John Cuniberti & Joe Satriani

John Cuniberti's Original Reamp

Radial's X-Amp

X-Amp™ Development

Designed as a creative tool, the Radial X-Amp is an active Reamp that allows a prerecorded guitar track to be sent through guitar amplifiers and guitar pedals. In other words, you take a dry track and send the line level out from your recording system to the X-Amp and it will do all of the work of unbalancing the signal, adjusting the impedance and lowering the output so that it sounds as if you are playing the guitar yourself.

The benefits with Reamping are tremendous. It starts with focusing attention on the performance, not the sound. With an X-Amp, instead of repeating passages countless times until you get the tone just right, you simply record the performance while the artist is fresh and then send him to the beach with his girlfriend once he is done. Amazingly, when you Reamp, you actually capture all of the nuances, the feedback and dynamics of the performance as if the original instrument is being played. Best of all, fixing a bum note is way easier to do when working with a clean dry track. This means that you can go back and edit notes until the performance is exactly right.

Then, you can take all the time you need to move the mics around the room, try different amps, add effects or even double up the amps. Reamping has been around for a long time and we are pleased to say that Radial purchased the Reamp brand name and technology and we intend to continue to lead the world with Reamp technology.

The Original Reamp
The first commercially available Reamper was invented by John Cuniberti in the 1990s. John was working with guitarist Joe Satriani on a live album and although they loved the bass performance, they were unhappy with the tone of the bass. They took the bass track and Reamped it through a second bass amp and magically found the tone they needed. After successfully using the system on bass, they would soon try it to re-record guitar tracks. John built his first Reamp, patented the idea and the concept caught on from there.

The John Cuniberti Reamp is a passive device. We looked at the design and figured it would be cool to offer an active version. Active circuits sound different just as condenser mics (active) sound different than dynamics (passive). The benefit to an active circuit is that you can drive more than one amp without loosing signal.

The first active Reamper that Radial built was the original JD7 Injector. The JD7 not only lets you record the dry track, you can Reamp with it and drive as many as seven amps at the same time! The Radial X-Amp is basically a cut-down version of the JD7. It employs the same active balanced input and class-A circuit topology as the popular JD7, but in a more affordable and simplified 'two output' configuration.

Building a better mouse trap!
Although the Reamp generally works very well, it does have a few limitations: The internal 'engine' is a custom wound transformer. This does everything including converting the balanced line-level signal from the recorder to an unbalanced guitar signal, adjusting the impedance and then lowering the output level. Because the engine is passive, (no internal buffer or amplifier) setting the level locally must be done using a simple resistive circuit using a potentiometer. Since a potentiometer is in fact a variable resistor, changing the level will alter the load which in turn will affect the tone. This is not to say that the tone will necessarily be bad, it just means that finding the 'sweet spot' may be more of a challenge.

The Radial X-Amp was designed in such a way as to solve this problem. To begin, the X-Amp is active. This means that it is equipped with an external power supply to provide the DC to the circuit. The circuit itself is class-A meaning that it employs a high performance, audiophile buffering circuit to ensure the cleanest and most natural tone. This design allows us to add several important features and controls that are not possible with simple passive devices. For instance, we introduced a peak-overload detector that lets you monitor the level coming from the recorder to ensure the signal will not distort the circuit. Because it is active, the X-Amp's output control can be adjusted at will without affecting the tonal character.

Furthermore, by adding a second buffer to the signal, we can introduce a second output to drive a stereo amp set-up or maybe two completely different amps and effects chains at one time. This opens the doors to significantly greater tonal possibilities!

The Radial X-Amp is a creative tool designed to advance recording and open the door to new sounds and processes. Although highly complex on the inside, the Radial X-Amp is easy to use on the outside. It is loaded with features and jam-packed with discreet components to make Reamping simple and sound great! The X-Amp is now available in a 500 series rack module.