I have a wooden train whistle, make chuffing sounds, use two ice cubes in a
glass for coupler clank and stomp on the cats tail for wheel squeal. The
only problem is the cat runs off right after activating the squeal sound
feature. Sound is kind of fun. Right now I have one locomotive with a sound
decoder and enjoy it. More than engine sounds and other noise features I
like the idea of using the bell and horn or whistle appropriately. Bruce
in article jXDZg.17745$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Bruce Favinger
at email@example.com wrote on 10/18/06 10:21 PM:
The main problem I have with sound (other than lack of fidelity due to 1" or
less speaker sizes), is that if you have more than one sound equipped loco
running at a time, you get cacophony: chuffing, churning diesels, etc. all
over the place. Unless you are in a real "yard," one rarely hears more than
one loco at equal volume. Train rooms in the home are generally smallish, so
the loco's ore more or less equidistant and are all about the same volume.
If I am running more than one sound loco, I turn the loco motor and other
continuous sounds OFF, and use the whistles, horns, bells, and maybe coupler
sounds as needed. Except for young visitors who really, really like the
chuff sounds of steam loco's, such reduction of the overall continuous noise
satisfies my need for minor additional realism and fun. (everyone likes to
blow the whistle!)
I don't have sound on my layout, but had the chance to operate on a fellow
modeler's walkaround layout last Saturday, where he had several locos with
sound. (We had about a dozen operators running about 30 staged trains or so
on a fast clock). Several trains operated with sound, including me having a
couple of GE thingamobobbies (don't ask which... I'm a 60's modeler and they
sure weren't U-boats) on the head of one of my trains.
I encountered several other sound trains during the session, and the
experience was pleasurable. The owner kept the sound volume down to where
it didn't overpower the layout -- you certainly couldn't hear other locos
when they were on the far end of the layout.
No doubt the sound was "tinny" compared to the prototype, as Roger is apt to
say. But guess what? The momentum effects of switching cars weren't the
same as the prototype, and the 3:1 fast clock wasn't the same as real time,
and when I had to follow a sulfur train through the division yard it didn't
smell like the prototype, and the RSD-15s I passed (yeah... I know *those*
engines) didn't smoke like the prototype, and the dispatchers orders coming
through the headset weren't entirely up to prototype standards, and the
unpainted loco on the branch line didn't look very prototypical, and the
bare plywood at the paper mill wasn't convincing, and we used car cards
instead of full prototypical paperwork....
But the sound was an enjoyable addition to the overall effect, and it _was_
nice to hear the growl of another set of engines as you passed them at a
siding. And it was intriguing to hear the quiet rumble of a train in the
distance as you headed around the curve at the end of a scenery divider...
indicating that you were going to encounter _something_, but known only to
the other train operator, the dispatcher, and God. (Oh, sometimes that last
two entities can get interchanged during an operating session!!!)
And you're right... I blew the whistle more than was necessary. Especially
when I first took control of the sound equipped consist.
The Green Bay Route: http://www.greenbayroute.com /
"I started out with nothing and I still have most of it."
I am? Oh yes, I am! It does sound like a 1960s transistor radio.
However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use sound if you like it.
It's like smoke units, Lionel Tinplate, roundy-go-roundy, Thomas, mixing
eras, etc., etc.
If it makes you happy, each to his own as in all things.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway
Back in the 50's, I remember an article in Popular Mechanics or Popular
Electronics about building a speaker assembly using 4 small 4" speakers.
The author claimed that if the 4 speakers had similar characteristics and
were properly phased, the group would perform like a much larger speaker. I
remember walking home from elementary school down the alleys to collect
junked 5-tube superhets from which I could scrounge 4 speakers. I did
finally build one, and thought it really sounded great, but I suppose a lot
of that was youthful imagination after all the effort to build it. But I
digress. Does a tender with 2 1" speakers produce measurably better bass
than one with a single speaker? Should the designers be placing speakers
over the truck bolsters too so they can squeeze 4 or 5 into a tender?
in article srSdnWk7cKQA0t7YnZ2dnUVZ firstname.lastname@example.org, Geezer at
email@example.com wrote on 10/28/06 5:40 AM:
Actually, a 12" speaker is a bass speaker (subwoofer) component if properly
baffled. I have a 10" Sunfire sub for my computer sound which goes as low as
20Hz and with really low stuff can be downright scary...
A full range speaker system usually has at least two, frequently more
drivers of differing sizes: low, mid, hi, super hi, etc.
The array of smallish speakers (the PE article referred to a concept called
"Sweet 16", an array of 16 4" speaker, and the group of four described was
an example project) was commercially built by Bose in the 901: 9 4" full
range speakers. It has the approximate surface area of a 13" speakers, and
with proper equalization has a -3dB point of 29 Hz. It had its own problems
with being a proper hifi speaker (rushing are by the bass ports, vague
Just to give you an idea of an approximation of the air moving ability (not
even counting excursion distances or amplifier power needed):
A 12" speaker if considered a flat surface (like a piston, but it has more
area than that) is about 450 sq in. (pi * r**2); a 4: speaker is about 50 sq
in, so it takes about 9 of them to move the same amount of air as a 12"
speaker, assuming equal excursions.
It takes about 450 1" speakers to do the same and they cannot equal the
That's one reason why I like using any sound equipped locos I have for just
bell and whistle and to turn the chug-chug (or whrrrrrr) off.
On Sat, 28 Oct 2006 17:07:09 GMT, "Edward A. Oates"
What about the discussion in October MR? Steam engines don't sound too
bad but the Diesel sound has the problem of a high amount of bass
which is reproduced poorly by small speakers that fit in HO equipment.
The solution of directing the bass component to under layout woofers
was under discussion. Since the bass is less directional than higher
frequencies some people have used this successfully. According to the
article Soundtraxx is working on a commercial application of this.
The bass component of diesels was brought home to me several years ago
while standing on the platform in Swift Current Saskatchewan at 2 AM
and -30 F waiting for the E/B Canadian. Three SD40-2s were trying to
get 80+ loads of grain moving. It felt like someone was beating my
chest with a carpet beater. A little too much for the layout room
That's a sight you never forget, here in Ontario I watched on as 4
SD40-2's picked up a cut of about 30 or so covered hoppers and tried to
lift a train that was about at max. for the units, never forget not
only the sight, but the feel as well as the ground was just a
Rarely. Just to verify the sound is set the way I want it.
When checking out a new sound equipped loco. BUT, normally
I run them muted most of the time. I will turn on sound and
use the horn to get the attention of various members who may
have fallen asleep or have just forgotten to throw a switch
or some such thing. Then it's immediately muted.
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