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To use sound or not?


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Hi

I am unsure at the moment weather to go to convert my engines to sound or not. I have a 37 at present with sound but don't know if I should convert the rest of them eventually. I have an ECoS controller which i am still trying to get to grips with. Any Pros or Cons or any help that will help me to decide will be great.

Thanks

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Sound is expensive but it also adds a whole new dimension to your operations. I went for it in a big way but I still cannot afford to convert all of my engines and units.

 

My MO has been to choose something different each time - apart from having two class 33s with Howes sounds!

 

Cons? Sound will emphasise any bits of poor tracklaying or power feed problems as it is far more obvious when a sound locomotive stops, even momentarily.

 

Of course, if you don't feel like having the noise at times, you can still run the locomotive with the sound simply switched off.

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To be honest i went the sound route because I found the technology fascinating and the ability to load ones own sounds equally engaging.

 

The market that is now available to the RTR buyer is now much larger than it was back then and the latest chips are vastly more sophisticated than hitherto.

 

I think the biggest art is in installation and if you conquer that then near any decoder project will sound good enough.

 

It is an expensive branch of the hobby and for those of us who possess vast fleets of locos, some of which will only run occasionally or are older, it is a difficult choice to make.

 

It also has to be said that continuous operation of sound equipped locos can sometimes get a little boring and, as SR man has said, there is an off switch!

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Considering that you own a ECoS, I would recommend that you at least buy one sound decoder (of quality), just to find out if it's the way you want to go with your hobby.

I would recommend that you buy a ESU V4 as it is both state of the art and very easy to use with the ECoS.

I have almost went all-sound myself, and I find it most fascinating!

What I have noticed, is that I don't run my non-sound locomotives much, and that I try to drive the sound equipped ones as realistic as I can!

Sure it's expensive to equip a whole fleet of locomotives, but then again, it's not necessary to do them all at once.

I have been sound equipping my locomotives for close to 12 years now, and at a pace of about 2 each year, it doesn't feel expensive.....

The worst part of that way of doing it, is that I, at some point, will have to start replacing the older ones as they aren't as good as the later ones......

My first sound decoders were ESU loksound V2 bought back in 1999, and they were state of the art (to say the least) back then, but not so today.....

So try it out, if it's something you like, go for it. Otherwise it's not hard to sell it.....

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continuous operation of sound equipped locos can sometimes get a little boring

 

The man that is bored of his train sounds is bored of life :-)

 

Seriously though, I agree with the sentiment of someone on here who says 'a loco without sound, it may as well not be painted'. Sound is a hugely characteristic part of any given loco, steam, diesel or electric and if you don't model it you're not capturing the full picture. I think it's important to stress the word 'model' in that sentence too. I model in sound. It's a skill just like soldering, ballasting and weathering, and like them can be mastered by application.

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I'd vote for sound too, I made the same choice a few years ago, I decided I'd rather have less engines with sound than loads of engines without, If you buy carefully It needn't cost a fortune. For example I once got a new Bachmann 66 with sound for £100 on eBay, you might pay £65 for a DCC ready one in a model shop.

 

Richard

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Still find sound is the most annoying addition to model railways - where I hear it on the exhibition scene. Not only annoying bust totally unrealistic. Most offending of all is standing watching the operation of a very well presented steam era layout with the almost continuous rumbling and tooting of diesels from the other end of the hall.

 

The only new dimension it adds is noise. It therefore follows that I consider it also waste of money.

 

But I guess in the privacy of one's own home with no neighbours to offend, it is down to individual taste and budget.

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Still find sound is the most annoying addition to model railways - where I hear it on the exhibition scene. Not only annoying bust totally unrealistic. Most offending of all is standing watching the operation of a very well presented steam era layout with the almost continuous rumbling and tooting of diesels from the other end of the hall.

 

The only new dimension it adds is noise. It therefore follows that I consider it also waste of money.

 

But I guess in the privacy of one's own home with no neighbours to offend, it is down to individual taste and budget.

 

I was at a preserved railway yesterday recording for my DCC sound projects. And guess what? When I was admiring 'Wareham' there was this horrible sound of a Class 27 diesel thundering about.

 

And when I was riding the footplate of the Class 27 diesel there was this noisey 'kettle' chuffing away, blowing its whistle and spoiling my recordings.

 

But amazingly, none of the locos were running around sounding as if they had 12v electric motors propelling them. Ha Ha!!

 

Unless one is deaf, sound is part of life's experience.

 

So, if we are modelling the real world, sound is very much part of it.

 

And without it, there would be no DCC sound section on this forum!

 

Peace and love , man

 

Paul

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And without it, there would be no DCC sound section on this forum!

</p>While that is true, and I would even agree that at a purist D&E expo it might be tolerated. I think it has no place at an expo alongside and severely detracting from the layout experience where the adjacent layout is firmly set in the era when such D&E simply did not exist. It also seems that on the majority of these layouts the noise has to be wound up to an unbearable volume.

 

What people do in their own homes away from the earshot of others simply doesn't concern me. But I dislike the unrealistic sound given out by these toys. Sure I am aware that some are true recordings of preserved engines but the way that they are transmitted back just doesn't seem anything like the real thing.

 

I simply isn't anything but noise for me. But then I never liked the squeak in teddy bears, or any toy that emanated weird sounds - my toy trains are no different.

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I was at a preserved railway yesterday recording for my DCC sound projects.

 

But were you recording sound right next to the locos? Looking at a model is like viewing a preserved railway form a nearby hillside rather than the station platform. Many of the sounds just don't carrry that far in real life. Low freqency sounds on models are not easy to produce because of the small size of the speakers (and most steam locos need the lower frequencies to sound even remotely realistic). Proper "scale" sound is not a as easy as just recording the real thing and playing it back. What I am getting at is that "Gauge1" sound should be different to "N gauge" sound becase of the way different frequencies spread in the real environment.

 

What you tend to get at shows is like watching African wildlife through binoculars with a lion roaring at full voulme in you ear. Realistic it isn't.

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</p>While that is true, and I would even agree that at a purist D&E expo it might be tolerated. I think it has no place at an expo alongside and severely detracting from the layout experience where the adjacent layout is firmly set in the era when such D&E simply did not exist. It also seems that on the majority of these layouts the noise has to be wound up to an unbearable volume.

 

What people do in their own homes away from the earshot of others simply doesn't concern me. But I dislike the unrealistic sound given out by these toys. Sure I am aware that some are true recordings of preserved engines but the way that they are transmitted back just doesn't seem anything like the real thing.

 

I simply isn't anything but noise for me. But then I never liked the squeak in teddy bears, or any toy that emanated weird sounds - my toy trains are no different.

 

 

 

Been at Wirksworth show this weekend. There were three DCC sound layouts in the Parish Rooms. Two American layouts and my own layout Church Lane Sidings. At NO TIME was the noise obtrusive and indeed, at times, could hardly be heard over 'noise' of the paying punters. Unrealistic? I don't think so. When ex railway men are commenting on how the sound of a Cl25 or 37 bring back memories of when they drove them then, in my case, I've acheived what I intended with my layout. Does this mean you find steam sound intrusive?

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I think there is sound and then there is sound.

 

I was stunned by a small O Gauge terminus at Redditch a few years back, the sound was just ' out of this world' and I decided at that instant that DCC sound equipped locos was the way forward.

 

However, sometimes loco sound is not just done to death but also given overkill. Generally, nothing is worse that yet another fictitious TMD packed full of locos going nowhere, but all lit up like Christmas trees and all with engines running. Total cacophony of sound....And all wound up so you can hear it above the rest of the exhibition.

 

I've been to shows where I've had to move away from sound equipped layouts because the noise was actually hurting! At a recent show I mentioned it to one of the operators who merely said 'you get used to it'. I'm sure I would, but i also don't want to end up with high frequency deafness! Yet I know of a few people who use hearing aids that can only listen to the locos when they are turned down to a reasonable level.

 

At exhibitions where I've worked on a trade stand, you don't want to be alongside what is definitely the worst type of sound systems. The toy train on/off LGB style Whoo Whoo, chuff chuff, ding ding .After an hour of hearing things go around you really do want to go and kill all the operators of the layout....even though very nice people they might be.

 

Good sound, I love it. Bad sound, I'm off to see something a bit more viewer friendly.

 

There is a very fine balance between too much and not enough

 

Regards

 

Richard

 

(Edit for 'spelin')

Edited by Happy Hippo
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Does this mean you find steam sound intrusive?</p>

Yes and just as unrealistic. I have stood next to a very good diesel period layout which itself had sound that was located next to another extremely well modelled US logging layout. The latter nearly drowning out all sound from the the former and completely ruining the atmosphere.

 

Steam sound effects, for me, are even more unrealistic than diesel. So it is not just a case of steam vs diesel.

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Guest jim s-w

So, if we are modelling the real world, sound is very much part of it.

 

And there ladies and gentlemen in the nub of it. We are modelling the real WORLD! Not the real LOCO. If you want sound to be realistic you cant just do a bit of it. Its like having an immaculately detailed loco running about on a layout with no scenery. It wont fool anyone.

 

Cheers

Jim

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And there ladies and gentlemen in the nub of it. We are modelling the real WORLD! Not the real LOCO. If you want sound to be realistic you cant just do a bit of it. Its like having an immaculately detailed loco running about on a layout with no scenery. It wont fool anyone.

 

Cheers

Jim

 

Wow, Jim, are you really saying ''If you can't do it all, you shouldn't do any of it''?

 

Unfortunately, in my opinion, you hit the SHOUT button in the wrong places. Ha Ha.

 

I think the emphasised words should be ''We are MODELLING the real world! NOT the REAL loco''

 

I could not agree more. I'm all for more layout sound. And that's what I'm aiming for.

 

In the meantime, just like I run my layout even though the scenery is not yet finished, and there needs to be a bit more ballast laid, I'll run it with sound locos until such time as I can add the rest of the sounds.

 

Why do you infer those who like sound locos are trying to 'fool anyone'?

 

I've always seen my modelling as setting the scene for my imagination to fill in the gaps. I don't elevate it to an art form, or pretend that it's real. Whilst I respect other's views, marvel at their dedication and applaud their attention to detail, I don't need to see every rivet or hear every whisper to enjoy playing with my toys.

 

Posting on a DCC sound forum that DCC sound is unrealistic and just a noise is a bit provocative, don't you think? I thought the idea was to help each other, not put other peoples' views down.

 

There is no right or wrong in this, its just a difference of opinion, after all.

 

Paul

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Guest jim s-w

Hi Paul

 

I was all for sound at the start and even wrote about it in MRJ however I quickly realised that it draws your attention to its absence. Its good but its not good enough. I do believe than onboard sound is a dead end for model railways as it will never be good enough. Some sort of layout based surround sound has much greater possibility IMHO. I guess I am saying the very opposite of if you cant do it all you shouldnt do any of it in that you SHOULD do it but the approach currently being adopted is IT cant do what I want.

 

Until its a fully integrated system with the layout it will always be just an expensive gimmick (just an opinion, feel free to disagree)

 

"Why do you infer those who like sound locos are trying to 'fool anyone'?"

 

Come on! We are playing with toy trains and trying to convince people that they are miniature versions of 100+ tonnes of loco in an actual location, we are ALL trying to fool people!

 

"Posting on a DCC sound forum that DCC sound is unrealistic and just a noise is a bit provocative, don't you think? I thought the idea was to help each other, not put other peoples' views down."

 

Are you addressing that to me, because thats not something I said. I appreciate that you are not putting the views of the person who did down though! :no:

 

Cheers

 

Jim

Edited by jim s-w
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I agree with Jim on this one, I did ask sometime ago, as I was thinking about taking the plunge if there was such a thing as a 'wagon' chip.

 

To me, brought up near Radyr, a 37 hauling 16 tonners is totally unrealistic if the loco is roaring away and the wagons gliding silently past without the dum de dum, wheel flange squeal, couplings and buffer cacophony etc.

 

Add the same for iron ore trains, coaches, platform noise, traffic etc and without we live in a silent eerie world where only the prime movers talk.

 

Most odd.

Edited by BlackRat
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From a personal point of view i can see both good and bad with DCC sound, my brother has a Bachmann pannier fitted with Howes sound, on his 3 foot shunting plank i find it quite relaxing listening to it simmering away or making low speed movements, however i dont think you can match scale speed and sound, every steam loco that goes above a scale 10 miles an hour nearly always sounds out of sync with the loco's driving wheels.

 

Graham.

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Hi all,

Some interesting thought here on a pretty emotive subject!

For me, I love sound!

HOWEVER - when modelling say, a class 47 in 00 - if I'm watching from a scale 250 feet away (approx. 3 real feet!), then I should only be able to hear much of the sound it makes IF it's setting off or accelerating hard! If it's coasting past, then all I should be able to hear would be the train itself! And that would be pretty quiet, too. Obviously fast or very heavy trains, you can hear from a considerable distance away, a lot too, depends on wind and atmospheric conditions. I remember hearing Deltics coming and going in the middle of the night at my grandma's house, from 10 - 15 miles away! That was in very rural Lincolnshire!

What I'm trying to say (not very well!) is that, at shows - you should only be able to hear the loco concerned when you're up close and personal with it and from across the aisle, you should not be able to hear it (over the crowd or the noise of the train itself!).

Um,

John E.

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Exhibition acoustics can play havoc with sound - I demonstrate British sound locos at some local exhibitions and have to turn the volume up to allow them to be heard. Sometimes, though, I can barely hear my own locos yet, when I have gone for a walk to look at other layouts, I find that I can distinctly hear those dsame locos at a distance.

 

For home use (and exhibitions too, for that matter) I have a general rule that there should be no more than two sound locos making noise at any one time (I do break this rule just occasionally), otherwise it does tend to become a merged 'noise' with few distinct sounds audible.

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I agree with Jim on this one, I did ask sometime ago, as I was thinking about taking the plunge if there was such a thing as a 'wagon' chip.

 

To me, brought up near Radyr, a 37 hauling 16 tonners is totally unrealistic if the loco is roaring away and the wagons gliding silently past without the dum de dum, wheel flange squeal, couplings and buffer cacophony etc.

 

Add the same for iron ore trains, coaches, platform noise, traffic etc and without we live in a silent eerie world where only the prime movers talk.

 

Most odd.

 

 

And of course the birdsong and the bleat of the sheep between trains, then 'call attention' bell codes from the box, the sound of the levers being worked in the frame.

 

Talking of Radyr, I used to be able to hear the trains, steam and diesel, working out of Radyr when I was in bed at Pantmawr. you could never hear them during the day, and you couldn't hear them over the traffic noise after the A470 linked up with the M4.

 

Regards

 

Richard

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Hi Paul

 

I was all for sound at the start and even wrote about it in MRJ however I quickly realised that it draws your attention to its absence. Its good but its not good enough. I do believe than onboard sound is a dead end for model railways as it will never be good enough. Some sort of layout based surround sound has much greater possibility IMHO. I guess I am saying the very opposite of if you cant do it all you shouldnt do any of it in that you SHOULD do it but the approach currently being adopted is IT cant do what I want.

 

Until its a fully integrated system with the layout it will always be just an expensive gimmick (just an opinion, feel free to disagree)

 

"Why do you infer those who like sound locos are trying to 'fool anyone'?"

 

Come on! We are playing with toy trains and trying to convince people that they are miniature versions of 100+ tonnes of loco in an actual location, we are ALL trying to fool people!

 

"Posting on a DCC sound forum that DCC sound is unrealistic and just a noise is a bit provocative, don't you think? I thought the idea was to help each other, not put other peoples' views down."

 

Are you addressing that to me, because thats not something I said. I appreciate that you are not putting the views of the person who did down though! :no:

 

Cheers

 

Jim

 

Jim,

 

Sorry, that remark was not in response to your post, I should have made it more clear. I moved from the specific to the general without signalling my intent.

 

But I am pleased you noted my restraint. Ha Ha.

 

I do hold a different view on DCC sound from you. I accept that it's not perfect, but I can live with that and still enjoy what it can deliver. I simply don't accept 'all or nothing' as a valid argument. (a point of view, a preference even? yes of course).

 

I view the lack of other sounds as a challenge to be overcome, not a reason to abandon sound altogether.

 

Sound is a gimmick? I suppose it is, like locos that move under their own power, street and yard lighting, and the miniature garages where the welders make flashes but no sounds.

 

The OP asked for views about fitting sound to his locos. He specifically asked for pros and cons, so we are all free to respond either way. I have no argument with that at all.

 

However, he did not suggest he wanted to blast all and sundry with mega loud sounds at exhibitions. My opinion is that personal views about sound levels at these events added nothing to help the OP and was needlessly dismissive of others' preferences.

 

As I said, I broadly agree with your views, but I prefer to have what is available now, and I'll add the rest as and when.

 

To Earl Bathurst. Sound is gonna cost you. But to a titled gentleman such as yourself that should be no problem. Ha ha!!

 

I'm very much on the 'any sound is better than no sound' side of this discussion. I think it adds to the play value. I am prepared to pay the cost of my preference.

 

But this is your hobby, only you can decide.

 

How do you like your Class 37? Would you like to have more sound locos? If so, then go for it. If not, don't bother.

 

Paul

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I agree with Jim on this one, I did ask sometime ago, as I was thinking about taking the plunge if there was such a thing as a 'wagon' chip. To me, brought up near Radyr, a 37 hauling 16 tonners is totally unrealistic if the loco is roaring away and the wagons gliding silently past without the dum de dum, wheel flange squeal, couplings and buffer cacophony etc. Add the same for iron ore trains, coaches, platform noise, traffic etc and without we live in a silent eerie world where only the prime movers talk. Most odd.

 

 

If you have the money to do so you can add a sound chip and speaker to some or all of your wagons if you wish. Appart from space constraints, there is no technical reason why his can't be done.

 

There are probably cheaper alternatives, though.

 

Why is it that compromises in sound modelling makes it less 'realistic', but other compromises like, erm, 'OO' gauge, are perfectly acceptable?

 

Paul

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