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WickedFinger

Puzzled about "Custom Tone" user presets...

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Has anyone discovered any of these to be useful? Of the many I gone through the trouble of downloading and loading up not a one survived my initial attempts at using. Notions of editing them to work for me usually just has me taking one of my own as a Template and making one myself. Many of them were just so terrible one wonders if it was not a joke. I do believe the two chaps that sell presets know what they are doing wondering if they have put anything in the public Custom Tone area. I gave up even looking in there, thought of loading some of mine but I use external pedals and adding more routing things in mine that are only good for my rig. 

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I find that the Helix really does exactly what it says on the box.  It models effects, amps, speakers and mics.  So if you have used a lot of amps and pedals, run stereo rigs, recorded in studios, and spent time in a control room, you are well equipped to build great sounds.  Much of what is asked on this list is from people without that experience not understanding how you would do it in the good old days in a studio.  Or they expect it to be something they plug into their amp and it will sound suddenly like any amp!

The Helix simulates the studio experience and lets you reproduce it live.  If you get that, and you have some practical experience of that, you are probably good to go without any help from anyone!  From what i've seem of the few professional preset sellers - that's what they are.  They think - its a marshall - got a close and a room mic, got a delay and a chorus, and they know how you put that together.  If you are struggling you need them - if you got that sort of experience in you life you probably don't.

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I've found quite a few really good ones on there, and it sometimes helps to see how others have approached getting a particular tone, even if I just end up using one or two ideas for my own patches. I probably delete more than half after a few seconds, but doesn't mean it's crap, just not what I'm looking for, or maybe it just doesn't work with my guitar, speaker and fingers.

 

From a community point of view I think it's good that people are prepared to share stuff (and the only cost is a few minutes of your time), and I would imagine if your new to this stuff it could be quite valuable to pick a few of the top rated stuff to get some ideas.

 

Why don't you put some of your stuff up anyway? Tne routing stuff wouldn't matter if your core tone was great...

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Yeah I find most of them really bad too. There are some good ones but usally is a waste of time and you're faster dialing in your own patches.

I think it has a lot to do with the equipment used. There are too many variables that affect the result. If I dial in a patch that sounds awesome with my equipment (and most that I made do - to me at least ;-) ), they probably will sound terrible to other people because they use different guitars, different speaker and have different ears.

 

There are some patches on customtone I doubt that sound good on any gear though ;-)

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Has anyone discovered any of these to be useful? Of the many I gone through the trouble of downloading and loading up not a one survived my initial attempts at using. Notions of editing them to work for me usually just has me taking one of my own as a Template and making one myself. Many of them were just so terrible one wonders if it was not a joke.

You're far from alone. I've tried hundreds to date...and exactly one (slightly tweaked) gets used. Every once in a while I throw caution to the wind, download a bunch, and then I remember why it's a waste of time. The payoff is never worth it.

 

Customtone (like Communism ;)) is a nice idea, spoiled by the lowest common denominator. Walk into any big box MegaloMusic on a Saturday morning, sachet over to the guitar department, and give ear to the cringe inducing screeches emanating from within...this demographic out-numbers the musicians of the world 10:1, and that's probably a forgiving ratio. Thus we can safely assume that Customtone will be filled (mostly) with submissions from this very same group.

 

And even in those rare cases where something is submitted by someone with genuine skill and knowledge of the gear, there are the other thousand variables in the equation that will nearly always guarantee that the tone you hear will not be the same thing that it's creator heard. The guitar, pickups, amp, monitors, headphones...whatever was used to create the patch...are all things you likely don't have. That being the case, expecting it to sound the same is an appeal to magic.

 

Wasting time on the free ones is bad enough, paying money for them baffles me.

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In the past I have used custom tones as a template to get where I want the sound to be on X3 Live, HD500s etc.  Like you said there is a lot of fairly bad presets up there or they are tuned to specific user's guitar etc.  For HD500 custom tone was pretty much the only hope you had since the factory tones for the most part were unusable since they were more meant to show off the effect capability of the unit vs. recording and/or live playing.  In the case of the Helix I have downloaded some of the acoustic patches but find the factory presets to be very useful as templates and the Glenn Delaune presets very informative and useful.

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Another problem is everyone has a different perception of what they hear. One guy might create a Boston tone and think it is right on and 8 other people think it is not even close.  Even with some of the tones I paid for from Glenn DeLaune are not what I expected and he is one of the best.  The sound on the youtube demos sometime is much different than what I get through my rig.  Its just the nature of the beast. You are always better off to make your own tones on your own rig to get the sound you want. But that takes actual work and many of us are lazy and looking for the short cut like buying them! (which is what I often do.) But the free ones on custom tone... well you get what you pay for.

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Not sure if it's my playing, my guitar, my taste, or what, but I mostly end up using Custom Tone more as a source of ideas, either for sounds or interesting patch design approaches, than as tones I'll actually use. Frankly, that's been the case so far for the few presets I've purchased too, even though they were from reputable folks. I'm probably not done w free or commercial patch exploration though, just too curious.

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I also rarely find a CustomTone that works for me, as has been already mentioned the likelihood of someone else designing a preset that works with your ears, equipment, and guitar tends to be fairly low. I do truly appreciate the fact that there are some diamonds in the rough now and then from talented folks that have spent a lot of time and energy on them and been generous enough to share them. The problem is there is a lot of chaff to sort the wheat from. The star rating system does help somewhat but I still rarely end up using a downloaded preset.  I do occasionally learn some great new method for building a preset from them and that I think is where the greatest value in CustomTone lies.

 

To me it would almost be a better approach if the presets rather than trying to provide someone with the perfect sound would instead focus on specific areas, tricks, effect and block parameters, and tips of patch construction. For instance, here is a patch for wet, dry, wet, or how to set a great compressor sound, or how to split IRs, custom routing, balancing block output, getting an organ sound, 4cable method, setting up a Variax, etc.. In a way focusing on templates rather than presets. Providing just innovative pieces of a preset that can be universal and employed by others with the express intention of only being used as building blocks in other's presets rather than providing a complete patch that will probably not work in someone else's rig.

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I also rarely find a CustomTone that works for me, as has been already mentioned the likelihood of someone else designing a preset that works with your ears, equipment, and guitar tends to be fairly low. I do truly appreciate the fact that there are some diamonds in the rough now and then from talented folks that have spent a lot of time and energy on them and been generous enough to share them. The problem is there is a lot of chaff to sort the wheat from. The star rating system does help somewhat but I still rarely end up using a downloaded preset.  I do occasionally learn some great new method for building a preset from them and that I think is where the greatest value in CustomTone lies.

 

To me it would almost be a better approach if the presets rather than trying to provide someone with the perfect sound would instead focus on specific areas, tricks, effect and block parameters, and tips of patch construction. For instance, here is a patch for wet, dry, wet, or how to set a great compressor sound, or how to split IRs, custom routing, balancing block output, getting an organ sound, 4cable method, setting up a Variax, etc.. In a way focusing on templates rather than presets. Providing just innovative pieces of a preset that can be universal and employed by others with the express intention of only being used as building blocks in other's presets rather than providing a complete patch that will probably not work in someone else's rig.

This is where my largest sentiment lies with custom tone, or presets in general. 

 

Some of them can be good enough to use as templates for yourself to further sculpt the sounds to your needs. Though with the Helix, once you have it longer than 2 weeks, you can dial up an entire complex patch from scratch in relatively short time. 

 

I have a cool/simple patch that works great with my single coil guitar. I leave the high cut pretty high, because I want to further roll off the highs with a more flexible curve in my DAW with Fab Filter Pro-Q 2 in post processing. So if I share it, it prolly won't meet the needs of others as easily, and even including that in a notes section there is a 50% chance that it will not even be read.  Many have presets that are designed with IRs that are not present. Some presets are also used in a 4-cable method, and many presets use a physical external cab as a replacement of the cab section.  Lots of variables. 

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I've found quite a few really good ones on there, and it sometimes helps to see how others have approached getting a particular tone, even if I just end up using one or two ideas for my own patches. I probably delete more than half after a few seconds, but doesn't mean it's crap, just not what I'm looking for, or maybe it just doesn't work with my guitar, speaker and fingers.

 

From a community point of view I think it's good that people are prepared to share stuff (and the only cost is a few minutes of your time), and I would imagine if your new to this stuff it could be quite valuable to pick a few of the top rated stuff to get some ideas.

 

Why don't you put some of your stuff up anyway? Tne routing stuff wouldn't matter if your core tone was great...

 

Well my routing out to other stuff is really what makes my sound. The preset with everything off is OK but rather bland. I have been busy taking advantage of the routing ability to completely change my premise in using the Helix. I had been using the Mic Studio Tube Preamp set on line impedance and clean for just a little tube enhance (as I mentioned in my programming tips thread). I was selling my previous GSP 1101 modeler and since I am not giving it away it looks like I will be keeping it. I love several of the Clean Tube models in that puppy so I replaced my Helix Mic Tube Preamp thing with a loop out to the GSP 1101 to bring in that clean tube amp model with the cab set on direct (no cab) and man what a difference in the tube emulation(this is before the Helix amp model. Gives it a real tube sounding treatment without gaining anything up or clipping it digitally. Marvelous really. I also now send a signal out to my Mel9 and Trio on my first block, that does not return to to the Helix but goes off to the FRFR rig. I have my select pedals on another loop for my fav drives and higher gains. So if you muted out those three loop/sends it gets pretty basic plus I have a array of different reverbs and delays w the Phase 90 and a Chorus here and there.

Anyway learning to use the Helix better all the time. Just have to work on this IR thing what a bugger if your load in a really nice one it sucks up your DSP so you have to cut a bunch of effect options out. I may upload some but right now I am working on some new ones with my routing. The 1101 also affords the ability to use any of its arsenal of effects if I need anything when the DSP is running short. Anyway just bugged by all the IR stuff, I get all the recording DAW yada but it is not the way i approach the guitar as more of a player. Sometimes you go into a studio and the engineer on deck will just completely change everything and have you playing on stuff that does not work for you. I want my tones captured not completely altered which is what all the IR and mic stuff does. 

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I've come across quite a few good ones.

 In fact might end up using more of them than the presets i've actually purchased.

Inevitably one will end up doing tweaks but thats fine too.

 

 

 But main problem to me is the normalisation thing.

 

 They come at wildly different output volume levels.  

 

Plus as others have said - the impulse-response thing is a pain and put-off.

 

Maybe L6 could add a filter to exclude those using IRs when searching. 

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Any tips to ones you thought were usable? I gave up, too much effort to load them up, I would just rather make my own. Once you get your personal templates figured out things get simple. I find no one has my taste in EQ, or what constitutes tone. Maybe others would find my presets too deep, heavy, fullrange, punchy and glass over shrill, tinny midrangy, preamp gain. Due to my extensive and growing use of external pedals really only my amps would be of use to anyone, but they sound good, so that is probably not helpful. I find more and more there are but a few amp models that work for me as they just have to respond and sound good with pedals and many do not. 

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Any tips to ones you thought were usable? I gave up, too much effort to load them up, I would just rather make my own. Once you get your personal templates figured out things get simple. I find no one has my taste in EQ, or what constitutes tone. Maybe others would find my presets too deep, heavy, fullrange, punchy and glass over shrill, tinny midrangy, preamp gain. Due to my extensive and growing use of external pedals really only my amps would be of use to anyone, but they sound good, so that is probably not helpful. I find more and more there are but a few amp models that work for me as they just have to respond and sound good with pedals and many do not. 

1.  The presets were made with a particular guitar, output (amp, FRFR, etc), and player touch.  Chances are your rig and your style don't come close to theirs.

2. As other have said, what is gold to some is crap to someone else.  For instance, I could care less about the latest hi-gain metal chunk-a-chunk sound.  I'm not saying it's a bad sound... Just not my style.

3. It's all in the touch. 

 

What sort of tones are you interested in?

 

And, yeah, I agree that I haven't yet found an awesome custom tone yet that's just like what I want.  But I'm not expecting to either for all the reasons above.  I download the presets just to see what others are doing to get ideas on how to sculpt what I want to hear.

 

I think it's amazing what people think The Edge sounds like,... not even close to what I hear :)

(And I'll bet other people hearing my recreation would say pretty much the same thing :) )

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Yeah, LOL, it is a mystery sometimes as to what some are hearing and what they seem not to hear. I am a many decade player and have been there and done that with a whole lot of gear and guitars. I suppose it's ironic paradox now that I have the best gear in my life I am retired from the live thing and band thing where I have to play things I do not like. I thought about messing around with recording but not having any delusions of grandeur that is an awful hungry alligator to start feeding with no return on net assets. I try to just have fun playing and creating amazing tones. Quite freeing actually not having to deal with all the pressure and set list thing. Too old to be a rock star or to suffer the egoism it requires.

__________

 

 

I prefer well tweaked and great sounding cleaner amps, ones that work well with pedals and effects. I have external gains and drives I like over a cranked amp gain. Sometimes novel to mess with but in general I like the most tube like clean I can get without being too high ended or shrill. The most difficult thing for amp modeling is that edge of breakup tone and the response as you push it over the edge. That to me is the true test of a model. Rather easy it seems to get high gain and super clean, the trick is not sounding too sterile and digital. That is one reason I use two MIC Studio Tube preamp models (ftswitched) one pre and post to wrap the amp model in a more tube-like shroud, sounds less digital to me. 

 

I have been narrowing down my choices to just a few and the cab and mic that sounds the best for me. I use Les Paul's and prefer lower to mid gain drives. I am mainly into the Helix for the amp model tones and everything else I can farm out. I use the delays and reverbs right now but whenever I can get my hands on a Styrmon or Eventide I will farm those out as well. Delays are HX and pretty decent the Reverbs are hand me down from POD, which are usable but for my view the farther you advance and modify from the POD thing the better. Been there done that and over my POD phase. I was done with L6 completely but the Helix deserved another shot and it is the best modeler at that money level I have used. If I had to do it over again I would have gone in a different direction entirely but no one on the Helix forum cares about that. 

 

My fav amps so far: 

Mesa CLN channel

SLO CLN channel

Hi Watt

Shiva set CLN

If anyone knows another amp that does well clean, do tell. The Fender stuff has not really impressed me that much on the Helix, maybe I just have not tweaked on them enough. 

 

Tend to prefer the 4x12 cabs and I like the Coles Ribbon 4038 I think, can't remember. I like it's darker quality and tone over the usual 57 and whatnot. Just sounds warmer and less digital to me. Most IRs do not do it for me either which I am frankly scared to buy them as of the hundreds of free ones I have tried, just did not care for them much. Maybe its the mics they use or the fact you cannot change them on the Helix. Also moving the mic across the speaker is a dire tone changer. Not sure where the Helix is supposed to be, but seems to me more to the edge like 3/4 is a better sound. All in all I am getting what I like out the Helix and hope they continue to improve it with better amp models. Effects wise outside of well done delay and reverbs, I prefer pedals. 

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Has anyone discovered any of these to be useful? Of the many I gone through the trouble of downloading and loading up not a one survived my initial attempts at using. Notions of editing them to work for me usually just has me taking one of my own as a Template and making one myself. Many of them were just so terrible one wonders if it was not a joke. I do believe the two chaps that sell presets know what they are doing wondering if they have put anything in the public Custom Tone area. I gave up even looking in there, thought of loading some of mine but I use external pedals and adding more routing things in mine that are only good for my rig. 

 

Ive had terrible issues with these as well.  I wonder if its a difference in the rig were using.  I have had great luck with Glenn Delaune patches  they sound very good.  but if you figure it out please tell me how

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Beats me how obviously some thought these were so good they had to upload them. I hear the pro ones you buy are really good but I also hear that about a lot of the custom tone area. I know I've been playing a long time and have developed a sense of tweaking and adjustments to things, but what are these cats hearing? No wonder they want more cheesy effects in the Helix, maybe there are some decent presets in there but everyone I try is just god awful. Sometimes I feel like it's a joke or something. Mysterious Ways indeed. 

 

I know be positive, OK you only suck half as much as your tones indicate. 

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Yeah, not that I'm any expert or anything in any way shape or form, but, when I have recorded, I definitely prefer an off-center mic position.  I don't understand why L6 didn't include that variation in their IR's.

 

I suppose they figured that's a lot of work, and there's already tons of IR's out there.  As if I don't have enough to explore but to go third-party IR, too?  sigh  I would have preferred if that was in the box and they released with only half the cabs they have.

 

As it seems for you, I also tend to prefer a warmer, less bitey shall we say, Les Paul Humbucker sound.  But then, I'm always trying to experiment with different tones.  Just picked up my first single coil Fender style guitar (JTV-69S).  I can already see I've got a lot to learn on how to use these new tones...

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