Is it worth the wait? Sound on or around layouts might be interesting,
but I've not been too impressed with the onboard sound outputs I've heard on
DCC locos, and 0 gauge at that. Small speakers in small enclosures (loco
bodies) make for a strangled distant sound that doesn't add too much to the
realism of the layout. If the sound could be collected off the rails and fed
into a decent set of speakers under the layout, we might be getting
somewhere. As it is, the only advantage that the DCC chips offer is more
sophisticated and synchronised "chuff" compared with the gruesome white
noise generators. It's still toytown stuff that doesn't produce the
ancillary sound of freight wagons clunking and banging. As soon play those
wonderful old Transacord records through a ghettoblaster and fantasise a
bit! A smoke machine that can give off the pem of proper coal would be no
bad thing either... (if modelling modern traction, a few hours at the
lineside with a minidisc recorder ought to provide as much sound as you
"Tony Clarke" wrote
You've obviously not heard the class 37 'Bont y Berno' which Nick Gurney had
on his Dyserth Road layout at Wakefield Show last November. It sounded good
enough to me, but the problem is that one loco with sound makes the result
seem relatively uninteresting.
On the other hand how would a layout (especially a loco shed type operation)
sound if all locos were so equipped, bearing in mind the tenedency in the
past not to switch locos off, but to leave them idling for hours on end?
I think the jury is still out on this one!
And a whole layout with 10 to 20 sound equipped locos all running at the
same time, quite possible on North American layouts, sounds like bedlam.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway
It all depends. I heard Digitraxx sound on On3 (O scale, 3ft narrow
gauge) D&RGW locos in 2003, and I was muchly impressed. The sound was
just right from normal viewing distances of about 2ft (or about 100ft
scale.) It also echoed off the "rock" walls in the cuts...
But then, the owner had turned the sound _down_. At max volume, it
sounds terrible - the small amps distort it, and the small speakers
can't handle it. Speakers were located in the tenders properly baffled,
ie, enclosed in an airtight box. Any speaker has weak bass if not
properly baffled, and the effect is worse the smaller the speaker.
OTOH, if you want the earth-shaking rumble of a Big Boy chomping up a
grade with 100 cars in tow, get an under-layout surround sound system
capable of 50+ watts per channel. Then crank 'er up. You'll annoy the
neighbours, guaranteed! You might even shake some loose bricks off your
I'm reminded of a friend ,many years sgo, who decided that one of the Argo
recordings of steam engines struggling asthmatically uphill was the perfect
accompaniment to an operating session on the layout in his garden shed. I
suspect the record may have stuck without us noticing, but the next-door
neighbour did. Cue knock on door.. 'Do you want to borrow my Black and
Decker saw, Les- sounds like you're struggling a bit'
I have almost completed an 8ft x 2 ft EWS based diesel depot, the only
reason for doing so was I have discovered the South west Digital sound
chips. At present i have three class 37 with sound and two class 66. They
are absalutly superb and totally bring to life the layout as nothing i have
have ever seen before. The only thing missing is the sound of buffer clash,
but even that can and is going to be programed into the chips. Sound all the
way for me now, particually with UK diesels, non sound locos seem toylike
As for Steam, I have not heard any UK sound chipped locos but I have a USA
Broadway "A" class which again is superb, totally alive with sound and its
just as much fun listening to it sitting in a sidding hissing, puffing, and
blowing away as it is to hear it working a 50+ box car train round our club
Both this and the UK diesels are actuall recordings all sinked in correctly,
the quality is superb and personally, if the Hornby class 60 came sound
equiped to the SW.Digital standard I would happily pay £170-200 per loco.
Who ever heard of a quiet railway in 12inch / foot!
Why? Railways aren't quiet so sound is realism, besides which they are
fairlyeasy to turn the volumes down which is something you will probably see
operators doing once, like myself they have more than one sound loco
The problem with the "shows" and loco sound is we are just not used to the
idea and many people, particularly the older ones don't like change! Dont
mention DCC vs DC!
Personally I find Shows noisy events anyway, silly old fools barking on
about "that train would never pull those coaches in real life etc" instead
of getting on and enjoying peoples efforts, however good or bad one
perceives them are far more annoying sounds to me!
Simple cure, if you loose contact and it (66) tries to re-start just know
the sound off and re-start, it then starts up instantly and moves off, then
you just knock the sound back on and your away "yingying yining" without the
30 second "sound" start up.
I am still bemused as to where South west Digital think I am going to mount
a speaker in the Hornby 08/9 though!
So is a gang of lowlife smashing up the station and chucking bricks at
Shows can be quite noisy as it is. I've been near layouts with
recordings of sheep, which can get wearing after a while. Though I'm
sure it will settle down once the novelty wears off.
besides which they are
I gave up worrying about what most of the old gits think, when one was
mocking me for claiming to have an interest in trains despite not
knowing some obscure point about West Country tenders. He also
couldn't believe I was so stupid as to think Stagecoach operated
I have one of those near me. In the whole of Atlanta there are 3 BR
modelers. All SR. and yet I get told that 2 of my West Countries would never
run in the same area or some rivet counting expression. Who cares, sad old
man, I'm having fun,
Rumour is that until the RRP can be justified at less than £100 (i.e. £99)
Bachmann aren't interested.
Regarding JT's post and Nick Gurney's 37, come and listen to SIX [*]of Nick
(and John Humphries) 37's and hopefully at least one 66 at the Blackburn Ex
in October. Details at
[*] I think JH said he was bringing six................. Note - they'll not
be there on the Friday night.
"Arthur Figgis" wrote
Shows can be quite noisy as it is. I've been near layouts with
recordings of sheep, which can get wearing after a while.
I remember exhibiting at either the Belper or Elizabethan exhibition one
year and being very near to continental layout that had working crossing
barriers. Boy were they annoying with the siren going every 20 seconds as
that express tanked over it !
OMWB - one class 24 waiting for a sound chip (Still to be bought) and 4 PGA
wagons to be converted.
And when they are available....
Try and borrow one and run it on your layout. If you have a continuous run
you may soon get tired of the constant chuffing, you may not. If you have a
shunting layout you may get really sick of the brake hiss/squeal, or you may
I had 5 sound locos on my HO layout and after a few weeks I found I had the
sound off - apart from when someone visited and I wanted to show off!
IMO it's a bit of a gimmick, albeit a good one. Like smoke generators - hey,
it's not incredibly convincing, but it is smoke!
You may, like many others, think it's the best thing ever to happen to model
railways. Personally I've had my fling with it and it's not for me. With
models this small you have to leave a lot to your imagination, and the
sounds in my imagination are are lot better! Just need something to record
Anyway, before you spend double on every model to get them with sound, try
one out, and do so for several running sessions if possible. It's not for
"Arthur Figgis" wrote
This is indeed a problem. A couple of years ago I was at a show that had
one layout with sound - well, either it was sound-equipped or there was a
loco with a severe gear-meshing problem but in regular operation
nonetheless. Since I was manning a bookstall nearby all day I couldn't move
readily out of range. Late in the afternoon I investigated this by now
teeth-grating shrilling more closely, and discovered that the layout was a
H0 lumber railroad with a "realistic" soundchip in the sawmill. Sometimes
you realise why people don't want to live in industrial areas...
Who's going to devise a sensor mechanism reading from the wheels, that
triggers a DCC flag so that you only get flange squeal on curves, and
prototypically worsening with decreasing radius at that? Just a thought.