If you're laying down bass or guitar tracks in the studio and the engineer asks you to go direct, you may be slightly concerned, especially if you're a guitarist. Playing through a DI is a very common practice for bassists, but guitarists generally prefer to mic up an amp to get their sound and might be a little apprehensive about using a DI. For some, a DIed guitar and/or bass track may sound dull, sterile, and flat, even when using a high quality DI unit.
But that's where reamping comes in. Reamping is a process in which a performance that was recorded with a DI is sent back through an amplifier and any effects units via a reamp box. This allows you a very dynamic recording process in which you can use different amps for different parts of songs, go crazy with the effects pedals, or experiment with different microphone placement. You can simply loop the instrument track to your heart’s content while making adjustments in real-time.
Furthermore, getting the right tone in the studio can be a time consuming process. Have you ever been in the studio for hours trying to find the right tone, and when it came time to actually record it you were already burnt out? By reamping, you can capture your best performance early on in the session by recording with the DI. Then come back later to dial in the tone and effects. Some studios will even let you record your tracks at home and bring them in to be reamped. Reamping opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Now you may be thinking, “I know how I want my guitar to sound. Why don’t I just record using my amp and effects dialed in how I Iike them?” There is nothing wrong with this method and reamping is not necessarily the better method, just a different option. So if mic’ing up your amp and going for it works for you, keep on rocking! But it’s also important to consider that from a production standpoint, a reamped track is easier to adapt to a mix. Let’s say you recorded your guitar by mic’ing up your cab and applying pretty heavy mid scoop, lots of distortion, and a slight reverb. Later on, if you decide that the guitar is too muddy in the mix and want to reduce the gain and remove the reverb, you may have some trouble since that sound is baked-in for the most part. By recording a raw DI track, you can overhaul the whole tone of the guitar track by reamping it and using a different amp, distortion, EQ settings, effects, etc. And you won’t have to re-record the guitar performance. Many times this DI track can be recorded right alongside your mic’ed amp, so you can experiment later with either or both tracks.While mainly used with guitar and bass, reamping also works with synthesizers, keyboards, vocals, and drums- pretty much any instrument in the band! Have you tried reamping? If so, how did it work out? Let us know in the comments!