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Simvibe by SimXperience Reviewed by Inside Sim Racing

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Our review of the Simvibe Experience.  This show has a detailed review of this piece of software that will control transducers directly from outputs of your favorite sim.  This means your buttkicker, aura shakers or any other tactile feedback devise will actually be game controlled.  The software will control up to 8 different devices.  We play with the software, tell you a little bit about how to set it up, and then let you know how it really works while driving.  We finish up with the pros, the cons and then give it a final score.

 

 

To get more information of Simvibe from SimXperience please click on the banner at the top of our homepage.

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Really looking forward to your set up video.  I run tritton ax720 headphones out of my pc and had a lot of trouble getting my buttkicker set up because I couldn't get Windows to send signals to two different sound cards (I already have 2).  I ended up getting a digital to analog adapter that allowed me to use the coax and optical outputs at the same time...but I can't use dolby digital in my headphones anymore.  

 

Assuming I will be able to get around that...I think I'm going to have to get this software.  Thanks guys!

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I got this figured out. You can get a 7.1 receiver for under $200 from newegg or amazon. Ebay and craigslist might offer you lower prices and higher quality as well, but since these aren't producing actual audio, I'm sure the difference will be negligible. Get 7 Aura Pro AST-2B-4. Four in chassis mode and three in extension mode. and the software. You're in a full immersion rig for under $600. Take that motion rigs. lol. I love it. Great show guys. I'm excited to see the setup video. I better haul ass and get my rig finished. =0)

 

 

PS... Just a side thought. You can easily use some inexpensive 4 channel car amps if you have something like a Radio Shack AC to 12VDC power converter. You can get a 4 channel xplod sony amp off of ebay for $50 each for example, with free shipping. Grab two of those and a converter and you just cut another $100 off the total expense.

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this stuff is getting very cool indeed, im in the throws of planning a pc set up, i started with the idea of starting small and building but thats slowly going out the window, its my 40th birthday in november and ive slowly squireled away enough cash too fully embrace my midlife crisis and get myself a new(to me new) nissan 350z, this is now fading in favor of going all out and spending that cash on a complete rig like the one shawn is rocking, with your guys comments and the excitement in your faces when you are talking about this gear is infectious, my plan now is to spend my saved birthday cash on sim gear, the whole kit and caboodle, then start saving to get a ten year old 370z for my 50th.. :-P ...shaun, just out of financial interest how much in total is that rig of yours, minus the cost of wheel peddals and shifter, im not a rich man but like i say, i got rainy day money to burn..thanks guys, another great insightful look at some new stuff that adds to the emursion of racing, big thumbs up

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Hey Darin and Shaun,

 

Another great show, I was really looking forward to this one.

 

I have been using simvibe with extensions mode with one buttkicker for a couple of months now and I definately think it is a 10 and a must have. Even with 1 buttkicker I've tuned it for engine rumble, and suspension and I've found it works really well.

 

I was dissapointed originally with my buttkicker, but once I got simvibe, I was very happy. (I have no association with simvibe, just love their product :-P )

 

Although the full setup is a lot of money, I am slowly adding to my setup each month, the next step is to get 4 pucks, a 4 channel amplifier, and a sound card to add the chassis mode while using the buttkicker in extension mode for the seat, after this I am going to add a couple more pucks for the pedals and the shifter.

 

Hey Shaun, did you find the chasssi mode a big shift in the quality of feedback you get compared to Darins setup, or do you find the four corners are not localised enough? I guess what I am asking is can you feel each corner, or does it just feel like front and back or left and right? How much better is it from DArins setup?

 

I am really looking forward to the setup video.

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good review, but noticed your buttkickers are very noisy, looks like they are wrongly adjusted in simcommander software, they should vibrate and not make this banging noise.And you mentioned 8 buttkickers could be used, not fully correct, 4 in chassis mode and 3 in localized mode, makes 7.

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I am so stoked and looking forward to the technical details of setting up the SimVibe software and associated hardware. 

I've got a few questions that maybe can be answered now.  How many amps per channel are suggested for the shakers?

Can an 8 channel mono amp be used?  Isolating the chassie is a must, What material is suggested?

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@ faro06 - I'll take credit for the confusion there. Shawn and Darren are aware of the hidden option to enable the wheel extension also, which technically totals 8 although the UI only provides for the 7 you mentioned.

 

Also, if you are interesting in a quieter ButtKicker, I would highly suggest the Mini LFE SE (SimVibe Edition) found here:

http://simxperience.com/Products/SimVibe/ButtKickerMiniLFESE.aspx

 

It uses some additional acoustic dampening foam that reduces noise and improves response my reducing end cap impacts.

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Hey Darin and Shaun,

 

Great review, can't wait to see the follow-up.

 

I'm considering getting a buttkicker or simular. Now with Simvibe it sounds even more attractive. Before making a descision though i would like an aswer to the following:

  • is only one buttkicker going to make a difference? I have the rSeat evo with the buttkicker connection in the back as you know
  • what you didn't mention as a con in your review is something i'm a bit worried about; my neighbours. I'm racing till after midnight, so would this make so much rumble that it would keep them out of their sleep? I have my neighbours' houses attached on both sides of my house. I'm not ready yet to get evicted over Iracing :).

Regards, Albert

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@ faro06 - I'll take credit for the confusion there. Shawn and Darren are aware of the hidden option to enable the wheel extension also, which technically totals 8 although the UI only provides for the 7 you mentioned.

 

Also, if you are interesting in a quieter ButtKicker, I would highly suggest the Mini LFE SE (SimVibe Edition) found here:

http://simxperience.com/Products/SimVibe/ButtKickerMiniLFESE.aspx

 

It uses some additional acoustic dampening foam that reduces noise and improves response my reducing end cap impacts.

ahhh, thanks for info Berney, good to know about this hidden option :-), but where can we find it??

 

acoustic damping can be added by some sort of foam on the normal Buttkickers mini LFE too :-)

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he amp that I decided to go with is an 8 channel amp. Its the Pyle Pro pt8000ch. This amp has a left and right input rca plug for each channel. This breaks down to about 1000 watt RMS and realisticall between 80 to 120 watts per channel continuous. Pyle told me on the phone that its more like 450watt continuous. I dont believe them.

im using 1 buttkicker gamer 2 for my chair and then 12 aura ast 1.

Sound Card #1 Chasis Mode
2 per wheel (8) - 2 per channel in a series / 4 channels

Sound Card #2 Ext. Mode
1 Seat base (1 BKG2) 
2 on the pedal plate (1) 1 channel
2 on the shifter (2) in a series / 1 channel (one on back and one on bottom)

So i have one available channel, doesnt look like in ext more that has been defined.


so from my 8 channel amp, I have 4 channels + 1 channel + 1 channel +1` channel= 7


this leaves me with 1 available channels. Plan is to have 1 channel power an additional subwoofer from my "Sound" sound card. The final available channel will be for whatever teh lasdt SimVibe channel will use.



I provide this for a few things.
1. This software is awesome, but hardware is up to you.
2. An 8 channel amp is great, here is the one im using, here is why i want 8 channels. It also has MULTI CHANNEL INPUT. this is super important because if you use a regular receiver vs. an amp, then you must have a "Cener Channel INPUT, REar channel INput, front channel input, and so on. I went with an amplifier because it was clean and straight through. I suggest check ebay and amazon. I was able to get all 11 of my kickers for less then 200, my amp for about 250. already had the kicker which was 120 on ebay and the software was 80.

most of the aura are 4 ohm, that means if you dont run them in a series, they get your receiver HOT if its not rated for 4 ohm. most home systems are 8. This is another reason that an amplifier that is designed and rated, RATED, for 4 ohm is a better choice.

I hope this helps anyone out there that is going for a setup and clean explanation on an example of how one might set this up. THere are other options. 

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I run everything off of a laptop.........will this work with any soundcard, for example a cheap external soundcard like this:

 

http://www.digitaldevicesonline.co.uk/sweex-7-1-external-usb-sound-card.html

 

You can do one of two things. You can use the USB sound card as you've linked us to. The other option would be to use USB Headphones as your primary source of sound and use your laptop soundcard as an output for simvibe. For option 2 to work properly, your laptop will either need to have multiple audio outs (atleast 2 mini stereo jacks for either full chassis or full expansion modes) or you need a digital/optical out from your laptop to a receiver that can decode it. If you just want to drive a pedal and seat shakers like Darin did, a single mini stereo jack from your laptop will work.

 

Option 2 isn't really that involved, but in my opinion, it might be easier to go with option 1. Being a DJ, i'm sure you're quite aware how to segment out your channels.

 

I guess there's also an option 3. Most new Windows laptops will also have a PCI-E Notebook slot. They do make PCI-E Notebook soundcards. It's really no different then going with the USB soundcard option however.

 

Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the great review. 

 

The one thing that really put me off my current shakers is they run all sounds, in game or otherwise.   With SimVibe, in addition to isolating sounds to each shaker, I'm impressed that it only works in game, and the shakers remain quiet out of the game.

 

I'm sold.

 

This is really quite simple actually. The reason that the shakers stay quiet out of the game has more to do with Windows then with the Simvibe software. You simply make sure that in Windows, the soundcard driving the shakers is not selected as the "Default Device" or "Default Communications Device". Then within the Simvibe software's configuration, you'll specifically select the second soundcard. Most of your other software (ie media players, skype, games, etc) will usually reflect to the "Default Device" or the "Default Communications Device". This is why it's so easy to isolate the second soundcard specifically for the Simvibe software.

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Can I use my USB headphones and the internal motherboard sound card for this instead of the 2 sound cards?

 

Yes you can, but as I was describing to djmobi, if you choose to use more then 2 shakers, your motherboard will need to have 2 or more jacks or a digital/optical output. If you use a digital or optical output, you'll need to send it to a receiver so the receiver can decode it. If you have 2 or more mini stereo jacks, then you can send that straight to an amp.

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I'm very excited about the prospect of using the Simvibe software however I have a couple of initial questions.

 

1.  I noticed on Shaun's rig that he had his Buttkickers on their sides. I didn't think they were meant to run this way (maybe that explains why they were so noisy). Can they be used on their sides? The reason I ask is if they can be run on their sides I would have more options to connect Buttkickers to my rig! I already have 1 Buttkicker attached right way up but it's not ideally placed and I if I could run it on it's side I could attach it under my seat. I could also buy a second Buttkicker and attach it under my pedals and run the Simvibe software in Extensions Mode like Darin.

2.. In my PC, I currently have the audio capabilities on my ASUS motherboard (which I currently don't use) and a Creative SB Xi-Fi PCI soundcard which I have hooked up via an optical audio cable to my 5.1 receiver to run my 5.1 speaker setup. My question is can I use the motherboard's audio connections and the Creative sound card as my 2 "soundcard" options?

 

Thanks

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