TES100 Stereo Tactile Motion System and A300 Integrated Stereo Effects Amplifier

Adding Low Frequency Tactile Motion Sensation To Your Home Theater Experience

Although subwoofers bring realistic bass sound to the home theater environment, there is still something missing - tactile motion 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 Stereo Motion Effects System and the A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier from Crowson Technology.

Product Overview -TES100 Stereo Tactile Motion System

TES100 Linear Actuator Features

1. The TES100 Motion System includes two TES100 Linear Actuators, 5.7 inches long (including speaker terminals), 4.8 inches wide, and 1.1 inches high. The TES100 which also comes with two Motion Isolators for attaching to furniture support feet. The system configuration used for this review allows for Stereo Motion Effects reproduction in combination with the A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier.

2. The TES100 Actuator's weight is 3.5 lbs. Maximum load that the TES100 Stereo Motion System can be placed under is 1,000 lbs.

3. The TES100 Actuator 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 600HZ down to 1HZ.

Product Overview - A300 Amplifier

A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier Features

1. The A300 amplifier is a 2-channel amplifier that is specially designed for use with subwoofers and linear actuators.

2. Power output in 2-Channel Operating mode is 150 Watts per Channel RMS at 6 Ohms. Power output in bridged mode (1 Channel Operation) is 300 Watts RMS at 6 Ohms. (Note: To use bridged mode, connect speaker wires to the two + terminals and use the channel one inputs from the source component).

3. A Volume Control allows the user to adjust the degree of the tactile motion effect.

4. The A300 utilizes standard RCA input connections for both the left and right channel and LFE (low-frequency effects - from the subwoofer channel).

5. The A300 has a frequency response from 2HZ to 600HZ +/- 3 dB, and features a variable 600Hz to 20Hz low pass filter.

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 low frequency motion effects 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 motion effects than other methods, thus enabling a more dynamic effect with faster response times. In other words, the TES100 can capture the subtle motion vibrations of a car driving on a country road to the big boom of an atomic bomb explosion.

Setup and Installation

Setup and Connection of TES100 Actuators

The TES100 was installed by connecting the actuator plates to the stereo speaker connections A300 amplifier, via standard speaker wire, and then placing the actuator plates under the right and left rear supports at the foot of a chair. In addition, two Motion Isolators are placed under the chair's other support feet. This serves to isolate the motion vibrations, so that they only go to the chair and not the rest of the floor, as well as securing the chair so that it does not move off the linear actuator plates. As a side note, you can use a chair or a couch with the Linear Actuators and the Motion Isolators.

Connecting the A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier

The supplied user manual for the A300 has excellent illustrations on how to connect the TES100 Actuator plates to the A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier and is very self-explanatory. You simply connect the speaker terminals on the actuator plates to the left or right channel speaker connections on the A300, in the same way, you would connect loudspeakers.

You can then connect your DVD player or AV receiver to the Left, Right, and LFE inputs on the A300. One way is to connect the left and right preamp outputs and your subwoofer output to the A300.

Here is the configuration that worked well for me. What I did was connect the digital audio output of a DVD player to the Yamaha HTR-5490 AV receiver, or Outlaw Audio Model 950 Preamp, in the normal fashion. Then, I also connected the stereo analog outputs of the DVD player to the stereo analog inputs on the A300 - this gave me a two-channel mixed audio output from the DVD player to the A300. In addition, I connected the Subwoofer output of my AV receiver or preamp to the LFE input on the A300, and then connected the LFE output of the A300 to the standard subwoofer I used.

Setup Clarification From Crowson Technology

When confirming my setup with John Yi of Crowson Technology - he indicated that, although my setup does work, he further advised the following: "Generally, we don't recommend mixing a fixed (audio) output with a variable (audio) output. We would recommend, using all the variable outputs from the receiver pre-outs, or alternatively, using the fixed (audio) outputs off the DVD player (if it allows the use of both the L,R, and LFE outs to the A300 at the same time as the optical or other connector to the Receiver). Using Fixed (audio) outputs will not allow your receiver volume control to act as a "master volume" that will include the TES100 output level".

This clarification from John Yi, of Crowson Technology, is very practical and welcome advice for potential users of this system.

Hardware Components Used

The TES100 and A300 were tested with two home theater setups that also included a powered subwoofer. One setup used bookshelf front L/R main speakers and the other included floor standing main L/R main speakers.

Receiver, Preamp/Amp used included a Yamaha HTR-5490 6.1 Channel AV receiver, Outlaw Audio Model 950 Preamp/Surround Processor paired with a Butler Audio 5150 5-channel power amplifier.

DVD players included, Oppo Digital DV-981HD DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player (HDMI output 720p/1080i/1080p upscaling), and Helios H4000 (HD-component and HDMI output with 720p/1080i/1080p upscaling), as well as a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD player and a Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Player and LG BH100 Blu-ray/HD-DVD Combo player.

Loudspeakers used, included: Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2, Optimus LX-5IIs, Klipsch Quintet III 5-channel speaker system, plus additional floor standing loudspeakers.

Powered Subwoofers used: Klipsch Synergy Sub10 and Yamaha YST-SW205.

Connections between components were made with Accell, Cobalt, and AR Interconnect cables.

Speaker wire used between the A300 amplifier and the TES100 Tactile Transducer was 14-Gauge Flat Wire. Speaker wire used in the rest of the system setups was 16 Gauge.

Software Used

Blu-ray Discs included: The Italian Job, Superman Returns, Into The Blue, Stealth, and Mission Impossible III.

HD-DVD Discs included: The Italian Job, Heart - Live In Seattle, King Kong, Batman Begins, and Serenity

Pre-recorded standard DVDs used included scenes from the following: Serenity, The Cave, Kill Bill - Vol1/2, Pirates Of The Caribbean, V For Vendetta, U571, Lord of Rings Trilogy, Star Wars - Episode 1, and Master and Commander.

For audio only, various CDs included: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb - Firecracker, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture.

DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, Beach Boys - Pet Sounds, Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible.

SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

In addition, music content on CD-R/RWs was also used.

More Than Just Low Frequency Vibration

The first test DVD, Master and Commander proved to be the most illustrative of the TES100/A300 capabilities. Just as with the earlier TES100/A200 combination this film really brings out the low frequency sensory effect. However, when adding the new A300 effects amplifier to the mix, the effects were more directional and realistic, especially the feeling the cannon fire, impact of the cannon balls, and the crew members running on the top deck.

Another great demo for the TES100/A300 combo is the famous Pod Race from Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace. The dings, bangs, bumps, and motion vibrations on all sides of the racing pods could be felt - and on the proper side of the pod the proper moment in time. This was a great illustration of the stereo motion effect capabilities of the Crowson Linear Drive Actuators.

Another film segment that showed the stereo motion capabilities of the TES100/A300 combo, is a depth charge scene in the film U571. From the subtle vibrations of being inside a submarine to the forceful depth charge explosions coming from several directions, the TES100/A300 combo really places you in the action in a very realistic fashion.

In addition, I also found that I could use the TES100 and A300 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 a 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, and of course, I couldn't resist checking out Eric Kunzel's version of the 1812 Overture - The cannon vibration effects were very realistic.

Tweaking the volume levels for music are a little more tricky than for films, but not difficult at all using the A300's remote control or front panel volume control. Also, the front panel Low Pass Filter control on the A300 allows adjustment to fine tune the correct bass to mid-frequency balance, which is especially useful for music listening.

The Bottom Line

The TES100 and A300 amplifier combination really delivers realistic 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.

I was impressed with vibration textures that the TES100/A300 combination was able to produce with both movies and music.

TES100/A300 Combination Positives include:

1. Full Stereo Motion Effects - This really adds dimension to low frequency effects. Since the effects are transferred directly to the listener via conduction, separate channels of information can be employed, which is more defined than the more simplified LFE effects of a standard subwoofer channel.

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. A300 amplifier comes with easy-to-use wireless remote control.

4. Can be used in both Movie and music applications.

5. The best looking and functional speaker terminals I have seen on an amplifier.

TES100/A300 Combination Negatives:

1. Optimum gain settings may need to be changed, depending on source material.

2. LED Peak Level Meters do not show precisely how much effect you are accessing.

3. The motion effects are very realistic. However, there is no significant chair movement (pitch and yaw) as in motion simulator amusement park rides.

4. Although reasonably priced, may be expensive for budget-minded consumers.

Final Take

The combination of the TES100 Stereo Tactile Motion System and A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier enables the consumer to turn his/her own chair, or couch, into a home theater component that adds the sensory experience of touch to your viewing and listening enjoyment. This is one of the most innovative home theater products available to the consumer.

I give the Crowson TES100 Stereo Tactile Motion System - A300 Integrated Stereo Motion Amplifier Combination 5 Stars.

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