What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (2023)

You must have found this tactile transducer on forums or websites. You know it has something to do with low frequency. But what is it exactly? Because it is used? I have created a detailed article below. Keep reading.


Related Post:What is a subwoofer used for?

What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (1)

The tactile transducer is a device that produces tactile bass in a chair or sofa that you are sitting on. They take the input from the LFE channel and pass it through the amplifier and then to the tactile transducer. The tactile transducer enhances the versatile cinematic experience. I have written much more about it. First, let's cover the basics one by one.

what is the bass

What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (2)

You would have heard of it. Bass is the low frequency information found in an audio track or sound in general. Bass is the main requirement for many people who listen to music and movies. In traditional cinema and audio, the woofer and subwoofer produce bass. The woofer is also responsible for the midrange and low end. The subwoofer only handles bass and mids. Wait! What is mid bass?

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Mid-bass is the audio information between the mids and the lows. Midbass generally ranges from 50Hz to 200Hz on the audible spectrum of sound. You've probably heard it before. But to produce good low-mids, you need a powerful subwoofer.

You would have heard the bass coming from a large subwoofer or a professional theater style setup. You'd love this kind of chest pounding, spanking, and straight to the face in theaters, open-air concerts, or auditoriums. This is the mid bass in action. We will talk about that later in this article.

The bass market is so big that subwoofer sales are booming. Regular home theaters come with small subwoofers. They produce good music. So imagine what a bigger subwoofer is capable of. People are addicted to bass and that is why there are a number of companies that claim to have better bass. A subwoofer alone cannot produce better bass. The placement is also important.

If positioned incorrectly and without acoustic EQ, the bass loses texture, clarity, and fun. So placement is very important. A correctly positioned small subwoofer with the necessary acoustic treatment will sound much better than an incorrectly placed large subwoofer in a room with poor acoustics. To get good bass you need a subwoofer and maybe a touch transducer so you can feel it.

low tactile

What is tactile bass? We can feel the bass instead of hearing it. Any sound below 80 Hz can not only be heard but also felt in the body. As the frequency on the graph decreases, the bass listening quality decreases and the feel factor increases. You don't even have to be below 80 Hz for this effect. The mid bass, when played well, is a tactile bass. You get that chestbeat that is a form of tactile bass. The slap in the face is under tactile. But in general, a typical subwoofer operates below 80 Hz, and people equate bass below 80 Hertz with bass that can be felt.

As the subwoofer pierces, air moves in and out. This causes compression and refraction, so the sound spreads. Along with compression and refraction, the woofer also creates a new wave in front of you. This wave is usually responsible for the tactile sensation. The subwoofer needs to have a good transient response, so not all subwoofers can produce perceptible bass.

As you move through the spectrum, bass is transferred from the audible range to the infrasonic range. Well, the subwoofer doesn't have to have the best transient response in the world. All it takes is a great driver and amp power to drive the woofer to good levels. Human hearing stops at 20Hz, but you can still feel the bass down to 0Hz. 0Hz is the pressurized headroom.

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So when the subwoofer drops below 20 Hz, it actually creates waves with the physical force to shake the building, remove the paint, and slam it against your body. This is tactile bass. By definition, a tactile bass is a type of bass that we can feel on the body or on an object. The tactile transducer is the king of tactile bass. We will address this topic shortly.

bone conduction

Have you heard of bone conduction headphones? This is a form of tactile sound. The sound does not only have to pass through the ears. You can also traverse through objects. Objects can also transmit sound waves. You can also do the best example at home. All you need is a wooden bench and some cotton. Put the cotton in the right ear and close it.

Now keep the other ear flat on the bench. Ask someone to speak to you on the other side of the bank. You can clearly hear the sound going through the bank. In this way the sound becomes tangible. The bone conduction headset works on a similar principle. The emitted sound is transmitted to the cheekbones. The bone that surrounds the eardrum carries sound vibration to the cochlea and this is how we hear sound.

This is exactly how tactile transducers work. The tactile transducer is installed on your sofa. The trainer transmits the vibration to our body. The bones of our body pick up the vibration and transmit it to the cochlea, where we hear the high frequencies. As for the low frequency, it can be directly felt in our body.

tactile transducers

What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (3)

You may already know a lot about tactile transducers. Yes, they mount on the sofa. As a result, the energy goes directly to the gluteal region and from there is transferred to other parts of the body. Some have a wooden platform on which the sofa rests. In this case, the tactile transducer can be attached to the platform. The effect can be a bit subdued, but it ensures that all parts of the body are affected at the same time and looks more natural.

The tactile transducer works like any speaker. The difference is that instead of the speaker cone, the tactile transducer has a heavy metal frame that creates the vibration. There will be a frame where the metal rod will be placed. When current flows, it just vibrates like a speaker. As it passes through the audio stream, the wand vibrates relative to the audio information. This creates vibrations similar to music. This vibration, once applied to the sofa, transmits the information to the human body as a sound. This is how tactile transducers work.

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Use together with a subwoofer

What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (4)

In my opinion, tactile drivers cannot replace the traditional subwoofer. Subwoofers still have a lot of detail that tactile drivers lack. Therefore, it is recommended to use haptic transducers in conjunction with the subwoofer. Generally, the crossover point of the subwoofer is set to 80 Hz. The subwoofer can easily reproduce everything below 80 Hz. But the haptic transducer that reproduces 80 Hz is a bit of a pain. Ideally, the sonar transducer should be set to 50 hertz or lower. In this way, the tactile transducer approaches the sound spectrum, which has more sensory than auditory advantages. In this way, both the subwoofer and the haptic driver work together to deliver fantastic cinematic performance.

wear at night

With a traditional home theater setup with a subwoofer, you won't let your neighbors sleep. Let alone your family members. This is where tactile transducers come into play. You can have a cinema session without a subwoofer but with a tactile transducer. So you can enjoy the movie without subwoofer. Obviously, haptics don't work well without a subwoofer, but using just a haptic is much better than no subwoofer at all. Therefore, a tactile transducer is a boon for movie nights without disturbing others.

yes games

What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (5)

Sim games are simulation games that simulate real life experiences. Some of these games are Euro Truck Simulator, Forza Motorsport, Dirt 3, etc. These games are played with a steering wheel simulator and other accessories in hand. The tactile transducer is a nice addition. The main use of haptic transducers is not only bass but also other functions. For example, when the simulator car runs over a puddle, the signal will be sent to the simulator and it will shake to imitate the car that ran over the puddle. There are several use cases like this. All in all, the tactile transducer plays a good role in simulation games.

subwoofer replacement

As already mentioned, the tactile transducer cannot replace the subwoofer. They work together with the subwoofer to create a nice LFE effect. The touch transducer works best below 50 Hz and the subwoofer works best below 80 Hz. When the subwoofer is removed from the system, there is a gap between 80 Hz and 50 Hz. This gap is very important. Much of the bass, kick, rhythm, and other sound information is present between 80 and 50.

If you don't use a subwoofer, all these details go to waste. Once again, the touch transducer works best in conjunction with the subwoofer. The audible sound and the tactile sensation of the haptic transducer together result in the best LFE sensation. Leaving the subwoofer off means leaving a hole in the LFE. The tactile transducer can feel artificial without the sound from the subwoofer. As such, it's always best to pair a subwoofer with a haptic transducer for the best results.


That's all about the tactile transducer. They are great for movies and music. But it can't replace a subwoofer. It is always good to use it in conjunction with the subwoofer. This allows it to produce good tactile bass in combination with the audible bass from the subwoofer. So you have a realistic simulation experience and cinematic experience. Thank you for reading.

What exactly is a tactile transducer? - February 2023 - Digit field (6)

Aju Vignesh

Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to audio equipment. He is an avid author and loves to blog.

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