How to add haptic transducers to your home theater system (2023)

There are times when you want the feel of more bass, but without all the... well... bass. You might live in an apartment, share your house with others who don't like the pictures on the walls, or just can't afford a subwoofer right now. Maybe your "theatre" really is a big open space and getting that noticeable bass is neither possible nor desirable. There can be many reasons why people feel bass but don't want more sound. Adding touch transducers to your home theater is a great solution.

What is a tactile transducer?

A haptic transducer is a device that attaches to your seat and literally wobbles when certain bass tones are present. If you were in a movie theater and felt your seat vibrate during a big fight scene, chances are the vibration was caused by a set of subwoofers pumping out a ton of air. If you don't have subs to pressurize your room, you won't feel these tremors. Adding a touch transducer system to your seats is a way to inject the shiver without all the bass.

What do you need?

The basics are one or four tactile transducers, an amplifier and some cables. The general rule is at least two transducers per stretcher. Some people prefer two per seat! You'll have to experiment to see which one you like best. You can go to Amazon or other places to get individual parts and put them together, but bundles are a little easier to manage. There are many options, but we like the Parts Express packages. Their offering includes a complete amplifier and up to four touch transducers for less than you can get the parts individually. HeDayton Audiopaketit's a great option

You have cheaper options with a single-board amplifier and other versions with just two touch transducers, but this package has everything you need without the wires. For wiring you will need somespeaker cable, ECinch-Y-Splitter, it is aCabo coaxial.

Connecting your tactile transducers

A tactile transducer follows the same principles as a loudspeaker: it moves back and forth to create waves. A speaker moves the driver cone back and forth to create sound waves. Tactile transducers move your chair to create vibrations you can feel. So the first step is clearly to attach them to your sofa.

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This involves turning the seat around and finding a solid area to attach the transducers. If you have a regular couch, this shouldn't be a big deal. If you have recliners, make sure the transducers are connected so they do not affect the recliner's functions. The key is to ensure that the converters are connected at all available points (usually four). If a connection point is left disconnected, noise may occur when the transducer vibratescontrathe sofa instead of vibrating the sofa.

If you don't have good connection points, a simple solution is to add a wooden mounting plate under your seats. A piece of plywood or a 2x4 works well. Make sure the wood is securely attached to the sofa frame and centered under the seat. You can also place a sheet of plywood under the sofa and connect tactile transducers to it. Consider screwing the couch legs to the plywood to ensure the connection is stable and noise-free. If you have seats in oneriser, adding haptic transducers to the elevator will make everything above it vibrate.

unclip your sofa

It is important that the seats (or the wooden mounting plate they sit on) are detached from the floor. This ensures that the sofa sways freely and that vibration energy is not dissipated into the floor. we recommend theseDiversitech anti-vibration pads. They are built for heavy use and ensure that all the vibrations stay with the sofa. You'll need one for each foot, or once you've created a platform for the sofa, add enough padding to keep the sofa off the ground.

Connecting the converters to the amplifier

You will connect the transducers to the amplifier viaspeaker cable. Most touch transducers are 4 ohms. If you buy the parts separately, make sure the amplifier can handle a 4 ohm load. If you connect more than one, be sure not to overload the amplifier with improper wiring. We recommend series wiring for two and series/parallel wiring for four. Serial/parallel is when you put two of the converters in series and the other two in parallel. This balances the load on the amplifier.

we talked about itspeaker impedancebefore, but the key here is to keep the impedance as close to the amplifier's power rating as possible. For amps that come with converters, this is usually 4 ohms. For others it may not be. If you connect in series, remember to double the ohms (from 4 to 8 in the case of Daytons). A larger number is actually EASIER for the amplifier. If you connect in parallel, cut the number in half (from 4 to 2). This is much harder on the amp and will likely cause the amp to get too hot and shut down. By putting four converters in series/parallel, you keep the nominal 4 ohms, which should be fine for the amplifier.

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Connecting the amplifier to your home theater system

The easiest way to connect your home theater system to your new touch transducer device is to use aY divideron the subwoofer output. This allows you to connect your AV receiver's subwoofer output to your subwoofer and amplifier for touch transducers. If you are using an amplifier that does not have its own LFE input, simply select one of the channels (left or right) and connect the input to one of those channels. Then make sure you only use that channel when connecting the converters. Since the signal is mono, this shouldn't be a problem.

Author's note:This only works if you are NOT running an environment correction program on your receiver. If so, you still have some steps to take. See Room Fix section below for more details.

One of the reasons we like itDayton-PacketThis is due to the characteristics of the amplifier. Most standalone amps have limited inputs and few controls. The Dayton has features like auto ignition, 12 volt trigger, flip-up trim knobs and multiple inputs. 12 volt triggers are particularly useful as they ensure the touch transducers are activated whenever the receiver is turned on. While auto-detection is nice, we like to play it safe. 12 volt triggers give you that security.

Calibrating your tactile transducer system

How to add haptic transducers to your home theater system (3)

There are two main settings you should address with your Touch encoder: gain and crossover. With crossover, you decide how much bass you really want to convert into vibes. The Dayton (and others) have a low pass filter control, usually labeled "Frequency" or something like that. This control tells the amplifier the HIGHEST frequencies you want to send to your touch transducers. There are different schools of thought about where you should place this button. We feel that only the lowest frequencies should be transmitted, but others prefer it to be higher. Try it for yourself and see what you like. The goal, in our opinion, is to add realistic vibes. But if you want your sofa to rock the way you try, then who else can we tell?

The next setting is, of course, gain. This results in stronger or weaker vibrations. There will be many variables that affect how much profit you need. The design of your seats, how securely the tactile transducers are attached, the degree to which the sofa is decoupled from the floor, how many transducers you have per seat... the list goes on. Again, you need to test yourself what works in your setup.

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Tactile transducers and room correction

If you have a modern receiver, you have access to some kind of ambient correction system. Depending on the complexity of your system, you may have calibrated the bass to be more consistent across the seats in your home theater system. Some people fear that these calibrations will negatively affect haptic transducer performance. They are right to do so. The main cause of problems with major transducers is the corrected bass signal from the room that has been equalized by your AV receiver. There are a few ways around this.

Solution 1: No environment correction

We do not like this recommendation. If you disable ambient correction, your touch transducers will receive a pure signal. That's great for your tactile transducers, but terrible for the sound in your room. You paid for a receiver with a large room correction system, why turn it off? you would not do that

Solution 2: Connect directly to the source

If you use your encoder converters primarily for one source, you can connect the converter amplifiers directly to that source. This will be unpredictable depending on the source. Not all sources have more than one audio output, that is, those that do not always have both enabled at the same time. If that works for you, this is the easiest and cheapest option. Of course, your tactile transducers only work with this source. If that's the only font you're interested in, great. But most of us have more than one source.

Solution 3: Undo your room fix

How to add haptic transducers to your home theater system (4)

This is where it gets tricky. If you want your touch transducers to be active for all your sources, you need to undo what the ambient correction did to the bass signal. It's not a very complicated process, but it does require the purchase of some equipment and a little time on your part. First you need a measurement microphone (we love itUMIK 1 calibratedfrom CrossSpectrum Labs) and the free programRoom equalization wizard(colloquially known as REW). After running the ambient correction program, you need to measure the bass response with ambient correction on and off. This tells you what your environment correction program is doing with the signal. You will use REW to create a reverse calibration so that it "undoes" what your room correction is doing.

Author's note:The use of REW is beyond the scope of this article. Check theREW-Websitefor more information. Yes, it's complex, but if you want your tactile transducers to work properly, you must.

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So you need a way to add this correction to the signal going through the amplifier to the touch transducers. HeMini DSP 2×4is the easiest way to do this. Therefore, to properly integrate your haptic transducers into your system, you need to add about $300 in hardware. It's not a cheap solution, but it's the one that will give you the best results. The miniDSP is a very powerful device that, in combination with REW, allows you to calibrate your subwoofers yourself. This brings us to our final solution.

Solution 4 – Calibrate your subs separately

If you're investing in a miniDSP anyway, you can use that and REW to calibrate your subwoofers. If you do this, your environment correction need not affect the signal too much and can be safely split as described in our connection section above. This is the most expensive and time-consuming solution. For this, we recommend taking itMiniDSP com DiracSystem. Dirac is its own room correction system. Although you can use it to patch your entire system, you need to have separate amplifiers for each channel and a$1,000 miniDSP device. If you're going in that direction, we'd recommend using miniDSP just to fix your subwoofers.

Other possible solutions

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Depending on your equipment there are other solutions. You can connect your touch transducer amplifier to Zone 2 on your receiver. You'd have to program your remote to adjust the volume for Zone 2 and your main zone at the same time, but it should (in theory) work. This means your receiver can route all sources to both zones at the same time, adding LFE information to the left and right speakers of Zone 2.

If you have a high-end processor, you can assign an uncorrected subwoofer output. Some well-known examples are theTrinnov Height,Emotion RMC-1, jHTP-1 Monolithprocessors

Finally, if you have Audyssey, you can use itediting applicationto remove any ambient correction at the frequencies at which the tactile transducers operate. We don't recommend this, as it's the bass where ambient correction is most needed. But you could We don't. but you could

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Like many things in life, adding touch transducers to your home theater system starts out easy but can quickly become complicated. If you want the extra boost that haptic transducers can provide, we recommend starting with a simple connection.Y dividerafter performing room correction. You may not have to worry about the corrected signal causing problems for your tactile transducers. So you can try our solutions anytime. You end up having a lot more tactile sensations in your theater. And that's the point.


How do I add Bass Shakers to my home theater? ›

For a single bass shaker, simply run speaker wire from the positive terminal of the amp to the positive terminal on the shaker (and negative to negative). For two bass shakers, connect the positive of one bass shaker to the negative of the other bass shaker.

How does a tactile transducer work? ›

The tactile transducers are attached to large objects such as metal buckets and bring these objects in vibration. The vibrations of these sculptures are then picked up by contact microphones and amplified through a common loudspeaker system.

How can I make my subwoofer hit harder? ›

Play a song with a middle amount of bass. Not too heavy not too light. Turn the volume on the head unit to 80% of its max volume. Increase the Gain/volume until the sub begins to distort.

How can I improve the sound on my home theater? ›

10 Steps to Improve the Sound Experience of Your Home Theater Designs
  1. Clean up your room acoustics. The most important thing you can do is to add an acoustical treatment package. ...
  2. Calibrate your system. ...
  3. Select the right speakers. ...
  4. Aim your speakers.

Are bass traps necessary for home theater? ›

Bass traps (bass absorbers) are necessary to absorb low-frequency sound waves (below 300 Hz) that would otherwise create a bass boom. Bass traps eliminate bass waves by absorbing the sound and changing it into heat energy.

Are sound shakers worth it? ›

So are they worth it? If you get a high quality bass shaker and install it correctly they are most certainly worth it. A good base shake will make it feel like you are in the movie. Rather that just seeing and hearing the movie, you will feel it too.

How do you hook up a tactile transducer? ›

The easiest way to connect your home theater system to your new tactile transducer gear is using a Y-splitter on the subwoofer output. This will allow you to attach your AV Receiver's subwoofer output both your subwoofer and the amp for the tactile transducers.

Does a transducer read straight down? ›

Regardless of mounting style, a properly installed transducer delivers a vertical beam that aims straight down toward the bottom, resulting in strong echo returns and accurate depth readings. … starts with optimum transducer placement. Transducer placement should be aft and close to the centerline.

What is self transducer? ›

Active transducers (self-generating) are those which do not require any power source for their operation. They work on the energy conversion principle. They produce an electrical signal proportional to the input (physical quantity).


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