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Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Tips

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I have been experimenting with using the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe as a tube power amp for the helix. I am starting to get some pretty reasonable tones so I thought I would share my approach in case it is useful to anyone else. Everything below assumes going from the Helix into the Power Amp In jack on the Fender. 


Clean Tones


For clean fender tones you can use the the pre-amp models like US Deluxe and US Double without much additional tweaking.


Dirty Tones 


For dirty tones it works better using a full amp model (no cab) into the Fender Power Amp In. I typically setup a patch where I can A/B using a footswitch between my monitors and the Fender. The idea is not to get exactly the same tone, but it does help me tweak the tone going into the Fender.


My starting point is to use 2 EQ blocks after the amp model before going into the Fender. The first EQ block reduces the mids (-9dB) and treble (-3dB), but this should be tweaked for each amp sim. The second EQ block is a hi/lo cut (80hz / 15kHz) to remove the fizziness that is present in a lot of the high gain models. 


I have used this approach with Cali IV lead, Brit J45, Brit, Plexi, and Tweed Blues and generally I am pretty happy with the tones I am getting.


I would love to hear any other tips from other Fender HRD users.


I still think I will end up buying a Powercab 112 Plus....



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I have a Hot Rod DeVille, which isn't "too" different, but is probably more on the treble-y side than the Deluxe.  I actually go straight into the low input on the pre-amp (bright switch on, the normal "clean" non-drive channel), and keep the tone controls in various positions at noon or below (mids and presence around 9 o'clock).  I use the full amp models, and usually use the cab emulation as a kind of last pass filter.  I'll use either 1 or 2 EQ blocks after the amp models (at least 1 of these will be a parametric EQ), with EQs varying quite a bit per patch.  I have the Global EQ on, with a high cut probably somewhere around 15K or so.  Time based effects are almost always placed after the cab model or IR.  Whenever I use it with this method, I have the big knob volume pretty high up.  I usually don't use drastic cuts or boosts in the EQ, except when I'm going for a "big metal" frequency scoop, or a focused boost to impart a particular character.  Sometimes if I'm using one patch where there are 2 amps I switch between with one of the footswitches, I find I have to assign an EQ or gain block to that switch to keep volume levels equal if one of the amps is a lot quieter at max volume than the other.


I also tried going straight into the power amp, using the Helix volume as a replacement for the amp's volume knob.  It was ok, but a lot darker than I'm used to.  Then again, all my patches are calibrated for the clean preamp in method.

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