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Simvibe : Comparing EM Vs CM Installations

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Mr Latte, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Okay so I still get quite a few PM from time to time on various forums, one point that keeps coming up and I seen recently here at RD again is if considering Simvibe what type of configuration should be considered:

    I will put a great deal of effort into this thread to make it one of the most informative and give a true representation. I promote others to share their own findings even if they differ from my own given here.


    Extension Mode (EM) or Chassis Mode (CM)?
    Not going to go into a full description of these here and assume most will have basic or general idea of the differences and what applies.

    I have however tried/experimented with EM & CM installations in various configs with different tactile. Below I will share some of my own findings and advice. It's upto you as a community to share and get involved or if its any benefit/interest but having this here will let me link others to address some of the questions I often get and need to repeatedly answer.

    What I would say is that both CM/EM can be very enjoyable but can also be rather different experiences too.

    If comparing:
    EM: Having tactile potentially felt in more body locations but with mono effects only
    CM Stereo: Having Stereo in one place, either (pedals or seat)
    CM Surround: Full 4 way tactile (2 for pedals / 2 for seat)

    *NOTE
    Tactile energy may possibly flow through the cockpit from say a seat into pedal regions dependent on various factors. These are most often affected by the rig design and materials, installation placement/method and isolation materials if any are used. Additionally, these factors can also be very much related to the power/performance of the models/units being used.



    Mono / Stereo / Surround Tactile
    I shared a while back that some people may not be over impressed by "Stereo Effects" in Simvibe. These coming only from Chassis Mode configuration using the "Suspension Based" effects on select titles. These effects are "Suspension Bumps / Suspension Textures / Suspension Bump Surges". I believe a factor for some users is that they maybe focus more on the general overall feel, rather than importance of having directional placed and felt tactile sensations.

    [​IMG]

    I certainly did not witness any other effects giving much in the way of directional positioning with the advanced monitoring hardware/software solutions I have used over several months and during real-time analysis. Over 700 hours was spent going over every Simvibe effect and option possible with testing done within Assetto Corsa. So from the perspective of using Stereo/Surround installations to my understanding, all Simvibe effects except the main suspension or per/wheel based effects operate generally in a non-directional fashion.

    In laymans terms "Stereo Effects" will let you feel a wheel/kerb response on the appropriate left/right-hand side. A left kerb can then be felt on the left of the seat/pedals assuming the user has installed either a stereo 2 channel or implemented 2 units in both pedals/seat using the full 4 Channel CM configuration.


    Considering Possibilities
    [​IMG]

    While entry into tactile immersion can be possible for under $100 let's go a bit deeper, for instance, what if someone was looking to get into tactile to a fairly serious performance level. Starting with 2 units or more but prepared to spend a decent amount in the pursuit of good performance.

    How do they best spend their budget? What is the best, how could configurations vary with a similar budget? Is it possible that a 2 unit system, can be possibly even better than using 4 units from an immersion/performance basis? What are the varying costs with options?

    I will use "Buttkicker Models" in this example, including my own preferred choice of amplifier, prices do not include cables/wire etc. This is being done as general guidelines on Simvibe possibilities, based on many questions I often receive.


    Buttkicker Gamer 2 Package


    [​IMG]

    An easy route into tactile immersion is to buy multiple Buttkicker Gamer 2 packages @ $150 each and quite a few in the community maybe have this combination. Currently all Buttkicker amplifiers operate in mono, so for Simvibe perspective only able to power a single channel/shaker. Buttkicker Packages make things simple in that they come including the shaker/amplifier and cables as an all-in-one package.

    See Here

    The Gamer model has a special clamp mechanism attached to the body. This can make installing rather simple as well. The community does have reports that this can help enhance the strength felt from the unit. It is unknown if this is merely a signal strength induced factor. One that is potentially caused by physical mechanical amplifier application in the leverage of the clamp arm. Which potentially is helping to produce increased felt output. Or is it partly, to do with claimed differences between some of the products (see below)?


    Buttkicker Simulation Kit
    [​IMG]

    Buttkicker also offers a similar package with this model.
    This uses the same amplifier (2 ohm) with wired remote and the same internal unit as the Gamer series but with the main difference to the "Gamer Package" having the clamp mechanism. The Simulation Kit does however, come with rubber isolators included.

    See Here

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

    Going Solo / General Amplifier & Tactile Options
    While not difficult to learn what is needed it is possible to get stereo or multichannel amplifier options if buying the tactile separate with alternative amplifiers available. Doing this the quality power, features, and specs can also vary or improve over the BK packages.

    Confusing / Want More?
    If you read this and want to see a thread based on recommending popular/different amps and tactile for various budgets. Or to cover cables, connectors, leads typically required then please say or PM and I will consider doing one. I do not currently see such a thread here at RD forums. Some new products have become available this previous year that could be interesting to cover.


    Best Alternatives On A Budget?
    For now I will highlight an affordable and excellent option to consider for those wanting to enter into tactile immersion, get good results at a relatively low price.


    [​IMG]


    At the moment the ADX tactile unit is probably the best budget option available. It is not limited in its frequency response range (important) like some budget models are. These ADX can produce an enjoyable experience with detailed tactile sensations at various frequencies. This model replaces a very popular model in the "Aura Pro" and is a bit cheaper to the Buttkicker options.

    [​IMG]

    For a budget amplifier search for the SMSL SA-98E Stereo Amplifier 2x 160 Watts (See Amazon) is affordable and suitable for powering 2 transducer units in a really small compact form. Typically costing @ $100 / £95 or less. Take note as various colours and also 120 watt version are available.

    With these options, it is possible to come in below the Buttkicker Gamer 2 price point which can also at times be hard to find available. This little combo is well represented tested/products within the community. It will certainly give a performance for sim racing, much better than some of the most basic and cheaper alternatives available.

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


    Market Leading Brand
    It seems, however, many Simvibe users have gone for Buttkicker models over the years or have used variations of the "entry level based design". These can offer decent tactile performance with quite a strong output.

    They come marketed in the form of several models....
    The BK Gamer 2, the Mini Concert and also the Mini LFE. Simxperience, sell a modified model with added acoustic foam known as the Mini LFE/SE model promoted as a "re-design".

    The "Concert" series was originally aimed towards musical/instrument applications and comes in the smallest/largest model sizes. These by the specifications are meant to have an emphasised performance usage between 40Hz-80Hz suitable for drummers and guitarists alike.

    Quote from user guide.
    "For musician monitoring, stage and studio use, we recommend using the ButtKicker® Concert which has more power in the 40 – 80 Hz range than the ButtKicker® LFE."

    The "LFE" series are aimed more towards the very lowest frequency response usage, known as sub-harmonics. These were originally intended for home cinema users.

    Quote from user guide.
    "For home theater use, we recommend using the ButtKicker LFE which features extended low frequency response for special effects."


    Unconfirmed?
    I personally have never seen detailed reviews/comparison and full analysis to determine if indeed the LFE/Concert/Gamer series have true noticeable or measurable performance differences to each other. As it could be in part, possible marketing for targeting different sectors of consumers with only minimal differences if any to be found in real world usage.

    Please by all means if you can share further on this enlighten me. I have often wondered if this is part of the reason why users within the community find a variation between the Gamer 2 (using the clamp) and standard Mini series models, mmmmm?

    For comparisons we have to consider the main apparent difference seems to be that "Concert" models and like the "Gamer" series operate at 2ohms while the "LFE" series operate at the more accepted 4ohm resistance. This would mean each requires very different wattages when operating too.

    *Finding 2ohm capable/supported amplifiers beyond packages that Buttkicker themselves offer are less common. Take note if buying shakers separately.


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


    Before starting some things I need to comment on.....



    The Frequency (Hz) Amplitude (dB) Debate / Only Minor Differences?
    [​IMG]

    You as the community can draw your own conclusions or share your own experiences. I do not seek to gain popularity, controversy or attain to be an expert on this subject. Just someone that has spent a lot of time with it over the years and delved into it maybe more than the average guy. Having also helped many in the past on various forums with an attitude of continuing to help or share with others.

    I do disagree with Berney Villers own views/analysis that he expressed on the operational differences with various tactile units are only a minor factor to performance in using Simvibe.

    Based on my own personal testing of all the models above but also several others too. This includes comparing both, piston and voice coil based designs over the last 10 years. Something I believe others also with experience of each type or with various models maybe can share via their own user/experiences and opinions.

    However, while several units on the market can indeed share similar abilities in frequency response/power. This is not in my view the case with all, nor the abilities and operation of the 3 main Buttkicker designs/models currently available and illustrated below. These can be rather different indeed wth both the power delivery and usage of the low-end frequencies.

    This will be looked at in detail in layman's terms later and the importance of increased low frequency (Hz) abilities from my own perspective and experiences from testing. You as the reader can determine if my views or methods are credible or not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  2. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    For me this started it all. It took a long time for me to consider buying and taking the 1st step into tactile immersion. So little information about it at that time from a gaming/sim perspective was avaIilable. Especially with this being quite a bit of money to import to the UK as an unknown and chance purchase, however after purchasing I was hooked on using tactile.

    [​IMG]

    My first ever experience of tactile was with the Buttkicker Advance model back in 2007. In 2012 I got my first hands-on experiences in comparing also the smallest - largest Buttkicker models with a varied range of sources to determine their full abilities.

    Small, Medium Or Large?
    [​IMG]

    Specifications alone, can sometimes be misunderstood or improperly compared and how they relate to real/world usage. Lets look at the 3 primary options and cover some of their specs in laymans terms.

    I present 3 options to consider and 3 questions, debating the various Simvibe configurations......


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Biggest Model / BK-LFE

    Dimensions: 5.375" H x 5.375" W
    Frequency Response: 5 - 200 Hz
    Weight: 11 lbs / 5 kgs
    Power Handling: 400 watts min / 1500 watts max
    Piston Weight: 3.75 lbs / 1.48 kg
    User Guide LFE



    [​IMG]

    Medium Model / BK Advance

    Dimensions: 4.375" H x 6.125" W x 4.875” L
    Frequency Response: 5 - 200 Hz
    Weight: 5.5 lbs / 2 kgs
    Power Handling: 75 watts min / 400 watt max.
    Piston Weight: 1 lb / 0.45 kg
    User Guide Advance




    [​IMG]

    Smallest Model / Mini LFE

    Dimensions: 3" H x 4.75" W x 4.75”
    Frequency Response:10 - 200 Hz
    Weight:2 lbs / 0.91 kg
    Power Handling: 50 watts min / 250 watts max.
    Piston Weight: 6 Oz / 0.17 kg
    User Guide Mini LFE


    Essentials To Consider:

    Numbers Game?

    One common factor is that people notice the frequency response figures listed for each model. Then think that each model will operate in a similar fashion. Yet they do not take into account that the internal moving piston that generates the energy/force is 10x TIMES greater from the smallest to largest model. This is also why the mini/max wattages to move a larger/heavier piston in each bigger model are needed.

    To the non-aware consumer, they can get the impression that all operate similar, except that each bigger model just has much more wattage/power potential to the others. Often wattage is looked upon as the primary sense of discerning a product and this too can be viewed with misconception with some seeing large wattage figures as being overkill or excessive and not needed for a cockpit experience. This also is not helped when people like Berney, express that his own "SE" entry level model is strong enough that they can shake his own cockpits like crazy. I dont disbelieve that comment but this can give a false sense of the units true operation and in fairness it does nothing to highlight differences or its own limitations to the other larger models available.

    Buttkicker themselves as I have found from their marketing department do not offer information on clear/specific advantages in the various models. Yet are we to believe their are non?

    Ahhh so here is an ideal point, in querying then, what's the importance/benefits of the larger models with heavier internal pistons in real world usage?


    Simvibe & Frequencies (Hz)
    The user can determine the Hz at which many of the effects may utilise. These are known as "tone generated" effects. Although this is not possible with "texture" based effects. These can use from as low as 5Hz - well into the hundreds of Hz.

    In general, Simvibe recommends usage of upto @ 130Hz. By the very nature of frequencies, as the value increases the bandwidth/energy within the frequency becomes less and less. Therefore typically above 90Hz starts to feel more like a buzz/tingle as the bass/energy reduces. Some effects can however feel more vibrant with these higher frequencies, one primary example is with high engine revs.

    In testing and real world usage however, the user may find very different performance levels and abilities regard the representation particularly of the lowest frequencies. For example below 30Hz whilst maintaining strong energy/force is where the bigger units start to show more potential due to the much heavier pistons being incorporated. Smaller units due to their design/limitations are restriced in producing the same energy levels with these lower frequency values. Remember lower frequencies have greater/increased bandwidth energy so these are harder to generate.


    Resonance (fs) Factor

    As a reference a bass guitar uses approx 40Hz and this is a common frequency that feels strongest on many of the most affordable tactile models. I have had this proven to me by dozens of people giving me feedback on their own models and tests via PM over the years. The reason seems to be that around 40Hz frequency contains quite good bandwidth, yet is still rather easily re-produced with a good level of energy using low levels of watts. Hence why so many models feel good close to or below 40Hz. This can be felt when a user does what is called a "frequency sweep" with test tone generators. Most commonly by using a "Sine Wave" either via online or specialist software.

    Example:
    Online test-tone generator

    My own preference, software application for such.
    Test Tone Generator


    Peak Performance?

    In several budget/entry level tactile models around the 30Hz- 40Hz point seems to be their "resonate frequency" (fs). This is when the unit itself vibrates due to the mass/energy of the internal moving component and how it is attached. A lower (fs) rating typically although not always relates to a unit producing better low-frequency output. For example, the largest BK-LFE reportedly has a (fs) of only 9Hz so quite a large difference.

    I have seen that Ricmotech list all the BK inc the "Mini LFE" with 9Hz (fs). Not sure if this is a misprint on their website or indeed accurate that "all models have the same" rated figure. The official specs do not list the "fs" figures within the website or user manuals. However we can assume the size of the internal pistons to the dimensions of each unit are factors to this rating being fairly similar on each Buttkicker model.

    From video footage I have seen regards tests for the Mini LFE it appears its "fs" is closer to 20Hz (as an estimate). Yet the community for several years, including findings from myself and others have reported on a spike that is evident @ 35Hz that may affect all these "entry level models".

    [​IMG]
    Viewed Here


    Piston Pang & Thermal Protection Issue?

    These Buttkicker entry level models are reported to have issues with the piston bottoming causing what is often referred to as piston pang with medium/high wattages. This seems to be related most to usage of frequencies typically under 35Hz and when wattage is too high. It is not uncommon for these smaller units to become warm and their thermal protection kick in until they cool. Something I am sure owners can confirm as in the above video too.

    The product/guide states:
    "Thermal Protection If the ButtKicker® is driven too hard (i.e. given too much power for too long of a period of time) it may overheat. For this reason, each ButtKicker® has a built in thermal switch. This switch will automatically shut down the ButtKicker® if its internal temperature reaches a preset limit. If tripped, the thermal switch will automatically reset after the unit has cooled sufficiently and then the ButtKicker® will resume normal operation. Cooling off time can be 5 – 20 minutes, depending on ventilation. While in thermal protection mode, the ButtKicker® may feel warm to the touch, but the cutoff point has been set to avoid damage or harm."

    [​IMG]

    Due to this known characteristic, I would consider is potentially a reason for the SE model from Simxperience using additional acoustic foam to help reduce this pang/noise and the piston hitting the end cap of the casing. Although they seem to market their model as providing better performance over the standard model. It may, or may not do such. So discern for yourselves but personally, I like to take any manufacturer/company claims regards marketing or website information with a grain of salt.

    This issue does not seem to be as prone to happening on the bigger models. While it certainly still can happen, in my experience not that often at all especially with the biggest model*. I presume one reason for this, is that owners may not be using the bigger models as close to their full potential/wattage. Again this is something to keep in perspective when deciding what models you want to purchase.

    * Excessive usage of dB for effects in Simvibe can cause clipping. The Auto-Tune "Intelligent Peaks" feature is designed to operate and rectify this by altering/reducing settings for any effects layers potentially causing it.


    Sub Harmonics / Price - Performance Factor
    These are frequencies that are below the general audible/hearing range of 20Hz and what can produce very deep or strong tactile sensations as they have increasingly, even more, bandwidth the lower they go.

    Often these may be called "low frequency effects" and are also very much desired by home cinema enthusiasts. Yet can require rather expensive/non-budget but capable subwoofers to properly produce them. Likewise with tactile, to properly generate these frequencies requires higher levels of performance or more professionally equipped designs and models. With Buttkicker, this is done via larger/heavier pistons with stronger magnets.

    In the Clarke Synthesis TST range, all models are identical sizes, so the top end TST429 model, uses very powerful yet rather expensive "neodymium magnets" over the lesser models in the series. The point to note here, which is common in all examples given is that to gain improved low frequency sub-harmonic performance, it comes at a price.

    This factor can have an impact on what then can be achieved with Simvibe and how various effects may be set to operate within the the lowest - highest frequencies, known as the "dynamic range". The key factor here is that each Buttkicker model in real world usage has improved performance over the other in operation and handling of these lowest frequencies.

    What Else?
    Point to note, not all amplifiers are equal as many struggle to deliver strong output below 20Hz. Some models even below 40Hz. The amplifier is a key component to avoid what is termed as "roll off" of these very low frequencies.



    [​IMG]






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

    For This Comparison / Example:

    Click each for info/specs:

    Buttkicker Mini LFE
    Buttkicker Advance
    Buttkicker BK-LFE




    Recommended Amplifier


    [​IMG]

    Behringer iNuke DSP Amplifier

    These models have been available now for quite some time, they are very well accepted throughout the home cinema and professional music communities as offering very good performance for subwoofers and handling low frequencies. This makes them ideal for tactile usage. The DSP series is unique in that it offers the widest range of features/specs at a price point below many competitors. Some of these features can be very useful for tuning how the users own tactile/shakers will perform. This is not possible on standard amplifiers and can bring benefits in the range of user control available.

    These iNuke DSP models will support 2ohm, 4ohm, 8ohm.
    Therefore no problems powering the Concert / Gamer / LFE based models.
    All can be powered by these amplifiers.

    Click each for info/specs:

    Inuke DSP 1000
    Inuke DSP 3000


    Unit Price $ Example: (These vary in UK/Europe and other regions)
    BK Mini LFE $90 (Entry level model)
    BK Advance $200 (Increased performance model)
    BK-LFE $240 (High End Model)

    Stereo Amplifier Example (Powers 2 Channels)
    Inuke DSP 1000 $200 (Best Amplifier for tactile under $200)
    Inuke DSP 3000 $280* (Increased Performance Model)

    UK/Europe buyers
    See Amazon and also Thomann
    Here

    UK Stockist / Bass Shaker Center
    Here

    International Buyers
    See Amazon and also Parts Express
    Here

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


    FINALLY THE FUN PART :)
    Which May Be Best? What Would You Choose?

    Option A
    4 Unit Installation / Full Simvibe Surround CM

    4x BK Mini LFE (Needing 2 Amps)
    2x Inuke DSP 1000 Amp
    $760 @ £650

    Option B
    2 Unit Installation Seat/Pedals EM

    2x BK Advance (Needing 1 Amp*)
    1x Inuke DSP 3000 Amp (Increased Performance Model)
    $680 @ £570

    Option C
    2 Unit Installation Seat/Pedals EM

    2 BK-LFE (Needing 1 Amp*)
    1x Inuke DSP 3000 Amp (Increased Performance Model)
    $760 @ £650


    Overview:
    Okay, with above we are basically comparing two dual mono EM options (B/C) compared to a full 4 way CM option using the most popular Mini LFE model. Important to factor that the CM configuration includes the benefit of being able to use all of Simvibes effects including the stereo independent wheel suspension effects.

    Options (B/C) will use, the bigger model units with the idea of one in each the pedal/seat regions. The main differences here are in the specifications of the different Buttkicker models and amplifiers with increased wattage to power them.

    This could be perceived at comparing two different mindsets, more quantity Vs more quality in the tactile being installed. 

    How do all these factors relate to Simvibe operation and performance eh?



    Questions:
    Please consider 3 identical cockpits with the above Option A / Option B / Option C being installed, one on each cockpit:

    What do you as the community think will produce the best tactile experience and what would be the main differences in performance between each? Do you, with these examples and information given on the products think the performance in operation would be really be minor?

    Note the cost of each installation isn't a massive difference. Nor is the price of these options a great deal more expensive than 4x Buttkicker Gamer 2 packages.


    Question 1 / Is more always better?
    How much should stereo activity/perception in the "Suspension based effects" be valued and the benefits of 4 CM units over only 2 units installed?

    Question 2 / Which way to best use only 2 units?
    Single units in both seat & pedals for two body regions or stereo installation with 2 units L/R in seat only?

    Question 3 / How different are the abilities and performances in these models?
    How do each perform regards various frequencies and the potential for different effects best represnetation?

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

    Thoughts and questions welcomed and please feel free to share your own views on CM/EM installations, err if you want...

    Within the thread, I will share my own views on the above 3 configurations. We do not all have to agree neither, yet can respect each others own personal experiences or preferences may vary.

    The purpose of this thread is to try and give others seeking to learn about such having a single place for good feedback from already users/owners of EM or CM installations with Simvibe.

    Lets see what response this brings?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
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  3. asteroulis

    asteroulis

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    Now that's a nice thread. No results yet, food for thought though. I have for sure been convinced that I am not going to use the chassis or extensions mode as such, but as individual channels for different effects to utilise my variety of tactile units.

    Yet, I am sure that it's time to gather your wealth of information on a tidy nice site of yours. Threads are scattered all over the Internet, with questions, answers, irrelevant questions, etc.
     
  4. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Hi, yeah other threads in various places, images should become redundant. I have stepped back from other forums as well. All my main tactile conversations/input from now on will be placed here on RD forums.

    I look forward to getting people's views on the 3 options above but it is also a good way to determine the differences in potential performances each option may produce. More in-depth look at the various effects can be done with each option too.

    To get stereo effects requires CM to be used, regardless of the model of unit being installed. Additionally, still currently I believe some effects are only available via the CM mode. This is one of the factors people have to consider or determine how they go about their own installation. Yet really there isn't much (up to date or relevant) information gathered in one place on this available hence part of the reason of this thread.

    I will await other peoples posts or questions and give this thread some time before coming back with my own opinions on the above. I can if the interest is their offer a breakdown of each effect Simvibe uses.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  5. Beef36

    Beef36

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    This is very interesting Mr Latte. I don't have any experience to share yet as I don't have any transducers yet however I was contemplating purchasing Option C.

    Does 1 iNuke 3000DSP have enough power to really push 2 * Buttkicker LFEs in EM?
     
  6. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Your welcome...
    On paper specs it seems limited but the min power targets dont seem to apply as one may think. For instance I can even run 2x BK-LFE units via a DSP 1000 model with sufficient power and well below full volume potential. I believe part of this is Simvibe having a good and strong output. I would, however, recommend spending a bit extra on the DSP 3000 for these biggest units operation, purely on the perspective of longterm reliability and less strain on the amplifier.

    More will be shared on the operational differences and potential of each Buttkicker as the thread progresses. Feel free to ask anything you feel is relevant or would like to know.

    Can I ask why you prefer option C?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  7. Beef36

    Beef36

    Messages:
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    Because I've purchased a D-Box motion system with 4 actuators which in my mind will act as the equalivent of SimVibe chassis mode, making the latter redundant.

    I'm still debating if SimVibe in EM mode is also redundant or not worth the cost given the likely small amount of additional tacile feedback over the D-Box.

    I'm considering Option C because:
    a) I'd rather have something stronger and turn it down rather than something weaker and crank that up, hence Mini-LFEs are not in consideration;
    a) I can't find Buttkicker Advances for sale whereas as LFEs are readily abundant;
    b) I read your other post saying that tactile feedback at lower frequencies are more apparent on larger Buttkicker units (ie LFE) and I'm looking for something that D-Box doesn't deliver; and
    c) I want the option to move Buttkickers to my Home Theatre setup should I find them redundant, and I want big LFEs for my couch.

    Cheers
     
  8. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    @Beef36

    Really good answers, I dont want to go off-track so to speak on the toipic but regards what and how Simvibe with say using the BK-LFE compares to D-Box would be interesting to learn. Always been curious of the differences from the effects possible, the power delivery of them and the ways to control/adjust them for both options.

    I believe Simvibe can have the upper hand with engines and the potential with good "user generated layers" of effects to do things not possible with the d-box immersion. For example, regards d-box, do all engine/cars feel and react the same based on the engine load, speed and rpm? Currently in Simvibe its possible to create a range or multiple engine effects tailored to suit the car being driven. Having an individual profile for your favourite cars that feels more authentic. Something I have spent some time researching with advanced learning of Simvibes tone generation.

    Also now with "Sim Shaker Wheels" available it is bringing more to the table in tactile immersion that isn't currently handled with Simvibe. So effects like the "wheel slip" and its ability to operate tactile like a GS4 or Geko motion seats for sustained g-force sensations may open up possibilities to combine with the D-Box generated tactile. Take note for years several cockpit manufacturers have equipped D-box systems with Buttkickers products.

    Versaro use the Buttkicker Advance and I assume they do this to include "Audio Tactile" which still can bring some things to tactile immersion that the other solutions dont. As examples, engine/gear/exhaust detailing direct from the captured audio of individual cars. It's possible to actually mix this audio tactile in with Simvibe effects to the same units or to have dedicated tactile for specific roles. Lots of options/possibilities to consider if interested.

    So by all means keep me informed I'd love to learn with you more, on your findings/reactions when comparing and potentially taking your D-Box experience beyond a normal configuration to something truly fabulous from a tactile perspective.

    Parts Express Ship Worldwide
    BK Advance $199
    BK LFE $239
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  9. Beef36

    Beef36

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    Happy to keep you informed on how it goes, but it'll be about 3+ months away as I'm renovating my home and everything is in storage.

    I take your point about higher end sim rigs being sold with D-Box and Buttkickers, but like many expensive toys I think some of these combinations are sold because they seem cool, not necessarily because it is the best.

    eg The top end Vesaros are advertised with 3 X 4K TVs. Sounds awesome to the casual observer and it's great bragging rights, but a hardcore Sim Racer today would probably think twice on this combination as it isn't practical with today's GPUs plus input lag.

    Nonetheless D-Box with and without SimVibe and tactile transducers is something I'm very interesting in understanding.
     
  10. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    @Beef36 thanks for quick response.

    I get what your saying and looking at the price Versaro charge for an Advance and the required mounting bracket, it's a nice additional profit to sell as extra.

    Don't however dismiss the detailing possible from some cars, even on idle with engine tick over. This at least is generally captured direct from the real cars audio. You don't get this from "physics based" tactile solutions. Also several kerbs/track surfaces from within some sims have no physics data, therefore again they do nothing. Yet with "audio tactile" often they can be felt.

    These I believe are genuine reasons to add some form of "audio tactile" in with physics based and generated tactile immersion. Both can compliment each other.

    Options to explore are never a bad thing, how/what users want is their own preference but really I would say that there isn't a single does it all "best in every way" tactile solution. Each has their own advantages in their immersion they can offer and drawbacks from their operation or controls.

    For now, need to keep this topic/thread based on Simvibe and options, possibilities it offers.
    Do wish you well for the future @Beef36.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  11. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    EDIT 1: Note: Modified/Improved some of the original posts with added details, images and links.

    EDIT 2: Note: More additional info, links, and images added.
    ----------------------------------

    I await Simvibe cockpit users/owners to give a response or offer some info from their own experiences. Do you want to comment on the above options?

    Possibly discuss various effects and share your own views regards stereo effects or others. How good or important, do they feel or enjoy usage of the full Chassis Mode and its potential benefits?

    Several of you out there have quite elaborate tactile configurations.
    Why not help the community by expressing your experiences, it's up to you guys...

     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  12. Beef36

    Beef36

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    Does the larger piston for a Buttkicker LFE also have a lag effect e.g. larger piston = slower / longer to react --> lag?

    Additionally does the added weight of a LFE adversely impact performance when mounted to the back of a racing seat?

    Cheers
     
  13. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Lets see what others say that also own the product, I want people to bring forward their own experiences and opinions.

    I would say its not a factor to worry about. For me when I compare say the two top models in the largest Buttkicker BK-LFE to the Clark Synthesis TST 429 (what my setup mainly now uses). I can notice a very slight/small degree of lag with the LFE but if anything I notice it more with some/certain music. Others have sat in the seat and not noticed anything at all so may be down to individual perception too.

    Ive not really ever felt effects were disjointed/lagging to the onscreen action / steering input or Simvibe effects. However I generally keep my LFE models below 50Hz via crossover from the iNuke DSP. Really cant say if this is a factor regards lag issues but I prefer to restrict the frequencies with the largest bandwidth or strongest bass sensations for these models.

    Does increased/reduced wattage help effect this, I'm not sure as I use fairly medium level of volume personally. I like a refined, controlled but deep/firm tactile sensation from the BK-LFE. Also my units are installed almost directly under to where the seat/pedal regions are placed.

    How do other users feel the differences of the small/medium/large models compare or indeed differ.
    That is what should be part of the benefit of this thread...

    If anything I would assume "attributed/felt lag" could be more reflective on the installation. Perhaps having increased by some additional milliseconds on installations where the units and the vibrations they generate have to travel to the user's seat or pedal sections. Again this may be very minor but you raise a good point with this question.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  14. Beef36

    Beef36

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    I was chatting to a guy with a lot of experience in selling sim racing rigs who advised the LFE was overkill on the lower back of a single racing seat, plus the minor lag due to the larger piston.

    I ended up switching to your Option B; purchasing a 3000DSP and 2 Buttkicker Advances because I couldn't fit the LFE under my pedals and I wanted the same Buttkickers on a single amp, plus this chap said the Mini-LFEs were too small but the Advances were more than enough for the seat and I'd likely not run the Advance anywhere near full power anyway, hence the LFE would be throwing my money away.

    I can't argue with a guy selling sim rig kit who advises not to waste my money buying the more expensive (and presumably higher margin) stuff.

    Note: I have a D-Box 4 actuator motion system so some of the larger Buttkicker's subtleties may be lost on my rig.
     
  15. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    This is tricky to answer without going into detail as various factors are involved.
    Simply the difference is the amount control the user has.

    1) Control of volume (dynamic range) of all frequencies as a single limited control.
    2) Having as above but also control output for select frequencies individual amplitude.
    3) Different materials resonate differently with different frequencies.
    4) Simvibe Hz / dB used, inc. combining multiple effects / multiple layers. These have an impact on how the frequencies are output.

    I would add, it's as much how you can tune what you use and how you can control it, that makes a big difference. A standard amp or included BK package amp is limited in this regard. For instance the power could be overbearing based on the felt force of specific frequencies. Reducing volume would take away the issue but then that is reducing the strength of ALL frequencies and not just the ones that maybe are peaking and causing the issue.

    It's not difficult but is such a useful tool/feature to have control of for various installations and user preference.

    Companies are not interested in selling more complicated solutions even if they may bring advantages.
    General consumers Vs Dedicated enthusiasts.

    From recent testing a few months ago with Simvibe profile building and getting feedback from 2 different "Advance CM (4)" owners I was able to discern what some differences in real world usage are and what felt good on my own "BK-LFE CM (4)" installation. It was excellent reference as a tactile hobbyist to have and explore with them. The key was discovering the "real world usage" or best performance frequency ranges in each model.

    Using pre-arranged and identical tests with optomised settings, they told me what the lowest Hz that felt good were on their setups for "suspension bumps". I was able to then compare that to my own. We did this also with an "engine idle" based effect using constant 5-10Hz and then higher to determine the general differences in low-end performance.

    How Low Can You Go?
    For me having also owned the Advance I am aware what it can do and yes it really is good down to perhaps 15-20Hz. Yes it will go lower but I refer to "feels good" limits here.

    In brief the LFE seems to have however a good 10-15Hz more usable low end that "feels good" and giving then extra thrill from that if desired. Likewise, for me the Advance over the Mini based models again has in my view @ 10-15Hz of real world usage benefit with "feel good" low frequencies. That would place the biggest - smallest Buttkicers in having "feels good" low-end performance difference of possibly 20-30Hz. So it makes interesting possibilities between A B C options.

    Anyone that owns these models is free to do their own frequency tests and report back with their own findings. I don't want my own views to be the sole thing to just take as granted.


    Limited BASS Ranges?
    These dont seem like much values but we have to take into account regards Simvibe many users are only getting "feel good" low end bass sensations between 35-60Hz. Only a 25Hz range. This puts it more into perspective. I state this based on peoples own tests and responses collected from dozens I have talked with over PM in recent years. This is the range many of the sub $100 / £100 models feel best as they are limited in low end performance and regardless what their listed specifications show. This does not mean they perform bad or cant produce enjoyable effects. Not at all but Im trying to describe and share views of real operating differences, larger or more upmarket designs/models may bring.

    I hope its some help...

    Yes the biggest LFE is extreme but it can be controlled and optimised that is the benefits with the iNuke DSP features. You will enjoy the Advance, most people do. Its very capable unit for most applications, quite a step up from the smaller models as owners I know of have expressed when upgrading and seeking a bit more energy/power than what the smallest models could provide.@DesKane :).
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  16. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Thread is open to others to share their experiences or give views on the A) B) C) above if they want.

    Update:
    I approached Buttkicker support/marketing department for some official information. It seems to use a policy of recommending the model/unit to suit the weight/size of the platform or item the units are being attached/installed to. As examples a small chair, a recliner chair and a 3 seater sofa.

    Having chatted directly with them they do not promote any major performance differences or tend to highlight benefits of using the bigger models to the smaller mini based models.

    * They could not provide information to confirm the "fs" rating.

    From an owners perspective, I find this a tad odd and a bit different to "real world usage" in what I personally feel from using the smallest to largest models brings. Especially regards the quality/composure and sheer energy of the lowest frequencies in sub-harmonics each model can produce. They clearly do not all perform just the same (for me at least) particularly with the operation of "Simvibe engine effects" and their ability to consistently use very low frequencies throughout the rev range.

    Others from the community are welcome to offer their own experiences and thoughts. I'd like to read what others think or how they would describe in what they have found.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  17. rocafella1978

    rocafella1978
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    i am about to purchase parts and hardware needed to finally get my TRANSDUCER SETUP! finally! questions are:
    CM?
    1) Clark's only/ BK's only? mix of 2x CS TST-239's? and 2x BK-LFE's?
    2) 2x iNUKE NU1000DSP

    or

    EM?
    1) 2x CS TST-239's? and 2x BK-LFE's?
    2) 1x iNUKE NU3000DSP

    and then what cables and connector and such would i need.
    does anyone know where to get AluExtrusion mounts for CS's or BK's?
     
  18. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    It's rather dissappointing the lack of input this thread is getting as I feel the EM/CM factor and what units to use is worth interesting debate. Also not one I have ever seen raised before to the extent of effort I put in for this one. The aim was to try and help others and seeking serious consideration/discussion with members including owners already in the community...

    Really it's about what benefits CM may bring in Simvibe's features/possibilities, what it offers in Sim titles, available effects compared to a user installing on EM. Yet with EM using fewer units and missing some of the available effects. Is this drawback potentially balanced in using higher end model/products for increased potential performance or even surpassed?

    Nobody seems to care :)


    @rocafella1978
    I have expressed my own advice in your thread to purchase 1 of each unit you are considering. Attach them to a simple chair for direct detection, test them in various ways and share your experiences with others/owners. Then use 30 day return policies several online companies offer to return what "you" least prefer.

    This way you can easier determine and decide what potentially is your own best way forward. It lets you feel a "voice coil based unit" to a "piston based model" and if you wanted to test by using both together in a Dual Role acting as one unit with crossover applied to keep the Buttkicker only for under 50Hz. I will certainly help in telling you how to do such on an (iNuke DSP amp). Is a twin set of units in Dual Role with EM a better way to go than conventional CM? One day someone may try that too, or share findings on it but one person is not enough to validate such with any real amount of credibility for others to drop high $ based on their views.

    Front / Rear Channels
    Keep note I have witnessed the front channels can be more active, yet some people have a view they don't need as "much power" for the pedals so perhaps go with smaller units for the front. In my experience, people often miss convey "wattage/power" to something rather different in units "low-end performance abilities".

    Peak Output Frequencies / Peak Wattage Limits
    A small unit at high volume or max capacity does not necessarily equal a bigger units abilities even at lower volume or restricted capacity. Bigger more powerful units, can cause comfort issues (as alluded to earlier by beef36 in how he was advised). From my own experiences they can require/benefit in custom tuning from using personalised EQ. Not hard to do or set and forget with the amplifiers I recommend but I feel this can very much be a user's preference thing and dependent to their rig build/materials.

    The whole concept of this thread is something to my knowledge, SimXperience, other Sim Building experts or even Buttkicker have ever sought after. To study, share research with the community, in doing detailed and proper comparisons for possibilities listed and in using advanced tuning optons/controls available.

    Unfortunately, the lack of response and feedback here thus far does nothing positive or helps others like yourself seeking answers.

    TST come with a mounting kit and this includes a metal riser with 2 holes to bolt onto surfaces
    These and BK models can easily be bolted to "steel plate 4-6mm" and use various materials to dampen contact noise under vibration.

    I have seen these in the past but never tried...
    Link
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  19. rocafella1978

    rocafella1978
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    I do think, there is a lack of interest, simply because it is the "unknown". no matter how much you explain it in detail, and even would draw a map to find the treasure of "transducers". speaking to racers and even flight sim users, everyone is not wanting to take the step in transducers, because there are no solutions really for users who are clueless. there are no off-the-shelf products to purchase, hook up as per manual/ instructions, follow software and hardware steps and making it work in simracing and /or flight sims and etc. wherever the application may be required. i have been trying to figure this out myself almost 2 years now, and trying to find a company to build the kit and sell the kit as a working pre-configured kit. (maybe adjust cables and what rig, but that's about it) depending on budget and requirements.

    so, to summarize, i do honestly think your posts are absolutely fantastic, even showing to more active and professional simracers and flight sim users, but everyone asks the same question: what do i buy for my needs and what hardware do i need, which one do i pick, will it work with my setup, will it work with my rig and who can help with the software...

    always comes back to the same questions by users.

    the only reason you don't see much feedback, is simply, ONLY a small fraction owns and uses transducers (simracing/ flight sims/ movies). simply because it is not "mass market" ready,the unknown factors or uncertainties in buying a transducer setup makes it accessible to very few only, as i said because it is a setup, not many want to risk getting. (because it is complicated and not easy to setup)

    at least this is what i have taken from endless discussions on teamspeak and/ or conversations/ communications with many other simracers.

    ONE thing is for SURE. MANY more would love a transducer setup.

    *** even for myself, would love to go and purchase it all tomorrow or better today! but i have no clue, what cables i need, what connectors i need, what else do i need, what if it all doesn't work? what isolators do i need? what do i need to make it work on my AluRig? what do i need to mount on the pedals/ under the pedals? seat? on or under seat? 4 corners? and etc. 500$ USD +++ is a lot of money for some people, sometimes a complete rig budget...at least my 0.2cents in this and lack of industry support/ companies coming out with solutions or off-the-shelf packages.
    *** i am in technical and electronics, completely...and utterly useless, that's what has kept me from getting a transducer setup.
     
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  20. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    If people respond or don't, that's their choice, although RD forums has plenty of members that could share their own input and experiences as they do have or use CM or EM via Simvibe.

    On a personal level to you, I have read posts and helped people installing Dayton Puc and them excitingly share how brilliant they felt. Mainly as they "experience" tactile for the first time and what it can do to heighten the immersion. This even with the most basic units. You need to take that first step and get "experience" of different options.

    The SMSL amp highlighted here and 2 Dayton Pucs can be purchased for very little money in "Sim Hobby" terms. Yet indeed there are so many caveats and factors involved, hence why it is complicated. I have started the "Cable Connectors" thread and have another coming covering all the "Terminology / Jargon" used for various things. Its my own little bit towards helping or sharing.

    No company currently sells an 80/20 or other cockpit specifically built and designed for "Multi Tactile" configurations or performance / beyond the norm. I still to this day find that a bit odd and I can't see "Specialist Professional" options that cater for it properly neither. 80/20 like my own tubing (test build) is very easy to enable tactile to be fastened/repositioned and tested/compared. As well as applying alterations or situations like EM / CM.

    I tried with this thread, using the costs of 4 Mini LFE and required amps to similarly priced options to raise some good discussion. It hasn't happened so perhaps time to move on. I look forward to see when/what you do to start your own journey.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017