TOPIC: S-Gear and Bias/JamUp

S-Gear and Bias/JamUp 6 years 9 months ago #6993

I've had a chance to explore these two wonderful products this week. Here's some observations so far.

Generally S-Gear has better overall tone due to Mike's optimized configuration of the amps and the convolution cabinets and effects. S-Gear effects are in stereo while Bias relies on the effects in JamUp which (at the moment) are mono. But bottom line, Bias sounds pretty good, and that’s out of a phone!

I don’t think the JamUp amps are the same as the factory amps in Bias - all the Bias amps seem to sound better to me than the original JamUp amps. An amp created in Bias can be exported to JamUp where it has the simpler interface and integrated effects. I struggled to find the exact sound and control I wanted with JamUp, but had no problem creating exactly what I wanted using Bias.

Bias takes a different approach than S-Gear. With S-Gear, we rely on Mike to design and engineer the amps for us, and we are benefiting from his experience and approach to amp design and tone. With Bias, we can design our own amps and use designs created by others and published on the web. Bias lest you choose the look of your amp, including the background, rolex, grill cloth, panel and knob design. The preamp section allows you to set the initial input gain, choose the number of gain stages, adjust the distortion, low cut and high cut, tube bias, and even three choices of preamp tube. There are pre and post preamp tone controls for low shelf, middle and high shelf to control the tone into and out of the the preamp stage. For even more control, an 8-band parametric EQ can be placed after the preamp section and another after the speaker/mic emulation.

The tone stack includes 15 different tone choices include bass, acoustic guitar and studio equalizers. The power amp section supports different output topologies including single ended, split load, push pull and solid state, you can choose the power state tube type and control the amount of power amp distortion, similar to the Amp Drive control in S-Gear amps.

The transformer section provides a choice of solid state or tube rectifier, with a choice of two rectifier tubes, and rich control of the sag including ratio, attack, release, and compression level. The speaker emulator provides 20 choices, including base and acoustic models. There are two mic choices, an SM57 and C414 condenser. You can set the mic position continuously left-right for on/off axis and front-back. The speaker simulation in S-Gear is a bit more limited, but actually sound a lot better to me. And you can purchase and add other convolution cabinet models. S-Gear also supports two speakers with different mic choices and position, tone tweaking, and delay for interesting stereo separation. This adds a lot to the tone.

Bias provides a lot of flexibility for experimenting with and creating your own amp designs. The UI is very good, even on the small iPhone screen. Its easy to use and a great learning tool.

Besides these differences, the biggest difference is S-Gear is on Mac and Windows PCs while Bias is on iPhone and iPad. So S-Gear is more likely available as a plug-in to your DAW. Bias and JamUp support AudioBus and IAA, so they can be used in iPhone and iPad recording apps. But this is generally not as good or easy to use as a modern PC-based DAW like Logic Pro X.

Once a Bias amp has been exported to JamUp, which is probably the most practical way to use the amp models, you have less control from the UI and limited control automation through MIDI configuration. S-Gear provides more flexible control for live situations.

The S-Gear tones seem clearly better to me. And the four amp setups Mike has created are stellar. But the Bias amps sound remarkably good too, and this provide additional flexibility and choices. Convolution is probably a source of the tone differences. I’m not sure if Bias uses convolution or not, or if there are some compromises that have to be made because of the OS and hardware platform.

Anyway, you can’t go wrong with both products. S-Gear is a must have to me, for live performance, and for recording. Bias/JamUp provides an excellent iPhone/iPad option for times when that is the best platform - often while traveling. Its great to have these choices and to be able to create wonderful sounds from these different devices. Personally I like and will use them both extensively, but for different purposes. I especially like having Mike do the amp designs as he can do it way better than most of us can.

One outcome of having Bias and JamUp on iOS is that it provides an excellent option for that platform, allowing Mike to focus on new S-Gear models on the PC instead of duplicating them on iOS.
The following user(s) said Thank You: mike
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S-Gear and Bias/JamUp 6 years 9 months ago #7016

Well actually BIAS is currently in development by PG as a VST Plug-in. I believe it will support both Mac and Windows.
Last edit: 6 years 9 months ago by flashbak.
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S-Gear and Bias/JamUp 6 years 9 months ago #7017

I use the three software as well.

You've just writen exactly what I think about S-Gear, BIAS and JamUp Pro.

Very nice review!
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