Crowson Technology TES 100 Couch Kit
One of the reasons I sleep well each night, secure in my job at HT, is the fact that seemingly every unusual product that comes down the pike is deemed "convergence" and falls into my lap. The Crowson Technology Tactile Effects System (TES) 100 wasn't exactly what I thought it would be: I anticipated a little added shaking of the sofa at appropriate moments, and the TES 100 certainly delivered, but the Couch Kit's two magnetic transducers turned out to be actual loudspeakers that also happen to channel enough physical vibration to move whatever is pressed down upon them, ideally the two hind legs of a big piece of furniture. Two rubber feet help to isolate the front legs. The less-expensive Chair Kit comes with one transducer and three rubber feet.
Make It a Double
The TES 100 requires a minimum of 50 watts per channel to do its thing, although increasing to 100 watts makes a big difference. Working with the pair of transducers connected to my amplifier's left/right speaker outputs, I noted a distinct directionality to both the audio and the tactile effects. You can also hook up the system using your receiver's sub/LFE out, which would be mono in nature, and Crowson sells 200-hertz FMOD low-pass filters for full-range input from left/right preouts or tape outs.
There are actually four basic hookup possibilities (too detailed to cover here), but the manual is quite clear on the subject. Connections for bare-wire terminations or banana plugs (spades might shake loose) are located along one side of the transducer, and Crowson recommends 18- to 10-gauge speaker wire. RCA-type Y-adapters, necessary in two of the four prescribed setups, are not supplied.
Fire Down Below
Working in conjunction with my subwoofer (and with the bass settings generously tweaked), the TES 100 found genuine boom in all of my movie demo material, both obvious (the massive firepower of The Patriot) and less obvious (the sadistic fun of Bugs Bunny). On an explosive video game like Halo for Xbox, that extra little boost of realism is provided to help reach a level of immersion that most modern game designers are striving so hard to attain.
I won't say that the TES 100 rocks the home theater to the same extent as larger, more-elaborate shakers, but the audible aspect—as the transducers also tend to fill in a possible "deaf spot" in the room, owing in part to their unusual placement below and behind the listener—was a welcome bonus in my system, contributing additional audio that works within the 5.1-channel soundfield with convincing results and without any hard, pinpoint effects that might be distracting.
While the TES 100 install was quick and fairly simple, it does require two new cables, which you'll likely need to run along the floor. This approach is less intrusive than bigger, dedicated shaker devices, though, and the TES 100 turns up your home theater audio playback a serious notch.
• Install in minutes, plan for hours what to do with those additional speaker cables
• Adds effective vibration to the home theater experience
At A Glance: Crowson Technology TES 100 couch kit
Nominal Impedance (ohms): 6
Recommended Amp Power: 50–500 watts
Dimensions (H x W x D, inches): 1.1 x 4.8 x 5.7
Weight (pounds): 3.5
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