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Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

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Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 4:11 pm

I've been trying to use my Radial JCR for basic reamping, and I'm running into issues. I have a Fender '65 Twin Reverb reissue that I'm using it with. When I plug my guitar straight into the amp and compare it to clean reamped tracks, it's pretty dang close.

However, if I reamp into my pedal board and use, say, the MXR Timmy (computer > JCR > pedal > Twin Reverb), the tone isn't even remotely close to when I'm just recording with a guitar in the normal fashion. When I reamp with some pedals, it seems to boost the mids to the point where it almost sounds a little like a "telephone" effect. With others, it's just really harsh and unusable. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've adjusted the output level on the JCR and that doesn't seem to matter much.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby The Elf » Fri May 14, 2021 4:33 pm

Welcome! :thumbup:

Quite often this type of problem is due to a mismatch (level or connection type) somewhere in the chain.

Take us through exactly how you have things wired (including the types of cable) and routed.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 5:33 pm

Thanks!

I'm patching it out of Cakewalk By Bandlab to an output on my Focusrite interface. I use a Mogami instrument cable to go from the interface to the Reamp box. Then I use another instrument cable to go out of the reamp box to the pedal.

Maybe it's possible the output going out of the Focusrite is too hot in the virtual mixing software? I thought I had it at unity, but I'm pretty new to my interface so I could have messed something up.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby The Elf » Fri May 14, 2021 5:48 pm

The re-amper is expecting a balanced line input - are you using a balanced cable?
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 5:55 pm

No, I'm using an instrument cable. Maybe that's it.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby The Elf » Fri May 14, 2021 5:57 pm

It could well be.

Try swapping the interface to re-amper cable for a proper balanced cable (I'm assuming balanced TRS jack to XLR, but you haven't said what interface you are using) and let us know what happens.

The cable from re-amper to pedal is fine as it is - unbalanced jack to jack (which I think you are referring to as an 'instrument cable').
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 6:06 pm

The reamp box has a quarter inch input and an XLR, but since I don't have a cable that's TRS to XLR, I'll use a TRS to TRS and see how it goes.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby The Elf » Fri May 14, 2021 6:11 pm

Yep, that should be fine.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 8:50 pm

Ok, well I found out why it sounded harsh in my testing yesterday. Amplitube was still enabled on the track I was sending out to the amp. Embarassing. That said, I did some testing correctly, and now the problem is that it sounds really mushy, with flabby low end, compared to just plugging the guitar into the amp. I engaged the high pass filter on the reamp box and it was better but still not something I'd be interested in using. I'm either doing something wrong or reamping isn't what the hype would suggest. Unless I can get this figured out I'll either sell my reamp box or only use it on things like synths and vocals as an effect.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby Wonks » Fri May 14, 2021 9:44 pm

Are you sure the levels are the level from the reamp box is similar to that coming from the guitar? Plug the guitar directly into the amp and make sure the reamp box level the same when playing the same chords or riff.

How are you recording the basic guitar signal into the computer to begin with? If that signal is losing frequencies, maybe due to too low an input impedance, then reamping is never going to sound similar (though you've said it sounds similar for clean sounds, when any issues like that should be noticeable).

And if you normally play into a loud amp, but record for reamping direct into the computer, them you'll miss that volume reaction that you get between a guitar and an amp, which will come through in the recording of a DI signal.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 9:52 pm

Wonks wrote:Are you sure the levels are the level from the reamp box is similar to that coming from the guitar? Plug the guitar directly into the amp and make sure the reamp box level the same when playing the same chords or riff.

I've tried several different levels on the Reamp box, if that's what you're asking me. The mushiness is there regardless. I've also tried different volume levels in my DAW going out to the Reamp.

Wonks wrote:How are you recording the basic guitar signal into the computer to begin with?

I'm plugging my guitar into a Radial JDI and then into the API clone channel of my Seventh Circle Audio preamp and then into my Focusrite interface. The recorded track peaks at about -3 db.

Wonks wrote:And if you normally play into a loud amp, but record for reamping direct into the computer, them you'll miss that volume reaction that you get between a guitar and an amp, which will come through in the recording of a DI signal.

Are you talking about the idea that I may be playing differently because I'm plugged into a DI rather than a loud amp? Yeah, that's possible, but the difference isn't subtle and I was making an effort to play as similarly as possible between my amp and the DI. Also, when I recorded the direct part, I monitored it through Amplitube on a distorted setting, so it definitely felt pretty similar to playing through an amp.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby The Elf » Fri May 14, 2021 9:59 pm

cominginsecond wrote:Ok, well I found out why it sounded harsh in my testing yesterday. Amplitube was still enabled on the track I was sending out to the amp.
That leads me to wonder what else may be amiss. You absolutely *need* to know what is being sent to the re-amp box. Monitor it and check.

I re-amp all the time. There's no hype - it simply allows you to capture the raw guitar and re-apply processing to it. I see you're using a DI box. -3dBFS (if you mean dBFS) seems way too loud, though. Record with peaks at -10dBFS or lower. If you're pushing too high a level into the re-amp box it will likely sound fizzy and thin.

Are you sure you are capturing a clean DI signal? Have you compared your guitar to the DI you're capturing? And are you sure you are getting that clean signal back to the re-amper? Compare your clean guitar straight into the amp (no pedals) and then the DI. Are they identical? Match their levels. These are the basic steps to sort it out.

'Re-amping' per se is not a vocal or synth concept, though you *could* push it that way, if you really feel the need - it's specific to guitar.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby Wonks » Fri May 14, 2021 10:17 pm

-3dbFS is pretty hot and you could easily be getting inter-sample peaks above 0dBFS that are affecting the output signal.

Try recording so you peak at -10dBFS with an average signal level around -18dBFS. As long as you are recording at 24 bits, then you'll still have plenty of space between the signal and the noise floor, and you can up the output volume if necessary.

However, that a passive DI box is probably the main cause of your problems. With a quoted input impedance of 140k ohms, unless you have active pickups, then you'll be loosing a lot of top end from the guitar signal. Passive pickups really need to see an input impedance of at least 500k ohms and ideally 1 megohm to get the full sound you hear from the amp.

For passive pickups you need an active DI box with a high input impedance. I'm not sure that Radial do one that I'd like to use, as their J48 has a quoted 220k input impedance, which will still load passive pickups and reduce the treble (though by a lesser amount).

You could try putting a clean boost pedal (if you have one) in between the guitar and the DI box set for unity gain, as the active output of the pedal won't be affected by the input impedance of the passive DI box. Or else a pedal that has a buffered bypass, with a clean sounding buffer circuit.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 10:18 pm

The Elf wrote:That leads me to wonder what else may be amiss. You absolutely *need* to know what is being sent to the re-amp box. Monitor it and check.
I did. All that was sent is a DI'd track.

The Elf wrote:I re-amp all the time. There's no hype - it simply allows you to capture the raw guitar and re-apply processing to it. I see you're using a DI box. -3dBFS (if you mean dBFS) seems way too loud, though. Record with peaks at -10dBFS or lower.
Well, turning down the track will have the same impact as recording with lower peaks. I will try turning down the tracks again, but when I did that it didn't seem to make a difference. In fact, the muddiness was worse with quieter tracks.

The Elf wrote:Are you sure you are capturing a clean DI signal?
Certain.

The Elf wrote:Have you compared your guitar to the DI you're capturing?
How would a person going about comparing my guitar to the DI I'm capturing? I capture my guitar via a DI going into my interface. Do you mean, just monitoring directly through my interface and comparing it to the recorded track? I could do that, I suppose.

The Elf wrote:And are you sure you are getting that clean signal back to the re-amper? These are the basic steps to sort it out.
Maybe this is an issue. I think there's nothing modifying the sound. All I'm doing is assigning the output of my DI track to a particular output on my interface.

The Elf wrote:'Re-amping' per se is not a vocal or synth concept (though you *could* push it that way, if you really feel the need) - it's specific to guitar.
Well, reamping may be a guitar concept, but using a reamper to send recorded tracks into equipment that's expecting a guitar is not exclusive to the guitar. People talk all the time about running drum tracks through guitar pedals, or running recorded synth tracks out into an amp and mic'ing the amp. That's what I'm talking about when I said that I could use a reamper for vocals and synths as an effect. When you read articles about reamping, they mention this kind of thing all the time.

With the way you're talking I'm beginning to think I have a bum reamp box.
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Re: Reamping doesn't seem to work with drive pedals for me

Postby cominginsecond » Fri May 14, 2021 10:25 pm

Wonks wrote:However, that a passive DI box is probably the main cause of your problems. With a quoted input impedance of 140k ohms, unless you have active pickups, then you'll be loosing a lot of top end from the guitar signal.
That is so odd to me because using a passive DI box with something like Amplitube, the signal is so trebly. If I had any more top end in the guitar they'd bite my head off.

Wonks wrote:You could try putting a clean boost pedal (if you have one) in between the guitar and the DI box set for unity gain, as the active output of the pedal won't be affected by the input impedance of the passive DI box. Or else a pedal that has a buffered bypass, with a clean sounding buffer circuit.
I'll try one of my Boss pedals then? See if that makes a difference.
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