention and focused instead on how to create the most delicious tone in as many flavors as possible. The result is BIAS... - Calvin Abel, BIAS Product Manager

BIAS Logo

In our last post we told you about the upcoming release of BIAS and what amazing tone control was promised by the team at Positive Grid.

Well, we were invited to be in on the Beta program for BIAS and Wow! BIAS really does live up to that promise.  

BIAS has now been officially released and we think Guitarists are going to love this app, especially those searching for the perfect tone,.

If you care about your guitar tone and want professional results right there on your iPad, you will run out and get BIAS now. Here's why you should:

Infinitely Tuneable

As the above video demonstrates, BIAS makes your guitar tone infinitely tuneable to the finest degree possible. You have complete control over every part of your tone including:

  • preamps
  • tone stacks
  • power amps
  • transformers
  • cabinets
  • panel controls
  • mic selection 
  • mic placement

BIAS 05 Transformer

The great thing is you don’t need to be a sound tech or audiophile to understand this app and dial in your perfect sound.  We found it intuitive and easy to drag/tap our way to a sound we were happy with.

BIAS 07 EQ

You can do things with this app that would take a long time to do or that would cost you a lot of money in the real world.  For example, you may not  bother to change a whole set of tubes or be able to switch to a different head or cabinet setup to fine-tune your sound, but you can do that in a couple of seconds with BIAS, all whilst constantly monitoring the sound as you make even tiny adjustments.

BIAS 06 Cab

Sound Launchpad

To get you started, BIAS comes loaded with 36 amp presets (28 guitar, 4 bass and 4 keyboard/vocal), including a lot of the most popular and well loved amps.  These sound fantastic as they are, but they are also a perfect launchpad for building your own sound, especially as they are categorised so you have an idea of what to expect.  Here’s the categories you get: 

  • Clean
  • Glassy
  • Blues
  • Crunch
  • Hi Gain
  • Metal
  • Insane
  • Acoustic
  • Bass
BIAS 01 Home
 

The quality of these amp models is very impressive.  Positive Grid’s USP for us is the warmth that their sound engine produces in comparison to the often harsh, digital, sound of some other iOS amp sims.  

The clean amps especially sound beautiful as long as you pare down the input from your guitar, but with our Epi Les Paul (no we can’t afford the real thing) the Metal and Insane amps ripped apart our speakers with the lovely, screaming yet smooth, distortion that you would hope to hear.

It is a bit embarrassing to admit, but there was a massive smile on our face as we heard these amp models for the first time, even excitedly chuckling at how awesome they sounded.  BIAS really does sound that good.

Custom Looks

It’s not just about the way your unique amp sounds either.  You can completely customise the look of your new unique amp setup.  You have control over every aspect of your amp’s design whether you want that traditional Marshall rock stack look or a classic Fender Tweed blues vibe, or a mash-up of both, you can do it with BIAS.

You can even change the panel style (behind the controls) and add your own custom image as the bezel for your amp head. 

BIAS 08 CustomPanel

Share It

Once you have found that killer tone and designed your amp’s look, you can tell everyone else about it by sharing it with them on Facebook. 

BIAS 09 Facebook 

This is what it looks like when you share it on Facebook:

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Use It

When your sound is finalised and ready to go Positive Grid have made it a one-tap operation to send your whole amp (including its unique look) over to JamUp XT (Free) or their Pro version to jam live with.

BIAS 10 JamUp Integration

BIAS is also Audiobus compatible so you can use your unique amp sound in any app that integrates with the fantastic Audiobus platform, including GarageBand which you may already have for free if you have a new iOS device, an essential but still very welcome interaction.

Getting the Sound In

Of course, BIAS is compatible with pretty much any manner of iOS instrument input device, not just Positive Grid’s own JamUp Plug. A full list of the compatible iOS audio interfaces can be found at the bottom of the BIAS webpage.

We had no problem using it with iRig, Apogee Jam, GuitarJack 2 and of course the JamUp Plug.  All gave great results with only the difference between the devices themselves affecting the input levels (but that has nothing to do with BIAS). 

Recommendation and Win

We could go on, but it will come as no surprise that we are highly recommending BIAS for iPad.

Yes, it is on the expensive side for an iOS app at $19.99, but at the price of one decent tube for your amp BIAS will open up a world of easily achievable tone and we don't think you'll ever regret purchasing it.

You can find out more about the BIAS for iPad app at Positive Grid's website or go and grab it from the App Store now.

Plus, stay tuned over the weekend for your chance to win a free copy of BIAS - more soon.

BIAS Promises to be Epic

It is hard to imagine how the crowded Guitar Effects / Amp Simulation field could be improved upon, apart from perhaps the realism and authenticity of the sounds or tone of the amps.  Quite a few of the current batch sound very ‘digital'.  

Positive Grid (makers of JamUp Pro) seem to be thinking along the same lines.  We liked the more resonant and authentic sound of their Amp Simulations when we reviewed JamUp Pro a while ago.  

Now they are on the verge of releasing BIAS which promises “Tone revolution on an epic scale”.  A bold claim indeed!

We hope to be getting our hands on a copy of BIAS very soon and we will be giving it a thorough run through, but in the meantime check out the teaser video above.

Video: Think an iPad can't be used as a Live Guitar Amp? Think Again!

 

We have mentioned before the potential for your iPad to replace those hefty and bulky guitar amps you have to carry around with you to gigs as a guitarist.  Actual documented examples are less common than we would like, but here's one.

In the video above Gene Baker is using the brilliant JamUp Pro (or XT) app by Positive Grid as his 'Amp' (read our in-depth review for more on JamUp).  He is switching effects/rigs using JamUp's integration with the Bluetooth AirTurn pedal, allowing for live use as a virtual pedalboard.

Although the sound quality of the video isn't that great, guitarists will be listening out for the solo in Mean Gene Band's cover of the Aerosmith classic 'Walk this way' and we think it definitely passes muster.

What do you think?

JamUp Pro now expanded plus 50% Off Expansion Packs

The nice people at Positive Grid have sent us a note to say that JamUp Pro, the relatively new Guitar FX-app-on-the-block has just been updated to Version 1.3.

We loved this boutique looking and great sounding app when we reviewed it back in November last year.

What's New?

New in 1.3 are an "updated DSP engine, audio copy and paste, and 20+ new amps and effects available via in-app purchase.".

The new in-app purchases are obviously the big thing, but we are particularly excited to see support for ACP included in this update too.

If you're quick you can take advantage of a 50% discount on the new expansion packs, but for just one week only.

Go and grab your update.

App Store Link: JamUp Pro

4 Chances To Win JamUp Pro and JamUp Plug

The nice people at Positive Grid, developers of the brilliant JamUp Pro and the JamUp Plug, have launched a seasonal giveaway. You can read our review of both to see why you should want to win them.

For the next 4 weeks Positive Grid are giving away a copy of the JamUp Pro app along with their specially made for iOS hardware plug, which we really like.

All you have to do is leave your name and email address on the giveaway page and you are entered for all 4 weeks of the giveaway.

Nothing to lose and well worth winning!

JamUp Pro and JamUp Plug Review

With a few well established guitar effects apps such as AmpliTube and Ampkit already on the iOS scene, it might seem a bit overambitious to launch a new guitar effects app. Any new app would have to set itself apart and offer something the existing players do not.

So what does new effects app JamUp Pro from developer Positive Grid, offer?

Here's what Positive Grid's website has to say:

Up until now, the tone experience on iOS hasn’t really developed to give the full dimension and response of a mic’d up rig, and other solutions haven’t really provided the amazing user experience that guitar players should have on their iPad or iPhone. We decided to take this challenge head on to ensure JamUp truly re-creates the experience of playing through the most coveted guitar amps, and in some cases, way more fun.

Positive Grid's aim in developing the JamUp app (available in Lite and Pro versions) was to improve on current apps sonically. Really, although it's nice to have dials that go up to 11 and a lovely UI, in the end for guitarists it's all about their 'sound'

So, how does JamUp sound?

JamUp sounds great! We especially noticed a crispness on the more ramped up, distorted setups which was a very welcome find.

If you get the settings right (we had to pare back the humbuckers on our Epi Les Paul) the clean sounds are clear and resonant, sharp when they need to be and mellow with plenty of well rounded low end when dialled in.

Hybrid MESH Amp Modelling

This great sound comes from acute attention to detail in the amp modelling. In fact, Positive Grid have a whole page dedicated to describing the detail and parameters considered in their sound modelling.

Here's a little bit of what they have to say:

From the high level preamp and poweramp distortion, tone stack design, to the low level bright capacitor, blocking filter, cathode cap, power amp sag, and cabinet impedance interaction. We developed a unique MESH modeling technology, not only to capture the exact nuances of each amplifier in its killer setting, but also incorporated the dynamic performance of each model.

We could do no better than this demo video from Positive Grid's YouTube channel. Take a minute, grab a pair of headphones and listen to these sample run-throughs for a good range of sound demonstrations:

Jammin'

Both the AmpliTube and AmpKit apps have a jam function, as well as some other amp adds. So while this feature is not unique to JamUp we like the straightforward interface they use and the slightly beaten up, vintage UI is both clear and welcoming.

It's really easy to enter the Jam screen, load a song, set the tempo (0.5 for us usually), pitch and backing track volume and away you go. You can be jamming away sooner than it takes to read that last sentence out loud.

This is a brilliant tool to learn new songs and work out those riffs and solos that fox you when you hear them at normal speed.

Vintage Tuner

The chromatic tuner continues the easy to use, vintage styling. It combines a lovely looking note wheel interface that helps you quickly identify the note you're playing, with a more accurate colour coded meter that helps you to fine tune your guitar.

It works well in practice and seems to be as accurate as any other iPad tuner we have used.

Special FX

The effects chain in JamUp really impressed us because it is simple to access, simple to use and easy to change or modify the signal path. The drag and drop approach to adding and moving effects in the signal chain is the least complicated approach we've seen so far and works very well.

This all adds up to an effects interface that, while not as visually polished as AmpliTube for instance, offers a straightforward, accessible level of interaction that novices and more experienced players will appreciate.

We were also impressed with the quality of these effects pedals. They all performed as we expected them to, and some, like the Chorus, Flanger and Tremolo sounded cleaner and more authentic than other guitar effects apps we have tried.

Here's another video from Positive Grid, this time demonstrating the various effects found in JamUp Pro:

Sound-on-Sound Phrase Sampler

This one-man-band sampler and overdub feature is fantastic for working out song ideas, recording solo riffs over a rythm track or just trying out sounds. It works a lot like the recording / overdub function in the synth app Animoog if you have used it, but you can adjust the recording length here in JamUp Pro.

It would be nice if there was an undo available instead of the 'clear all' function for when you mess up an overdub, but it is still a useful and potentially powerful tool to have built-in.

Check out the video below for an idea of what can be done with this Sampler feature in the right hands (not ours!):

The Specs

Whilst we have mentioned areas above of the JamUp Pro app that stand out to us particularly, there is more to the app. Here is a full spec list:

  • 6 multi-stage hybrid amp models
  • 6 matched convolution speaker emulation
  • 14 studio-grade stomp box, racks and processors
  • Supports up to 7 amp/effect simultaneously
  • drag and drop signal path
  • Sound-on-Sound phrase sampler
  • iTunes Jam Player with loop, speed and pitch control
  • Built-in chromatic tuner, metronome and 16 user presets
  • Compatible with JamUp Plug, and most other adaptors, see the full list

Effects (JamUp Pro)

  • Dunlop Fuzz Face
  • Ibanez Tube Screamer
  • Boss OD-2 Turbo Overdrive
  • Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble
  • Custom Flanger
  • Mad Professor Mellow Yellow Tremolo
  • MXR Phase 100
  • Maestro Echoplex EP-2 Tape Delay
  • Boss DD-7 Digital Delay
  • Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb
  • Fender Spring Reverb Unit
  • MXR M-102 Dyna Comp Compressor
  • Boss NF-1 Noise Gate
  • Custom 4-band EQ

The Complete Package - JamUp Plug

The JamUp Plug shown here with iPhone 4

In addition to the JamUp software, Positive grid have followed a similar pattern to IK Multimedia and Agile Partners/Peavy in releasing hardware to go with their app. The JamUp Plug is a little different though and we think it is a good thing.

Why this is a good thing

Although we love using both of them, what really annoys us about both the iRig and AmpKit LiNK is the trailing cable design they use.

This dangles off of your iPad/iPhone limply and then has the guitar and headphone cables connected to that, which has caused us to inadvertently pull the iPad forward off its stand, not to mention the tangling problem.

Addressing this issue, the JamUp Plug fits directly in to the headphone/mic socket on top of your iPad, sitting flush against it, meaning less trailing cables to worry about.

This helps guide the guitar cable and your headphone cable down the edge of your iPad, as you can see above, and reduces cable tangle and clutter. In our opinion this is a big plus for the JamUp Plug.

Construction

The JamUp Plug is cheaper than most of its competitors at $19.99 from Amazon.com, but the construction feels a bit 'plasticky', especially the 1/4" instrument cable input which doesn't have the usual metal ring and guide channel, so we are not sure how this will hold up over time.

Having said that, we didn't experience any problems at all with the unit we reviewed so there is no reason to expect problems, we are just comparing the JamUp Plug with it's more robust looking fellow guitar interfaces.

You don't have to use the JamUp Plug with the JamUp app, but its price and lack of dangling cables would certainly recommend it.

The website states that JamUp App also supports most available iOS guitar adaptors:

  • Positive Grid JamUp Plug
  • Apogee JAM
  • Alesis IO Dock
  • IK Multimedia iRig
  • Peavey AmpKit Link
  • PocketLabWorks iRiffPort

Final Thoughts

If you are after an easily accessible, authentic sounding and feature packed guitar effects app with that vintage vibe, JamUp Pro is just your thing. We like using it a lot and at the moment it is our main guitar amp modelling app.

If you're not sure, there is a free version JamUp Lite available in the App Store which has just 1 Amp and 4 effects but a fully functional sound-on-sound sampler, jam player and tuner. You will easily get a feel for the app by trying out the Lite version.

This review was based on the JamUp Pro app, which is available for $19.99 in the App Store and gives you full access to every amp and effect available without the contentious in-app purchases. 

New JamUp FX App and Guitar Interface for your iPad

Here's news of a new guitar fx app in town, and it looks and sounds very interesting. With its boutique looking UI for the pedals and amps, sampler with overdub, jam tools and more, JamUp has a few tricks up its sleeve that might just entice guitarists to take a look at it despite being amongst a fairly crowded corner of the iOS app store.

Developers Positive Grid have released two versions of the JamUp App, a Lite (Free) version and a Pro version at $19.99 (£13.99). Interestingly, they have also released a guitar interface called the JamUp Plug that retails at $39.99, using the headphone/mic socket of your iOS device like the iRig and AmpKit Link .

Positive Grid say that their focus was on the tone of the guitar amp simulations and they have tweaked the standard sound from the industry standard amps to come up with a tone that they claim is better than anything heard so far on iOS.

Hopefully we will be able to tell you more about it soon, but for now, you may be as impressed as we were with the demo below, the end product sounds pretty fantastic!