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Hi all. I posted these on RMweb recently but Neil S Wood suggested I should post them in the "On My Workbench" section here as well. I have copied some of the text from the other place, edited slightly, so if you think you have seen all this before, you may well be right!. Hopefully this will reach at least a partially new audience. These are not arranged in any particular order.

My first attempt at providing some movies of sound-equipped locomotives on my layout. Neil S Wood came over with his video camera (many thanks, Neil!
) and we had a good running session as well as getting the video footage. Incidentally, the original video and sound quality from Neil's camera was excellent but the video quality has suffered a bit from the conversion to flv format and cutting down in size for web use. Luckily, the sound quality seems to have survived the process quite well.

WARNING: some of these clips are quite large so may not suit dial-up speeds.

At a later date I will try to edit them further to produce smaller files.



This one is of my Heljan class 33/2 fitted with the Howes sound decoder and two speakers, one in the body of the locomotive (opposite end to the radiator) and the other in the fuel tank. Volume level is set at 30 (out of a possible 64). I have to say that the 33s are my favourites. The layout is my own High Cross and Middlehurst, with only High Cross showing in the videos. There is much still unfinished so please ignore all the rough spots. Also, please ignore the laughter audible in the background in a few places - we had a rather giggly (but very nice) friend drop in unexpectedly at the same time!




The Bachmann Standard Class 5MT with BR1B tender, fitted with the Howes sound decoder with SR N15 whistle. the decoder and standard speaker are in the tender. The speaker points down through holes drilled in the tender floor. The wires from locomotive to tender will be tidied up now I'm happy with the set up, although not before I pull the tender apart to fit extra pickups.



A Heljan Hymek fitted with Howes sound decoder, still with only one speaker under the roof fan grille but pointing downwards (Heljan's grille is solid!). A second spekaer will be fitted in the fuel tank.



Heljan class 58 (part 1) with Howes sound decoder and two speakers, one under the roof fan grilles pointing upwards, and one in the fuel tanks.



Heljan class 58 (part 2)



And finally (for the time being, anyway!) a Hornby class 50 with Howes decoder and two speakers, both pointing downwards but mounted above the chassis block.

I will be doing some more in the future - when my finances recover a bit!.
 

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Really impressive and I am more and more tempted to the sound side.

Hopefully as the sales increase the cost of a sound decoder will reduce akin to the fall in computer chips etc.
 

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I have just added the Bachmann class 24 with sound to the loco stud. Really, I need a green one in early form with valences but the blue one is all Bachmann offer with sound at the moment. I have an earlier model (D5054 renumbered to D5014) but I can't just swap bodies as the new one has lights as well as sound. Oh well, this will be a candidate for a repaint and modification with plasticard, rather similar to a conversion I did many years ago from a Hornby class 25 - still not a bad model detail-wise, and definitely with a better looking front end than the Bachmann job, although the Bachmann mechanism wins hands down.

Back to the Bacchy 24: I treated it the same way I did the two Bachmann 37s I have. I boxed in the cradle for the speaker, using plasticard and contact cement plus lots of blu-tac (or UHU equivalent, which is bright yellow!) to make a sound chamber. This does improve the sound volume and quality, but not as much as adding a second speaker will do (eventually!).

The following pics show the class 37 but the 24 speaker and mounting were identical in every respect. Apologies that they are all a little fuzzy.



The class 37 speaker mounting as it comes out of the box.



Undo two small screws and remove the speaker to reveal the mounting that is absolutely useless as a sound chamber.



Undo two more small screws and you now have the speaker mount out. I have added the first infill piece of plasticard to the end.



Adding more plasticard, glued with contact cement seals up the mounting to create a shallow sound chamber.

I don't have any pictures of the finished product (yet!) but assembly is just the reverse of disassembly, with lots of thin ribbons of blu-tac (or equivalent) added around the edges of the sound chamber to seal any gaps between it and the speaker.

The improvement in sound quality is noticeable, for around 30 minutes work.
 

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QUOTE (railstimulator @ 17 Sep 2008, 19:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Really impressive and I am more and more tempted to the sound side.

Hopefully as the sales increase the cost of a sound decoder will reduce akin to the fall in computer chips etc.

Sorry - I had not realised you posted while I was fiddling around trying to get the pics up in the second post.

The Bachmann ready to run sound locos are excellent value for money as you get the locomotive for only a few pounds more than the cost of the sound decoders from Howes, Olivias, SWD, etc. Even if you don't like the Bachmann sounds, several of the commercial firms mentioned will "reblow" your decoder for around 15 - 17 UK Pounds plus postage, so it still generally works out cheaper than buying a non-sound locomotive and a sound chip ... and the speaker is already installed for you.
 

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QUOTE (SRman @ 17 Sep 2008, 19:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>several of the commercial firms mentioned will "reblow" your decoder for around 15 - 17 UK Pounds plus postage, so it still generally works out cheaper than buying a non-sound locomotive and a sound chip ... and the speaker is already installed for you.

*** I have to say that charging so much to reload a sound decoder is completely outrageous - it takes about six mouse clicks and about 5 minutes if the sound file already exists.

I offer the same service free of charge when customers buy their sound decoders from me, and less than that by a very very long way when they don't!

If its already in a loc I will also tune it for best performance at the same time for no extra charge!

(providing the decoder is still complete with plug or installed in a loco - if I have to reterminate it to do it, I add $A10).

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry Richard - I should have mentioned your services as well.

Incidentally, I am aware that two of the wagons in the long goods train are "out of period" for the rest of the train - they will be modified later to fit in.

See you on Saturday Neil. I now have that Bachmann 24 so we can try ot on your shuttle lines to see how it goes there, remembering that the 33s workes extremely well on those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
More clips to come shortly - Neil Wood came over today, in spite of pouring rain and hail, plus the demands of two kids now (
), so we now have more videos of different locomotives and variations done since the first lot. I am in the process of editing them and will post them soon.

Special thanks for all your trouble, Neil.
 

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Same caveat as before: some of these files are a bit on the large side so may cause you problems on dial-up.

Here are the latest videos of my sound-fitted locomotives, taken by Neil S Wood and edited by me.

Two sound-equipped Bachmann class 37 locomotives, 37 693 and 37 698, double heading. These have been consisted under DCC control but if you observe closely you will see that 37 693 has fallen out of sync, even though I carefully matched them initially. This shows up particularly on stopping where 693 seems to have lost its momentum setting. I have subsequently fixed this but didn't have time when Neil Wood took the video. We may yet redo this one in the future.

37 693 (leading) is as it left the factory, with no modifications to the sound or speaker - it is set at near maximum volume. 37 698 is modified as shown above in an earlier post, with the Bachmann speaker "boxed" in and an additional 20mm speaker and chamber mounted in one of the noses. Volume is set around 40 (out of 64) - the sound quality is better with more bass showing up the exhaust bark better.



Next is the Bachmann 37 reblown with Howes unrefurbished class 37 sounds. This locomotive is the result of swapping chassis and bodies between 37 057 "Viking" and 37 035 in Dutch livery. This also involved swapping bogie frames and buffers. The now non-sound-fitted Viking may be seen in the foreground in some parts of this video. Note the difference in behaviour of 37 035 between the first cicuit and the second: opening the throttle gently means it doesn't "thrash" too much, where the second time round I opened the throttle wide from the standing start and it "thrashes" noticeably more. The sounds make an interesting contrast with the Bachmann (South West Digital-based) sounds. Note also the much better volume from the Bachmann original speaker setup, albeit "boxed" in as per above, suggesting that the volume is as much dependent on the original sound project as on the speaker fitting.



Next is the Hornby Brush Type 2, class 30, with Mirrlees engine sounds from Howes. This one has a large rectangular speaker mounted beneath the radiator fan grille but pointing downwards (the working fan was removed). Bryan, the Howes' sound engineer, took some existing Mirrlees sounds and matched them to some archive footage of original Mirrlees equiped Brush Type 2s, retaining things like horn, buffing and compressor sounds as these would not have changed when the locomotives were re-engined by English Electric to become the later class 31.



The Heljan class 47 was fitted with Howes sound when the earlier videos were done but we ran out of time to take this one. It now has two speakers, both 23mm standard ESU ones, one under the roof at the non-radiator end (the fan grille is solid anyway!), pointing downwards, and one in the fuel tanks.



The Bachmann class 66 as it left the factory has the rather annoying "yinging" noise. This one, 66 522 in Freightliner/Shanks livery, has the standard Bachmann speaker setup but the decoder has been reblown by Howes with their own class 66 sounds. The Howes sounds include rather a nice turbocharger whistle but I'm not sure it can be heard well in the video.



The Bachmann class 24 sounds reasonably good as it comes but seems to lack a little depth. I "boxed" in the original bachmann s[eaker as per the class 37s shown earlier, and also added a 20mm speaker with severely cut down chamber, which just squeezed in under the roof at the other end.



Finally, one that was shown in the earlier clips but I have now fitted a bass-reflex speaker under the roof fan grilles, pointing upwards, together with the second standard speaker in the fuel tanks. In this case I think the bass reflex speaker has added noticeable depth to the sound. I also added a bass reflex speaker to the class 50 featured earlier but I think the difference from before is barely noticeable.



I hope you enjoy these clips. I have tweaked them to get better sound quality at the expense of video quality, since the sound is really what these are about.
 

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Its interesting how two speakers actually sound better than one.

At the local modl show, they have been playing with this in Gauge 1 where the speaker is traditionally place in the tender. By putting a speaker in the front of the steam loco it sounds much better.

The future is unlimited!
 

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Hi SRman,

Excellent videos i enjoyed watching all of them sevral times over, sound does add another dimension to the layout something i need to add to in my N gauge stock.

One question in the second video is it a Ford Anglia in the tree at 2.08
 

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I agree Sound IS the way to go. I suggest we keep badgering the major suppliers to include the sound option with ALL their new releases, Steam and diesel. I certainly make a point of it on the Hornby Forum. (eg Yes the new T9 looks terrific - but what a shame it does not have sound).
 

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QUOTE (barrymx5 @ 23 Nov 2008, 23:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I agree Sound IS the way to go. I suggest we keep badgering the major suppliers to include the sound option with ALL their new releases, Steam and diesel. I certainly make a point of it on the Hornby Forum. (eg Yes the new T9 looks terrific - but what a shame it does not have sound).


I think the only problem with sound "en-masse" is that if the bean counters have their way we may get basic/cut down sound with no real depth.

Could be a real problem with the T9 - I expect every single bit of space has been filled with weight to give it respectable traction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes upnick, as Neil said, it is the Harry Potter Anglia - a repainted Minix one with the correct number plates printed on my computer. I don't have any Whomping Willows on the layout so that oak tree had to substitute!! There are also some squirrels in the trees but they don't show up at all in the videos.
I did make a triple decker purple RT bus as well, from two EFE models. All were intended for a stillborn project to make an exhibition layout based around some Harry Potter features, somehwat whimsical in nature, but capable of being run as a serious layout as well (perhaps Scottish Region).

I must say I am running my layout a lot more since I got the sound bug.

I am awaiting with interest the first reviews of the upcoming Hornby sound-fitted locos.

As for Bachmann ones, some are OK, others less pleasing, but they are excellent value as one can buy the locomotive with sound for close to the price of a sound decoder, then, if not happy wth the sounds, have it reblown by Howes, SWD or DCC Concepts (among others) still for less than the price of a separate sound decoder with British sounds plus the separate locomotive purchase.
 

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QUOTE then, if not happy wth the sounds, have it reblown by Howes, SWD or DCC Concepts (among others) still for less than the price of a separate sound decoder with British sounds plus the separate locomotive purchase.
Sorry SRman could you, or perhaps Richard, explain a little more for the sake of a newbie.

I am still struggling with the basics of sound, having just bought Digitrix Super Chief and got a DC equipped Hornby M7 ad 3F running - silently of course. I am aware of WAV files but there seem to be innumerable other types of sound file. I have just bought a Digitrax PR3 to try and down load files on to a sound decoder, which I have yet to purchase but am tempted by Loksound 3.5 after following this site. There are so few British steam sound available - or at least that I have been able to find. I am unclear whether I can only upload a Loksound sound file on to a Loksound decoder, Digitrax sound file onto a Digitrax FX decoder etc. or whether I can use any file on any sound decoder. SWD is located quite close to me (when I am home- I am currently on holiday in USA) so I am naturally inclined to them but their website only shows 4 Steam loco sounds and warns against generic steam sounds!
Sorry if this is very basic stuff
 

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Sound really adds another dimension; it's great and really inspiring (loved the Harry Potter Ford Anglia in the tree). Thanks for adding the films to the site. What will we do with SR EMU sound, though? Have the drone as the trains speeds up, the occasional horn sound, then the jinga-jinga-jinga-jinga sound whilst stopped at the station? Could really do with some slamming doors, too.
mal
 

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Yes, I'll be an early customer for some nice EMU sounds (SUB, EPB, CEP, VEP, etc.) or even LT EMU sounds, which were very distinctive in their own right, for my CO/CP stock - of course, that means I'll have to DCC all my LT stock, then! Those would bring back some memories for me. We still get that air pump sound here in Melbourne on some of the heritage W class trams.

I also have a "Tadpole" DEMU, visible in the station in the later videos, which would benefit from some nice "Thumper" sounds ...

Barrymx5, I haven't done any sound projects myself, but I believe they have to be set up for particular decoders, so a LokSound project will differ from, say, a Digitrax one. I am open to correction, though. I do know that all of the British sound suppliers guard their projects carefully so you can't get them and load them yourself. ESU do supply free sound project files from their website, so you can download them and install them using their own LokProgrammer (did I get that name right?). You can take a sound decoder along to those suppliers (eg SWD as they are near you) and pay them to load their sounds onto your decoder - I did this with Howes, getting their sounds on the Bachmann sound-fitted 37 035 and 66 522.

I'm sure there are others with more expertise than me who could fill in any gaps (or correct any errors!) in my answers.
 
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