For the past few weeks it seems that all Ruprect and I have done here at the studio is conduct reamp experiments for the upcoming Audio Hyperguides > Radical Reampingvideo series. The Line2amp Reamp Kit from diyrecordingequipment.com was used a majority of the time.
The DIY Part
Building the Line2amp was a total blast. It’s a very simple device. It’s a transformer, 4 resistors, an inductor, a PCB board, and a few jacks. In short, it’s probably the greatest single way to jump into the DIY world. You feel like you got somewhere. You get a notch on your belt knowing that YOU built something and you did it without too much agony.
In fact, I’d argue there is very, very little agony at all. (The only agony I faced was having the PCB board rotated 180 degrees when I placed the resistors. The incredible amount of time it took to de-solder motivated me to order a de-soldering tool so I don’t have to repeat that mistake.)
Other than my goof ups the build went extremely well. All necessary components are right there and easy to find. All pieces fit perfectly well. I was impressed how well everything came together. I have this magic ability for only 3 out of 4 screws to align on almost everything I do, but everything came together perfectly with the Line2amp.
The instructions are just a hair dispersed, but I have to say that I enjoyed that. Let me explain. First off, there are different versions of the Line2amp. I have the RevC. There are a few instruction sets out there, but it really helps to find the actual RevC page and videos. I generally found that if the text didn’t answer my questions, the video usually did (and vice versa). It does take a combination of the text and video to get the full picture, but when you consume both you should have all the info you need even if you no next to nothing about electronics.
Here’s the video walk thru of building the Line2amp RevC
This image from an earlier version of the Line2amp would have been VERY helpful for me.
Line2amp Assembly Instructions
For those who care about looks, this thing looks like a WWII shoe polish can….or something. It’s rugged and awesome looking. I like this kind of “lo fi” look. If looks are a pressing issue for you in reamp box you may find what you are looking for here.
The Line2amp RevC is a passive reamper. No battery. No 9V. A transformer is doing all the work. There are a few different options available for the Line2amp RevC. I opted for the the “Passive Pickup Emulator”. This is an additional ¼” output that uses an inductor to knock off a bit of the top end and create a presence peak at about 5k. (Very useful, btw.)
The ground lift has been more handy than I expected.
After reamping what seems like a thousand guitar tI have absolutely ZERO reason to keep my Radial X-amp. The Line2Amp sounds 1% different. Both are equally “good” in terms of objective sound quality….if such a thing exists.
Before you buy your Line2amp make sure you have the appropriate connections. My Radial X-amp has an XLR input while my the Line2amp uses TRS. Neither are superior, but this required me to snag one of my XLR male to TRS adapters. No biggie, but I have stuff like that on standby. Not everyone will. Then again, most of you are going to be feeding your reamper with a TRS jack on the back of your audio interface anyway. (It makes you wonder why Radial went the XLR route with the X-amp, actually.)
Should The Laymen Buy It?
It’s always hard for the DIY types to relate to the non-DIY types. My server admin just handed me the keys to the server and said, “Go!”. SLOW DOWN, DUDE!!! I don’t trust myself with any of this server stuff.
I’d imagine this isn’t too much different. I’ve soldered a trillion thingies in my day. However, I have to say that I’m not overly experienced with actually building stuff I use other than cables. It’s my official stance that every guitar dude on the planet who does reamping on a regular basis could buy all the necessary tools to make the Line2Amp reamper and still come out ahead of buying a famous brand reamper.
BTW, I vastly prefer the passive reamper. Getting out the 9V adapter for my active reamper is always just one more step separating me from my guitar fun.
If you are considering a DIY build but are a little intimidated I highly recommend the Line2Amp RevC. You’ll have a blast. Even if you aren’t thrilled about building your own gadget, I’d take a serious look at it. It’s a hell of tool and the price is right.