Guitammer Buttkicker and Aura Bass Shakers Comparison (long)

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Mike Gl, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. Mike Gl

    Mike Gl Stunt Coordinator

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    My home theater room has carpet over concrete. While my dual SVS CS+ 20-39 powered by a Samson S1000 will hit 117 dB peaks, I could cause structural damage and permanent hearing loss before feeling much bass through the concrete floor.

    With two rows of three Visteon home theater seats mounted on a wood base (1st row) or platform (2nd row), I decided to add Aura Bass Shakers about two years ago. Ultimately, I had three 25 Watt bass shakers on each row connected in series and powered by a Rotel 980BX amp. The bass shakers were cheap to buy and easy to power (my original amp was a used Sony receiver bought for $35). They added impact to the home theater experience and great bang for the buck. However, with a resonant frequency of 42 Hertz, they have little impact below about 40 Hertz and have poor transient response.

    Recently, the upgrade bug struck in the form of two Buttkicker LFE shakers and the BKA 1000-4 amp. The Buttkickers are power hungry with 1000 watts needed to reach their potential. The amp Buttkicker offers is up to the challenge delivering 2000 watts into the 2 ohm load of two Buttkickers connected in parallel. The Buttkicker specifications are a significant step up from the Bass Shakers with a resonant frequency of 9 Hertz. They offer excellent transient response, response below 10 Hertz and much greater impact than the Bass Shakers. I have also confirmed that adding sections of an anti-fatigue rubber mat to decouple the theater seats from the floor improved performance, as was observed in the review at hometheaterhifi.com.

    The Buttkickers need more careful installation than Bass Shakers, as the large moving mass can introduce strange groans and other noises if the supporting structure is not up to the challenge. In addition, isolation of the structure being moved is much more important than with Bass Shakers.

    My Buttkicker installation was about three times the cost of my Bass Shakers set-up. Are Buttkickers worth it? They were to me. After three days with the Buttkickers, I have now removed the Bass Shakers from my installation and plan to sell these. The Bass Shakers remain a great value, are easy to install and in my opinion add more than 50% of the tactile experience offered by the Buttkicker.
     
  2. Marv

    Marv Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the review Mike. I currently have (2) BK's on the way to replace my (2) Aura Pro's. Both shakers are in the sofa but when I get the BK's I may try the floor joist first then if I don't get enough shake I will try one in the sofa and one in the recliner. They will only be powered by a meager 400w each though. I am amazed at how much shake the Aura's provide but like you said they just don't go low enough, where you want it. So if I read that right you would say that the (2) BK's gave you almost double the shake power of the (6) Auras you had? And does the BK amp get warm driving the 2ohm load?

    Thanks,

    -Marv
     
  3. Mark gas

    Mark gas Second Unit

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    How would the BK amp sound used as a sub amp? Care to hook it up to the SVS and give a review?
     
  4. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

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    Having the 50w version of the bass shakers powered by an old stereo receiver I had picked up at a yard sale some time ago, I, along with those that have watch movies in the HT, have been impressed with the additional shake.

    Tested both versions of the bass shakers.

    In one recliner a pair of 25watt shakers tie wrapped to the coils on the butt and back of the seat.

    On the other recliner a pair of 50watt same set up same receiver driving them.

    the result was the 25watt set up was lame. the 50watt at the same gain setting as the 25 watt setup provided enough shake that is was rather uncomfortable and the over exaggeration took away from the movie effects.

    having spend roughly $275 for the old receiver, 8 50watt shakers, tie wraps and cheap speaker wire I feel the shake for the buck is well worth the performance it provides.
     
  5. Mike Gl

    Mike Gl Stunt Coordinator

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    Marv, I demoed the Buttkickers for friends for more than an hour last night on Lord of the Rings FOTR and Matrix. After this workout neither the amp nor the Buttkickers were warm to the touch. I have been monitoring the Buttkickers temperature because of the thermal cut-off at high operating temperatures.

    While my comparison is to the AST-1B4 bass shaker, not the more powerful Pro model, my subjective impression is that the force is more than double with the Buttkicker on certain material. LFE below 30 Hertz that excited comparatively little shaking from the AST-1B4, cause violent motion with the Buttkickers. The helicoper crash from Matrix, the pod race from Star Wars Episode I and the opening from Armageddon are examples where I enjoyed the Aura Bass Shakers, but the Buttkickers take the experience to a different level. On the other hand, the difference is much less pronounced where the LFE has substantial content in the 40 to 50 Hertz range.
     
  6. Mike Gl

    Mike Gl Stunt Coordinator

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    I too am curious about how the BK amp may perform as a sub amp. With street prices under $400 for the BK amp, it offers interesting possibilities for driving subwoofers. The September 2003 review at hometheaterhifi.com of the amp measured 961 watts into a 4 ohm load at 30 Hertz, which is below the 1100 watt specification, but sill a lot of bang for the buck.

    When I have the time, I will try the BK amp with my SVS subwoofers and post the results. Having invested considerable time getting the Buttkickers set-up to my liking, my free time for the near term will be spent exploring their possibilities.
     
  7. Steve Lumbert

    Steve Lumbert Stunt Coordinator

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    I have 1 Buttkicker2 and the 1100 watt amp. I almost purchased 2 as you did but I'm glad I didn't. If I installed a 2nd one in my room, I would probably cause structural damage to my house.

    The Buttkicker is the best thing I ever did for my HT. Highly recommended and worth the money IMHO[​IMG]
     
  8. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    Hey Steve did you mount it on a sofa or chair or did you do a under rafter mount. I have a very tall crawl space directly under the sweet spot and was thinking about a buttkicker mounted to the floor studs first and see what happens... Anyone else do this or have any suggestions?
    Ive got a PB2+ now that will make the hairs on your chest stand up on those very powerful LFE hits but like everyone else I am stuck on this hobby wanting to make things better and am willing to give the buttkickers a shot. Thanks for all your help in advance.
     
  9. Steve Lumbert

    Steve Lumbert Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, I'm fortunate to have about 7ft of crawl space under my HT room. The room is 13'6" x 17'4" and I mounted it about 2/3rds of the way back from the front wall directly under where the seats are. The entire floor will move with scenes like the opening of LOTR FOTR and the end of Fight Club, etc. I am truly amazed how effective the Buttkicker is. I would think adding one to a chair or couch would be way too much.
     
  10. BrentG

    BrentG Stunt Coordinator

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    I got my 2 Aura Pro's on the big brown truck today. Sorry if this is a dumb quetion but am I correct that I need to wire them in series since they are only 4 ohm to run them off my Yamaha reciever. Get out of work and I can go home a play [​IMG]
     
  11. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Steve... Thats what I was looking for. I have a great crawl space directly below the main seating and both recliners at angled at the end of the couch which is centered on the screen. I thought I could hit a beam and with two possibly one at each end under the couch or close to that it may do the trick just fine. Thanks again. I will let you know how things turn out when I decide to do it.
     
  12. Scott Hine

    Scott Hine Stunt Coordinator

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    What a great idea.... I have been looking for a good place to mount my Aura Pro's in my Berkline 090's. I have yet to find any good spots to mount them to the chair. I have a large crawl space under the theater. I guess I can try to mount them under the floor where the seats are. Do you thing it will be enough to shake the chairs? I guess I will have to give a try. I just hope I will be able to feel the effects in the chairs. I want everything shaking, not just my feet, as I am usually reclined while watching a movie

    Thanks,
    - Scott
     
  13. Mark gas

    Mark gas Second Unit

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    Your Yammie shoud run at 4 ohms.
     
  14. BrentG

    BrentG Stunt Coordinator

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    I already got them all hooked up in series for 8ohm, seems to be working fine.

    After looking into my V2400 a little more I ended up running the LFE back into one of the extra inputs and hooking the shakers up to the Zone 2 powered out. Kinda nice it is all hooked up to on receiver that way. Only thing I don't like is that I seem to have to adjust the Zone 2 level based on what the main volume is set at. When I have the main volume at say -25 I have to run Zone 2 at +7, but if I turn the main volume to -10 I have to set Zone 2 at +4 or their is too much "shakin" going on. But it is still better then having to adjust the level on another reciever.
     
  15. John H

    John H Second Unit

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    I have been using tactile transducers in my system for over 5 years. I use them to activate a queen size adjustable bed in a bedroom based system.

    My first installation was an array of 10 RBH FX-80 units. (ultra high performance Aura's) A year later I replaced the entire array with a pair of Clark Synthesis 329F models. Another year later I upgraded to their Platinum models when they made their debut.

    At that same time I installed a pair of original Buttkickers and a pair of Carvin DCM 1000 amplifiers.
    While the Clarks were a significant performance upgrade over the RBH array they could not compete with the BK's when it comes to low frequency output and extension. The BK's have no peers.

    I now use 4 platform mounted original BK's driven by a pair of bridged Crown K2 amplifiers. They are low passed at 20Hz. I use the TT's in conjunction with a pair of Velodyne HGS-18 subwoofers. A subharmonic processor is used on the subwoofers signal.

    I agree that the Aura's are a good entrance level tactile transducer and a great bang for the buck but can not be compared with a larger unit such as the BK. The king of tactile transducers.

    John
     
  16. Marv

    Marv Stunt Coordinator

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    John, your bedroom setup looks incredible. Is that your main system or do you have an even bigger HT room setup?

    -Marv
     
  17. JimPeitersen

    JimPeitersen Second Unit

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    I agree with everyone about the BK's, but I would like to add that the Aura's (either model) can be quite useful in the "shaking" department. In the original condition, I would rate the Aura's as almost useless for low-frequency production. If you "mod" them to lower the resonant frequency, they are much more impressive. Eight of the "modded" shakers, plus an hour or so of work, can be quite impressive. All of this would cost roughly $100. Are the BK's three times as good ($300), I will let others judge that.
    JP
     
  18. John H

    John H Second Unit

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    Marv,

    Thanks for the compliment on my system. Yes that is my only HT system. I started out with a moderate DPL system in the bedroom several years back and the HT has never left the room.

    John
     
  19. Chad Hartman

    Chad Hartman Auditioning

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    Hey guys where is the best place to buy the buttkicker lfe and amp online? thanks?

    Chad
     

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