[Test] With the Subpac M2, experience the audio of your VR games

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Tere Vida Mombiela
@terevidamombiela
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Summary

  • Unboxing of the Subpac M2: a complete packaging
  • Design and ergonomics of the Subpac M2: a VR accessory with beautiful finishes
  • Sensations in play: the Subpac M2 redefines the sound experience
  • Conclusion

Brand: Subpac
Category: Accessory
Release Date: September 3, 2016
Marketing price: 389 euros
Tested on: HTC Vive and Oculus Rift


Unboxing of the Subpac M2: a complete packaging

The Subpac M2 is delivered in a black hard cardboard showing the accessory close-up. The packaging gives little indication of the product: on the side, we find a brief summary of features of the Subpac. Simple but effective, this box gives the feeling of being in the presence ofa premium product. When opening the box, we discover the Subpac M2. Under the latter are hidden the accessories: 3.5 male-male jack cable, instruction and start-up aid booklet, power cable with 4 earth plug ends. 


Design and ergonomics of the Subpac M2: a VR accessory with beautiful finishes

Now let's take a look at the heart of this test: the Subpac M2. Right out of the box, the user can see the lightness of the product. The Subpac introduces itself like a backpack or a vest that the user will put on in order to feel the sound bass or that he can hang from the back of a chair or armchair. 

The accessory weighs 2,3 kilos but is easily forgotten once worn. In order to reach a large audience, the startup Subpac thought of integrate a supplied connector. We thus find ua 3.5mm mini-jack input and output, a control box and a Bluetooth 4.0 A2DP connection. In use, the Subpac M2 is silent and no “hot” sensation does not emerge from the product. The company announces 6 hours of battery life. We were able to test the Subpac for about 2 hours.



The Subpac M2 is composed ofa hard part which is placed in front and through which the low frequencies will be transmitted. Linked by a cable to this “sound jacket”, a box: it is on this that the audio arrival of the VR headset as well as the audio headset will be plugged inr. We also find there LEDs to indicate bluetooth connection and battery status. The Subpac M2 is compatible with HTC Vive or Oculus Rift helmets. We would have appreciated a system allowing to attach the cables of the helmets.

Sensations in play: the Subpac M2 redefines the sound experience

The Subpac uses tactile audio technology to transmit low frequencies directly to the user's body, with a frequency response of 5 to 130 Hz. If the Subpac M2 claims multi-media use (watching movies, listening to music, video games, etc.) it is in VR that the product demonstrates its full potential. In particular, we tested the Subpac with the Arizona Sunshine game on HTC Vive. From the first bass felt through the body, the user will realize the added value of the accessory.

The Subpac M2 indeed offers added value in terms of immersion in the game. When we talk about VR, we think of visual immersion but we easily tend to forget the importance of the sound environment. Thanks to the Subpac M2, the player will feel the bass through his body, like what one can experience during a live concert. At first glance, the effect produced by the accessory is quite confusing. However, you get used to it very quickly to the sensations provided by the Subpac M2. The company headquartered in Palo Alto had the good idea to integrate into its box a regulator to modify the intensity bass felt by the user.



When the intensity is set in the middle, the bass is exceptionally deep and rather precise. With every element of the game involving a sound, such as a gunshot, the user will feel the low frequencies. We will regret however lack of precision of sensation : Concretely, whether the player receives a bullet in the left shoulder or in the stomach, the Subpac M2 will produce the same effect.


Good points

  • Comfortable and light
  • Increases the feeling of immersion in VR gaming
  • Adjustable effect intensity

Negative points

  • No distribution of the effect
  • A still dissuasive price

Conclusion

The Subpac M2 is an atypical product with an ambitious design : want to replace a subwoofer with an accessory to wear like a backpack. The bet seems to have been taken. With the Subpac M2, the sensations and VR game immersion is improved. The main flaw of the object? His lack of precision when it comes to “distributing” the effect on the user's body. We could also argue that its recommended retail price (389 euros) is high. It is certainly a significant investment, that d 'nu would hasten to compare to taken from a PS VR, but few similar accessories are to our knowledge available today.

8.2

Packaging: The packaging is classic but complete. .


Design and ergonomics: The design of the Supac M2 is successful. Sober, the 2,3 kilos of the product are quickly forgotten. .


Sensation: The Subpac offers unprecedented immersion thanks to the transmission of bass. A downside on the lack of precision of it.

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