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Want to know the best part? It's pretty easy to do! In this blog, we'll be going over the basics of reamping and the gear that you'll need to get the job done right. So sit back, plug in, and let's talk about how to get pristine takes that you can do whatever you want with later.
Guitar reamping is the process of sending a pre-recorded guitar track through a guitar amp, pedals, and microphones in a studio setting. This technique allows you to experiment with different tones, amplifier settings, microphone positions, and effects on a pre-recorded guitar signal. In other words, it gives you the ability to change the tone and character of a guitar recording after it has been recorded. The term "reamping" refers to taking the guitar signal that was recorded through a DI box and playing it back through a physical amplifier.
Reamping provides numerous benefits for guitar recording in the studio. It allows the engineer to capture a clean guitar signal and reamp it later, without the need to record another take. This saves time and helps to ensure consistency in the performance of the musician. Reamping also gives engineers the ability to experiment with different microphone techniques and amplifier settings, which can result in unique and creative guitar tones. Additionally, reamping provides more flexibility when recording, allowing engineers to try different mic preamps and effects without worrying about getting the guitar tone right in the moment.
Just about any DI box will do for the task, as long as they have the proper inputs and outputs previously mentioned. Radial Engineering specializes in DI boxes and has a number of best sellers including the J48 Direct Box, HDI, ProDI, and a Reamp Kit. Other favorites include the Rupert Neve Designs RNDI, BAE Audio PDI, Spectra 1964 BB-DI, A-Designs Audio REDDI, and Warm Audio Passive Direct Box.
Okay, so you’ve hit record, captured a direct take from the guitar player through the DI box, and it's gone through your interface into your DAW. Make sure that all of the guitar parts are played exactly as intended. Now it’s time to take that DI signal, send it out of your interface to an amp, and get the tone and character that the guitar is going to have at mixdown.
To do that, we need to set the output of the DI’s channel to one of your audio interface’s Line Outs. Now, keep in mind, a Line Level signal can cause problems running back into an amp at that level, depending on the source. This is where our reamp box comes into play.
A great reamp box is pretty easy to come by, and there are plenty of options whether you're working on a budget or have no budget. The classic Radial Engineering ProRMP will do the trick for sure, as will the Reamper JCR, X-Amp, and X-Amp 500 Series. The brand also has the EXTC-SA, which can be used for inserting pedals and effects. Another reamping option is the Little Labs Redeye 3D Phantom, which is a routing dream. It features both a DI and reamping box in one enclosure and also gives you the ability to listen through your whole chain.
Try different microphones, see what sounds good with a particular guitar amp, and spend some time positioning the mics in various spots. As always, a classic Shure SM57 will sound good on a guitar amp, or you can reach for a combination of choices like a Sennheiser MD 42I paired with a Royer Labs R-121 ribbon microphone.
Another quick thing to note is that reamping gives you the flexibility to experiment with your favorite mic preamps as well. Finding the perfect combo of microphone and preamp is a lot easier when your guitar player isn’t waiting on you to start tracking!
With those steps covered, you’re ready to establish your own reamp rig and track guitars! You’ll find reamping can be a fun experiment and yield high-quality results.