Home Theater Spot! - review by Matthew Washam, Sr. Editor 

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"They're going to have to pry the couch kit from my hands"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Ride on the couch of thunder"

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Crowson TES 100 Tactile Effects System

By Matthew Washam
SPot Senior Editor

2004-04-22 - "WOW! This was a fun product to review. The Crowson TES 100 is the next generation of tactile effects for home theater systems. The bass shaker era has ended, and the age of the TES 100 has begun."

Bass shakers were fun, and did a good job of shaking the couch or chair it was mounted too. The TES takes the tactile effect to a whole new level of enjoyment, and very easy to install. No removing the fabric on the bottom of the furniture to install TES. No mounting brackets or hardware. Just place TES under one leg of the couch or chair, and install the supplied rubber dampners under the other legs to keep the furniture balanced. Only thing left to do is connecting the speaker wire from the amplifier to the TES, and you're done!

I tested the "couch kit" which consists of two TES's. Found that one TES does an excellent job, so I made two "chair kits" by moving one underneath the love seat, and keeping the other one under the couch.

Powering the TES's, well that was easy. I pulled my old Denon PMA 757 two channel amplifier from retirement. Pushing 80 watts per channel, the Denon worked the TES's effortlessly.

The minimum power requirement is 50 watts per channel, and the maximum 500 watts with a 6 ohm load. Connecting the main HT amp (a Yamaha 995) to the amp (the Denon) powering the TES's is very simple. Attach a splitter to the subwoofer out cable on the HT amp. Attach a cable from the splitter to a set of audio in jacks on the "TES" amp. I used the CD jacks on the Denon for this purpose. Then attach the speaker wires from this amp to the 100's. That quick, that fast. The only calibration required is adjusting the volume knob on the amp powering the TES to your desired level of shake rattle and thwump.

After that, the TES amp will work in tandem with the amplifier powering the HT setup. Turn the volume down on the HT amp, the TES effect will also decrease, turn the HT amp up, and the TES effect increases accordingly.

It was amazing how well the TES worked. Even on a well padded carpeted floor. The floor is of wood construction, which added an extra bonus. While most of the tactile effect is generated through the chair or couch, it was also felt in the floor adding just that much more to the sensorial enjoyment to the hometheater experience.

The TES just doesn't shake. It also rolls, thwumps, and beats with the audio. Weighing in at 3 1/2 pounds, the electromagnetic actuator has a frequency response of 1hz to 500hz. The couch kit will support a total weight load of 1000 pounds. Wrapped with an aluminum cover, and nickel plated underside, with pads for use on non carpeted floors. The gold plated vibration proof binding post accepts
18 to 10 guage speaker wire. There is an overload protection circuit that trips when the TES reaches 180 degrees. One will not have to worry about this. Even when working the TES's well, they never became hot.

Watching Titan AE? You will feel the bump, not just a shake when the ice crystals collide, and feel the thrust of the rocket engines when fired.

Saving Private Ryan you will not only feel the impact of the bombs hitting the beach, but also the "thwump" of bombs in the distance.

Ride the EAC with Nemo,Dory and the sea turtles. Feel the changes in the water current volume. Feel the whale talk to Nemo and Dory. Really feel the impact as Bruce the shark slams the submarine, and the boom of the undersea "party balloons" exploding.

Once again, it's more than just a shaking sensation. It is an actual tactile effect that mates precisely with the low level effect on the DVD being watch. The chop of the helicopter blades, and the pop of machine gun fire can be felt when watching We Were Soldiers.

Feel the hooves pounding the track in Seabiscuit. Matrix Reloaded, well the TES's just keep going. Pure tactile enjoyment. For those who do install a TES system, your going to rediscover your DVD collections.

It's excellent for concert DVD's and DVD-A. Journey 2001, feel each beat of the drums, and the bass guitar licks on this concert DVD. Same with Roger Waters - In The Flesh Live.

Not just for hometheater. It even works well with CD's wasn't disappointed. Be it new music, classic rock, jazz or classical music, once again to feel the bass notes and percussion was pure pleasure. The couch kit is priced at $649, and the chair kit $349. There will be a future review on a neat little box just released for the TES which will create "stereo" tactile effects with the couch kit.

Summary: Some may flinch at the price tags. But it's not fair to compare it too the old school bass shakers we are use too. The TES is a completly different product. Would be like comparing a regular two channel amp to a 5.1 amplifier.

The TES represents a whole new level of experience to both home theater, and a two channel setup. Once again, pure enjoyment that I will never grow tired of. Being it an all out full armoured battle assault, or just a very subtle effect with the background music, or a concert.

Works well with an HTIB set up too. Doesn't have to be a setup with expensive products. And for those with SVS's in all corners of the home theater, yes this will even add more pleasure to your setup.

Several friends and family members took rides on the couch of "thunder",and all were pleased with the added effect. That the TES made the movie more personal, drawing them further in to the picture.

I don't want to send these back. They're going to have to pry the couch kit from my hands.

Features:

  • Transducer weight: 3.5 lbs
  • TES Kit Max Load: 1000 lbs.
  • Binding posts accept: 18 to 10 AWG speaker wire
  • Nominal impedance: 6 ohms
  • Overload protection circuit trip temperature: 180 degrees F
  • Minimum Power recommended: 50 Watts
  • Maximum Power recommended: 500 Watts
  • Frequency Response: 1HZ to 500HZ

Manufacturer:
Crowson Technology

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