ADX Maximus with SimVibe review (first impressions)

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by SOLO59, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. SOLO59


    Hello RD members and visitors! Today, I will be reviewing the ADX Maximus Tactile Bass Transducer. A bass shaker/tactile transducer is a device that takes in data from audio/sound, and outputs low bass frequencies onto a surface such as a platform or chair. As a result, people can feel the vibrations from their music, videos and games.

    Like the ADX Maximus, they're other well known options available on the market such as Dayton Pucks, AuraSound AST-2B-4 Pro, Butkickers, Clark Synthesis...
    When I first thought of the idea of getting into tactile transducers with sim racing, I certainly went through a few options before making my final decision.
    I first layed my eye's on the Butkicker Simulation Kit. But it was sold out, plus I wasn't very confident in some of the reviews I came across during my research.
    Then the more affordable but less powerful AuraSound shakers stole the spot light for me. They look kind of weird but in a cool way. They have a good reputation for being strong and durable, produce good strong results and was certainly in my price range. However, there was another option available at a slightly higher price, but a newer model and looks beautiful! Altough, the way most people will permanently mount them is somewhere out of sight. Still.... nevertheless they look stunning imho. So I went for the ADX.

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    Below, is all the hardware and software I purchased for the bass shaker/sim racing experience:

    ADX Maximus Transducer x2

    SMSL SA-98E 2x 160w Stereo

    16 guage copper Speaker Wire

    3.5 mm stereo jack to 2 RCA phono plugs

    SimVibe (Sim Commander 4) software

    Please note, my amp only came with a 2 pin/prong power cable. A 3 pin/prong power cable is recommended to power something like an amp. I bought a used 16 awg 3 pin/prong power cable from my local electronics store. Didn't even bother with the original power cable.

    Mounting these brand new pretty blue babies!
    My racing rig is half DIY and the other half pre built. My wheel stand is the Next Level Wheel Stand with a Thrustmaster TX wheel and T3PA Pro pedals mounted to it.
    The DIY portion of my rig is the base for which my racing seat is mounted to. I made the base out of 2x4 wood (cut into four pieces), and mount the racing seat onto it. Real easy to make. Got the idea from a ISRTV youtube video. But they made the wheel stand too, but I prefer the accuracy and customization of a professionally made wheel stand.

    Underneath my racing seat, contains only a steel frame with foam. No solid metal or wooden frame that would allow me to mount the shakers to.
    But with the use of some zip ties...? Yes zip ties! I didn't think this would work because of the ADX's weight and vibrations, but I read online about someone using zip ties to mount a piece of wood underneath their chair. It is probably best to have the shakers mounted in a way that your body will have direct contact with the vibrations.
    This solution would provide that same experience. So I mounted the shakers onto some wood first, using 8 #8 wood screws. Drilled a hole in each corner of the wood and threaded a zip tie through each hole. After that, I was able to easily "zip tie" the board against the bottom of my seat. Voila! It actually worked out just fine.

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    My ADX'S are mounted side by side (left & right), which will allow me to use them in "chassis mode" from within the SimVibe software. Therefore, I can feel the left side of the car as well as the right side. If I wanted to, I could mount one shaker under the pedals and the other under my seat and set them up in "extensions mode" from within the SimVibe software, but I was more interested in a left and right configuration.

    Isolating a platform that your chair or sim rig sits on is extremely important, especially if your setup is on wooden floor, in an apartment building or on the second level of a house. Isolating your setup regardless, will help keep the vibrations contained. If not, the vibrations from the shakers may feel lost and will disturb your family at home and maybe even your neighbors. I first initially mounted my shakers that were positioned under my seat, but they were instead mounted directly to my wooden base part of my rig. That ended up failing terribly! While I was excited to see them work as that was my first time powering them on and testing, at the same time loud vibrations went straight through the floor and minimal vibration was felt through my seat. So again, proper isolation should not be overlooked.

    Rubber isolators are highly recommended for the job! You can purchase something like these online from
    I'm using these.
    I found these laying around, and decided to give them a go. They feel very strong and durable. I figured since rubber isolators are just rubber (but good solid rubber though) these would work just fine.

    I've cut all the rubbers into small rectangles in groups of 3's. Then drilled a wooden board onto the bottom of my rig (about 1 cm thick or so) that serves as a platform. Lastly, I drilled two thin rubber anti vibration floor mats onto the bottom of my entire rig to also assist with containing the vibrations.
    Using these isolation methods proved solid results. Vibrations are not ponding through the floor. They are exceptionally well contained mainly to my seat and some spread out to the rig.
    20170315_110924 (2).jpg
    3 stacks of rubber mounted for isolation shown above


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    Now the amplifier comes in to play. I'm not very handy when it comes to wiring. I should have used banana plugs as that would have saved me so much time! Basically, I'm not very good at wiring speakers, but I managed to wire the shakers to the amplifier with the 16 gauge copper speaker wire successfully in just under an hour!:whistling: Then, using the 3.5 mm stereo jack to 2 RCA mono plugs cable, I connected the amp (rca plugs) to the green audio port at the back of my PC (3.5 mm jack).
    With the aid of a cheap usb sound card, my headphones are now connected to my PC as well. In my audio Windows settings, my headphones are set to default audio device and the SMSL amp is set as default communication device. All audio enhancements turned off.
    The SimVibe software was easy to download, install and run.
    20170315_142323 (2).jpg

    Now that everything is mounted, installed and my racing rig is reconstructed back together, first impressions underway!
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    ADX Maximus with Automobilista

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    This is one of my top 2 favorite racing sims to play. It was the first sim I bought on PC back in 2011 when it was titled as "Game Stock Car." The Stock Car V8 and the FClassic @Interlogos were my go-to car/track combos racing with my trusty old G27.
    Now the game has grown to AMS and so has my sim racing gear, including the newest addition of the ADX Maximus.
    I am only using 5 effects for the AMS profile within the SimVibe software that includes; engine vibrations (two layers), gear change (two layers), engine vibration with harmonics and load, impact and front suspension bump surges.
    These are all the effects I need to get a very satisfying experience from the use of two shakers. Of course, I tested ALL the effects one by one, but I think I found the sweet spot with the effects I have chosen.
    Driving the F309 car around Floripa was just absolutely crazy! Wow wow wow wow! The ADX's, SimVibe and AMS goes perfectly together like "Jerk chicken with rice & peas!"
    Seriously though, hearing the engine blazing through my headphones and feeling the exact same thing through vibrational effects coming from my seat was just amazing. AMS does a fabulous job with road bumps. I thought feeling the bumps through my wheel was immersive enough. But now with the shakers and SimVibes accurate effects; I'm able to feel the bumps from my wheel and seat are completely in-sync. Simulating the feel of driving a real car on a real track.
    AMS with SimVibe, gotta love it!

    ADX Maximus with Race Room Racing Experience
    So I began using SimVibe with AMS first, so I duplicated my AMS profile for R3E and simply changed the name and game launcher to R3E. In the new profile, I set the high and low rpm level to match the car I wanted to drive (P2 Radical @ Silverstone) and left everything else the same as my AMS profile.
    But ran into a problem with not feeling any road/suspension bumps. So I alt tabbed out to SimVibe, and discovered that R3E did not support the front suspension bump surges effect that is available in the profile I was using in AMS. In fact, compared to AMS, R3E has less effects to play with. With AMS, you have to scroll down to find more effects. R3E, you can see all the effects without the need to scroll down at all. But the other 4 effects I am using all work well with R3E.
    So I tested some of the other effects for road bumps. I decided to go with vertical texture effect. I still felt bumps on the road and it blended nicely with the other effects, and holy smokes this is crazy! INSTANTLY, my favorite effect in this sim is easily the engine vibrations! R3E has really good solid engine vibrations that is felt through my TX. Even when I had my G27, it brought that wheel to life! I love the acceleration feel coming from my wheel, but now, being able to feel the same engine vibrations from my wheel and as well as my seat is one epic sensational drive! All 5 SimVibe effects feel very positive and accurate with R3E. R3E, SimVibe and the ADX's goes perfectly together like "ackee and saltfish with fried dumpling!"

    SimVibe software combined with bass shaker(s) will bring your sim to life no doubt! Best upgrade I have ever made to my racing setup hands down! Words cannot describe the feeling from the ADX Maximus shakers, one must try it for themselves. I mean, the feeling of driving into slow corners and then steadily accelerating and shifting through the gears. Damn, those vibrations from the engine at low rpm is absolute heaven.
    After running the AMS F309 @ Floripa club race recently, I was surprised that the ADX's, the amp and the power brick for the amp just felt normal to the touch. ADX's felt almost unused... I practiced for almost 2 hours before the race then gave my equipment a 20 minute brake. Then I jumped online into the race weekend with the AMS club event (practice, qualify and race. But I was 15 minutes late for practice). I've read online about people overheating amps and shakers. So I went on the safe side with 100% copper 16 gauge speaker wire, a proper 3 pin/prong 16 awg power cable and an amp with more than enough power for my ADX's.
    I mentioned I was late for official practice for the club race. That was because I was having issues with teamspeak. I was hearing everyones voices through the ADX's, which was not pleasant at all. So I played around with windows settings, but still the same result persisted. I finally looked in the teamspeak settings and noticed the speakers for teamspeak was set on default. I changed it to my headphones that uses the USB sound card. That fixed the issue, and I was able to hear in game audio as well as teamspeak in my headphones. I think my mic was working, but I never say much on teamspeak anyway.
    My AMS and R3E profiles are all the same except for rpm levels and one different effect than each other. So far, jumping from car to car, all effects "to me" generally feel the same or at least very similar. If anything, all that I personally need to adjust are the rpm levels and the volume on my amp when switching to a different car. Well, for tuning each cars' correct rpm level is easy, timeless and a one time setup. I don't think I will be spending much time with each car to get a certain specific feeling. Maybe for a couple of select cars I may want to experiment with. But time isn't as friendly as it used to be. So for now, using duplicates of one profile for use with AMS and R3E (with the above minor changes) serves me perfectly fine. Of course, as I continue to learn the software, I know I can further improve my SimVibe experience.

    Still can't believe I went all these years, completely missing out on this special enhancement for sim racing.
    With my current race setup at home, I am now very pleased with my sim racing gear. Only thing I'm missing is a load cell brake mod. But the conical brake mod will have to do for now. With my
    Trackir, ultrawide 34 inch monitor, simvibe and my overall setup, I'm right at home!
    Yes yes VR VR.... I know, but I'm just not ready yet.

    I highly recommend the ADX Maximus. Great price and build quality as well as strong and durable. The SimVibe software is a bit pricey, but offers a lot and it is a complete package that drives your shakers, motion simulator and allows you to create your own custom dashboard display. No regrets and worth every penny. ADX Maximus and SimVibe gets a perfect 10 out of 10 for blowing me away!

    I'm thinking of expanding my setup from 2 ADX's to four shakers and take advantage of a full Chassis Mode setup. Already thought this through; keeping my ADX'S under my seat, but this time use them for rear left & right effects. Then, get another 2 channel amp, and two Dayton Pucks to place under my pedals for the front left & right effects. I could already feel some of the vibration from the ADX'S all the way up to my feet. It's a rather faint vibration, but noticeable. So having two small shakers under my pedals and the ADX's under my seat is all that I would need. Anything more than the Dayton Pucks under my pedals might be overkill, at least for me I think.
    Having Force feed back from the wheel to my hands, ADX's to my body and Dayton Pucks to my feet is my ideal setup. Two more shakers and I'm there! I'll be saving up for that.

    That concludes my review (first impressions) of the ADX Maximus Tactile Bass Transducers with SimVibe. I would like to thank @Mr Latte for all his efforts into answering a lot of questions I had and when I needed guidance. Thank you Mr. Latte! Just goes to show you the awesome community we have here at Race Department.

    I hope you guy's enjoyed my first review. Thank you for your interest and taking the time to read this review. Until next time,
    PEACE all my fellow sim racers! See y'all on the track!
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  2. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte

    Thanks for sharing your experience Dean and giving a lengthy detailed report in showing your setup and installation.You made good usage of some materials with a bit of creativity it seems for your isolation.

    This post certainly deserves some conversation and appreciation. Hope this is help to others who are considering getting into tactile immersion and excellent report on the ADX performance. Which is one of the better, ideal and affordable units currently available. Also easy to power with great little amps like the one you used.

    Buttkicker have, had a patent for a new flatter "K Series" since early summer of 2016 but as yet nothing has appeared regards their specs, price or availability. The ADX seems to be pleasing most buyers, it is easier on amplifiers than a piston based shaker unit like a Buttkicker or Earthquake model and comes in at a nice price compared to the current Buttkicker models/options you first considered.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
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  3. SOLO59


    Thank you Mr. Latte for reading the review and anyone else who has! The purpose of the first half of the review was to help out beginners. The second half is where it's all about ADX with SimVibe performance. So guys, scroll down to the "ADX Maximus with Autimobilista" and thats where the ADX impressions begin. Should anyone need help or ideas about setup and installation, then please feel free to begin reading from the top.

    Hopefully we'll see the new buttkicker soon to add to the list of tactile transducers available today. The bass shaker route doesn't have to be expensive, but it can be if you can afford it.
    I myself can't wait too expand.... But patients, can't get everything at once. I personally would like to see a SSW and SimVibe comparison. Would new interesting
  4. asteroulis


    Nice review , thanks..
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  5. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte

    @SOLO59 seems a bit early to do a comparison to Simvibe as it's been available now for 5 years to SSW being rather recent upon the scene and as its still in beta I believe. Ive not found much discussion on it from users.

    It deserves to get plenty of attention and discussion I feel as it is showing a lot of potential. It is easy to set up and get running, has a nicer, simplified UI and can support upto 6 channels via one soundcard. It also offers some effects that Simvibe just doesn't offer and I've personally been really impressed thus far with it barring some of my own issues I have raised in the thread for it.

    One difference is how SSW relies on creatable/adjustable Sinewaves for the Tones (Hz) to be used.
    These are saved as WAV files using Audacity audio tool. With this tool it's possible to then determine what effects are activated to the channels "YOU" want them active. Kinda like Dolby 5.1 in a channel perspective.

    So its possible to have engine in only front or rear or all but unlike Simvibe this does not have to have layers and layers of effects and them then be manually inputted and placed into the relevant "Output Mixer Channels for CM or EM". So it seems also much quicker/handier and less frustrating in creating your own manual effects configs/profiles.

    For example do you know how long in Simvibe it takes to create a 6+ layer effects based engine, to then have to manually input them ALL in for CM, Pedals, Seat and Shifter. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of Simvibes out of date UI.

    Will be interesting to see how things progress or what's on the horizon.
    There is potential for both to be used/operatable and the user selecting whatever effects they want from each. May require some clever cable management but technically possible. I've not tried to do that yet or seen others discuss it but up for giving it a go in the near future.

    If SSW improves its bumps/buffets then I personally feel the main advantage Simvibe would have is its engine effects potential and it can support upto 8 channels (over 2 soundcards). Yet SSW has several effects that Simvibe hasn't and they feel really awesome in what they deliver being very engaging to what the car is doing.

    Im all for greater tactile in any shape or form.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  6. SOLO59


    Yea I gotta give ssw a go! But I am loving simvibes engine effects. Feeling the car slip n slide can already be felt from my wheel, combined with simvibes engine and other effects feels great! But it's hard to compromise simvibes engine effect for ssw. But I am curious of ssw, so I'll give the free trial a go soon
  7. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte

    My own understanding is that SSW for lateral/longitudinal effects represents more what a GS4 seat does but obviously with tactile or small motors in the Gametrix 908 seat.

    Older version of software for this example but this highlights the operation.
    While a 4way tactile config will use only 2 units for front and rear not 4 as the Gametrix 908 seat has.

    Seat Back = REAR tactile / Seat Bottom = FRONT tactile activity.


    Like I said, I'm rather impressed with it so far and recommend it to anyone.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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