Notice: This is an old thread and information may be out of date. The last post was 625 days ago. Please consider making a new thread.
I use x4 shakers on my motion rig all ran by simvibe
It dosnt matter even if you intend to use just one maximum, a shaker especially if it's driven by simvibe is a no brainer
The butt kicker home cinema kit give the very best results from my tests, (the kit contains amp & shaker )
I have a single Buttkicker Gamer 2 now. You are saying that even with only a single butt kicker, Simvibe enhances the experience?
Originally Posted by Adrianstealth
I'm considering getting 1-3 more transducers/amp channels. If I do the 4 transducer chassis mode, do all the transducers have to be the same make/model?
I'd like to avoid spending too much (more) money...
I bit the bullet and bought the software ($79). The download is not an eval and will not connect to a sound card without a license. I spent a little time configuring my single Buttkicker in extension mode and it is much better than using it simply in "subwoofer" mode. I can emphasize gear changes, engine RPM, and get the "wind speed feeling" as well as tuning the rumble effect for bumps and gravel/off road. So far, so good. The beginning of races doesn't feel like the Buttkicker is going to fly off anymore with the sound from other cars.
I ordered another couple of cheap Dayton 8 ohm transducers to put under my pedals and shifter to drive with an old receiver...along with a secondary cheap soundcard with a digital output that I can use with my speaker system. I'll invest more later if I'm still liking it after a few months. For now, I hooked up a PS3 wireless headset to use as the primary sound card and it's working quite well. I actually like the fact that music/other audio outside of sim racing doesn't trigger the Buttkicker.
$300 all in for a poor man's motion sim excluding the old receiver. I'll circle back once I get it all set up.
I've had a ButtKicker for a couple of years, but gave up using it since the LOW filter just didn't cut it, got tired of all sounds incl. Teamspeak would make my Simrig shake - also due to it reacting on higher pitched notes the AMP simply got too hot to the point of that awful electronics-abot-to-melt-smell...
So finally SimVibe came to my attention, and eventhough it's kinda expensive for software only I have to say: It improved usability and immersion like 1000%, just do it!
Currently I only have a single kicker, but gonna buy a friends to upgrade with, can't wait for left/right sensation
I'm really tempted to try Simvibe with my single BTKG2 to see improvement and upgrade the number of shakers eventually. The fact they don't have any evaluation version (even for few days) really annoy me... I have already another cheap 5.1 USB card (15€, the small but efficient Hercules Muse PocketLT) and will buy more if needed a it's a cheap card...
Simvibe, please do a trial version and you will have more customers!
i had a quick read on the simvibe website and it seems you don't need and extra sound card if your GPU has HDMI out. Use the GPU's 'sound card' for sound and the on board sound for the simvibe. I plan to set up chasis mode with simvibe buttkickers asap....
I got my two cheap Dayton transducers ($20 each) and and hooked them up to an old Panasonic 7.1 receiver I had laying around. At first, I mounted them both to the front of my Obutto Revolution where the pedal board attaches to the frame. It vibrated a little stronger than a cell phone on vibrate mode with the occasional jolt. Certain frequencies made the metal ring like a bell (loud enough for people in the next room to notice). All that really made sense to have configured down there was engine RPM vibration, nothing over 100hz. I was a bit disappointed.
Then I read that the closer the transducer is to the racers body, the more nuances they will be able to feel. So I mounted the transducers directed below my Fanatec pedals on the bottom rear of the pedal board mount. This made a huge difference. Not only did the ringing noise stop, but I was able to add many more effects and feels them in my feet and legs. On the pedals I added gear change, wind noise, impacts, front suspension bumps, and regular road bumps (at a lower max volume). Now with just my legs I was getting useful information/immersion sensations from Simvibe and rF2. I was just about to return the Dayton Transducers before I made this change.
Then I combined the Dayton Transducers on the pedals with the Buttkicker Gamer 2 on the seat. On the seat I configured stronger gear changes, a subtle & different frequency of wind noise, tuned impacts, rear suspension bumps, and tuned regular road bumps. I spent quite a bit of time mixing the settings. Now I can feel bumps traveling from front to back of the car (curves, off road bumpiness, road texture changes), as well as get a sense of speed plus a sense of how hard the engine is working...along with a strong indication of when I shift gears.
Overall, it is WAY better than just a subwoofer based transducer, and having the pedal transducers is certainly worth it for only 2 "zones"...certainly a worthy $120 upgrade from just a single Buttkicker in subwoofer mode. I played with chassis mode for a bit (front separated to two transducers and rear to the single BK transducer), and I didn't feel it was that much different than extension mode. Certainly not worth getting another 2 transducers and going through the trouble of additionally wiring and mounting them to the back of my Obutto. I had a little trouble with the signal routing, but once I figured out that the pedal and shifter outputs are the same but with different labels, it was smooth sailing from there. I bought an external USB sound card that I have yet to hook up to have normal sounds go to my speaker system (via digital).
If there is a drawback to the system, it is that it needs to be tuned a bit for the sim you are using and the car you are driving. Certainly open wheel, front engine, and mid-engine cars need a different setups.... plus engine types, drive trains etc. An additional drawback is that it doesn't work with Simraceway presently....more reason to play rF2! Lastly, there are a lot of wires around my rig now, twice as many as before.
Just to get a better sense of what Simvibe can offer I discovered (bass shaker and motion rig noob inside) the X-Sim free stuff. Ok, you need to be a pretty good engineers to understand how it work because IMO is really a complex machine, even is you just have one bass shaker. Anyway, After fighting hours on it I was able to find an existing (not that good) working profile and test the whole factory. I set my onboard Realtek HD for it and kept my sound in my SB Xtreme Gamer.
Ok, I feel how it can improve my BKG2 a lot. Anyway, I'm too much lost in those tons of possible settings...E.g. Only RPM and collision are managed with that profile. I tried to add a vertical effect and a gear change effect without success (any thing I tried cut the RPM feedback!)...What a powerful tools and such a mess! Unless somebody have a full and ready profile to share with a single bass shaker (BKG2) and rF2 I will have to abort all this, pfiuuuuu
To get back to the topic, I'm kind of scared Simvibe is the same kind of heavy and complex machine to set. With X-Sim you need to launch 2 different applications and launch the game from here, and it work sometimes, sometimes not (and you restart all hoping it will work this time)...
Does Simvibe is complex to set? It seems Simvibe is a pluggin for a more powerful launcher stuff called SimCommander made to control motion rig...Sound like X-Sim an heavy software just to manage my poor BKG2...
They really need to do a trial version. I saw the price raised (79$ few days ago, 89$ now!) so it don't help to take a decision. Having tested the free X-Sim show me the potential of direct communication with telemetry and bass shaker. Anyway, complexity scare me a lot and without testing first, I will not drop this amount of money in something too complex to set I will not use...
Also Simvibe users, do you mix sound and telemetry to get both feedbacks in your shakers/rig, or only use telemetry?
I'm asking as I wasn't able to feel kerbs and pavements with only telemetry (as I wasn't able to add "vertical" feedback I guess)...When my BKG2 is "just" connected to my subwoofer exit I have more effects, but those effects are influenced my reverberation (wall armco tunnel, etc.) and that's bad...
I'm kind of puzzled...
Just the opposite of X-Sim to setup, in my opinion. It is very simple to setup and it manages all of the scanning and launching of your games & additional background software(if necessary). Once I licensed the software, I mapped my sound card and was able to quickly configure it for rF2 with the effects I wanted. To make configuration easier, I ran rF2/rF1 in windowed mode and let the AI drive. Then I alt-tabbed back to Simvibe to add/tune the levels of the effects I wanted...alt-tabbing back to turn off the AI to drive myself.
Originally Posted by YoLolo69
Even with a single BKG2 I was able to significantly enhance the immersion experience compared to subwoofer mode. I found the immersion much better when I altered the position of my BKG2 to more effectively transfer vibrations to my body. Ultimately this made the biggest impact on the the 2 cheap Dayton transducers I added as a second zone at my pedals.
I do not use the BKG2 for sound anymore.... only telemetry vibration. You can get some seriously low vibrations that are not in the subwoofer track like very low engine RPMs, and gear changes, as well as higher frequencies like wind effect. It does not make sense to use it for sound because it picks up other non-useful sounds like other cars, reverberation, and music. I have only changed the BKG2 input to the other soundcard with a splitter to play Simraceway because Simvibe doesn't have a working driver for it yet.... but I switched it back, because its not worth the trouble of going to the back of my computer for only one game.
Originally Posted by YoLolo69
You can configure Simvibe to feel bumps (large and small) at different intensities and frequencies as well as road textures from the front/rear/vertical position of the suspension. I configured mine to feel curbs as bigger bumps than going on pavement by tuning the frequency and sensitivity for the large and small bumps. I can also feel bumps going from the front to the back of the car with two zones when I travel over bumps/curbs slowly.
The Simcommander/Simvibe software does a lot more than just drive transducers. It can configure dashboards on touch screens as well as drive real motion hydraulics or other physical mechanism. My opinion is that if you already have a BKG2, its worth it...and perhaps even worth it to get another transducer... If you are really strapped for cash, it is can be a bit expensive, and not necessarily one I would choose over better graphics or overall system performance. It does not make me a better driver or help me win races, but it does make the simulation seem more real.
Last edited by adaptable1; 03-07-13 at 10:42 AM.
Here are some screenshots of my Simvibe setup:
It's pretty straightforward, in my opinion.
Originally Posted by YoLolo69
The Panasonic amp I'm using is overkill for just adding a single channel zone. I could theoretically run the BKG2 from it as well and it even has the banana jacks, but I would rather disperse the power across two amps in case there are any heat issues or signal separation problems. The Panasonic has the power (90w per channel) and seven channels to do chassis mode if I buy more transducers. I bought the receiver 7 years ago for less than $200 and it does 7 separate channels with analog inputs. It is rated for 6-8ohm speaker loads. That's partially why I bought the cheap Dayton's vs the more expensive/powerful Auras (4 ohm) or another BK transducer (which are 2ohm). If I want to change to chassis mode, I will just buy two more Dayton's to try it out. After racing for a few hours yesterday I think 2 zones are enough. I actually needed to turn the levels down because I was feeling shaky when I got up to take breaks!
The ButtKicker amp volume is a pain because it turns itself off after inactivity. Luckily Simvibe has a control panel to send test tones through the system before you start up rFactor. Now that I have tuned the system, I don't adjust the volume as much as I did in subwoofer mode.
Last edited by adaptable1; 03-06-13 at 12:56 PM.
Reason: changed ohms on transducers
Finally I found the Lepai amp from local audio store. Next thing is to buy a pair of bass shaker and a new wheel, since my Logitech Momo was killed in action
Last edited by YoLolo69; 03-06-13 at 06:33 AM.
Here is a screenshot I took that shows how to send the test tones:
Originally Posted by YoLolo69
This sends a short and sharp bump to the transducer to test that is is working when you click the speaker. It is only available BEFORE you start the sim in the Control Center Settings. I usually test it before I start rFactor, etc. It usually wakes up the Buttkicker amp (after about 10 seconds or so). I sometimes need to press the power button on the Buttkicker amp until the light turns green (not bright yellow) and I hear the amp "click".
Also...(speaking as a former live audio engineer), the more speaker loads you add to a powered signal, the lower the ohm rating. The lower the ohms the more power it takes to drive the speaker(s). For example adding two 8 ohm transducers together makes the the signal load 4 ohms. The BKG2 is a hearty 2 ohms, so I would recommend only driving it with its own amp that is rated for 2 ohm operation (as I do). Interesting you point that out (I'll know not to hook up the BKG2 to my cheap Panasonic receiver). The cheap Dayton pucks are available in 16 or 8 ohm loads for that reason (to run more than one puck on the same channel...easily driven by a consumer grade receiver). I saw four 16ohm Dayton pucks for ~$55 on shipped Amazon. I probably should have gone this route and gotten another zone of shake (perhaps on the back of my seat).
I think the pucks are perfect for vibration and light/moderate taps, but the Buttkicker is definitely made for booms and jolts (that's why I have it under my racing seat vs. under my pedals like the Dayton pucks).
I've nearly setup all the games I play for Simvibe. iRacing has the best integration with Simvibe (it even has an embedded browser to launch it and automatically detects the car you are setting up). There is no Assetto Corsa or Simraceway yet, which I am a little bummed out about, but they seem to be coming soon. Also no Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed/PCars.
Last edited by adaptable1; 03-06-13 at 01:02 PM.
This is all very interesting and I think I've learnt quite a bit, thanks.
I have an Athlon x 2 250 3.0ghz overclocked to 3.4ghz, an HD4850 with the sound disabled, a Playseat, a TERRATEC Sound Card Aureon 5.1 connected via optical to a Sony DG820.
Would I be right in thinking my CPU doesn't stand a chance of running Simvibe and rF2? My CPU only runs at 50-60% running just rF2.
Do I need anything other than Simvibe software and a Buttkicker Mini LFE to get started? Is just one shaker enough to 'greatly enhance' my experience?
I'd really appreciate your advice.
My honest opinion is that I would rank having better/smoother graphics over the whole Simvibe system, particularly because you will need to buy more stuff to get Simvibe to work. You also need an amp to drive that Buttkicker (and it needs to be a specialized low ohm rated subwoofer amp to drive the Buttkicker Mini LFE). Also, if you ever plan to go multi-zone, you'll probably want an amp with more than one channel. You may also need another sound card with analog outputs dedicated to the signals to the transducers. Plus, you need all the wires and adapters to route everything from your PC to the amp and transducer(s). So between the Simvibe software, transducer, amp, wires, and extra sound card, you're looking at the cost of a good graphics card or modern CPU/MB/Memory combo just to "get started" with Simvibe.
Originally Posted by argo0
Also... like I've said before, Simvibe makes rFactor more immersive, but it does not make my lap times any faster or give me the ability to win more races. Good/smooth & 3 monitor graphics not only make it more immersive, it also makes it easier to see apexes/other cars, and the added smoothness has made me faster.
I would periodically scan eBay/Craigslist for deals on Buttkicker/amps. I've seen used BKG2 combos sell for way under $100. You may want to just try out standard subwoofer mode to get a feel how strong/weak the effect can be.
Last edited by adaptable1; 03-07-13 at 10:52 AM.
Reason: added more
Many thank for the screenshot, I don't know how I could have missed those tests buttons (I searched yesterday night after your email)!
The 4 Dayton seems really interesting and it's really a low prices. I'm wondering if they have enough power to be use as chassis mode with 4 of them, 2 from each side (left-right) around my pedals, and 2 on the left right rear of the chair, keeping my BKG2 under the seat... I tried the BKG2 clamped to the right of my chair and I can really feel it come from the right, so stereo feelings is possible on my old wheel chair BKG2 is powerful, so not sure those Dayton can be interesting used like this...Or I can also put them not behind the chair, but inside it, between the cushion and the wood at the back of the chair, or even inside the cushion and under the leather part, really near my own back. Probably more smart...I'm also waiting Simvibe to be Asseto Corsa (didn't get a chance to test it yet, I'm waiting more the official demo), Project cars and Simraceway. For this last one, I'm surprised as some persons seems to use Simvibe already with it, and I can even see the choice when you have to choose the plugin inside Simvibe. When you do so, no effect are selectable, so no plugin yet I guess...
I'm not sure how much CPU Simvibe take when I use it. My machine have a I7 3770K OC to 4,4 and a GTX670, so possibly it cost and I can't feel it as my machine is more powerful. i'll made some tests. AFAIK unless they badly programmed it I don't see any reason such software to cost tons of CPU. Just creating some waves according telemetry should be pretty light (I'm a dev).
Yes, only one BKG2 like me is enough to greatly enhance your experience and I can't drive now without it (or barely can't). You feel the engine is turned ON, you feel bump and road texture, chock when you engage a new gear, etc. It's really something which add to the wheel FFB. My only concerns is the amplifier itself, kind of painful with its - and + button to volume the effect, as you never know where you are currently, and have to set it carefully before launching the game. Saying that, If I have to redo it I will not go to the BKG2. Instead, I will go with any enough powerful amplifier (check adaptable1 post) and will go for E.g. the Aura bass Shaker (around 44 $) or the mini BKG LFE, which seems both to be as powerful as the BKG2. The Aura is IMO easiest to set on a chair, 4 Ohms (so easiest to find an amplifier for it). The amplifier will have a rotating volume button "old school" so it will be easiest to set IMO, and you don't need any crossover controls like one the BKG2 amplifier (cutting low or high frequencies) as Simvibe send acurate waves to the shakers. For additional effects, the small Dayton seems a really good and cheap choice.
Ooops didn't see adaptable answered you before my post. And thinking about what he said, I agree with his opinion.
I think if you used the Daytons in chassis mode, you would still need the additional BKG2 for the seat in extension mode. They are not really strong enough for "impacts" but they could be effective with road textures and bumps. They would need to be mounted somewhere in close proximity to your body. Folks mount them right to the inside of their car seats behind the padding near their backs for music, I suspect a similar placement would work with sim racing. I played around separating the 2 Daytons placed right under my pedals in extension mode for the front, and I didn't find the experience any better/worse than the extension mode. Right/left impacts would be the only reason why I would go to chassis mode. Perhaps with a bigger amp and the larger Auras it would make more of a difference. I'm done upgrading my systems for now
Originally Posted by YoLolo69
Assetto Corsa looks really good... particularly the tire model & general feel of the car...best feeling of drift in a sim that I've tried. It also has awesome 3 screen setup options and instrument placement anywhere on the 3 screens. The demo is certainly worth the 5 Euro. Sim-X supports Assetto Corsa for tranducers, so I'm sure its just a matter of time that Simvibe will.
The problem with a lot of these newer titles is that they won't have the community and mods that rFactor has for a long time. Most major world tracks are available for rFactor, while only a handful will be available in most these newer sims. Assetto Corsa has some awesome licensing agreements with Ferrari, Lotus, and McLaren....so if the cars are anywhere near the quality of the Lotus Elise demo, I will definitely be buying it.
Simraceway (which is just a repackaged, controlled, & socially oriented rF1, in my opinion) is only really good for quick races, which I tend to do more often than I should simply because there always seems to be people online racing at odd hours. Simvibe used to work with it (the same way it currently works with rF1), but Simraceway turned off 3rd party plug-in support. I have read that the Simvibe folks have been in contact with Simraceway to get it officially supported again. Really expensive motion simulators and even some racing wheels have the same problem with Simraceway (my Fanatec CSW can't use the LED for revs/gear indicators, for example).... I'm certainly not buying another car with cash on Simraceway until they get it sorted out.
Thanks for the help.
Sorry to be so dim but why would I need another sound card and another amp? As you can surmise, I don't exactly understand how it works hence the basic level questions.