How to Reamp Guitars
So... what the heck is reamping? Reamping is a technique used to change a recorded guitar track’s tone or characteristics after the track has been recorded.
In order to do this, a direct signal (DI) from the guitar is captured during the initial recording, most times in conjunction with an amplified signal, and sometimes on its own for the sole purpose of reamping the take later.
This can be especially useful if the artist is unsure of the tone they’d like for the guitar track or if additional editing is necessary on the take.
Step 1: Get the gear
Reamp box (Radial Studio Reamper)
Guitar recording chain (amp, pedals, microphone, mic pre, cables)
Recording interface with direct outs
Your recorded guitar DI (Direct Injection) tracks within your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
To get started, you’ll need to have the correct gear to Reamp your guitar. First on the list is a Reamp box (Radial Studio Reamper), which takes a direct guitar or bass signal and runs it into a guitar amp. Don’t have a reamp box? You can borrow one from us at this link!
The Reamp Box will convert a low impedance, balanced line level signal to high impedance, unbalanced instrument level signal.
To get your DI track, or your “raw” guitar track as many people call it, you’ll simply want to plug your guitar directly into the interface and record your performance directly, without any pedals or other effects.
You can do this while playing along to a drum track or bass track, just like you would when performing live. The DI track you record is what you will use to go through the reamping process.
You’ll of course want to have your pedal board and amp setup to run your DI track back through for reamping.
Be aware of where noise enters your chain and take some time to compare your tone through your pedalboard (make sure all pedals are off).
Finally, you’ll need an interface with dedicated outs. The direct out will send the DI track out of the DAW, into the reamp box, and then into your guitar rig.
Step 2: Setup your guitar recording chain
Next, dial in a killer tone with the guitar rig of your choice. There are tons of pedals and amp options on the market and you’ll probably find that you want to experiment a lot!
Rather than buying and trading pedals and other pieces of gear, check out all the items available to rent at BuyOrBorrow Music!
Once you’ve got your rig setup and the effects pedals in the order of your choosing, you’ll need to mic your guitar amp just as you normally would for normal guitar tracking.
Remember, you’ll want to use the same setup as you would to track guitar live. If you’re going to use a dedicated mic preamp, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got that in front of the interface before recording back into the DAW.
Step 3: Setup your reamp loop
You will need to route the DI track in your DAW to a specified out on your interface. Checkout the instructions on your interface if you need help figuring out how to set up the outputs.
Once you’ve got your outputs setup, the signal from your interface is then fed into the reamp box, where it is converted to the correct line impedance to properly interact with guitar gear (pedals/amps).
You’ll take the output of the reamp box and plug it directly into the input of the guitar chain, where your guitar would go normally.
Step 4: Record!
After you have successfully captured your digital guitar signal, it is time to record the results. Arm a new track in your DAW as if you were tracking the guitar normally.
Play the DI track and it should produce an amplified signal through your guitar amp. Then adjust the line level on the reamp box until the signal being fed through the amp reacts similarly to a normal guitar.
Pro tip: I always plug a guitar in when setting the chain up, and then compare the two recorded takes, adjusting gain accordingly.
Press record and the new track should record the affected signal in time with the DI track.
Other tips & tricks:
Make any edits to the take BEFORE reamping. Transients are much easier to identify on Direct Injection tracks as opposed to overdriven signals.
Pay attention to the reamped line level – you don’t want your signal coil signal sounding like an active pickup because you forgot to dial the signal down before reamping
Don’t be afraid to reamp the same take multiple times – the beauty of reamping is that you can experiment with the same take and multiple tones in a nondestructive way. You can even use multiple guitar tracks to really beef up your tone.
It is also good to note that your master volume affects your interface.
Finally, get creative! When you are reamping it frees you up to control things you wouldn’t normally be able to do while playing guitar. Like turning knobs on pedals!
Get a little crazy, reach for that delay time knob and tweak it in real time to get some crazy sounds.
Or you can even adjust parameters like reverb mix, overdrive tone, modulation depth, or anything else you want! The sky's the limit so let your inner artist out and have fun.
Advantages of reamping:
You don’t have to worry about the tone when you are tracking
Gives you the ability to critique your playing
Ability for someone else to reamp your guitar after you record your parts
Provides for some really cool creative fun
We hope that you found this article helpful for reamping your guitar.
Want more tips and tricks for recording and guitar setup? Stay up-to-date with us on social media! @buyorborrowmusic
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