Creating music for a movie or a soundscape is not a matter of buying a few samples and adding them to your sequence or timeline. Doing it right requires imagination and inspiration. Inspiration may come by experimenting with plugins in your music app or DAW. I had the privilege of trying out BIAS FX Desktop, a complete guitar effects modeller or processor that I tried in Logic Pro X. It’s the guitar effects system, but I discovered it can be even more.
Logic Pro X has a large number of excellent built-in synthesisers, samplers and effects, but while they are excellent, there is always room for improvement. Take, for example, the acoustic guitar generated by the EXS24 sampler. It sounds good but a bit muffled, with little of the harmonics you hear when the guitar player touches the strings. To turn Logic Pro X’s acoustic guitar into a brilliant instrument, I found all I needed was an afternoon of fun with BIAS FX Desktop.
The BIAS FX Desktop plug-in is a complete guitar effects system. It includes amplifiers and a whole bunch of processors as well as a subscription to ToneCloud, a cloud based service which you can download artists’ rigs from.
For ToneCloud, Positive Grid works with producers, engineers, and world class artists to grow a tone library of rigs. Signature ToneCloud presets include Ola Englund, Rusty Cooley, Mark Holcomb, and the latest addition to Positive Grid’s roster, guitar sensation Tosin Abasi. Users are able to perform, record, and re-amp using any of the factory, user, and ToneCloud presets in BIAS FX. When you see a rig that you think could fit your needs you can preview right in Logic Pro X before downloading.
Positive Grid is renown for its high standard of quality and BIAS FX Desktop is no exception. BIAS FX Desktop is equipped with an advanced DSP sound engine and a beautifully designed interface that reminds of analogue instruments. It has a double precision algorithm in chorus, dual amps to intermix guitar amp dynamics, EQ, cab and microphone combinations, providing sonic characteristics that either will blow you off your socks, or sound extremely close to analogue. BIAS FX Desktop seamlessly integrates with BIAS Amp and automatically imports custom BIAS Amp models and Amp Match profiles into BIAS FX’s amp menu.
As I said, I tried BIAS FX using Logic Pro X’s classical acoustic guitar. I used the CD recording of the Concerto de Aranjuez, played by Eduardo Fernandez. My goal was to mimic that guitar’s sound as closely as possible. With a small array of effects in BIAS FX, I could recreate the typical plucking sound of the strings and the slightly metallic sound of this classical guitar. The difference with the EXS24 sample was quite dramatic. From a muffled to an open sound in four steps.
Using BIAS FX Desktop for soundscapes
This simple experiment shows you can use BIAS FX Desktop as a low-budget soundtrack tool. Instead of having to hire a guitar player to create original music, you can create it in Logic Pro X, using digital sound generators and run it through BIAS FX to create a better, more natural sound.
But there’s more. There’s nobody who will forbid you of using BIAS FX with other digital instruments as well. So, I tried that with a whole range of instruments and while it sounds better with plucked instruments or those that generate short sound bursts, I found you can actually use BIAS FX as a sophisticated general-purpose sound modifier.
And that opens up perspectives for soundscaping. Having said that, you shouldn’t expect BIAS FX Desktop to be a full-blown alternative to for example iZotope’s Iris 2. It’s not a synthesiser, but used in tandem with the instruments it goes well with, you can create all kinds of sounds that recall all sorts of emotions.
In short, even if you wouldn’t go near a mile from a guitar, you might still want to consider trying out BIAS FX Desktop as it can be used for a lot more. An added benefit is that you have all the controls together in one plug-in. In addition, you can change the sound colour and character by changing the position of filters and processors (drag and drop).
BIAS FX Desktop Professional costs approx. €182.00.