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Quake 10B - My journey into infrasonics

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by MrGrumpie, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    Hi all

    As some of you may have noticed, I've been dabbling with the idea of a tactile transducer for quite a while. The problem is that there's very little information out there, both in the form of reviews, comparisons and general coverage, but regardless I took the plunge on a little more than a whim but very much skeptical as to what I was going to find.

    The issues I've had with transducers were borne more out of speculation and AV snobbery than anything else. I'd had images of those good fun but ultimately gimmicky theme park rides where you're in a capsule that rocks, dips, blasts your eardrums with crappy but loud sound, and an accompanying shaking that's fun for all of 5 minutes before you realise it's....well crap.

    Not only that, but there's the whole concept of "what the director intended", and this too has always put me off. But it was reading numerous threads on here (with really just a few contributors but spearhead by M4rky M4rk - thanks :) ) which really started to pique my interest.

    I ended up buying a Quake 10B from www.shakercentre.co.uk - I think they're the only retailer to sell the Quake in the UK, and both Luke and Nigel were really helpful in terms of advice etc. I think Nigel is their technical guy, who called me to answer all of my questions about mounting, effect etc etc etc, and they are honest and forthright in their answers. TBH the Quake isn't the cheapest solution around and at £300 for the transducer itself, it's not exactly cheap. But it's not one of those Aurasound "bass shakers" either - this thing drops to 5hz. In addition I bought an FMOD in-line crossover from the forums, a set of BK rubber isolation feet and I've used the spare channel of a NAD T955 power amp that I bought from the forums last week.

    All in, it's £375 including speaker cable, excluding the power amp (I needed it for my rear channels anyway so it doesn't count!).

    Anyway, I've been building a new system over the last 2 months whilst we've been looking for a new house. We sold ours at the end of July and ended up living with friends for 2 months :rolleyes: - but on the bright side it's allowed me to carefully select everything I've needed. My system has literally been built from the ground up again, with everything being new with the exception of the sources. It's very much the highest quality system I've ever owned, so I was curious when we got the keys to our new house last weekend. Oh ok I lie, I was like a kid on Xmas morning :D I couldn't wait to get it all set up!

    After the system was installed (took me ages for some reason), I then began the task of fitting the transducer into the back of my DFS special leather sofa. I realised they cost what they do for a reason, as the thing is built of plywood and is pretty awful underneath - although it IS comfy :)

    God what a nightmare that was. I was determined to fit the Quake inside the sofa, but I made every DIY mistake known to man. I broke two torches, lost 2 bolts somewhere inside, and generally made a 5 hour mess of it. I DID get there in the end, but it wasn't without much swearing, gnashing of teeth and very close to tears. The wife came in the living room at one point and said "what's wrong?"

    One final smack of the hammer - on the mounting bracket, not the wife - and it was in, along with a snarl of "This bugger ain't ever coming out of the sofa frame whether I want it to or not"

    The Quake itself was also a pain in the arse to fit. I had my head stuck deep inside the sofa, the drill was next to my ear, and I was working at angles I never thought were possible :D

    Once it was finished I was mightily relieved. I hooked everything up and then played some well known bass heavy scenes. The sense of anticipation was immense, and I was genuinely nervous that

    a. The sofa was going to fall apart
    b. This thing was going to rattle my teeth
    c. I was going to think it was a gimmicky piece of crap.

    Immediate impressions?

    Well I firmly had option "C" in my mind, but for a different reason entirely. Utter disappointment. My 1 year old farts louder than this thing! The Quake was barely registering any activity to the point where I thought I had a faulty one :laugh: All of this coincided with setting up my ADA processor for the first time, and as a custom install piece of kit, it's very much removed from your usual AV receiver setup menus etc. In addition, as we now have neighbours (god bless em....not :mad:) and the AV wall happens to be the party wall :suicide: , I needed to keep the volume down.

    I soon discovered that the Ada levels were all over the place, ultimately giving me a 15db gap between the level of the speakers and the subwoofer channel. Out with the SPL meter and I soon corrected that.

    And oh my god.

    I finally smiled. Star Wars episode I pod race with a 396kbps DD soundtrack (i.e. heavily compressed) went on first. All of a sudden the system balance was there, the bass was there and...what a kick :D

    When the pods fly past with that quick, deep bass thrum, all of a sudden that thrum was moving through my back, right through me. Hahaa....it had me grinning and loving every minute of it. The really interesting thing was that it was positively connected to the whole experience. It was simply an extension of what my sub was doing, nothing jarred, but the impact was like a significant, instant system upgrade.

    Next up was Cloverfield and :eek::eek: The opening scene with the first explosions, followed by the "hiding in the shop" scene were palpable in a way that I've never experienced before. My AV snobbery went out of the window, because although I'm used to experiencing high quality, deep bass...this simply added another dimension altogether. When the unseen monster is stomping down the street just before the shop windows explode, you could literally feel every stomp running down your spine.....it was simply awesome.

    Again, there was a sense of the transducer being connected to the system, something that I was really worried about prior to starting this excercise. I opted for the Quake because of reports that it was more refined than the buttkicker, and tbh I don't know either way except that the Quake really delivers what I hoped it would. Hard to put into words, but the infrasonics actually have texture, it changes with the bass response and the action on-screen and it's very much more than an "on-off" sensation.

    At lower volumes there's a barely defined fluttering but let rip - I'm talking -10db - and it can be brutal, though perhaps it wasn't quite what I expecting. Threads have mentioned people being scared, or it rattling their teeth to the point where they can't see properly, but imho it's nothing like this. It can be very subtle, or it can feel like you're in the epicentre of a storm, but not to the point where your vision blurs :D

    Other material, such as War of The Worlds and Terminator Salvation are equally impressive, there's a real violence to the impacts of bombs, bullets, and turn-you-into-dust death rays....my God what's not to like :smashin:

    Oh and I nearly forgot Titan AE on DVD. The ice field scene (chapter 15) is simply stunning with incredible, defined bass and infrasonic pounding down to 5hz. Lovely:D

    Are there any negatives? Yes and no.

    If your listening is often restricted in volume you'll need to up the gain on the transducer to get any impact at all, however if you then crank it to -10db you'll find it's out of balance, so careful tuning is required.

    I discovered yesterday that the party wall in our new house is very solid and well insulated for sound with an additional stud wall on our side (I'm pretty sure is stuffed with rockwool). At -10db the neighbour couldn't hear anything but the deepest faint rumbling in her living room, so I've set my Quake for optimal performance at exactly that volume :devil:

    The other point to note is the inconsistency of soundtracks. I watched the first 10 minutes of Surrogates on BluRay last night, and it was actually a little distracting. The transducer was kicking in at times I didn't except (nor want), so it's obviously a hot mix, but it's made me think that I need some further control over the crossover.

    Using the FMOD inline crossover gives me a 50hz crossover, which if I'm honest is a little high imho. Ultimately I've done it the cheap way, but I can't help but think the Quake dedicated amplifier is going to make it the perfect experience. With the option to crossover @ 40hz and then EQ from there (small cuts at 40hz and 30hz, and a boost or flat @ 20hz) this seems like the absolute perfect solution for integration into a good system - but you're into another £600 then.

    Speaking of systems, the other downside (if you can call it that) is that you MUST have a good sub in the first place imho. With a far reaching, powerful sub the transducer feels that much more connected to the experience, and if you're passionate about the whole cinema/film experience you will want this to be seamless. It's not a replacement for a sub, and I'd still upgrade a poor sub to a good one before going down the transducer route, but as a part of an already solid experience? I already couldn't imagine being without it...

    I think I've rambled on long enough, but just a couple of closing thoughts:

    A properly setup, carefully balanced transducer is most definitely not a gimmick.
    Infrasonics really can add impact, atmosphere and a sense of "you are there" power to a movie.
    You do need a good sub to begin with.
    DFS sofas really are crap, no wonder they always guarantee delivery for Xmas with two weeks to go.

    And finally, thanks to M4rky M4rk, swiftpete, supahyp, Moonfly, magicj1, rjrodders, Normal Bias, stevefish and anyone else who has contributed to the very few transducer threads on the forums :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Now I'm off to watch a movie :devil:
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  2. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    Top man for going to the effort of the feedback :clap: :thumbsup:

    One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with is that once you set it up, you need a fixed listening level for it to be the same. Somehow, I want it to do more when the volume is turned down but I also havent bothered with a crossover, instead just letting it run with the sub upto 80 hz.

    Recently. times have got a bit harder. I sold some kit, including the DIY sub I loved, out of necessity, and now Ive disconnected my TT. Ive no amp and without a sub I lost some of the enthusiasm for sound and films.

    When I get back on my feet again, I'm going to give my TT another try, and do it properly this time. Your review has got me actually interested in it again.

    Its good to hear another positive review though. I do think its more than a gimmick, and it really is one of those things where you have to try it to really know what its all about. My only criticism? No picture of you looking like a tomato ready to burst with a drill about to delivery the perfect Bottom comedy moment :D
  3. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    Trust me....I was close :D

    I rarely swear at my wife, but she was crying with laughter trying to just mark the bracket on the sofa with me holding it....didn't hold my temper:laugh:
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  4. rjrodders

    rjrodders Member

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    Great feedback and review Smurfin !!!!

    What amazes me is that this has not taken off more than it has given the
    depth of experince it can add to a well sorted system.

    I agree a good quality sub is key and a given , but anyone with a decent system and sub already and looking for that next upgrade this is a no-brainer.

    Also what i like about your initial experience is that you have a fairly high end set up but decided to overlook the the gimmick factor and see for yourself and i bet your glad you did now. I personally could not imagine my set up without my quake now and the only downside now is i will not be changing my sofa anytime soon as you found out the install can be a bit of a pain .....but so worth the effort.

    i particularly enjoyed reading your choice of demo films some of which i have not tried with the Quake yet "star wars and Titan AE" time to dig those DVD
    s methinks.

    Ultimately though this has me drooling at the thought of incorporating a 3D projector system sometime in the near future as the icing on the cake for a truly imersive HC system that will knocks socks off your local cinema !!!

    Top high def sound coupled with a Tactile experience in glorious 3D !!!

    Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy
  5. supahyp

    supahyp Member

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    Excellent review - to say that you can't imagine being without it sums up my feelings . I watched " Phantom of the Opera " the other day and the way the transducer(s) kicked in at the start left me grinning like an idiot !
  6. m4rky_m4rk

    m4rky_m4rk Active Member

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    Looks like I missed your report. Nice one :smashin: I added some thanks,,,, better later than never :blush:

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