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Positive Grid Bias FX Review

Last updated on 2019-09-18

I have been using Bias FX for over 3 years now. I always likes the visual approach of the prodcut and i think they deliver a good sounding plugins for hobbist guitar players like me.

I started using Bias FX Standard Version after seeing postive Youtube reviews. Over the time i upgraded to the Professioal Version because often i got stuck trying to use a preset from the Tone Cloud that wouldn’t load without having e.g. the Professional Version. I also bought two more Expansion packs because i still kept running into problems when trying out downloaded presets. I don’t remember the exact number, but I estimate that I already spent like 200 Euros for upgrades and extension packs. During that process i also tried Bias AMP 1 and later i upgraded to Bias AMP 2. And now iam struggling to do the upgrade to Bias FX 2 since i feel a little bit brunt by Postive Grid Software quality and upselling strategies over the last 2-3 years.

Lets talk a bot about software quality now. I collected a couple things i experienced using Postive Grid products over the years.

  • UI Inconsistencies: I have used 4 major Bias Products and all do commong stuff like login popups, audio settings differently. Always changing UI elements, slightly improving stuff but not back porting fixes and improvements to older version of the product.
  • Broken UI: I have used a couple of version of Bias FX that were broken. It was not possible to use the text paste function during the login popup, which is a major annoyance if you use long random passwords with password manager. The worst version i had once, would just crash if would use the paste function on the password input field.
  • Postive Grid updates all their products regulary, mostly updating the core sound eingine. But after each update (which does not use an autoupdater), you need to re-login to your account to access the license settings and use the Tone Cloud. I think this could be dont better and let the user not re-login everytime after each software update. So everytime you start your DAW you end up typing in passwords for you plugins before you can start to work.
  • Aparently the Tone Cloud UI is added via webviews and the overall experience feels a bit hacked together when related to the App native crossplatform UI toolkit. I guess it should be possbile to develop the whole UI of the app and the online components in one native webcontainer and let the rest to done by the native audio core that probably written in C++.
  • While using the Tone Cloud you can preview all presets, dispite the constraint if you actually entitled to use them regarding app version and extensions packs. So after previewing and installing presets you will get feedback if you return to the main app once you want to active the preset where you end up getting and upgrade nag screen.
  • The whole Midi integration feels hacked together, there 2-3 UI approaches how to assign Midi Commands to different function of your stack, which can be quite cumbersomne if try to setup a more complex setup and try to sort out conflicts.

Overall considering Postive Grids upselling tactics, that the prodcut is fragmented in a way that usage feels like using a crippleware and their permament marketing push, offering deals on their website, gives me the impression they either don’t have great trust in their product or they haven’t found the right market fit. In way they should try to deliver a good product that customers are happy to pay a one time payement, and if this is sustainable for them they should consider migrating to a SaaS model. But this feature limitations and upselling tactics are annoying for a power user.

So in the future i stick to smaller plugins that don’t implement this permanent upgrade pressure.

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