Starting with software-based apps, Positive Grid has gone onto now producing amplifiers (both heads and rack mounted), pedals and software with a serious knack for innovation and expanding their tech work. Whilst their modeling and virtual rigs have gained huge momentum, their slightly more traditional pedals have proven popular to boot. Looking reasonably traditional at first glance, I’m sure the Distortion Pro pedal has a little something extra in store. Let’s take a look.
Arriving in a sophisticated black and gold casing, the Bias Distortion looks quite understated with a row of four footswitches across the bottom (marked A, B, C, and Boost). Above are controls for Gain, Blend, Level, Low, Mid, High and Boost, with an additional switch to flick between Treble, Clean and Fat (pertaining to the Boost function). Lastly, to the left is another rotary control with ten settings – (user 1, 2 and 3 and then Boost, Tube, Screamer, Overdrive, Distortion, Fuzz and Metal). In terms of connectivity, the back panel has I/O consisting of Input, Output, Expression Pedal, USB, MIDI In and Thru, and a power socket for 9VDC. The whole unit feels sturdy and tough, and I’m sure it would stand up to plenty of gigging.
Out of the box, the presets produce a wide range of usable classic guitar tones – clean with some oomph, slight break up, TS-ish, and then heavier chug. From this perspective it would be easy to incorporate the Bias Distortion as a dirt pedal in your rig, with the added benefit of presets and an additional boost. If you want to dig deeper, you can really get into your own tones. You can connect to the Positive Grid app and create your own sounds, control program changes, tone match and generally get pretty darn deep into things.
Of course, these can be saved into your presets and the unit has plenty of MIDI capabilities too. I could muster plenty of usable sounds, and the Blend control is really useful for mixing the ratio of the output stage. I could see the Positive Bias Distortion Pro being a sole gain stage for live rigs, incorporated into existing setups (with the added capabilities of switching and control) and utilised in the studio again as a standalone or with online connectivity.
The virtual guitar rig and modeling phenomenon rolls on, and with innovative companies such as Positive Grid continuing to push ahead, there seems to be plenty of cool stuff to look forward to. You can seriously get in deep with the Distortion Pro if that’s your thing, or just plug in, spin some dials and wail away. Cool indeed.
Hits and Misses
Both straightforward controls and deep editing
Usable tones, responsive parameters
Some of the serious editing might seem a little overwhelming at first