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Buttkicker MINI LFE + Simvibe

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Stelios, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Stelios

    Premium Member

    Hello all ;)

    About 3 months ago i have started experimenting with tactile feedback in sim racing games.

    During those months, i have searched the internet for some information regarding the Buttkicker Mini LFE tuning and mounting but i could not find any help.
    I have realised that most people with Buttkickers are in the iRacing forums and i dont feel like renewing my subscription just for viewing the forums.

    So i have decided to make a thread about buttkickers in order to share, with my bad english, my experience in installing and tuning them and also my early knowledge that i have acquired during these days. I will be painting text red in the parts that i have some conclusion.

    I can post some pictures of my rig if people are interested in this thread.

    So, my setup:
    My rig is wooden, its the ricmotech RS-1 , with the add-on for the 3 screens. I have bolted a seat from a Honda CRV on it.
    I now have 2 Buttkicker mini lfe's in SEAT and PEDALS mode.

    Since it is wooden, it is really heavy, and from what i have gathered, the vibrations go through the wood much better.
    Since the vibrations go through different parts of the rig, for best results you must use rubber isolators in order to avoid lost power. I will get back to that.

    Amp :
    I am using a 2 x 200 W RMS audio amplifier @ 4Ω.
    It is a car amplifier, therefore i am using a 20A 220V to 12V converter in order to power it.
    This amp has proven more than adequate and after some quick testing, i decided to have its power output at around 40% so the buttkickers wont bottom out .
    This is mostly because, simvibe's output is much stronger and sharper than just an audio output, therefore the signal is much stronger. I believe that if i just used sound output from my primary sound card i would need to have the amp at about 70% and not bottoming out the buttkickers.

    Well, i am not 100% sure about the positioning of the Buttkicker in my pedals, but i am pretty damn sure that the SEAT buttkicker should go under the SEAT, and i mean ON THE SEAT CHASSIS. I have mounted it really nicely under the seat in the middle of my a$$ and the effect is great. After some testing, i had plenty of vibrations going through the rest of the RIG , so i have used 4x isolators on my seat and it works like a dream ! No escaping vibrations now !
    The 2nd buttkicker is screwed tightly on the rig chassis, right behind my pedals. But my rig is so stiff, the vibrations are kinda getting lost so i think ill have to think something better later on.

    As i said, i am using Simvibe. I think this is the best way to do it for simracing games.
    My favorite sim right now is Assetto Corsa, but simvibe support is pretty bad right now.
    So, i also play Rfactor2 and GSC2013.
    GSC2013 has the best support for simvibe at the moment, it is just great.
    The aim of buttkickers and simvibe, is not to replace the feeling of motion rigs.
    I believe, after some testing, we should use Buttkickers only to enhance the feel and the immersion of being in a car and racing around.

    Simvibe has some default setups for these games, but i found them really bad. This is also where i need people's input.
    I will post my setups for GSC2013, where all my testing and fine tuning has gone and i would love to know people's opinions.
    I have also found out that if you use many different effects in the simvibe software, the buttkickers will obviously get choked, just like the FFB clipping on a wheel.

    The effects i am trying to simulate are:
    Engine rumble
    Gear change kick
    Rumble strip feeling
    Track bumps

    I think these effects will help with immersion and the feeling of speed a lot, and they do in GSC2013.

    Here are 2 screenshots of my effects page for GSC2013. Seat and pedals. Since simvibe supports exporting the settings to a file, i can share it with anyone that wants to give it a try. But i am pretty sure that the fine tuning should be done differently for different setups / amps / rigs / buttkicker models.
    seat.png pedals.png
    I am really happy with these, sadly i cant get the same effect when using same effects in Rfactor 2.
    It would be nice if there was a knowledge base telling us which effect does what in each game.

    Thanks for reading my post and here is hoping we can all gain something out of this thread.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  2. Interesting thread! I was looking for some similar information recently as I've just bought Simvibe, an amp and a couple of Mini LFE's. I am currently building a new rig but initially tested the setup out on my existing rig. It's made from MDF with the seat sitting on top of a seat box.


    I attached both Mini LFE's inside the box and the effects were underwhelming. Even with isolators under the box, the effect was practically nothing.

    I wanted my new rig to be designed with Simvibe in mind so when I bought a new seat, I thought long and hard about how I was going to mount them. This is the seat:


    I concur regarding getting as much vibration as possible into the seat frame. The new seat also has holes at the bottom as well as the sides. Yesterday, I bought a sheet of 4mm aluminium and drilled holes in it:


    I then did a test fitting:



    I covered the aluminium with blackboard (thick, textured) vinyl on the upper side and wrapped it over the edges, purely for aesthetic purposes. I then attached the Mini LFEs and mounted to the seat base:



    I've also added some seat rails:


    I tested this out by placing the seat on 4 isolators. Wow! A fantastic experience!

    Re the pedals, I will again use an aluminium plate and mount my CSP V2's directly to it. It will be powered by a separate amp so I'll have full control over the strength of the vibration feedback.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  3. will the gto omega seat be suited for the use of simvibe and bk's?
  4. Stelios

    Premium Member

    Hi Tim, if this is the seat you are talking about,
    then it must be really easy to mount BK's on it.
  5. Great info guys,keep it comming. :thumbsup:
    • Agree Agree x 1

  6. ahaa, nice!!
    thnx mate
  7. Stelios

    Premium Member

    After the 0.6.5 update of AC i think the simvibe output has been greatly improved... can someone else also check this out and let me know ? :D I think its pretty great now (although limited in options)
  8. I would but I'm in the midst of building my new rig. Damn! I'd be interested to hear about improvements also.
  9. Question for you guys, Picked up a Simulator kit from buttkicker the other day and ive tried 3 different mounting position's and i hate to say it, but the Good ol BKG2 on the Socket trick Directly in to the seat bolt has Absolutely BLOWN away the sim kit which im absolutely baffled by. 2 shaker's should shake a LOT more than a Single shaker.

    here's what ive tried so far and each mount has been tried in Stereo and Mono mode (Yes Wired correct polarity) Unless the White is Ground and Black is Positive then i have it backwards but as long as both are the same it should be moot.

    First try was thinking along the lines of the Socket mount, Use the seat bolt but this hardly gave Any Feedback and i had a distinct rattle or Something from the left hand side.


    Next was a Piece of Angle L that I used M4 bolts to hold in place. Again Very little feedback and the rattle was still on the left hand side.


    So i went to a mount style ive seen before on Rig's and seat frames. Again Very little feedback ( albeit more than the first 2 mounts) But Im Seriously at a loss here as to what the heck is going on. Yes you can see this is a 2dof seat mover seat frame but ive gone back to back with the Gamer2 hooked up to the "socket" and there's NO Question there's either something wrong with my Sim kit or Im missing something completely.



    Upon closer inspection it appears the Shaker on the Left side has a Cracked mount, Maybe that's the rattle im hearing but that does not say anything for the lack of Shaking. Also on the latest testing in bridged mono mode the Shaker's started getting abnormally warm (BKG2 Never gets warm even when the Clipping light is going) Also the Amp started "clicking" and half cutting in and out. Uff, Now what.
  10. Leemstradamus

    Mid pack attack!

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  11. I can't help you much at this point but I did just pick up two of the Aura Pro shakers and a 70w subwoofer amp. I have only had them for a day and just started testing within Windows - sound card controls, playing low frequency wav files. I plan to pick up SimVibe if I can determine if the hardware I have will work. Without an evaluation version of SimVibe it's hard to tell what hardware will be sufficient.

    Note, so far I can't tell if what I am feeling from the Aura's is normal because of a number of other variables:
    1) Mounting method and isolation of the shakers
    2) Windows audio gain from sound card. I normally ran my external computer speakers at approximately 50% gain and Windows gain at approximately 15-20%.
    3) Dayton 70w subwoofer amp. Is this enough?

    To get what I would think would be a good vibration I need to set my Dayton amp at 100% gain and the Windows audio level at 50%. This is with my speakers off for testing just the Aura's.

    I hate to spend $80 on SimVibe only to realize I am need to invest even more for a more powerful amp, a different audio card, or different shakers. These Aura's are listed as 50W RMS, but do I need a 150w amp to power sufficiently without turning up the audio output gain to 60-70%.

    In addition, one area that I am still somewhat confused on... The SimVibe guides only talk of amplifiers, nothing about high vs low frequency output. I originally tried an 100w RMS AV amp I had lying around but I couldn't get the Aura's to do much of anything. I believe this is because an AV amp is filtering - not passing the low frequencies to the high frequency speaker outputs but I can't confirm and I am not an audio expert. Is an amp an amp..., or can high frequenting outputs even be used with SimVibe...

    So many variables...
  12. Leemstradamus

    Mid pack attack!

    Not sure but I would think with whatever hardware you get your still going to need the simvibe software. So the cost you can't get around. I almost pulled the trigger on a setup for it last night but I am going to have to wait till August to get the hardware.
  13. YAY a Solution has been found. After another conversation with tech support, Andrew luden really understood this was a very unique situation and is willing to swap out my LFE mounts for Gamer mounts.

    THANK YOU BUTTKICKER for making this right.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. Should get some MORE shake Now lol



    PS thanks Andrew
    • Like Like x 4
  15. Wow.. one would almost consider wearing a kidney support belt... ;)
    • Haha Haha x 2
  16. I have the ButtKicker gamer 2. Would this simVibe software work with it or would I need to buy another one or even 2 more ButtKickers. I have my ButtKicker setup under my seat on my racing rig. Thanks Paul
  17. Yes, it will work with it. You will need 2 sound cards/sources for it to work though.

    You can add more amps and transducers/Buttkickers at a later date to augment the setup if you wish.
  18. As I have stated above in my post Reply I have the ButtKicker gamer 2. With SimVibe how many channels can I use with only one ButtKicker. At present I can only feel the curbes when my wheel runs over them, Will SimVibe let me feel more than just one channel.
  19. Whilst being sim dependent, there are a number of 'effects' that the software can simulate (not all effects are available for all sims). These include things such as Engine Revs, Shift Changes, Road Texture, Road Bumps etc. These effects are tunable allowing you to modify the strength of the output. All selected effects can be output to a single channel so if you're only using one Buttkicker, you will still feel all the effects through it. So, in answer to your question, yes.
  20. Thanks Jeremy.
    Now where do I buy SimVibe from, I have no idea.