You heard it right, a subsonic couch. As in inaudible. It shakes, rattles and rolls.
This a view of the bottom of the couch where you see the two subsonic actuators bolted to the frame. Subsonic actuators are effectively speakers with the cone replaced with a weight. They don’t need to drive air as the human ear can’t hear frequencies as low as what these operate at. They’re built to drive from about 5-200 Hz (guesstimate) and whilst having a voicecoil equivalent, they’re actually just moving a weight. These two actuators were sourced from Jaycar in NZ when they bought a shipment of Aura Interactors a decade or so back. They aren’t a stocked item anymore.
The amplifier is a Dick Smith Electronics kit and is overpowered for this operation in being 2 x 50W. I believe the original Aura Interactor amplifier packs were in the region of 5-15W. The large torodial transformer gives you an idea of the power that the amplifier is rated for. I purchased this kit back when DSE used to be an electronics company which it sadly no longer is. A rough equivalent would be 2 of these Jaycar kits.
The other box you can see is the Dick Smith Electronics active crossover kit (K5404?). It contains volume and frequency cut off options and allows me to adjust the couch in line with the volume output of the amp. Ideally you’re connecting this to a sub-woofer line output so that the amplifier adjustments are effected in the couch too. The active crossover ensures that we’re not trying to make the subsonic actuators do what they weren’t made to do ie move at frequencies above 200Hz.
In operation, the couch adds punch to your movies that even the best sub-woofers would struggle with without having to worry about the neighbours ringing noise control. Explosions in movies become an interactive experience!
Unfortunately this photo was taken as I was taking the set-up out of the couch. After I moved to Wellington the couch sat unloved in my sisters flat for a couple of years. Little did she or her family realise they were sitting on probably one of the only 100W subsonic couches in New Zealand. They just weren’t into movies in the same way I was… As I had no easy way of getting it down to Wellington and no substitute couch to put it in, it lay unutilised. On my latest trip up north I found out they were wanting to dispose of the couch so I’ve grabbed all of my handy work and it is now planned to be added to my forthcoming rFactor simulator. If you’ve ever sat in a real V8, you’ll know that most simulators can’t recreate the rumble as you start it up or floor it. With 100W of subsonic actuator bolted to a bucket seat. My simulator will…