After spending a few weeks with the Crowson Tactile Motion Actuators, I thought I would share my impressions of them. Long story short, I love these things!! I had very high hopes for them but also was very concerned about a gimmicky or unnatural/fake feel and I am more than satisfied with the results. I would highly recommend the Crowson Actuators! That pretty much sums it up….but if you want to read more…here we go
Here’s a little background on my set up. My room is very small (1150cu ft) with carpet over concrete and it’s not sealed but opened to the rest of my house. A few years ago I owned a HSU VTF 3.2 sub that was positioned right next to my chair (nearfield). I later sold the HSU VTF 3.2 and replaced it with a Seaton SubMersive HP that sat in the same exactly nearfield location. The tactile experience with either one of these subs nearfield was great. Later, I moved the SubMersive to different locations and found that it sounded, blended and measured better when it was in front of the room but it also lost a lot of tactile feel around 25hz and below area.. The SubMersive had two modes (PGM1 and PGM2). PGM2 adds a little more lift towards the bottom end. I’ve experimented with different options and running the sub hotter and here’s what I found. In my room, running more than 4-5dbs hot in PGM1 will add a little more tactile feel but I cant go any hotter the sub would be easily localizable. If I run PGM2, I can’t run more than 2-3db hot in my little square-ish room or it sounds a tad too boomy or does not decay as fast and it’s also localizable. This is not a problem with the sub but I think it’s more of the characteristic of my room and room dimensions. I also have a 25hz lift option on my Anti-Mode device that boosts 20hz by 7db. This does add a little more feel in certain movies but can get somewhat boomy too in other movies. I noticed the response of the Lift mode looks more like a ported sub as the response falls off sharply below 13hz. Also with the lift mode engaged, Anti-Mode also turns on a subsonic filter at 10Hz. Bottom line is that while turning up the sub louder and or engaging PGM 2 or Anti-mode’s 25hz lift mode can add a little more feel but nothing really gave that tactile feeling of how the sub felt like when it was nearfield. Enter the Crowson
My Crowson setup is also somewhat unconventional too but it works very well. I originally wanted to run mine exactly how other members (Craig John, MikeDuke and Brolicbeast) run theirs – via the Oppo bluray player sub out for an un-EQ’ed signal and to have fine tune ability over delay settings.….but then I realized I might be able to get away with running mine a little differently which might provide me with a some different options if I got lucky. I got lucky!
I have the Anti-Mode 8033 that I use to EQ my SubMersive HP. I then run Audyssey XT in my Onkyo 805 receiver after Anti-Mode is finished running. I noticed that Anti-Mode pulls down a slight peak at 20hz and a very large peak at 50hz in my small room. Audyssey XT does eliminate some additional ringing but most of its correction is above 50hz and the corrections are not overly aggressive. With this in mind, I used a Y splitter from the Sub preout of my receiver. There’s one Rca wire running off the splitter is heading towards the Anti-mode device and then to the SubMersive. The other RCA wire off the splitter is running to the Buttkicker 1000N amp that is powering the Crowson. So the SubMersive is seeing the full correction of the Anti-Mode and Audyssey combo but the Crowson is seeing only the minor corrections what of Audyssey did. I also have the Crowson low passed at 40Hz via the Butttkicker amp. I thought while this setup may work, it still may not solve any possible delay issues I may have with the Crowson Actuators. Prior to running my set up like this, I talked to Randolph Crowson about this set up and he stated it should work fine and he noticed that delays are not usually an issue in small rooms. There were other questions I asked him as well and Randolph was always willing and eager to help. In my small room, I can’t tell if I have any delay issues with how I have everything set up. Its possible I may have just gotten lucky with my overall settings. Running it this way allows the Crowson to be controlled with the Master Volume of the Onkyo 805 receiver and it allows me to use the Crowson with my Bluray and my HD-DVD player. I still have around 100 HD-Dvds so this was a plus. While this setup works very well for me as my Audyssey to the Crowson has minimal EQ below 50Hz, I would recommend everyone else may want to use the method Craig outlines in the first post of this thread or find a way to have very little to no EQ on the Crowsons. I think I just got very lucky with my setup and with the 2 EQ devices I am using. The hardest part about the Crowson install was running the speaker wires to the chairs – still very easy in my room. Installing the Motion Isolators on my chairs and placing the chair on the Crowson Actuator was very easy.
I’ve been blown away on how realistic the Crowson feel. These Actuators has never made any weird noises and they feel very similar to how my subs felt like when they were near field but even better. There are also things/effects I am now feeling that I never felt with sub in either location (nearfield or far field). Some of these effects feel very realistic and does not feel like vibrating
at certain frequencies or shaking
at other frequencies but the only way I can describe some is turbulence. For me, some effects around 25hz area always felt similar to turbulence or a shudder type feel when my subs were nearfield. It’s kind of hard to put into words but imagine you are in a car stopped at a stop light and another vehicle traveling over 50MPH in the oncoming lane. As soon as that vehicle passes you, the turbulence that hits your car makes your whole vehicle shudder. That’s the experience I had with the with the subs nearfield and that’s what I now have again with the Crowsons – that and much more. What I am trying to say here it feels very realistic and not just "shaking
”. It’s also easier to detect even lower hz now and as other have noticed that owned the Crowson device, a 30hz effect feels different than a 10hz. I have watched over 2 dozen movies with these devices already and listened to some music and demoed scenes from various movies and I find that it improves everything. Some stuff is subtle and really enhances the mood being portrayed in a movie while other effects just rocked my world.
I’ve noticed we would previously watch some movies louder or close to reference before the Crowson to get a good feel for the bass in the movie, now we can watch the same movie at a lower volume and be even more submerged while having a more enjoyable movie experience. In my setup, it can feel somewhat unnatural if you turn up the Crowson too much or use too high of a crossover on them but similar can be said about turning up your sub too high without any EQ. It does take some minor tweaking to get great results. Now that I have experienced the Crowson, I can say that these will always have a place in my room or any other room I may have in the future. I don’t know if my little write up is conveying how greatly I think of this product so let me put it another way. If had the option to keep my beloved SubMersive HP and then choose between getting a 2nd SubMersive HP or choose a set of Crowson Actuators; in my room, I would choose the Crowsons over a 2nd SubMersive- regardless of price.
I feel these Crowson Actuators would greatly benefit anyone in the following scenaro:
- You don’t have multiple subs or space for multiple subs.
- You don’t have the option of turning up your subs because it will disturb others.
- You just want more tactile feel.
- If you don’t have the tactile feeling because your floor is concrete and or you are not in a sealed room (open floor plan).
Finally, I wanted to say it’s been a complete pleasure dealing with Randolph Crowson. He was very upfront about possible delays before I ordered and was still able to ship the product to me even earlier than anticipated. He never charged my account until the product was ready to ship. Randolph was very eager to help even with some very stupid questions I asked. He never made me feel like he had to rush to get off the phone and he always answered my emails quickly and with great details and suggestions. I inquired about possible discounts and he even informed me of a 10% Powerbuy. That discount coupled with the 30day risk free trail made this purchase a no brainer. The 30day risk free trail offer may seem like you have nothing to lose but Crowson’s the one with nothing to lose because once you try this and get it dialed in, I can’t see why someone would want to return it – it's That Spectacular in my opinion!