When conducting searches, we have observed that the SPL searches were not working based on the "earliest" time range in the SPL search itself.
It only worked when we choose the configured presents.
What you describe sounds the reverse of what should be happening. Please provide more information, especially the SPL you're using.
That is the way it is supposed to work, but we can't debug this problem without seeing your code. Make sure the "earliest" keyword is before the first pipe (|).