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I’m considering using bias fx through an iPad for live performance and was wondering about running it through a PA system. I don’t have any high quality amps, and I’ve been really loving the tones of bias through my headphones - so was wondering how close to these I can get running direct into a PA system from my iPad? In theory, if I like the tones of bias fx and the amp sims it provides, does that mean I could go without an amp ever again?

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  • Can you be more specific ? On a typical home setup, your Monitors are tied to the Audio Interface. But for a Live play, did your Audio interface drive a full blown speaker stack or PA system or what was used to get it out LOUD !
    – Syed
    Commented May 9 at 18:02

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Yes you can. I have used Bias FX and garage band live with my iPad. I used it for small setups when I didn’t feel my full pedal board and amp was worth hauling for such a small gig. It works. The drawback is battery life of course.

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  • How do you find it compares sonically to your pedal board, or even to how it sounds through headphones vs PA?
    – Numpy
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 11:53
  • @Numpy it’s not the exact same sound of my pedals, of course, but it sounds the same through the PA as a microphone on an amp would. The sound will be the same difference as listening to an mp3 with headphone vs a PA. Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 18:09
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There are actually two separate questions here. Bias FX is certainly viable for live performances but live sound is a whole different beast than the headphones sound so you would typically need to actually try running it through external PA at adequate volume to adjust the presets. I certainly wouldn't just go and play a live gig without actually trying the setup it in rehearsal room.

The second part of the question is whether it is a good idea to hook it directly into PA. The answer is - be careful, as you don't have a control over PA, the quality of PA varies, the monitoring is out of your hands. This would be a very uncomfortable situation to most gigging guitarists (unless they have their own crew and PA is fully under control).

You can get a decent power amp stomp box and a cab at reasonable budget and have your own monitoring while connecting to PA in parallel. You probably would need some sort of IOS audio interface to have the line level signal out of the Ipad. This way you would have your own, predicable monitoring and also a way of testing the live tones at home or in rehearsal room.

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  • Whatever setup you run, in the end what the audience hears comes from PA, so I don't understand this part of your answer. But good monitoring matters indeed. Perhaps that's why recently bands use their own in-ear monitors. That being said, I performed with a modeller, relying on whatever monitors were in the venue, and it was always fine. Commented May 11 at 9:44

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