Blue Cat Audio has introduced Re-head, what it calls a “head response simulation plug-in,” which aims to make listening to mixes on headphones sound more like the audio is coming from a speaker. It does this by simulating both the listener’s skull, and an acoustic space – which you can model after your studio or your practice room. Take a look at Blue Cat Audio’s demonstration above.
While the technology is mainly for general production, there are a few guitar-specific applications it could be used for, for instance getting a more realistic speaker-cab sound from a digital amp while using headphones, or a less sterile sound from a digital stereo rig.
Blue Cat Audio itself notes that when tracking heavy guitar tones, they can often sound fizzy and unnatural when played back through flat studio headphones, so Re-Head can reintroduce that airiness to the tone that makes it feel a little more ‘alive.’
The key to how Re-head works is in its processing of stereo audio – mixing on headphones hard-pans stereo outputs to both ears, as opposed to when you listen on two speakers. However Blue Cat Audio hasn’t just introduced some crossover between left and right signals.
Re-Head introduces a head response model that simulates the presence of the mixer’s own skull. The idea is that the model affects sound the way your head would when listening to speakers in a real environment. These virtual speakers can also be positioned in relation to the listeners head, with adjustable angle and stereo width settings.