Looking for advice on bias amp head / mini

  • Hi everyone, I'm hopefully looking to pick up my bias head in the next few months, but unfortunately all the stores that stock the amp are pretty far away so I was hoping I could ask you guys a few questions :)

    I've heard a few amp match tones online and been pretty impressed at how close it gets, but I'm aware that YouTube compression could have something to do with that. How close are the amp matches in person person, preferably when played through a cab without the cab sim (this is how I will be using the head).

    Does it have the feel of your traditional valve amp?

    I've seen the mini is coming out, but so far there hasn't been a lot of information on it, does anyone know whether it comes with the pro version of the bias amp software, and if so why would I go for the large head rather than the mini (are components more compromised on the mini etc).

    Thanks all for your help, can't wait to be sharing amp matches instead of asking all these questions!

  • Mini is a hundred watts, the regular is 600.

    If you have a solid state power amp and guitar cabinet, you could try Bias from your PC/mobile device. Same algorithms I'm assuming.

  • @tannhauser unfortunately I don't have a power amp I can use, so I have only tried the software through some hi-fi speakers which has not been ideal, so I feel like it will sound much better through a real cab. I've been relatively impressed with most sounds apart from the noise on the higher gain amps which just seems excessive given the software could just not have any, or at least significantly less noise? Although I'm aware the head does have a 'custom' knob for a noise gate which could pretty much get rid of this noise.

  • @Liam
    The Guitar Mini is 300 watts. The Bass Mini is 600 watts.

    I have the current 600 watt Bias Head, and the reason that the extra headroom matters has to do with what (and how) I play live.

    If I was going to play smaller gigs or just around the house, I'd go with the Mini Head because you don't need the additional headroom for your volume.

    Personally, I play larger gigs, often times without PAs to mic my cab, and traditionally this is where solid state heads would start to let me down. The more I would push a solid state head (with tube amp modeling), the more mushy and artificial and generally shitty it would sound.

    The 600 watts of headroom prevent hitting that 'upper limit' where things get mushy. This leads to a very natural, very dynamic and responsive feel at VERY loud volumes. It feels like a tube amp interacting with my playing dynamics while I'm playing it, which is a huge deal for me, because in the pricepoint there really is nothing as good.

    In summary, if you're looking to just play small stuff or around the house, the Guitar Mini head will treat you well with 300 watts. If you're looking to play loud gigs and want the extra headroom to keep your tone pristine, I'd go with the larger 600 watt head.

  • It used to be that 100-watt heads were.....LOUD. 200-watt un-god-ly so. At least so I've heard. But what would more power have to do with these nouveau solid state designs? I remember seeing a sort of boutique example in some, I think smaller, gear convention video, that seemed and sounded real neat. I think it was a single rackspace. I don't recall the apparent responsiveness.

    The (British) Matrix line used to be big with the Fractal crowd. Some said it was like you, dan, said about the PG head. Some didn't....get it, perhaps. Looks like now they, at least, have a more vintage case design - the models say Vintage. They used to be black, space-age looking.

    I have some 90-watt Neumann studio monitors, get pretty loud....that I don't care for, maybe because they're flat. My first run with a dedicated space and monitors. Maybe they're defective. They just seem to have no color. And the treble is not smooth. I don't use that much gain, and it's very carefully chosen. My Sony headphones seem to be the no-meat-in-the-tone cousin of these - but I don't enjoy headphones.

    My desired venue is Lounge. Going to concert hall ideally would be very like 'acoustic space', rather than rock stage. My tone is intimate and real-seeming as possible, not like a speaker in front of you, but an object in front of you, vibrating. Emitting.

    I've long been playing through my main PC set, at medium or so conversation level. Very clear, and detailed. The sweetest mids, like pinkish. The satelites are like a stretched goblet, cut in half, tapered end to the rear. (Ever see that 10-grand egg design a few/several years ago? Related geometry I think.) Midsy guitar comes out round and substance.

    I compare with my theatre set-up, which are a 2.1 set of those, and a decent Logitech 2.1 set (particularly for the sub and breadth of the bass for that room). This combination is nice, but doesn't compare to the ambience of the others. The reality of an instrument sound and its space.

    Given what I have, and what I know, my tone has gotten fairlly satisfying at times. Bold and jangly, smooth in ways. Ductile in feel. A bit clearer might be all to finish it.

  • @danbieranowski thanks for replying. I don't gig at all so the mini may be the way to go, the full sized looks so much cooler though! :P.

    Does the noise get in the way of your playing at all, as I noticed on the demo some of the medium to high gain settings there's a lot of noise.

    Dynamics is one of the main things for me as I've always played through valve amps, so glad to hear you feel it plays the same. How does it sound through a guitar cab as compared to PA? Does it sound better through 'the real thing'?

    Thanks again :)

  • @liam

    The Mini sounds like the way to go!

    As for noise, there is a built in noise gate that works REALLY well and keeps things tight and silent. I play a lot of high gain music, and the noise gate is a lifesaver.

    I still prefer a real cab live to the PA, but that's partially due to the kind of music I play. When I'm just relaxing at home or jamming by myself, I'll plug into my studio monitors and use the Cab Sim feature and it sounds great, especially on cleans. There's a very cool feature built into the head that allows you to send the Cab Sim out of the Line Out, while not using the Cab Sim on the Speaker Out... so you can have a cab onstage, but hit the PA with the Cab Sim giving you more flexibility and a cleaner path to the PA if needed.

  • @tannhauser thanks for replying, I have to say your reply was quite poet! If I understand correctly are you saying in the 'real' condiditons I would be using it in, I.E. through a real cab, rather than the demo version through not ideal speakers it will sound significantly better?

  • @danbieranowski Thanks I'll definitely check it out when they start releasing them, just hope it comes with the pro version of bias amp like the bigger head does!

    Great to hear about the noise gate and the cab too :)

    Thanks again

  • @danbieranowski : straight out to cab, and sim out to PA should be standard on any modeling gear these days.

    @Liam : thanks. A bit expressive and all, and I wondered whether someone might feel it wasn't appropriate for the topic. Things just sound different with various gear. For most playing with any sort of gain, loud is required. For the longest while I have not been in that camp. Notice how pretty much any music these days sounds good from the speakers in the grocery store or what-have-you? That is, everything can be heard well. And they're mono. That's how I want it.

    But for you I can't say.

  • @danbieranowski Sorry to ask again, but I just had a though on running in to a cab. Given that the 'big' head is 600 watts, and the mini 300, will there be any danger in running either of these in to a cab which is much lower in wattage? My cab is around 150 watts total (orange 212 cab), and I know I'll never be running the head at anywhere near even the 50 - 100 watt mark, but I obviously don't want to ruin my speakers as well.

    Also, does the 'output' knob change value depending on what it was set at on each preset or is it universal int hat if I change from one preset to the next the output knob will prevent the volume from suddenly going up?

    Thanks again

  • @tannhauser thanks, no your reply was great :). I'm the same, I can't play loud at home, and will be operating a mono setup so hopefully it should work great :)

  • @Liam : Cool.

    I meant for the average electric rock or more guitarist, loud is preferred.

    I don't prefer loud. And it should be able to stand on its own outside of a mix. Normal instruments do. Drums and bass do. Why is it electric guitar doesn't? Because it's made wrong. But it could be made right......

    I'm sure the volume knob is global. As for amp-cab matching, there's tons of info online. Google power handling.

    Oh. I missed that Dan showed his cab in Studio Monitors, a 112, so yours should be fine with either amp.

  • @tannhauser ahh I'm with you. Thanks for clarifying for me :)

  • @liam Just make sure you don't push it too hard or you could blow the speaker on the cab. If you feel it out, you'll be fine. Just don't crank the output to "10"! Also note that the wattage will go down if you have a higher-ohm amp. So if you have a 16ohm amp, the 300 watts will drop to 150 watts. As for the output volume, it is universal and will not randomly jump from 3 back to 10 based on a preset. The presets/patches are stored with their gain staging as they would be in the software. The output volume knob just amplifies from there and can't be 'saved'. Whatever it's set at, is the overall volume of the amplifier across the board. Presets CAN be saved hotter based on processing prior to the output knob though, so be aware that you might hear volume jumps based on the patch you are using, but they will not be as drastic as turning the volume knob.

  • @danbieranowski thanks again, that's what I was worried about! Was scared I'd be going through all the presets get to the metal section and hear a loud bang! :joy:

    My only worry now is that I've been told from Andertons in the UK that the bias head (none rack version) has been discontinued? So looks like the mini is my only option really now anyway as the european sellers are nearly £200 more expensive! :O

  • @liam said in Looking for advice on bias amp head / mini:

    My only worry now is that I've been told from Andertons in the UK that the bias head (none rack version) has been discontinued? So looks like the mini is my only option really now anyway as the european sellers are nearly £200 more expensive!

    @Felix are there any infos or statements about the prior Head/Rack not being continued?

  • @sascha-ballweg said in Looking for advice on bias amp head / mini:

    @liam said in Looking for advice on bias amp head / mini:

    My only worry now is that I've been told from Andertons in the UK that the bias head (none rack version) has been discontinued? So looks like the mini is my only option really now anyway as the european sellers are nearly £200 more expensive!

    @Felix are there any infos or statements about the prior Head/Rack not being continued?

    I should say, I've since emailed PG, and they informed me that andertons is incorrect saying it's discontinued, it seems it's more something like there isn't an official rep for PG in the UK right now, so it's difficult to order in. They trying to get hold of one for me though :D

  • For any UK folks on here looking at getting the head, I heard back from one of the shops today who said basically there is no UK supplier for the head (didn't mention the other PG products), so it would need to be bought directly from PG. I've emailed the support desk at PG so will update again once I know more.

    Hopefully I'll get one one day! :laughing:

  • Final update! So there IS a UK supplier, however, they have massively up'd the price of the head! In the UK, previously the powered head was £900, but if you check GAK now the price is just shy of £1400!

    This is way more than even buying from on the continent and shipping it over. I've managed to pick one up from thomann in the end for £1150 which is about top end of what I'm willing to pay, but if £1400 is going to be the new retail I really have to worry about whether people in the future will buy into the bias head. It's great tech and could go far but with no effects built in I could easily see people justifying the extra money to get a kemper instead. This also makes me curious about what price the mini is going to release at, is it being aimed at a similar price to the old cost of the current bias head?