January 29, 2021
If you don’t already know what re-amping is, it’s simply the act of taking a signal out of your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and running it through a guitar amp and a cabinet, miking the cabinet up and recording the result. Carvin Audio’s V112E Guitar Extension Cab is a good choice for this. This technique is versatile, and you could include any number of processing units in the chain.
That covers the basic what of re-amping. Now let’s talk just a little bit about how and why you would do such a thing.
Re-amping at its purest involves two steps. First, record a clean track. Later, use re-amping to manipulate the tone and timbre with an amp. Why would you do this and not just record with the amp to begin with?
There are a few reasons it might come up. You may not have an amp available, for starters. Or perhaps there’s a particular amp you’d like to record with, but it’s out of reach during your tracking session. A big, vintage rotary amp for example. It could be that tracking a loud amp is prohibitive in your recording space. Maybe you’re tracking late at night, or you’re recording with an ensemble in a small space and don’t want to overwhelm the other instruments.
In all these situations, you could opt for a re-amp strategy. You may even record your amp in the initial tracking session and split your direct guitar signal off to capture the clean signal – just in case you’d like to “swap out” the amp later.
Finally, maybe you didn’t plan to re-amp at all. There’s nothing stopping you from trying a re-amp technique during the mix – just for creativity’s sake. You’re not even limited to guitar tracks here. Try re-amping drums, vocals, or keys tracks to find a great new sound. The sky’s the limit.
Fortunately, re-amping isn’t complex. Here are the steps:
It can be difficult to hear what you’re capturing if the amp is overwhelming your monitors in the room, so you might want to place the amp in another room or a booth, and/or use headphones to listen to what you’re actually recording.
Listen and tweak until you get it right. The great thing about the re-amp process is you can listen to your heart’s content and your “player” will never get tired!
That’s it! That’s the re-amping process in a nutshell. Re-amping is a great way to give yourself some flexibility in limited tracking situations or find new sounds while mixing. And you probably already figured out, you can use exactly this process to process tracks in other ways. For example, if you have momentary access to a really great hardware compressor or effects unit. It’s a simple process, but incredibly powerful. Consider re-amping for your next project!
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