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How to use Re-amp in Music Production
Reamping in Pro Tools

Get Out Of The Box | How To Reamp In Pro Tools

What is "Reamping" in audio recording? Why would you want to Re-amp something? Whether it be trying to fix a bad recording, sending a DI Guitar to an Amplifier, or sending a vocal to some guitar pedals, reamping can be a huge part of your workflow. It can allow you to capture both a clean DI and amped sound at the same time while allowing you to undo, alter and experiment with the amped sound later. In this article, Grammy Winning Audio Engineer, Carter Jahn shows you how he uses Reamping as a music production tool.

How To Reamp- Reamping Techniques in Recording

You may have heard different audio engineers and producers using Reamping to process various things like guitars, DI bass, drums, etc. Reamping in basic form is taking a signal from your DAW, sending it out of your computer, processing it, and then bringing it back into your DAW. Going from, ‘in the box’ to ‘out of the box,' reamping can help turn that random guitar pedal in the back of your closet into your new favorite drum tone.

Why would you want to reamp something? Often when creating, we can feel "stuck in the box; reaching for the same delays, reverbs, and amp modelers can feel uninspiring and leave us wondering what it’d be like if we could just get our signals "out of the box."

You may have a great performace, but this technique allows you to audition a pre-recorded take through various pedals or even with multiple microphones and placements too.

Not to mention running our signals through some real copper, transistors, and tubes can help add a color that our computers 1’s and 0’s just can’t. We also often run into recordings that could have been done better; thin sounding guitar recordings or a snare drum that isn't in tune. These are things that Reamping can improve.

At the end of this article I will also be breaking down the ‘cheaters’ way to reamp that I’ve seen many people use for years, and it works!

To understand Reamping, we need to understand the basics of different signal levels. There are 4 different levels we need to remember when routing things around the Studio.

  • Line Level: Professional line level operates at +4dBu. This is a standard operating level that professional audio gear uses. We see this level after a signal hits a preamplifier and is traveling through a console and outboard gear.
  • Speaker Level: A line level signal that gets amplified to feed a speaker. This is a high voltage signal that requires a speaker cable to carry.
  • Microphone Level: Microphone level is the level a microphone generates. This is the lowest voltage level we’ll see. Some microphones put out more than others, but all microphone levels need to be amplified to get up to line level.
  • Instrument Level: Instrument level is slightly higher than microphone level. We see this coming from guitars, basses, synthesizers and other instruments of this nature. It also requires a preamplifier to bring it up to line level.

*****The main thing to take away from this breakdown is that some signals are hot and some are weak. This is important because when we reamp we are taking a line level signal and bringing it down to instrument level.

Lets jump into a Protools session where we can reamp something. Here is an example session for an artist and I wanted to experiment with reamping the lead vocal.

Pro tools session to Reamp

I'm going to take the track output and send it out of my interface. I’ll select  ‘Output 1’, keep my track's volume fader at Unity Gain, and connect Output 1 on the back of my interface to my reamp box.

How to set up Reamp and output settings

The reamp box is then routed to my pedalboard where I can experiment with different sounds using guitar pedals.

Reamp Box in the Studio for reamping in audio engineering

I'm going to use this Rat clone distortion pedal and a vintage Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man.

Pedalchain setup used in Reamping

I will then take the output of the pedals and route it to my Neve preamp to use some EQ and bring it back to the computer.

Neve Preamp used in Reamping

Last thing to do is create a new track in ProTools and select the input from my Neve preamp. Then, record it back in. You now have created a vocal tone using some fun ‘out of the box’ processing.

Recording setup used in Re-amping in Studio

Pro Tools Session in Recording using Reamping Technique

The ‘Cheaters’ way of reamping is what I explained above, but with no reamp box. Now remember, if we aren't using a reamp box that means we are sending a high level signal to something looking for a low level signal. We can create this workaround by sending "just a little" of this signal out of our interface by not sending at Unity Gain. In ProTools, we can keep our send fader very low and see how the guitar pedal or other signal processor is reacting to it. If we are hearing distortion when we shouldn't, that means you are sending too much. This method takes a little more care and adjustment, but it's a good workaround if you don’t have a reamp box.

There are lots of applications where we can use reamping. Whether it be trying to fix a bad recording, sending a DI Bass guitar to a Bass Amplifier, or sending a vocal to some guitar pedals, reamping can be a huge part of your workflow. It can help unlock sounds you’ve never heard before! Have fun with it, and always be looking for new ways to incorporate it into your next song, production, or mix.

Author: Carter Jahn
ProMedia Training, LLC



Carter Jahn
Carter JahnProducer / Audio Engineer
Grammy Winner
Carter Jahn is a Grammy Award Winning Producer and Audio/ Mixing Engineer in Los Angeles, CA. He won a Grammy Award for his Engineering work on The War on Drugs album, ‘A Deeper Understanding’. With years of studio experience, Carter has worked alongside many top Engineers and Producers such as: Shawn Everett, Chris Walla, Francois Tetaz, Brent Kutzle, Damian Taylor, Tommy English and more. Carter also owns a commercial recording studio, "Cherry Studios" in North Hollywood where he produces, records and mixes major label and independent artists.

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