What’s Re-Amping and How Does It Work?
Re-amping is a studio recording technique that’s been picking up more and more speed. Compared to recording electric guitars, guitar amps, drums and other instruments the traditional way, re-amping offers a number of benefits which I’ll tell you all about by using guitarists, who re-amp the most out of all musicians, to illustrate the idea.

The Basics

Say you’ve recorded an electric guitar part in your home studio using amp simulation software. As well as speaker cabs and a room of choice, this powerful software is able to mimic guitar amplifiers in minute detail, giving you highly realistic results. What’s more, simulation software offers a huge degree of tweakability, not to mention the option to plug in a pair of headphones so you can work in silence. Having said that, no matter how good your amp sim software is, it can’t really give you that trouser-flapping experience that a real amplifier can.

The Purpose of Re-Amping

Re-amping comes in handy whenever you can’t opt for your preferred amplifier for whatever reason, be it the limited selection of amps at your local recording studio or the fact that your own valve-driven guitar amp is a little too loud to plug in in your apartment. Assuming you’ve used an audio interface (or a standalone DI or loadbox) to record your guitar to your DAW, you now have a ‘dry signal’ you can work with. This is basically a pure, unprocessed instrument signal that you can now route from your audio interface to your guitar amplifier and speaker cab using a standard jack lead. If you then mike up your cab and play back the original recording, it essentially returns to your DAW via the microphone and takes its final form.


As you can tell, re-amping gives you infinite ways to experiment with different amps, speakers and microphones. The same goes for the process of pre-EQ’ing, which involves dialling in any bass, treble, mid and presence pots until you hit the sweet spot. What it all boils down to is that you get the same degree of flexibility that the amp sim software I mentioned earlier offers you, but with real hardware instead. Re-amping ultimately gives you the best of both worlds, where you get to record the original take using your trusty gear and amp sims and all of the perks that come with it, before pouring things into a formwork mould using your favourite gear and optimised settings. This is a huge advantage compared to how it worked back in the day, when producers had no choice but to work with the original recordings.

Pedals, Multi-FX and Side Effects

So far, we’ve only looked at re-amping in the context of a guitar amplifier combined with a speaker cab and a microphone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done using other gear, like effects pedals and multi-FX processors. Want to add the sound of a Tube Screamer or your go-to multi-effects pedal? No problem! What’s important to note, however, is that routing a signal directly from additional gear to an amplifier can lead to some unwanted effects, including input distortion, treble loss and ground-loops. If any of these nuisances rear their ugly head, the solution is often to convert the impedance using a reversed DI box. This way, any impedance imbalances can be fixed and any phase issues can be remedied. There are even special re-amp units out there that feature said tech, such as various DI boxes and interfaces made by Two Notes, Avalon, Radial and Antelope Audio.

Got any pro-tips to share regarding re-amping? Leave your comments below!

See Also

» Guitar Amplifiers
» Electric Guitars
» Audio Interfaces

» Digital Mixing with Hardware Effects – How It’s Done

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