To start off this review, I thought I might try something different, something that might give our readers a bit more enthusiasm and personal reflection to promote the following product featured in this review. So, you are sitting in a metal folding chair for 15hours at your favorite monthly LAN party as you feed your body just what it?s been waiting for ? 10oz doses of Bawls energy drink and constant doses of your favorite late night beverages. Just as you thought you were going to be able to make it all three days without sleep ? the tired, drowsy and delirious ways of life seem to catch you by surprise. There you are, laughing out of control because something that you thought was extremely hilarious was apparently not funny to your gaming buddies. After your gaming buddies stop starring at you as if you?ve lost it, you realize that maybe you should really go to bed. Your first response is to pull out a thin blanket and pass out under your table where you get to smell the great essence of ?gaming partner feet? as you try to dream of something besides cold metal folding chairs and Counter-Strike. Finally, after shifting on the hard concrete floor for about forty-two minutes, you find a comfortable position ? but wait, there?s more! Sure you may sleep like a baby for about three hours, but then you figure out that you should have brought a full sized mattress, or what seems to be the only form of comfortable sleeping.
Now that I?ve put you into the scenario of uncomfortable sleeping at a LAN party, imaging just how much better the story would have been if you ended up lounging on a comfortable pad that is actually the width of a sleeping bag! The product you will see reviewed today could quite possibly be one of the strangest, yet coolest items we have and will ever review here at TwistedMods. I am talking about the Pyramat PM300 by Pyramat LLC. Pyramat is a company who makes comfortable, mobile, gaming furniture for every sort of gamer for consoles (PS2, Xbox, Game cube) and computer gamers. To get you a little familiar with Pyramat products, there are three basic models consisting of a PM100, PM200 and PM300 (which we will take a look at in this review). All three products have the same basic structure, but each has its own additional features which significantly differentiate them. Each ?pad? consists of a large triangle shaped end (for back/neck support) as well as three additional squares of foam following it (for full body support as lying down and lounging). Perhaps looking at the pictures in this review will you figure out a little more about the structure? The PM100 model is Pyramat?s basic model which is just a simple comfortable lounging pad made with a blue cotton/ washable cover. The PM200 is made of the same high density foam, but is covered in ?pleather? to give it that nice leather-like feeling as you game in front of the television. The PM200 also features two magazine pockets as well as two pencil pockets. The PM300, also the model which we are reviewing today, is Pyramat?s most innovative product featuring the same structure as the other two models, but even more! For all of you gamers who enjoy FEELING the boom from that bomb and the chopper?s bass as it flies overhead, the PM300 includes a 25watt amplifier, a 4? subwoofer built into the backrest, a corded-volume remote, two small left and right channel speakers and the popular-demanded BASS BOOST knob! You might be asking yourself what these products are FOR, but keep on listening; I am getting to that next. Basically, as you can see from the pictures throughout this review, the Pyramat is a piece of ?foam furniture? which is easily mobile due to its ability to be rolled up and carried by the carrying handle attached. The main idea of this product is to hook it into your television setup?s left and right RCA sound-output which will then output your game into the Pyramat?s sound system which is built into the backrest! Now you can lounge comfortably while playing your favorite console game on your big screen television?AND FEELING the bass as you get your ass whooped in game by your pal who happens to be sitting on the ground next to you ? hey, at least you?re gaming in STYLE and COMFORT right?! Let?s get on with the show!
Shortly after this product arrived on my front doorstep, I pulled it inside the house, still amazed by the size of the box. The box which the Pyramat was shipped in, was actually triangular, just as the actual shape of the Pyramat as it is rolled up for storage. After I opened up the box and pulled out the Pyramat, my first instinct was to make sure everything was in the box and ready for the following review. Not remembering that a power adapter would be required for the unit, I unrolled the Pyramat and realized (once I was ready to plug it in), that there was a missing power cord! I double checked the shipping box, made sure there was no secret pocket on the side of the Pyramat which might be stowing the power adapter and gave Michael, owner of Pyramat LLC a call to explain the problem. Needless to say, Michael had another power adapter shipped to me that day which later arrived just a little less than a week after. The included items in the retail packaging of the PM300 includes the Pyramat itself, a AD-DC power adapter and two gold plated RCA male-male connectors. Although I did not notice any instructions included with this product, white lettering above each of the ports found on the Pyramat make installation fairly self explanatory. The power adapter itself is a simple wall plug-in which provides 12vdc, 1200mA. The actual adapter itself is pretty standard in the idea that the black box/ adapter is at the WALL rather than in the middle of the power cable like many external PC devices nowadays. Also included, as stated before, are a set of RCA male-male adapters. These adapters are gold plated which will help transmit the sound at a higher quality (in theory) compared to normal copper connectors. These connectors actually allow you, the user, to connect any RCA cable between your television RCA ports and the Pyramat as long as the cables have a MALE side for plugging into the rear of the television. Please do keep in mind that the Pyramat did NOT include the necessary RCA cables for hookup into any entertainment system, luckily I did have a set from my digital video camera to borrow for this review.
Now that we?ve gotten some details on the smaller items out of the way, I present to you, the Pyramat PM300 interactive lounging furniture. The first form that I had seen the product in was rolled up. In the Pyramat?s most compact, rolled up form, it is fairly large and would require either a closet or behind something to store. Although it is quite big, Pyramat has also included a convenient webbed strap on the top of the Pyramat to enable easy transportation from place to place whether it is from room to room or building to building. The PM300 only comes in one color scheme, Black with a hint of orange and lime green trim?I guess the manufacturer thought that black matches everything which is a good assumption not to mention that black does not show stains or everyday wear as easily as white for example. After inspecting the rolled up form of the PM300, I simply un-velcroed the bottom panel so that I could unroll the unit into its lounging form. The first thing I noticed with the PM300 was the difference in materials used between the top and the bottom of each of the three foam pads. The bottom of the unit seemed to be made of black, thick canvas whereas the top of the unit was made of black nylon. This would allow small amounts of wear and tear on the bottom of the mat while leaving the user comfortable with a very flexible material on the top. The one flaw that I noticed with the PM300 design is the fact that while the unit is rolled up, the soft nylon is exposed to the outside whereas I though they should have constructed it in such a manner that the more rugged material be on the outside. While inspecting the under-side of the unit, I also noticed that each of the three foam panels has a zipper along the edge. If your Pyramat starts to smell like sweat after a few intense hours of console gaming, simply unzip each of the panels, take out the foam and wash the cover! To give this product a bit of depth and ?looks? the PM300 also has a simple strip of Lime Green which encompasses the pad. This gives the product some ?depth? without the gothic, horrific look.
On the actual ?wedge? or backrest of the PM300 is where I noticed the main control panel for the built in speaker/subwoofer setup. On the front of the wedge or the side that faces the other three foam lounging pads, things looked pretty standard. The front of the wedge is quite a bit ?softer? and has more cushion that the other pads. The covering material is, once again, the soft black nylon found on the tops of each of the three lounging pads. On each of the sides of the wedge, you can see each of the small output speakers as well as a small 1? hole which acts as a breath-hole for the 4? subwoofer which can not be seen from outside the unit. Each of the small speakers is protected by a black mesh speaker cover to prevent puncturing or any other damage that may occur during everyday use. On each of the sides, the material of choice happens to be that rugged black canvas, because obviously you don?t need a soft material where you aren?t going to be laying! Encompassing the hole for both the speaker and the subwoofer blowholes are a thin piece of rubber sewn into the canvas, which mix orange and black to create a sort of bordered effect for each of the holes in the canvas. I am sure the rubber is also sewn in place to prevent from tearing the holes open further and also to prevent fraying of the canvas on the edge. The rear of this unit is where everything gets interesting. You will notice that the rear of the wedge is also constructed of thick canvas because once again you won?t be lying on the back of the unit, therefore comfort will not be an issue. On the left of the rear is the rubber ?Pyramat Interactive? patch composed of orange and lime green rubber and adds some flavor to the empty space on the back of the unit. To the right of the patch is where everything, sound wise, is controlled on the unit. You will notice from the picture in the review that the panel contains a great amount of features from power connection, RCA (left and right) output barbs, input jack, bass boost control knob and a cord which leads to a power button and volume control remote on the end. Since instructions were not included with the unit, I had to figure out how to hook the unit up to my entertainment system myself, but that wasn?t much a problem since it was fairly self explanatory. Above each of the jacks is white lettering which helps the user distinguish where to plug each cord to their entertainment system for installation. I will explain each of the jacks a little more in depth during our testing phase of the review. The last thing I noticed on the rear of the unit is the three elastic/mesh pockets which are found along the bottom of the unit. These make for convenient storage of game cheat codes, remote controls, games and other small items you may want to have close by while you game.
Before I start the testing phase of the review, I would like to let all of you know that this product is centered around gamers that enjoy console gaming, but is also compatible with basically any device with an audio out jack (DVD players, mp3 players, computers, console games, etc.). Console gaming is that of Playstation2, Game Cube, Xbox, etc. We do realize this, but since we ARE a site centered on computer gaming enthusiasts, we DID in fact decide to hook computer audio up to the PM300 during games and falling asleep at LAN parties to the sound of some newly downloaded mp3s. Starting off installation of the product, I simply unrolled the PM300 onto an open area and proceeded to plug in the power to the unit. Next, I took the cord which normally goes between my Audigy and my speaker system, and hooked it between my Audigy soundcard and into the ?input? jack on the rear of the PM300. Next, I simply pulled the little corded remote control and pushed power on (on the top of the controller) and proceeded to crank the volume up by the small switch found on the side of the controller. I then, went onto my computer and began to play an mp3 in Winamp. At this point I had two options, to leave the setup as it was and rely on the Pyramat?s sound system, or I could take things a bit further by going from the RCA outputs to a set of speakers so that I could feel the BASS from the music on my BACK as well as the clearest music from my original speaker setup. Please keep in mind that Pyramat does NOT provide any cabling for hookup, thus you must provide your own input and RCA cables for installation. IN essence, the Pyramat is almost like a life-sized rumble pack in the idea that lets say you are playing a NASCAR racing game and you hit a wall. Of course the bass from the crash will be played through the speakers, but having that 4? subwoofer directly on your back helps to actually FEEL the bass as if you are really in the game. No only this, but gamers will ideally have a comfortable place to game instead of sitting on the hard floor, crouched over in front of their television sets as their lower back begins to give them severe ergonomic problems.
Finally, after a long day of work (yeah, right!) I got to take a plunge into the Pyramat for a nice short rest as I got to take the product for a ?test drive? to test for sound quality and actual effectiveness of the overall product. To test out the full sound system, I figured the best way to do so, would be to test it with music that hit both low notes as well as clear and high pitched notes. This would help me determine how clear the speakers could play as well as how hard the 4? subwoofer could actually ?hit.? For this challenge I decided to use one of my personal favorite songs by Dub Pistols which goes by the name of Cyclone. I am sure all of you have heard this song before, but just don?t know the actual name of the song. Anyway, after laying in the Pyramat for the entire length of the song, I was a bit disappointed by the sound output quality of the PM300. I know that a system with a 4? subwoofer and tiny speakers should not get my hopes up too high, but I was surprised to see that even with the bass boost at it?s peak on the rear of the wedge and volume cranked to the max on the remote, I could barely feel the bass hitting at ALL even thought it was less than 6? away! As far as speaker clarity goes, I was also not too impressed with the output quality of the speakers. While the speakers did play the music fine, they were not quite as clear as I was hoping for, even with the treble turned to the max on my Audigy soundcard?s properties. Now, the idea of the two RCA output jacks on the rear of the wedge became very clear?Pyramat wanted just a little bit of extra boom from the actual Pyramat system, but did not expect the user to fully rely on the Pyramat for all of their sound output needs ? although you certainly could.
After laying on the Pyramat for the duration of my sound quality testing, to put a long story short ? I didn?t feel like getting up. The minute I sat onto the Pyramat, I could not help but notice how I instantly sunk into the padding where the comfort level was near that of my very own bed. Although the padding was only about 3 inches thick, it felt like I was lying on a stack of pillows 12 feet high! After realizing that this could quite possibly be the most comfortable thing I have ever sat my butt into, I decided to start experimenting with different lounging positions. Two of my favorite would have to be the simple sit-up position where my back was fully supported by the wedge and the other would be where I sunk down into the Pyramat to where my neck was resting right on the top point of the wedge, almost as if it was a thick pillow. Although the wedge does have a very flat appearance, don?t let that fool you, the comfortable padding used, combined with the very light and flexible nylon cover provided for a very comfortable medium for any sized person. I also noticed how the ANGLE of the wedge was very moderate?not so steep that it felt like I was sitting in a chair at school and not so laid back that I felt that I was actually laying flat. It was just to the point where I could sit in front of my Television, if console gaming, and see the screen without a problem. Me, being a computer gamer with really no desire for console gaming, would opt to buy this product simply because it?d be a GREAT solution against uncomfortable sleeping at a LAN party. I try not to sleep, but when I do ? I deeply regret the fact that I can never get comfortable on the hard floor. The first LAN I brought this product to had people starring me down from the minute I brought it in the door. Since it was a new concept to most people, myself included, everyone was curious to find out what it was. Needless to say, I was the talk of the LAN and can confidently say that I slept the most comfortable out of all the attendees. The coolest part about the Pyramat and the part that amazed people most was that I could play some soft tunes on the Pyramat while I slept which made sleeping also more comfortable just because I did not have to sleep with headphones on the entire time. The Pyramat PM300 weighed in at about 15lbs which isn?t nearly as bad as lugging in my 75lb monitor (21?) through the door. This goes to show you just how easy transportation of the unit is, nothing horribly heavy and its well worth the weight for the amount of overall sleep gained.
I can not stress enough how important it is to get a good night?s rest at LAN parties longer than 2 days. I have seen people who stay up 4 days at a LAN and their attitude is not something I would prefer to revisit. With the Pyramat, everything from gaming to simply watching television and even sleeping can be accomplished with comfort. While the Pyramat PM300 did not show extremely promising audio qualities, when it is combined with another sound source (surround sound), the Pyramat?s 4? subwoofer simply acts as a life-sized rumble pack for gamers. Another great idea, which I ALREADY do, is hook the Pyramat up to my Audigy just before I am ready to hit the ?sack? at a LAN party and fall asleep to some soft tunes. The Pyramat really does have endless possibilities. Not only is it ergonomically safe, where it provides great support for all areas of your back, but it?s weight is a great reason to carry it to any gaming event?whether it be at a friend?s house or your brother?s bedroom, the next door down the hallway. If you do not feel the need for the build in audio features of the PM300, Pyramat also manufacture?s a product called the PM200 which is BLUE and constructed without the sound system. Did I forget to mention it is even lighter than the PM300? Although Pyramat did forget instructions for newer users and did not include cables for proper audio installation, I must say that I would not have a problem recommending this product to anyone who is looking for a comfortable way to game or just hang out. If you seem interested in this product, check out Pyramat?s full product line at Pyramat.com where you can find the PM100 ($59.99), PM200 ($79.99) and PM300 ($149.00). I do feel that the price of the PM300 is a bit hefty but would not have a problem at all forking out the cash for the PM200! Overall, the Pyramat Proved to be a comfortable product with a great developing idea ? congratulations on such an original design.
Here you can see the FOAM/Speaker Box configuration inside the wedge...