The Ultimate Four Octave Experience. Thats what I call it. My goal is to have perfect, balanced, response of all three LF/ULF components, Frequency, Pressure, Tactile.
I have all the key components that assist in this area, floated riser multiple sealed subs with kilowatt power and nearfield placement. I have a dedicated, sealed home theater with an Internal volume of 1400 cubic feet. I'm have 3xBehringer EP4k's, 4xDayton HF15's and 8xStereo Integrity HT18 subs in sealed cabs in a front/rear array. I can hit reference or above from 5hz up. Pressurization of the room is very strong. Tactile response is strong to a lesser level. Actually what I mean is below 10hz. Maybe I have unrealistic goals, but I wanted more TR, especially in the 5-10hz octave. What I mean is I want 5-10hz to hit like 20-30hz does. I don't consider myself a basshead, in fact, I resent it. When I hear that term, peaky boomy bass comes to mind. I remember Bassheads from my car audio days when it was subs and tweets only and 40hz was considered ULF. There's plenty of guys here with big systems that are very sophisticated when it comes to what they want out of their LF/ULF systems. For me, from day one, it's was always about finding that perfect balance between SPL and TR(tactile response). I'm running 12 subs for TR not SPL. This became a quest and a very frustrating one. Unrealistic expectations? Maybe.
Then came a series of unfortunate events. First, my nephew comes running in one day all excited showing me this video of the mirror shaking and his truck buzzing as he approached the house from down the street. I acknowledge he got his system hooked and cool. He says "no, no , that's you testing in your room, listen." Sure enough it's EOT. An ”OH NO" hits me. It's been bombs away for six months with Sines and EOT among other things with little thought to what effect it has on my neighbors. I have good neighbors. It don't wanna be the troublemaker so it really hit home and it bothered me. Time passes and I think I'm good, then I see, my neighbors on the theater side, have a newborn. That coupled with comments from my sons friends about feeling an earthquake while visiting were having an effect on me. Seems like my ULF/ULFTR response was better outside my room than inside, despite using the DD+GG+Rockwooll approach. Next, the mother in law moved in. That definitely put a kibosh on things until we get a granny flat built. Lastly was the effect all the high db testing was having on my ears. One bad case of Tinnitus, coupled with all the above and it was time to find a new approach to finding LF/ULF bliss. Do I really have to have playback in the 130db+ range AND subs touching the seat backs to have satisfying TR? There's got to be a better, more efficient way.
So, once again, I turned to Tactile Transducers, to explore that option, hoping to find an equitable solution. I attempted to roundup a few different TT's for comparison. This has been done many many times before but the plan was to use objective testing(vibsensor) this time. I have the Aura Pro TT's and would purchase the Buttkicker LFE and Crowson Shadow 8 for this eval. That didn't work out. I couldn't find the BK's anywhere but on eBay. So I just decided on purchases the Crowson MA's. Crowson has a great return policy if they didn't work for me. These MAs will never leave my room. In fact, I will be adding more. I'm pretty confident in saying for the first time in a long, long time, I'm satisfied with my system. Yes there's plenty of eye candy I can add to my room as it's built more for business/performance. But from a ULF performance POV, I'm satisfied with my ULF frequency, pressure and tactile response. I now have true Infrasonic response that I'm content with. To the testing.
I used individual sines from 1-20hz to check out performance in the ULF band specifically the 5-15hz region. These things took a beating and gave one in return. Using a Behringer EP4K with one MA’s per channel, the 8ohm load receives 450wrms. These tracks far exceed any real world bluray in duration and ULF content. It's very cool feeling the direct coupled response versus acoustic coupling. While I can hit above reference @5hz, it's @6hz(123db with 10sec sines)and above that I start to feel it. With the MA's though, you feel everything with far greater intensity and dynamics. I want to see just how low I could feel the effects. The effect was strong at 5hz. 4hz was less intense though still strong. I could feel 3hz as well even with roll off 3hz felt about to what I got@6hz with acoustic coupling of my 18's less than 2 inches from the seat back. It's in that 1-10hz region where the MA's excel compared to my 18's. Actually theres no comparison TR-wise. Running both a 5hz and 6hz 10sec sines consecutively, yielded a peak over the first two seconds of .3-.4gs, and thats with a -20db test signal which can be turned up, but in my experience is never the same. Preamp voltage is what it is. You need it to drive the load. So their able to handle long, sustained bursts with great displacement is remarkable. Nothing's wasted. Testing the differences of having the MA’s placed on carpet then a sheet of plywood demonstrated the need to be placed on a hard surface. Carpet backed measured .15g. On plywood su flooring over carpet it measured .17g. I figure that directly on my riser floor would improve that more and concrete still more. I also believe there would be a bigger gap at increased levels. Motion actuators are one device that works better with hard media/floors/platforms above and below, just the opposite of typical shakers. I've constructed my riser like a standard subfloor, with the addition of decoupling rubber between the bottom and concrete slab, or floated as I call it. It's rigid, so an actuator should provide a better solution. Another asset in favor of MA’s was the ability to integrate seamlessly. With or without eq, time alignment or gain matching, they work great. It's even better with proper adjustment. When it's set there's no fidgeting. Even when cranked they remain quick and tight and extremely dynamic. Amazing agility for the weight and slam being produced.
I moved on to watching/experiencing movie clips using 4 ULF juggernauts, HTTYD, TIH, ST and WOTW. These LFE tracks can get very complex in design, the micro dynamics of multiple tracks and layers combined I never really think of these aspects coming into play with LF/ULF content. I guess it could but If you run hot 6, 10, 15db or more, resolution of any detailed textures or layers will surely be masked, right? The first demo was HTTYD-Final Battle. The demo was very different than the other hundred plus times I've played it. You feel individual pockets of the billowing explosion. Then, as it peaks, with the Alpha Dragon exploding, I get two powerful, very distinct ULF waves, something I've never felt before. I play it back several more times just to check. It's there each time. I'm guessing 3-4hz, as it's a slow wave. My go to reference for these demo's,
states on the DB site that there's a 2hz@117db goodie thrown in. That's remarkable. Micro dynamics I've never felt before. Likewise with WOTW. I learned the hard way just how insane this effects track is. I still suffer PTSD from that experience and it's one of the few soundtracks I test with my hand on the volume. All of the scenes here, Lightening Strike, Pod Emergence, Weapon Discharge, Overpass/Getaway and on and on are extremely well crafted. This is one of the Alpha Dogs of ULF soundtracks. I guess a prerequisite of making a great ULF experience is being named Randy. You think that's what Austin Powers meant? The Raygun was more visceral than ever before, the sound now reminding me of arc-welding crackle. Hard hitting midbass reminiscent of a good MBM that's all the rage these days, a byproduct of flat extended response from using pressure and tactile response from the direct mechanical coupling, but with wide deep bandwidth. The speed, quickness and agility of the MA's were highlighted with Star Trek and Hulk. The Warp Jump was further heightened from what was already incredible dynamics. Its was sharper and snappier. TIH was just ridiculous. The dynamic swing of the .50 cal, sonic guns and final battle, was just stupid. I finely, truly get and now experience ULFTR that's on these soundtracks, one that matches my pressure response. The best way to describe it is it's like going over whoopdeedoo's in a roller coaster, automobile or bike. Or being in a small boat going over choppy waves. I was experiencing weightlessness. I do experience weightlessness, in a chair, sitting on the ground. There's a strong rapid mechanically coupled positive/negative G's pull.Thats the key difference between this actuator and other TT’s and drivers. The mechanical coupling of the actuator accelerates the body. Remarkable. I’ll watch and breakdown each of these movies in detail with VS data. I’ve found some interesting things random testing the above mentioned TIH clips.
Now to get back on track. We have FR, or Frequency Response, PR
, Pressure Response and TR, Tactile Response. In the ULF thread,
calls attention to the pressure component of the ULF whole. A sub has an all three of these component, to varying degrees, primarily due to its surroundings and placement. Transducer only have one, Tactile. I guess you could say and measure an FR because of vibrational noise which can be measured, but really there just one component. On a scale of 1-10 I'd say my FR is 10. FR is flat and extended and above reference level at all freqs. My PR
feels like my FR measures. My TR on the other hand, is good to about 14hz or so. Even moving subs to all nearfield with four within inches of the seats was underwhelming. I have good tactile response at 10hz but it's nowhere near what I have with 15hz and 20hz TR. I didn't have the weight I think it should have had. This was based on a hunch as I didn't know what it should feel like. Now that I'm have the MA's Now I know. It's everything I was hoping it could be. It's a truly incredible experience. I now have achieved a reference balance of FR, PR
AND TR and the ability to adjust these independently. Now the fun starts, the testing, the fine tuning, the component comparisons but mostly enjoying the LF/ULF experience with friends and family. We can't forget that.