Sense Innovations Ess-One Sound System Review
Image Credit: Sense Innovations
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
Ess-One Sound System
HPI WR8 Flux
- Good selection of sounds
- Premium sounds are pretty cheap
- No soldering required (if you use deans)
- High quality feel to it
- Everything you need in one package
- Some sounds are a little videogamey
- No mounting materials
Since starting in the RC hobby about 4 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was that there was no real concentration on scale appearance or sound for surface vehicles. It baffled me that cheap RC cars from the toy store had decent sounding effects, but the more costly RC cars did not have any sound at all. Almost none came with lights either.
I noticed when I went to my AMA flying field, several guys had light systems in their planes and a few had nice sound systems. I looked at the sound systems for airplanes and found them a little complicated. So to achieve the sound, I just bought a few planes with gas engines. Problem solved. I figured I'd do the same thing on the surface side of things. I bought a 1/5 scale gas buggy. It looked and sounded really cool, but it was TOO loud. I live in the suburbs and people here like their quiet. Running a loud 2-stroke engine wasn't really an option. I sold it and gave up on sound for my cars and trucks. I did add lights to a few but I always felt something was missing.
THEN... Traxxas announced their Slash with a sound system already installed. As more details were revealed, many of us were disappointed to see that the sound system not only came ONLY on a lower end Slash, but also, that it only had one vehicle sound and it would not be sold separately. As many RCers collectively slapped their foreheads in disappointment, Sense Innovations announced their new products. A light system (I haven't bought one yet), and the Ess-One sound system. I was even more excited when I learned that it would have customizable sounds and the ability to add it to any vehicle you could fit it in. I ordered one as soon as I could.
I looked at all of my vehicles to decide which to put it in... crawler, monster truck, buggy... hmmmm. I have a few of each, but then it occurred to me that a few of my vehicles have metal gears and metal drive shafts... which make them kind of loud sounding when I drive them. The one that fit the bill the best was my HPI WR8 Flux. Aside from wanting to hide the normal sound of it, the rally body has quite a bit of room underneath for the speaker system. I ended up using zip ties on the body mount in the rear.
After the extremely quick and easy installation, I read the manual like a good boy. I fetched my 8 year old son and we went to the computer to find a suitable set of sounds for the WR8. I was pleasantly surprised that there were a series of rally car sounds and turbo sounds to choose from. The sounds I liked were quickly downloaded and I adjusted some of the options the software allows, like when to engage a break sound, how long to idle before shutting down, and when to start up.
Sounds installed and set up, the only thing left was to calibrate it. Again, following the instructions, this was done very quickly. So now it was time to drive. My son (a huge car fanatic) was so excited knowing that our rally car would now have realistic effects. I turned the car on, set the car down and handed the controller to my son. With a little tap of the throttle, the speaker let out an awesome sounding engine start up effect and went into a smooth grumbly idle. As my son drove it away from us, turned and came back by us, I was amazed at how awesome this sounded. It was loud enough to give us the sense of realism we had been looking for, but not too loud that it would annoy the neighbors. A few passers by stopped and watched for a bit. One person upon noticing no exhaust coming from the vehicle, asked if it was a different kind of engine. He told me he used to race nitro RC cars a decade or so ago... and he was amazed that an electric car could sound so real with just a small sound system. My son and I have had so much fun driving this car with the new added realism. Our biggest complaint right now is that we only have one!!!! I definitely plan on buying a couple more as a few of our vehicles are a little jealous :)
If you have ever wanted your RC car or truck to sound more realistic, stop reading, and go purchase one of these systems, you will be so happy you did!
Check out my video below to hear the system in action. If you have any questions about this review, contact me at: email@example.com or if you'd like to submit your own review, check out the link to our Facebook reviewers group on the About Us / Submit Review tab above.