Reamping Studio Tone

What is Reamping? How this Simple Method Can Help You Find the Perfect Studio Tone

May 16, 2017 5 Comments

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!

5 Responses

Damon Pence
Damon Pence

May 18, 2017

I am finishing up the build of a home recording studio in my basement and I have been wanting to experiment with what i now know is called reamping. I am excited to try this technique and hope it allows me to give my clients more options on their recordings. Also, i know its silly and i would have figured it out but I had not thought to run a DI between the amp and guitar while miking the amp. I was in a one track mind thought of just running the guitar DI straight to the board. again, I would have seen my error but I thought it funny that i had tunnel vision on that.

Software and Interface
Logic Pro X
Behringer X32

Uncle Ralph
Uncle Ralph

May 17, 2017

Urban legend has it that Eddie Kramer created some of the ground breaking sounds on Hendrix’s early albums in the studio by himself in the middle of the night by running Jimi’s guitar tracks out of the board to different amps and effects then back into the board for final mixing. I’m sure he had a safety copy of every track he diddled in case Jimi and/or the producer didn’t like it the next day. DIing a dry track for reference and safety and future diddling is never a bad idea now that the number of available tracks is nowhere near the issue it used to be..

Benjamin Heath
Benjamin Heath

May 17, 2017

Love the artical. The information is always welcomed and useful for my constant search of knowledge. I love my Carvin MB210! Its the only bass amp that brings out the sound of the bass without creating a “signature” amp sound. Thanks again!

James Begg Jr
James Begg Jr

May 17, 2017

Reamping is one of the most useful tools/tricks I can think of when recording instruments. I always try to get a dry clean signal on keys, bass and guitar so I have the possibility to work magic latter on in the recording process. One caveat about keyboards is that a lot of the sounds are heavily processed on board prior to recording, so there may be a limit to what reamping can do; however, if you have a clean sound that can be used by a keyboardist then reamping is a great tool to have in your back pocket.

Jack
Jack

May 17, 2017

I use reamping in my home studio. I don’t have enough room to isolate amps so when I record with a singer I will either go direct or through a SansAmp DI. I do this mainly on my Pedal Steel Guitar. I will record direct and then reamp later through my BX500 amp and speaker cabinet that has an Eminence EPS-15C speaker. I use an SM57 (usually) to mic the speaker. My DAW is Cakewalk Sonar Platinum and I use an MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid as my recording interface unit.

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