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Old 02-08-2016, 10:45 PM   #1
FifthThirdBank
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Axe fx vs bias

Ok so ive been looking into bias and from what i can tell, it is at least as good of quality as axe fx and in some areas its better. But when it comes to live shit, (Im pretty ignorant of live set ups in general so any tips are welcome), bias seems odd because you have to use an ipad or laptop. I really just want to know which is a better option when it comes to replicating studio tones in a live setting.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:05 PM   #2
Roc8995
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Interesting. Have you played an Axe-FX?

To me, Bias was a pretty decent program, but in terms of sound quality was somewhere between last gen and current gen POD units. The Axe-Fx was head and shoulders above the PODs, not to mention Bias. Comparing Bias to Axe-Fx seems almost laughable to me, and I haven't even played the newest Axe-Fx modeler. There are more and more computer/iPad based rigs nowadays and Bias didn't stick out to me as a particularly great one.

That's just one opinion, but if you haven't had both in front of you, I would hold off on the "Bias is as good as Axe-Fx" notions that you might get from some of the more excitable Bias users, and some of Bias' own fake accounts (several of which unfortunately I've had to deal with here). Given the price difference, there might be legitimate reasons to choose Bias over the Axe, but I don't think raw quality is one of them.

So, I'd say that the Axe-Fx shits all over Bias for live sounds. I'd take a POD over a Bias rig any day, and an Axe over the POD. Bias doesn't begin to factor into live scenarios for me. For a messing-around app, sure. Recording on the go, yeah. Live, no thank you. Too many other, more mature options that were designed specifically to sound good live, and do it well.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:09 PM   #3
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Fake Bias accounts? I know that kind of thing happens but it's pretty damn low. I sorta liked Bias but this makes me reconsider.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:13 PM   #4
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You might be surprised at the number and stature of businesses that do crap like that. A lot of startups think it's fair game to pretend that signing up a dozen accounts and faking Q+As about their hip new product is 'guerilla marketing' which I guess it might be. It's also a really good way to get me to shit-talk your stupid product forever. Bias was particularly annoying about it, and there's no question it was them, so I don't feel too bad outing them on that one.

I've thought about keeping a running list, for public edification, but I'm unsure about where that puts me or UG legally.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
You might be surprised at the number and stature of businesses that do crap like that. A lot of startups think it's fair game to pretend that signing up a dozen accounts and faking Q+As about their hip new product is 'guerilla marketing' which I guess it might be. It's also a really good way to get me to shit-talk your ass forever.

I've thought about keeping a running list, for public edification, but I'm unsure about where that puts me or UG legally.


Yeah, you wouldn't think liability would attach, but I'm not certain.

I bet a lot of people would like to see that list, myself included.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:21 PM   #6
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Ive tried Bias. Never tried an Axe Fx, unfortunately. But what I can say is that I like Peavey Revalver better than Bias, both sound and UI. I just think Peavey made a better product. BUT, I would argue that with a good mixing engineer, most tone snobs wouldnt even be able discern Revalver from Bias from an Axe Fx in the whole band context. Additionally, in a live context, your average observer would honestly have no fucking clue whatsoever, and will just like the sound of an overdriven guitar thats really loud
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:47 PM   #7
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So, I'd say that the Axe-Fx shits all over Bias for live sounds. I'd take a POD over a Bias rig any day, and an Axe over the POD. Bias doesn't begin to factor into live scenarios for me. For a messing-around app, sure. Recording on the go, yeah. Live, no thank you. Too many other, more mature options that were designed specifically to sound good live, and do it well.


Thanks for the input since youve used both. I have yet to use the axe fx 2, but a friend of mine has the ultra. It just seems overly complex for not necessarily sounding much noticeably better than top level programs or even some amps. So what specifically sets it apart from bias besides the convenience of it being a physical processor?

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Old 02-08-2016, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watterboy
BUT, I would argue that with a good mixing engineer, most tone snobs wouldnt even be able discern Revalver from Bias from an Axe Fx in the whole band context. Additionally, in a live context, your average observer would honestly have no fucking clue whatsoever, and will just like the sound of an overdriven guitar thats really loud

Two decent points. With the fist one, I'd argue that most of the good mixing engineers who use digital stuff themselves seem to be using the Axe or the high-end POD stuff, which makes me think that even though a master craftsman can turn out a great product with a sharpened spoon, there's a reason many choose a knife. This once again turns it into a cost analysis and not really a quality discussion. I still think (and probably have some agreement among audio engineers) that the Axe is a superior product, from a tonal and a flexibility standpoint.

With the second, I'll just trot out the usual two arguments - 1: It's more fun to sound good just for yourself, and feeling like you sound great can be inspiring and fun, which in turn can cause your energy or performance to improve, something the audience can directly experience.

2: Go to hell, I ain't gigging with an MG and a rusty Squier Bullet just because the audience doesn't know the difference!
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:50 PM   #9
FifthThirdBank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watterboy
Ive tried Bias. Never tried an Axe Fx, unfortunately. But what I can say is that I like Peavey Revalver better than Bias, both sound and UI. I just think Peavey made a better product. BUT, I would argue that with a good mixing engineer, most tone snobs wouldnt even be able discern Revalver from Bias from an Axe Fx in the whole band context. Additionally, in a live context, your average observer would honestly have no fucking clue whatsoever, and will just like the sound of an overdriven guitar thats really loud


Haha good points. Just want to sound the best I can and bring what's in my head through my amp.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FifthThirdBank
Thanks for the input since youve used both. I have yet to use the axe fx 2, but a friend of mine has the ultra. It just seems overly complex for not necessarily sounding much noticeably better than top level programs or even some amps. So what specifically sets it apart from bias besides the convenience of it being a physical processor?

What you see as "overly complex" can also be seen as the incredible depth of possibility that the Axe offers. It's certainly daunting when you first delve into the tweak menus. I think after a few hours of poking around, and at least a cursory read of the manual, that it's actually pretty well designed from a user perspective. An iPad interface is by its nature a lot easier to use, but the Axe does a pretty good job with what it has.

As far as not sounding much better than other programs: I disagree. It depends on what you're listening to it through, of course, but the most fair comparison I could think of (straight into some decent headphones) I still found the Axe-FX far better than most of its competitors. Your experience could vary for a bunch of reasons: type of music you play, how much you tweaked the sound, how well the presets or your friend's patches corresponded to your tastes, etc. All I can say is that I don't know anyone who spent a few honest hours with the Axe-FX and wasn't very, very impressed. I can't say that about most other modelers. And I say that as someone who did not keep his Axe-Fx. I think that's the best praise I can give it, actually. I got rid of mine, but I think it's an amazing piece of gear and if I found myself in a situation where my needs were more in line with what it offers, I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

I'm not going to touch Axe vs. "Real" amps. They're just fundamentally different products and if you find yourself genuinely torn between the two, you're probably asking the wrong question.

As for what sets it apart from Bias, I would say that 'convenience' is the last thing on the list. It's a big old rack-mount unit! Next to an iPad it might as well be a semi truck. It provides its own processor because the hardware is custom made to handle the audio processing demands of its software. It's the difference between a swiss army knife and a chainsaw. The pocket knife (the iPad, stay with me) has "more" abilities, but for brute strength at one thing (audio processing), the chainsaw is what you want, and there's really no other close contender. Even a desktop computer has nowhere near the real-time audio processing capabilities of an Axe. So, all that is to say, the Axe is on a different level of processing, software, hardware, support, versatility, what have you. This shouldn't be surprising. We're talking about an iPad app versus $2K worth of specialized, studio-grade emulation. To me the sound quality and versatility weren't even close between the two.

If you don't hear much of a difference, or if you don't care, or if the Axe is too complicated, that's awesome. You've saved yourself a ton of money. But after spending some time figuring it out, the Axe blew me away. Bias did not.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:30 AM   #11
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What you see as "overly complex" can also be seen as the incredible depth of possibility that the Axe offers. It's certainly daunting when you first delve into the tweak menus. I think after a few hours of poking around, and at least a cursory read of the manual, that it's actually pretty well designed from a user perspective. An iPad interface is by its nature a lot easier to use, but the Axe does a pretty good job with what it has.


thanks a lot for that whole explanation man. ill definitely look more into axe fx to learn more. and yea the price difference was the main source of my confusion. didn't get how people were preferring a product so much cheaper than the other.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roc8995
Even a desktop computer has nowhere near the real-time audio processing capabilities of an Axe.


I wonder for how much longer that will be, or even if it is now?

The chips in the Axe FXII are capable of about 3.6 gflops each (32 bit floating point) and the newer Haswell i7's are capable of about 350. Surely the software will catch up at some point?
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Old 02-09-2016, 01:33 AM   #13
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I am certain it will at some point, but the way it was explained to me was that real-time audio processing isn't really compatible with the CPU of a desktop, no matter how powerful. It's more of a GPU task, at least with current architectures. Hence my chainsaw analogy - the best CPU on the market is simply the wrong tool for the job, at least if that job is running the Axe simulations. Nobody has gotten the Axe software working on a desktop yet.

So, either the CPU needs to work more like a GPU, or the GPU is the piece of hardware that needs to catch up. I don't think either of those things are impossible in the future, but from my understanding it's not a simple brute-force equation, where enough raw computing power will get the job done. I'm not a software engineer but that explanation made enough sense to me. I'm sure there's more on the technical side on the Axe-Fx forums if you're interested. The question has certainly come up more than once.
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Old 02-09-2016, 04:53 AM   #14
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Yeah, I just read a short exchange about the issue written by Cliff in 2010 where they had ported the code and run it on what is now an old i7 and it ran with about the same cpu load as an Ultra. Modern processors are about 7 times as fast as the one he noted so as a guess I'd say it's doable now but from what I've read the concern is Piracy?

Of course from an overall cost standpoint it's not like a modern hi-spec pc is free, but it's often something people already have. Add in a quality sound interface though and the cost is getting pretty close to the dedicated hardware solution, so what's possible and what's truly economical probably haven't quite converged yet.

As you noted, it's inevitable at some point though.
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