Audio Setup

December 14, 2014

Audio system setup

For audio setup I have Sony STR-K900 5.1 AV Receiver with active subwoofer. AV Receiver is connected to main FSX computer by optical cable. 

Audio cables go to front through the sim base like this:

The important feature of audio setup were two Aura Bass shakers that I installed under IPECO seats (see Aura Bass shakers installation). 

AuraSound AST-2B-4 Pro Bass Shaker Tactile Transducer

I thought to use subwoofer output feed for Aura Bass shakers, which looked like a natural source for low-frequency sounds in FSX. However, my testing showed that subwoofer feed  does not do any good for shakers. Turned out that the most of vibration that can be used come from Central channel. 

Aura Bass shakers are connected through additional amplifier.

Initially I installed the cheap (~$10 each) amplifiers Kinter MA-150, that claim high power, but really provide ~5 watts and maybe 10-12 watts at peak, according to tests I found on the Internet. Each amplifier was driving one shaker, Shaker amplifier input is fed from the Center speaker output through Y-cable.  I tried Line output from my 5.1 amplifier, but it turned out to be not suitable for those shaker amplifiers input (input level too low). 
The shaker amplifiers are located under the floor in the back of the sim base.

Yet with speaker level input they produce enough vibration for Aura Bass shakers.

Many internet sources recommended Dayton SA70 or SA100 subwoofer amplifiers, and I also bought SA100. 

Each shaker has 4 Ohm impedance, same as SA100 subwoofer output. So, for SA-100  I connected shakers in series (there are two differently connected sets of shaker wires) 

Surprisingly, the vibration outcome (so far)  was practically the same as with cheap amplifiers. The gain on SA100 is set almost at maximum, to provide same lever of vibrations as small amplifiers did. I disconnected these amplifiers for now, but keep them there - they may be used if I want to install additional set of shakers later.

The vibration level that shakers provide largely depends on the actual audio file that is played. I compared a few sound sets available and found that even if the sound (for example for flaps) is played loudly enough through the speaker, it's not necessarily felt good enough through the shakers.  Currently I am experimenting  myself with different sounds in audio editor (Audacity).

I tried to use OpusFSI for the shakers. OpusFSI has the special sounds handling, oriented mostly for ButtKicker, supporting three-dimensional  channels. While the output was somewhat more powerful, I found it less natural so far. However, more tests are required. So far I tried to use ether one channel or enable all three channels in OpusFSI and send to the shakers.

One other thing is that it looks that OpusFSI should not be used with Accu-Feel enabled in FSX, and I like Accu-feel effects very much.

The best engine sounds I found so far came from Prosim737 forum. They can be downloaded  here.
I found that default FSX 737-800 flaps sound) is much better than flaps sound from other packages.

Currently there is no any specific configuration for flaps sound. 
It is just playing whatever sounds I copied into Sound folder in FSX. (you can also specify which folder is used for sounds in FSX if you have multiple sets that you want to test.)

So, currently it's the same flaps sound whether it's Flaps 5 or Flaps 40. It's the same default flaps sound that goes through speakers and shakers, since currently they use the same split Front Center channel. I will add more customized flaps sounds correctly edited for flaps transition duration through ProSim Audio Add-ons when the time comes. (one thing at a time, according to the plan. )
Even this way the sound/vibration are quite impressive. 

Other Audio channels

Sounds for Aural Warning Module  come from one of my avionics notebooks, and ATC sounds and other warnings from another notebook through Prosim Audio. This is not  completely configured yet.

Just for the reference, here are my Audio configs from two of my avionics notebook computers. Of course it's not a final configuration - I only configured there what I wanted for some tests. 

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