In this post, I’ll show you how to build a DIY reamp box from a tutorial I found on YouTube recently. If you’re reading this, you probably know what a reamp box is and why you would need one in your recording studio. You probably also know that the commercially available reamp boxes can easily cost $100 USD. Using some of your own skills and the provided materials list, you can make your own reamp box for around $25 USD. For me, it was not an option to spend so much money on a commercial product, so this post covers what I did to build a reamp box.
If you’re new to reamping, the reamp box converts a balanced, line-level signal into an unbalanced, instrument-level (think dry guitar) signal. For home recording, you can record a dry guitar signal into your DAW of choice so that you have a clean, unaltered source for a guitar track. Using this dry track, you can play it through your DAW, have the audio signal leave your USB audio interface and flow into the reamp box. From the reamp box, the signal flows into an amplifier input, just as if you plugged a guitar directly into the amplifier. You amplifier is then hooked into a speaker cabinet which you mic and then record back into your DAW. With me so far?
A major benefit of reamping is you can do multiple auditions of a guitar track with different amps and cabinets, recording them into tracks in your DAW, allowing you to compare and choose the perfect sound for your mix.
07 December 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs
Tags: #reamp #reampbox #diy #guitar #pedal #amplifier #speakercabinet #cabinet #balancedsignal #unbalancedsignal #TRS #TS #daw
Skill Level: Advanced
What You’ll Need to Get Started
- Watch this video on YouTube entitled “How to build a REAMP box and WHY you need one” by Life Harmonic. In the video description, he lists all of the components you will need to order to build the reamp box. The complete list is shown here in Step 1. Be sure to check the video’s comments if you have any questions because several common ones are answered there.
- An electric drill and drill bits capable of making up to one inch holes. I purchased 2 step drill bit products from Harbor Freight for my cuts. This one is for the larger hole, this one is for the smaller holes.
- A soldering iron and solder
- Mounting hardware – screws, glue
- A workbench vice to hold your aluminum box for drilling
- Phillips head screwdriver
- 3/8″ wrench
- 8 mm wrench
- Wire cutters
- Wire clippers
Step 1 – Order your components
Here is the list of components you will need to order if you do not already have them on-hand to build a DIY reamp box. Since I didn’t have any supplies, I had to buy everything I needed for this build. I used the suggested list in the YouTube video where possible. I ordered the components in the beginning of December 2020, so the cost may be different for you when you order. I also had to use two different electronics supply companies due to inventory unavailability for some items at Newark. I am in the continental USA and had to pay $9.99 to each company for shipping, and each was received in 3 business days.
|Mouser||Hammond 1550A case||$5.91||These were almost $1.00 cheaper at Mouser than newark|
|Neutrik NMJ4HF-S Plastic 1/4″ Jack||$0.98||The USA Newark website did not carry these, so I had to order from Mouser|
|Newark||BOURNS LM-NP-1001-B1L Audio Transformer||$2.52|
|MULTICOMP PRO MCF 0.25W 10K Through Hole Resistor||$0.08|
|BI TECHNOLOGIES/TT ELECTRONICS P160KNP-0EC15A100K Rotary Potentiometer||$0.95|
|MULTICOMP PRO 1MS1T1B1M1QE Toggle Switch||$1.29|
|NEUTRIK NC3FAV1 XLR Connector, 3 Contacts||$1.61||Use size 4 screws for mounting|
|OHMITE 1101-A Knob, Round Shaft, 6 mm, Thermoplastic Elastomer||$1.27||I had to drill out with a drill bit to increase shaft diameter. I used a 15/64″ bit and gently worked the hole a SMALL amount to go just a hair bigger. A 1/4″ drill bit is too much diameter, so do not just jump up to a 1/4″ bit!|
|STELLAR LABS 24-16213 Audio / Video Cable Assembly, XLR Plug to 1/4″ 3P Plug||$7.27||Optional if you already have a TRS plug to XLR female cable|
Southwire 20-ft 14-AWG Stranded White GPT Primary Wire
|Hillman #4-40 x 1/2-in Phillips/Slotted Combination-Drive Machine Screws||$1.28|
|Gorilla Glue Super Glue Tubes 2-Pack 3-gram Super Glue Clear Multipurpose Adhesive||$3.98|
|Harbor Freight||Titanium Coated High Speed Steel Step Bit Set, 2 Pc.||$19.99||12 Step Bit: (3/16 in., 1/4 in., 5/16 in., 3/8 in., 7/16 in., 1 /2 in., 9/16 in., 5/8 in., 11/16 in., 3/4 in., 13/16 in., 7/8 in.)|
11 Step Bit: (1/4 in., 25/64 in., 35/64 in., 1 1/16 in., 13/16 in., 7/8 in., 1 in., 1-1/8 in., 1-7/32 in., 1-1/4 in., 1-3/8 in.)
|Titanium High Speed Steel Step Bit Set, 3 Pc.||$13.99||Six Step Bit (3/16 in., 1/4 in., 5/16 in., 3/8 in.,7/16 in., 1/2 in.)|
Nine Step Bit (1/4 in., 5/16 in., 3/8 in., 7/16 in.,1/2 in., 9/16 in.,5/8 in.,11/16 in.,3/4 in.)
Thirteen Step Bit (1/8 in., 5/32 in., 3/16 in., 7/32 in., 1/4 in., 9/32 in., 5/16 in., 11/32 in., 3/8 in., 13/32 in., 7/16 in., 15/32 in., 1/2 in.)
Step 2 – Measure your placement for pilot drill holes
You’ll need to mark four (4) initial spots for drilling. After those holes are drilled, you’ll drill two (2) more for the XLR jack mounts.
Starting from the top of the pedal’s face, there needs to be one hole for the XLR jack at 25mm down from the top, 17.mm from the left side. Under that hole will be two (2) holes for the potentiometer at 44.5mm from bottom and 10mm from left, 6 mm from right for the toggle switch. On the bottom of the pedal, we’ll drill the hole for the 1/4″ output jack centered at 13.5 mm from top. 17.5mm from left side.
Step 3 – Drill the holes in the box
I used a 1/16″ drill bit to make all pilot holes. Secure the box in a vice so that you are being safe while drilling the metal.
Drill the holes you marked in the previous step with the small drill bit. Now that there are starter holes, you can use larger bits or the step bits to make the holes to the proper size.
After drilling the four (4) main holes, you will need to drill two (2) pilot holes for the XLR jack. Carefully insert it into the metal box and use your pilot drill bit to find the spots for the XLR connectors and drill them from the inside out.
The XLR hole will need to be 7/8″ or 22 mm. The potentiometer hole is 5/16″ or 8 mm. The toggle switch is 1/4″ or 6 mm. The 1/4″ bottom jack (not pictured) needs to be 1/2″ or 12 mm. Finally, the two (2) XLR jack connector holes need to be 1/8″ or 3 mm.
Step 4 – Install the components
To build a DIY reamp box, start with the XLR jack. Mount it with two #4 screws.
Install the toggle switch and use a wrench to firmly tighten the nut.
Continue with the installation of the potentiometer and the 1/4″ plug and tighten with a wrench to secure them into the unit. You need to clip off the metal tab on your potentiometer if it has one, otherwise it will not mount flush against the box’s interior.
At this point, here’s what your reamp box should resemble.
If you ordered the same knobs as I have listed, you will have to drill them out a TINY amount so that they fit the potentiometer’s shaft. I used a 15/64″ bit and carefully made the button’s shaft hole a tiny bit wider. If you go too far, you can always place a small amount of duct tape on the potentiometer’s shaft to snug the button.
Here is my final build.
Step 5 – Solder the components to build a DIY reamp box
To simplify this post, I did screenshots of the original video since the original presenter filmed it cleanly and clearly.
- Solder two wires to the middle and right side of the potentiometer
- Glue the transformer to the potentiometer
- Connect middle potentiometer wire to Pin 1 of the TS Jack (right hand side pin at top of jack)
- Connect resistor to bottom of transformer and wind around the transformer pins. Clip excess resistor wire.
- Solder lower left side pin of TS jack to left side of resistor/transformer
- Solder right side pot wire to right side of resistor/transformer
- Solder Pin 1 of XLR to center of toggle switch
- Connect bottom toggle switch to the left hand side TS Jack pin (along with connection you already made in Step 3)
- Connect XLR Pin 2 to right of transformer
- Connect XLR Pin 3 to left side of transformer
- Solder XLR Pins 2 and 3
- Here is the final product after all connections have been made.
Step 6 – Test it
Plug L main out of USB audio interface into TRS to XLR cable. May be able to use the headphone jack output as well.
Plug XLR into reamp box
Plug TS into amp
Press play in DAW with dry guitar signal
Adjust level knob as needed. Flip toggle switch to eliminate any ground loops.
Did it work without any noise/interference?
If yo u’ve made it this far, and you’ve followed all of the steps, you should have yourself a very nice reamp box to use in your studio. In a few hours’ time, you’ve learned how to build a DIY reamp box and are ready to make your recordings shine with limitless amping possibilities. Thanks to the original YouTube author for presenting his creation and answering my questions along the way. Follow his channel and show your appreciation if you can.
If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.