Sound on Sound Review:"Blue seems to recommend the mic for just about any application, and they're not far off the mark, as it delivered perfectly usable results on everything I tried it with… Acoustic guitar came over as full-sounding and lively, and my hand percussion test demonstrated that the mic is very happy dealing with transients… The Reactor is a capable all-rounder, and very attractively priced for a multi-pattern mic, especially when you consider that it comes with a shockmount, pop-screen and customised aluminium case." reactor multi-mic Setups:Reactor's multiple pattern capabilities, swiveling head, and audiophile circuitry make it an excellent platform to use for exploring multiple microphone setups. There are many options of multi-mic configurations that have been created and refined in some of the world's most sophisticated recording environments, each developed to capture an instrument, an ensemble, a vocal, or an ambient recording in a way which is both sonically intriguing and useful. The concept is relatively simple: combine the output of multiple microphones arranged in different ways to capture a totally new sound. We suggest using multiple Reactor microphones to experiment with a few of the most common and useful techniques. We've provided an introductory overview to get you started here. As always, exploration and having fun is the key to finding an exciting new palette of sound.Stereo Spaced PairThe Stereo Spaced Pair is a great technique for capturing a realistic soundstage on sources like bands, drum overheads, pianos or guitars. The configuration is simple – set up two Reactor microphones, use the same pattern for each, and position them equidistant from the sound source with the capsules swiveled to point at the desired sound source. You can try each of Reactor's three patterns to achieve a different sound – Omni will provide a very roomy sound, Cardioid will bring a more present sound, while Bidirectional will yield a sound somewhere between the other two patterns. With stereo spaced pairs, the relative distances between the mics themselves and the source are critical to avoid phasing issues. The general rule is to maintain the same distance between the microphones and the source. However, feel free to experiment with microphone placement to achieve the sound that is appropriate for your recording. Large sources, like bands, should be captured with mics at least six feet apart, while bringing mics closer to the source will reduce the airiness or ambience in the signal. Spaced pairs are also useful for capturing specific instruments – in fact, many of your favorite piano or acoustic guitar recordings were probably captured using spaced pairs. Below are some sample setups to consider.Drum overheads: Getting a wide image from a drum sound can be very difficult with single mic solutions, but stereo pairs can make a great sound very simple to achieve. Just point one microphone at the cymbals and one microphone at the toms, monitor the sound in headphones and slowly adjust each head swivel until the sound is satisfactory. A good rule of thumb is to point your microphones directly at the snare, while maintaining an equal distance between each microphone and the snare. With a Reactor pair you can find a great drum sound in a fraction of the usual time required with other microphone setups.X-Y RecordingThe X-Y Recording technique takes its name from the standard stereo spread pattern, but emphasizes subtle variations that can be easily achieved with a pair of Reactor microphones. The setup requires two Reactor microphones in Cardioid, offset from each other at a given angle, with the sound source aligned at the midpoint between the two microphones. X-Y recording methods are tremendously useful for most any recording method where you want to capture a focused sound for an instrument, a vocal, a drum kit, or most any other purpose. This is also a go-to method for recording a life-like acoustic guitar. Further, this setup avoids most major 'phasing' issues because the mics are equidistant from the sound source.To set up for this technique, simply mount two Reactor microphones with one upside down directly over the lower microphone and set both for the Cardioid pattern. Using Reactor's swiveling head, you can easily adjust the angle between microphone capsules – ranging from 0-90 degrees if the microphone bodies are parallel, and 90-180 degrees if the microphone bodies are perpendicular.While naming conventions vary, X-Y generally implies an angle of less than 90 degrees between microphones, stereo-sonic is 90 degrees exactly, and a variant called ORTF is around 120-170 degrees of spread between microphone capsules. In all cases, the sound source should be located in the middle of the two head angles. Smaller angles will produce a narrower stereo spread while larger angles (around 150 degrees) will more closely approximate the stereo image we are accustomed to hearing through human ears.With the microphones properly configured, you can further tune the output in post processing by hard panning the left and right signals, or even panning signals to the opposite sides to 'flip' the instrument, allowing it to better sit in a busy track. The X-Y configuration is a powerful and easy to use configuration that is frequently used by top recording engineers, and Reactor's swiveling heads make it an excellent tool for quickly finding the right sound.M/S RecordingM/S or Middle-Side Recording is a technique that is excellent for making great stereo recordings of small ensembles, acoustic trios, jazz groups, bluegrass, classical small strings, or simple live recordings – any time you want to capture a performance as it would sound if you were in the room. Because this technique intentionally captures some of the staging, room effects, and time delays inherent in a live environment, it's not an ideal technique for capturing vocals.Start with two Reactor multi-pattern microphones. While it is possible to use different microphones for this setup, we have found that utilizing paired microphones with uniform capsules and consistent frequency response eliminates the chance of harsh or unpleasant peaks in the combined signal. Set one Reactor microphone to the Bidirectional pattern and the other to the Cardioid pattern. Place both microphones at the approximate height of the sound source, with the Bidirectional microphone oriented perpendicular to the sound source and the Cardioid microphone mounted directly over the center of the lower microphone, capsule oriented directly at the sound source. Make sure that both microphone capsules are as close to each other as possible and verify that the microphone setup is far enough away from the sound source such that the capsule can 'see' the source you want to capture.One of the neat tricks about this technique is the flexibility it allows the recordist in post processing. The signal from the Bidirectional microphone should be split to the left and right channels, with one channel thrown out of phase. These two channels should then be mixed hard left and right with the Cardioid channel up center to your stereo output. Think of the Cardioid channel as your focus, while the Bidirectional signals become your ambience or width. The precise amount of stereo soundstage can be dialed-in by controlling the mix between the Cardioid signal and the two Bidirectional channels, allowing you to achieve a sound ranging from broad and lively to present and controlled.Decca TreeThe Decca Tree has been used for years as an industry-standard technique for the recording of symphonies, rock bands, group ensembles, choral recording, and film scoring. The Decca Tree is also known as an "LCR" array for "left, center, right." This technique requires three identical Reactor microphones set to the Omni position and placed in a triangular array in front of the sound source. The left and right mics are placed approximately six feet apart on the same horizontal and vertical plane, just as in a spaced pair. The center is placed directly in between the left and right mics, but approximately 4.5 feet in front of them, forming the "point" of the triangle. This array can be constructed using three separate mic stands but commercially-available Decca Tree fixtures are available and allow for ease of setup and precise placement.Once arranged, the array is generally placed slightly above the sound plane at a significant distance from the sound source. The benefit to the Decca Tree is its ability to provide a strong center image while at the same time providing excellent spatial cues both horizontally across the stereo field as well as a sense of depth. The Decca Tree also stands up very well to various surround-processing systems, making it a favorite of film scoring and mixing engineers. As with the spaced pair configuration, once you have achieved a good placement, experiment with the swiveling heads for optimal pickup.effects recordingA variant of microphone pair recording is effects recording, where you would use two microphones to capture different tones out of the instrument and, rather than panning those signals left to right, the signals are blended to achieve a unique tone that can sit well within the mix. Here are some common examples of effects multi-mic setups.Piano: you can get an amazingly multi-dimensional sound out of a grand or baby grand piano by placing one mic at the lower end and one mic at the higher end of the piano. You can use the technique on an upright piano, placing one mic at the top of the lid and one at the bottom where the pedals are located. With both microphones in Cardioid mode, you can slightly rotate each head to find their best placement on strings and achieve the right balance of tone versus hammer. Also, try swiveling Reactor's head 90 degrees to allow for incredibly close placement to the strings for a powerful tone.Acoustic guitar: Place one mic at the fretboard and the other at the soundhole or center of the guitar to easily tune the balance of tone and string sound. Alternatively you can aim both microphones at the soundhole for a highly focused and intense stereo spread, again, using the swivel heads to tune in exactly the desired image.We hope this brief introduction to multi-mic recording concepts provides the encouragement to experiment with some of these techniques on your own projects. Many of the world's most famous recordings were created without the use of advanced processing but instead the clever use of multiple multi-pattern microphones. The practical result is a very natural and pleasing recording that sounds great at any level. Your new Reactor microphone incorporates the professional performance and convenience features that make it the perfect tool to make the next generation of truly great recordings.FAQ:What is Reactor?The new multi-pattern Reactor pushes the envelope of modern microphone design in aesthetics as well as versatility. Reactor sets a new level of performance while maintaining the same professional sound quality and evocative industrial design.Who would use this mic?Reactor is designed for the studio producer or engineer looking to include a multi-pattern microphone to the mic cabinet, while also having a price point that allows for more than one for multiple mic setups.However, if you are recording at home and looking to take your recording to the next level, then Reactor is the next step in building your microphone repertoire. With Blue's proprietary capsule design for capturing high-quality sound, Reactor provides a multi-pattern solution on a hobbyist's budget. With its custom shockmount and pop filter, you can take your recording to the professional level and be inspired simply by the design.What differentiates Reactor from other studio mics?Reactor's large diaphragm capsule, circuit design with discrete components, and build quality are on-par with other studio microphones sold at many times the price of Reactor. The innovative design and simple pattern switching makes the microphone easy to use, adaptable to a broad range of recording tasks, and a joy to work with.How does Reactor compare to Blue's other multi-pattern studio mics?The Reactor provides much of Kiwi's legendary sonic fidelity and a similar sonic signature in a comprehensively modern form factor that allows for easier use in a wider range of recording situations. While Reactor provides three distinct pattern choices, the Kiwi provides nine distinct patterns, offering even more tuning choices for advanced recording.Does Reactor's capsule head rotate?Yes! Reactor's head swivels across a 90 degree range, with resistance to hold the head in the perfect position. This swivel allows for flexible placement in tight environments and simple setup and fine-tuning of multiple mic setups such as Mid-side, Decca Tree, or X-Y recording. Too see how to achieve these mic setups, click here.Do I have to turn down my levels before switching polar patterns on Reactor?Although Reactor employs a noiseless switch circuit to minimize switching noise, we recommend you turn down your mic level prior to switching between patterns to avoid potentially harmful switching noise arising from the inherent differences found in mic preamplifier equipment.What are the polar patterns in Reactor?Reactor features three distinct polar patterns: Omni, Cardioid, and Bidirectional (Figure-8).Are Reactor's electronic components discrete Class A?Absolutely! Just like each of our studio microphones.Are there any accessories that come with Reactor?Indeed. Reactor ships with a shock mount and pop filter that is designed to integrate perfectly with Reactor's industrial design and function. In addition, the Reactor ships with an aluminum case for convenient storage and protection.