by Mark King for Proworkshop.com
Capturing the recording in the first place requires a high quality direct box inserted in the performers instrument cable, the clean direct sound of the instrument is recorded to a track in the DAW. After the performance has been captured the engineer can send the signal back out to the Reamp box and then in to whatever amp or effect is desired.
The word "Reamp" is trademarked and owned by Radial Engineering in Canada, they bought the patent and trademark from the original creator in 2010. Since then Radial has released several interface boxes for use in re-amplifying signals, the lowest priced model (and subject here) is simply titled "Reamp".
There is not a lot of magic in the Reamp box, it's just a very well constructed enclosure which houses a high quality transformer and level control inside. It's a little bit like a passive transformer direct-box used backwards to unbalance the signal and reduce the level to match the input of a guitar amp. The Reamp box also provides a ground-lift switch to eliminate ground loops from forming between the DAW output and the guitar amplifier AC power source.
IN THE STUDIO
REAMP AND RNDI IN THE STUDIO
Reamp can be a savior in the studio, I recently had a recording session where the guitarist had too much echo and effects on the signal he provided me for recording, fortunately I had him recording a Reamp-signal on a second track. After the session I re-amped his guitar through Boogie and Marshall amplifiers to create alternate guitar sounds to use during mixing.
The most important thing to remember when re-amping is to watch signal levels during recording, you never want to clip the DAW input, it's much better to record the signal too soft than too loud.
Re-amping can also be used on bass guitar to improve or change the sound of the performance. I like to use a bass modeling amp during tracking then go back and re-amp through a real bass amp. This lets me focus on the tracking during recording and massage the tone later.
The Reamp box from Radial Engineering can also be used for other things. On one side it has a balanced XLR female input and on the other side it has a 1/4" unbalanced output, the signal level is converted from line-level down to instrument-instrument level by the transformer in the Reamp box. This is just what you need if you want to use guitar signal processors driven by aux-outputs on your mixer.
A common example in our studio is using an aux-output from the mixing console to drive a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo as an effect during mixing. The Fulltone is a wonderful tape echo but its input is meant to be driven by a small, high-impedance guitar signal not a low-impedance line level signal from a mixing console. Reamp to the rescue, it perfectly matches the output of the console with the input on the tape-echo effect or any other stomp box or instrument amp which might be used for effect during mixing. This has been a big problem solver for me, I love using lots of different effects when I mix music.
On stage you might use a Reamp box to connect a line output from an amp modeler in to the instrument input on a guitar amp. Reamp would step the impedance up and the level down to match a typical guitar amp input perfectly.
Back in the 80's my first attempts at re-amping were done using hot-wired transformer direct boxes. Today we've got better options, Radial Engineering has neatly packaged up a great sounding transformer in this compact and extremely heavy duty little interface box. Radial offers many different versions of Reamp but the basic box sells for a very reasonable $99, this combined with a high-quality direct box for recording the re-amp signal, is all you need to do basic re-amping in your recording productions.
Our Reamp box(es) were purchased through Sweetwater. You can read more reviews and specifications on the Sweetwater web site. Sweetwater doubles the warranty to two years.
Reamp is also available through Amazon for the same $99 price but you don't get the two year extended warranty free.
We like both of these trusted vendors and have used them for years.
Good luck and good music to all!