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View Full Version : [HARDWARE] - The Buttkicker LFE Kit


bapenguin
04-25-2006, 07:02 AM
Product: Buttkicker LFE Kit
MSRP: $459.95 ($399.99 MAP)
Product: Link (http://www.thebuttkicker.com/Home%20Theater%20Products.html)
Reviewer: Nicholas “bapenguin” Puleo

Back when Arcades actually existed, there were these great driving games that really immersed you into the experience. These games had a gear shift, pedals and a steering wheel. But the best thing about those games was always the feedback provided by shaking the seat. Every time you’d crash or go over a jump the seat would rumble your pants* accordingly. This is something that has long been missing from the home gaming market, thankfully a company called Guitammer (http://www.thebuttkicker.com) has brought us a solution with the Buttkicker LFE Kit.

With HDTV gaming coming into the light, the era of big screens and big sounds has begun. Gaming on your grandma’s 13” TV with mono sound is a thing of the past. Now gamers are immersed with 52” screens and glorious 5.1 audio. To take this experience further, the Buttkicker LFE kit will shake your couch (or the entire floor) with every in game effect. What makes the Buttkicker different from a subwoofer or a shaker is its ability to accurately reproduce these effects without making any noise. The Buttkicker is able to reproduce a large frequency range of effects. The box states a resonant frequency of 9 Hz and range of 5 - 200 Hz.

What’s in the box?

The Buttkicker LFE Kit comes with everything you need to get up and running and get your butt kicked. The kit comes with the Buttkicker Amplifier, this is what powers up to 4 Buttkicker LFE devices. Also included in the box is the Buttkicker LFE itself, the chair mounting kit, speaker cable, various cables for different hookup options, chair isolators and plenty of instructions.

http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/thumb.butt1.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/image.php?image=www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/butt1.jpg)


Installation

Installation is pretty straightforward. The Buttkicker Amp connects to your subwoofer out on your home theater receiver. If you already have a sub connected via this method, there is an included Y adapter. The Buttkicker LFE is then mounted onto the chair mounting plate. This plate sits underneath one of the legs of your couch. Under the rest of the legs you place the rubber isolators. Once the amp is connected and LFE mounted, use the included speaker cable to connect it to the Buttkicker LFE to the amp.

http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/thumb.butt3.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/image.php?image=www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/butt3.jpg) http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/thumb.butt4.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/image.php?image=www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/butt4.jpg)
The nice thing is for most chairs that have dustflaps the Buttkicker LFE hides nicely underneath it.

One thing I had some trouble with was getting the LFE to perform exactly like I expected. For me, I was looking for something that would simply reproduce the more powerful sections of games. Out of the box the LFE was very sensitive which caused to vibrate almost constantly. Even the soundtracks of the game would cause vibrations. Luckily the Buttkicker Amp offers plenty of tweaking options. After turning down the crossover frequency to less than 80, turning on the high cutoff filter, and turning off the low cutoff the Buttkicker LFE was near perfect.

http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/thumb.butt2.jpg (http://www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/image.php?image=www.evilavatar.com/images/reviews/buttkicker/butt2.jpg)


Performance

So what is it like when using the Buttkicker? It really is something that needs to be experienced because it feels so natural. For instance in Burnout: Revenge on the Xbox 360 when you speed burst there is sort of a rocket flame effect. It’s not a very powerful one, it’s very slight. So the Buttkicker LFE has a soft continuous rumble that it outputs. But in that same game if you crash into a wall the Buttkicker puts out a singular power punch on impact, followed by several smaller ones as each piece of your car hits and tumbles. And when you execute a crash breaker? You better hold on to your pants for that one.

Playing Battlefield 2: Modern Combat was the most intense experience I’ve had to date with gaming in a home theater setup. My recliner turned into a massaging chair during my firefights. I could feel the helicopter blades whirling over my head. I nearly jumped out of my seat as missile whizzed by my head. With every tank shell that is fired the chair gave me a solid kick to the pants.

I also watched a few movies with the Buttkicker LFE. I have two “test” scenes I use when checking out new audio and video setups. The opening battle scene from Gladiator was up first, and the Buttkicker did not disappoint. The effect is especially cool as the catapults are loaded. I also used the Oliphaunt charge scene from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Needless to say, every stomp from an Oliphaunt is another kick to the pants.


Conclusion

The entire LFE kit will set you back around $400 bucks from various online retailers. At first I thought this seemed overly expensive, but when you compare this to most middle range subwoofers it’s on par with the price. Each additional LFE unit will set you back about $200-220 as well as the cost of another chair mounting kit ($49.99). Of course, one LFE is powerful enough to shake a whole couch so additional units may not be needed. There are actually instructions on how to hook the LFE up to the joists of your floor to shake an entire room. Needless to say, you’d need to be in a special situation (a.k.a. Single) to do this.

The Buttkicker LFE provides an amazing immersive experience while gaming. It adds an entire dimension to gaming that feels completely natural. The LFE performs great for movies as well and makes a truly great addition to your subwoofer. If anything, at least try to find a local dealer who can demo the Buttkicker LFE for you so you can see what you’ve been missing in gaming!


The Good
+ Amazing immersive experience
+ Large range of effects, very realistic
+ Lots of hookup options and tweaking options
+ Silent, not boomy like a subwoofer

The Bad
- Kind of expensive

The Ugly
- No remote for Amp

Score
4 out of 5 EvilEyes
http://www.evilavatar.com/images/icons/e4.jpg

*NOTE* this review contains excessive kicking to the pants. *

fitbabits
04-25-2006, 07:07 AM
Farking AWESOME!

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 07:09 AM
Farking AWESOME!

Yeah....I have to buy it now. It simply feels like something is missing when it's turned off.

joruussuun
04-25-2006, 07:12 AM
This plate sits underneath one of the legs of your count.
Umm... "count" == "couch", I suppose?

fitbabits
04-25-2006, 07:13 AM
Yeah....I have to buy it now. It simply feels like something is missing when it's turned off.
Be prepared to be hammered with a metric ton of questions when we move to Colorado on how to oprimize our new home theater setup! :)

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 07:17 AM
Umm... "count" == "couch", I suppose?

Yeah, had my spell checker on and the idiot checker off. Thanks.

AntB
04-25-2006, 07:24 AM
I always wanted one of those. Pair it with colored lights, it could be one hell of an immersive experience.

fitbabits
04-25-2006, 07:24 AM
Yeah, had my spell checker on and the idiot checker off. Thanks.
Oh, I also need an idiot checker. Especially for when my wife isn't around. :)

Skjef
04-25-2006, 07:25 AM
That sounds pretty damn cool.

But... How long did you use it for? I'd like to know how long it would last before dropping $400 on something like that.

Cupelix
04-25-2006, 07:28 AM
I have a feeling that this would piss off my downstairs neighbors in my apartment if my couch was constantly vibrating against the floor. Totally a cool idea though. I do have to wonder about the long term effects of it on your furniture though; my couches are already creaky as it is - I'm not sure that sending shockwaves through them would be very good for their health!

AntB
04-25-2006, 07:31 AM
I don't think it's any worse than FreeWilly diving onto your couch.

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 07:33 AM
I have a feeling that this would piss off my downstairs neighbors in my apartment if my couch was constantly vibrating against the floor. Totally a cool idea though. I do have to wonder about the long term effects of it on your furniture though; my couches are already creaky as it is - I'm not sure that sending shockwaves through them would be very good for their health!

It's completely isolated to the chair. Thats what the rubber isolators are for.

XxSATANxX
04-25-2006, 07:51 AM
Buttkicker makes a great product!

This effect can be had for as little as 30 dollars with a bit of know how and some searching.

Another option is to go with a boomchair.

The new generation of boomchairs will retail for 99 dollars and include vibration.

Still Buttkicker makes the best overall transducerm 400 dollars is just more then you really need to spend.

The Letter 3
04-25-2006, 07:52 AM
I would be concerned about hooking it up to your floor joists. "Immersive" would be redefined when you dropped through into your basement during an explosion.

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 07:54 AM
I would be concerned about hooking it up to your floor joists. "Immersive" would be redefined when you dropped through into your basement during an explosion.

From what I've read the floor actually "shakes" less than that of when someone is walking on it. The difference is this is concentrated and it's transferred. Basically it goes through the floor, through the couch legs, through the couch frame and into your body. So it feels a lot stronger than what is actually happening.

F3nyx
04-25-2006, 08:13 AM
I know it's not intended for this at all, but did you try it with music?

DirtyChimp
04-25-2006, 09:00 AM
How long did you use it for? And did you try it with music?

The Continental
04-25-2006, 09:04 AM
What's the return policy like in the event that I shit myself due to the vibration and it shorts out the rumble part?

Wedge
04-25-2006, 09:10 AM
Tried it with Rez? You know you want to!

Lon Lon Rabbit
04-25-2006, 09:13 AM
That sounds awesome.

I picked up "The Interactor" (http://www.vrealities.com/intervest.html), cheap, about 7 years ago, cos I remember trialing it at a store when I was a kid and thinking it was amazing, and it was the biggest piece of gaming related crap I have ever bought. For whatever reason they thought it was a good idea to have not only the vibrations but the game sound coming out of the back of it through the most crappy speaker ever, so there was a constant noisy dirge that could not be switched off, and if the game had loud music then the damn thing would just vibrate to that, basically by just constantly shaking in a completely incongruous way to the game's atmosphere.

I wouldn't be willing to drop this much money on this sort of thing, but I'd love to give one of these devices a proper try; NOTHING could be worse than the Interactor.

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 09:22 AM
How long did you use it for? And did you try it with music?

I used it for about a week.

I did try it with some music, and for most of it I didn't really like the effect. It was kind of distracting. The only CD I liked it with was Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman. The way the LFE does the piano is really cool. And some of the drums in that album really kick.

TheBrainKills
04-25-2006, 09:44 AM
Damn you Bap, I can handle your 100" screen and your home theatre setup but this ....this looks great, I am going to have to build me one of these. How is it in Oblivion? when you get hit, do you really feel it.

Looking at their page , they have one for music as well.

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 09:52 AM
Damn you Bap, I can handle your 100" screen and your home theatre setup but this ....this looks great, I am going to have to build me one of these. How is it in Oblivion? when you get hit, do you really feel it.

Oblivion is more subtle. It does pack a punch when you get hit with some of the hammers or block and stagger.

Hmm..I forgot to test how it reacts when I make horse carcasses. I must remedy that. :)

Bubby
04-25-2006, 09:52 AM
How does it work with movies? Specifically DTS tracks with huge amounts of LFE (DD5.1 would do).

bapenguin
04-25-2006, 09:57 AM
How does it work with movies? Specifically DTS tracks with huge amounts of LFE (DD5.1 would do).

This all depends really. With my receiver I can choose the cross over frequency for the sub out. I can also choose to send the front L/C/R channels to the sub as well for more of an increased effect over just the standard LFE channel. It's a matter of preference.

But what you described is exactly what the system is designed for. Check the review out as I mentioned a few movies I tried (both DTS actually) with the system.

TheBrainKills
04-25-2006, 11:12 AM
Ouch!... found a dealer in Vancouver, $750 + Tax = $855.00

"This effect can be had for as little as 30 dollars with a bit of know how and some searching."

ok. Satan can you point me in the direction to build my own? I need an amp and a Transducer, which is a linear electric motor , right?

mightbe
04-25-2006, 03:51 PM
For 450$ I'll pay a midget to kick me in the nuts when I crash.

MrBibbz
05-06-2008, 08:57 AM
Does it really make that much of a difference BA? I mean it's essentially a noiseless sub correct?

bapenguin
05-10-2008, 08:13 PM
Does it really make that much of a difference BA? I mean it's essentially a noiseless sub correct?

Correct, well...mostly. It's a very direct sub, so you will find some of the bass you are missing from your normal one.

51|RandoM
05-10-2008, 08:30 PM
For 450$ I'll pay a midget to kick me in the nuts when I crash.

Better yet, buy or make your own sub for $450 and get real LFE instead of a placebo or a kick in the nuts.

Sammael
05-29-2008, 01:01 PM
Man, 300 is still too much to shell out for something like this. It sounds cool, but I can shake my whole house with my sub if I'd like... It's just the whole getting thrown out of my house thing I'd like to avoid.

Is the smaller one too small to do a couch?