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post #1 of 17 Old 10-17-2000, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone here have experience with the ButtKkicker Low Frequency Shaker/Carvin DCM1000 power amplifier combo? This is the package deal offered by the manufacturer of the ButtKicker for a mere $699. My specific concern is whether my DSP-A1 LFE output can adequately drive this combination without additional preamplification. The online manual for the shaker http://www.thebuttkicker.com/UserGuide/manual.htm states:

"The amplifier you use to power the ButtKicker will require a specific input signal level from your system's control center (receiver/processor/preamp) in order to deliver full power output to the ButtKicker. The level of input signal required will vary from model to model. There are two standard levels prevailing today. One standard level is 0.25volt (common in "consumer" equipment) and the other is 1.5 volt (more common in higher power and "professional" equipment). The signal levels reaching the power amp must be able to drive the amp to its full power level. Insufficient signal levels from the system control center will not drive the power amplifier to full output power."

The online manual for the Carvin DCM1000 cites a sensitivity of 1.0V (4 Ohms Vms).

Further, in a review of similar shaker/amplifier combo in "Secrets of Home Theater" http://www.sdinfo.com/volume_7_1/buttkicker-2-2000.html the author states:

"I found that the subwoofer output from my receiver was just not enough to fully drive the Carvin, so I ended up using an old preamplifier (Parasound) to boost the voltage."

Any experienced users out there?



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post #2 of 17 Old 10-19-2000, 10:07 PM
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Dave,

I very recently installed a pair of BK units and a pair of Carvin DCM1000 amplifiers.

I can easily drive the amps into cliping with my Parasound AVC-2500 pre/pro.

I use a Paradigm X-30 subwoofer control unit between my AVC-2500 and DCM1000's. I have the gains set to maximum on the Carvins. The AVC-2500 LFE output in the setup menu is set at 0 dB gain. I can clip the Carvins with the X-30's volume control in the 12:00 o'clock position.

I think you should have no problem driving a Carvin with your DSP-A1

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post #3 of 17 Old 10-19-2000, 10:34 PM
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Dave,

I was just curios as to what you will be activating with your BK unit?

I use my pair on a queen size adjustable bed. (my HT is bedoom based) I also utilize a pair of the newly released Clark Synthesis "Platinum" models.
I had been running a pair of 329F's prior to the Platinum's.

My first experience with TT's was an array of 8 RBH units I used for a year.

I built 2 low profile platforms to support my bed frame. I fitted each panel with feet from "Kinetics Noise Contol" to isolate the bed from the concrete slab floor.

These BK units excel in low frequency output. I just tested mine with a 20Hz and 10Hz sine wave. The output at these frequencies is remarkable!Earthquake levels if desired.

I don't have a 5Hz signal for testing but I would say they would reproduce it with authority. There was no lack of power at 10Hz.

- May the tactile force be with you -

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post #4 of 17 Old 10-20-2000, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey John,

So when you feed the ButtKicker under your bed a 10 Hz signal do you get that "Magic Fingers" effect? Another effect to watch out for is resonance of important internal organs. Tesla used to have a platform with a chair mounted in its center that he could vibrate at low frequencies. At dinner parties he hosted, Tesla would invite a hapless victim to sit in that chair (his favorite targets were members of the press) whereupon he would vibrate the chair at a frequency which caused the victim to loose control of his rectal sphincter, much to the delight of all observers. If memory serves I think that this frequency was around 8 Hz., so be careful. Although, in a way, I suppose that it would be the ultimate tribute to the potency of your audio system if you had to dole out toilet paper to visitors of your home theater.

I plan to bolt the BK to the joists under the floor of my home theater. Last night I stuck my head through the access to the crawl space under the house just to scope out possible mounting locations. To my great disappointment I discovered that the area immediately beneath the couch (the primary seating area) is supported by three concrete piers, making this the most unshakeable location in the whole room. I can't relocate the couch since its position is constrained by the location of the ceiling mounted projected projector and wall mounted screen, and I can't put an eight-inch platform beneath the couch because I have a wife. Ah, the physical constraints of life. For one brief moment I actually entertained the notion of removing one of the 4x4 posts that connect the pier to the floor, but then I had to tell myself, "Get a grip Dave".

So the current plan is to mount the transducer in the center of the span between the couch and the screen, a location about 6 feet from the couch. I figure I should get some fore and aft motion as the joist rocks over the fulcrum provided by the pier supports (good for watching sea yarns, I suppose). I'll let you know how this works out.


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post #5 of 17 Old 03-07-2001, 12:25 PM
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I just got this set-up and I've been trying to set it up to my Kenwood receiver (I won't have my Denon AVR-3801 until next week). I currently don't seem to be getting a signal to the Carvin amp, though. My Kenwood manual states the pre-amp Subwoofer output is at 1.0v (and, I believe, 600 ohms). What would I need to do to ensure that the signal is strong enough for the amp to recognize [I'm just using an RCA -> 1.4" unbalanced (mono) phono jack to get the signal to the Carvin amp from the receiver.] Anyone have some thoughts on what I might be doing wrong?

Also I'm currently just testing the setup going into channel 1 with the Buttkicker on the channel 1 output, but I take it the optimal setup would be to put the amp into bridge mode and connect the Buttkicker to the bridged posts still just using input 1, correct? And since the bridged posts are, in this case, both red, which is actually the - lead and which the +?

Thanks for any help!


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post #6 of 17 Old 03-07-2001, 03:17 PM
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In case anyone else happens to run into the problem I listed above, it does indeed look like the 1 volt output is probably a maximal output, not the nominal one, and as such may not be enough to feed the Carvin amp properly. I've been given the suggestion that Radio Shack has a Mini Integrated Amp (SA-155) for around $60 that will do the trick, by running the signal into a line in and out the Speaker Output to the Carvin Amp. I'll give that a try this evening and let ya'll know how it works.

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-08-2001, 06:39 AM
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It worked! Just in case someone else runs into this problem the RatShack amp (It's actually an RCA product) is capable of producing enough amplification for the Carvin amp (or in my case I went to a Behringer UltraBass Pro EX1200 first) to recognize the reception of the signal. Depending on the strength of signal from your amp initially you may have a problem if you are splitting the signal to anything more than one other output, such as a powered sub. (I initially had a 3-way split to my sub, ButtKicker and to the Aura Bass Shakers for comparison but was unable to get enough signal strength, even after boosting by the SA-155).

So the set-up, so you will know what cables you will need, is a standard male RCA connector cable from the Subwoofer output on the receiver to the Left (or right) CD input on the SA-155 mini amp. Volume turned all the way up on the mini-amp, leaving the signal as stereo I also set the tone in the middle and moving the balance all the way left (or right) may help boost the signal a tad as well if you need it.

Next I have an RCA-> 1/4" unbalanced (mono) phono jack to connect to the RCA Left (or Right) Speaker output on the SA-115 to the Input 1 on the Carvin Amp. Finally connect the ButtKicker (I used 12 gauge speaker wire) to the two central (bridged) red speaker posts on the Carvin amp and make sure the bridged button is depressed in.

I hope that helps anyone else who may need it in getting this kind of set-up going!



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post #8 of 17 Old 03-08-2001, 07:54 AM
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To Lenny Zimmermann:
Could you please write your comparison between the ButtKicker and the Aura
Bass Shakers? Also, how you mounted them and on what.
Thanks.

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post #9 of 17 Old 03-08-2001, 03:35 PM
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Hi Lenny,

I too have the Buttkicker and Carvin amp. I see that you are using the Ultrabass Pro to add extra bass at lower frequencies. If I understand it correctly it would take an input signal and add a "copy" of that signal but at two octaves lower frequency. I assume this would result in the buttkicker giving a different responce for the shaking effects.
If you have tried the same sequence in a movie both with and without the Ultrabass, how would you describe the experienced difference ?

Thanks,
H-B


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post #10 of 17 Old 03-08-2001, 09:01 PM
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Let me cover the mounting question first. If you look on http://www.thebuttkicker.com/how_to_...ngs_shake!.htm the first one showing "Slab Floor" with the board, the original feet from the sofa (which I plan on changing to isolation pads) and ButtKicker on it is pretty much what I'm doing as well. Just a couple of 2x8s make it all happen. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

As to comparison... well, as so many have mentioned before there really is no comparison. I couldn't figure out why, though, since they were more "musical" and "stronger" didn't make much sense to me. After all the Bass Shakers are pretty strong, if you ask me. Now I know the difference, though, and will see if I can explain it any better for you.

The Bass Shakers provide a buzz, kind of like a vibrator, that changes frequency a bit based on the tone of the LFE being generated into it. This in itself is pretty darned cool and I certainly recommend it for folks to try out considering the fairly low price of these. I found I could lower the volume of bass on my sub somewhat because of this little extra added "oomph", but not by very much. nice enough to make sure I didn't blow away my upstairs neighbor, though, with rumbling bass on those "U571" depth charge explosions when watching that DVD.

The ButtKicker, on the other hand, has less of a vibration effect and more of a rumble. It is certainly capable of hitting much lower bass than the Bass Shakers can. The Bass Shakers have something of a feel like the couch was vibrating, the ButtKicker has more of the effect that you feel that rumble more in the pit of your stomach making the effect a bit more dynamic and less kitschy. You can feel the dynamic range a lot more, making the Bass Shakers seem a bit one sided on what bit of shaking it produces. Yet it is just as capable of shallow vibrations and being very responsive to changes in soft or higher pitched selections. I really am able to lower the volume on what I listen to with such a dynamic bass response.

The differences are pretty strong but very hard to describe. Kind of like listening to a high quality recording in mono, which sounds wonderful, then all of a sudden comparing that to the same recording in stereo. Kind of eye opening, but a very difficult effect to describe to someone who has only ever heard mono before. It kind of feels like the Bass Shaker is a keyboard that only plays one octave but the ButtKicker plays 3 octaves. You can do great things with one octave, but 3 really lets you open it up.

Is it worth the $700 for it with a single amp as compared to a whole bunch of Bass Shakers with a few cheap amps that you could get for the same price? Hard to say. Depends on how important that expanded dynamic range is for you. Lots of folks can be very happy with a $200 receiver that does most everything they'll ever use it for, but other folks barely bat an eyelash at spending $4000 for that extra bit of dynamic range and extra goodies that a high end receiver will get them. It was certainly a worthwhile purchase for me and at least now I can understand more of what all those other people are talking about in their reviews!


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post #11 of 17 Old 03-09-2001, 06:34 AM
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Well, it is a nice add-in, for the most part, if for no other reason then that it also lets you dial in the strength of the effect and modify it to you source material. I use different setting for stereo programming than DD 5.1, for example. Otherwise it also provides that extra oomph by producing more of that rumble effect when it would otherwise be more of a simpler vibration. That's lots of fun, but I think being able to modify the effect, at what frequencies it occurs and the strength of the effect are what I really enjoy the most from it.


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post #12 of 17 Old 03-10-2001, 09:53 PM
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I have two Buttkickers connected to a Carvin DCM2000 amplifier.
To boost the consumer line level voltage of the subwoofer output of my Receiver/Dolby Digital adapter combination, I used the Rolls PA71 7-watt amplifier.
Slightly larger than a bar of soap, it provides a very compact and convenient means of connecting consumer electronics to professional equipment. For inputs it has the option of a 1/4" unbalanced TS phone jack, or two RCA inputs (mixed to mono). For outputs in has the option of a 1/4" balanced TRS phone jack, or spring-loaded speaker terminals.

For my set-up I split the line level input to my subwoofer on an RCA connector to one of the RCA inputs on the PA71. Then I connected the 1/4" balanced output of the PA71 to the 1/4" input of the Carvin, using quality guitar/instrument cable, 95% shielded 18 gauge conductor with 1/4" male plugs.

This little amp has adjustable voltage gain up to 40db. Without turning it up all the way it can drive the Carvin amp to clipping, ensuring full power to the Buttkickers. It cost $60 at an on-line retailer.

Larry



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post #13 of 17 Old 03-10-2001, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I see that you are using the Ultrabass Pro to add extra bass at lower frequencies.</font>
I use an Ultrabass Pro and an Audio Control Phase Coupled Activator on my pair of Buttkickers.

I also use a second PCA on my subwoofers.

I use the PCA to generate signals 1 octave below and the Ultrabass to generate signals 2 octaves below the original.

I sum the signals with a Paradigm X-30 lowpassed at 35Hz before feeding my Carvin DCM1000 amplifiers.

I find that the Ultrabass is very sensitive to the input signals amplitude.

It took me some time to get the perfect PCA/Ultrabass blend.

This was acomplised with my pre/pros Sub adjustment to regulate the signal feeding the Utrabass. I ended up with a setiing of -6.5

I then set/attenuated the level feeding my PCA input via an outboard volume control.

The final output is calibrated with the volume control on the X-30.

John


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[This message has been edited by John H (edited 03-11-2001).]


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post #14 of 17 Old 03-12-2001, 07:45 AM
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There is one more thing I noticed with the Carvin amp that may be a concern for some. For one it is a rack mount component, which means it may have trouble fitting into some stereo cabinets as the "wings" may stick out to far and they are not removable. (I just stick it on top of my stereo cabinet so it's not a big deal for me)

The other concern is that it does have a fan which is continuously on. It is not a very loud fan, but it is there none the less. Also if you are watching something with a very strong and/or constant LFE track that is driving the ButtKicker for some time the Carvin's fan may kick into high speed (and hence higher volume) in order to keep itself cool.

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post #15 of 17 Old 03-12-2001, 08:36 PM
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I just cut off the rack mount "tabs" with a hack saw so it would fit in my cabinet. Just take your time - about 10 minutes a side - then file down the sharp edge when you are through. I then used a black permanant marker pen to color the cut edge. I made the cut in between the oval and round hole.
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post #16 of 17 Old 09-06-2001, 08:37 AM
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Zarlor,

how do you like the buttkicker?

I may have to get one http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

I have the aura bass shakers but I want more!
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post #17 of 17 Old 09-06-2001, 10:44 AM
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Gruson,

The Buttkicker is king in the world of tactile transducers. It has no peers when it comes to low frequency extension output.

I have used an array of RBH FX80's and both the Clark 329F's and Platinum models in pairs.

John



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