Reactor Tone Packs are small, passive circuits that promise more versatile and pleasing tone from your electric guitar. They are easily installed, and as they utilize your existing tone and volume pots, they don't require the removal of your existing circuits. Best of all, they are extremely inexpensive - less than $30 each with discounts available if you make multiple purchases.
I would be skeptical were it not for the fact that the developer of the Tone Packs is a good friend, who I know to have an extensive electronics background, and who is also one of the most talented guitarists I know.
Even so, when I first heard about the prototypes for the Reactor Tonepacks, I was expecting the sonic improvement to be very subtle, but when I actually heard them - I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how obvious the difference was between them and traditional circuits. I was fortunate enough to have some small involvement in the development of the Tonepacks; My Les Paul was one of several guitars used as a testing ground, and my ears and opinions were used as a sounding board during the later stages of the development process. My Les Paul bridge tone circuit became the happy home of the circuit that is now known as the Viper. It’s been about 20 years since I first starting playing guitar, and for as long as I’ve been playing, I have been complaining about the brittle, thin, edgy, and harsh sound of many bridge pickups. I just haven't found them that flattering for much of the music I play. I’ve also complained about how most guitar tone circuits are designed – it seems too often you have dull and muddy on one end of the circuit and harsh and thin on the other – often without a real good compromise in between. Well, after 20 years, I’m finally starting to find myself playing a lot more on the bridge pickup. I’m amazed at the excellent range of tones I’m able to get that I just couldn’t get before. While the Viper was really designed to excel on distorted tones, I also find it extremely useful on clean tones as well, and am getting great new sounds out of my old Les Paul.
So, what exactly are the Reactor Tone Packs, and how do they tap into the hidden tonal possibilities of your guitar without changing pickups or performing other expensive modifications?
The REACTOR Tone Packs are specialized mid-range filters that also interact with the resonant response of your pickup, something that can only be accomplished with a passive circuit. Best of all, they utilize your existing controls.
Extensive time and care has gone into developing a system that is simple in function, intuitive to use with high tonal quality, and easy to install with minimal invasion of existing electronics.
Emphasis has been placed on performance while keeping cost, size and quality of components high priorities.The REACTORS come in two main varieties: Those for series humbuckers and those for single coils.
Here is an overview of the REACTOR Tone Pack product line:
VIPER: Provides an emphasized, very tight bass response with excellent presence. This is optimized for fat, overdriven tones.
VIPER DT: The Viper "Deep Throat" - similar to the Viper but with a little wider bottom end and more snarl.
COBRA: Low end emphasis with a little looser, meaty sound. More "vintage" in character, this performs wonderfully for scorching blues sounds.
COBRA DT: The Cobra "Deep Throat" - similar to Cobra but with a much more dramatic growl.
*The Cobras and Vipers are voiced more for overdriven sounds but also give nice emphasis for clean tones when used between 5 and 10 on your tone dial.*
ACOUSTIC CHROME: This pack is voiced for clean tones. When rolled off it imparts a shimmery, scooped clean sound that takes the heat out of your pickup and is optimized for rhythm playing that sits more like an acoustic guitar. You won't believe it's a humbucking bridge pickup!
VINTAGE COOLER: A unique model and concept, this pack attaches to the volume control of your neck pickup (although the bridge will work too if that's the sound you're looking for). When turned down to the "7" range it re-voices your pickup to a more vintage, "non-overwound" sound. Down to "5" you get a more "underwound" tone, incredible for neck rhythm playing. Once below about "4", the control resumes it's normal volume function until reaching zero.
SINGLE COIL MODELS:
PIEZO ACOUSTIC: As the name states, this pack causes your pickup to sound like a "piezo", with a very wide, sparkley sound. It complements any pickup position. On a traditional bridge pickup it sounds very much like a bridge mounted piezo system, but much less expensive and invasive!
COUNTRY CLEAN: This pack imparts a tonal quality similar to the Piezo Acoustic model but retains more of the mid-range tones. When rolled off lightly (between 6 and 8) it imparts a "Tele'" quality to the bridge pickup and is great for country style rhythm playing and licks.
BLUE SCOOP: A more resonant filter that lends itself to "blues" tonality, either clean or overdriven. The clean tones are optimized at settings of "5" or higher on the tone dial. Below "5" and saturation starts to appear. Play it hard!
If you are serious about your tone, and would like to learn more about the REACTOR Tone Packs, including hearing audio samples - visit http://www.reactortone.com/ today.
As a guitarist with 20 years of experience, I can assure you that these are well designed, well thought out, and well worth the very small price tag associated with them.