Re-amping my archtop

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by guitarjazzman, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    I posted a similar topic in the pro audio gear section with no responses and thought it would be more relevant here.

    I am currently using my Avalon U5 to record my archtop direct along with miking the guitar's acoustic sound. I am happy with the results although would like to mix in my mic'd up Polytone too. I am thinking about re-amping as I can spend more time with microphone placement after the event. I am also thinking about possibly changing my amp later in the year and could then use the new amp with existing recorded parts.

    I am looking at the Radial X-amp and read that people are having great results with this and similar products. I was just wondering how the re-amped track would compare to my archtop plugged direct into my amp. As I am after a very pure sound, I am concerned that after going Archtop>U5>Firepod>Logic>Firepod>X-amp>Polytone that the signal must be altered quite a bit.

    Any experience/thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated as I cannot find any re-amped archtop topics on the web.

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Get the gains and levels right and the re-amping will sound as good as playing it originally through the amp. It's a good technique to use if you are recording acoustic sound from the instrument, since it's very difficult to get a clean acoustic sound without bleed from the amp.

    I've worked with several guitarists in the jazz/solo electric field, and they all have their own different ways of working. The amplifier output is part of a player's signature sound, so he/she may not like recording without hearing the amplifier at normal levels. Depending on the quality of the amplifier, operating the amp at much reduced levels can mean that the miked sound has intrusive hum and hiss.

    In some cases I have had to put the amplifier in a different room with the doors shut and had the performer listen to the miked amp sound on headphones. If at mixdown, the sound was not quite right, I had the option of taking the DI track to a venue with a nice acoustic and re-amp it with the performer present only as a listener. However, I've found that many performers want a recorded sound that is never actually heard during their live or studio sessions.

    I assume you are both the performer and recording engineer in this instance, so you can be flexible.
  3. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Thanks for your input, that's exactly the type of thing I wanted to hear! I will be buying an X-amp I think as there seems to be many advantages of recording with it. The other bonus is that I have always wanted to try the mic that I use on the archtop on the amp too. It is certainly cheaper to buy an X-amp than another mic!
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    On the Radial X-amp - I note that it is active, but I couldn't find how it was powered with a quick look at their web site. The only "problem" that I've ever had with a Radial product is with our church's Radial PC. It's designed as a buffer for computers and other stereo devices, but requires phantom power - not included on the stereo inputs of a lot of inexpensive boards. Not a big deal, but possibly another small expense a power supply. Something you should check out before you buy so you will be ready to go when it arrives.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    The X-amp is powered by an external wall-wart p/supply-no phantom.
    The only time that I use mine is to color the sound of the original track by routing the recording through my various amps. I find it hard to believe that a jazzer would want to do this, but, hey, to each his own. Afterall, variety is the spice of life....
  6. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    When you say 'color the sound', are you saying that the re-amping procedure changes the sound in your experience? This is my only concern as Boswell is saying that it will be as if I am playing direct into my amp. If there is no sound difference then I can see so many uses for re-amping.
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    The INTENTION of re-amping is to take the already-recorded track and route it into a guitar amp to alter that track's sound. I've done it with guitars, keys, trumpets,, and saxes. Then run these tracks through little tube amps, a Leslie, a Marshall, stomp boxes, etc. Obviously more extreme than what you are trying to achieve, to be sure.
    And I understand your motivation to try this, more power to you. If you follow Boswell's sage advice on the levels, etc., you may find Nirvana. Personally, I've not had the best results when attempting to re-amp MY dismal playing (Heritage 555 thin-body) through various amps to isolate them from the drummer, etc. Just not the same thing. I think that it's because a recording of a guitar played into an amp just isn't the same dynamics-wise, as the real thing.
    Then again, you are probably a million times the player that I am, and may very well find that this will float yer boat...Good luck!
  8. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Thanks for all the advice. I am going to get on the case and order an X-amp and I am looking forward to experimenting. I am pretty certain it will add the missing element to my recordings that I have been looking for. If nothing else, it will certainly teach me a thing or two about micing up a cabinet!

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