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AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Subwoofers, Bass, and Transducers › A comparison of three tactile transducers - ButtKicker Mini LFE vs. Clark Synthesis TST209 vs. Aura Bass Shaker Pro
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A comparison of three tactile transducers - ButtKicker Mini LFE vs. Clark Synthesis TST209 vs.... - Page 2

post #31 of 134
@ Archaea
All the 3 transducers are audible at lower frequency? Now, that's sad frown.gif
Looks like we gotta step up to the more powerful Buttkicker LFE.
post #32 of 134
So, my Buttkicker amp finally went out on me. Is it something I should try and replace or would another amp work just as well, if not better? ANy suggestions?

One a side note: I never really had it cranked up very high as it would seriously bottom out and rattle the holy crap out of my couch...
post #33 of 134
Archaea,

Sorry I never got back with you bro. Just now stumbling upon this thread. I have 4 of the Arua bass shakers, but haven't had them hooked up since I got the Ultras up and running.
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

I haven't used them for 5 years or so, they've just been sitting in the garage. I had them hooked up to an old receiver, so the problem could have been a lack of power. I had them screwed in to some plywood boards that I then screwed into the wood of the couch. It was pretty cool at first, I liked the feel for music especially but over time it felt too gimmicky and I couldn't get it just right. I used a 50hz HPF (those little guys that you plug RCA cords into, they probably don't work so well) which was probably too high.
Oh yeah, I'm in for coming over to compare for sure.

This is pretty much exactly what I did. I wired 2 in series for an 8 ohm load to each channel of an old receiver I had laying around. I split the LFE channel from my AVR and set the crossover to 50Hz. I found that even 50Hz was too high for the"natural" effect I was looking for. Knowing what I know now, running these through a miniDSP with the LPF set around 30Hz seems like it would perfectly compliment any setup.

Funny story... The bass shakers are what initally turned me on to AVS back in 09'!

I remember when I was first playing around with the bass shakers I could hear and feel peoples voices in my couch. Very odd feeling for sure.

I remember someone mentioning that the Arua transducers started to roll around 30Hz. I haven't had a chance to verify, but might be something you want to look into.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

So, my Buttkicker amp finally went out on me. Is it something I should try and replace or would another amp work just as well, if not better? ANy suggestions?
One a side note: I never really had it cranked up very high as it would seriously bottom out and rattle the holy crap out of my couch...

I've seen videos of the butt kicker and it's just too much. The one I saw on this guys couch (1000 watt one I believe) looks like it would be better suited for a riser. One 50 watt Arua per seat is more than enough... Especially if you are looking for it to compliment your experience without over powering it.
post #34 of 134
I have 7 aurora's under each seat, they were fun but nothing like the real thing from drivers. I don't have them hooked up anymore, maybe if someone want to pay for shipping and packaging you can have them.
post #35 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

darn it. I"ve had some time to play with these things and they all are decent.
what now?
biggrin.gif
I had to order a couple more cables so I can check them all at once. I really need another Inuke DSP 1000 to run these things cause two channels isn't enough to test three types of bass shakers.
I've determined each really likes unique EQ.
The Buttkickers are audible if you push content below 30hz to them. lame, but the good news is when you use a HPF at 30hz then they aren' audible and you can still seem to feel everything.
The TST209 doesn't seem to be bothered by the low frequencies, but it is audible all the time if you didn't have it tucked under the seat it would be a problem.
The Aura Bass Shaker is worth the price of admision but you can definately tell it's the weakest tactilly of the three.
Truely each is unique, but I haven't decided which I like best. About the time I think I have it figured out the next clip feels better on the opposite one.

As additional data-points on setup of tactile transducers, see my posts on how I have my Crowson setup:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1349395/craig-johns-theater/60#post_21093230
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1349395/craig-johns-theater/90#post_21096088
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1349395/craig-johns-theater/90#post_21140957
and Mark Seaton's post:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1349395/craig-johns-theater/90#post_21097184

smile.gif
post #36 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

I have 7 aurora's under each seat, they were fun but nothing like the real thing from drivers. I don't have them hooked up anymore, maybe if someone want to pay for shipping and packaging you can have them.

Nooooo!

I was going to try to sell Gorilla mine for $1,000 a piece to help fund the Dayton HO x 16 build I've been tossing and turning over...
post #37 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

I have 7 aurora's under each seat, they were fun but nothing like the real thing from drivers. I don't have them hooked up anymore, maybe if someone want to pay for shipping and packaging you can have them.
perhaps you should try the more brutal buttkicker home theater version biggrin.gif it's in different league from the Aura bass shaker
post #38 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

Nooooo!
I was going to try to sell Gorilla mine for $1,000 a piece to help fund the Dayton HO x 16 build I've been tossing and turning over...

LOL. Unfortunately one at that price is still more expensive than 4 more 18s. biggrin.gif
post #39 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorilla83 View Post

LOL. Unfortunately one at that price is still more expensive than 4 more 18s. biggrin.gif

And 25 times more expensive than what they cost to buy from PE direct... Gotta find a way to fund the bass addiction somehow...lol
post #40 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

I've seen videos of the butt kicker and it's just too much. The one I saw on this guys couch (1000 watt one I believe) looks like it would be better suited for a riser. One 50 watt Arua per seat is more than enough... Especially if you are looking for it to compliment your experience without over powering it.

I like the transducers if they are turned down enough to where they just add a little bit (mostly below 30hz). They are rated at 400 watts each, but I dont think I would ever need that much... Thats why I asked if you could recommend another amp. I am always open to good suggestions...
post #41 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

I've seen videos of the butt kicker and it's just too much. The one I saw on this guys couch (1000 watt one I believe) looks like it would be better suited for a riser. One 50 watt Arua per seat is more than enough... Especially if you are looking for it to compliment your experience without over powering it.

Here is that video I was talking about... http://youtu.be/ady5fjbbMgI

It wouldn't let me embed it.
post #42 of 134
^^^
That's guys face was pricelss
post #43 of 134
Wow. That setup was absolutely atrocious!! Jeez. It's obviously turned up way too high and it bottoming out something awful. Also looks like it's crossed over way, too high. My setup is nothing like that. Made me cringe just watching that.
post #44 of 134
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrunr View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

I've seen videos of the butt kicker and it's just too much. The one I saw on this guys couch (1000 watt one I believe) looks like it would be better suited for a riser. One 50 watt Arua per seat is more than enough... Especially if you are looking for it to compliment your experience without over powering it.

I like the transducers if they are turned down enough to where they just add a little bit (mostly below 30hz). They are rated at 400 watts each, but I dont think I would ever need that much... Thats why I asked if you could recommend another amp. I am always open to good suggestions...

i think the inuke dsp 1000 would be a very good option!

you can set hpf and lpf, set delays, limit wattage supplied through the dsp... all cool stuff!
post #45 of 134
Thread Starter 
This friday afternoon/evening should be the g2g timeframe for the tactile transducer testing with the local KC gang. I'll solidify a time and update.
post #46 of 134
Thread Starter 
3:30 or 4pm friday start time. see you guys tommorow. if we want, we can go out and grab dinner together, and come back for more play time or a movie together.
post #47 of 134
Sounds good to me. If you don't mind I'm going to hang on to the eD's until my Noesis get here, I don't want to lose my speaker stands and I have to have a center, for me mis-matched speakers > phantom center. No one has told me they want to try them in their room, but if they do I don't want to be speakerless.
post #48 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

Sounds good to me. If you don't mind I'm going to hang on to the eD's until my Noesis get here, I don't want to lose my speaker stands and I have to have a center, for me mis-matched speakers > phantom center. No one has told me they want to try them in their room, but if they do I don't want to be speakerless.

I'll trade you my center while I demo the EDs :P just kidding of course :P
post #49 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

3:30 or 4pm friday start time. see you guys tommorow. if we want, we can go out and grab dinner together, and come back for more play time or a movie together.


well...c'mon guys


...update on g2g?
post #50 of 134
I'm sure Archaea is putting the final touches on his 19 page dissertation on transducers, but I'll give you my cliff notes versio. The Clark does too much, the aura does not enough and the buttkickers were right in the middle smile.gif. My vote was for the butt kickers
post #51 of 134
The problem with the buttkickers is they have a brick wall where they go from nothing to on, while the other 2 don't do that. I wasn't overly impressed with any of them, but I do admit sometimes they were really cool. I thought during the movies that my favorites was the Clark, but then we used them for music right at the end of the night and my favorites were the buttkickers.

I think if I were to use transducers I would buy the more expensive kind that can go below 20 hz with no problem and use a low pass around 40 or maybe even less. Gun shots were really cool with any of the transducers, they seem to be more realistic at short quick bursts of bass but when you have lingering/rumbling bass they seem very fake. Last night reminded me of when I used to use the Auras years ago. At first I really like it but over time it seemed more and more gimmicky and fake and I put them in the garage where they have been for at least 6 years.

Did you guys end up watching AL Vampire Hunter?
post #52 of 134
Yes, our consensus was that it was a dumb movie lol
post #53 of 134
No way possible, it was based on a book. wink.gifsmile.gif
post #54 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

I think if I were to use transducers I would buy the more expensive kind that can go below 20 hz with no problem. Last night reminded me of when I used to use the Auras years ago. At first I really like it but over time it seemed more and more gimmicky and fake and I put them in the garage where they have been for at least 6 years.
Any good unit that can do <20Hz cleanly?
post #55 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post

Any good unit that can do <20Hz cleanly?

Buttkicker LFE home theater version, Earthquake Q10B (more expensive)...etc can goes as low as 5Hz
post #56 of 134
Thread Starter 
Contrary to what KCNitro07 suggested, I'm not going to make as elaborate a post on the results as I originally anticipated. Primarily because I don't think the differences between these units are that great. Carp at one point last night said we were splitting hairs trying to decide which one we liked better. There were times I felt the same way.

It breaks down somewhat simply in my opinion, however choosing a clear winner subjectively I did not find as easy. The Synthesis TST209 is probably the most powerful, the Aura is comparatively the weakest/cheapest (but is no slouch), and the ButtKicker is probably my favorite for watching movies, but is not perfect. I would likely have most enjoyed the Clark, but I found myself somewhat annoyed when every single sound on the LFE channel produced some level of vibration on the Clark Synthesis model. Watching a bass filled movie that gets to be a bit annoying. If there was a minimum wattage to initiate the Clark I would probably like it best, because I think it felt the most natural on several scenes, and seemed to have the most power handling despite the published wattage handling numbers showing the Buttkicker should. I never heard the Clark make a bad noise in all of the demoing we did.

I'll talk briefly about setup options first.

We had four transducers to test.

We auditioned:
1 ButtKicker Mini LFE mounted to the back of a Berkline recliner powered by a Yamaha P3500S channel (there are two mounted on this chair, but only the back mounted transducer was auditioned)
PB243932.jpg

1 Clark Synthesis TST209 mounted to the bottom of a Berkline recliner powered by a Yamaha P3500S channel
PB243936.jpg

1 Aura Bass Shaker Pro mounted to the bottom of a Berkline recliner powered by a Inuke DSP 3000 channel
PB243939.jpg

1 ButtKicker Mini LFE mounted to the bottom of a Berkline recliner powered by a Inuke DSP 3000 channel
PB243928.jpg


There are about 30 more photos here:
http://s1191.photobucket.com/albums/z472/jvonengeln/Tactile%20Transducer%20Test/


We used a crossover of 80hz, with the LFE sub channel 2 on my Onkyo TX-NR1007 providing the signal. The LFE channel was allowed to use the full 120hz bandwidth as is often most recommended here on avsforum. Before we auditioned the movie clips we played with the distance settings while auditioning music and carp found that 25 feet seemed to be about right when compared to anything else we tried. Each transducer might have needed a slightly different setting, but 25 foot seemed to be more or less compatible with each as we moved seat to seat to test. We first listened to a bunch of music before the movie tests and we all pretty much agreed, that for the most part these transducers are better left off during most types of music. They are fun in a few types of music - like bass heavy dubstep, or something with clear heavy beats that are alright, but most rock, or other types of music was hit or miss on whether it was a plus or minus feeling the music.

Carp, KCNitro07, tatersly, and I rotated through each of the four chairs for each of the many clips we auditioned. I could have done this for a lot longer, but some of the other guys were getting bored and tired and wanted to hit a full length movie. My willingness to continue was based on the fact that I was having trouble detecting a clear victor. I'd like one unit, and then the very next clip like something else. We started the movie auditions with a very minimal level of tactile feedback --- enough to know the units were there, but hopefully/intentionally not be annoying. We upped the dB to +5dB and +10dB on the subwoofer channel at one point (marked on the scorecard) to see how each unit handled extra volume, even though it was not necessary at all to have more tactile feedback. At that point we collectively started liking the Aura more -- presumably because it was providing the least over stimulation at those levels with it's 50 watt limitation. (more on that later)

In the end - All three units are decent, and each has its own unique set of advantages and compromises.

Here are each of our scores and what we each preferred:
TactileTransducersTestResults.png


ButtKicker Mini LFE
I think I've decided to keep the Buttkicker mini LFE's. I like them the most for movies because of that minimum 50 watt rating they are the only transducer doesn't constantly remind you of their presence. I wish they didn't bottom out so soon, because it's going to be a juggling act to keep them in their comfort zone with my personal tolerance to volume swings on the main AVR volume levels. I'll watch a movie at -12 which will be easy to calibrate the Buttkickers to, but then if a particularly fantastic demo scene plays through I'll rewind and go to reference or above for a bit of fun. I think these transducer's won't be happy working within a 12dB difference of max volume. Another failure is that even with a 250 watt limiter on the Inuke DSP 3000 that this Buttkicker model just doesn't like much below 35hz. If you try to allow frequencies below 35 hz, (even at reasonable volumes, relative to the other frequencies) then you can both feel and hear the transducers have reached their limits. (and it's not just one that had this issue -- all four did - right out of the sealed new box) These Buttkicker's work by throwing a piston around and you can tell the piston has reached it's excursion limit because it kind of nails/pings the side of the casing or something and it feels off balance. The sound can be a rather grotesque noise. That's very disappointing because most people buy transducers to supplement the lowest frequencies (that was my intent) --- however, of all the transducers we tried -- to me, these still felt like they were digging the lowest. They really start moving hard with the lower frequencies, where as with the Clark the feeling starts fading away at the lower frequencies. So finding that balance with the DSP and a 24dB per octave HPF filter from say 35 or 40hz might be the answer. We played with the HPF some, but there's more customization to optimize I'm sure.

Clark Synthesis TST209
I like the Clark in that it felt the most tactile and seemingly had the most headroom. I never heard it hit its limits (of course we didn't really try), but it is a well mannered unit. I seemed to be the most natural feeling to me. Songs were okay on it when it was turned down very low (perhaps my favorite unit when really turned down), but if you turn it up too high it provides too much tactile feedback through a song. I find I don't usually like the fact that it is on all the time, that you feel most anything in the LFE channel --- music, gun blasts, background sounds etc. It's all there. One important note in the Ironman 2 Fireworks Intro with AC/DC music playing during our movie testing --- I really didn't like this transducer at all for this clip. The whole scene was providing feedback non stop and the other transducers, especially the Buttkicker was only providing feedback during firework booms, and moments of thrust from Ironman's suit. I don't want to feel all the other stuff in the transducer -- it's weird, unnatural, and takes me out of the movie and reminds me that something is violently vibrating my chair superficially, when my volume is only at -20dB from reference.

Aura Bass Shaker Pro
The Aura is the cheapest in the group and yet it's not a bad transducer. It does seem to hit its limits slightly faster than the other two - but in no way does it feel 10x's weaker as the Clark advertising will claim, (at least at the volume levels we listened to and the tactile feel levels we were aiming for). We limited the Aura to 50watts using the Inuke DSP 3000 limiter function. With this limiter in place I never heard the Aura bottom out, and you'll notice in the scoring sheet that the Aura became more popular as we turned up the shaker levels. KCNitro07 hypothesized the change in preference to the Aura towards the end of the night probably having something to do with that limiter --- none of the four of us really liked excessive shaking and the limiter kicked in on the Aura while the ButtKicker and Clark just kept rising in tactile feedback. Overall the Aura did a good job.

I wouldn't be upset about owning it, or any of the other models. I, like the other guys, would probably prefer a higher end unit to any of these three - but I'm not willing at this point to pony up the money, so I'm going to tinker with the buttkicker mini LFE's with the DSP and try to get them so they just enhance deep bass, but don't distract!

One thing to note --- we ALL agreed that first and foremost just turning up the subwoofer seemed a more agreeable and enjoyable solution to these transducers --- however - that's not always possible. I live in a small house and my living, room, kitchen, and one of my children's room is immediately above the basement. My wife is becoming increasingly discontented with my subwoofer zeal, so my intent in ordering these units was to get some of that tactile feeling I crave without edging the subwoofer volumes towards reference in my concrete slab floor. For now -- I feel the price I paid for the Buttkicker mini LFE's is worth it. If I decide later that it is too gimmicky and I find that I leave them off - then I'll sure come back and report that too. In short I'm not as impressed as I'd hoped I'd be with any of these units - but I'm more impressed than I thought I might be.

For those on the fence, the Aura Pro Bass Shakers are on sale at parts express for $40 this weekend. Since the Aura is basically in the same league as these other two components then pick up and give a transducer a try. If you like what you feel and want a small upgrade, then perhaps the Clark or the Buttkicker are for you.
post #57 of 134
nicely done...

i recently became interested in transducers and i found this comparison intriguing to say the least...archaea's summary was to the point and still contained details i love to read

based on this i will probably go with what i was first interested in, the buttkicker LFE but haven't decided what amp to use. craig john also had an informative post concerning where to source the bass signal from...

can't thank you guys enuff for the work you put in and knowledge you share...
post #58 of 134
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WereWolf84 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post

Any good unit that can do <20Hz cleanly?

Buttkicker LFE home theater version, Earthquake Q10B (more expensive)...etc can goes as low as 5Hz

These minis say they hit five hz too right?

They don't, not at any usable level without clanking around like a jack hammer. I'd not trust quoted specs until tested.
post #59 of 134
Thread Starter 
I made a youtube video comparing the transducers here:
http://youtu.be/tv1aq6xaMwE
Edited by Archaea - 1/25/13 at 11:35am
post #60 of 134
Interesting stuff, guys! FWIW, I'll add a few general comments about tactile transducers...
  • IMO, transducers work best when they *only* reproduce ULF's. Tactile response at 60 or 80 or 120 Hz is not natural. A steep LPF at no higher than 40 Hz is essential for creating a natural and believable, non-gimmicky response. OTOH, tactile response at 5 Hz is VERY COOL!
  • Transducers are like subwoofers in that they cost money to get high output and ULF extension. Lower powered transducers are like lower-powered 10" subwoofers... they won't dig deep and they have limited output capability. You can't get the performance of a Captivator or a Submersive from a Polk PSW10. Similarly, you can't get the performance of the Earthquake Quake 10.0, I-Beam or Crowson with a Buttkicker Mini.
  • A transducer attached directly to a chair will only shake the chair. If your feet are on the floor, and the chair shakes but the floor doesn't, the lack of tactile response in your feet will be sensed as a "disconnect." A transducer that shakes the chair AND the "floor" will provide a much more believable and natural experience. The "floor" needs to be suspended, as in either a suspended floor or a platform with a suspended base.
  • Room correction is great for the subwoofer(s), but it is generally not beneficial for transducers. Obviously, this will depend on the amount of correction applied to the subwoofer channel below the LPF used for the transducer. Nonetheless, if there are significant boosts and cuts applied in the RC, you won't get the "correct" response from the transducer. Only a pure, uncorrected signal will provide that. (In Post #35 above, I linked to a previous post of mine explaining how to provide a "pure" signal to the transducer.)

Any of those things, taken alone or in combination, can explain the less than satisfactory results you experienced. My suggestion would be to try the Clark transducer with the iNuke amp. Then set a 40 Hz LPF with a steep slope, and play with the delay to time it properly. That should provide the most output with the deepest response while addressing the concerns with it providing too much and inappropriate shaking.

Craig
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