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Plugin Preset Co-op FAQ

  • General
    • What's this place all about?
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      • The Protools Plugin Preset Co-op is intended to allow users of Digidesign Protools systems to share plugin settings in the form of plugin preset files which can be uploaded and downloaded. In the upload process, preset files are categorized by plugin, and can be given a thorough, searchable description including what they are and how they can be used. It has been designed with extensive searching and selecting capabilities making it easy to find what you're looking for.
    • What about viruses?
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      • Viruses really, really, really suck...no seriously. I currently have no system for determining whether or not any files uploaded here contain viruses.
      • Caution should be used with files downloaded from this site. Although it may be impossible to get a virus by opening a preset file in a plugin, inadvertantly launching a file that is not a preset file at all could certainly do harm. Save the files rather than auto-opening them with the browser (as described below under Downloading). You should treat the files you download here as you would any files downloaded from a public site.
      • If, God forbid, I am ever informed, or otherwise find out, that a file here has any undesirable content, I will remove it immediately, and post an alert on the home page of the site in case anyone has downloaded it. Since preset files themselves could never contain a virus, such a situation would require malicious intent on someone's part.
    • How to I get around the preset co-op?
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      • Every page of the co-op, including this one, has a set of links at the bottom of the page to all other pages. The 'Protools Plugin Preset Co-op' logo on each page (including the digitalaudiorock home page) is a link to the Download page.
    • Does the co-op use cookies?
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      • Yes, though it will work without them. The only cookies that are ever set are temporary and are only in effect until you close your browser. That is, they are not written to your cookie file. Their only purpose is to allow you to perform several sequential functions (several file uploads for example) without re-entering your user and password. If you disable cookies, you will have to enter these whenever they are required.
    • Can Mac and Windows users share each others presets?
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      • Yes! For that reason, I recently removed the platform field from the preset database. This FAQ was incorrect on this issue until I was informed by a very helpful engineer at Digi. As long as the preset file name is changed so it ends with an extension of '.tfx', Protools will recognize it and it will work, even going from Windows to Mac. Even though a Windows preset file will not have the Mac resource fork, Protools on Mac will recognize it long as the name ends with that extension.
      • If the preset file was uploaded in it's original format (named with a '.tfx' extension), simply download it and put it in the appropriate plugin folder.
      • Using Zip archived Windows presets on Mac: Download the Zip file. It can be extracted with the StuffIt Expander. Rename the file(s) so the name(s) end with '.tfx'. Move it to the correct preset folder.
      • Using archived Mac presets under Windows: Download the archive file, which will be in either BinHex (.hqx), MacBinary (.bin), or StuffIt (.sit) formats. The preset file can be extracted from the archive using the free StuffIt Expander. Rename the file so the name ends with '.tfx'. Note that, in order to change the file extension in the Windows Explorer, the Explorer options must be set to show file extensions. From the Windows Explorer, go to View -> Options, and make sure that the 'Hide MS-DOS File Extensions' option is NOT selected. Once this is set, you will see the file extensions in the Explorer and can change them. Note that, if the existing file happens to have a file extension, Windows may give you a warning when you rename it, requiring you to answer 'Yes'. After renaming the file, move it to the appropriate plugin preset folder.
      • Waves preset library files (named with a '.pst' extension) can be shared by Windows and Mac users.
    • Where do I find / put the plugin preset files on my Protools system?
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      • Under Mac OS X, plugin presets are located under Root->Library->Application Support->Digidesign->Plug-In Settings. On Mac OS 9.x systems plugin presets are generally located in folders below System Folder:DAE:Plug-In Settings.
      • On Windows systems the default location for plugin presets is in folders below C:\Program Files\Digidesign\DAE\Plug-In Settings. This of course may differ depending on the drive and folder you chose during the Protools install.
      • In both cases, there are folders below this location for different plugins. If you want to upload one of your presets, this is where you will find them. When you download a preset file, simply place it in the appropriate folder.
      • Note that Waves handles presets a little differently. They seem to put user presets into the Waves Preferences file. They do however allow you to save settings to a preset library file anywhere on your system. Likewise they let you load a preset file in the same manner. These library files can contain more than one preset file. Use these library files in order to share Waves presets. If anyone is aware of any other such idiosyncasies with other plugins, please email me and let me know. I have not run into any. I've recently started using the standard Protools librarian to load and save my Waves presets, and like it much more...however Waves does not recommend this. When using the Protools librarian for presets, they go into the Waveshell folder under the Plug-in Settings folder.
  • Registering
    • What should I use for a user name?
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      • The user name you choose must be at least three characters and can contain only letters, numbers, and spaces. User names are case sensitive. That is 'Tom' and 'tom' are NOT treated the same, so enter register with the exact case you intend to use. If you happen to belong to the Digidesign User Conference, why not use the same user you use there...we might even know you already!
    • What should I use for a password?
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      • IMPORTANT: Since this site does NOT use SSL or any type of password encryption, you should NOT use a password that you would be afraid to reveal to anyone (as is the case with sites such as the DUC). Passwords must be at least three characters in length and can contain only letters and numbers. The passwords, like the user names, are case sensitive. The registration page makes you enter this twice to guard against fat-fingering.
    • Do I need to enter an email address?
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      • No. This is optional, though I would appreciate one. If entered, it would only be used if I needed to contact you. There is also a feature that will let you get your password by email should you forget it. Should I choose to enable this feature, it will, of course, only function if you have entered a valid email. If any type of feature is ever added to allow other users to email you, it would be added in a manner that would require you to expressly enable it.
    • How to I change this user info?
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      • The 'Change User Info' link at the bottom of all pages takes you to a page that lets you change this data. This page first prompts you for your existing user name and password to verify who you are. After you enter these and click 'Validate' your information is displayed and can be changed.
  • Uploading
    • How do I upload preset files?
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      • Here's a 'Quick Start Quide' to uploading preset files. As long as preset file names end with an extension of '.tfx', they can be uploaded as is. In addition, I've added a checkbox to the upload page that will automatically add this extension to the file name once it's uploaded to the server. With this in mind, uploading is really quite easy, and much of this 'Uploading' section can be ignored. Here's how to upload:
      • If you haven't registered, do so as described under 'Registering' above.
      • The preset file name should end with '.tfx' and should not have any special characters (see details below under 'Any restrictions on file names?'). You could do this by making a copy of the preset file anem renaming it. Note however that the upload page can take care of both of these for you, as discussed in the next few steps
      • If your internet access is not on your DAW machine, copy the preset file to that machine.
      • Proceed to the 'Upload' page. There is a link to it at the bottom of every page.
      • Enter your user name and password.
      • Select the appropriate plugin name from the 'Plugin' drop down list..
      • Click the button to the right of the 'File to Upload' box. This will bring up a file dialog that will allow you to find and select your preset file. You'll see the full path to the file in the 'File to Uploads' box after you select the file.
      • If you want the .tfx extension automatically added to the file name after it's been uploaded, check the 'Add .tfx extension for me' checkbox. This will add the extention to file name if it isn't already named that way. Note that this only changes the name of the uploaded file on the server...not the file on your system.
      • If you want the upload program to 'clean up' the name of the uploaded file by converting any disallowed characters (as discussed under 'Any restrictions on file names?' below) to underscores (_), check the 'Convert +?&#@%"<>' and special characters to _' checkbox. Note that this only changes the name of the uploaded file on the server...not the file on your system.
      • Enter a description in the 'Description' box. Don't hesitate to put in a thorough description of the presets use...that's why I built a search into this thing.
      • Click the 'Upload File' button. That's it!
    • What kind of files can I upload?
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      • Settings should be saved to preset files from within Protools. The simplest (and preferred) way to upload them is to name the preset file (or a copy of it) with an extension of '.tfx' (or let the upload program add it automatically) and upload the file as is. Some plugins (possibly only Waves) store presets in their preferences file, but also let you save plugins to a preset file. In this case, the latter should be used. I've changed the upload page to allow these (for Waves presets only) as long as they have an extension of '.pst'. If you use a form of compression such as Stuffit or Zip, and wish to upload several presets in one file, this is acceptable ONLY IF they are for the same plugin. Please try to limit this to cases where they the settings are related (for example, a library of compression settings for bass).
      • Update: I've added a special entry to the Plugin list named (Session Template). If you want to upload a session template in order to show the use of settings on multiple plugins together, or routings etc, use this entry. Note that template files should be in either BinHex or MacBinary (for Mac) or Zip format (for Windows). Also be sure that it is in fact just a template file, and not a session with a boat load of midi data or something :)
    • What format should the files be in?
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      • Preset files can be uploaded in their original format, as long as the file name ends with a '.tfx' extension.
      • Mac presets can be converted to either MacBinary (*.bin) and/or BinHex (*.hqx), which will preserve the Mac resource fork. This will make them usable on Mac without being named with t '.tfx' extension, though Windows users would have to rename them. From my testing, it appears the Stuffit files (*.sit) work as well, though self extracting archives (*.sea for example) will not. The next question/answer explains how to create these file formats.
      • Preset files for Windows can also be uploaded and downloaded in their original formats, or complessed into Zip format (using a utility such as WinZip or PKZip), and named with a *.zip extension.
      • Waves preset library files can be uploaded in their original format, as long as their name ends with a '.pst' extension. Note that these can be uploaded for either Mac or Windows and are cross platform compatible. This file type can only be uploaded for Waves plugins.
    • I've never had to convert Mac files to BinHex or MacBinary. How do I do it?
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      • First of all note that this shouldn't be necessary. As mentioned in several places here, Mac presets need not be archived in these formats as long as they are named with an extension of '.tfx'.
      • I have free utilities available for download from this site (see the individual links in the following paragraphs), which can be easily be used to create either BinHex or MacBinary format files. In order to extract and use these utilities (or to download and extract any preset files for that matter), you will need the free StuffIt Expander from Aladdin Systems. I also have supplied a link to Aladdin Systems DropStuff, which can be used if you wish to create StuffIt Archive files. If multiple formats are used, the file should be named to indicate all forms of encoding and compression you have used, such as Filename.sit.hqx.
      • You can use BinHex4.0 to create BinHex files (*.hqx). There is no install program needed to use this utility. Simply download the file and extract it, and you will have the BinHex v4.0 program file which is ready to run simply by opening it. You can create an alias to it and move the alias to your desktop for convenience. To create a BinHex version of a preset: Open the BinHex v4.0 program file. From the File menu choose 'Application->Upload'. Find your preset file and click 'Open'. It will then prompt you for the file name to save and the folder to save it in, which defaults to your preset file name with the extension '.hqx' appended to it, in the same folder as the original file. Click 'Save', and you've created the BinHex file ready for upload.
      • You can also use hqxing to create BinHex files. This is a drag and drop utility for encoding and decoding BinHex, recommended to me by the always helpful Bruce Paine. Simply extract it and put it anywhere. You can create BinHex files with this program by either launching the program and choosing Encode from the file menu, or by dragging files to it. The preferences can be set to determine where the BinHex files will be written.
      • You can use MacBinary III to create Mac Binary files (*.bin). There is no install program needed for this utility either. Simply download the file and extract it, and you will have the MacBinary III program ready to use. Note that this program is not used by first opening it, but rather by dragging the original file to it's program icon. Fir this reason, it's best to create an alias to the program and move the alias to your desktop. To use it, simply drag the preset file to the MacBinary III program icon, and it creates a MacBinary file in the same folder as the original preset using the preset file name with an extension of .bin appended to it.
      • Aladdin Systems DropStuff, can be used to create StuffIt Archive files (*.sit). Note that, unlike the Stuffit Expander, DropStuff is not free. DropStuff lets you create Stuffit Archives by dragging the original file to the program icon, creating the archive with the same name and an extension of .sit.
    • Any restrictions on file names?
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      • Keep the file names reasonably short. The name doesn't need to be especially descriptive...that's what the description field is for.
      • When you locate the file you wish to upload using the 'Browse' button on the upload page, most browsers send the full path of the file you are uploading. For example: MacHD:PresetTemp:MyPreset.hqx (Mac), or C:\PresetTemp\MyPreset.zip (Windows), or /usr/home/tom/preset/MyPreset.hqx (Unix). Since the slash characters ('\' or '/') and the colon character (':') are used as folder delimiters, do not use any of these in your actual file name, even though your OS might let you. When determining the file name to write on the web server, the upload process will only use the portion of the file name to the right of any of these delimiters. The upload program will also not allow the characters +?&#@%'"<> in file names (no...I'm not swearing at you), and will alert you to these if you attempt to use them.
      • Note that these restrictions only apply to the actual file you upload, not necessarily the plugin file(s) they contain. For example, a BinHex file uploaded from a Mac must not use the above characters, but the plugin file it contains can have any name you want to use.
      • The file name written to the web server will be the same as the file name you upload with two exceptions: Any spaces are converted to underscore characters (_). In addition, if the same file name happens to already exist for the same plugin, an underscore and a number will be added (ie MyRenEq_1.bin.hqx, MyRenEq_2.bin.hqx etc).
    • What if my plugin isn't in the popup menu list?
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      • I tried to cover most. If I missed any, or I inadvertently listed one that actually consists of multiple plugins, just email me and let me know. New ones can easily be added. Note that the download page shows only plugins for which presets have been uploaded. The upload page shows the full list.
    • What should the description contain?
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      • You can be fairly thorough in your description. Since only a short preview of the description (which the user can expand) is initially shown in the download page, longer descriptions are not objectionable. Although you should avoid writing a book, valuable information such as uses for the preset, or other plugs you may use in conjunction with it, would be quite cool indeed.
      • PLEASE...make sure to use good key words to make the description search as useful as possible!! If for example you're uploading a flanger preset that works well for guitar be sure to include the words 'guitar' and 'flanger'.
    • Is there a file size limit?
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      • Most preset files are very small (sometimes only a few hundred bytes). I'm still deciding on the file size limit. Right now it's bigger than any preset file I've seen. It certainly shouldn't present a problem to anyone.
    • How long does it take to upload?
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      • Again, these files aren't large. A typical preset file should upload fairly quickly. Most browsers don't give any kind of progress for file uploads, and will simply indicate that they are contacting the site. Be patient, but if, for some reason you get no response, hitting the browsers stop button to abort will not cause any harm.
    • How do I know my file uploaded?
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      • After the file uploads, the page will reappear. You will see a message top of the page indicating that the file was uploaded if all went OK. Directly under that message will be a link to go to the Download page and automatically search for your file. If, however, anything you entered was incorrect (user name, password, bad characters in the file name), you will see one or more messages at the top indicating the error. You can then correct these entries and click 'Upload File' again.
    • OOPS! I entered incorrect information. Can I fix it?
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      • The information you enter for the uploaded file, with the exception of the file name itself, can be changed as follows:
      • Find the uploaded file on the download page. Searching for your user name is the easiest way to do this. Find the file in the search results, and click the link that says 'Edit' to the right of the description. The Edit Preset File Data page will appear. You must enter your user name and password to make changes.
      • Note that no one else can change the information for a file you uploaded.
      • Again, there currently is no function to change the file name. Be sure the file has the name you want before uploading, and be careful to upload the correct file. If you do upload an incorrect file, email us with your user name, password, the plugin and the file name, and we will delete it.
      • Note: After making changes, please to not attempt to use your browsers back button to make more changes, as it probably will not work correctly (especially if you changed the actual plugin). If you need to make more changes, use the link provided to automatically find the file in the Download page, and click 'Edit' again.
    • In Netscape, I click 'Upload File' and nothing happens. What's going on??
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      • Wow, did this one have me going. Netscape has a horrendous bug involving file upload forms. If the cache settings in Netscape are set to never compare the files in cache with the files on the server, submitting a file upload form simply redisplays the form without even trying to contact the server. This is not the default setting for this preference, so most people will not have it set this way. Most users leave this set to 'Once per Session'. The 'Never' setting is not a good setting for many other reasons (not just here either). For one thing, when you re-submit a search in Download page, you will get getting old results from your browsers cache rather than new ones from the server. You can check your settings as follows:
      • Netscape 3.x: Go to Options->Network Preferences, and click on the Cache tab. Where it says 'Verify Documents' make sure it is NOT set to 'Never'.
      • Netscape 4.x: Go to Edit->Preferences. In the section under the label 'Category' open up the 'Advanced' section by clicking the plus(+) sign next to 'Advanced'. Under that, click on 'Cache'. In the settings to the right, make sure the setting labeled 'Document in cache is compared to document on network' is NOT set to 'Never'
  • Downloading
    • How does the select/search/download process work?
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      • The download page lets you select and search for presets using many different selection criteria. The search uses a combination of all your criteria (ie a logical AND). To search all plugins, simply click 'All Plugins' at the top of the plugin list. You can select multiple plugins in the plugin list by: clicking and dragging, command-clicking (Mac), shift-clicking (Mac), control-clicking (Windows), or shift-clicking (Windows). When multiple entries are selected for plugin, it will select presets for any of the selected plugins. After all criteria is entered, clicking 'Select Presets' will return a tabular list of the presets that matched. If the number of presets that matched is larger than the current number of 'Presets per Page' you will see a link below the table to the right labeled 'Next...' that allows you to continue the existing search.
      • Clicking the link with the name of the plugin itself will bring up a search of all preset files for that plugin, ordered by descending upload date (newest to oldest). Clicking the link with the user name will bring up all presets uploaded by that user ordered by plugin, by descending upload date.
      • By default, a preview of the preset description is shown rather than the entire description. This can be toggled to and from the full description display by clicking the (+) Expand link or the (-) Collapse link in the description heading, or by clicking the ellipses (...) following any collapsed description. This can also by done by changing the description length in the selection form before submitting a new search.
      • To the far right of each preset is a hypertext link for downloading the file, labeled with the name of the file. The type of file that has been uploaded, as well as you browser options/preferences will determine what will occur if you simply click the link. For this reason, it's best to force the browser save the file as follows:
      • Mac: Click and hold the link. A menu will appear. Choose 'Save File As' (or 'Save Link As' or 'Save Target As').
      • Windows: Right click the link and choose 'Save File As' (or 'Save Link As' or 'Save Target As').
      • NOTE: Windows Internet Explorer bugs / oddities: I have discovered two odd behaviors under Windows running Internet Explorer. Some preset files contain ascii data only, and IE chooses to display them in the browser when you click on them, rather than giving you the choice to download. If this occurs, try right clicking the file link and choosing 'Save Target As'. An even stranger behavior I found is that IE 5.0 seems to want to save the '.tfx' files using a name ending in '.tfx..tf', even though it says it's downloading the correct name. If this occurs, simply rename the file. Make sure you have your Windows Explorer options set so they don't hide file extensions.
    • OK...I've downloaded the file. What do I do with it?
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      • If the file you've downloaded is an archive (*.hqx,*,bin,*.sit,*.zip) you must extract the preset file(s) from the archive file. For Mac BinHex or MacBinary files this requires a utility such as the free StuffIt Expander from Aladdin Systems. Windows zip files can be extracted using WinZip or PKZip. If you're using Windows, make sure the preset files are named with an extension of '.tfx'. If they are not, rename them, as explained in the section about sharing presets between platforms.
      • Place the preset file(s) in the appropriate plugin settings folder. For an explanation of where these plugin settings folders are on your Protools system refer to the General section above under the question: 'Where do I find / put the plugin preset files on my Protools system?'.
    • How does the 'Search by date' work?
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      • If you select (Any Date), presets will show regardless of when they where uploaded. All other options, Today, Yesterday, and Since n Days Ago, will only show plugins uploaded in that time period. These are based on the beginning of day (midnight), based on the local time on the web server.
    • How does the 'Search by file name' work?
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      • Any entry made here will be matched against the name of the uploaded file. Unless you check 'Exact name and case' the match is not case sensitive and will show files even if only part of the file name matches the search. The 'Exact name and case' option here is to search for an exact file name, and is mainly there to allow the system to link to a specific file (after you upload for example).
      • The portion of the file name that matched the search will be highlighted.
    • How does the 'Search by user name' work?
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      • Any entry made here will be matched against the user name of the user who uploaded each preset and will only show it if there is a match.
      • If the 'Exact Name and Case' is checked, the entry must match the user name exactly, using the correct case.
      • If the 'Exact Name and Case' is not checked any partial match, regardless of case, will be shown. For example, a search for 'Ford' will match 'John Ford', 'joe ford', or 'Bill Bruford'.
      • The user name or portion that matched will be highlighted when the results are returned.
    • How does the 'Search description' work?
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      • This is one of the most powerful search features. Unlike the user name and file name searches, which only search for a single entry, this allows searches for multiple words. It uses a combination of three fields: The 'Search descrition for' field (the actual words / phrase to search for), the search type (all words, any words, or exact phrase), and the 'Match whole words only' option. These function as follows:
      • 'Search description for': Enter the words or phrase you wish to search for here. There is no need to quote anything or use wildcards etc...just words. Case does not matter...the description search is always case insensitive.
      • Search Type: If this is set to 'Match all words', all words you enter must be found in plugin descriptions in order for them to be seleted in the search. If it is set to 'Match any words' plugins will be selected as long as their description contains at least one of the entered words. If 'Match exact phrase' is selected, the words you enter must exist in the description sequentially, in the exact order you entered them.
      • 'Match whole words only': If this is not checked, the word / phrase search will allow partial matches. For example, the word 'flange' will match 'flanger' or 'MetaFlanger', and the phrase 'guitar flange' will match 'guitar flanger'. If this is checked, word or phrase matches must fall on exact word boundaries.
      • The words or phrases that matched are highlighted when the results are returned, but remember that the match may be in a portion of the description that is hidden if you have the descriptions collapsed.
    • How do I save a search and reuse it?
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      • Simple: After running a search you will see a hypertext link that says: 'Bookmark this: Plugin Preset Search to save this search'. You can either click this link and bookmark the resulting page, or right-click (Windows) or click-hold (Mac) the link and choose 'Add Bookmark'.
      • Here's a good tip on using this: Select all the plugins you use in the plugin scrolling list. Select your platform and the plugin type(s) you use. Make an appropriate selection in the 'Search by date' list. Now click 'Select Presets' to run the search. Now bookmark the 'Bookmark this' link as described above, and you have a great shortcut for finding all the recent presets for your system.
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