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  • Reamping troubles

    I've got some raw guitar tracks down that I wanted to run through my amp, but I hadn't really messed with reamping before so I didn't have a box for it, not even a DI box. I picked up an old dbx 563x on ebay cheap, which seemed like it would be a flexible tool for this kind of thing. It's a tape noise reducer/DI/reamp, with a bunch of ins and outs. Of course, I'm running it with the noise reduction on bypass, but everything else still works and should be unaffected, according to the signal flow diagram in the manual.


    So I've got signal going to my amp and all, not noisy, I've got a ground lift box inline, but it's just really wimpy, flat, and lifeless. I've recorded myself actually playing through the amp with identical settings and mic setup to compare, and it's nowhere close. I've done all kinds of things to try to punch it up: boost the level of the .wav file, boost it on the way out of the interface with the mixing software, run it unbalanced out of the interface (balanced is default), run it through the instrument input on the dbx so I can use it's 20db of gain boost, and all kinds of different settings on the amp and pedal and it's just blehhhh.

    I plug my guitar back in, and BLUDDOW SQUIDONK SQUEEOW CHUGGA CHUGGA SQUEEEEE!!! Like it should be.

    So here's my question. Is there just an inherent compromise to your guitar sound that everybody lives with when you reamp, and I'm just finding out about it now? Or should I be using something else to do this? Is there some reason an active box like the dbx wouldn't work? Or is there something else I'm missing?

    Thanks for any help.
    Last edited by Mind Riot; 03-20-2015, 03:18 AM.
    Stupednous is the disease. And I'm the solution.

  • #2
    Re-amping from most interfaces should only cist you a few bucks. All you need is a DB attenuator that reduces the Interface output down from Line level that feeds your monitors to Instrument level. (Instrument level is kind of in between Line level and Mic level)

    An inexpensive 6db attenuator should do the job fine. I have a -3, -6, and -12db in my adaptor tool box in the studio for just these kinds of situations. One I picked up at radio shack 25 years ago and for some reason I've never lost it.

    You can buy them cheap here. This one is a -3db http://www.parts-express.com/parts-e...-3-db--266-232

    These are -6db http://www.parts-express.com/harriso...-pair--266-242 these are -12 http://www.parts-express.com/harriso...-pair--266-244

    You do need an additional cords and RCA to 1/4" adaptors as well. Don't know what you have available to you but that same site has all that stuff.

    What you can do is put a Y Jack in series with one of your studio monitors (if you have a 2 channel interface) then tap the line and send it to your amp. You would pan the track to that side so all the signal is sent to the tapped side,

    You can then play the track back through the amp and dial up your sound as normal. Key item here is if you recorded the track with a weak signal, you may wind up having a weak input to the amp. If the signal is too hot, then you may need more attenuation. Hopefully your gain staging is correct and the track is playing back somewhere between 0 and -6db. This should make the -6db attenuator work right and give you the signal strength about the same as a pickup feeding the amp does. You can always A/B compare those signals if needed.

    On the recording side, you'd have the one channel set for play back and the other set for record. The record channel should be hard panned in the other direction to avoid a feedback loop.

    How good the results will be is questionable. I can do a "much" better job with a guitar track using a good Comp plugin and and amp sim like Boogex which is a free amp sim plugin . Its even got cab and mic position emulation. http://www.voxengo.com/press/voxengo...-released-271/ The drive may not meet all needs for all cases but its actually quite good. Much better then many others I've used. Its also light on resources.

    I used this plugin on the last band I recorded. I used a DI box on the guitarist and recorded his miced amp on one channel and his Direct guitar on another. I had one song where his miced amp just farted out and sounded awful, so I used the dry track and emulated it to sound like his amp.

    I used this free plugin in the main buss. http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/ and had it set for stereo view. Panned his amp channel left, his dry channel right then started adding EQ and comps to get the levels and frequency response similar. I then used Boogex, and whatever reverb or echo he was using and got the two tracks to match exactly. When it came to that one part, the emulated track just played through like it did during the rest of the song. I could then just copy and past the one track over the other and you'd never know the part was replaced by a dry guitar souped up to sound like an amp blowing chunks.

    Here's the track. if you listen real careful you might be able to hear the splice. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...BFinal3%5D.wav

    The biggest question however is how long did it take me to tweak that sound up. I can tell you for that one minute play time I spent an entire week tweaking and re-tweaking that thing trying dozens of different plugins (including reamping) to get that part fixed.

    If the guitarist had been there I could have had the job done in 5 minutes just rerecording the part. Reamping is the same thing. Its one method of fixing issues. Do not expect it to come close to sounding as good as someone just playing through the amp to begin with and recording with a mic.

    The dry tracks have to be very good too. People tend to change their playing technique playing wet or dry. With allot of drive you'll tend to control the string sustain, dampen strings, sustain notes and vibratos much longer. Doing this dry the dynamic attack is fast and decay is fast. getting it to sound good reamping adding drive will only go so far until it sounds awful because you weren't using driven guitar techniques when it was recorded.

    Like I said, Compression before drive can help allot here to control the dry guitar dynamics. The rest you have to experiment your way to the best results.
    Last edited by WRGKMC; 03-20-2015, 11:08 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mind Riot View Post
      I've got some raw guitar tracks down that I wanted to run through my amp, but I hadn't really messed with reamping before so I didn't have a box for it, not even a DI box. I picked up an old dbx 563x on ebay cheap, which seemed like it would be a flexible tool for this kind of thing. It's a tape noise reducer/DI/reamp, with a bunch of ins and outs.
      This is a NR unit, it's not a Reamp/DI unit.

      To Reamp correctly, you need two things - an attenuation from line to inst level, and an impedance change.

      Which is why dedicated Reamp boxes are made.

      How are you recording the direct guitar signal? It sounds to me like that may be part of the problem? Does your interface have an instrument input on it? If not, are you using a DI, so you're not loading down the PUs? When you talk about flat, lifeless sound, that's the first thing that came to my mind.

      If you like the sound of the mic'ed amp, why not just record that? No reason to reinvent the wheel...

      MG

      "Thank You, NASA!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks very much for your reply.

        Originally posted by MarkGifford-1 View Post

        This is a NR unit, it's not a Reamp/DI unit.
        It's a Noise Reducer slash DI slash reamper, according to it's manual. It's got instrument input with variable gain (0-+20db), line input and output, and instrument level output, and can be used in any configuration using those ins and outs. The front bypass switch cuts the noise reduction without affecting any of the rest of the functions. Again, according to it's manual, it's designed to serve all these specific purposes, I'm not kludging it into working this way.

        And everything seems to work as advertised, technically speaking, it's just that the reamped signal is quite uninspiring.

        Originally posted by MarkGifford-1 View Post
        How are you recording the direct guitar signal? It sounds to me like that may be part of the problem? Does your interface have an instrument input on it? If not, are you using a DI, so you're not loading down the PUs? When you talk about flat, lifeless sound, that's the first thing that came to my mind.

        If you like the sound of the mic'ed amp, why not just record that? No reason to reinvent the wheel...
        MG
        The tracks were recorded a while back through a Line 6 Studio GX interface, so they were recorded direct but not through a DI box. Is there some difference that makes them not reamp-able in that case?

        The reason I'm doing this is because I have several songs where all the guitar tracks have been recorded, and I had been planning to use software for the guitar tones. But since then I acquired a lovely tube amp, and have dialed both it and my mic setup in to where I think I might prefer to have it as my main rhythm sound on the songs instead. I don't want to retrack all the guitars on an album's worth of songs just to get my tube amp's sound on there. This is precisely the kind of situation reamping is for, and while I didn't anticipate getting a tube amp I did track everything dry on purpose so I could decide later on the final tone.

        So I guess I now just have two questions:

        1) What's the tonal difference between a passive reamp box and an active one? Because I'm using active and I'm not getting what I'm after.

        2) Are dry tracks recorded through a Line 6 Studio GX unsuitable for reamping, and if so, why?

        Thank you very much for your input.

        Stupednous is the disease. And I'm the solution.

        Comment


        • #5
          Its simply a matter of properly matching signal levels. What comes out of the daw interface is line level. what needs to go into your amp is instrument level. The line level is too hot for feeding a guitar amp directly. You could turn the track down in the daw but the preamp from the Interface is too hot for feeding a guitar amp properly. The guitar amp has an additional gain stage designed to boost a very weak guitar pickup so any line level signal you feed the guitar amp must be attenuated first.

          Read this. http://www.ovnilab.com/articles/linelevel.shtml

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mind Riot View Post
            Thanks very much for your reply.



            It's a Noise Reducer slash DI slash reamper, according to it's manual. It's got instrument input with variable gain (0-+20db), line input and output, and instrument level output, and can be used in any configuration using those ins and outs. The front bypass switch cuts the noise reduction without affecting any of the rest of the functions. Again, according to it's manual, it's designed to serve all these specific purposes, I'm not kludging it into working this way.

            And everything seems to work as advertised, technically speaking, it's just that the reamped signal is quite uninspiring.
            I looked at the manual, I suppose you could do it, but there's no references to that usage, it's main purpose is for NR.

            That said, how are you hooking it up?

            You should be using the "Line input" on the back of the unit from the output of your interface, and the "low level output" to the amp. Adjust the overall level of the signal to the guitar amp in your DAW.

            What interface are you using?

            Originally posted by Mind Riot View Post
            2) Are dry tracks recorded through a Line 6 Studio GX unsuitable for reamping, and if so, why?
            It might be OK - did you have everything bypassed when you recorded the guitar? If not, there's your problem - you're sending a signal that's already been severely messed with (by modelling) to an amp.

            If it was totally bypassed, the interface might just not be the greatest? hard to tell w/o hearing the tracks.

            Try hooking it up like I suggested and report back, but I would tend to believe this is where the problem is.

            MG

            "Thank You, NASA!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkGifford-1 View Post

              I looked at the manual, I suppose you could do it, but there's no references to that usage, it's main purpose is for NR.

              That said, how are you hooking it up?

              You should be using the "Line input" on the back of the unit from the output of your interface, and the "low level output" to the amp. Adjust the overall level of the signal to the guitar amp in your DAW.

              What interface are you using?
              A Steinberg UR44. The raw guitar track is routed directly to one of the balanced aux line outs on the UR44, which then goes to a little Rolls hum elimination box that also converts it from balanced to unbalanced, then into the line input on the dbx, out the low level output to the amp. Well, actually to a pedal first, but you know.



              Originally posted by MarkGifford-1 View Post
              It might be OK - did you have everything bypassed when you recorded the guitar? If not, there's your problem - you're sending a signal that's already been severely messed with (by modelling) to an amp.

              If it was totally bypassed, the interface might just not be the greatest? hard to tell w/o hearing the tracks.

              Try hooking it up like I suggested and report back, but I would tend to believe this is where the problem is.

              MG
              No, I'm not sending an affected track out to an amp, silly.

              I try to be very nice and modest in how I interact on the forums so as to grease the social wheels, but that doesn't mean I'm totally clueless.

              We're not talking about a completely horrific sound here, where it's like literally unusable because I'm doing something so radically wrong that it's a miracle I haven't burned my house down yet. Everything's technically working as it should, it's just that the sound going into the amp is not driving it like it's driven when I play through it, and it sounds weak and uninspiring.

              The most successful thing I've done so far actually, is running a clean preamp in between the dbx and the amp to kick it up some. I tried that yesterday, and it sounded better, but still rather flat.

              My understanding is that there's inherent tonal differences between passive and active reamping devices, and that passive ones may react more naturally to changes in dynamics because of the behavior of transformers versus buffers and amps, yada yada. I don't know that much about them, and I've usually got to have some substantial incentive to really dive into the tech end of a particular field of gear, like being able to repair them will save me money, or building them is better than buying them, etc. So I certainly don't know enough to speak with any kind of authority on it.

              But in any case, I broke down and ordered a Radial ProRMP, which is passive, so once I test it out I'll see if it performs like I hope it will or if there really are just inherent limitations to reamping that I've got to get used to working around. I'll report back with results.

              Thanks again for your input.

              Stupednous is the disease. And I'm the solution.

              Comment


              • #8
                i use a radial jcr reamp box to reamp to my kemper profiling amp... it's been a great addition to my setup.. i was having issues before

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, I got the Radial in and I've been doing a bunch of tests with it and the dbx and pre to see how things stack up. Got some interesting results.

                  I recorded some raw tracks using the dbx as my DI. When I did so, I recorded the DI signal and the miced signal from the amp at the same time so I could compare it's sound with the reamped sound. I was able to get very close to the original miced sound of me actually playing from reamping, both with the dbx and the Radial. In fact, they were indistinguishable from one another, though both were very slightly duller than the miced recording of me actually playing. (This is all done all in one session, same room, mics locked down, etc.)

                  Now, me using the dbx produces a pretty hot signal for the DI. It has a gain control on the input but even all the way down it's almost peaking in the DAW, but not quite. As I said, this signal works very well for reamping with either the dbx or the Radial.

                  But the main concern is all the old tracks I've got to work with, which were recorded through the Line 6 interface, and are not nearly as hot a signal. And, oddly enough, they seem to be more dynamic, with peaks only a few db below full scale and patches of relatively low loudness.

                  The reason this is a concern is that the dbx setup does not do very well with handling this at all, which was why I started this thread. After all these tests, I now know that a louder track makes for dramatically better results from the dbx, but the dynamic range of them makes it so that I can't just increase the gain on the .wav without clipping. Just increasing the track's output or the interface's output introduces more noise and what sounds like some clipping to me, but I can't be sure on that. So in order to make it work with the dbx, I'd have to be cutting up all these tracks and increasing their gain variably to try to make it hit the dbx's sweet spot. Lotta work.

                  But, as I suspected, this is where the Radial shines. It handles the lower output DI tracks just fine and still punches the input of the amp hard; in fact I had to back off the volume even though it's a passive device. So it looks like my instincts were right, the passive box is more forgiving of variations in signal strength, which is actually what Radial says on their website, a fact I recently discovered.

                  So I guess I'll be keeping the Radial, but I wish I had just gotten it in the first place. Live and learn.

                  Thanks for everybody's input, I appreciate it.

                  TL;DR version: dbx has narrow sweet spot, Radial do gooder with all kind 'o' signal.
                  Stupednous is the disease. And I'm the solution.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mind Riot View Post
                    Well, I got the Radial in and I've been doing a bunch of tests with it and the dbx and pre to see how things stack up. Got some interesting results.

                    Now, me using the dbx produces a pretty hot signal for the DI. It has a gain control on the input but even all the way down it's almost peaking in the DAW, but not quite. As I said, this signal works very well for reamping with either the dbx or the Radial.

                    But the main concern is all the old tracks I've got to work with, which were recorded through the Line 6 interface, and are not nearly as hot a signal. And, oddly enough, they seem to be more dynamic, with peaks only a few db below full scale and patches of relatively low loudness.

                    The reason this is a concern is that the dbx setup does not do very well with handling this at all, which was why I started this thread. After all these tests, I now know that a louder track makes for dramatically better results from the dbx, but the dynamic range of them makes it so that I can't just increase the gain on the .wav without clipping. Just increasing the track's output or the interface's output introduces more noise and what sounds like some clipping to me, but I can't be sure on that. So in order to make it work with the dbx, I'd have to be cutting up all these tracks and increasing their gain variably to try to make it hit the dbx's sweet spot. Lotta work.
                    As I mentioned before. Re-amping is RX. Its something you do to fix a problem with the original recording. Its not something you want to have to do on a regular basis, exactly because its time consuming and because the track gain both recording and playback is a critical item.

                    Clean dry tracks are highly dynamic. If you're strumming hard or softly the tracks wind up being very different when it comes to reamping.

                    Since you have tracks recorded already what I suggest is using a good limiter on the tracks that will restrict the dynamic peaks and increase the gain if needed. This will prevent overs and distortion and shouldn't color the music too much. A limiter is better then a compressor for this because a limiter doesn't bring up the noise floor. It just limits the peaks.

                    You can also try normalizing the tracks to around -6db. It may or may not work depending on how sharp the peaks are. Normalization uses the peaks as the maximum value. What you hear as loudness is the RMS value, the lower wave below the peals. If you select the wave view and view one of your tracks that were sufficiently loud enough to re-amp, and become familiar with how it looks. Then bring up one that's weak and compare. If you try normalizing and it brings it closer to looking like the good track, its likely to sound like the good track. If you had large peaks, it may make the problem worse.

                    I have in the past, normalized to say 99%, then limited it back down to -6db and got good results. Having the wave at max wont let you increase the gain any more and if the RMS value is still very low, then bringing the peaks down so they don't punch the 0db ceiling prevents overs and then bringing up the volume increases the average volume of the track.

                    This method is a global, manual method of restricting and reducing the dynamic content of the tracks and is often necessary with completely dry guitar. In the future, you want to use a compressor when recording dry guitar. This way the hard strums and picking wont drive those peaks through the roof and your overall volume will be much more pliable mixing. Its got to be a fairly colorless Compressor because you don't want noise or tone sucking, but you want to mimic some compression a guitar amp creates with the tubes, speaker, cab and mic create to decrease dynamics. Plugging straight into an interface is a very flat frequency response and you're going to track a bunch of frequencies that are not needed in a guitar track. Bass especially causes huge peaks that could be easily be removed and have beneficial effects.
                    Last edited by WRGKMC; 04-01-2015, 08:06 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
                      As I mentioned before. Re-amping is RX. Its something you do to fix a problem with the original recording. Its not something you want to have to do on a regular basis, exactly because its time consuming and because the track gain both recording and playback is a critical item.
                      Reamping is a pretty standard process, today.

                      I'm a bit more old school and like to just get a sound and roll, but the theory is that it allows for more choices/control later in the process, which is the way modern recording is heading.

                      Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
                      Clean dry tracks are highly dynamic. If you're strumming hard or softly the tracks wind up being very different when it comes to reamping.

                      Since you have tracks recorded already what I suggest is using a good limiter on the tracks that will restrict the dynamic peaks and increase the gain if needed. This will prevent overs and distortion and shouldn't color the music too much.

                      You can also try normalizing the tracks to around -6db. It may or may not work depending on how sharp the peaks are. Normalization uses the peaks as the maximum value. What you hear as loudness is the RMS value, the lower wave below the peals. If you select the wave view and view one of your tracks that were sufficiently loud enough to re-amp, and become familiar with how it looks. Then bring up one that's weak and compare. If you try normalizing and it brings it closer to looking like the good track, its likely to sound like the good track. If you had large peaks, it may make the problem worse.

                      I have in the past, normalized to say 99%, then limited it back down to -6db and got good results. Having the wave at max wont let you increase the gain any more and if the RMS value is still very low, then bringing the peaks down so they don't punch the 0db ceiling prevents overs and then bringing up the volume increases the average volume of the track.

                      This method is a global, manual method of restricting and reducing the dynamic content of the tracks and is often necessary with completely dry guitar. In the future, you want to use a compressor when recording dry guitar. This way the hard strums and picking wont drive those peaks through the roof and your overall volume will be much more pliable mixing. Its got to be a fairly colorless Compressor because you don't want noise or tone sucking, but you want to mimic some compression a guitar amp creates with the tubes, speaker, cab and mic create to decrease dynamics. Plugging straight into an interface is a very flat frequency response and you're going to track a bunch of frequencies that are not needed in a guitar track. Bass especially causes huge peaks that could be easily be removed and have beneficial effects.
                      When reamping, the goal for the recorded DI track is to capture as close an approximation of the signal coming off the pickups. This will give optimal results when sent back out thru the reamp interface and thru the amp.

                      Ideally, you would use something like a John Hardy "wire with gain" type pre. You would not want a "color" pre like a Neve or API.

                      OP is noticing that the tracks from the Line 6 are a little duller, which is due to the capture of the initial guitar track and is showing the shortcomings of the Line 6 interface.

                      Dynamics issues should be taken care of either at the reamp recording input stage by putting a comp/limiter after the mic pre, or in the DAW at mix time.

                      Limiting the dynamics of the DI track will totally change the sound/feel of the way the amp responds during the reamp.

                      MG
                      Last edited by MarkGifford-1; 04-01-2015, 07:39 AM.
                      "Thank You, NASA!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mind Riot View Post
                        So I guess I'll be keeping the Radial, but I wish I had just gotten it in the first place. Live and learn.
                        It's amazing how using the correct tool for the job actually works, huh? <g>

                        Glad it worked out for you.

                        MG

                        "Thank You, NASA!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkGifford-1 View Post
                          Dynamics issues should be taken care of either at the reamp recording input stage by putting a comp/limiter after the mic pre, or in the DAW at mix time.

                          Limiting the dynamics of the DI track will totally change the sound/feel of the way the amp responds during the reamp.

                          MG
                          Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the tracks. Chances are if you put it before you track you'll incorporate limiter or comp into your playing techniques when tracking. The problem when you record dry, you have no compression and may be hitting the strings much harder then you might be through and amp to get consistent volume levels. (I know I do) A limiter is the best option because it only brings down the peaks. Yes its going to reduce the dynamic levels, but you'll be able to get the track louder without overs by doing so which is the issue the OP is having.

                          Again, you could use a comp too but many can make allot of noise, add pumping and color the tone allot more. You can surely try it. I use a comp on a live guitar allot. If its too noisy then you can use a noise gate before the amp or in the effects loop so it quiets the noise between notes down.

                          I myself rarely use re-amping. I've used it for other guitarists, but for myself its a wast of my time and energy. There's no way in hell I can play the same with a completely dry signal in comparison to a gained up signal, especially on leads. The notes go silent much too quickly with a dry signal and I'd be guessing when that note is truly dead once its gained up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MarkGifford-1 View Post

                            It's amazing how using the correct tool for the job actually works, huh? <g>

                            Glad it worked out for you.

                            MG
                            That's what I get for trying to save a buck or two.
                            Stupednous is the disease. And I'm the solution.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

                              As I mentioned before. Re-amping is RX. Its something you do to fix a problem with the original recording. Its not something you want to have to do on a regular basis, exactly because its time consuming and because the track gain both recording and playback is a critical item.

                              Clean dry tracks are highly dynamic. If you're strumming hard or softly the tracks wind up being very different when it comes to reamping.

                              Since you have tracks recorded already what I suggest is using a good limiter on the tracks that will restrict the dynamic peaks and increase the gain if needed. This will prevent overs and distortion and shouldn't color the music too much. A limiter is better then a compressor for this because a limiter doesn't bring up the noise floor. It just limits the peaks.

                              You can also try normalizing the tracks to around -6db. It may or may not work depending on how sharp the peaks are. Normalization uses the peaks as the maximum value. What you hear as loudness is the RMS value, the lower wave below the peals. If you select the wave view and view one of your tracks that were sufficiently loud enough to re-amp, and become familiar with how it looks. Then bring up one that's weak and compare. If you try normalizing and it brings it closer to looking like the good track, its likely to sound like the good track. If you had large peaks, it may make the problem worse.

                              I have in the past, normalized to say 99%, then limited it back down to -6db and got good results. Having the wave at max wont let you increase the gain any more and if the RMS value is still very low, then bringing the peaks down so they don't punch the 0db ceiling prevents overs and then bringing up the volume increases the average volume of the track.

                              This method is a global, manual method of restricting and reducing the dynamic content of the tracks and is often necessary with completely dry guitar. In the future, you want to use a compressor when recording dry guitar. This way the hard strums and picking wont drive those peaks through the roof and your overall volume will be much more pliable mixing. Its got to be a fairly colorless Compressor because you don't want noise or tone sucking, but you want to mimic some compression a guitar amp creates with the tubes, speaker, cab and mic create to decrease dynamics. Plugging straight into an interface is a very flat frequency response and you're going to track a bunch of frequencies that are not needed in a guitar track. Bass especially causes huge peaks that could be easily be removed and have beneficial effects.

                              Excellent information here, all of it.

                              Though I'm not actually having any problem with the tracks recorded through the Line 6 interface anymore. The Radial handles them just fine, so I'm good to go. Thanks for all your contributions.

                              Stupednous is the disease. And I'm the solution.

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