AVS Forum Club Gold
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Clovis, California
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When there is no existing set of F/X codes, the system can run in audio mode where it examines the LFE from the subwoofer input as well as either the front or surrounds for steering information. I use the surround for audio mode and if the film I have isn't in surround sound it is probably a VERY old film that doesn't have much to add in the way of motion (think: The Philadelphia Story). It will examine not only the frequency and amplitude of the signal, but also channel seperation and phase shift and runs through an algorithm to generate a set of motion commands for the controllers on the fly. It works much better than a buttkicker, but nowhere near as well as the pre-programmed films.
I don't use it for every film, but almost all. I didn't use it for Napolean Dynamite, for example and I don't use it for films that have a very poor soundtrack as those films are generally not mainstream so they are not in the library of F/X codes and don't do well in audio mode due to the poor soundtrack. Outside of really old my daughter's educational videos, B&W films and some Indie stuff, I pretty much use it on all films.
I have heard lots of people say it is a gimmick that you would get tired of after a couple of hours, but not once from anybody who has sat in one for a couple of hours. Generally I hear that from dealers who don't sell them. Those same dealers will tell me why brand X their competitor sells is nowhere near as good as brand Y that they sell.
I can tell you my progression with D-BOX. I went to the Widescreen Review open house to see the JVC D-Theater. While there, I got to sit on the Odyssee. I decided I had to get one and was more impressed with the Odyssee than the D-Theater (although the D-Theater was impressive). WSR said they would review the motion codes for each title that was programmed.
A little while later, I purchased my Odyssee. (I wasn't yet in the business so I bought it as a consumer and not a dealer). I asked WSR where the reviews were and they told me they didn't have manpower to do them. Since I planned on watching all their films, I volunteered and started reviewing the films.
Later, when I got into the custom home theater business, I became a D-BOX dealer. I continued reviewing the codes for a while, but since I wasn't getting paid to do them and the last batch of 20 or so reviews never made it into WSR's disc review database, I stopped writing the reviews.
I purchased a 2-axis Odyssee - the pre-curser to the Quest system. I also went through the entire library of films at the time (around 450) and increased the number of versions of CD's that they would be able to sync with since I owned every title they programmed (and I am still around 95% of the full list owned today).
Later, D-BOX was looking for somebody to train new dealers, although the system is so simple that there isn't really that much to train people on except how to sell them, how to give a good demo and the best ways to explain how the system works and why it is so revolutionary. They called me to see if I was interested and I went through the training at the facility and met all the programmers, saw all the steps in manufacturing, etc. It was amazing.
I did a little testing with the PC3 series 3 controller before it was shipping - series 3 in the control software is a monumental upgrade and anybody who runs series 2 really needs to upgrade.
I now own 2 of the 3-axis Odyssee systems. I will be getting in a Quest and a Quest Extreme in a few months once my theater is finished and I will continue to work with D-BOX on new products and improvements on old products whenever they would like help or feedback.
I am a 100% believer in this product and while I sell them and have done work for D-BOX, I was a big time fan before that. If I was worth a lot more than I am, I would have been advertising it like Norelco - I like the product so much I would buy the company.
The only complaints I have heard from people that I think are credible are the following:
1. It is too much/too intense: This is generally caused by demos of The Matrix Reloaded or Super Speedway - the most intense titles (and now Rendezvous) and the solution is simple - there is a level setting. Think of it like volume for the motion and turn it down if it is too much. These things have a tremendous amount of power - my XL system can lift 1.2 tons with 2 G's of force. Still, these complaints are not very common. If you get motion sick from watching a plane fly overhead, don't expect to not get motion sick feeling like you are in the plane. Take a dramamine if you are that sensitive, but I have only had 2 times this has come up - one from a person who was very sensitive watching Super Speedway on at 1.2x width and the system on full blast. The other time was my wife getting morning sickness. A week later I could say "Cruise Ship" and she would have to run to drive the porceline bus.
2. It is distracting: I thought the same thing about surround sound the first time I heard it. If you haven't ever experienced something, it does get disproportionaly noticed. Also people will sit down for the first time and concentrate on the movement and then tell me they couldn't concentrate on the film. I have read where people said the same thing when "talkies" first came out in the theaters. Once you experience it for a little while, it is very natural and not at all distracting.
3. It is too expensive: Isn't everything we really want? There is a lot that goes into these, both in hardware and R&D plus the F/X programming that is ongoing.
4. It is difficult to install in a retrofit: This is very true of the platform system, but with the vertical integrated systems it isn't so hard except that it would often require new seats since they have to be built to withstand the intense torque and "G" forces. If you already have a riser platform, it isn't intrusive to the room although it means working on the platform a bit to install it.
I had Odyssee in 2 rooms in my old house. I will have it in 2 rooms in my new house once the theater is finished in a couple of months.
The only other comments I have heard deal with watching porn. Sorry people, but it moves your whole body, not isolated areas. They aren't F/X programmed and well, read what I said about poor quality soundtracks...