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Unread postby icycalm » 13 Jul 2014 07:40 ... t120337597

Krejlooc wrote:I'm such a consumer whore. I said I was going to wait a while on a buttkicker, but here I am, having just ordered the parts to a kit. Soi-Fong asked me to let him know what buttkicker I eventually went with after doing some research, so I'll just post it for the entire thread instead.

Primer for those unfamiliar with buttkickers: a buttkicker is a brand of transducers built to strap to chairs. These are essentially the magnets from very powerful subwoofers. Instead of vibrating the air to make bass, these things, when strapped to your chair, rumbles your body. This does a couple of things - first, it gives the impression of enormous amounts of bass, one of these things is supposed to make it feel like you have an impressive sound system even if you're just wearing headphones (and side benefit: these things are silent outside of the chair, so others don't hear/feel the bass). Second, and more relevant to VR and games like Elite Dangerous - it'll essentially translate all the low frequency noises in the game (so, for example, stuff like the warp engines or the sound of your ship accelerating) into full body rumble within the chair you are sitting in. This is supposed to be amazing, especially in Elite Dangerous and Assetto Corsa.

So, after reading a bunch of reviews and opinions and articles, and shooting off some PMs to people, here's what I've found: Buttkicker Gamer2 appears to be sold out absolutely everywhere. These things are kind of like the transducer to buy, but they've been hard to find for over a year now. Supposedly a new batch is coming at the end of august. These things apparently go for about $300 when actually sold according to some guys on reddit, although looking on google I found some stores that list them at about $150 (although they haven't had them in stock for over a year apparently).

Beyond that, buttkicker isn't the only option. A poster on Reddit put together a list of parts for a kit he bought and assembled that apparently performs as well as these $300 buttkickers, only for less than $100. For those who can't be bothered to dig through the reddit thread, here's the parts list:

AuraSound AST-2B-4 Pro Bass Shaker Tactile Transducer by Aura Sound

Lepai LP-168HA 2.1 2 x 40-Watt Amplifier and 1x68W Sub Output by Lepai

12v 6a Adapter Power Supply for LCD Monitor with Power Cord by LCD AC Power Adapter

I saw some people vouching for this kit, and sent some PMs and got positive feedback, so I went ahead and ordered these parts. After shipping, the thing came out to less than $90. These parts should arrive on the 14th (!) so I'll post a quick guide on how I affix it to my chair and my impressions then.

Buttkicker added to the shopping list.
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Unread postby ChevRage » 02 Dec 2020 07:30

My ButtKicker Gamer2 arrived when we were playing Rust the other weekend, and I took a little bit of time out of that game to set it up.

Aside from the transducer itself, the box also came with an amp and a wired remote that can sit on top of a desk. The set up instructions were fairly simple to follow; plug the buttkicker itself into the amp, plug the amp into the power, remove the audio jack from your speakers you have plugged into the computer and replace with the little audio splitter cable provided, then plug both your speakers and the ButtKicker amp into the splitter. There were more instructions for those that had a more complex setup like 5.1/7.1 surround or used headphones, but it wasn't too difficult to get working for the first time. It looks like this on an office chair:


Once I had it set up, I quickly checked out a YouTube video of Battlefield V, and damn, it was every bit as good as I was expecting it to be. Every gunshot, every explosion in the distance, the tanks firing nearby, all of it could be felt through the chair as a rather heavy rumble or jolt, whichever was more appropriate. Probably helped that the sound design for that game is stellar. I absolutely can't imagine playing these games without it now, it was that good.

However, the problem I immediately encountered on jumping back into Rust was that the ButtKicker didn't just activate based on in-game sound, but basically any sound that was routed through it, like for example people talking to me on Discord. It was particularly bad with people who had a deeper voice lol. So I'd hear them from my headphones, and feel them from the chair I was sitting on too. Obviously not very good for immersion. On top of that the ButtKicker didn't perform as well as I'd have liked it to in Rust anyway, I'll make a post in the Rust thread about that later.

So I googled a bit for a solution, came across a range of different complex setups that people have throughout a bunch of different simulation forums (seems that simulator games get the best use out of these transducers), and some software and advice they were giving their readers helped me solve the problem I had. It was actually kinda crazy how complicated their setups were, some of them had several transducers, one attached to each corner of their simchair, and via the use of specialised programs like SimHub, SimShaker or SimVibe, they could pull the telemetry data gathered by simulation games like IL-2 Sturmovik and Dirt Rally, and inject it directly into the transducers themselves. Leading to a much much more accurate rumble effect that would take into account actual wheel suspension values and even engine RPMs and such. Some of them also had something called a jetseat on top of all that, which is like one of those massage pads you can lay over the top of a chair, but inlaid with transducers instead. I felt like I was diving into a rabbit hole when all I wanted was to figure out my simple little Discord problem. So anyway, back to the ButtKicker.

In order to solve the voice problem with Discord, all you need is a cheap USB sound card (I'm using an Antlion USB adaptor, but you can go even cheaper than that) and a free software called VoiceMeeter Banana (Not to be confused with regular VoiceMeeter which doesn't have what we want). Grab it from this link:

Now you'll want to forgo the splitter that the instructions of the ButtKicker wanted you to use, and plug the ButtKicker through the USB sound card into a USB slot. You should now be able to use VoiceMeeter Banana to separate the game's audio channel and Discord's output audio, and route both into your speakers/headphones, while only letting the game audio into the ButtKicker.

Here's what the VoiceMeeter Banana's dashboard looks like:


It looks and sounds complicated, but it's actually quite simple. We're not really using a lot of VoiceMeeter's functionality, so you only need to look at a few things. First of all, you should look at the top-right corner where the three buttons are for A1, A2 and A3. If you click on them, it'll bring up a dropdown menu where all of your audio outputs are listed, and you want to assign what you will be using to listen to games to one of them, and the ButtKicker to another. I have my headphones selected for A1, and the ButtKicker for A3, I don't really use the speakers much at all for this program, but they're selected for A2. You'll want to use the WDM option, MME is only for when WDM is unavailable:


Now that you've plugged in the hardware, you'll want to direct your attention to the centre of the dashboard, to the columns titled 'Virtual Inputs'. On the left one, you want to select A1 and A3 (Or whichever you've set both your ButtKicker and speakers you'll be listening to), and on the right one you'll just select A1 (or just your speakers).


And now for Windows, you want to select the default playback device to be VoiceMeeter Input (a new option that will be available for selection while VoiceMeeter is open), and in Discord you want to go into User Settings -> Voice & Video and then select VoiceMeeter Aux Input as the Output device. What this does is route the Discord audio straight into your main audio device that you're using (Headphones for me), and route the rest of the Desktop sound into both your main audio device AND the ButtKicker.

So what you'll now need to be aware of is that the VoiceMeeter Input and Aux Input channels won't function unless VoiceMeeter is open, and if it is open, your usual playback channels won't work either. It takes a bit of fiddling to get things to work properly, but it's definitely worth it.

Let me know if there's anything unclear about the instructions, and I'll see if I can clear it up.
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