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Is Re-Amping Cheating?
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The Roy Factor
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#1
2nd May 2013
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Is Re-Amping Cheating?

Hey guys.

I've recently discovered a few studios near me re-amp exclusively when tracking electric guitars. Literally having the musicians play DI-ed, and then the engineer will re-amp and pick the tones for them at a later date. I find this kind of weird. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with micing an amp and tracking the dry signal in case something sounds goofy later on, but I find there to be something weird about literally re-amping everything always. I'm not sure if this happens a lot though, this could be a weird thing that happens around me!

Thoughts?
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2nd May 2013
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Yeah, I think that's taking it a little far.

They're almost saying "we know you can't get a good sound, and neither can we in a short amount of time, so we're just going to do it our way".
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#3
2nd May 2013
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Same here, but, think it this way, some times ear fatigue can play badly with you, and what you thought was right, tomorrow could be awful.

some times is better to deside tomorrow and dont loose a recording session...
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I've got no problem with reamping as a practice, it's definitely useful.

But to have it as a RULE seems way over the top to me.
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It happens a lot, especially with inexperienced talent working in a seriously professional facility.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with it. It's still the guitarist that plays the parts doing the playing. Just because someone might be skilled at playing doesn't mean they are skilled at selecting the right sounds to come out of their amps for the purpose of making a recording. A skilled and experienced recording professional will know what to do for the best interest of the recording, hence the use of re-amping as the OP describes.

Additionally, the equipment of the talent being recorded might not be ideal for the purpose of getting the intended recorded sound, hence the use of re-amping. Furthermore, there might be unforeseen arrangement problems that occur down the line in any recording situation. In that instance it's a very useful thing to have re-amping available. I often track the cab of the talent and simultaneously take a line in, just in case I decide I need to re-amp later.

I'm not a fan of the argument in favor of talent "never" using their own amp rig, and "only" going DI. But I'm in agreement with also taking a line in for a little insurance. Is it "cheating"? Who cares?...But seriously, it's just a way of controlling variables that often need controlling.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoz View Post
I've got no problem with reamping as a practice, it's definitely useful.

But to have it as a RULE seems way over the top to me.
I agree.

Part of the individuality of the recording will be using the players rig - for better or worse. If they are bypassing that for their own rig in a 'one size fits all' mentality, they are short changing the band, IMO.
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2nd May 2013
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I can see it both ways but some should depend on the players rig. As a guitar player myself I love my rig and would want to track with it. I can see recording the di as well but my rig even has that accounted for and I have 3 different sends in various places along the signal path depending on if you want it dry, after the pre, or just before the speaker. I would probably get nervous if a place told me 'nah, we don't need your rig' before even hearing it. Now that being said I've played with guys that really should leave theirs home but they also usually know that already. I guess I'm just trying to say it depends
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I think of reamping solely as a creative tool. It allows the introduction of more analog/OTB sounds, and can simply make the process more physical, and in the air, not to mention the sounds (what an amp does to a vocal, what a stompbox does to a drum). In this way most of the these sounds are blended in parallel with the "dry" track.

As for the way this studio is approaching guitars, it's gross. Eff-you, I'm choosing my guitar tone. Don't get me wrong, I'll take advice, and let somebody tweak a few knobs..if it actually makes it better. The only thing that I'm letting go in DI is bass and keyboard. On a rare occasion I will DI guitar for that sound (with no intention of reamping it).

Said studio is really taking the life out of the process, and it's a prime example of one of digital recordings major issues: Putting off (deferring) decisions.

It's electric guitar! It's the easiest thing to record. There are a million possible guitar tones and tens of thousands of them work. And they're pretty flexible in the mix (eq, compression, etc.). If it's not working it's pretty obvious then and there. Change guitar, amp, pedal. Fuhk.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattMoorman View Post
...Said studio is really taking the life out of the process, and it's a prime example of one of digital recordings major issues: Putting off (deferring) decisions.
What does re-amping have to do with digital recording?

I don't see re-amping as a major issue with digital recording at all. Nor do I think the two topics have anything to necessarily do with one another. Nor do I think anything is necessarily "wrong" with digital recording as a medium (but that's another discussion altogether).

What exactly is your argument? Please clarify.
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It makes sense. This goes back to the recording engineer being a service provider like a termite sprayer or manicurist. The more input the client has in the provision of the service, and the more interfering they do, the less likely the result is going to be of professional quality. The ideal is for the client to be out of the way completely. When you reamp, you remove a layer of client input, which helps you get one step closer to a professional product. If the client's aim is to make hit records then they want to have a record that 'sounds good' in a generic and predictable way. Reamping is a perfectly valid solution.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
What does re-amping have to do with digital recording?

I don't see re-amping as a major issue with digital recording at all. Nor do I think the two topics have anything to necessarily do with one another. Nor do I think anything is necessarily "wrong" with digital recording as a medium (but that's another discussion altogether).

What exactly is your argument? Please clarify.
Such an aggressive "please". Well, it doesn't necessarily have to do with digital, but the idea of deferring all guitar tone decisions until a "later date" to me is indicative of one of the digital medium's most prominent issues: the ability to defer decisions until a "later date". I am assuming they're not tracking DI guitars to tape. If so, I've never heard of such a ridiculous thing, I will humbly retract my statements. Btw, I love reamping and I primarily use a DAW.
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#12
2nd May 2013
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Kind of, but it has its use. And can sound cool.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
This goes back to the recording engineer being a service provider like a termite sprayer or manicurist.
Except that neither of those services are part of an artform that is wholly dependent on the input of the ARTIST. Without the input of the artist, there is no service.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
The ideal is for the client to be out of the way completely.
Whoa. Other way around. Artist makes the art. Maybe different for formulaic pop, I don't know about that.
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I play both bass and guitar.

re-amping makes more sense for bass than for electric guitar.
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Originally Posted by Kaoz View Post
Except that neither of those services are part of an artform that is wholly dependent on the input of the ARTIST. Without the input of the artist, there is no service.
I would say that recorded music ISN'T "wholly dependent on the input of the artist" if by "artist" you mean the people that play and sing.

Recorded music is a collaborative art form that is dependent on MANY factors, of which only ONE is that of the player and/or singer.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post

Recorded music is a collaborative art form that is dependent on MANY factors, of which only ONE is that of the player and/or singer.
You're right in it being collaborative - my point was that if you take the artist away, you have nothing, whereas if you take the professional recording engineer away, the artist and their art is still there, and is still able to be reproduced.

The post I was responding to seemed to view the artist as an annoyance rather than an integral part of the process.
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Reamping can save wear and tear on tubes and transformers. Think about the hours saved by only running the amp at peak potential for a couple hours vs tracking for a week or two. Less chance of tone change and more of exactly what you wanted in the first place...
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Question:

Will an electric with single coils and shortest possible high spec cable to DI through link out to amp change the impedance and therefore tone of the amp?

Gtr --> DI --> Amp

vs

Gtr --> Amp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoz View Post
You're right in it being collaborative - my point was that if you take the artist away, you have nothing, whereas if you take the professional recording engineer away, the artist and their art is still there, and is still able to be reproduced...
I think that if you take the players and singers away then you indeed wouldn't have recorded music. But recording as an art form would be able to exist. It simply wouldn't be for music at that point. But even in that case the art of doing recording well would exist and be something required if a player or singer wanted to have a recording of their performances that gave them the respect they felt such performances deserved.

Everyone in the process is integral. The art in question is recorded music. Not just performance, not just recording. Recorded music is a different art form than live performance, though live performance is involved with recorded music. By the same token recorded music is a different art form than other sound recording, though the skills of other sound recording are involved with recorded music. Neither the audio professionals, nor the players and singers can have recorded music without one another.
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Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
I think that if you take the players and singers away then you indeed wouldn't have recorded music. But recording as an art form would be able to exist. It simply wouldn't be for music at that point. But even in that case the art of doing recording well would exist and be something required if a player or singer wanted to have a recording of their performances that gave them the respect they felt such performances deserved.

Everyone in the process is integral. The art in question is recorded music. Not just performance, not just recording. Recorded music is a different art form than live performance, though live performance is involved with recorded music. By the same token recorded music is a different art form than other sound recording, though the skills of other sound recording are involved with recorded music. Neither the audio professionals, nor the players and singers can have recorded music without one another.
Yeah fair enough, I can't disagree with any of that.

I guess if i'd used essential instead of wholly dependent we wouldn't be having this disagreement in the first place, considering we're coming from pretty similar viewpoints lol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Arthur View Post
Question:

Will an electric with single coils and shortest possible high spec cable to DI through link out to amp change the impedance and therefore tone of the amp?

Gtr --> DI --> Amp

vs

Gtr --> Amp
Different question:
Does it matter?

No.

It's ultimately not about whatever happens to change the tone when you do it (though you do need to work with those variables as you're getting the tone). It's about whatever tone you change it to being the "right" one, regardless of how it came. No need to obsess over minutia of electromagnetism that you may or may not be able to reliably pick out in a double blind test. Just do what sounds right during playback over reliable monitoring. That can (and has) come from re-amping more times than any of us know.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Arthur View Post
Question:

Will an electric with single coils and shortest possible high spec cable to DI through link out to amp change the impedance and therefore tone of the amp?

Gtr --> DI --> Amp

vs

Gtr --> Amp
Assuming you aren't familiar with passive pickups yes it does. It depends on the pickups, di, and to some degree the amp. I have a couple guitars that are very dependent on input impedance. Now wether or not that sounds better or worse it a totally different question and depends on the situation. It's not really better or worse, just different. It's a similar concept to a mic pre impedance setting changing the tone of a mic.
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How can it be cheating ? you still play the licks, modeling and samples is cheating for me.

It's depends on weather you want to track now or later. I love reamp.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
How can it be cheating ? you still play the licks, modeling and samples is cheating for me.
Every electric guitar player that I know (including myself) plays to the tone as much as anything else. It dictates the attack, sustain, bend, tremolo, everything (not to mention delay and modulation). How this note evolves dictates the next note. Even a rhythm part. It's how you squeeze the damn thing.
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You have to make a decision and commit at some point, so why put if off longer than you have to? That's why I usually mix live, during tracking, to stereo ;-) (albeit in classical music, lol)

That said, a reamp can be a nice thing for certain workflows and production styles.

So no, it's not cheating, but IMHO I'd rather that I or whoever is playing guitar commit to a tone at the time. But I play and record mostly traditional-style, as-played-at-a-gig kinda music, not huge, 500+ track pop productions where I could see this flexibility being helpful (albeit time consuming!) so YMMV.
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I swear by taking a DI, but we ALWAYS mic the amp and try to get things right the first time. The reamp only gets used when initially dialing in tones (I have the guitarist play the song through and then reamp the performance on a loop while I dial in the amp/mic/etc.) and if we refine the tone as the song comes together. It's a super useful tool, but I'd never force it on someone as part of the workflow.
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I think they should just record the singer saying words and put the actual lyrics together afterwards, since most people can't write good lyrics anyway.
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1. The guitar player knows their effects and sound better than the engineer does.
2. A friend who has a few hits under his belt once told me. "if your recorded guitar tone sucks your Fu#$ed".
3. However If the guitar tone needs help I have never read in any engineering manual that it's cheating. GT
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I'm not a fan of re-amping but I don't think its cheating. As much as people like to believe the tone is "in your fingers," there is more tone "in the amp."
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