Produced by: BSG Laboratories, Inc.
More Info: http://www.intensor.com
Price: $199 for main unit
+ $99 for optional chair base
+ $169 for optional SubWoofer unit (from http://commerce.intensor.com)
A multi-media device with a sound output jack
So you got yourself one of those great new blue and white G3s, spent a small fortune on a great 21" screen, added a Voodoo 2 graphics card, and can’t wait to grab the new Voodoo 3 once it is out. Basically you have the perfect multimedia machine, be it for games, DVDs, or anything else. Yet something still isn’t right: the sound. Sure, you could hook it up to the awesome stereo you have, but then you still wouldn’t be able to feel the sound. That’s what the Intensor is for. Imagine sitting on the speakers.
The Intensor is basically a chair with 5 speakers built into it. One full-range speaker goes between your legs, two smaller mid-range speakers on either side. There’s also a high-end driver (tweeter) close to your head and a big bass driver that makes you “feel” the sound. This setup literally surrounds you with sound, places you right in the action, and the bass driver makes the chair vibrate at low frequencies (like explosions or gun fire). It really adds the one element that was missing from today’s top-notch games: physical feedback. Hard-core gamers will definitely appreciate that. However it is not only limited to games. You can hook it up to your VCR, CD or DVD player, or any other device that has a sound output. Forget about surround sound, the Intensor is what you really need if you want to enjoy action movies to their limit.
The main unit itself can be folded up and is rather portable between rooms. It can be put onto an existing chair base, or you can get a new one for $99. The main unit also isn’t too expensive at $199, given that its sound quality rivals that of good computer speakers in the same price range. However it is highly recommended to get the subwoofer if you want to enjoy the full benefits of the sound enhancement. If you get the whole setup, it will add up to $467! On the other hand you get a complete chair, a subwoofer, and basically a surround sound system that you can use for your computer and/or your TV system.
The complete system with chair base and subwoofer
Although I really like the new dimension the Intensor adds to gaming, music, and movies, I have several complaints. The connector that links the Intensor to the small control unit is on the front of the chair, right between your legs. You will tend to loosen it with your calves as you stand up or sit down, producing horrible noises from the speakers.
The controls for volume and the intensity of the bass feedback are also between your legs, causing you to change volume unintentionally. The chair also tends to build up a lot of static electricity. My fiancée refuses to kiss me while I am sitting on the chair because she gets a very strong buzz every time. The worst part about the chair is its comfort. I had horrible back pain after the first two days of using it. Even with the additional padding that is available, it’s the most uncomfortable chair I’ve ever sat in. That’s fine if you don’t use it too much, but it replaced my comfortable office chair and I usually start to suffer after a few hours. Once you get the entire setup with subwoofer, the unit is basically not portable anymore, so you can forget about moving it between rooms.
This is what it looks like in reality with the pads
The unit came in several big boxes, and it took me quite a while to get everything together. Setup instructions are well-explained but require a lot of care and patience. To be fair, BSG Labs is working on a new version without arm rests (which makes the setup a lot easier), a modified connector on the side, as well as modified controls on the side which eliminates some of my problems listed above. Because the unit will be easier to build without the arm rests, BSG Labs will also probably make it cheaper than the old version. The additional padding will be included as a standard, another nice (and necessary) change in addition to a redesigned shape for more comfort.
I tested the chair with several games. The best effect was with the Dwarven Mortars in Myth 2. The effect is just amazing. However the chair doesn’t work well with games that have no low frequency sounds, rendering the vibration feedback useless. It still provides good sound though.
Overall the Intensor is very nice for hard core gamers with a strong back and the money to get it. I recommend getting a Voodoo 2 or 3 graphics card before you consider the Intensor, but once the new version is available it will be an interesting addition to your equipment.