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ButtKicker Setup

Started by FredK, June 11, 2020, 05:24:07 am

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FredK

I am contemplating installing a ButtKicker setup for my cockpit.

In that regard I am interested in knowing how others have implemented the placement of the transducer for their cockpit seats.  Pictures?  How to attach? What works best?  What to avoid? Etc.

Right now I am using a subwoofer that is integrated into the rear of my pedestal arrangement that does provide some vibrational effect, but I want to augment that.

Thanks,
Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

navymustang

I created a mounting plate of 1/4 inch aluminum and attached to the bottom of each seat cushion assembly. Then drove each ButtKicker in stereo from  my main amp so that I could simulate left and right engine start up vibrations. It gave a very realistic sensation.
My 737-800 full-scale cockpit is complete and been put in storage (for sale). Now onto my full-size helicopter project. An AOPA member and LifeTime member of National Association of Flight Instructors. Please note that I am a self-employed professional cockpit builder that provides consulting to defense contractors and civilian schools and airlines.

bernard S

June 11, 2020, 04:24:34 pm #2 Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 04:28:42 pm by bernard S
i am a dealer for butt kickers shock and horror   i use 4 in my deck  the big ones on outside of my seats   (because they are electric..  i suggest reach out to misty blue he installed the smaller versions rather neatly .. it all depends on how far you want to go with sounds .. remember butt kickers move air not sounds  for sounds i run i think exculding cockpit spkers  6 huge jbl.s through 3 amps with a 10 channel mixer  make sure you isolate the transducers or yiu will.shake your deck to bits ...ambient sounds are very different to.other sounds with a sim ..apund on the whole is more imporatant than motion it is over 20 percent of the immersion just saying so this needs to be managed

FredK

Yeah...vibration isolation is an aspect that I am scratching my head about. My projectors are mounted on a bridge kind of structure resting between the top of my external cockpit skeleton and the top of my projection screen. I really do not want to shake those puppies.  However I think that the way I have the overall cockpit housing constructed there should be enough isolation/damping with the transducers mounted at the seats. Only one way to know for sure though.

Any thoughts on special software? For example, to have the transducers driven by events rather than sound output....or a combination thereof? For example, BFF Shaker software or Opus software etc.?

Fred K

Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

sagrada737

The "ButtKicker" product is really an audio transducer, minus the speaker element.  Therefore, it "physically moves" what it is mounted to.

Having quality sound in our Sims, strategically located is very important.  But when we desire to create "Sim vibration" we need another solution.   The so-called ButtKicker is an off-the-shelf solution that will work with any type of low frequency audio output, or something like the BFF Shaker module that syncs with specific types of vibration generated by our Sims, eg. taxi, takeoff, engine, etc.

As for where to locate the ButtKicker transducer module, I have found that mounting the tranducer directly on the back of the seat in a lateral position to be the most effective.   This way, you don't need to buy an large, powerful transducer and drive system.   You only need to purchase a low power system.  ButtKicker has a variety of systems, but I find their Seat Control setup perfect.  Here's a link:

https://thebuttkicker.com/buttkicker-individual-seat-control-system-bka-130-c-2-mini-lfe/

The input to this system is easily accomplished by using the BFF Shaker card using their FTDI Chipset USB-TTL Data Cable.   That's all you need hardware wise.  The BFF Shaker software manages user set vibration levels for your Sim.

http://bffsimulation.com/BFF_Shaker.php

As for mounting a ButtKicker type of transducer to the flight deck...   I think this is a poor solution.  Yes, it shakes the hell out of your flight deck, but doesn't do much good for your Sim components/modules.  In truth, with this type of installation, you really don't get the effect of Sim vibration in your body, as the Sim structure is dampening out much of the subtle ground/air specific vibrations.   In essence, you get a jumble of vibration.

Locating the transducers on the seat backs is the way to go.  Using the smaller ButtKicker transducers makes it also very easy to hide them.  In any case, going this route provides the best possible human/vibration interaction with your Sim for these low frequency events, without the major dampening of a flight deck mounted arrangement.  Try it...   You'll like it!

As for shaking your projectors...   Don't worry, as they are quite isolated from the audio transducers.  Seat mounted transducers, mounted about mid-position on the back of the seat where you lower back rests, is the best position.  It's amazing how a person's lower back is a focal point for seat vibrations.

Anyway...  Those are  a few of my thoughts on this thread.

Mike
P3d v4.5x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT1080HD projection 120 deg. display driven by a single EVGA Nvidia GTX-1080Ti Water Cooled.  6dof Motion Platform using BFF 6dof motion software, driven by a Thanos Servo Controller to 6.2 KW Servos.

sagrada737

June 12, 2020, 03:40:23 pm #5 Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 03:45:07 pm by sagrada737
Here is a pic of my setup on Weber seats...   Notice that these small ButtKicker transducers are mounted to a right angle aluminum plate 0.09" thick.   This allows for enhanced movement of the transducer as the bracket "flexes" a bit, inducing more effective vibration into the seat, and into your body.  Simple, but very effective with the BFF Shaker card.
P3d v4.5x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT1080HD projection 120 deg. display driven by a single EVGA Nvidia GTX-1080Ti Water Cooled.  6dof Motion Platform using BFF 6dof motion software, driven by a Thanos Servo Controller to 6.2 KW Servos.

FredK

Guys...Many thanks for all the inputs.

Mike's arrangement with the transducer at right angles is interesting.  The design of my Weber seats does not provide an option for me to mount it at the seat back like that, but there is a similar metal plate that is positioned below the back rest (just below the seat height). That might work even better.

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

bernard S

June 13, 2020, 08:46:12 am #7 Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 08:48:54 am by bernard S
rubber grommets between kicker and plate should be put in   you will get a much more immersive push  and if you use big ones they will shake you whole deck 

sagrada737

June 14, 2020, 03:16:56 pm #8 Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 03:20:42 pm by sagrada737
Let's think a little bit about what we want a audio trandsucer (ButtKicker) to accomplish.   It is really all about inducing specific vibrations into our Sim environment.

Now...   What in our Sims needs or desires vibration?   Your MIP certainly doesn't need destructive vibration.   Your monitors or projectors certainly don't need destructive vibration.   What do they care anyway?  The fact is, they don't care.  These electro-mechanical components simply put up with the vibration, and if they can tolerate it, they might survive.

However, the fact is that most of our Sims are not real Flight Decks, like Bernards and others.  To get Bernard's 747 flight deck to vibrate requires a very heavy amount of vibration induced into the flight deck.

But when we consider that it is the people flying the Sim that "desire" some realistic air/ground flight vibration.  Why?  Because it adds to the Sim immersion experience.  This becomes a different requirement if we don't want unwanted vibrations to get into our Sim hardware.  Essentially, all we need is to "pick-off" the vibrations we want, and have them induced into our body.  Placement of the Transducer on the Seat is the most effective way to accomplish this.

If we place the Transducer in other locations, then the vibrations must travel through hardware to get to our body.  It will be the case when the Transducer is located elsewhere other than the seat, the vibrations will be severely dampened by the time they get to your body that is sitting in the seat.  Also, it is important to note that along with dampening, the vibration fidelity will be compromised and lose some of its integrity.

So...   Place the transducer at some mid-point on the back of your seat.  Have the Transducer mounted such that it is active in the lateral axis.  One reason for mounting the Transducer on an "extended bracket" hard bolted to the seat frame via a mounting plate make of 3/4" plywood to disperse the vibration across the seat back (as shown in the photo above), is to allow the bracket to flex a bit to help enhance the Transducer's vibrations.  This way, you will get the maximum effect of the Transducer vibration induced into your body, specifically the lower back area.

One of the advantages of using the BFF Shaker card/software is that it allows the User to selectively set the type of vibration and its magnitude, which is then sent out to the Transducer (where ever it is mounted).   As I mentioned before, BFF Shaker and ButtKicker transducers make for a good combo solution.  I do not suggest that you use "audio" feed to drive the transducer, as it is broadband and not selective, typically only providing a mesh of low frequency vibrations.

In any case, folks do what they want to do.   Part of the fun!   I'm just sharing my experience in what I have found to be the easiest, lowest cost, effective way to add realistic flight vibrations into the Sim experience.



P3d v4.5x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT1080HD projection 120 deg. display driven by a single EVGA Nvidia GTX-1080Ti Water Cooled.  6dof Motion Platform using BFF 6dof motion software, driven by a Thanos Servo Controller to 6.2 KW Servos.

zillmer

I concur with Mike, I have more or less exactly the same setup, with the transducer mounted to the seat and using the BFF shaker card. The vibration is obvious whilst sitting in the seat, but doesn't travel much beyond the seat assembly so the rest of the flight deck is more or less unaffected.

The BFF card I have supports 2 separate transducers (one for each seat) and the software is highly configurable so the absolute level of the vibrations, and the level of each individual vibration is tunable.

The BFF software provides vibration cues for, amongst other things:

Engine start and running.
Gear extension and retraction thumps
Flap and spoilers extension
Flap and spoilers induced turbulence
Atmospheric turbulence
Ground related bumps on taxi and runway

Each is separately configurable in a number of different ways.

I wasn't entirely sure before I invested in it how much difference it would make to the immersion, but now I have it it is indispensable. If I neglect to run the BFF software, I notice as soon as I start the engines and I have to leave the flight deck to start it.

The sense of accelerating down the runway feeling the ground thumps increasing in frequency together with the vibration of the engines, and then the ground bumps ceasing as the plane lifts off, followed by the feeling of the gear retraction is just fantastic.

Simon.

FredK

Thanks guys.....all this is helpful!

Simon...Do you also have the transducer mounted at right angles like Mike has?

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

mickc

Throwing my hat in the ring here, similar setup to most.
2x Buttkickr LFEs mounted to the base of the Ipeco seats. 
I used aluminium bar, mounted to the seat base via rubber isolation washers.
Everything clears the other components through the seats range of height adjustment.
No pocket in the back like the Webers so the underside was the only option. The seat base & back are solidly joined via shafts so the effect carries across well to the whole seat.

Although there is probably not much difference in operation, I was told by the manufacturers that the Buttkickr was not meant to be mounted horizontally as it would not be as effective, and wear out much quicker.

sagrada737

June 15, 2020, 05:08:41 am #12 Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 05:12:30 am by sagrada737
I forgot to mention...   The BFF Shaker software is able to support two (2) BFF Shaker cards.  That means you can further customize and expand additional Transducers. 

I have tested this setup, but found that for my Sim, the only vibration I needed was through the seat.  Hence only one BFF Shaker card needed.

By the way...   The BFF Shaker/ButtKicker Transducers sync nicely with the behavior of the 6dof Motion Platform.  For example, when taxiing, the motion platform will sense the taxiway bumps and move accordingly, with the Transducer adding specific vibrations through the seats to sync with the taxiway bumps.  The effect really adds to the sense of immersion.

The Nose Wheel on a 737 is slightly aft of the pilots.  This subjects the cockpit to a lot of taxiway/runway vibrations.  You can easily see this in 737 cockpit videos during taxi/takeoff/landing.   Especially upon landing and roll-out, cockpit vibrations are fairly intense. 

I should report that my 6dof Motion Platform is true to this behavior, and I have had to "tone it down" to keep from shaking the Sim to pieces.  I have it set now where the flight deck is protected from major jolts, but when the wheels touch down, you definitely know you have landed... :)

One more thing...   If you buy the BFF solution, be sure to purchase the BFF Shaker software with the Dongle version and buy a spare BFF Shaker card.  Hardware System backups are important too.

Mike
P3d v4.5x with Sim-Avionics (two computers), FDS MIP, 3-Optoma HD GT1080HD projection 120 deg. display driven by a single EVGA Nvidia GTX-1080Ti Water Cooled.  6dof Motion Platform using BFF 6dof motion software, driven by a Thanos Servo Controller to 6.2 KW Servos.

FredK

Any comments about using the BFF Shaker Card V1 vs. V2?

The V2 card eliminates the need for an amplifier; it requires only a separate power source.  So a simpler setup. With the V2 you do not have the option of the remote controller gadget of course, but once things are tuned you really do not have to adjust on the fly.  The actual input software appears to be the same....so no advantages/disadvantages there.  So I am inclined to go with the V2 card.  Am I missing something I need to know?

For the V2 card what power source input to drive two ButtKicker mini-LFEs? I am thinking 24V/8Amp should do the trick.

Thanks,
Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

bernard S

amp and mixer are your friends

helloo

Checking in here to see what you bought, Fred.  Did you go with version 2 of the BFF card?

Also, do you need an amplifier if you purchase the BFF card?  Or do you just need the transducer from the butt kicker website to go with the BFF card?  Or do you need the kit with amp and transducer to go with the BFF card?

I am only looking to install on one seat. 

I assume you can purchase just the kit from butt kicker and be done with it without the bff card. But it is not as customizable as having a BFF card?
 https://thebuttkicker.com/buttkicker-individual-seat-control-system-bka-130-c-1-mini-ct/

FredK

July 26, 2020, 09:24:40 am #16 Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 09:31:49 am by FredK
To answer your questions......

I have learned a lot this past month on this subject, but I admit I do not have all the answers.

I have investigated both the BFF card approach (SHKR1 and SHKR2 versions) as well as the straight "audio" approach (using the ButtKicker BKA-103-c amp).  My original plan was to actually use a combination of both.

Before I report on all that I will explain my approach for mounting my ButtKicker mini-LFEs in my seats....one in each of my seats.

I have the Mini-LFE positioned in a cavity that is just below the rear of the seat surface. No easy feat....I needed to remove the seat and disassemble some parts to do that.  I mounted the transducer on a 3/4 inch piece of wood backed by a steel plate to provide some rigidity.  I then tap-screwed that assembly into the cavity fastening it onto some existing metal struts.  That part worked out very well.  Vibrations are evenly transmitted throughout the seat...I really do not perceive the vibrations coming from any specific point. I also pre-wired speaker cable to a cavity in the back of the seat looking ahead to possibly mounting a second transducer there.

I ordered 2 BFF SHKR2 cards, but my initial plan is simply to run one card with 2 Mini-LFEs attached...one for each seat.  So all my tests are within that configuration.  There was some frustration getting the BFF software to work though. I found that the latest software version 1.55 available on the BFF website to be totally unstable. It kept dropping into a "non-responding" state, and changes in tuning variables were frustratingly difficult to make. However Ian at BFF provided me with an updated V1.57.  He said that what I was experiencing can happen on some systems.  The revised software has a code script that pulses activity every 10 seconds or so that keeps it connected.  So that part of it was resolved.

The BFF SKKR software can be tuned to provide vibration variables for many different effects. This is where I found that things get to be a bit difficult. There is a wave test facilty in the software that can be used to define wave intensities and variables for about a dozen different effects.  That part is convenient and relatively straightforward.  However I found that once those variables are implemented they do not perform as in the test function.  I think the issue is that when the responses operate in combination with one another the wave instructions start interfering and combining with one another in a way that results in strange vibrations. So it becomes a bit of hit and miss to get all that to work.

That said I did get the vibration functions working reasonably OK....but I am admittedly am bit underwhelmed.  Vibrations for flaps and gear setting changes work the best.  Runway vibration is also OK, and runway "bumps and thumps" can be realistic if the intensities are kept at a low gain.  Engine vibration is most disappointing....I get an abnormal harsh banging at the start of engine rev up (or down) on a takeoff roll.  The only way I found to eliminate that is to set the gain intensity at a minimal level where the effect is hardly noticeable (I get more engine vibration alone from my subwoofer setup than I am able to get from the Shkr card).

To sum all that up....The SHKR card works best for steady, fixed vibrations like flaps movement. However the effects are less realistic for touchdown bumps or the kind of sensation you would get for a gear door locking into place.  I believe that is so because in the real situation those kinds of sensations involve an actual physical motion effect rather than a vibrational or knocking effect.

So then I went on to explore using an audio output as the input.  The SHKR2 card has an audio-in channel built into the card that can be used in combination with the BFF SHKR software effects.  So I split the audio feed from the PC motherboard onboard sound.  I tried separately using the subwoofer feed and the stereo lead feed.  In both cases there was no vibrational response whatsoever.  Ian at BFF did not have a clear answer for that other than turning up the volume...that did not work.  Both cards were the same.

So...I went on to explore the audio feed approach using my newly acquired ButtKicker BKA-130-c amp.  I set it all up with the split audio feed as above and was happy that I was able to get a nice vibration response in the seats using the Realtek speaker output test facility.  However there were no vibrational effects for P3D running....totally dead.  So I tried playing some sound tracks like explosions and car crashes etc and found the same thing....no response whatsoever through the ButtKicker amp.  So I do not quite understand that. Perhaps it has something to do with the Realtek sound output on the MOBO??  I just don't know.  I am going to try it with a separate sound card installed in the computer.  I am also going to try to contact someone at ButtKicker.  Any ideas, comments, or suggestions on that one?

So at this point I have invested some big bucks into this transducer project along with significant hours of effort with only deriving some underwhelming joy out.  I do need to figure out what is going on with the audio feed method since the issue is common with both the BFF SHKR card and the ButtKicker amp.  So it has to be something with how the computer is outputting the audio feed.

One of the reasons I am so underwhelmed is that I do get a very nice vibrational effect from my subwoofer setup which is located under my real pedestal.  Although the intensity is modest and limited it does provide a realistic representation that is exactly in sync with the audio effects.  I was hoping that the audio feed approach would boost that.

Mike Sherrick lent me a spare BFF Shkr1 card to try. Unlike the SHKR2 card that has a built-in amp the SHR1 card operates as the feed into the Buttkicker amp in place of the audio feed. The setup for that involves FTDI driver software to establish a COM serial port connection for USB cable connection.  The SHKR2 card also uses the FTDI driver but interfaces with the more modern GUI setup, not the serial COM port. So I think there was some driver setup confusion there between the two.  In the end I did not want to mess up things with the Shkr2 card, so I abandoned the look-see.  But I thank Mike anyhow.

There is much more functionality with the SHKR2 card over the SHKR1 card.....for example, turbulence effects.  But I have not gotten to explore all that yet.

All comments and suggestions are most welcome of course.  Particularly on the audio feed issue.

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

FredK

July 28, 2020, 04:52:18 pm #17 Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 04:24:40 am by FredK
Okay...I did get the audio feed channels working for both the BFF SHKR2 card and for the ButtKicker amp.

So that is going to change a lot of what I reported above.

What is required is that "Bass Management" has to be activated in the Realtec sound card settings.

On a head-to-head comparison of the two approaches (using only the audio channel on the SHKR2) I have to conclude that the ButtKicker amp does a much better job.  The fidelity of the vibration response is better.

That said, the BFF SHKR2 card offers the potential advantage of a dual feed approach....BFF software telemetry plus audio feed.  There are separate pots on the card that enable gain intensity balancing between the two.

So to be fair I need to explore all that further.

I was very impressed with the ButtKicker amp though.  Vibration response was evident for most situations and I found the response to be more "organic" than that derived from the BFF software.  The vibrations were perfectly in sync with the audio feed....that is not always the case I have found with the BFF software....but a dual feed approach could correct that....or on the other hand confound that.

The ButtKicker amp does a much better job handling engine vibrations, particularly resonance effects, and I was blown away with the vibration effects from reverser deployment.  It is also a much simpler setup as well....no tinkering with settings since essentially there are no settings to tinker with.  Just make all your wiring connections and you are good to go......provided you remember to activate "Bass Management" as I reported above.

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

Mach7

I had a BUTTKICKER installed underneath my seat and liked the effect quite well...but some time ago there started to be a lot of interference with the audio system...basically all the audio tones, (engine noise, etc etc) were distorted until I unplugged the unit. I have changed out just about everything wire wise...but cannot solve the problem..the manufacturer does not seem to have a solution as well so I was forced to disconnect the unit.

FredK

Quote from: Mach7 on August 04, 2020, 06:17:49 amI had a BUTTKICKER installed underneath my seat and liked the effect quite well...but some time ago there started to be a lot of interference with the audio system...basically all the audio tones, (engine noise, etc etc) were distorted until I unplugged the unit. I have changed out just about everything wire wise...but cannot solve the problem..the manufacturer does not seem to have a solution as well so I was forced to disconnect the unit.

Have not encountered that issue yet.

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

MistyBlue

I'm still experimenting with my buttkicker setup (in combination with finding the right audio placement/balance).  I'm currently using a single Buttkicker Mini LFE mounted directly to the seat bottom. While that works ok, I'm going to try adding another to the seat back to see if I can get a better effect.

I have rubber isolators between the seat and floor so it doesn't get transmitted to the flight deck.  Works quite well.  I used to have the mini LFE's mounted directly to the base but as mentioned here it shakes your deck and rattles every loose screw and panel. The real thing rattles but not like that.

I'm using CockpitSounds to create the various vibrations.  It works fairly well, with its set of defined vibrations, but I feel like it's still lacking fidelity.  Have to take a look at the BFF software. 

FredK

August 22, 2020, 05:54:25 am #21 Last Edit: August 22, 2020, 08:48:38 am by FredK
Quote from: MistyBlue on August 21, 2020, 09:39:36 pmI'm still experimenting with my buttkicker setup (in combination with finding the right audio placement/balance).  I'm currently using a single Buttkicker Mini LFE mounted directly to the seat bottom. While that works ok, I'm going to try adding another to the seat back to see if I can get a better effect.

I have rubber isolators between the seat and floor so it doesn't get transmitted to the flight deck.  Works quite well.  I used to have the mini LFE's mounted directly to the base but as mentioned here it shakes your deck and rattles every loose screw and panel. The real thing rattles but not like that.

I'm using CockpitSounds to create the various vibrations.  It works fairly well, with its set of defined vibrations, but I feel like it's still lacking fidelity.  Have to take a look at the BFF software. 

After a couple more weeks of testing the BFF Shakr Card method vs. the ButtKicker amp method I have arrived at a conclusion......I definitely prefer the ButtKicker amp.

My reasons:

(1) The ButtKicker amp is a much simpler setup....no extra USB connection, no extra software to initiate each time you fly, no need to spend time tweaking a myriad of software variables

(2) The BFF software telemetry stream is not always in sync with the actual flight sim events. For example, landing gear actuation....there is bumping still going on after the landing gear motion (i.e., audio) stops. Likewise for runway rumble and thumps being out of sync. With the Buttkicker amp method the audio events are exactly in sync with the vibration effects.....the effect is much more realistic.

(3) Jet engine vibration effects for BFF are terrible in contrast to the ButtKicker amp effects which are excellent...the vibrational resonance effects on engine spooling and reverser actuation etc. are really terrific, again cued by the subwoofer audio feed.  I get absolutely none of that with BFF after spending hours of fiddling with the settings.

On the other side of the ledger:

(1) For flap movement....the BFF software provides a nice flap movement vibrational effect versus nothing for the ButtKicker amp.  That kind of frequency resonance is out of range for the ButtKicker amp.

(2) Turbulence effects.....The BFF software has variables that can be tuned to provide vibrational effects cued by pitch and IAS speed fluctuations (indicated in the software interface as "experimental").  In theory this could be a big edge over the ButtKicker amp method which is cued only by subwoofer audio input.  The problem is that I never could get this to actually work with BFF.  So really not an advantage.

Caveat: All my tests were done with the Sim-Avionics 737.  Results may differ with other aircraft, particularly prop type.

Also, the BFF Shakr card does have the provision for an audio feed connection stream.  This can be used independently or in conjunction with the BFF software stream.  The problem I found though was that the quality of the audio feed stream was much better using the ButtKicker amp....the max gain response for the BFF Shkr card was just too low.

I am very pleased with the mounting setup for my ButtKicker Mini LFE. Vibrational effects are nicely distributed throughout the seat.

The bottomline is that I am really enjoying this extra dimension of realism in my cockpit. The trick is to tune the level of vibration so it is clearly noticeable....but subtle.  Otherwise it becomes an experience like you see so many times in cheap amusement park thrill rides.

BTW....If anyone wants to purchase a BFF Shkr2 Card for half price let me know....I have two of them.

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

MistyBlue

Thanks Fred.  Good info to know. 

I think I'll stick with my current Buttkicker/CockpitSounds setup for now.  It's simple, it works pretty well, and that's good enough.  Truthfully, I have no idea what it really feels like in the cockpit during all aspects of flight so it's all just guesswork anyway, lol.

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