Jump to content

Cost of Adding Sound to a Locomotive


Recommended Posts

I’m not a fan of smoke, generally speaking. Lionel are big on this, if your pockets reach that far down, you can have smoke emitted from the whistle, smoke from the tender to simulate spray from using the water trough... I don’t know about cylinder cocks. 

 

I don’t care for it, myself. The whole “jets of steam under pressure” isn’t there, so why bother? 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, rockershovel said:

I’m not a fan of smoke, generally speaking. Lionel are big on this, if your pockets reach that far down, you can have smoke emitted from the whistle, smoke from the tender to simulate spray from using the water trough... I don’t know about cylinder cocks. 

 

I don’t care for it, myself. The whole “jets of steam under pressure” isn’t there, so why bother? 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/01/2020 at 22:22, Gerrard said:

I get that there's effort involved in recording and editing the sounds. And some more work in the 'program', but that still doesn't justify the unit cost in my view. Not when compared to other consumer electronics that are far, far more complicated.

But you are not in full possession of all the facts. Just because you work in IT does not mean that you are an expert in this field. Its basic economics, supply and demand. If they weren’t selling at this price they would be cheaper or not sold at all!

  • Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Staying with basic economics - there are large fixed costs to making sound decoders and more particularly sound sets, so their marginal cost of manufacture is low. If you believe that the price elasticity of demand for sounds is high, then you would expect that cutting prices would lead to more sales and also more profits. It seems that Hornby, and to a lesser extent Bachmann, have explored that relationship. In N Gauge I have noted that Bachmann's OEM deal with Zimo for the MX622 DCC decoder led to a dramatic reduction in price, and that Farish are making plug-in sound a feature of new models and offering sound fitted models at a discount to third party solutions.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
On 24/01/2020 at 00:14, royaloak said:

Has Gerrard released his series of all singing all dancing £50 sound decoders yet?

 

With my newly available free time, I'm working on them. They'll be £10 and knock spots off anything Zimo make :D

  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Funny 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/01/2020 at 21:46, Haymarket47 said:

But you are not in full possession of all the facts. Just because you work in IT does not mean that you are an expert in this field. Its basic economics, supply and demand. If they weren’t selling at this price they would be cheaper or not sold at all!

 

Or perhaps, someone is making a killing?

Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Gerrard said:

 

Or perhaps, someone is making a killing?

Perhaps someone is making a living with some put by for a total shutdown of their business or an extended stay in hospital?
It’s inevitable that once someone does something like this others will copy it too limiting your market, you can patent certain things but decoders are very difficult to protect as multiple cheap copies already have shown.
Producing it on your own workbench and then producing it at any scale is quite different in costs unless you and one robot can reproduce it and send it out. Employ someone to answer the phone and someone to package it while you produce them and you’ll see costs escalate rather fast ;) 

We are all for cheaper sounds but if you’re going to make assertions that someone’s on the fiddle then it would help to have figures to back it up or a proven product available in numbers to prove the point. We’ve seen the ultimate step forward in model railways fall flat on its face with someone at the helm who had the supposed experience in one of the bigger model companies ;) 

Let the product speak before getting too derogatory about established and respected suppliers ;) 

  • Agree 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, PaulRhB said:

Perhaps someone is making a living with some put by for a total shutdown of their business or an extended stay in hospital?
It’s inevitable that once someone does something like this others will copy it too limiting your market, you can patent certain things but decoders are very difficult to protect as multiple cheap copies already have shown.
Producing it on your own workbench and then producing it at any scale is quite different in costs unless you and one robot can reproduce it and send it out. Employ someone to answer the phone and someone to package it while you produce them and you’ll see costs escalate rather fast ;) 

We are all for cheaper sounds but if you’re going to make assertions that someone’s on the fiddle then it would help to have figures to back it up or a proven product available in numbers to prove the point. We’ve seen the ultimate step forward in model railways fall flat on its face with someone at the helm who had the supposed experience in one of the bigger model companies ;) 

Let the product speak before getting too derogatory about established and respected suppliers ;) 

 

All valid points Paul, though you can copyright your sounds provided you recorded them originally. Thing is, we'll never know if they're over priced unless someone releases their costs and margins. I'm still of the view that that they're overpriced for what they are, but that's just my opinion.

 

Oh, and I don't recall asserting that anyone was on the fiddle. My words were 'killing' which to me means making an extremely large profit margin.

Lastly, I didn't realise that healthy debate counted as being derogatory?

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Gerrard said:

 

All valid points Paul, though you can copyright your sounds provided you recorded them originally. Thing is, we'll never know if they're over priced unless someone releases their costs and margins.

 

Yes you can copyright the sound files but are they overpriced at £10-15 which is all they charge for reblowing?

The biggest cost is in the decoder and it’s software at £80-90 not the soundfile. 

Their costs and margins are understandably confidential for obvious reasons or everyone starts using it against you. 
 

Quote

 

Oh, and I don't recall asserting that anyone was on the fiddle. My words were 'killing' which to me means making an extremely large profit margin.

Lastly, I didn't realise that healthy debate counted as being derogatory?

Ok ‘making a killing’ suggested they were taking excessive advantage or on the fiddle over egging the value? It’s just semantics.  
Sorry but you’ve said their pricing is excessive in your first post and someone is making a killing in the last one but also admitted you don’t know what their margins are, if that’s not the definition of derogatory- critical & disrespectful - of their motives I don’t know what is. 
All I’m saying is before making such assertions back it up with some facts to support them or a product produced in volume at this lower price. 
Hornby have done this with TTS to an extent but it doesn’t have the sophisticated motor control or memory of the more expensive options. It certainly offers value for money but it’s cheaper for a reason. 
I just don’t think your sums will add up from what I’ve seen of the costs of producing small batch specialised electronics but would be delighted to be proved wrong ;) 

  • Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

 

Yes you can copyright the sound files but are they overpriced at £10-15 which is all they charge for reblowing?

The biggest cost is in the decoder and it’s software at £80-90 not the soundfile. 

Their costs and margins are understandably confidential for obvious reasons or everyone starts using it against you. 
 

Ok ‘making a killing’ suggested they were taking excessive advantage or on the fiddle over egging the value? It’s just semantics.  
Sorry but you’ve said their pricing is excessive in your first post and someone is making a killing in the last one but also admitted you don’t know what their margins are, if that’s not the definition of derogatory- critical & disrespectful - of their motives I don’t know what is. 
All I’m saying is before making such assertions back it up with some facts to support them or a product produced in volume at this lower price. 
Hornby have done this with TTS to an extent but it doesn’t have the sophisticated motor control or memory of the more expensive options. It certainly offers value for money but it’s cheaper for a reason. 
I just don’t think your sums will add up from what I’ve seen of the costs of producing small batch specialised electronics but would be delighted to be proved wrong ;) 

 

I simply asked the question as to whether others feel as I do that they're overpriced. I'd be happy to provide facts to back up my instinct, but as such facts aren't available, I can only tell you my instinct. As I've said previously, I'd be happy to be proven wrong but no one has the numbers except those that don't want to share them.

 

And we'll have to agree to disagree on the semantics of 'derogatory'.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Gerrard said:

 

I simply asked the question as to whether others feel as I do that they're overpriced. I'd be happy to provide facts to back up my instinct, but as such facts aren't available, I can only tell you my instinct. As I've said previously, I'd be happy to be proven wrong but no one has the numbers except those that don't want to share them.

 

And we'll have to agree to disagree on the semantics of 'derogatory'.

I assume you have a full time job, if so then work out your total wage per month and how many Sound decoders say at £30.00 profit 'You' would have to sell to make that income.  Also there are other costs involved in the £30.00 profit that make it far less than that actual figure.

 

All you do is learn to program decoders, buy £15,000 of stock, £10,000 worth of equipment and you like all the UK Programming companies 'Can make a Fortune' !!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Charlie

Edited by charliepetty
  • Like 4
  • Agree 1
  • Friendly/supportive 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

There has not been any mention of "software amortisation,"

Software Amortisation:

The cost of creating software is a fixed cost ,  the price / cost of the software content per device  "when amortised" falls as the number of devices rises( and falls dramatically to the point of near-zero price/device).

Example, a programme has a development cost of a fixed  £1 million,

Load programme to 10 devices:  price  = £100,000 per device.  

Load programme  to  1 million devices: price = £1 per device, 

Load programme  to 100 million devices,: price per device = 1p.

 

Are we saying that the cost of creating a sound file , say £10,000,   is amortised over such a small number of devices, the cost of a sound chip decoder is validated at £100?

Edited by Pandora
  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold

I personally think that the decoders themselves are expensive. I still have loads and will no doubt buy more.

I recently decided to buy a decoder from Coastal DCC for the total price of £92 something. Very cheap. Just to clarify this was a V5 with build able speaker, loaded with class 56 sounds and that price includes postage. Also this was not a reduced price and is available on their website right now (just checked). 
So £15 - £20 for the sound file seems a fair price meaning that the decoder must still be making them a profit at £70 - £75, these are just facts. I really do wonder what the wholesale price is.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not believe Gerrard can sell at £10 a pop and make any money.

 

The hours required to build a sound file even if commercial recordings are used, otherwise sound recording trips all add to the product cost.

 

Then there is the cost of the base decoder. You either commission your own to a spec or buy in standard decoder blanks and put up with low spec or pay for high spec.  Add in the kit to build and load the sound files. Such kit may be fine for one off or low quantity builds, but for large scale production you need either more expensive kit or more sophisticated factory standard kit. I have home user kit and the step up to low volume production kit is noticeable on the wallet.

 

Now add to the mix that the most everyone will only want one or two of a particular loco,  say max of ten of a kind. The average punter will not be buying by the hundred. If you have the likes of major on-line buyers then they will drive your cost into the ground. How many loco variants are you intending to run in what quantity.

 

This brings in the minimum order of quantity for a production build and this is where marketing guesswork comes into play. Do you run one offs on demand or run a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand at a time and then you need a market outlet for them, so that needs setting up at some cost.

 

Speaking of cost - you need the funding up front and may wait some time before seeing any of it back.

 

Sorry to be negative but one must also be realistic about these things.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Andy7 said:

I personally think that the decoders themselves are expensive. I still have loads and will no doubt buy more.

I recently decided to buy a decoder from Coastal DCC for the total price of £92 something. Very cheap. Just to clarify this was a V5 with build able speaker, loaded with class 56 sounds and that price includes postage. Also this was not a reduced price and is available on their website right now (just checked). 
So £15 - £20 for the sound file seems a fair price meaning that the decoder must still be making them a profit at £70 - £75, these are just facts. I really do wonder what the wholesale price is.

Well send a blown Zimo back under warranty and it costs £18 odd to replace with a new one (which I consider very fair and a good warranty policy) there is no way they repair the blown decoder, must go straight back into scrap......and there’s no way a company is going to loose money on a warranty claim, I am not complaining but it is telling IMO.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RAF96 said:

I do not believe Gerrard can sell at £10 a pop and make any money.

 

The hours required to build a sound file even if commercial recordings are used, otherwise sound recording trips all add to the product cost.

 

Then there is the cost of the base decoder

 

Sorry to be negative but one must also be realistic about these things.

To discuss the costs of decoders I think we have to remove the cost of the software (sound files) completely, I think a lot of people’s perception is the actual hardware is expensive, not the sound files.

  • Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, boxbrownie said:

Well send a blown Zimo back under warranty and it costs £18 odd to replace with a new one (which I consider very fair and a good warranty policy) there is no way they repair the blown decoder, must go straight back into scrap......and there’s no way a company is going to loose money on a warranty claim, I am not complaining but it is telling IMO.

When one of the big Zimo retailers introduced the £18 exchange system its because customers were having to wait for the faulty decoders to be sent to Austria, be assessed and then wait for a replacement to be sent back to the UK for sound to be loaded and to be sent out. It could take months. The shop introduced a system where they would exchange the decoder straight away for £18 so that you didnt have to wait, which is fair enough because from their point of view there was a danger that the warranty claim might have been rejected so they had to make something to cover that. It seems that the £18 has now become mandatory but don't be mistaken for thinking that's what the retailer pays for the decoders.

 

Richard

Edited by Richard Croft
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, boxbrownie said:

Well send a blown Zimo back under warranty and it costs £18 odd to replace with a new one (which I consider very fair and a good warranty policy) there is no way they repair the blown decoder, must go straight back into scrap......and there’s no way a company is going to loose money on a warranty claim, I am not complaining but it is telling IMO.

Yes, they will lose money on a warranty claim.

A manufacturer will not expect a 0% failure rate so will factor in a certain percentage of failures in the original sale price.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Richard Croft said:

When one of the big Zimo retailers introduced the £18 exchange system its because customers were having to wait for the faulty decoders to be sent to Austria, be assessed and then wait for a replacement to be sent back to the UK for sound to be loaded and to be sent out. It could take months. The shop introduced a system where they would exchange the decoder straight away for £18 so that you didnt have to wait, which is fair enough because from their point of view there was a danger that the warranty claim might have been rejected so they had to make something to cover that. It seems that the £18 has now become mandatory but don't be mistaken for thinking that's what the retailer pays for the decoders.

 

Richard

I was under no illusion that £18 was what the retailer pays for the decoder, but your saying that the £18 warranty cost is absolutely nothing to do with the manufacturer? 
 

If that is the case then it reaffirms my faith in Zimo decoders and the supply chain as being chaps “that play cricket” :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

Yes, they will lose money on a warranty claim.

A manufacturer will not expect a 0% failure rate so will factor in a certain percentage of failures in the original sale price.

That’s not a good company policy then, I know for a fact although it’s a slightly different scale that motor manufacturers cover warranty claims within the profit margins on the vehicles, Ill make an exception to that rule with VolksWagon group :D

 

The TGW and Warranty Paid claims are always factored in, to do so is good business sense.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, boxbrownie said:

 there is no way they repair the blown decoder, must go straight back into scrap......

 

 

I have visited the ZIMO factory in Vienna several times, and I can assure you that there is a repair department where decoders are inspected, repaired and refurbished. I've seen it with my own eyes and spoken to the operatives.

 

This is part of ZIMO's 'green' policy of trying to avoid dumping electronic components into the environment.

 

In most cases, the existing sound project is not affected by the repair, and I can bear witness to this too.

 

BTW, this has nothing to do with the fixed charge for repairs out of warranty.

 

Best regards,

 

Paul

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pauliebanger said:

 

 

I have visited the ZIMO factory in Vienna several times, and I can assure you that there is a repair department where decoders are inspected, repaired and refurbished. I've seen it with my own eyes and spoken to the operatives.

 

This is part of ZIMO's 'green' policy of trying to avoid dumping electronic components into the environment.

 

In most cases, the existing sound project is not affected by the repair, and I can bear witness to this too.

 

BTW, this has nothing to do with the fixed charge for repairs out of warranty.

 

Best regards,

 

Paul

 

 

They must be bloody good at surface mount soldering then :lol: because one of the transistor popped on one of mine......but good to hear they have that policy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.