Re-amping is a production technique that is both a creative method used to inspire new guitar sounds, as well as a way to bring new life to a guitar track that might be letting down the rest of your mix.
Guitars can be recorded in multiple ways (sometimes including a Direct Inject (DI) input method) going into a recording console or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). The practice of re-amping involves taking the already recorded signal, routing it back out of a console or DAW and running it through external processing, before finally returning it into the editing or mixing environment.
For guitars, re-amping provides opportunity to alter the audio signal to improve character, tone and body. It enables the use of variety of different guitar amps, microphones and recording processes in search of finding a signature sound or creating ‘edge’ and personality. As guitars are often used or highlighted as a main instrument, the practice of re-amping it gives opportunity to add musical energy and improve structure or definition in a track.
Guitar signals can be processed through different types of amplifiers, speakers and effects units in addition to introducing other audio effects such as distortion, sonic filters, compression and harsh EQ for create effects. Common re-amping objectives may include musically motivated amplifier distortion, capturing room tone and resonance, applying effects and adding depth to stereo imaging, in addition to seeking the tone of a specific amplifier or recording chain.
This type of audio signal processing has very few boundaries: it can be used to both improve quality and musicality of any instrument track, as well as for creative processing and modifying tone. If your setup allows, it is always worth recording a DI signal and leaving it muted inside the mix - you and your mixing engineer will be thankful, should you decide to go for a different tone, later in the production process.