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About this blog

What's on my sound workbench at the moment

Entries in this blog

Night train

A message, in a faded envelope....   No, not that Night Train (by Visage)! A night-time recording session, more of which later. It's been ages since the last update so there’s a lot to report.   The start of a very busy week in February saw me at Gresty Bridge for the first of two trips to record one of DRS’s Vossloh Class 68’s on behalf of Dapol. I was mightily impressed with this loco from both a sound and technical point of view. A full set of sounds were captured, including a static engi

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Things that go thump in the night

Well that’s the misery of Christmas over for another year! I actually quite enjoy Christmas itself but two things spoil it for me;   The ridiculous three-month build up, the over-commercialisation of everything, and everyone being on holiday at the same time and clogging up the shops / roads / Post Office etc.   The three things that spoil Christmas for me...   And there’s having your railway time compromised because you have to spend time with family.   Amongst the things that spoil Chr

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legomanbiffo

To sleep perchance to dream

With several months passing since the last entry there's a fair bit to report. To begin with, what a brilliant summer we've been having for photography. After seeing some superb examples with incredible resolution in Rail Express last month I decided I had to upgrade to a D800 and up my game. Initial results were slightly disappointing (we're talking relative here, disappointing vs those Rail Express photos I'd set as a personal benchmark) but as with most things, application brought progress.

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legomanbiffo

Consolidated Dairies

One theme of this period in the sound lab has been consolidation; instead of working on new projects I’ve concentrated on rolling out specific improvements across the range, where suitable recordings are available. One example of this is to change F5 from a simplistic brake dump sound to a multi-function brake sound experience! If you press F5 whilst stationary you’ll hear a brake dump sound . If you turn on F5 when moving, nothing is heard initially, but you now have a ‘playable’ brake applicat

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Captain's log / scattered to the four winds

Late February means it’s time for our annual pilgrimage to the frozen North and Model Rail Scotland. This year’s trip started a day early on the Wednesday, for reasons that will become apparent shortly. First stop was to stoke up at the Little Chef just off Jcn 16 on the M6 (Crewe), our usual breakfast stop for this trip. Several en-route photo opportunities had been discussed but in the end we went to a favourite from last year; Docker, on the WCML in Cumbria. Upon arrival, a search on Real Ti

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legomanbiffo

Motive power miscellany

A bit of a mixed bag in the blog this time. Just before Christmas I got a text from Brian Porter at the Crewe Heritage Centre telling me he’d managed to get the traction motor blowers and a number of other things working on the APT. A mutually acceptable date was arranged and off I went, mic in hand. It turns out that the traction motor blowers sound quite different to those of the Class 91, the ones I’d previously used as a ‘best guess’ in lieu of the real thing. The percentage of genuine APT

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Plasser & Theurer

I can't believe it's so long since my last update, an unfortunate reflection of how busy I've been of late. My missus has been labouring under the misapprehension that DIY and household chores somehow have priority over serious model railway business. She was helping me clean out the loft the other day. All dusty and covered in cobwebs, but she's good to the kids. Actually, she's not been very well lately, she's even had to give up her coal round... The new Deltic videos, filmed at a friend's 7

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legomanbiffo

Song 2

Ding-ding diddle-ing ding ding, ding ding ding ding. I had my head shaved. By a Jumbo jet. It wasn't easy. But nothing is-eh. The first verse of a tune you've all heard countless times on the telly; the classic Song 2 by Blur, all of two minutes long if I recall. And Blur is this week's tenuous connection to my life over the past few weeks! There's a bit of activity to report as a result.   Firstly, more raw materials have been obtained after another private session at the ELR. The origin

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legomanbiffo

Here comes the summer

Not my favourite track by The Undertones (that would be John Peel's favourite, Teenage Kicks) but good all the same.   Yes, the Siberian winter has finally drawn to a close and not before time - I was getting fed up with it. The camera has been out a few times and I was especially pleased with this one of 90041 near Dordon. 'It's all about the sky' as they say.   On the workbench I've finally completed engine #1 of the Deltic sound project. In 7mm it sounds really good. In 4mm it's good but

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Jeremy Paxman

Did you threaten to overrule him....? Aah, a truly classic political interview by the man at title. Now if I ran the BBC, all political interviews would be conducted with a Nicholas Parsons 'just a minute' style bell. As soon as the interviewee failed to answer the question or decried the opposing party, the bell would be abruptly rung and the interview terminated. Tell us what you're going to do, not what the other party aren't doing, otherwise you're off.   Anyway, as you've probably gathere

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Genetically modified

The 2013 recording season has gotten off to a flying start. The text, received with 48 hours notice said words to the effect; 'do you want to come along and do some recording, with three or four different locos to choose from, one of which you haven't recorded before?' Let me think about that for a minute.....   After an hour's drive and a generous helping of lard to set me up for the day, a start was made on the previously unrecorded loco, the 'genetically modified' 57. I must say that when I

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legomanbiffo

Snowed under

The last couple of weeks have seen me snowed under literally and metaphorically. I thought the chip workload might have slowed a bit in January but not so as you would notice. It genuinely pleases me to know that my work brings a little pleasure into people's lives. Another enjoyable part of what I'm doing, and one which Paul Chetter and I have often spoken about is the importance of capturing these sounds as an historic record; a part of the nation's heritage. As I've said before it would be ni

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legomanbiffo

Slug it out

I've had to set the Deltic to one side for a while as it was seriously doing my head in! However, one man's loss is another's gain as my time has been temporarily diverted to the recordings of 37901 made at the East Lancs Railway last year. Regular viewers will know this to be a habit of mine, switching from one project to another in order to maintain sanity and enthusiasm. Progress on the slug has been rapid and satisfying. Don't get me wrong, I love the Deltic sounds and they are really good i

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legomanbiffo

A wail of a time

Well that's the trauma of Christmas over for another year. Another chunk of modelling time irretrievably lost, bah humbug!   Progress on the Deltic has been slow as a result but it's going in the right direction. The loco had the opportunity to stretch its legs on my pal's layout this evening and I'm pleased to say that it's shaping up very nicely. The slow wind-up to the highest notch is pure Napier heaven! The session also gave me a good idea how I can enhance the two-engine experience, some

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

People power

The last two or three weeks have been a bit of a blur, with a week's working trip to Norway followed immediately by Warley and then another week away from home on a course. Work is such an inconvenience when you're trying to develop new sound chips :-) As is customary with Warley, everyone left their orders until the last minute so getting them ready whilst in Norway was a bit of a challenge. Fortunately this possibility was forseen and a family member received full training in the use of the Lo

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Iris my case

Like an old PC adventure game, today's blog will be text only as I'm away from my computer this week. The eye-rolling title (think about it) refers to Saturday's visit by the 'Dream Team' to record Test Coach Iris, the ex-RTC Derby Lightweight DMU at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. This was adorned with more mics than you can shake a stick at (3 near the engines, one near the exhaust, one picking up just the wheel clacks and bogie sounds plus a hand-held to capture the horns, cab sounds etc). T

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Fantastic Voyage

I often find that as a project is nearing completion it pays to step away from it for a while and do something else. You then return to it with a fresh pair of ears, add the finishing touches and iron out any last remaining niggles. As such, I have briefly stepped away from the 40 to the Voyager.   I upgraded one end of my Bachmann Voyager from a v3.5 to a v4 some time ago but never got around to the other. Having now fitted the second chip and ran it, I found that the engine sound editing and

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Do the European

No doubt someone can tell me what these locos are. Each one had three more pantographs than most electrics in the UK, presumably for multi-voltage operation. We waited 20 minutes to get a better picture without the catenary masts in the way, only to get 'bowled' by a poxy two-storey Dutch bogcart!   Yes, after talking about it for several years my pal and I finally got round to visiting the Eurospoor show in Utrecht, courtesy of Stena Line from Harwich to the Hook of Holland. I was well impres

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

And the winner is...

..the 40.   I've found in the past that 7mm models ruthlessly expose any deficiencies in your sound clip editing, ones that you often get away with in 4mm because you're not hearing the full range of sounds (quite why I never noticed through the hi-fi at the editing stage is something of a mystery but there you go). For this reason I took the decision not to try and prototype the Deltic sound project in 4mm. As I haven't yet been able to lay my hands on a 7mm Deltic yet (just a matter of time)

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

You might be a redneck if...

...you mow the lawn and find a car. That was just one of the laughs on the list of 'You might be a redneck if...' that amused me a while back. Well I had a similar moment today when I found a Heljan 86 whilst tidying up the heap. I remotored my Hornby 86 some time ago using a Heljan Hymek mechanism, which has the same wheelbase as the Hornby model. It's a great runner but the fact that it is the wrong wheelbase started bugging me almost as soon as I had finished it. Sometime later a cheap Heljan

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

The Rolls Royce of sound chips

Coming soon to a DMU near you, Rolls Royce engine sounds courtesy of the Class 127 high-density 'Bed-Pan' unit at Llangollen. After a very successful weekend spent recording the 104 and 127 with Paul I'm afraid to report that the 127 has leapfrogged everything to the top of the editing pile. The unit had a lovely rasping exhaust which we managed to capture in addition to the engines. Rasping exhausts is something the previous DMU's I've recorded didn't have so it had to be done. I know there are

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legomanbiffo

Wet wet wet

I'm just reviewing the latest set of recordings from a full day at the ELR yesterday. Fortunately the rain didn't impact on the recordings themselves but merely added to the general discomfort of standing up all day, holding mics in uncomfortable positions and struggling inside confined and dirty places (no, not Bury). After leaving here on Tuesday morning it was raining within 15 minutes and it didn't stop chucking it down until early on Wednesday morning. 50mph all the way up the M6 in heavy t

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

The train(s) approaching...

...will be a bit late. Once again it's been a case of 'real life getting in the way' in the last couple of weeks. I had hoped to have the 60 & 67 out by now but Mrs. B had plans for me in the garden, and the day job, well it's such an inconvenience. Despite this, progress has been made and I now have a few days off so things should pick up a bit.   The 67 is almost there, just a handful of improvements to the flow of the engine sounds to satisfy myself that it's ready. The project sounds g

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Snap happy

A few days off work has, for once, coincided with decent weather so two days of photography was kicked off with my newly-acquired D700 at Elford & Portway on the NE-SW route between Burton and Tamworth. Despite being just down the road I'd never been before. It's a cracking location though, and was pleasantly busy. As well as the usual fare of 170's, Voyagers and HST's I saw two 60's on the Kingsbury tanks, Colas's 56094, two 66's, and a DCR 31 towing another 31 and a 56, all within three ho

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

Back to the 60's!

No, not flared trousers, kipper ties or mind-altering drugs, I'm afraid it's bad news for whistler fans; the 40 project has temporarily returned to the back-burner as the weekend threw up another opportunity to attempt the Class 60 engine recordings. I wasn't going to take any chances this time and with Paul Chetter's assistance, three mics were brought to bear; one in the engine room, one against the grille closest to the engine room, and another on the bodyside near the exhaust. The engine roo

legomanbiffo

legomanbiffo

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