I Beam VT300 Evaluations and Conclusion
With the summer blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest sweeping across movie theaters we thought it appropriate to select Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl to use as our evaluation DVD. This DVD features an awesome musical score and in various chapters has teeth rattling LFE effects, making this a perfect selection for the evaluation.
DVD: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
Chapter 11 “The Battle”begins with waves crashing against the bow of the British war ship, Interceptor, as she runs away from the Black Pearl. The I Beam transducer made this effect feel as though the waves were crashing against the front of the chair; each wave crash was in perfect sync with the image on the screen. As the chapter progresses, the ship drops the anchor in the club horn maneuver. The LFE effect as the anchor hits the surface of the water and then again as it strikes the rock below the surface was jarring and startling. The speed at which the I Beam VT-300 produced this effect was simply amazing. Many motion actuators and transducers that we have tried in the past with this particular scene produced the effect with lag and motion/tactile continuance after the scene had passed. The VT-300 did not produce any lag or continuance of signal with the brief effect; this indicates that this transducer is very efficient and accurate.
As the chase between the Black Pearl and the Interceptor gets closer, the soundtrack quickly escalates, immersing the audience in anticipation for the start of the battle. As the ship begins to fire its cannon and the Interceptor returns cannon fire, the I Beam transducer shook the chair violently with each blast and concussion. The vibro-tactile action produced with the installed I Beam VT-300 was huge. The lightning quick jolts transmitted through the chair by the I Beam with the LFE soundtrack really added a new dimension to our viewing experience. The added excitement and fun produced by the I Beam transducer was really effective and efficient.
Using pirate lingo to describe our experience with the I Beam VT-300 transducer, we would say: “Blimey these I Beam VT-300 transducers had us begging for parlay, fearing we would end up in Davey Jones’ locker where dead men tell no tales, pirates ye be warned.” Translation: the I Beam transducers were powerful, efficient and the response time was quick. These traits added excitement, exhilaration and fun to our viewing experience.
Sonic Immersion Technologies feels very strongly that the I Beam VT-300 transducers should be crossed over at frequencies up to 250Hz for multi-channel and music playback. We tend to disagree, but we agreed to evaluate the VT-300 in this configuration.
Entering the GUI on our Yamaha RX-V4600 we set the crossover to its maximum 200Hz all speakers set to small. Using an older high power receiver with main pre-amp inputs we connected the
Impact Acoustics Sonic Waves subwoofer cable from the Yamaha RX-V4600 LFE amplifier pre-out to the receiver’s main channel amplifier preamp inputs and connected the speaker wire from the I Beam to the receiver. In this configuration, the receiver provides the power to the I Beam passing through the 200Hz signal without degradation. The older receiver has I/R remote capability and that gave us the ability to change the volume level of the I Beam transducer without leaving our seat.
An alternate (and preferred) method of configuration would be to take a parallel preamp output from the receiver and send it to a dedicated subwoofer amplifier with an internal crossover. In this way you can maintain your loudspeakers’ proper crossover point while still feeding a greater amount of low frequency energy to the VT-300. As we didn’t want to toss a subwoofer amplifier into the mix we went with the manufacturer’s requested method above.
CD: Patricia Barber - Café Blue
We chose the beautifully recorded, near flawless First impressions Music HDCD Patricia Barber Café Blue for our evaluation. Track number three Too Rich For My Blood begins with the bass guitar producing continuous deep notes combined with drums and Patricia’s voice. As the deep notes and the drum hits occurred the I Beam VT-300 transmitted the signal through the frame of the chair thus providing us with tactile-vibro sensation. Patricia Barber’s magical, swanky, seductive music is the kind of music that audioholics love to play when they come home from a hard day’s work. This is the music you listen to in your favorite reclining chair, lights dimmed, eyes closed and your favorite beverage in hand. Being deeply engrossed in this music, the last thing an audioholic wants is a distraction. That is exactly what the I Beam VT-300 produced during this evaluation. The vibro-tactile sensation was very disturbing; we did not feel at all comfortable listening to this type of music with the I Beam VT-300 vibrating our chair. We experimented with several different gain levels from very low to high but distracting results remained the same.
CD: Insane Clown Posse - The Wraith: Shangri-La
We decided to give the I Beam VT-300 one more chance with music. Switching gears we selected a CD from the shock rock group Insane Clown Posse for the second part of the evaluation. Track number 11 “Ain’t Yo Bidness” contains an insane amount of high-energy hard-hitting music. Starting with the deep bass notes and rapid drum hits, the I Beam VT-300 became an extension of the music low frequency information. The transducer, rather than becoming a distraction, enhanced the experience with this type of music. We would describe the experience as fun and exciting with a party like atmosphere.
Concluding our music evaluation we would say that if you like to listen to shock rock, hip-hop, rap, techno dance, heavy rock, grunge or metal music, the I Beam VT-300 would add to the listening experience with a higher crossover setting of 200Hz to 250Hz. For all other types of music we believe the best setting for the VT-300 would be the OFF position, but experimentation is encouraged.
The Sonic Immersion Technologies I Beam VT-300 transducer is a remarkable product. Its powerful tactile performance, speed, and accuracy place this transducer among the finest we have evaluated to date. The VT-300’s low profile and mounting configuration make it a perfect choice for chairs and recliners that have mechanical obstructions preventing conventional mounting options. The I Beam VT-300 is very efficient and doesn’t require a lot of power to generate huge amounts of vibro-tactile action, even a modest integrated amplifier or old unused receiver can be used for power.
The I Beam VT-300 generated huge amounts of WOW effect and added another dimension to our home theater listening experience, utilizing the proper crossover setting and calibration. We don’t recommend using the I Beam transducer when listening to audiophile type music. But, if you’re in party mode, give it a try - you may like the experience. The I Beams VT-300’s excellent build quality and high performance-to-price ratio make it an easy recommendation.
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor
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