I've used the both in front and in the loop. To me, in the loop sounds better; it seems to track better. I can't say I was overly impressed with the factory presets, but there are a lot of great sounds in there. It just takes some work to find them. "Daunting," I think, may be an understatement, but it's really easy to use once you get the hang of it. I think there's always a trade-off between ease-of-use and flexibility, and I think Eventide found a great balance between the two.