I know, it’s taken me a while. I made a couple of runs at them. I first started with my original Helix preset pack and tried to pare the presets down but just felt they were somehow “less” than I wanted. Then I did a couple of shows in Dec-Jan using the big Helix. We were in the middle of a Christmas tour along with Phil Vassar and had a couple of regular Lonestar fly dates thrown in so I thought I’d give it a whirl. In prepping for those gigs, I stumbled upon the Lead 80 stock cab. Since that’s the speaker I profile with the most, it made sense and actually sounded quite nice overall with many of my favorite amp models. For those shows I used mostly 2 amp models, the Lonestar Ch 1 and Plexi Brt models. I tried to start small and then just build song presets with 1-4 basic tones. It worked out pretty well. If I were to use the Helix full time, I would probably continue to make tweaks for a couple of months to dial them in but I still preferred my Kemper.

At the same time, I was doing the Christmas tour and stumbled upon my Pack 1 /13 LDW profile that ended up being the basis for most of my rigs for the tour. I noticed in the cab tags that the cab I used on that profile was actually my 3P 112. So then I went and shot some IRs of the 112 instead of my usual 212. In trying out the IRs and testing on different units, even converting it into a cab for the Kemper, I found that it just tended to make almost any amp sound somewhat “better.” I know “better” is a subjective word, but that is my life. I spend many hours a week twiddling knobs and pushing buttons and comparing this sound to that sound and trying to figure out if I’m making it better or worse. Then my ears get fatigued and nothing sounds good. Then I take a break and get away to enjoy the tinnitus I’ve grown accustomed to. Then I go back in a couple days and start over with fresh ears, sometimes finding that what I had landed on before didn’t sound good. The litmus test is for me to take a break and come back and be satisfied with the results.

SO, armed with the stock Lead 80 cab and my newly-named “Magic” cab, I started trying to make HX Stomp presets again in February. I couldn’t make myself like most of the built in amp models. I would work with a model for a half hour and then if I wasn’t getting anywhere, I’d move on. Not surprisingly, I ended up using mostly the Lonestar Ch 1, Deluxe Reverb, Fawn AC30, Matchless C30, and Plexi Brt for most of the tones. I tend to like those amps in the real world. My issue with modelers in general is that the tonal shifts between models are exaggerated and make it hard to switch from amp model to amp model. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted a one-size-fits-all cab that works with many amp models.

The HX Stomp Preset Pack has a bit of variety but it is primarily made for basic amp tones, and stuff that I (in particular) would use on a gig. I figured if I made them so that I might use them, maybe someone else might find them useful. They’re not intended to be the be-all end-all of what the HX Stomp can do or cover every style of music. There are basic cleanish tones and some rhythm and lead overdriven tones. That is where I live most of the time. I don’t play drop-C metal or jazz, so I’ll leave those to people who can dial in those tones with more authenticity.

Hopefully, there’s something that you might find useful. Because in the end, that’s what makes a tool important, how useful it is in the real world. Enjoy!

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