Why do I need to use a Reamp interface box?
Because the output of a guitar pick-up is entirely different from the output of professional recording equipment. There must be a matching circuit introduced to interface the two devices together. It is no different from what a direct box does for connecting a guitar pick-ups output to a microphone preamp input. The Reamp "fools" a guitar amp or stomp box into reacting as if a guitar is plugged into it, just as a direct box "fools" a mic preamp into reacting as if a microphone is plugged into it.
Why doesn't the Reamp require a power supply or battery?
The Reamp is designed around the philosophy of minimal signal path (less is more). A high quality transformer designed for reamping, a trim control, the proper connectors and RF filtering is all that is needed to do the job reliably with full bandwidth and no added distortion. Because the Reamp is transforming high-level audio into low-level audio there is no need for added power. Therefore, adding power would only provide silly lights and useless features that would compromise the audio signal and increases the failure factor tenfold. In addition, you might trip over the power cord and bump your head.
What is the difference between high and low impedance? How do I know what I have?
Impedance is an electrical term that refers to how much a device Impedes the flow of current and is measured in ohms. While there is no set standard, low impedance usually refers to a range of between 120 and 800 ohms and high impedance refers to anything above 800 ohms. Most professional microphones are low impedance and electrical instruments (guitars & keyboards) are high impedance. All Modern professional consoles, older vintage consoles and outboard gear have low impedance outputs, which will interface perfectly with the Reamp.
What does +4 balanced mean and how do I know if that is what I have?
First let's define unbalanced and balanced:
An unbalanced line is the type you have on the hi-fi, typically using an RCA connector, and feeding the signal through a coaxial cable. The inner cable carries the signal, and the outer shield is the ground, to prevent RF interference and general airborne noise from being picked up on the signal lead. In contrast, a balanced connection uses two wires for the signal with the signal equal in amplitude in each wire, but opposite in phase. Only the out of phase signal is passed thru the balanced input amp, and any in phase (common mode) signal is rejected. RF interference and other noise will be picked up equally by both wires in the cable and will be out of phase so they to will be cancelled out of the signal path. The balanced output amp changes the signal path back in phase.
Secondly, let's define +4 and –10 level signals:
+4 and – 10 refer to the reference level used for 0VU.
A +4 signal has a 0VU reference of 1.234 volts AC
A –10 signal has a 0VU reference of .775 volts AC
Professional recording equipment uses the +4 balanced signal.
Consumer equipment uses the –10 unbalanced signal.
+4 balanced is the professional line level signal found on 3 pin XLR or “TRS” connectors with the in phase signal on pin 2 or the tip, the out of phase signal on pin 3 or the ring, and the ground or shield signal on pin 1 or shield. This is found on all professional tape recorders, consoles, and outboard gear.-10 unbalanced is the consumer line level signal found on RCA connectors with the in phase signal on the pin or tip and the ground or shield signal on the shield. If your gear has RCA or ”TS” connectors you have –10 unbalanced equipment if you have XLR connectors you have +4 balanced equipment.
Question - I use a computer with a sound card. Do I need a Reamp to send recorded tracks to a guitar amp?
Answer - Yes. Most high-end music cards (m-audio, lynx, aardvark) have +4 outputs on breakout cables. If your computer sound card has +4 outputs you are ready to go into the Reamp. Many consumer “off the shelf” computer cards (Sound Blaster type) are only –10 unbalanced. In this case, you will need to lower the output level another 10 to 15 dB, stay unbalanced and go directly into the amp without a Reamp. Don't call me if it doesn't works.
Question - Some people say I can use a passive direct box in reverse for reamping. Is this true?
Answer - – No. This would not work because of the large level differences between a microphone level signal and a line level signal. On the direct box the instrument input is designed for instrument level signals (-20dbm) and the microphone out is designed to give a microphone level signal (-60dbm typical) using a direct box in reverse would put a +4dbm signal into a –60dbm output and would cause extreme signal distortion before you even plugged into the amp.
Question - How do I use a stomp box in the recording chain with the Reamp?
Answer - Feed the Reamp the recorded track you want to effect with the stomp box. Connect a short 1/4" cable from the Reamp's output to the stomp box's input and another short cable from the stomp box's output into a direct box. Connect the output of the direct box to the input of your microphone preamp.
Question - Why don't you sell a rack mountable Reamp?
Answer - Because the Reamp needs to be near the amp with a short cable, like a guitar.
Question - I have seen ads for Reamp type devices that have an impedance switch or knob to simulate a few types of guitar pickups. Why doesn't the Reamp have this feature?
Answer - By design, The Reamp can “simulate” any guitar pickup’s impedance. It is important to understand that impedance and level on the output of the Reamp is the same thing as far as the amp is concerned. The guitar's "sound" and pickup imprint has already been recorded. The Reamp's Trim Knob adjusts level/impedance so matching the output of a guitar is a matter of plugging in a guitar, adjusting the amp to the desired sound, unplugging the guitar and plugging in the Reamp and adjusting the Trim until the level is the same as when the guitar was in. Depending on what guitar you used and how hot it was recorded, would ultimately dictate where the Trim control is put. This way the Reamp is not limited by the so-called "Guitar Simulation" of two pickup types but ALL guitar pickups. And remember, the Reamp goes to 11.
Question - I have seen different colored Reamps over the years. What is the signifigance of the color, if any?
Answer - The colors were sometimes changed when I made small changes to the design but not always. As an example, when Prince wanted a Reamp I did a run of 50 purple Reamps or when I was spending a lot of time on a vintage Neve console I painted 50 Reamps Neve grey. The list below describes the versions and their colors.
- 1994-95 Red anodized box with silk-screen logo / UTC transformer / Connectors on both ends / toggle switch / rubber feet.
- 1995-99 Painted box in Prince purple, Neve grey or black. / Custom transformer / Rocker switch.
- 2000-03 Power coated box in green, black or dark blue / Laser etched logo / Connectors were moved to one end.
- 2004 10th Anniversary model in dark grey only / Combo jack
- 2005 Black only.
- 2006-07 V2 Red only / Adjusted gain / ferrite filtering / Rubber bottom pad / Recyclable packaging.
Many thanks to James Gangwer and Perry Lancaster for their help answering these most frequently asked questions.