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Discussion Starter #1
I'm ready to add a shaker to my home theatre, and have done a fair amount of research, but am having trouble concluding much.


My capabilities and limitations are:
  • Prefer to mount under-floor so everyone can feel it, not just those on the couch
  • For aesthetic reasons, if it's not under-floor, the Crowson would be best, but again I prefer under-floor.
  • Willing to spend about $800 total, though less is good
  • Plan to use just for LFE off the subwoofer channel
  • The power circuit already has a powered sub, Denon receiver, Plasma TV, panamax, dish and DVD on it, so 250 Watts would be okay but 400 Watts may be over my limit
  • For same reason, efficiency is highly prized.

The Buttkicker seems best thought-of, but the cost gets rather high and the power requirements are right out of the park; their amp is a power fiend.


Other units might work well with the subwoofer amp at Parts Express . For example, the Crowson TES 100 uses 50-500 watts. But this is an under-chair mount; does it shake the floor at all for people not on the couch? The Aura Bass Shakers are well-known but regularly accused of being ineffective, unresponsive and indelicate. Certainly they're cheap. Do they do the job? And aesthetically I prefer the Clark Synthesis models but they don't seem widely known here. Would they work well for my application? And which one? I note that the price seems to linearly increase the force-per-watt .


So my question is, given those priorities (not too much power, price is a factor but could go to $800 if pushed, prefer under-floor mount and need sufficient shaking for that application), which would you do? Several Auras? One of the Clarks? Or can the Buttkicker fit into the power profile?
 

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The buttkicker is certainly the best of what you listed, but it is a power fiend. There's a reason that amp is so power hungry :). I don't know the effects of underpowering it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnoCat
I'm ready to add a shaker to my home theatre, and have done a fair amount of research, but am having trouble concluding much.


My capabilities and limitations are:
  • Prefer to mount under-floor so everyone can feel it, not just those on the couch
  • For aesthetic reasons, if it's not under-floor, the Crowson would be best, but again I prefer under-floor.
  • Willing to spend about $800 total, though less is good
  • Plan to use just for LFE off the subwoofer channel
  • The power circuit already has a powered sub, Denon receiver, Plasma TV, panamax, dish and DVD on it, so 250 Watts would be okay but 400 Watts may be over my limit
  • For same reason, efficiency is highly prized.

The Buttkicker seems best thought-of, but the cost gets rather high and the power requirements are right out of the park; their amp is a power fiend.


Other units might work well with the subwoofer amp at Parts Express . For example, the Crowson TES 100 uses 50-500 watts. But this is an under-chair mount; does it shake the floor at all for people not on the couch? The Aura Bass Shakers are well-known but regularly accused of being ineffective, unresponsive and indelicate. Certainly they're cheap. Do they do the job? And aesthetically I prefer the Clark Synthesis models but they don't seem widely known here. Would they work well for my application? And which one? I note that the price seems to linearly increase the force-per-watt .


So my question is, given those priorities (not too much power, price is a factor but could go to $800 if pushed, prefer under-floor mount and need sufficient shaking for that application), which would you do? Several Auras? One of the Clarks? Or can the Buttkicker fit into the power profile?
Hi Techno,


First, let me say that I believe you've over estimated the total coincident power draw of your components, and that is causing you to jump to an incorrect assumption.


Here is a list of the equipment that I have on a single dedicated 20 ampere circuit:

  1. 2-ButtKicker amplifiers (2100 watts each)
  2. 4-Parasound High Current amplifiers (205+ watts per channel using 8 channels)
  3. 1-Velodyne DD-15 Subwoofer (1250 watts)
  4. 1-Carver Knight Shadow subwoofer (500 watts)
  5. 1-Sunfire Solitaire subwoofer (1250 watts)
  6. 8-Motorized recliners
  7. 1-Bravo D2 DVD player
  8. 1-DIRECTV HD TiVo
  9. 1-Audio Control multi-channel equalizer
  10. 1-Behringer stereo equalizer
  11. 1-Lexicon processor
  12. 1-Home Theater Computer with 21" LCD monitor
  13. 2-video switches
  14. 1-router
  15. 1-modem


Have I ever tripped the 20 amp circuit breaker? Yes, once while setting up the ButtKickers while listening to Saving Private Ryan. Since then one amp is set at full power, the other is set at half and I have never experienced a tripped breaker when listening to any DVD, including Sky Captain which bottoms out my Buttkickers.


So, assuming you have at least a 15 amp circuit and that you're only trying to shake a single couch, I'd be inclined to discount any reservations that you have regarding the ButtKickers current draw, unless you have inferior electrical wiring.


HeartSurgeon has posted a number of times on the subject of comparing the Clarks to the ButtKickers. If I remember correctly he actually installed both under his floor. He preferred the ButtKickers.


Larry
 

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IMO the Clarks are by far the best choice as long as you go with the Gold or Platinum, these two models and the Buttkicker all have a Fs of 5Hz which is what you want to look for. The Auras wont really go low enough to even be considered a true Tactile Transducer. The reason why I chose the Clarks over the Buttkicker is for the reason you mentioned, efficiency, they only need about 100w to do their thing and they will shake more then enough. I have never bottomed my Clark Golds out, but Buttkicker seems to have this problem quite a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryChanin
First, let me say that I believe you've over estimated the total coincident power draw of your components, and that is causing you to jump to an incorrect assumption.


Here is a list of the equipment that I have on a single dedicated 20 ampere circuit:
Thanks, Larry, I appreciate the insight. I factored in that the circuit isn't fully dedicated either; it's got lighting on it, some of it halogen, the home automation system and a fireplace fan. The design of the house (and the time it was built) constrain wiring. Powering for big additional amps may be feasible, but I'd be uncomfortable pushing it to that kind of limit.


I'll look up HeartSurgeon; thanks for the pointer!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingdaddy
IMO the Clarks are by far the best choice as long as you go with the Gold or Platinum, these two models and the Buttkicker all have a Fs of 5Hz which is what you want to look for. The Auras wont really go low enough to even be considered a true Tactile Transducer. The reason why I chose the Clarks over the Buttkicker is for the reason you mentioned, efficiency, they only need about 100w to do their thing and they will shake more then enough. I have never bottomed my Clark Golds out, but Buttkicker seems to have this problem quite a lot.
I've never, ever bottomed out my Buttkicker. And the delay on the Clarks drove me nuts. The amount of shaking a buttkicker can do over a clark is fairly impressive ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by madpoet
And the delay on the Clarks drove me nuts. The amount of shaking a buttkicker can do over a clark is fairly impressive ;)
The Clarks have a lag? Any idea why? That would be annoying.


The shake-quantity looks very dependent on the model; the TST239 provides about 1/3 the shake-per-watt and 1/3 the maximum force of the TST439... with even the TST439 costing less than a Buttkicker. Were you comparing the 239 (Silver) or the 429 (Platinum)?
 

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Can these things really shake the floor enough to feel it through the couch? Won't work for me, as I am on a concrete slab with no basement, but I'm still curious...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by madpoet
I've never, ever bottomed out my Buttkicker. And the delay on the Clarks drove me nuts. The amount of shaking a buttkicker can do over a clark is fairly impressive ;)


They all have a delay, if you think your buttkickers don’t then you are fooling yourself. It's simple physics, the shaker is inches away, the sub isn't, they are not going to match without delaying one or the other. I can't imagine needing more shaking power then the Clarks have, I have to turn mine way down to even stand it. After the storm/crash scene of Flight of the Phoenix, I fell like I had a full body massage, the tingling lasts well into the next scene. Why anyone would want more is beyond me, maybe you need a new sub system.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by madpoet
I've never, ever bottomed out my Buttkicker. And the delay on the Clarks drove me nuts. The amount of shaking a buttkicker can do over a clark is fairly impressive ;)
Hi,


Perhaps I should have clarified my remark about bottoming out the ButtKickers. This is a fairly rare event, and I doubt it would ever happen when connected to floor joists. As I have described in other threads, I have a pair of ButtKickers mounted to the joists inside of a 6'x12' foot seating platform with four recliners on top. The transducers are powered by a Buttkicker amp . I also have two more ButtKickers directly attached inside the wedge arms of my first row of seating, powered by an other ButtKicker amp.


The platform ButtKicker amp is set at 100% and it has never bottomed out. This arrangement is very similar to attaching the ButtKickers to floor joists, except it is vibrating the entire floor area and everything sitting on the floor. Such an arrangement would be even more resistant to bottoming out than a platform.


With ButtKickers directly attached to the seating, in movies scenes with extremely low bass, such as Sky Captain, I have occasionally experienced momentary bottoming out. However, this arrangement is not relevant to the original poster's mounting preference.


Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnoCat
Thanks, Larry, I appreciate the insight. I factored in that the circuit isn't fully dedicated either; it's got lighting on it, some of it halogen, the home automation system and a fireplace fan. The design of the house (and the time it was built) constrain wiring. Powering for big additional amps may be feasible, but I'd be uncomfortable pushing it to that kind of limit.


I'll look up HeartSurgeon; thanks for the pointer!
Hi,


You probably are aware of this, but just in case I thought I should clarify something I mentioned about the power draw of the ButtKicker amps. I listed 2100 watts for each of my amps because I've got two transducers in parallel at roughly 2 ohms and that is the draw in my configuration.


In your application, assuming your seating consists of a single couch, it is likely you would only need a single tranducers at 4 ohms, or about a maximum of 1000 watts. There is no problem of course if you wish to use the volume control to reduce the power output. That is what the control is designed to do.


Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingdaddy
They all have a delay, if you think your buttkickers don’t then you are fooling yourself. It's simple physics, the shaker is inches away, the sub isn't, they are not going to match without delaying one or the other. I can't imagine needing more shaking power then the Clarks have, I have to turn mine way down to even stand it. After the storm/crash scene of Flight of the Phoenix, I fell like I had a full body massage, the tingling lasts well into the next scene. Why anyone would want more is beyond me, maybe you need a new sub system.


I'll tell my CS-Ultra you think I need a new sub ;). Yes, they all have delay. The Buttkicker has less than the Clarks. There's been some decent tests run in the past to prove it. It really depends on your mounting and what you want to shake. I am not sure the Clarks wil shake enough given his mounting beneath the floor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingdaddy
I can't imagine needing more shaking power then the Clarks have, I have to turn mine way down to even stand it. After the storm/crash scene of Flight of the Phoenix, I fell like I had a full body massage, the tingling lasts well into the next scene. Why anyone would want more is beyond me, maybe you need a new sub system.
Hi,


I respect your opinion, but madpoet and HeartSurgeon have a basis for comparison. Since you and I don't have a basis for comparison, if I were the original poster I would be somewhat skeptical of our strongly stated preferences.


Like many things in this hobby, this effect is a matter of personal preference. I do not believe that an enthusiast who prefers a greater amount of infrasonic shaking than you do must therefore, by implication, have an inferior subwoofer system.


Just as subwoofers augment the range of the main speakers by delivering lower bass, a properly designed tactile transducer augments subwoofers by going lower still. As you correctly pointed out earlier, some tranducers will not produce vibrations low enough to satisfactory fullfil their purpose (which is to go lower than a conventional subwoofer.)


So the point is that even the highest quality conventional subwoofer rarely goes lower than 16 hz. Would that mean an enthusiast with a Velodyne 1812 who happens to prefer more energetic infrasonic power from their tactile tranducer than you do, must by implication, have a flawed subwoofer?


What about all those enthusiasts who like deep bass from their subwoofer to go lower than their mains? Does this mean that everyone with subwoofers that go lower than your subwoofer must, by implication, have inferior main speakers?


Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryChanin
What about all those enthusiasts who like deep bass from their subwoofer to go lower than their mains? Does this mean that everyone with subwoofers that go lower than your subwoofer must, by implication, have inferior main speakers?
Not at all, I was mostly kidding about the needing a new sub system, knowing he had the ubiquitous SVS that most regard as the end-all to low frequency reproduction. IOW, just a bit of ribbing spurred by the strange remark about how the Clark has some mythical delay properties that the Buttkicker don’t. Most enthusiasts don’t have their system set up properly anyway, and couldn’t possible have good time alignment between the sub system and shakers because they don’t have a delay setting or a reference (measurment system).


I have found to properly integrate mine I needed to use a programmable channel on my Halo C2 that will set the crossover to 20Hz and a certin mix (%) from the LFE, R, L and center bass to this channel, also it has a separate gain and delay. Once you get a really capable sub system (with truly low extension and output) that already shakes the couch nearly as much as the chair mounted transducers you will really start to notice the time differences, which IMO is nearly impossible to set properly by ear. I’m not saying that SVS isn’t a capable sub system, but for those of you who have only had commercial off the shelf subs, you really need to go to the other side of the tracks to see that there is another world of performance out there that can easily exceed the performance of store bought mass produced boxes. How much stuff shakes in your house isn’t a reference as to how low, loud or accurate a sub is. Lack of compression, group delay, distortion and ringing, IMO is. All boxes ring and smear just like all crossovers introduce a unwanted coloration in a main speaker system, everything is a compromise and my point was and is, in general with a tad of sarcastic humor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingdaddy
I was mostly kidding about the needing a new sub system, knowing he had the ubiquitous SVS that most regard as the end-all to low frequency reproduction.
Hi,


Sorry, I couldn't tell you were mostly kidding.


How about throwing out one of those cute winking smilely faces the next time you're just kidding. ;)


...Or maybe if your were aiming at proding madpoet on his SVS you should have used the "Stick our tongue" smilely? :p


Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryChanin
Hi,


Sorry, I couldn't tell you were mostly kidding.


How about throwing out one of those cute winking smilely faces the next time you're just kidding. ;)


...Or maybe if your were aiming at proding madpoet on his SVS you should have used the "Stick our tongue" smilely? :p


Larry
For some reason I've never learned to use them properly, every time I try it comes out perverted or something.
 

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Hehe, ok. I didn't take offense. The delay was noticeable, and not just when I had my sub on. There was a delay between the perceived bass event (like the depth charges in U571) and the shake. A huge one? No. But far more noticeable than I liked. THe Clarks were trying to play catchup. The buttkicker's response seems far more realitic to the event. I did have a very nice string of emails with the guys from Clark, and they were fairly honest about their product. I did have an issue with their claims of "directional shaking", and they finally admitted it wasn't really directional.
 

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anyone want to buy two barely used Clark's transducers?


I A/B'd the Clark's and the Buttkickers in a "in couch" comparison, and also stuck them in my sub-flooring.


my recommendation, two buttkickers and one buttkicker amp to start with...get it off amazon.com, best price i found. should be well under $800. you can always add more later if you want.


mount the buttkickers in your floor joists or in your riser joists(or even on top of your riser!)


I have a subfloor of engineered I beams (laminated wood joists, very long), and the buttkickers are bolted/glued into the joists.


the effect is sublime....everything in the room vibrates and shudders realistically. not obnoxiously. the amp runs at half power.


i did run a second power feed (separate 20 amp line) to my theater room, because of the computer and a bunch of other stuff i have in the room. i spilt the load up between the two power lines to reduce the odds of popping a fuse.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by madpoet
Hehe, ok. I didn't take offense. The delay was noticeable, and not just when I had my sub on. There was a delay between the perceived bass event (like the depth charges in U571) and the shake. A huge one? No. But far more noticeable than I liked. THe Clarks were trying to play catchup. The buttkicker's response seems far more realitic to the event. I did have a very nice string of emails with the guys from Clark, and they were fairly honest about their product. I did have an issue with their claims of "directional shaking", and they finally admitted it wasn't really directional.
Cool, I must admit however that I have never heard of directional shaking, seems unlikely unless you could hook 2 or more of them up in stereo off the main channel outs.


Wait, yes, you can hook up a stereo pair and position them in a chair so you could get directional shaking, think about it. Set speakers to large, Y adapt off each L & R main output to the stereo shaker amp, then put one shaker on the left arm or butt area, and one on the right arm/butt, Viola!


Also, you might find that the Buttkickers need a little delay tweaking to get the best performance. My experience of several upgrades to the sub system and different shakers has reveled to me that even my delayed (by ear) shaker system paired with a very powerful dual sub system sounded spot on until I went into IB land, then I could tell a great delay difference due to two things I can figure.


1. The new sub went low and loud enough to really vibrate the couch as much as a shaker can, now you really have a real time reference and can easily tell a shift in time between an explosion and the tactile response compared to the pressure wave from the sub.


2. An IB sub has little group delay and the lack of back loading on the cone allows for the sub frequencies to be much closer timed to the original signal impulse. Thus, a greater time delay introduced by the alignment differences of different sub topologies.


Which brings me to some conclusions about the whole Time and Amplitude domain relationship of sub, shaker and any component mounted in a different location.



Thing is, almost no ones (mine included) system is any where close to Time/Phase accurate to begin with, and its very hard to hear with your ear if one signal is leading or lagging if one signal has a greater amplitude then the one your are comparing. The Level/Time balance between a typical shaker/sub marriage is far from acoustically correct in any area as well, and is usually of grater relative amplitude then the sub, so you don’t notice a big difference in the time domain.


This is where measuring comes in, it can actually train your ear to identify the different anomalies of a multi channel system.


So some sub alignments will match the time alignment of a given shaker system better then others, but all are wrong by some degree, and if you measure and properly align you will hear an even greaten improvement in realistic presentation.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by heartsurgeon
my recommendation, two buttkickers and one buttkicker amp to start with...
I'll second that. I have two Buttkickers mounted under my deck (outdoor theater) and I use the Buttkicker amp. I've never had a power problem even feeding the rest of the rack from the same circuit. However, when I first installed them, I had the level set too high and they made a sickening buzz. I thought I had really messed up, adding these things. After 5 minutes of adjusting and taking the levels down to surprisingly low levels -- they are amazing and make a real impression on the guests the first time they kick-in during a movie.
 
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