Crowson - TES100 Tactile Transducer and A200 Amplifier - Review

Adding Tactile Sensation To Your Home Theater Experience

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Although subwoofers bring realistic bass sound to the home theater environment, there is still something missing - tactile sensation. In the real world, when something explodes, you feel it, not just hear it; when you drive a car over a bumpy road, you feel the bumps, not just hear the result. Now you can add tactile experience to your own home theater with the TES100 Tactile Transducer and A200 amplifier from Crowson Technology.

Product Overview -TES100 Tactile Transducer

TES100 Tactile Transducer Features

1. The TES100 is a Transducer Plate 5.7 inches long (including speaker terminals), 4.8 inches wide, and 1.1 inches high. The TES100 which also comes with 3 Vibration Isolators for attaching to furniture support feet.

2. The Transducer's weight is 3.5 lbs. The maximum load that the TES 100 Chair or Couch Kit can be placed under is 1,000 lbs.

3. The TES100 connects to an amplifier via standard 18-to-10 gauge speaker wire and has a nominal impedance of 6 ohms.

4. Minimum amplifier output power recommended for use with the TES100 is 50 Watts RMS. Maximum amplifier output power recommended is 500 watts RMS.

5. The frequency response of TES100 goes from 500HZ down to 1HZ.

Product Overview - A200 Amplifier

A200 Amplifier Features

The A200 amplifier is a 2-channel amplifier that is specially designed for use with subwoofers and tactile transducers with the following specifications:

1. Power output in 2-Channel Operating mode is 85 Watts per Channel RMS at 6 Ohms. Power output in bridged mode (1 Channel Operation)is 170 Watts RMS at 6 Ohms. (Note: To use bridged mode, connect speaker wires to the two + terminals and use channel one inputs from the source component).

2. Gain controls are provided for both channel one and channel 2, however, use the channel one gain control in bridged mode.

3. The A200 offer both standard RCA and 1/4" phone plug input connection options.

4. The A200 has a frequency response from 1HZ to 500HZ +/- 1 dB and features a 200HZ low pass filter.

Setup and Installation

The TES100 is installed by connecting the unit to the A200 amplifier, via standard speaker wire, and then placing the transducer plate under the right (or left) rear support foot of a chair.

In addition, three spacers are placed under the chair's other support feet. This serves to isolate the vibration, so that it only goes to the chair and not the rest of the floor, as well as securing the chair so that it does not move off the plate.

You also have the option of actually screwing the spacers into the bottom of the chair's support feet if you need to further secure the chair, but this is optional. The screws are provided.

Linear Direct Drive - The Technology Behind The TES100

The key technology employed in the TES100 is Linear Direct-Drive.

Instead of vibrating air, like a subwoofer, or employing a piston that vibrates inside housing that indirectly transfers the shaking sensation to a chair, such as a bass shaker (both of which take of energy), Linear Direct Drive transfers sonic vibrations directly through the chair itself via its feet, which is similar to techniques used in direct hearing via human bone conduction.

If someone is sitting in the chair, they will feel the direct effect of the linear drive process on their body. This method requires much less energy to produce vibration effects than other methods, thus enabling a more dynamic effect with faster response times. In other words, the TES100 can capture the subtle vibrations of a car driving on a country road to the big boom of an atomic bomb explosion.

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Testing and Evaluation

Hardware Components Used

I tested the TES100 and A200 in conjunction with a home theater setup that also included a powered subwoofer. I employed two different speaker setups: one setup using small bookshelf front L/R main speakers and the other with large floor standing main L/R main speakers.

Components used in this evaluation included a Yamaha HTR-5490 6.1 Channel AV receiver, Kiss DP-470 DVD/Receiver Combination, Samsung DVD-HD931 DVD Player, Denon DCM-370 CD/HDCD Changer, Panasonic LX-1000 Laserdisc Player, Pioneer DV-525 DVD player, Syntax LT-32HV LCD television and an Optoma H56 DLP video projector.

A variety of loudspeakers, including Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-3, Optimus LX-5IIs, a Yamaha YST-SW205 Powered Subwoofer, and additional speakers, in both matched and mismatched setups were used.

All line-level (including subwoofer) and digital audio connections between components were made with Accell and Cobalt Interconnect cables.

Speaker wire used between the A200 amplifier and the TES100 Tactile Transducer was 14-Gauge Flat Wire. Speaker wire used in the of the system setup was 16 Gauge.

Software Used In Evaluation

DVDs used included in test the TES100 and A200 included: Master And Commander, Kill Bill,Vol 1 and 2, Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Minority Report (DTS/Dolby Digital), U571(DTS), and Blue Man Group: The Complex: Live (Dolby Digital/DTS). One Laserdisc was used: Godzilla 1998.

DVD-Audio/DTS music discs used included: Martin, Madeski, and Wood: Uninvisible, Queen: Night At The Opera/The Game and The Eagles: Hotel California.

A sampling of standard CD music software used included: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones: Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb: Firecracker (HDCD), Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon, Telarc Recordings: 1812 Overture.

Portions of other software titles in the above categories were used as well.

Good Vibrations

The first test DVD, Master and Commander proved to be the most illustrative of the TES100's capabilities. Even with a standard subwoofer, this film has strong low-frequency effects, but, when adding the TES100 and A200 to the mix, I literally felt I was on the deck of ship feeling the cannon fire and impact of the cannon balls.

However, the effectiveness of the TES100 was not limited just to the "big booms". I could also feel and distinguish the subtle vibrations of the crewmen scrambling around the deck.

Other DVD segments I used, such as clips from The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Godzilla 1998, and Minority Report, also continued to validate my initial impressions.

However, I was also pleasantly surprised that, after some gain adjustment on the A200 amplifier, I could use the TES100 and A200 combination on music sources, such as the bass heavy, Magic Man from Heart, and The Complex: Live DVD from Blue Man Group. I also had another great tactile experience from Martin, Madeski and Wood's Uninvisible which has a drum line that really comes out at you with the TES100.

All-in-all I found the TES100 in combination with a subwoofer and home theater system worked quite well in enabling a total home theater sensory experience.

The Bottom Line

The TES100 and A200 amplifier really deliver tactile sensation to the home theater experience. Easy to install and use, this product can be added to any home theater system with subwoofer or preamp outputs.

In tests with both movie and music material, I was very impressed with vibration textures that the TES100 was able to produce.

Positives include:

1. Great Vibration and tactile sensations.

2. Wide dynamic range - produces both subtle and extreme vibration effects quickly with little effort. Can be used in both Movie and music applications.

3. Easy to setup and use. Instruction manuals for both the TES100 and A200 are well illustrated.

4. No fatiguing effect on the body after long periods of use.

The only negative points I found on TES100 and A200 were:

1. No remote control for Amp.

2. Optimum gain settings may need to be changed, depending on the source material- which is where a remote would be handy.

3. Although reasonably priced, my still be expensive for budget-minded consumers.

The combination of the TES100 Transducer and A200 Amplifier enables one to turn his/her own chair into a home theater component that adds the sensory experience of touch to your viewing and listening enjoyment. Simply fantastic!


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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.