Sunday, May 12, 2013

Radial Pro RMP reamp box review. Big reamps for little buck?

Ok, this unit is quite popular and there are tons of reviews out there, but as always: I'm not just reviewing from my point of view, i'm delivering some proof to what i say. My big question on this one is: how big the difference between original guitar player and a re-amp with this unit would be? Do i have to expect some serious sound losses and if yes, can i actually make them up in any way? If you want to find out about the Radial Pro RMP more, that read on! Uncle Eugene will tell and show ;)

It's not quite a random idea to review the RMP, i'm currently working on the recording for Sariola's new single "From the dismal Sariola" and I'm recording the guitars via the P-Split, so i actually get a dry guitar track for possible re-amps if i, for any reason, should not be pleased with recorded material. So i thought it would be a great idea to combine my actual studio work with my blog activities. To be honest, I'm always excited about how the review will come out, more spesific: i can't wait to know how the gear i'm reviewing will do during the field test. I was only doing real deal re-amps just a few times, most times for test purposes, rather than for clients or my own music.

Let's take a look at the unit first. Ther Radial Engineering ProRMP is a passive Re-amplifier. It converts your  recorded guitar track signals from balanced to unbalanced in order to adjust the volume level to the level of a real electric guitar, so no unwanted audio changes occur. To describe it easier: you do not need to record the player every time you are not satisfied with the sound of the amp/cabinet/microphone. You just send your dry recorded track from the audio interface to the re-amp box and adjust all settings and hardware until you get the tone you want and record.

The controls are pretty straight forward: There's an female XLR line input and a 1/4" Jack output. A ground lift button for the case you have any noise and an output level knob to adjust the desired volume of the guitar signal coming in to the amp. That's it!

My main concern about the re-amp units is always how they would change the sound of my original guitar track? Would it add any noise or add unwanted coloration i.e. would the overall quality suffer from reamping? And this leads us to the practical part.

The test.

I recorded the original guitar signal with a split box. First ouput of the splitbox went to the audio interface, the second to the amp. Afterwards i re-amped the di signal from the computer again with the split-box so i captured both the re-amped signal from the amp and the dry di-signal to see how the sound would change.

Track 1.: The original reference sound of the guitar sent to the amp and captured with an sm57.

Track 2.: The original reference di track recorded to the computer.

Track 3.: The previously recorded di track sent through the ProRMP to the amp.

Track 4.: The original dry recorded di track sent through the ProRMP to the split-box and routed back to the audio interface.

I also wanted to hear how the re-amped tracks will differ from the original tracks in a rough mix. The chances are high that in a mix a possible difference would become less noticable.

Track 5.: Original SM57 recording in a rough mix with drums and bass.

Track 6.: Re-amped signal in the same mix.

As you can hear there is no big difference between the recorded distorted tracks. Re-amped tracks even tend to sound a bit better. The reason for this is that the output level of the ProRMP was a bit higher than the original tone, so the re-amped tracks sound a bit more present. The difference between the di tracks is more noticeable. However this should be expected, since the signal is changed due to ad/da conversion and non linearity of the audio interface. If we will take a closer look at the waveforms of the both signals we will find them almost identical. Again, the re-amped track is a bit louder, so it's peaks are higher.

Pictures 1 & 2: The green-colored vaweform picture is from the original signal, the blue colored one - from the Re-amp track.

The conclusion.

As we can clearly hear, the re-amped tracks sound very well and barely different than the original ones. Therefore, i can recommend the Radial Engineering ProRMP as a perfect tool for guitar re-amping without any noticeable quality losses!

For a small price (109€ in Europe, 99$ in USA) you'll get a professional re-amping tool that provides non-destructive guitar recording process for any budget!

Stay tuned!


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