But where to begin? Well, there are two methods of recording with guitar pedals:
"Printing" a track refers to the act of committing your recording to tape (or more likely, a track within your DAW). This includes any time or modulation effects such as delay or tremolo.
If you're confident about how your guitar tone sounds and how the track will sit in the overall mix, then there's nothing wrong with doing it this way. People have been achieving great results like this for decades!
Re-amping is a more time-consuming, technical but ultimately more flexible way of recording with guitar pedals, allowing you to tweak amp and pedal settings after the initial track has been recorded.
Say you want to alter the delay time, or turn the gain down a notch - you can do that!
Firstly you'll need a re-amp box. Radial are one of the most popular brands out there, but Palmer also make one that I recommend - the Daccapo is a passive re-amplification box which comes in at a more affordable price than the Radial stuff.
The idea is that you record a clean guitar track (either with an amp set very clean or with a DI straight into your mixer/audio interface). This signal can then be used to retrospectively feed through your rig. The beauty of this is that it gives you the ability to tweak settings on the fly, or even try out completely different pedalboards or amps using the same signal!
Your audio interface pumps out low-impedance, balanced line-level signals that are pretty hot (+4dBu), but your pedals and/or amp will be expecting a high-impedance, unbalanced, instrument-level signal from a guitar pickup, which is a lot weaker (‑18dBu).
A re-amp box acts as the medium between these differing signal types, allowing you to turn that hot signal back into a pedal-and-amp-friendly signal. It also isolates the grounds with a transformer, which helps to remove any ground‑loop hum issues that may arise. Some provide additional gain knobs to allow you to dial in levels.
You can get away without one, but chances are your pedals and amp will not be anywhere near their best and you may pick up a lot of hum.
To record using re-amping, your signal path will look something like this:
One technique I am fond of is printing one track with your dirt pedals in front of your amp, while re-amping the signal on a separate track through your time and modulation chain and back into your DAW in real time.
This allows you to commit to a core tone you like, but tweak the delay, reverb, chorus etc at a later date so it sits better in the mix. You could even use this re-amped track for monitoring purposes.
Re-amping not only makes recording with guitar pedals a lot more flexible, adjusting settings on the fly, but it allows you to introduce amp and effect plugins within your DAW too, combining the best of in-the-box software and real hardware. A cool way to get started is to experiment with adjusting delay settings in real time for a trippy intro or breakdown.
Try experimenting to see what you sounds you can achieve!
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The Bleak District Tapescape is one of the best delay and ambience style pedals ever invented. The controls are all intuitive but highly flexible, the sounds are rich and detailed, the modulation can go from dreamy to nightmarish very quickly, and all of that inside a small footprint with a low power requirement. It's difficult to get a bad sound out of it, honestly.
Add in that Boost shipped it out quickly and it arrived with a nice note written on the invoice, is there anything else you could ask for? Definitely will be buying more from both Boost and Bleak District in future.
I ordered a set of strings from Boost, that did not initially turn up. After contacting Boost via the website they immediately sent out another set (no questions asked). Both sets arrived a few days later (Thanks Royal Mail!). Boost were prompt in dealing with the issue (gave) me a set of strings and got things sorted out. Highly recommend you use these guys.
I didn’t know that particular manufacturer from Italy, but I definitely recommend their "Vintage Vibe”. It’s simple, intuitive, it looks awesome, the build quality seems impeccable, and most importantly, it sounds fantastic.
Really loving the range of organic tape sounds from the tapescape. Great build quality and a world of wobbly good times. Instant atmosphere as soon as you turn it in. Great small company from the UK, worth every penny