SimXperience - Buttkicker Mini LFE (SE) Simvibe Edition

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Mr Latte, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Mr Latte



    Welcome, this thread will compare the Buttkicker "Simvibe Edition" with the standard Buttkicker MiniLFE.

    Here are the details for the Simxperience Buttkicker Mini LFE SE
    Price $95 + Shipping
    Simxperience Homepage

    If you do not know what "Simvibe" is then read all about it:

    From the official website:

    SimVibe provides physics based tactile response to your simulator. The ButtKicker mini LFE SE (SimVibe Edition) is designed for the unique tactile signals generated by SimVibe. Because SimVibe is physics based, rather than audio based, the signal provided to the ButtKicker mini LFE transducer is "faster" and more intense than a standard low frequency audio track. With this kind of signal a standard mini LFE can easily reach its' pistons' limit of travel (bottom out) and produce unwanted noise. The ButtKicker mini LFE SE uses a dampening acoustic foam to reduce the noise generated by rapid piston movement (essential for a realistic experience using SimVibe). The result is a ButtKicker transducer well suited to the unique demands of SimVibe.

    Redesigned ButtKicker internals are optimized for SimVibe
    • Improved Response and Detail
    • Reduced Transducer Noise
    • Frequency Response - 10Hz - 250Hz
    • 50 Watt Minimum
    • 150 Watt Maximum when used with SimVibe which produces a crisper, harder hitting signal than traditional audio
    • 250 Watt Maximum when used with a traditional audio signal
    • Impediance - 4 Ohms
    • Weight - 2.2 lbs
    • Height - 3"
    • Width - 4.75"
    • Length - 4.75"
    • Uses standard ButtKicker Mini LFE casing and mounting dimensions
    • Mounts to SimXperience Stage Series motion simulators via optional mounting plates

    Having purchased myself most tactile models from the Dayton Puck @ $13 to the Clarke Synthesis Prosound TST429 @ $549 covering pretty much the cheapest to the most expensive. I can say that I have a fairly wide experience of different tactile products and their performances being a general hobbyist regards tactile immersion for the last 3 years.

    While This Comparison Will Take Apart These Products For Detailed Coverage.
    I DO NOT RECOMMEND Anyone To Take Apart Or Do Anything That May Invalid Their Products Warranty.
    Do So At Your Own Risk!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  2. Mr Latte


    Product has been delivered and examined, including taken apart for full comparison.

    Item was ordered on 1st day of availability upon release. This is not a "beta or review sample"
    Shipping was sent internationally via "priority service" to UK and arrived in standard product outer packaging within 4-5 working days.

    For now photos and to show you guys the amount of work that has went into this "SE" version of the Buttkicker.

    Testing will be conducted soon.

    Box is identical to standard version & both look identical too.
    No surprises on the external appearance as described the units use the same metal construction/casing.






    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  3. Mr Latte




    Simxperience, clearly state that with "Simvibe" because it produces it's audio effects from a games "physics data" the output is much stronger and different to audio based effects for tactile.

    Snippet below:
    " Because SimVibe is physics based, rather than audio based, the signal provided to the ButtKicker mini LFE transducer is "faster" and more intense than a standard low frequency audio track."

    Their recommendation shows that an amplifier up-to 100 watts less is adequate. This does possibly make it easier and cheaper to find a model that is suitable. Unfortunately Simxperience do not recommend any particular brand or model to help a consumer choose. It also does not take into account that many people may use/build a tactile configuration for PC but also console games still using "audio tactile" effects.

    The Careful Eye
    Here is something I noticed almost 2 years ago and these units still are shipping with conflicting labels.
    It seems that Buttkicker themselves are unsure of the specs on their "Mini LFE" product:


    Notice any difference to above?
    Look at the frequency range :)

    Products Website
    So lets assume that the 10-350Hz range is correct.

    Casing / External & Internal Components:







    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  4. Mr Latte


    Moving Piston:

    Simvibe Edition:
    Piston down

    Piston up

    Standard Edition:
    Piston down

    Piston up

    Standard rubber stopper
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  5. Mr Latte


    Final Comments
    Will be posting my thoughts on this later with an update and with actual proper testing:

    Early Impressions:
    Early inspection is rather bemusing.

    The units for the most part look identical with what seems is an identical piston and the box shipping as a typical Buttkicker Mini LFE would using the standard packaging. I would of liked some form of "Simvibe" branding, even it's own unique sticker or something.

    Firstly to point out that the "Buttkicker Mini LFE" is a great performing unit at it's price point one of the best for sim cockpits under the $99 price. This however is about the "SE" product and the difference advantages the "SE" addition brings. Based on inspection so far it does seem that this "SE" version offers very little over the standard product in anything relating to real differences or performance gains.


    SimXperience Target Goals:
    • Redesigned ButtKicker internals are optimized for SimVibe
    • Improved Response and Detail
    • Reduced Transducer Noise

    I have to question the terms used to illustrate "redesigned" as it to my belief as a consumer it warrants more than two bits of foam. Which is what seems to be the addition here. Having been told that "Simvibe Testing" has been extensive over a period of almost a year and that it involved a group test of approx 60 people. While I have high regards for the "Simvibe Software" and applaud it greatly. Upon this early inspection I really have to question the "effort" that has been conducted in improving this product over it's original state and that the (current) way the product is advertised may be seen by some as a little misleading regards branded as a "redesign".

    Acoustic Foam:

    Here is the information direct from the "SimXperience website" which are also shown above (in current form).

    "With this kind of signal a standard mini LFE can easily reach its' pistons' limit of travel (bottom out) and produce unwanted noise. The ButtKicker mini LFE SE uses a dampening acoustic foam to reduce the noise generated by rapid piston movement (essential for a realistic experience using SimVibe). The result is a ButtKicker transducer well suited to the unique demands of SimVibe."

    So yes indeed as shown above/below, you get a bit of acoustic foam glued onto either end of the piston and the original rubber stopper is replaced. The foam itself just looks rough/cut and stuck on, it certainly on my unit was not specially shaped or looked to of been implemented into the design, this is a little dissapointing also.

    Make your own impressions on what you see but I await the thoughts on the community rather than just try to make my own early ramblings be seen as just unfairly targeting the product or "Simxperience's" current form of promoting it as a specialised edition.




    I want to confirm that the piston is or is not identical and awaiting "Buttkickers" own response email in the "actual differences" of the two products.

    Reports Back From Testing

    Update 1:

    I decided to do some further research in showing the product comparisons regards the piston.
    Something I wanted to know for a while anyways regards some of Buttkicker products. Well curiosity got the better of me.

    Buttkicker have for some time had the following products:
    Mini Concert
    Mini LFE
    Buttkicker Gamer

    All Products Here

    The Mini Concert has always been rated at 2ohms for amplifers and aimed more for drum thrones etc.
    The Gamer also uses the 2ohm rating compared to the 4ohm of the Mini LFE and this reviews Mini LFE SE.
    I would expect very much for the "Mini Concert" model to be the same as below even though it is not shown here.

    All products seem to share the same designs and pistons.
    Their may still be some small changes to the electronic side of things regards the sensitivity of the different models but it certainly is not visible. Also they may react different with the 4ohm Vs 2 Ohm ratings or have slight variations in the piston speed or force. Yet visibly these all look identical.

    Notice any differences?

    Buttkicker Gamer with unique mount

    Buttkicker Gamer / Mini LFE / Mini LFE SE

    Mini LFE Vs Mini LFE SE
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  6. the_greeze

    United Kingdom UK

    This should be interesting... :tup:
  7. I'd say that their solution is both simple and functional / effective.

    When the piston impacts the end cap in the traditional model, it seems to deaden the response and also creates unwanted noise. There was also an unwanted noise from what is believed to be air compression. Almost like a little popping noise.

    After ButtKicker delivered us the revised model, all of these issues were gone. It was quite simply less noisy, more responsive and did not impact the end caps under reasonable SimVibe use. This change was enough to propel it to the top of our list where it did not previously reside.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  8. the_greeze

    United Kingdom UK

    Well, that's a bit disappointing. I expected a bit more than that really, after reading about it being it redesigned. I wouldn't call sticking two bits of foam in there (badly cut and shaped too, by the looks of it) much in the way of a redesign.

    I would imagine that practically any sort of foam would work (not that acoustic foam is hard to come by) as one of it's benefits would be to allow air to escape (air may have been trapped by the rubber pad on the original LFE). Also, the foam is not as dense as the rubber allowing more movement and perhaps the claim of improved response and detail?

    Any other changes apparent? What about the little PCB; anything new/different on there?
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  9. AFAIK, the accoustic dampening foam was their solution to the issues that I reported. I'm not dissapointed with the result. I can ask if any other changes were made also. It would be surprising if the only difference is foam based on the difference in feel, but it could be, end cap impacts can probably dull out the transducer quite a bit.
  10. Mr Latte


    Can you confirm what the exact differences are?
    You personally replied to me recently in another thread stating these were "re-engineered" and just above you are now uncertain what was changed?

    I have to ask if the piston is re-tuned/modified or identical because it looks the real difference with your extensive testing you commented on in the past and collaboration with "Buttkicker" is what amounts to really being 2x bits of foam? So you can understand terms like "marketing spin" and if some feel this is less than expected.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  11. the_greeze

    United Kingdom UK

    Well, the end result is what's important but I feel that there's a bit of marketing 'spin' going on here?

    If you could find out more regarding any changes, that'd be much appreciated, thanks. :)
  12. HoiHman

    Netherlands The Netherlands

    Great research Rodney :)

    Looking forward to your actual performance testing.

    Mine should be shipping today, will post my findings here
  13. No, no spin. They were willing to and did produce a transducer that gives us a good result with SimVibe which I'm grateful for. We really couldn't acheive the result we wanted otherwise.

    I'll ask for more details.
  14. BlindGuy

    United States Indy,IN

    bvillersjr could you comment on something for me? Can you pull detail out such as slip angle or more drastically lateral tire slide with simvibe? This is an iRacing specific question if that matters. I only have one Clark ATM but thinking of going with the 4 BK LFE SE setup. I was able to leverage a slide effect in xSim to provide this feedback before. Your software is shockingly better designed and reliable then xSim BTW.
  15. Mr Latte



    So what do you think of the redesign/upgrades?
  16. HoiHman

    Netherlands The Netherlands

    From what i'm seeing now, i'm disappointed ofcourse. Very interested to hear the details from Berney.

    I also would like to know how fast this foam will wear off with intensive use.
  17. BlindGuy

    United States Indy,IN

    Thats a good question.
  18. Not to hijack this thread, and no offense taken if another thread is started for this. I wrote a bit on the subject in response to same question on iRacing forums and since it's iRacing related and I'm about to fall asleep here, I'll ask that you check it out there. I believe it was the SimVibe hardware thread toward the middle of the last page.
  19. Mr Latte


    Small update above

    Pistons from various models look identical but I will wait on bvillersjr reply from Buttkicker.
    That way it can be more official as to what the differences are.

    Some text and comments rewritten/updated.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  20. BlindGuy

    United States Indy,IN


    Sorry All, I did HiJack. Hate it when people do that. I was thinking this was the main SimVibe Thread when I posted.
  21. Mr Latte


    I hope to get a chance to do some testing this weekend.

    Buttkicker's do tend to perform better with the low end effects and I will configure a simple testbed that will monitor both the SE and the standard Mini LFE version simultaneously. It is likely suspension and engine effects will be a good way to compare both using identical amplification and volumes.

    Sesimometer 6th
    This app will be ran on dual iPad / iPhones to measure the vibrations and display/record the data.
    It seems to be a decent tool for such a test while not scientific it is great for understanding what the tactile is doing.

    Attempts at capturing audible differences will also be tried.
    Lets see how things go...


    • Noise differences
    • Response Speed
    • Piston Strength

    Questions / queries are welcome
    Others that have purchased this unit are also welcome to give their own feedback or purchase the app mentioned for their own tactile testing.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  22. HoiHman

    Netherlands The Netherlands

    Looking forward to the results Rodney :tup:

    My four Mini LFE SE have shipped, so i hope they outperform the regular ones :)
  23. Mr Latte


    Rather than just a test platform.

    You have a new proper rig being built on the very popular 80/20 so it would be excellent to also have your own findings posted here my friend.
  24. Mr Latte


    Okay so current situation update:

    Turns out the "SE" I have makes a lot more noise, the piston seems to be working fine but their is an additional rattle sound as if the "acoustic foam" on my unit isn't properly preventing the piston hitting the outer casing.

    I have had confirmation that indeed this "SE" version of the Mini LFE is nothing more than a stock unit opened and the rubber stopper replaced by the "Acoustic Foam"

    This is done by Buttkicker and not SimXperience. Anyone having purchased this unit will notice the box seal of the "Mini LFE" has been opened, something I confirmed with others who purchased this. I will contact the Buttkicker service representative for more info incase their is an issue with the piston on the unit I have. Alternatively I can remove the "Acoustic Foam" and stick it on another unit I have for the testing.

    Really however what this product boils down to is paying extra for a small bit of "Acoustic Foam" which raises concerns because of the basic implementation in how it has been added to the original product. Also regards comments raised here in the longterm durability of this "Acoustic Foam" .

    Buttkicker will stand over the product and I know their service/response to be very good so I do not dispute this.

    What makes me rather annoyed is how this has been advertised and labelled as a "Redesign". Am I the only one that got the impression this "SE" product was...

    1) Redisigned and specifically tuned for Simvibe performance and requirements
    2) Tested and approved by SimXperience
    3) Specifically selected product compared to other tactile brands/models

    I do expect that indeed this "Acoustic Foam" may slightly alter the pistons response and reduce the noise but not by a great deal or to an extent that the owner of the original would benefit much from this so called "Redesign".

    SimXperience also hasn't made it clear the main reason behind this modification being more to do with the issues their own metal cockpits have had with the piston bottoming and the noise it created. That is a factor of the original product that does not effect everyone or perhaps their brand/model of cockpit. Is it a widespread problem for the user d.i.y builds either, well I am not aware of this if so...

    So I put to those reading to look at what has been shown in this thread and ask yourself if this looks like a very simple modification that almost anyone in the community could really do to the original product?

    For those that rushed out like myself to get this product happy to support SimXperience please feel welcome to post your own comments, you may not agree with my own disappointment and now learning that their may also be future / different product coming which once again SimXperience will be endorsing. Lets hope it equates to more of a "redesign" or actually be a specific new model than this "SE" amounts to being.

    Mr Villers is welcome to publish data here from his own testing that this "Acoustic Foam" achieved over the original on "SimXperience Cockpits" if he wishes. Although I question how this effects the majority of the community and "your cockpit" as results may differ.

    For those that would need to import this model, paying international shipping, possible import taxes/fees perhaps re evaluate if you think it will be worth the extra cost over buying the original probably much cheaper.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  25. I think the agenda here has been quite clear from day one when you begin posting negative remarks and "suspicions" while you have no working cockpit, no accurate test tool and no reasonable way in which to substantiate your negativity. Of course this is now edited out of the initial post.

    I'm at least glad to see that you didn't post a pile of innacurate results with an incapable test tool as initially promised. I'm not sure what you have against the SimVibe specific ButtKicker transducer in general but there is no debate. It's quiter and and more responsive since there is less deadening against the end caps and this is needed for an accurate result with SimVibe. Perhaps you should have tested it before you disassembled and reassembled it :)
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  26. Mr Latte


    Firstly, their is no agenda...
    Regards the edits, I told you I reworded some stuff to come across as less harsh and offered a polite apology if the original seemed unfair.

    My PM reflects that others have had issues with these as well for your information so no I have not ruined the one I got and it is so simple to dismantle a child could do it besides all the others dismantled work fine still.

    This comparison/review is not finished as tests will be done, placing the "Acoustic Foam" onto another unit as mentioned or if Buttkicker want to ship out another, either way I think the difference won't be that amazing now that the "truth" in the actual differences has been highlighted.

    I love how you completely sidestep the main issue found here, that is the evidence which clearly questions your promotion of this product to appear as something more than it really is.

    Once again I welcome you to post your own professional recorded results/data to highlight how much faster and quieter the "SE" is regards your claims when advertising it.

    As a community review and before you go criticising a piece of software that is useful to the community regards tactile, the point is it is wildly available for others to use, they can decide if it is useless or not.

    Do I not have cockpit to use and test with?
    Perhaps you should get your facts right. Testing will be carried out in various ways from a Gamepod cockpit because some people have metal rigs, a wooden test platform, because others have mdf/wooden ones and some people perhaps just a seat with wheel stand, that is what I planned to try.

    More on that later...
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  27. left888

    Canada Alberta

    Berney, I warned you and the others over at (a few months back) exactly how this mr latte AKA Rodney Davis works. Enough said.
  28. Indeed, and your assertions are quite correct. I won't lend creedence enough to any of these bogus claims to even respond. You can find some more accurate information about these transducers and SimVibe at the iRacing forums.
  29. Caz

    tewksbury mass

  30. HoiHman

    Netherlands The Netherlands

    Wow....... indeed

    Not commenting on who is right or wrong at the moment. I hope this thread does'nt turn in to a pissing contest :D

    @ Berney would it not be better to prove MrLatte wrong by just publishing some of the facts his asking for, rather than putting him down? :)
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