Sound Survey

Ok, I admit it right off - I'm an old analog DC block control curmudgeon. Over the last few years I have acquired a couple Broadway Limited models of
long desired steam prototypes, and I admit to being impressed with the DC analog mode sound and I am guilty of showing it off to visitors. I am in a couple operating groups, and at the op sessions on the DCC layouts, I find the sound is always either turned way down or turned off completely. With both hands full of a timetable, waybills, a controller, and a coupler pick, I find turning on bells and blowing whistles just doesn't make it to my priority list, and too much chuffing just makes it harder to hear the dispatcher on the radio.
In spite of this a friend recently loaned me a Digitrax Super Chief set so I could render an opinion on his new sound equipped articulated. It's been fun to run it and play with the sounds, but I find the novelty wears off, and wears off much more quickly when I run two sound equipped locos at the same time.
With that intro, I'm curious. Those of you who have DCC equipped layouts and sound equipped units: a) how many run the sound all the time? 2) how many just run sound for visitors? c) how many run the sound when you run trains solo? 4) how many run the sound during op sessions? (Yes, I'm hooked on Car Talk.) Thanks in advance, Geezer
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Geezer wrote:
etc etc

You left off a few very important ones :
How many turn their volumes down to a level you would expect to hear from the prototype, at the distances we have in our various scales?
And: How many turn the sound down as their number of sound equipped locos increase?
If you include these two, put me down for all the time and yes to my two additions.
Steve Magee Newcastle NSW Aust
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Geezer wrote:

I understand from hearing from others that more than 1 or 2 sound equipped locos in an area can be annoying.

I currently don't have any sound equipped units to speak of, and I think cost is a factor, a engine equipped with sound is $ 60 to $100 more than the same unit without sound, and a sound decoder is more expensive than a regular decoder, look at the sound decoder in the latest issue of PMR (PMR = Popular Model Railroader) and note the price of $ 99.95, that's about 3 times the price of a standard DCC decoder.
Alan
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No matter what the magazine's try to tell you, every sound system I have heard sucks.
How on earth can you get a full range if sounds from a one inch speaker?
Impossible!
Nobody will convince me that a 1 inch speaker gives the same sound as the combination 12 inch speaker (s) and a large sub-woofer does.
People who have sound equipped locos will now write and say how wrong I am. I guess they're satisfied with tinny sound, not me.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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You don't BUT, it's good enough for many.
I personally am not impressed with much of the diesel sound. I like the rest, brake squeal, horn, bell, air ...

DUH!!
It gets tinny as you up the volume ... so don't do that *8^)
Paul
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Roger T. wrote:

You can't...

I'd prefer a sound equipped layout over a sound equipped loco, and with the advent of location capabilties in todays DCC systems, I'd rather have several 6" or so speaker systems placed around the layout and have the sound follow the loco.
Alan
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in article snipped-for-privacy@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com, Alan Gilchrist at snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote on 10/1/06 3:04 PM:

Just to confirm Roger T: physics says you are not getting any bass frequencies (below about 300HZ from a 1" speaker, regardless of the baffle: you just can't push enough air.
If once could send the output of a 12 bit or more sound decoder to the 1" (or so) on board speaker and to an external system, you could set the external up as a subwoofer with a low pass only filter set at about 100hz. You could (or should?) even us a mixer to combine the low frequencies from ALL of the running decoders.
Frequencies below about 100 Hz or so are omnidirectional (wavelength is a foot or so or longer) so using a single subwoofer placed under the layout would give the whole thing some body.
But you would still miss low midrange (100 to 500hz or so) with the 1" speaker. I don't think that would be a serious problem given that one would likely keep the individual loco volumes low except for show-off purposes.
The original questioner had a valid series of questions, and my answers are:
0) Yes, adjust everything pretty low: you just want a hint of sound, imhyco A) no 2) always for visitors, but not just then C) yes 4) N/A
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Ed Oates
http://homepage.mac.com/edoates
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On 10/1/06 10:58 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@grapevine.islandnet.com, "Roger T."

True. But, the only way to make it sound like the real thing is to have the real thing in you train room 8^). Keep in mind that these are miniatures and no matter how hard you try, it will not ever sound, or feel like the locomotive you are trying to emulate. Even 12" speaker won't do it complete justice. Close, but still not completely the same. Now if you could rig up a vibration system in the floor to go along with a humongous speaker system, and the neighbors won't complain, then you might have something to thrill the mind and quicken the heart.
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What do you do for sound on your layout?
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"Mark Mathu"

I don't have sound and won't, until it sounds realistic. No matter what people say, sound systems in model locos sound too tinny and unrealistic and are, in my opinion, not worth the expense.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Not sure what scale you're talking about, but the whistle, bell and chuff on my roommate's O-scale Lionel 2-8-2 Mikados (6-18079 and 6-18080 from Lionel's 1999 Heritage Catalog) are, from a distance of 30 feet or so, indistinguishable from the real thing.
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EDM wrote:

The tender on an O scale loco is large enough to hold a large size speaker which can and does sound much better than one of those tiny one inchers you find in an HO engine.
One inch speakers don't whistle, they tweet....
Alan
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Just curious - are you also foregoing trees, spikes, water, rail joints, couplers, etc. etc. on your layout until they also are realistic?? :-) Geezer
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Reasonable approximations of trees, spikes, rail joints, and couplers already exist. They are essentially static objects, so only a representation of the physical form is necessary, and that form does not change moment to moment.
However, water doesn't scale for the same reason sound doesn't... the characteristics and dynamic behavior of the molecules involved cannot be scaled. The form to be modeled changes many times a second in both cases. Unless and until there is a quantum breakthrough in speaker technology, sound from the small speakers possible in smaller scales _cannot_ produce an accurate frequency spectrum for trains. It's a simple physical impossibility. Ask any audio engineer about reproducing low frequency sound with a speaker the size of a quarter... or a dime. They'll laugh at you.
Physics Does Not Scale.
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So you can't move your trains?
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All that means is it's a lot easier to go locomotive tipping (it's easy, just go up to it and push) on a model railroad than it is a real railroad!
;-)
Puckdropper
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To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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We've all needed to use the "five-fingered locomotive" (0-5-0) to move cars once in a while!
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"Mark Mathu"

Some people just try to be obtuse.
He's right, physics does not scale, as in friction and mass, both of which are to do with physics.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Of course I can, ninny.
But they move according to the physics of the 1:1 world.
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So, you're saying the sound of a whiny little electric motor on a 4-8-4 and with silent whistles and bells at grade crossings etc. is more realistic and preferable to current sound systems? Not to my ears! Ken

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