Re-amping is a technique that gained a lot of popularity in the last 15 years. The technique’s obvious advantages are numerous…
Direct recording is an ideal way to reserve tonal flexibility for mixing (especially useful in the DIY world);
Instrument amplifiers and stomp boxes offer virtually limitless opportunities to create the right sound with a not-so-virtual interface;
It’s fun, which is still allowed.
Sometimes the re-amping goal is simple. An electric guitar can be recorded direct while monitoring a software amp simulator. During mixing the direct guitar track (sans faux amp) will be re-recorded through an actual amp.
Now let’s take a closer look…
Either or Both?
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide whether the original signal should be used in combination with the re-amped signal. In these cases there’s usually something unique about each signal, but they may not be working together well. This conflict can often be resolved by creating more contrast between the original and re-amped signals. On keyboard tracks, for example, I will frequently make significant, crossover-style EQ choices that allow me to more subtly combine the unique elements of each signal type. Another technique that can be used with remarkable ease is one I dubiously call “Sum and Amp-ness”. I think it kills for gritty bass, particularly with tight, close drums.
- Use a DI bass right up the middle of your mix. Get it sounding great, and setup a re-amp path;
- Setup a nicely overdriven bass tone on an amp. Somewhere in signal flow, HPF this path in the 300 – 500Hz neighborhood. I like to do it before the amp;
- Use the return from the amp just as you would use the ‘side’ component of a mid-side mic array. For maximum sum and difference affect, mic the amp off-axis.
This set-up leaves you with strong, centered low frequency focus, but adds an interesting distorted ‘width’ component. Try it out in mono-tending drum and bass situations. Finally, don’t be afraid to let the re-amp path hang out in input monitoring while you mix. There’s no real reason to record it until you’re getting close to printing mixes. It’s incredibly easy to make changes as long as it’s all still live.
To read the full detailed article see: How to Re-Amp