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Audio Cables & Connectors Guide

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Mr Latte, May 5, 2017.

  1. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Confused with all the different types of inputs/outputs, connections, cables, speaker gauges and head spinning factors? Here is a short guide for when it comes to simply connecting your PC to amplifiers for tactile transducers including Buttkicker models.

    [​IMG]

    Common Factors
    • Connection & Cable Type
    • Male / Female Terminals
    • Couplers / Extenders
    • Length

    Note that some connections/cable types can be used for various purposes. Some may look similar but can be different. This will be covered below.

    The user has to determine what type of connections their amplifier hardware requires.
    Also what length of cables is needed to connect components. Finally, what length/gauge of speaker cable is needed to connect to the tactile transducers being used.

    A happy medium is probably the best way to determine what to spend on cabling. Some may be really cheap, others may look a bit flashier but still be affordable to the point you can spend rather high and even silly amounts on these required accessories.

    [​IMG]

    * Images shown are not necessarily recommended types


    Amplifier Connections
    Consumer Industry Stereo & Audio Visual typical amplifier connections.
    SMSL SA-98E shown:
    [​IMG]
    Binding Post & Banana Plugs
    These posts can be found on speakers and on the back of many consumer amplifiers. These are used to connect the speaker cable between the amplifier and speaker or tactile transducer. Many binding posts can accept a bare wire and tightened. The Bananna Plug connector is designed for a better quality connection and easy unplugging. However, on many products, these were banned in the EU countries due to safety warnings of someone being potentially stupid enough to try and plug 2-pin mains into them.

    [​IMG]


    Audio Industry / Music Professional Amplifiers
    Models like Behringer Inuke below, or other 4ohm Power Amplifiers will offer the following connections

    [​IMG]



    SpeakON
    Speakon connections are generally found on power amplifiers used by music industry professionals. This connection is suitable for the speaker cable and to output audio to the speaker / tactile connected. It is possible to find expanded variations of these but the standard "2 Pole" configuration is all that is needed for conventional speakers and tactile. However some "4 Pole" connections may have a more premium build. These can, of course, be wired for standard 2 cable purposes. More info is available in the link provided below.

    These use a nice twist and lock feature. It can be purchased as connectors/cable individually and the user wires their own cable to them connecting some screws. Quick searches will find a how to pictorial or video. Although it is possible to purchase a cable for the suitable length required with the connectors already attached. These usually come with good thick rubber isolation, to prevent interference and protect the cable.

    A popular brand for these cables is Neutrik and it may be worth spending a bit more to get a quality well-respected brand. Ebay and other places can be flooded with alternatives. The choice, however, is yours but do be wary of very cheap cables, yet there is no real need to purchase over expensive ones neither.

    LINK

    [​IMG]


    XLR
    XLR cables are possibly the best choice to use as an input source connection you want to amplify.
    On some amplifier models and interfaces, these may have XLR inputs suitable for dual connections that can accept both (¼)”(TRS) Jacks & XLR. These are both popularly used within the dj / studio & professional musical industries.

    [​IMG]


    Unlike RCA the XLR cables are balanced, which greatly reduces the amount of noise/interference they can pick up. They are also much better for longer cable runs. ¼” inch cables can support a TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) mode that uses a balanced signal, but often (most of the time) for guitar cables, they do not.

    Below is a 3.5 MM Male - XLR Stereo Male cable
    This could connect a PC Soundcard - Amplifier with XLR inputs (Behringer Inuke DSP).
    Pay attention to the 3 Pins that connect to the 3 holes. Also notice the extra-thick rubber protective cover compared to RCA cables.

    [​IMG]

    (¼“) (TRS) 6.35 MM Jack
    These were commonly used in early telephone exchanges and are also known as
    Phone-Jack / Headphone Jack / 6.3mm Jack / Quarter Inch Jack / Guitar Jack / Jack-Plug
    [​IMG]

    Male / Female & Coupler Adapters
    For each type of connection, it is possible to find Male/Female connection terminals.
    It is typical to find a soundcard or the source output (console) is a female terminal as is the amplifier connection input commonly female. Therefore these require a male-male type lead to connect between both.

    RCA
    Instantly recognisable, as the RED/WHITE or sometimes found as RED/BLACK style connection. A very typical STEREO cable. These can come in many styles and of quality but all do the same thing. These have been used for decades with hi/fi, tv, video, console and audio household products.
    As one of the more popular analog cable connections, these also have a vast range of adapters to connect with other cable terminals. The most common being 3.5mm Jacks.

    Below are Male & Female stereo terminals for RCA connectors.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  2. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    3.5 MM Jack
    A very familiar type of connection as this has become widely used in the phone/tablet and headphone/headset era.

    3.5 MM Jack has various usages in the Industry
    Like the above 6.35 MM Jack, it can come in different forms. These are indicated with the number of rings each has for additional function.

    The original 3.5 MM TRRS configuration was created by Nokia and has a pinout of Left Audio, Right Audio, Mic, Ground. Apple came along and changed their pinout to Left Audio, Right Audio, Ground, Mic.

    This is why many apple headsets will not work with android, because the last 2 connections, for Mic and Ground, are switched. The issue is with the hardware. The way that songs are skipped (forwards, backwards, and pause) occurs by sending signals down the ground channel (when you tap the button it shoots an electrical signal that the phone will pick up and interpret). The way that volume is increased/decreased occurs by sending signals down the Mic channel.

    [​IMG]

    Various Adapters & Cables
    There are many forms of adapters to enable 3.5 MM to be used and converted to other types of connections. Below are some examples. It is also possible to find a multitude of cables with 3.5 MM offering various/different types of connection on the other end.

    [​IMG]
    To recap, what is required depends on the connections your amplifier has. Most consumer amplifiers will use RCA input connection. Pro Audio will use ¼” or XLR input connection. Some amplifiers may even use a 3.5 MM input. If in doubt always check the manual.

    In continuing let's look at the most commonly used connections for between a PC - Amplifier.

    3.5 MM Stereo Male - Stereo RCA Male
    [​IMG]

    3.5 MM Stereo Male - XLR Stereo Male

    [​IMG]


    3.5 MM Stereo Male - 6.3 MM (¼”) JACK Stereo Male
    [​IMG]

    3.5 MM Stereo Male - 3.5 MM L/R Male
    [​IMG]

    *TIP / Always ensure you order a Stereo cable with L/R connections and not a Mono cable if this is what your amplifier needs to use 2 inputs.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
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  3. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    PC Soundcard Factors
    Traditionally PC Soundcards have used 3.5 MM Jacks for analog audio. This can be for both input & output of audio signals. These can support mono or stereo for each connection. For example “Mic Input” is generally only “Mono Input” for microphones. Connections like “AUX Analog Input” offer 2 channel “Stereo Input” for connecting stereo audio sources to mix/record or monitor.

    Common “Multichannel Sound-cards” support more than 2 channel stereo but with analog 3.5 MM connections are limited to only supporting 2 channels per connection as (L/R) sides.

    These Multichannel soundcards typically today are either 5.1 or 7.1 Channel soundcards with multiple connections. Often these will use a colour coding reference or will be named for the function of each connection.

    [​IMG]
    On many cards including USB types, they can also offer “Digital Input/Output” in what is called an “Optical” or “S/PDIF” using a unique “TOSLINK” type connector. Some soundcards may have what is called a “Coaxial Digital” output which resembles a single RCA connection that is typically orange as shown below.


    Common Multichannel Soundcard
    Colour inputs illustrated below, some cards may not be coloured but will just have labels or icons to determine each connection.

    [​IMG]


    Simvibe Software

    Simvibe offers support for upto 8 Channels but only 4 channels per soundcard. Within (Windows Operating System) this is termed “Quadraphonic”. Notice that as shown above the “Front Stereo” channels are “Green” and the “Rear Surround” channels are “Black”. Simvibe follows this industry colour standard for simple identifying of each cable. Yet it only needs the Green/Back connections.

    To be able to operate both Simvibe Chassis & Extension modes will require 2 soundcards to be used. Additionally, a user will then use a 3rd soundcard or GPU based audio to be the “Primary Audio” device within (Windows Operating System) for game audio over speakers or headphones.


    Sim Shaker Wheels (SSW) Software
    As a recent alternative software option for tactile immersion, this works differently to Simvibe in that it can support up to 6 channels from a single soundcard.


    Speaker Cable & Gauge Factor
    I looked up the official recommended “Speaker Cable Gauge” for the most common tactile transducer models. Take note that the lower the rating the thicker the cable is. I have seen confusion on this, with some assuming higher gauge is thicker.

    [​IMG]
    Using Standard AWG designations -

    12ga ... 0.0808" dia ... 2.05mm dia ... 5.208ohm/km
    14ga ... 0.6410" dia ... 1.63mm dia ... 10.44ohm/km
    16ga ... 0.0508" dia ... 1.29mm dia ... 13.17ohm/km
    18ga ... 0.0403" dia ... 1.02mm dia ... 20.94ohm/km


    Euro Standard Wire -

    1x1.00mm2 ... 18.10ohm/km ... > 18 ga AWG
    1x1.50mm2 ... 12.10ohm/km ... > 16 ga AWG
    1x2.50mm2 .... 7.40ohm/km .... > 14 ga AWG
    1x4.00mm2 .... 4.61ohm.km .... > 12 ga AWG


    UK Imperial Standard Wire Gauge SWG -

    SWG [ga(dia)] ... AWG [ga(dia)]

    12ga(.104") ..... 10ga(.1019")
    14ga(.080") ..... 12ga(.0808")
    16ga(.064") ..... 14ga(.0641")
    17ga(.056") ..... 15ga(.0570"), 16ga(.0508")
    18ga(.048") ..... 17ga(.0453"), 18ga(.0403")

    Conclusion - for most users the ideal wire is 14 gauge AWG, 16 gauge SWG, 2.50mm2 Euro.
    Do not get too concerned over using 14 or 16. I have seen some "MultiCore" cables listed as 2.50mm for the Euro Standard Wire / AWG equivalent to 14 gauge also. If in doubt check with the supplier or cable brand specifications.

    Caution should be applied here again not to perhaps buy the very cheapest but discern with common sense that there will be little benefits spending large sums of money on cabling.

    Here are official gauge listings from each manufacturer:
    • Buttkicker Mini LFE = 14 -18 Gauge
    • BK LFE = 14 Gauge upto 25 Feet / 12 Gauge if over
    • ADX = 16 Gauge
    • Clarke Synthesis Models = 12-14 Gauge
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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  4. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Common Questions

    Q. How to connect Buttkicker it only has a short cable attached?

    Let's look at some examples but first show SpeakON options and then Binding Post/Banana plug options. Although it is possible to do some soldering to join and extend the speaker cable for the Mini Buttkicker models these are all options.

    IMPORTANT: It will depend on the terminal connection of your amplifier what you need for the last part of the cable connection from the tactile unit installed on the cockpit to the amplifier. I will illustrate from the principle of tactile unit - amplifier for each option.

    SpeakON Option 1:
    Cable Method: A= SpeakON Male - B= SpeakON Coupler - C= SpeakON Male - D= Amplifier Connection*

    This enables extending the short Buttkicker cable. It allows easy connection/disconnection of the cables if ever having to move or to unplug them. *The cable end required for the amplifier connection will depend on the type of terminal the amplifier has. Using these SpeakON adapters, however, is the most secure and heavy duty type of connection possible to extend the Buttkickers short cable.


    Amplifier Using Traditional Binding Posts
    (Screw Lock) / (Spring Clip) / (Banana) Terminals

    Using the below 3 connections with a suitable length SpeakON cable going to amplifier. If the amplifier is of normal consumer type. Then either tighten the wires into amp terminals. Or if supported it is possible to wire these using Banana speaker terminal plugs.


    [​IMG]


    Once these three are connected if you have an amplifier that has standard speaker terminals (Binding Posts). It may just require inserting the end-wire into the terminal and tighten them. However some may support "Banana Plug" connection (check manual) if so, then consider buying quality but affordable terminals, like these Nakamichi. These can easily be screwed to the cable ends of r clean and professional connection.

    [​IMG]



    SpeakON Option 2:
    Amplifier Using SpeakON Terminals

    Best Method: A= SpeakON Male - B= SpeakON Coupler - C= SpeakON Male - SpeakON Male Cable


    [​IMG]



    SpeakON Option 3: Integrated Connections
    For those seeking an even more professional and integrated installation....
    It is possible to have cables hidden and connections incorporated into your cockpit builds. Using the same type connection, a user can install a panel/section within a cockpit build that contains the required terminals.

    With this approach, the tactile/transducers used would be wired to the on-board connectors pins. This then allows for a "SpeakON Cable" to be directly connected to the panel within the cockpit build without using a coupler between two connector ends like above.

    [​IMG]

    SpeakON Option 4: Integrated & Multicore Cables

    Depending on the importance of cable tidiness or having a professional cable organisation is to the user. It is possible to purchase the 4 or indeed 8 Pole SpeakON connectors and specialist "Multicore Cables". The principle is the same as above in having connectors installed into a panel on the cockpit but using the appropriate 2/4/8 pole configuration you may need.

    Basically with "Multicore Cable" it is possible to reduce the cable runs from the cockpit to the amplifiers. As one cable can support more than one tactile transducer. A 2 core cable supports 1 tactile unit. 4 core cable supports 2 tactile units. The 8 core cable supports 4 tactile units in a single cable.

    These options certainly require more d.i.y abilities and with multicore cables, a user may want to use heat shrink wrapping especially when needing cables split (far enough) for when connecting to multiple amplifiers.

    Standard Cable / 4 Core / 8 Core

    [​IMG]

    Example
    Neutrik 2 / 4 / 8 Panel Types

    So with this professional cable approach, it's possible to reduce a racing cockpit using potentially 4x tactile units to a single cable run. Or upto 8x tactile units from typically having 8x individual cable runs between the cockpit and the amplifiers powering the tactile. To now only 2x cable runs using 8 core cables and 8 Pole SpeakON connectors.


    Here are examples of multiple SpeakON channels via single multicore cable available as purchasable kits.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    To date, I've not seen any professional sim cockpits being sold or anyone's own personal rig go this route. Yet it is likely the most professional approach (most expensive too) and was something I considered for my own personal cockpit for some time. Just thought it nice to share as a high-end option.

    Q. How To Wire SpeakON Connector With Suitable Cable?
    A cable is usually wired as (+1) & (-1) but many people like to buy the 4 pole connectors rather than the 2 pole connector. This is quite a good video guide covering in more detail.



    Below is an alternative to going with SpeakON but still an option that would look professional using multicore cables but be more affordable...


    Speaker Wallplates & Banana Plug Adapters
    How to do a similar thing by implementing connections on the cockpit build but using more traditional "Banana Plug" connectors. The user can decide to use standard stereo cable or a multicore type option for this process.

    The principle is the same as above just that the connection type is different to suit more the "consumer market" audio amplifiers. There are many options for wallplates, including different styles/finishes.

    Here a user would add a "Banana Plug" to their tactile, plug this into the wallplate installed onto a panel in the cockpit. Then have additional "Banana Plug" on the underside of the wallplate connect speaker cable to the amplifier(s) used.

    This allows the user to easily unplug (when necessary) and makes an easy way to connect a "Buttkicker" short cable to an extended speaker cable run.

    [​IMG]


    * Important Note:
    Do NOT attempt to unplug connections when amplifiers are powered on as this could cause harm to the amplifier or tactile unit.


    Excellent Overview For Soldering & Different Speaker Cable Accessories


    --------------------------------------------------------------


    Q. Where Can I Get Such Connectors & Cable?
    Some links below as examples that will show many products available but consider buying from music specialists stores as they can often sell reputable products than just the cheapest imported thing available. Some will ship internationally but most countries should also have "music specialist" franchise stores offering everything shown here.

    Examples:
    Canford
    Maplin
    Thomann
    Parts Express
    Van Damme
    Russ Andrews



    Q. I Am Confused With Understanding Balanced & Unbalanced Cables
    This video will help...


    --------------------------------------------------------------

     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  5. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Much more in-depth and covering important audio factors inc frequencies etc. Specially selected for those interested to learn some audio science.


    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Q. I Want To Control Volume For My 4 Tactile/Buttkickers Easily From My Cockpit Seat / How?
    Not everyone will have their amplifiers close to their seated position. Even some that have, their amplifiers may not have individual volume control for L/R channels but only one volume control for both.


    [​IMG]

    Additionally most 4ohm amplifiers suitable for tactile will not have remote controls. Even those that own 4 Buttkicker Gamers unit/amplifers have to contend with 4 wired remotes, still awkward for each amplifiers control. Some older generation AV amplifiers can support 4ohm, with "Multichannel Inputs" powering all tactile and via a single remote control for all channels volume.

    However, an affordable solution for many people's current tactile amplifiers/hardware is by control/adjustment for the "Line In / Line Out" via "level attenuators ".

    Basically, a single small box with connections to pass through the Simvibe Channels and have this mounted close to the cockpit to act as simple "level control". The user can then adjust the strength of the "Line Level" prior to amplification. This works in combination with the volume level used in your Simvibe/Windows software.

    One example is given below of such an accessory, I would expect there to be several. This unit can be used for 3 different uses but will easily enable positioning close to the users seating. Giving control to boost/cut either 4x Stereo pairs or preferably 4x Mono "Line Inputs" from Simvibe soundcard for all 4 individual CM or EM channels.

    As the name highlights this little unit can act as a "Splitter" a "Mixer" or a "Passthrough" depending on what usage you require from it. I have not used one personally but this looks to be a rather handy little box to enable manual and "close to hand" operation of individual Simvibe channels volume control.

    *I've not seen people show/discuss these in any threads before but now you know such is possible.

    [​IMG]

    ART SplitMix4 Info
    Price Example

    * Care is needed with output signal volume, not adding too much additional attenuation avoiding possible distortion into the amplifier.

    ** A suitable cable for this device connects a soundcard with 3.5mm - L/R 1/4" TRS for inputs
    For output it will use 1/4" TRS - (amplifiers connection input type), eg XLR or 1/4" TRS or RCA




    Note: These will not be needed by the majority of users but are being covered to inform people and let them understand their purpose and usage.

    Pass-through

    Ability To Take An Input & Control The Line/Level Signal Strength (Stereo/Mono)
    Prior To Main Amplification


    Mixer

    Create A Mix Of Multiple Line Inputs (Stereo/Mono) Into A Single Line Output
    Eg: 4 Into 1


    Splitter

    Create Multiple Line Outputs From A Single Line Input (Stereo/Mono)
    Eg: 1 Into 4




    XLR Splitter Box
    So looking at the best connection type with balanced audio this device below for duplicating channels is excellent option.

    XLR Connection (8 Inputs / 16 Outputs 2-1) Or (4 Inputs / 4 Outputs 4-1)
    So if you want/need to duplicate a soundcard output channel for additional multiples of that channel. Here we will look at some options.

    Simvibe Usage Perspective:
    These could be used for various purposes, to duplicate any channel, to use on more than one tactile or subwoofer device. Also to use within my own preference for a (Dual Role) tactile mode approach.

    Some users experimenting with tactile configurations may want to have for instance dual EM "Engine Effects Channel" to place one on the seat and another on pedals, yet do this without having to use and control more than one Simvibe EM output also needing its own effects layers manually created for that input.

    [​IMG]
    Such distribution type hardware, will often have a powered source to ensure the signal quality is not compromised in the way (Y Adapters) may do so when splitting the signal. A single split is workable/acceptable in most users applications but when splitting/creating more, into 3 or 4 it becomes a factor.



    -------------------------------------------

    Going Beyond The Norm / Far Far Beyond

    Here I share just part of my own personal interest with tactile and my own journey thus far...

    Within my own experimental build, I have experimented in taking a single CM output turning this into 3 outputs for each CM channel, to operate over a Subwoofer, a Buttkicker and Clark TST. I then also monitor Simvibe output for each channel via a digital audio interface and professional audio software. Using in total 4 outputs, from each channels single output via the soundcard for a CM configuration of 12 units/channels and further monitoring of all 4 channels in realtime.

    Crazy & Unnecessary?
    Perhaps but as a "tactile hobbyist" for me, such exploration has been a long journey but enjoyable. I also have implemented additional EM channels with some mucking around of EM for advanced engine effects. It's very much an on/off hobby regards my interest, as I just don't have the current available budget to continue progress with the hobby which in itself all this messing around became. Yet it comes and goes to gradually become something potentially extra special regards tactile and audio immersion.

    -------------------------------------------


    Not Practical & More Expensive

    For Simvibe, very few users may want to step outside the "norm" regards configurations. Yet it can bring added potential, immersion but with increased expense and trial/error. This, unfortunately, is not recognised, promoted or recommended by SimXperience as they do not want to over-complicate things (more than they already are). This in one perspective, is understandable from their own commercial interests and usage of their own time and resources.

    So do be aware doing such is more for eager tactile pursuits or those willing, or that enjoy experimenting. It also requires having some confidence already in using the software or understanding tactile configurations.


    Simvibe Preferences & Options:

    This software has many unanswered questions regards setups and options that have never been properly covered and explained. What is the best way to make the most from the bumps and suspension, what about engines? Are their drawbacks or limitations?


    Simvibe Perspectives
    Splitter Function / Duplicating Channels

    One of the current drawbacks/limitations with Simvibe is not being able to easily copy/paste, from one channel output to another. For example, consider the multiple layers a user may have within an engine profile. These have to be painstakingly manually inputted into each EM channel you want them. Making changes or alterations also has to be done on each EM channel individually. So by duplicating a channel using this type of hardware requires only one EM channel in Simvibe to be created/used and adjusted.

    Each can still have their own individual control for volume output via the amplifier powering them, for example, one unit in the seat & another in pedals.


    Additional EM Engine Example:
    What if a user wanted to keep their CM configuration but add 2 Dayton Pucs via a cheap amp like the SMSL for increased engine rev detail in the seat or pedals.


    Mixing Two Or More Inputs Into One?
    I have found increased tactile enjoyment mixing audio-tactile with Simvibe/effects. This can be done via using your soundcard AUX input or via alternative audio hardware. By a hardware level it's possible to mix sources for an individual channel or all. I have had fun experimentation with this but certainly would not forget audio-tactile entirely as it does have some additional presence for effects and engines that Simvibe has not.


    CM / EM The Engine Factor
    Some users may not want to mix "engine" with "CM suspension/bump" effects to avoid overwhelming a single unit with so much to do and create a potential operational compromise. Therefore having "Simvibe Engine" effects placed within "EM" is worth considering. Yet also taking into account, that "Engine Effects" operating in CM, creates 4 operational channels of that effect. A single EM is of course only a single channel. So many people would likely want to incorporate more than one engine tactile via EM or by duplicating such via hardware discussed here.


    Smarter Not Harder?
    It's possible to work around "overwhelming" a tactile unit in different ways, Splitting engine and bump effects as mentioned above via CM & EM roles. The other is to do this based on frequencies, not individual effects.


    Dual Role Tactile Configuration
    This can be considered for CM or EM for an engine effects role or complete CM role.
    Simvibes output mixer takes all the effects on each channel and combines these into that "Line Out" for that channel. So if users have bumps and engine effects with others as layers for the same channel these do not go to the tactile as individual effects layers. All the frequencies they use are combined for the soundcard output.

    Still with me?
    If we assume that all those effects were using 5HZ - 100Hz we can choose via hardware to do 2 things in this process.

    A) duplicate the output into two.
    B) use a crossover to limit a Buttkicker solely for only the 5-50Hz lowest frequencies.
    C) use a secondary tactile unit for this duplicated channel, to operate as normal or also by its own crossover for only frequencies after the 50Hz - 100Hz range.

    So by this method is splitting the full frequency range that one unit is expected to produce instead over two units. This goes with my own mindset to use my Buttkicker "piston based shakers" mainly for low-end bass frequencies only. Then my own Clark "voice coil based shakers" for mid bass and improved detail/speed they offer over Buttkicker models.


    This concludes this guide....
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  6. asteroulis

    asteroulis

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    Great thread , thank you.
     
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  7. SOLO59

    SOLO59
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    Great useful info Mr. Latte! Thank you a ton!
     
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  8. rocafella1978

    rocafella1978
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    as always fantastic thread and info! thank you!
     
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  9. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Small additional update for "speaker cables" and "SpeakON" options now finished.
    Still some way to go in completing this, so appreciate your feedback and patience guys.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  10. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Updates added....

    Okay think I have this pretty much finished, please inform if something is not understood or needs more/better explanation. If you have good or further Questions these can be added into the thread....
     
  11. RaceWasGood

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  12. RyviusRan

    RyviusRan

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    You seem really knowledgeable about this stuff and I am a noob at this.
    My current setup has me using a KS8000 TV and vizio sb4051-c0 40 soundbar with wireless sub . I want to buy a Buttkicker LFE kit but before I drop 600USD I want to know if I can even get it to work while having my soundbar also running.
    I wanted to split the optical output from my TV with this device.
    https://www.amazon.com/Conwork-Tosl...d=1502160839&sr=8-4&keywords=optical+splitter

    Someone says both outputs on the splitter are working at all times so I figured if I plug my soundbar into one of the outputs and then plug a converter such as the one in the link below then plug the buttkicker into the converter via the head phone jack then both the sound bar and buttkicker should work at the same time.
    https://www.amazon.com/Easyday-Digi...qid=1502161045&sr=1-4&keywords=optical+to+rca

    Would this setup work?
     
  13. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    @RyviusRan

    Yes both of those look to do what you are hoping to achieve.
    Not sure though if the headphone jack will limit the lowest frequencies output as some units use an internal pre-amplifier for headphone connection. Though I don't see a volume control on this. Perhaps there will be no difference on the outputs but it may be worth having the soundbar on the headphone out and LFE on the RCA.

    I wonder though if you may find an alternative that offers digital input and twin RCA outputs?

    You don't mention any usage of Simvibe or other Tactile software used for cockpits?
    I assume you are for using "audio tactile" quite a lot with this. If so I would advise you to discuss the benefits of having an amp like an iNuke DSP 3000 and its ability to much better control frequencies than what Buttkickers own amplifiers offer. You can get a better performing package for less than $600 and have an amp that can power 2 independent channels if needed in future.

    Please share more on your own requirements or thoughts.
     
  14. RyviusRan

    RyviusRan

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    My Samsung KS8000 TV has two outputs for audio. One from HDMI ARC and the other for Optical.
    I wish I could have both working at the same time and just connect my soundbar to the HDMI ARC and have the buttkicker connect to the optical via a the convert box I listed. Unfortunately I can only use one source at a time which is why I will split the optical out.


    Also you say I should connect the LFE to the RCA out but from what I saw it only connects to either the left or right output. Wouldn't that mean the LFE is only receiving a signal from one side so it completely omits the other side?

    I was actually trying to split the optical out with a y splitter like this.
    https://www.amazon.com/Conwork-Tosl...=8-4&keywords=optical+splitter&tag=racedep-20

    That way I could still get better sound from my sound bar by connecting it to one of the optical sides of the y splitter then connect the converter box to the other side and connect the LFE to the converter box.




    Also if you know of a bass shaker setup as powerful as the Buttkicker LFE that is cheaper then please let me know. I've looked at the aura pro but those are not as good and are more complicated to set up.
    The buttkicker is easy to set up and you just have to put one of the feet of your couch onto it rather than screwing it into the couch.

    This is the Buttkicker I was looking to get.
    https://www.spectrumaudio.com/buttkicker-bk-lfe-kit-buttkicker-lfe-home-theater-kit/

    I do have a G27 setup and will probably get a cheaper bass shaker for racing...probably multiples. But that is in the future.

    I am also thinking about getting a subpac m2 for my HTC VR gaming setup.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  15. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    I had not intended this thread to be for general questions, more just for info, as I have created a tactile thread for all types of discussion or questions. Will continue here to get you fixed but would prefer to keep peoples queries etc all in one place.

    Okay some points to go over to confirm your own application and usage as you mention several scenarios. I will look into hardware options for you but do not think there is a simple single box solution for all potential scenarios. You're on the right track by splitting the Optical Cable and one for the soundbar. We just then need to determine the best type of "adapter box" for the transducer usage and consider the ARC option.

    I really need to have you confirm however if a single big ass Buttkicer is your best approach or multiple smaller units. This depends on your application, seating and general usage.

    Full Frequency or Bass Only Application?
    For movies or TV and shows that may have 5.1 etc surround sound, I'm sure your aware the .1 channel is a frequency restricted channel reserved for bass frequencies for a sub or bass shaker. Typically using below 200Hz for the bass rumble.

    Point to note here is that you can use a Buttkicker/Transducer with either full frequency audio (Stereo) or you can send it only the low frequencies of a .1 bass channel directly from certain source devices. This would be common say on an AV Reciever having a sub out channel. I noticed that your soundbar does not have this (damn) as it uses Bluetooth to transmit the bass signals to your sub rather than traditional RCA connection.

    I also notice that your TV offers no RCA output at all via its breakout box.
    So yes I see why you are requiring specific adapters.


    Sources:
    Music / Movies / Games

    Some people may prefer having full frequency audio from music or games.
    The issue with movies or TV is that voices/dialogue can feel a bit odd in tactile.

    This is why Buttkicker and other amps will then offer a crossover control to reduce/limit by filtering a source input using "full frequency audio" to shaking only with low frequencies. You simply then adjust the dial on the amp to your preference with the source or your mood for what the Buttkicker will shake with.

    With all these sources the bass is typically output as a mono channel, sure you can have 2,3,4 or whatever Buttkickers connected to a sofa but they all will be the same. Buttkickers own amps do not offer stereo tactile as it's not really needed in a couch/sofa type seating. However some people prefer stereo tactile in a recliner or office type chair as it improves music or other stereo sources, like games providing directional felt sensations to the seat/chair used.

    Racing Rig + Racing Games/Sims:
    Here is the difference when considering a sim rig for tactile. You can, by all means, get a good result with just a single unit. Especially this particular models capability and power range at delivering very low frequencies. Yet all the audio is mixed into one channel, it has no specific distinction.

    Firstly if still using "audio tactile" it's possible to have tactile units represent Stereo L/R.
    It's then even possible to have 4 units producing tactile over stereo in pedals section and rear stereo/surround in seat section. With these, you will get directional tactile from games, an easy example is feeling rumble strips on the appropriate side or another example with say a car overtaking you on the left. That would be felt in the left units. Music also can be more enjoyable in stereo tactile but again this works best on single seats, not a big sofa for potentially more than one person.

    Specific Tactile Immersion Software
    With software like Simvibe or Sim Shaker Wheels these operate via PC only.
    Yet these convert and deliver tactile based on the sims actual telemetry data, not the heard audio.
    With this, much more detail can be had from road bumps and specific elements like gear changes, engine rpm and g-forces when cornering. Here again to do this justice would be to incorporate multiple tactile units on a racing cockpit frame. Many such enthusiasts are using 4, 6 or even 8 units for specific roles or purposes.

    Usage Intentions?:
    The question I ask, is your initial idea for a lounge sofa, an office chair/desk scenario for sitting VR and gaming tactile experiences. Or even a way to disconnect the shaker from say a sofa/chair but to then also be able to connect it to a race seat or office chair in the same room?

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  16. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    This device I presume would allow you to use the HDMI ARC from your TV but then give you Optical output for the soundbar and Stereo RCA output for the Buttkicker. Avoiding the need to split the optical and with 2 adapters.

    You would connect the amp for the Buttkicker to the RCA of the adapter. Here all the 5.1 mix is condensed into 2 channels. You will then with an appropriate Mono or Stereo cable. This depending on the (1) amp you buy and if seeking "Mono" single Buttkicker installation or a "Stereo" dual unit installation with a stereo amplifier.

    If for future usage and "Surround" tactile applications with multiple transducers/shakers and if using HDMI based sources like a modern console. Then we also need a different adapter offering digital 5.1 - analog outputs conversion. This for having multiple independent channels for multiple transducers/amps.

    If however using a PC via typical 3.5mm sound card jacks for stereo/surround/center/sub this is not an issue. It's only because consoles do not offer multi-channel analog outputs and only digital.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  17. RyviusRan

    RyviusRan

    Messages:
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    Thanks for your help.
    I am using this buttkicker for my couch and it's only a single buttkicker.
    I will use if for games, movies and music.
    I do have a racing setup in another room with a G27 wheel and HTC Vive headset but that is separate from my living room couch setup that I am currently trying to use the single buttkicker for.
    You cleared up my question about how to connect the buttkicker.

    I have a high end gaming PC (i7 4770k and 1080Ti) and I would of normally hooked the buttkicker to it since it has a line out for a sub. but my computer is in another room and I have a 25 foot cable running from the GTX 1080ti in my PC to the living room where my TV is.

    My last question is about comparing RCA to a sub output. Is there a difference in using RCA over a sub output?
     
  18. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Okay, cheers for clarifying.
    Want to give you detailed responses and cover all potential aspects.

    The RCA stereo out isn't an issue/factor compared to a dedicated .1 Subwoofer channel.
    The only real difference is with RCA you will be altering the crossover via the amp used for the Buttkicker.

    With an AV type device, the Subwoofer output will already have enabled the crossover for the reduced frequencies to a set value within its menus/configuration. Your Soundbar setup likely offers this for the bluetooth connected subwoofer either by Hz value or user pre-determined presets.


    Better Amplifier
    Here is a recommendation but it does bring some things to factor in, compared to the Buttkicker package: It brings more options and abilities but with a drawback also. You could use this amp if you wanted to power 1 LFE on the sofa and another or smaller unit on your PC chair if desired. Just a thought to consider.

    The Behringer iNuke DSP amps are high powered, very well matched for Buttkickers and driving large subwoofers. You will find many Home Cinema fanatics use them in places like AVS forums. They are my own preference for tactile immersion due to all their features of control.

    The amp can be set to run in stereo or a bridged mono mode to let you drive this biggest Buttkicer to very powerful levels that will shake the sofa like crazy if desired. Take note to consider you may need rubber isolator feet if vibration noise going into the floor is a factor. Vibrations will travel unless you have a concrete type floor surface.

    The iNuke DSP models have specific EQ abilities that allow you to alter right down to individual Hz to boost/cut their amplitude and then save/load presets.This is much more control than a typical amp has but is not hard to do and it's even simpler when connected via USB to a PC/Laptop using the free "Remote Connect" software rather than the amps tiny display.

    This is potentially very good for the various types of sources as you can alter exactly how the Buttkicer will respond.You could have a preset made for softer response and late night viewing or a preset loaded for different moods and sources. This level of control also includes crossover ability but it's very easy to grasp as you can feel the changes happening in real time how it's altering the character and response of the Buttkicker. I would certainly help you go through this if you wanted/needed.

    The only drawback with these amps is the stock fan they come with is rather loud. For several years people have been swapping the fan for a quieter alternative but with no issues. This, however, requires removing 6 tiny lid screws and the fans screws of the amp.

    I even found a supplier selling a 2pin - 4pin converter cable so a new quieter Nochta fan can connect directly to the amp's 2 pin board (no cable cutting/soldering) thus it can easily be swapped back to the stock fan if any warranty issues etc.

    [​IMG]

    Links / Prices
    Behringer iNuke DSP 3000
    Buttkicker BK LFE
    XLR Male - Stereo RCA

    Rubber Isolators / Optional
    Optional Kit (Only needed if not physically mounting to sofa)


    *Possible to get cables in different lengths but linked option above is short just to plug into the adapter. For best immersion mounting the LFE directly to the internal structure of the sofa is recommended. If doing this you may need individual rubber isolators for sofa feet.

    The alternative fan and cable are not that expensive but I can get links if desired. 2-4 Pin adapter cable is rather rare these days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  19. RyviusRan

    RyviusRan

    Messages:
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    So the difference in your offered build is the amplifier. And the main reason you are switching out the buttkickers amp with the behringer is because the behringer model offers more control?

    What cable would be needed to hook the buttkicker bk LFE to the amp?
    Does it use some sort of speaker wire to hook up to the buttkicker?
    All I see are two XLR inputs and two XLR outputs from the behringer amp.

    The buttkicker seems to have built in low pass filters does this behringer amp also have this?

    I actually have a mixer from behringer for an ATH 2020 mic so I am familiar with the brand.
    And I also know of Noctua since I have a Noctua NH-D14 CPU heatsink for my PC.
    I have plenty of knowledge about building computers and computer parts. I am just a total noob when it comes to audio setups.

    Is there a better transducer than the buttkicker? Or should I stick with the buttkicker LFE?
    I have seen some people say the Quake Q10B is better.http://www.earthquakesound.eu/home-audio/bass-shaker-and-accessories/quake-q10b.aspx

    I have also seen your thread here. http://www.racedepartment.com/threa...ringer-inuke-dsp-amplifier-buttkicker.132176/

    About the smaller buttkickers bottoming out and how you found a solution for this.
    Does the larger Buttkicker LFE have this issue and if so do you have the correct settings on the behringer amp to fix this?

    I have also read that if you have two Buttkicker LFE units that it helps get rid of the bottoming out at lower frequencies because you won't have to drive them as hard as you would with a single buttkicker.
    If that is true I might get two LFE units and I think I may just mount them to the bottom of my couch on each side.
    If I am already going to spend around 600 USD I might as well make sure I get the best experience and spend a little more.
    Looking under my couch I see that the only spots to attach a board to would either be the spots I marked in a red "x" or getting a L bracket and attaching them to the side where I marked with the blue "x".
    Both sides of my couch recline so I have to be careful where I attach the boards.
    At worst I could just buy the kit to set the legs of the sofa onto the buttkickers.
    Image of under my couch in the link below.
    https://image.ibb.co/dTXR6a/couch.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  20. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
    Premium

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    Primarily yes, you have more control and these amps are well received in the home cinema community for working well at driving subs/tactile down below 10Hz. If you ever wanted to add another unit, even say a Clark TST model for the second channel this can be done. The Clark are better in detail/timing and for music applications. It is also possible to do what I refer to as "Dual Role" being a tactile enthusiast I incorporated both BK & TST to act as a woofer and midrange type roles. Using crossover control for each. This enables both units to shine in the areas they perform better with. Although Ive not seen or know of people doing this on a sofa/recliner.

    *As mentioned in here I have tested on a temporary cockpit build, very high end option, compromising of 4x BK LFE and 4x TST 429 used in this principle. Comparing these two units, the TST 429 feels smoother, it can handle better delicate detail and is superior in my view especially with frequencies above 50Hz onwards in their sensation. A moving piston based model may have some minor delay compared to a voice coil based model also but this perhaps is more noticeable in some music. Yet the added sensation the LFE brings in sheer depth and energy cannot be ignored.

    Although do note you can seek to alter the standard characteristic of the LFE via the PEQ to potentially try to boost some mid range bass frequencies slightly for more potential detail. This would really come down to the user's installation, how it delivers or absorbs frequencies and the users personal preferences with various sources. You may be tempted to try both an LFE and a TST 239 (still a good performer but not at the crazy price of the TST 429) and experiment in this yourself. Possibly take advantage of the returns poilcy at Parts Express and then return if it does not work out. Well just me sharing potential options for you to consider if feeling adventurous.

    I would think that a TST unit that could be installed to be felt through the back region/spine area of the sofa (as sensative to vibrations). Believing this would work well with an LFE in the base section for thighs/backside. All I can say is this using BK/TST units like this also works well on a cockpit by using a TST to increase the detail of engine revs, engine audio/harmonics, transmission sounds and gear changes. I personally use a TST 329 Gold for this purpose to go into my back spine region in my race seat. It certainly further enhances things.

    While saying this in the past in various forums, for me there is no single perfect tactile unit for all sources and material. Even taking the two best options in the BK-LFE and TST 429 we find they have their own advantages and short-comings to each other. Perhaps as a tactile nutter, in seeking on a cockpit the best possible immersion both in impact/depth but also detail, utilising both was going to bring each units advantages. Yet it's of course certainly not cheap nor practical or recommended for everyone.

    "Do you feel that?"



    14 AWG if under 25 Feet & 12 AWG if over.
    Speakon 2 or 4 Pole for the amp connection.
    The Full-Size BK-LFE can take the bare cables or Banana Plugs on the speaker cable.

    You can create, low pass, high pass or even a band pass no problems
    Then also apply PEQ or DEQ, and Gain control etc if desired.

    Thats good as I think some are put off with the changing of the fans, but its so simple to do.
    However their are it seems some people who go a little crazy with d.i.y mods lol. :)
    [​IMG]

    I have not had personal experience of the EarthQuake models.
    To my understanding, the BK-LFE is the best model on the market for the subharmonics in its sheer power. From memory of reading a persons comparison years ago on "AV Forums" they stated the Q10B was better for music in its timing but for movies did not extract the same sheer low-end energy.

    It still can happen on bigger units, but it's less likely if you are not driving a unit close to its max potential or comfort zone. This is also evident if having 2 units to cover a large surface then both do not require as much wattage as one, so the user can get a better spread of vibration with 2 units using less power. This also can avoid a potential hotspot if one unit is installed and used at highest volumes, it could feel strongest, even too strong at the point of installation. This would all depend on the sofa too and its internal construction etc but I think you get the idea.

    The DSP 6000 certainly can make a BK LFE bottom but really you don't want to be using the amps at close to their max to sustain good composure and limit any possible distortion. The 6000 has dual fans and is also much deeper/bigger case. I personally dont think you'd need more than a DSP3000 to run 2 BK-LFE. I have certainly had no issues on my cockpit.

    The source material is also very much a factor. Movies may have soundtrack mixes that at times will dip below 15Hz or even 10Hz. Not that often but on say Simvibe it actually can create as low as 10Hz and even 5Hz frequently.

    Here again, I point out the beauty of having PEQ control. For if you found certain frequencies at a set volume where causing an issue. Lets say 24Hz as a "Center Value" then you can reduce not only this frequency's sole amplitude to resolve the problem and still maintain the wattage for the full dynamic range. You then can also determine the "Q Factor" in basically when reducing/boosting a frequency how many other "Surrounding Frequencies" it also will be altering. So you can determine the "Slope" to be gentle or like a "Cliff" to only address the specific center frequency and not affect others. It sounds complicated but in reality, when you do it with the software you visually see what it's doing and can then feel it in realtime by using test-tones, if desired. This I believe is sometimes referred to as "narrowing" or "widening" the "Q Control" just like are found/used on many DAWs or plugins.


    From what I have read in forums in the past, those that apply a solid hardwood (oak or other) cross section like the BK instructions show will help spread the energy much better and will give much better performance than the kit plate. You could try 1 unit first in the middle on its own cross section. The 2 in either front/back of the center or 1 each on each outer seat place out of reach of the recline mechanism. I am not an expert by an means and always recommend that regards installation its worth trying more than one option and seeking some creativity.

    When you get tactile check out some of this guys music.
    http://nigelstanford.com/

    Hes rather famous in this area for this


    I hope its useful in your own decisions...
    Apologies in being so long winded with long posts.
    GodBless
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
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