Positive Grid RIFF Review: A Crazy New Way To Record ANYWHERE!

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 05/19/22 •  14 min read

The Positive Grid RIFF is a brand new way to record practically anywhere. But how does it work and what does it come with? Today we break it down.


Positive Grid RIFF: Making Recording Easy?

I have a good friend that recently decided to set up his home computer to record using amp sims, and a simple interface. Now I have been recording for 20 something years, both analog and digital. So I think I really took for granted how much knowledge I have. Because what I thought was super easy…my friend was totally lost when it came to home recording. So there has to be an easy way to get set up and recording guitar, right?

Positive Grid had a pretty big hit with the Spark Amp. We had a great time trying out the Spark Amp, and the only problem I had with it was how much bass it was capable of producing. I found a solution to that with EQ, but overall the Spark Amp had a little bit of everything. Positive Grid definitely nailed the perfect beginner’s amp, and The Spark could be as complex or easy as you wanted. After i dialed out the annoying bass, it sounded great for a practice amp.

Positive Grid got its start from making Bias FX, which allows you to do all kinds of stuff when it comes to amp simulation. It not only has tons of amps and pedals to choose from, but it also has great speaker choices for impulse responses. But the most impressive thing it does is the “guitar modeling” feature called Guitar Match. You can make your guitar sound like a Strat, Les Paul, or so many other choices. This was groundbreaking, and Bias FX is used all over the world in bedrooms and studios.

The Positive Grid RIFF is the next obvious step for the company. If you ever wanted to record, and you never got into it because it was so complicated to get started...this may be your answer. The Positive Grid RIFF claims to be pretty much “plug and play”. Today we are going to take a look at it, and check out what comes with it to get you started. There is a little bit of confusion online with the three packages, and hopefully we can clear that up! So let’s dive in!


Positive Grid RIFF: The Tiny Monster

Positive Grid RIFF

The First thing we need to talk about with the Positive Grid RIFF is the different options you have to choose from. There are three different packages that you can purchase, and each one is for a different type of consumer. I checked out all three, and we can talk about which one will be the best fit for you. But the unit itself, is actually really impressive as an interface!

For some people just having such a small, portable interface is the most important part of the package. So we should probably start with the Positive Grid RIFF unit itself. It works just like any regular recording interface, but it is definitely simplified. The device itself is pretty impressive when it comes to specs:

This thing is built like a tiny tank! The Positive Grid RIFF feels pretty solid since it has a metal housing. The amazing part, is that my Samsung Galaxy phone is actually bigger than the RIFF interface. This thing may be small, but it has a lot of power under the hood. It comes with a USB for PC, and a Mac cable as well so no matter what you use as a device, it will work. You can use your laptop, tablet, or even your phone!

The Positive Grid RIFF is a very simple interface at its core. You can use it to control Bias FX if you want to, but it can also be used a zero latency interface for any amp sim you want to use. The specs are pretty crazy for such a small little package. The fact that it comes with software is really just a bonus, since the specs are so cool and easy to use:

So the Positive Grid RIFF is pretty much everything you need in an interface to record guitar and bass. The single 1/4 Inch Instrument Input will work with guitar, keyboards, bass, or even mics that don’t use XLR. The design of the Positive Grid RIFF is simple for a reason. Even something like the Scarlett SOLO can be confusing for people that aren’t tech savvy. Mainly because of drivers, and the setup of interfaces.

The Positive Grid RIFF comes ready to record out of the box, PC users only need to download ASIO to get started.

The backlit display on the Positive Grid RIFF gives you all of the info that you really need to record your guitar. It has the input/output volume on either side of the display, and will tell you which mode you are currently in. Like a regular interface, it will let you know if you are clipping, even in direct mode. The whole thing is just simple, and it even sets itself up right out of the box.

If you have a PC, you will need to download ASIO4ALL as a sound driver, just like any other interface. But beyond that, it will even set the correct amount of gain for your guitar after you strum a few times! Positive Grid seems to have thought of everything. But while you can also just run everything direct, the Positive Grid RIFF was built to also control Bias FX 2. You can access all of your presets straight from the RIFF interface.

There are 3 different preamps built into the Positive Grid RIFF that you can choose from, as well as the “direct” option. The preamps are designed to add a bit of analog quality to your sound, even if you aren’t using Bias FX as your main sound source. You can choose from:

All in all, the RIFF checks all of the boxes to not only start recording but to also do some serious production later on. It is clearly designed to “grow” with you as you learn more about recording. It also works with every DAW that I have at my disposal, including REAPER. But if you have no experience with a DAW, it comes with PreSonus Studio One Prime recording software. This is pretty basic DAW software, but it will get you recording in no time!

Positive Grid RIFF Package
$99.00

The Positive Grid RIFF is the simple solution for any guitarist that is ready to start recording. The tiny but powerful RIFF interface records with zero latency at high quality, as well as being small and portable. The RIFF works with Mac, iOS, and PC and comes with PreSonus Studio One to get you started recording! The RIFF also works with any DAW of your choice, and controls Bias FX with one simple knob control.

BUY NOW

Positive Grid RIFF: Three Package Choices

Positive Grid RIFF
Bias FX 2: Everything You Need For Tone

The Positive Grid RIFF is already a great little interface for anyone wanting to start recording. But the RIFF comes in 3 totally different packages, that are aimed at different types of consumers. Every RIFF unit comes with some form of Bias FX 2, and PreSonus Studio One Prime to get you started. The difference is how much you need to get your projects done. You have:

We can go over what each package includes, but if you are interested in the Positive Grid RIFF as just an interface for your home studio, or on the go…get the Lite version. The Lite Package has everything you need for the experienced guitarist that already records with a DAW. But Positive Grid RIFF can also be everything you need for producing guitar with the included Bias FX 2 software. The choice is yours.

Lite Package:

Again, the Lite Package is everything you need to get going. This is basically just paying for the interface, with a limited version of Bias FX 2. But for only $99, this is one of the cheapest interfaces on the market, period. Not to mention that it is small and portable, so you can take it just about anywhere. This is the perfect option for experienced players that already have a DAW that they prefer.

Standard Package:

The Standard Package for the Positive Grid RIFF is for the guitarist that is ready to start recording for the first time. If you are brand new to recording digitally, this has everything you need to get started and build some professional sounding tones. The standard version of Bias FX is very powerful, and has everything you need to get acquainted with recording, no matter what your genre may be. From metal to pop, you have tons of tones to choose from.

Elite Package:

The Elite Package is for the guitarist that is ready to start producing full songs or albums. The Elite setup has the full version of Bias FX 2, and the choices you have for amps and cabs is overwhelming. Just about any sound you can imagine is in the Elite package, and this is all professional quality amp sims. But you also have 20 Guitar match models to choose from, making your home studio a virtual RACK of guitars!

But the features that all three have in common, are some of the most impressive to me! So i want to go over these other built-in features that RIFF comes with.


Positive Grid RIFF: Other Features

Positive grid riff
The AutoChord Feature

No matter which package you choose, you get a couple of really cool tools that are worth the price of admission to me. Each version comes with PreSonus Studio One, which is a great DAW for guitarists learning how to record. PreSonus Studio One is very user friendly, and has some of the easiest features when it comes to recording guitar. You may want to upgrade in the future, but most DAWs are similar, so at least you will know what you’re looking at.

The AutoChord function is pretty amazing, and this is something that I really wish I would have had when I was learning. Have you ever wanted to learn a song that may be a little obscure? Or for a better example, many guitar tabs online are just plain WRONG. This can be frustrating for the beginner, as well as the most experienced guitarist.

So what is AutoChord?

With Auto Chords technology, you can import your music from Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, and the Spark app will display the song’s guitar chords in real time as you play along. Plus, there are easy controls that let you slow down the song’s tempo or loop a difficult section as you master playing it. It’s a fantastic tool if you’re learning material for a gig, or just want to have fun and learn some new tunes!

AutoChord can pick up just about any song you throw at it, which really impressed me. Now some things it will have a hard time with, such as really complex metal songs. But I would say for 80% of the songs that I threw at it. it worked. Even with the more complex music that I tried AutoChord with, it at least was in the ballpark of what was being played. But for almost every other song, it worked perfectly. AutoChord even worked well with some classical music!

Being able to slow down the AutoChord playback is also useful for tricky parts of a song. It slows the song down without changing the pitch, which is really cool for learning guitar. I even put some of my own music into AutoChord, and it was 99% accurate with my own music! I would have loved to have this feature when I was learning guitar in the beginning. This is an amazing tool for any guitarist.


Positive Grid RIFF: Wrapping Up

Look, if your goal is to record a completely professional album with a full band, then the Positive Grid RIFF is probably not for you. You need way more flexibility in an interface than what the Positive Grid RIFF has to offer. But if you are a beginner, or intermediate when it comes to recording then this can be the gateway you need to get started. Or like me, you may also have uses for it…

The Positive Grid RIFF can also be utilized by more experienced users for a portable interface. Myself for example, would use this for capturing ideas quickly. I have a full studio at my disposal, and I have a pretty great home setup for recording as well. But those things take time to setup and get running. If I just have my phone or laptop in front of me, the RIFF would be perfect for getting down a riff quickly. The RIFF interface alone is worth price of admission.

But that doesn’t mean that Bias FX 2 isn’t a seriously powerful amp sim. Like I mentioned earlier, the Positive Grid RIFF can be something that grows with you as a guitarist. You can start out very simple, but end up using Bias FX 2 on an album! Bias FX 2 has outstanding choices for professional guitar tones, and you can get some amazing tones. But it is also accessible for beginners, and easy to navigate. I have seen it used in professional studios, as well as beginner computers.

The Guitar Match and AutoChord features come with all three packages too, and this can be an essential tool for learning guitar and learning more about tones. Guitar Match can make your Les Paul sound like a Stratocaster, and even beyond that with the 20 sounds in the Elite package. You can not only learn songs with this software, but also learn more about tone itself. Learn how to build full FX chains, different tones, and songs all in one.

So I whole heartedly recommend Positive Grid RIFF for beginner guitarists, or intermediate guitarists. You have everything you need to learn about tones, and even dissect songs. But I also can say that RIFF is great for guitarists on a budget that want an interface to start recording. You can get the RIFF device and then use any free amp sims to craft your own songs. RIFF is totally versatile for every guitarist.

All together, the Positive Grid RIFF is a powerful tool for any guitarist that wants to start recording without being tech savvy at all. The RIFF is designed to be the easiest way to start recording your own music, and Positive Grid knocked it out of the park!

Positive Grid RIFF Package
$99.00

The Positive Grid RIFF is the simple solution for any guitarist that is ready to start recording. The tiny but powerful RIFF interface records with zero latency at high quality, as well as being small and portable. The RIFF works with Mac, iOS, and PC and comes with PreSonus Studio One to get you started recording! The RIFF also works with any DAW of your choice, and controls Bias FX with one simple knob control.

BUY NOW

Does Positive Grid RIFF work with Mac?

Yes, in fact it works with any device with a USB port! It works with Mac, PC, and even your phone or tablet. The RIFF comes with all of the cables you need to get started with any device.

Is the Positive Grid RIFF a real recording interface?

While the Positive Grid RIFF works specifically well with Bias FX 2, it can also be used in “direct” mode as a zero latency recording interface. It works with most DAW programs, including REAPER.

What is Positive Grid RIFF?

Positive Grid RIFF is a small, portable recording interface that works with any computer or tablet to record guitar/bass. It also works as a controller for Bias FX 2, and works with most DAW programs.

Does Positive Grid RIFF use drivers?

Yes, just like any other interface it uses drivers to work with your computer or tablet. For PC users, you will need to download ASIO4ALL. Otherwise, RIFF is a zero latency interface ready to record.

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

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