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Delaune vs Fremen vs MBritt patches - a review

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Hi,

     I recently bought patches from three of the established vendors in this field:

 

1. Fremen - Starter Pack and free Marshal amp pack

2. MBritt - Patches 1 (32 patches, only current offering for Helix)

3. Glenn Delaune - Boutique amps volumes 1 and 2

 

Figured it might be useful to share a few observations.

 

Couple of caveats:

 

1. I know a few people are skeptical about the value or even wisdom of paying someone else to write your presets/patches but, for me, it makes sense. I'd had the Helix for a few weeks and was struggling to get really good tones out of it. The factory presets were (to my mind) terrible. The Fender twin one is okay but most drive sounds were 'distant', mushy or washed out. I realise the Helix is not meant to create the sound of a well mic'd amp rather than an 'amp in the room' tone but even with this, I was disappointed.  I was certainly spending a lot more time tweaking tones than actually playing guitar. I only have a small amount of time to play each day so, as a result, the Helix was not being used. I'd even started to look at a used Kemper to replace it! Sad times :(

 

2. In my previous efforts, I'd downloaded an ownhammer IR pack and found this improved things a bit but I still wasn't happy. I'd also watched and followed a lot of online tutorials about creating patches and, while I'd enjoyed tweaking, I still wasn't playing.

 

3. Gear. I should add that I  usually use the pedal with headphones. I use either Beyerdynamic DT770s or Superlux 681s. Both are, to my mind, very good sounding cans. I've also used the 'full range' input on my Vox adio amp. It yielded very similar results to the headphones tone wise. For guitar's, I've tried instruments with humbuckers, single coils and P90s.

 

4. I was impressed by patches from all three vendors, what follows are just a few observations of my own, many of which will be based around personal preference. In isolation, each patches pack had some standout strengths. Glenn, Michael and Fremen clearly know what they are doing.

 

Anyway, on to the actual  review:

 

Fremen Starter Pack and freebie Marshal amp pack: These were the first packs I tried (based on other positive reviews). I was immediately impressed with the drive tones and surprised to find the acoustic simulator in there too. Fremen's use of Snapshots is also very thorough so you get immediately useable presets (plus a nice example on how they can/should be used generally). Amp tones are based mainly around the amp models you might expect (fender for fender, marshal for marshal etc) along with careful use of drive pedals and carefully matched IRs to finish the tone off. Appropriate effects are also included and some interesting signal path routing is used too (opened my eyes as to what is possible).

 

Blanket statement is that the tones are far more up front than the factory presets but still tend towards really well ic'd amp than 'amp in the room'. The drive tones are quite bright (strong mid/high focus) but not harsh and the higher the drive, generally the better the tone he has achieved. For me, the 'crunch' tones have a little less impact though and the clean tones are 'too clean'. Fremen's own comment is that he likes his cleans 'super clean' and he uses a few tricks to achieve this (careful use of compressors). In the starter pack at least this meant there were great drive tones and really clean cleans but a bit of a gap in between. I also found the clean tones to be a bit 'mid heavy' without any of the shine and shimmer that you get from a nice fender clean tone for example. This is personal preference thought, other people might really like this type of sound.

 

Perhaps there are better cleans and bluesy tones in the 'big pack' but I decided to try other vendors first.

 

 

Michael Britt, Helix preset pack 1:  King of the Kemper, Michael Britt. Again, initial impression of these patches was really good. Similar to Fremen, the patches are based around candidate amp models with driver pedals and  carefully chosen/custom(?) IRs used to get you MBritt's signature 'amp in the room' tone. Indeed, of the three sets of patches I tried, MBritts's are definitely the most 'present' and immediate which translates (especially with headphones) into a more realistic 'amp in the room' feel.

 

In terms of organisation, the pack makes less use of snapshots and each preset seems to have a slightly different structure. This is fine, but perhaps less intuitive than Fremen's approach.

 

A neat trick he uses on his clean tones is to use combinations of amps. For example his Fender tones use an obvious candidate Fender amp model for 'glassy tone' but then a less obvious clean amp is added in parallel to give a bit more body and focus. His ability to choose candidates for these combo presets is a big part of the value for me.

 

All told, a really nice collection of presets. Cleans are more to my taste than Fremen's and I learned a lot from seeing how he sets up his signal paths. If you have the Fremen patches and are happy with his cleans though, maybe you could pass on this set.

 

 

Glenn Delaune Boutique amps: I'll be up front, on balance these are possibly my favourite. Nice use of snapshots and well organised. Good selection of drive tones and the Volume 2 'clean pack' is just incredible for bluesy, low drive tones. Overall, a really nicely balanced tone (not too bright) and probably somewhere between MBritt and Fremen for 'room presence'.

 

The way he constructs his patches is also quite different to t the other guys. Glenn generally uses the Amp and Cab models from the Helix (the other guys do not use the Helix cabs) and then adds an IR after that to 'tone match' to the amp he is attempting to match. He has loads of youtube videos showing the success of this approach. To my ears, it works really well. The 'feel' and response to pick attack also seems to be particularly realistic. The only downside is that the IRs are very specific to the patch and probably don't work too well elsewhere. And, aside from adjusting the amp settings (tone, gain etc) the patches are probably less use for tweaking. That said, I'm very happy with this approach. I get a well set up tone which I can play with within the limitations of a normal amp. That works for me as it gets me actually playing guitar quicker.

 

An interesting side effect (I guess) of his approach is that he ends up using amp models that you might not expect. For example IIRC he uses the Roland Jazz model (super clean) and a drive pedal to create the Blackface amp. Disable the IR and it sounds pretty poor. With IR, fantastic. Forgive me if I have miss-remembered the specific preset here.

 

 

So, all told, any of these packs would probably be helpful if you want realistic tones in a hurry. The first two might be best as 'tutorials' and MBritt really brings the amp into the room. Fremen's cleans are super clean and his higher drive tones are great fun. As I've said though, I really like Glenn's preset packs. For whatever reason, they just seem to grab me and keep me playing and his selection of clean/light drive tones are just epic.

 

Having said that, there are presets from all packs that have made it into my 'shortlist' preset list and I'll probably get good use from all three vendors. If I had just one set, it'd be the clean pack (volume 2) from Glenn. After that, I reckon I'd be perfectly happy with any of the other packs to provide higher drive tones.

 

So, no definitive 'best vendor' but hopefully I've highlighted a few characteristics that might help people decide if they are looking at buying.

 

Cheers,

 

ip

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Great write up - if you like Pink Floyd Fremen are the very best - being in a Pink Floyd tribute band he has put a lot of time into those presets - highly recommend them

 

I own good amount of Glenns stuff also - he does a great job

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You can't go wrong with any of these three guys' presets. They put a lot of time and thought into them.

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7 hours ago, rsvette12 said:

Great write up - if you like Pink Floyd Fremen are the very best - being in a Pink Floyd tribute band he has put a lot of time into those presets - highly recommend them

 

I own good amount of Glenns stuff also - he does a great job

The Pink Floyd patches? Are they only available in the Big Pack or Mega Pack, or is there a way to get just the Floyd presets? I couldn’t see that on the Fremen website. 

And it isn’t about the cost of the big or mega pack, it’s just that I wouldn’t use most of the patches in those packs, but the Floyd stuff? Hell yes. 

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How come nobody has bothered to mention of any of the presets made by Scott (Minchk - The Helix Channel)?

 

Oh, it looks like I did that right now.

 

Plenty of good stuff to choose from, and you can watch him build and demo them on UChoob.

 

EDIT: I should point out that I have also bought presets from the other three guys mentioned here and all have their merits.

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5 hours ago, datacommando said:

How come nobody has bothered to mention of any of the presets made by Scott (Minchk - The Helix Channel)?

 

Oh, it looks like I did that right now.

 

Plenty of good stuff to choose from, and you can watch him build and demo them on UChoob.

 

EDIT: I should point out that I have also bought presets from the other three guys mentioned here and all have their merits.

 

Excellent points. I drank up a ton of his vids when I first bought the HX Stomp, and loved his interview on the day of the Stomp's debut.  Very helpful stuff. Still catch it pretty regularly. 

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16 hours ago, GingerLefty said:

The Pink Floyd patches? Are they only available in the Big Pack or Mega Pack, or is there a way to get just the Floyd presets? I couldn’t see that on the Fremen website. 

And it isn’t about the cost of the big or mega pack, it’s just that I wouldn’t use most of the patches in those packs, but the Floyd stuff? Hell yes. 

 

You can send him a message here - he may sell them separate :) 

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16 minutes ago, rsvette12 said:

 

You can send him a message here - he may sell them separate :) 

 

.... in the "Promote Your Patchs" subform, he has a thread there and checks it and replies. I know there are Floyd patches in his Big Pack, maybe some in others. Here are the ones he lists for the Big Pack:

 

[Bonus presets + Pink Floyd]

Brain damage 2S.hlx
Comf Numb LG 4S.hlx
Comf Numb RG 2S.hlx
Echoes LG 1S.hlx
Echoes RG 1S.hlx
Hey you 3S.hlx
High hopes 2S.hlx
In the flesh 1S.hlx
Money RTM+LD 3S.hlx
Money tremolo 1S.hlx
Mother 2S.hlx
PF Acoustic 5S.hlx
Pink Floyd presets.txt
Run like hell 1S.hlx
Shine on U 4S.hlx
Snapshot delays.hlx
The Wall Pt 1 1S.hlx
The wall Pt 2 2S.hlx
Time 4S.hlx
Turning away 2S.hlx
Us and them 2S.hlx

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i love the fremen patches the most. perfect for headphones or monitors. but after getting the powercab, i can just load up one amp and use lf raw mode and its great without even making a preset. just choose an amp and go. then i use the frfr mode for fremens patches

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Great to read these reviews!! 

 Any opinions on the ‘premium preset pack’ by Glenn Delaune for HX Stomp? Glenn’s getting some great reviews here on the bigger Helix machines, any thoughts on the packs for the Stomp?? I can only find one pack for sale so far. 

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Hi,

     Thanks for all the responses. I'll check out Scott's stuff too.

 

Interesting note on the power cab. As I said, most of my playing is done with headphones these days. Once in a blue moon though I do get the house to myself, and in that case, I can use my Yamaha THR100HD head in 'flat' mode to bypass its preamp. With a standard guitar cab (celestion alnico cream) I guess i've basically got a powercab type set up. I'll look forward to trying that out some day :)

 

Also, thanks to Glenn for your comments. I hope I did not misrepresent your working method too badly.

 

As a general positive, now I've got a few go-to presets chosen I can plug in with headphones and get playing really quickly. I haven't played guitar this much in years.

 

Cheers,

 

ip

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Great review! I use patches from all of three patch builders for live use depending on what type of sound I’m looking for.  Generally like you I find that Glenn’s clean patches are amazing and very organic.  I use Fremen’s patches for higher gain sounds.  Britt’s patches work well for that mid-range focus that cuts through the mix. His mid-gain patches are excellent.  We are fortunate to have these three guys (and others) investing their time on creating great profiles for the Helix. 

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i agree all 3 are good. others who sell presets should take a note of these before just willy nilly selling patches after 1 month with the unit. rhett "cough cough" shull

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Ok I’m going to answer my own question here. The ‘premium preset’ pack by Glenn D for the HX Stomp is excellent. Tones are great esp the lead boost function - solos sound killer! However I’m a bit stuck trying to eliminate the delay frm the basic sound. 

He’s set the presets up in such a clever way...FS3 has an EQ boost and delay. You can even adjust the delay mix on the fly. Very cool. Though being a newbie I’m stuck on getting rid of the delay for the rhythm sound. I’d like to keep it in when I hit FS3 of course but I don’t want it in there for the basic sound on FS1. It’s super that u can dial in extra drive via the first footswitch but I don’t want the delay there at all. HELP please! I have a gig soon and this learning curve is much steeper than I anticipated:(

Thanks guys....

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If you never want the delay on  the Snapshot associated with FS1 you can simply turn the delay block off while that Snapshot is active and then resave the preset.

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Thanks for the quick reply! Glenn’s presents are set up for stomp mode. Not snapshot mode. I’ve just tried your suggestion and if i turn the delay off for FS1 it’s off for the solo boost on FS3 also. And vice versa:( 

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Sorry - I misunderstood the architecture of the presets. I don't have the HX Stomp so can't be certain about giving detailed procedures for you.  It sounds like snapshots would do what you want but perhaps there's a different way that another user can suggest here.

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I feel the same.  There is something for everybody in all three sets.  Outside of volume adjustment, not much to do.

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@beckybrown -- have you tried using HX Edit instead of the front panel to do your edits. Its usually a lot easier to figure out stuff using the editor software.

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I agree. Yes I am using HX edit - surely i can find a way in there to take away a parameter and assign it to another footswitch?! 

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study pages 32—38 of the manual, that should have the info you need. it covers snapshots and controller assignments.

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Great. I did find the controller assignment area in HX edit and I’m on the way I think. It’ll help to have a look at the manual again thozzzz now I’ve got a rough idea what’s happening. Thank you :) 

Everyone’s input really helps...thanks again guys. 

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Enjoyed this thread very much. I wish there were more DT/Helix users who put stuff out or shared.

 

I get great results but....I feel so alone!  

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On 4/6/2019 at 5:54 AM, Beckybrown said:

Thanks for the quick reply! Glenn’s presents are set up for stomp mode. Not snapshot mode. I’ve just tried your suggestion and if i turn the delay off for FS1 it’s off for the solo boost on FS3 also. And vice versa:( 

 

It's actually super easy to solve and you don't need Snapshots.   I'd guess that right now the delay isn't assigned to any footswitch at all.   If you want the delay only on FS3 in stompbox mode you have to assign the delay to FS3 so it will toggle on and off along with the boost.  Just navigate to the effect block and then touch and hold the FS3 footswitch and select the "merge" function to add it to the same footswitch as the boost.  Should only take a second.

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On 4/6/2019 at 7:54 AM, Beckybrown said:

Thanks for the quick reply! Glenn’s presents are set up for stomp mode. Not snapshot mode. I’ve just tried your suggestion and if i turn the delay off for FS1 it’s off for the solo boost on FS3 also. And vice versa:( 

Just to clarify, If you're talking about the HX Stomp, my Custom presets are in fact set up for Snapshots (not sure about the factory ones I did though). You have to be in snapshots mode to use them. If you see colors on the buttons other than white then you are not in Snapshots mode. To get into Snapshots mode you press the "Page Right" button on the HX Stomp 
until you see the big numbers <1>  <2>  <3>  on the Screen. That is Snapshots Mode. The Buttons should be white in color.  

 

Regards,

 

Glenn DeLaune 
Website  |  Youtube Channel  |  Facebook  |  Line 6 Marketplace

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