I used to share my presets for free, but now I'm doing it commercially, so I removed all the download links for older firmwares. Check my quantum 2.0 thread for the details. However, if you want the presets for an older firmware you're still using, send me a message on

Friday, 28 February 2014

Fremen's high gain "starting pack" bank

Fremen's high gain "starting pack" bank

Some preview demos I uploaded to Youtube ; soon, I'll upload a demo of the final version of the bank, with some tweaking examples

Two more videos on Facebook :

Firmware used with the final version of the bank is 13.07 ; these videos were made with older versions, not the final one.

This bank is the result of rethinking my method of presets programming. I followed this basic goal : one amp suitable for hi gain playing = one preset. Each preset should have roughly the same volume level, and all of them must meet my requirements for heavy rock/metal playing. Definition of "hi gain sound" is of course subjective ; I'm not a br00tal, 7/8 strings modern metal player (I listen to some of it but I don't play it), but not vintage hard rock player either, although I have my roots in the eighties. Let's say that my ballpark is progressive metal à la nineties Dream Theater, although this is restrictive.

Some facts :

All the presets were tweaked for an Ibanez RG520 with a DiMarzio Norton in bridge, tuned in Eb. I tested all of them with the same stupid palm-muting lick on lower strings, then six strings basic chords, power chords, and a little bit of lead playing. It's not always easy to have enough gain to help legato playing (which I uses a lot because of my terrible right hand ;) ) and at the same time no mud in the lower strings palm muting. These presets are for rhythm first, but being usable for leads is a desirable bonus. Of course some amps are better for rhythm, some for lead.

All the 56 presets uses the same cab, without any room level : GuitarHack ThisOne (from a Mesa 4x12 with V30, a standard "metal" cab). Why this ? First, it has been my go-to hi gain IR since almost the beginning, I was already using it in the Axe Standard in 2009 so I know it well. Second, my objective wasn't to find a variety of tones/colors ; it was to find, for each amp model, the best way to achieves a tight, punchy hi gain sound, as detailed below. I tweaked the Low Cut and Hi Cut in the cab block when needed, and often used the new "NULL" mic type to be able to use the Proximity parameter.

It should go in user spot #16
Soon, I will release alternative versions of that go-to cab.

Of course, many of these presets sounds very close to each other because of the importance of the cab in a guitar sound. In some rare cases, I had to use radical settings to make the amp work with the IR. I'm aware that using the same IR won't always give an "authentic" sound (many amps don't uses V30 speakers) but I needed that common factor here to really focus on the amps.

As said above, the key thing with the first 56 presets was to find the optimum gain staging for each amp model. So for each amp, I had to test those different scenarios :

- More input drive and no boost (besides the TS808 which already acts as a booster) ?
- Less input drive but boost switch on (or input trim raised, which I like more because I can control it with an expression pedal) ?
- Saturation switch on or off ?
- Bright switch on or off ?
- Master volume at default level or not ?

First I tested all that, and then used the tone stack, Depth, Presence, and Dynamic Presence/Dynamic Depth to fine-tune. I used the Graphic EQ of the amp block only when needed, like the advanced parameters. Many times I tweaked the speaker page Low Res Freq to put it to at 125 hz ; in some cases I left it at default to respect the amp characteristics (especially with very low default settings). I also raised Thunk in most presets ; this is the only parameter I touched in the "Dynamics" tab of Axe Edit.

In the "Tone" tab, in some cases I lowered the Bright Cap ; in the same tab, I also discovered that boosting the MV Cap is helpful for brightening dark amps.

Each preset uses 5 scenes.
Scene 1 = heavy rhythm
Scene 2 = crunch (less gain than in scene 1)
Scene 3 = lead 1 (with Drive block on – tighter sounding)
Scene 4 = lead 2 (with Drive block off – fatter and warmer)
Scene 5 = "record ready" sound, using the Multiband Compression block (read more on that below).
The amp gain is attached to scene controller 1 and changes accordingly in each scene.

In "Y" of the amp block, most of the time there's the initialized version of the amp, for comparing purposes.

Some words about the grid and the blocks used (besides amp and cab).
The chain is Gate/expander => Wah => Comp => Parametric EQ 1 => Drive => Amp => Cab => Multiband Comp => Parametric EQ 2 = Parametric EQ 3 => Enhancer, with Delay => Reverb in parallel.
Gate/Expander : tweaked for my guitar. Its on in scene 2 (where it's not needed) and 4 (to allow for more dynamic playing)
Wha : off by default in all scenes but attached to external pedal 1, with auto-engage.
Comp : off in all scenes, but can be used in scene 2. The output level will affect the drive of the amp.
Para EQ 1 : used as a mediums booster (instead of the drive block) in scene 4. Also used in scene 2.
Drive : I always use a TS808 as a booster, I like how it tightens the amps. Here it's off in scenes 2 and 4. Scene 3 uses Y, Full Overdrive, which is fatter that the TS808.
Multiband comp : used in scene 5, to gives a more record-ready sound (more compressed lows, more high end). Note : I didn't tweak it in each preset, only in some of them. In the video demo I'll upload for this bank of presets, I'll show some multiband compression tweaking on some bass heavy amps.
Para EQ 2 : used in scene 2 to cut some bright from the amp, as I like my crunch sounds fatter and warmer.
Para EQ 3 : used in scenes 3 and 4 ; gives the volume boost needed for the lead scenes + some mid boosts (I like leads with less highs than rhythms).
After the cab, there are parametric EQ, multiband compression, delay, reverb and enhancer blocks, all bypassed. The delay and reverb settings are the same, but the parametric EQ and multicomp settings have been altered in many presets, even if left bypassed afterwards.
Enhancer : used in scene 4 but can of course be used anywhere, or bypassed in scene 4.
Delay : used in scenes 3 (X, stereo tape mode) and 4 (Y, dual delay mode). I probably use more delay volume than most users.
Reverb : used in all the scenes except scene 4. X (shorter) is for rhythm, Y (longer) is for crunch and leads. The reverb in gain parameter is attached to Scene Controller 2, that's where you need to tweak the reverb volume.