Exploring Previously Unexploited Sonic Possibilities with the DIYRE L2A Reamp Box

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  • June 24, 2016
l2a reamp box

There are a few cool things about the humble L2A passive reamp box by DIYRE (Do It Yourself Recording Equipment). It’s pocket-sized package in black with understated typeface makes it perfect for the studio. Reamping as a production technique promises hours of fun exploring previously unexploited sonic possibilities. Above all: the DIY element actually means you can learn how it works inside and out, and practise your soldering chops at the same time.

L2A preamp box

DIYRE are making some incredible DIY kits for some really solid studio tools, not in the least is the L2A reamp box, a great little piece of gear that can solve problems and inspire creativity.

Reamping as a concept is gaining traction fast in the recording studio realm, with many new models of audio interface including built-in reamp outputs. The ability to reamp signals adds extra depth and sonic possibilities to your mix. The basic principle allows guitar amps and pedals to be used as outboard sound processors. Wanna send your vocals through an overdriven amp with a dash of chorus? Sure, why not? Wanna put your snare through epic fuzz with some spring reverb? Let’s do it.

The reamp box houses the critical electronic component in the process: the transformer. The transformer takes the balanced, line-level output from the audio interface and converts it to an unbalanced, instrument-level signal, ready to plug into a guitar amp, or chain of stomp boxes. In this way, it’s essentially the reverse of a DI box.

On the L2A, there’s a volume attenuator so you can control the amount of signal that flows into the guitar amp, as well as a ground lift switch, which can come in handy with unbalanced signals, as they can be affected by earth hums.

l2a reamp box

In application, much depends on the philosophy of the production. It can be used to solve problems on a purely practical level. Being able to record a bass guitar with a DI box to avoid spill and reamping later is hugely advantageous in a smaller studio, for example. Taking dull, overly clean guitar recordings and reamping them to add controlled colour can elevate a mix no end.

Where this technique really shines, however, is in its more creative applications. As with the aforementioned experiments with vocals and snare, reamping can be adventurous. Stompboxes can be repurposed as outboard and “performed” in the mix. Additional sonic landscapes can be plundered and then folded into the mix, to be paired up with their more traditional-sounding counterparts.

So go forth, multiply your options and have fun with reamping. Better still, investing the (very reasonable) cost in the L2A, and the time to build it, might even help you to understand basic electronic principles. You can never have too much knowledge of your gear works in the studio.

If you want to have a look at how the whole process goes, have a look below:

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Dan Shaw is recording and mixing engineer at Enmore Audio. He also plays bass in Wells and Circle.

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