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Simvibe by SimXperience Reviewed by Inside Sim Racing

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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.

 

Most current receivers run 4 ohms standard without overheating. Some will even drive 2ohm speakers. If you don't have a receiver that can run 4ohm stable, simply run a 4ohm resistor in series with the Aura. As long as you're running 2 4ohm devices in a series, it doesn't matter if it's a second Aura or a resistor. That'll give you the 8ohms you need. It's a quick, reliable, and inexpensive resolution to the problem.

 

It would be a shame to have to buy a new amp/receiver or more Auras simply because the receiver doesn't like 4ohm outputs. =0)

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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

 

I've seen buttkickers and other tranducers on the side. I think Shaun was using the Gamer2. I'm pretty sure that the tranducer portion of it has no issue being on the side, but perhaps the mounting hardware's vibration along the square tubing might be the cause of the noise.

 

So long as you have two soundcards, you're fine. My AsRock motherboard comes with two soundcards. One integrated and the other is a PCI-E soundcard they oem'd from Soundblaster. It's a variant of the Recond3D products. Both work just fine. As long as you setup the one on your motherboard so that in Windows, it's neither the Default Device or the Default Communications Device, you'll be fine. Then you can go into Simvibe and directly map Simvibe output to the dedicated soundcard for the shaker application.

 

Also, you'll want to make sure your other applications do not get mapped to the dedicated soundcard either.

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Is there any sound lag from using SimVibe? 

 

I previously used "Virtual Audio Cable" (VAC) to split sound outputs to my home cinema sound system, Logitech Z5500, 2 sets of headphones and shakers all at once.

 

However there was a noticeable sound lag (milliseconds) using VAC that was very irritating.

 

Does SimVibe have any similar sound lag issue?

 

 

Cheers

 

They mentioned that it was in sync with the sound and force feedback.

 

VAC works differently. VAC has to reprocess and re-output to multiple sound devices. There is a bit of caching involved. This can present lag. Simvibe has a lot less on it's plate. It should work well and in sync.

 

The Simvibe guys have been doing motion actuators for a while. The motion actuators work on the same principle as the shakers. The only difference is, the motion actuators come with there own USB controller. For the shakers, think of the soundcard as the controller. From there, the software functions pretty similarly for both applications. I'm pretty sure they have the lag worked out of there systems.

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  • 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 

I was worried about that too, but I have had the buttkicker for a month now and had no problems, and I race really late sometimes with my fiancée sleeping right down the hall and a neighbor upstairs that hates me already.  It's pretty contained, and you can control how loud it is if you are worried about it late at night.  From what I've seen online, most of the people that have issues with neighbors are people that live ABOVE other people...as it does shake the floor a little.  

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For most rigs, it helps to put isolators beneath the sim to help keep the vibrations in (prevent them from transferring to the floor). Is transducer noise level is key, there are a variety of transducers available, each with its own pros/cons and noise levels. Of those that we tested here, the Aura is the by far the quietest, followed by the Mini LFE SE, Dayton Puck, Mini LFE and Clark Synthesis in that order. NOTE: I did not take dB readings, these are simply my observations.

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They mentioned that it was in sync with the sound and force feedback.

 

VAC works differently. VAC has to reprocess and re-output to multiple sound devices. There is a bit of caching involved. This can present lag. Simvibe has a lot less on it's plate. It should work well and in sync.

 

The Simvibe guys have been doing motion actuators for a while. The motion actuators work on the same principle as the shakers. The only difference is, the motion actuators come with there own USB controller. For the shakers, think of the soundcard as the controller. From there, the software functions pretty similarly for both applications. I'm pretty sure they have the lag worked out of there systems.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. SimVIbe does indeed deliver extremely low latency audio. It is sub millisecond delivery from the time we receive game physics data. This essentially means that you get SimVibe feedback just a bit before the screen frame is drawn in most cases because most monitors and televisions have a few miliseconds of lag. There are a lot of variable to this of course: when the game updates screen vs physics api, even the amplifier response plays a part in the overall timeliness of delivery.That said, I think it's fair to say that SimVibe is extremely quick and certainly quicker than any off the shelf force feedback device, which at best will have a 2ms delay.

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I am very pleased with this software so far.  I have been using it for a few months and can't race without it.  Hopefully the setup show will show me how to fine tune this product.  Keep up the good work guys.

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Hey Shannonb1,

 

Thank you for your post on your hardware setup, it was very informative and I am checking out that amp.

 

Hey Berney,

 

Excellent software, this is breakthrough stuff for all of us buttkicker people. You mentioned isolators to put under the sim rig, what are those things? It would be good to get some as my buttkicker is vibrating the walls down. :-P

 

 

My buttkicker gamer2 bangs like crazy, did someone say you can tune this out?

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Thanks for your input LowHungFuzzyDice.

 

I should have said that I have a Gamer2.

 

Speaking of the Gamer2, I just saw this on the Buttkicker website:-

  • The ButtKicker Gamer2  transducer should not be mounted sideways with the logos facing up and down.

So now I'm a bit confused. I really want to be able to mount it sideways but I don't want to stuff it up...they cost $250 each here in Australia!!

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Thanks for your input LowHungFuzzyDice.

 

I should have said that I have a Gamer2.

 

Speaking of the Gamer2, I just saw this on the Buttkicker website:-

  • The ButtKicker Gamer2  transducer should not be mounted sideways with the logos facing up and down.

So now I'm a bit confused. I really want to be able to mount it sideways but I don't want to stuff it up...they cost $250 each here in Australia!!

 

You may just want to build a small 90 degree bracket.

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really great review Darin and Shaun, I've always wandered how to get the software for that rotating dashboard for games, If I dont want to get the vibe first. I'lll definitely want that dash board without the simvibe for now, not sure if thats available. (sorry a bit off topic)

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Guys I have been running this for awhile now and are blown away by how it changed my sim. Can't add much to Shaun and Darin's comments but this, make sure that the two sound cards you install for chassis and extension are of different manufacturers cause simvibe has problems driving cards with one set of drivers. Other that that go forth and multiply, populate your sim with transducers!

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With buttkickers, they oscilate side to side, you want to aim them up ideally.  I dont have my ast positioned this way.  I have them mounted sideway where the wheelswould be. my sim is 72" long, 2 ast in series, i feel them fine!  plus the sond that comes from them is like hearing it from where the tire would be.

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Ok im sold on this. I havent used my buttkicker in ages as i though it was pretty lame.

 

My one question is - I have onboard sound and a PCI-e Asus soundcard. Do i need another or can I run the simvibe software off the onboard sound card??

 

Thanks

Smudge

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I'd be more excited with this if it allowed left and right vibration on the seat (ie one transducer on each side of the seat).  I currently have two shakers on the seat for left and right vibrations and I'm happy with it. If I got this software with my current setup it would be a slight step backwards as it will be a mono playback using the extensions mode. I do like the idea though of instant vibration since I do notice a slight delay with what I'm feeling on the wheel and what I'm feeling on the seat.  

 

To get the most out of this software I'd imagine you'd have to splash the cash and get five on your rig but you'd have to spend a heck of a lot to get an amp to power all of the transducers or get five cheap little stereo amps which will take up a lot of room and powerstrips.

 

Also it would be nice if there was an elegant clean looking solution because having a Buttkicker mounted at each corner doesn't half make a rig look ugly and I wouldn't even know how to attach an Aura Shaker to my rig in chassis mode.

 

Why don't iRacing just incorporate a cut down version of this software?  For example allow for dual outputs and set one output for transducers and the other for sound with each output having individual in-game sound level settings, this would be a good alternative solution for those who don't want to fork out for the SimVibe software and all the extra hardware that's needed.

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If your Buttkicker is making too much noise it may be turned up too high.Below is from the Butkicker Q&A page.

 

  • Q) My Chair is Rattling! How can I fix this problem?
    • A) The part that most often rattles is the lever that controls the pneumatic lift cylinder and/or tilt control. Try jamming foam or cardboard under the lever or using a long rubber-band to secure it to the arm of the chair.
  • Q) I hear a knocking or banging noise coming from the ButtKicker Gamer transducer - what should I do?
  • A) That is the internal piston of the ButtKicker Gamer transducer hitting the inside of the housing. Although this will not immediately harm the unit, you should turn the volume down on the amplifier to avoid "over driving" of the ButtKicker Gamer transducer

Also form the website.This supports what Shannon mentioned earlier.

          : The ButtKicker Gamer transducer should not be mounted sideways with the logos facing up and down.

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I'd be more excited with this if it allowed left and right vibration on the seat (ie one transducer on each side of the seat).  I currently have two shakers on the seat for left and right vibrations and I'm happy with it. If I got this software with my current setup it would be a slight step backwards as it will be a mono playback using the extensions mode. I do like the idea though of instant vibration since I do notice a slight delay with what I'm feeling on the wheel and what I'm feeling on the seat.  

 

To get the most out of this software I'd imagine you'd have to splash the cash and get five on your rig but you'd have to spend a heck of a lot to get an amp to power all of the transducers or get five cheap little stereo amps which will take up a lot of room and powerstrips.

 

Also it would be nice if there was an elegant clean looking solution because having a Buttkicker mounted at each corner doesn't half make a rig look ugly and I wouldn't even know how to attach an Aura Shaker to my rig in chassis mode.

 

You can place two transducers on the seat and use them as left/right. The way to do this is to select chassis mode, but in Windows, rather than telling it quadrophonic, tell it stereo. Windows will then collapse Front Left & Rear Left  and Front Right and Rear Right for you. The result is right and left.

 

That said, in all of our test with about 10 different amps and as many transducers placed just about anywhere and everywhere, it wasn't as realistic having them directly on the seat. I suspect it is because the feel is too "pointed", as if something touched you. In a real car, the vibrations originate at all four corners and transfer to you through your hands, feet and seat. The vibrations are not as direct as having a transducer right under your rear, yet still felt.

 

As far as a clean implementation at all four corners, it takes a little creativity. This sim has a full compliment of transducers but they are tucked away beneath the floorboard.

 

racing_simulator.jpg

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You can place two transducers on the seat and use them as left/right. The way to do this is to select chassis mode, but in Windows, rather than telling it quadrophonic, tell it stereo. Windows will then collapse Front Left & Rear Left  and Front Right and Rear Right for you. The result is right and left.

 

That's a good tip thanks for posting.

 

In chassis mode does it transmit the engine revs or is this only in extension mode?

 

I might give this a try, would be nice if there was a free trial version of the software.

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WoW this topic is getting interesting...

 

I've had a ButtKicker Gamer 2 for a long time now and really didn't like the fact that I'd feel one rumble strip in iRacing and not another.  I noticed I was using it less and less over time.

 

This could change everything..

 

One note:

 

As Shawn and Daren mentioned Berney at SimXperience provides great support for his products.  I sent him an email last night asking if Commander 3 was compatible with Windows 8?

 

Here is his response:

 

"SimVibe, like most things that run on Windows 7, will run on Windows 8, but with reduced performance. Microsoft made some unfortunate changes in Windows 8 in the interest of saving battery life that cannot be disabled and result in 2X the latency of Windows 7.

 

We have been working with Microsoft on a solution for this in upcoming Commander 4.

 

My advice is to hold off."

 

Thanks Berney, I'm looking forward to Commander 4 and can't wait to use it.

 

Really nice Video Darin and Shawn........

 

Andy

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........... or can I run the simvibe software off the onboard sound card??

 

Thanks

Smudge

That's a good question. Can you connect your Buttkicker/tactile transcducer and run the Simvibe software off the onboard sound card and then use the PCI sound card to run the speakers?

 

Darin and Shaun - no pressure but could you please get that Simvibe setup video uploaded ASAP :-)

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Ok im sold on this. I havent used my buttkicker in ages as i though it was pretty lame.

 

My one question is - I have onboard sound and a PCI-e Asus soundcard. Do i need another or can I run the simvibe software off the onboard sound card??

 

Thanks

Smudge

As long as you're dedicating the onboard for simvibe, you're good to go. This is under the assumption the onboard soundcard provides enough channels for your desired configuration (ie. chassis mode, extension mode, both). You'll need 4 channels for chassis mode, 1 to 3 channels for extension mode, or 5 to 7 channels for chassis and extension mode.

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That's a good question. Can you connect your Buttkicker/tactile transcducer and run the Simvibe software off the onboard sound card and then use the PCI sound card to run the speakers?

 

Darin and Shaun - no pressure but could you please get that Simvibe setup video uploaded ASAP :smile:

 

The Simvibe software doesn't know the difference. The idea is to have a seperate isolated soundcard. This isolated soundcard should NOT be designated in Windows as a "Default Device" or a "Default Communications Device". Outside of that, Simvibe doesn't care. You tell simvibe what card you want to use. It doesn't dictate which soundcard to use.

 

In addition, make sure no other software on your computer is assigned to the soundcard you choose for Simvibe. This wont prevent Simvibe from working. It's just a precaution so that other software isn't trying to use the shakers. Unless you're cool with your mother-in-law's skype voice coming out of your shakers, lol.

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As long as you're dedicating the onboard for simvibe, you're good to go. This is under the assumption the onboard soundcard provides enough channels for your desired configuration (ie. chassis mode, extension mode, both). You'll need 4 channels for chassis mode, 1 to 3 channels for extension mode, or 5 to 7 channels for chassis and extension mode.

 

I thought you needed a separate sound card for each mode.  If you have a 7.1 on board sound-card you're saying you can operate both chassis and extension modes using the 7.1 channels of the on-board card?

 

I am using hdmi audio from my gfx card for audio and I have the on-board 7.1 card listed and I had hoped to add a usb external card (no space left inside case) to use for extensions (which I heard will work with usb cards?).  

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