Author Topic: Under Layout Sound Decoder  (Read 1640 times)

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kelleywpns

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Under Layout Sound Decoder
« on: January 07, 2014, 08:04:16 PM »
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All

I'm building an around the walls (17' x 14') layout with a center peninsula.  In my primary yard area, I plan on using a SW8 to handle most of the switching duties.  I'd like to mount a sound decoder under the yard to match (consist) up with the SW8 while it's going about it's business.

I was looking at the Tsunami TSU-IM1000 EMD 567 as the sound decoder.  Anyone have any experience ding a similar project?  Any pros/cons?  Different suggestion on the actual decoder?

Thanks for your help.

Mike
Modeling the New Haven and Boston & Maine

mark dance

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 08:49:45 PM »
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Hi Mike...

I am experimenting with a similar set up in my Slocan City area having copied Lance Mindheim's system.  http://www.lancemindheim.com/headphone_sound.htm I have tried both under layout speakers and radio headphones

So far I have been disappointed with the synchronization of the acceleration and deceleration to the movement of the loco but I am not convinced, even after several hours of experimenting, that I have the settings correct.  I end up programming huge momentum to try and match the tsunami sound file for the FM unit I am using. 

The sound quality of the decoder through the headphones is poor and messes with my mind as the sound is obviously not coming from the locomotive I am viewing.  The speakers are somewhat better but still not great.

So the jury is still out for me but so far I am unhappy with the result.

md
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Scottl

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 08:52:34 PM »
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I bought a Digitrax Soundbug and installed it on the end of a spur in my yard.  My idea was to have the general sound of idling locomotives in the yard and it worked quite well in that role.  I imagined having a number of them ultimately installed, along with some in mobile decoders, but have not gotten around to it yet.

jdcolombo

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 09:31:32 PM »
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All

I'm building an around the walls (17' x 14') layout with a center peninsula.  In my primary yard area, I plan on using a SW8 to handle most of the switching duties.  I'd like to mount a sound decoder under the yard to match (consist) up with the SW8 while it's going about it's business.

I was looking at the Tsunami TSU-IM1000 EMD 567 as the sound decoder.  Anyone have any experience ding a similar project?  Any pros/cons?  Different suggestion on the actual decoder?

Thanks for your help.

Mike

I've tried this and wasn't happy on two fronts:

1.  The sound ends up obviously not coming from the loco, which was disconcerting to me.  I much prefer having sound installed in the loco (I know this is darn near impossible with some switchers, but I did it with an Atlas VO-1000; video here: 
).  If you can wait, the new Atlas S-2 will have a factory sound option that I'm told is terrific.

2.  Like Mark Dance, I was disappointed with the sync between the throttle-up and throttle-down of the prime mover sound vs. the actual loco speed.  This is adjustable to some extent with the TSU, but I could never get it "right".   I'd recommend looking at the LokSound Select Micro (or just the regular Select, if you're doing an under-table mount) with the 73836 sound file for an EMD V-16, non-turbo.  The EMD switchers did not necessarily have a V-16; many had V-8 or V-12's, but you'll get the classic EMD 567 non-turbo sound with this one.  If you want to hear what one sounds like, here's a short video of an Atlas GP7 with such a decoder (you'll have to ignore the cat meowing in the background - not a part of the usual decoder sound effects!):
 I've been much happier with the "sync" between the prime mover throttle-up/throttle down and engine speed with this decoder.  It's also cheaper than the Tsunami.

John C.

ednadolski

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 09:35:18 PM »
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Here is a video of a sound test that I did a little while back:

This is a Tsunami for an EMD 645, with the speaker output hooked up to a set of Bose speakers  (two small speakers and a subwoofer).  The sound on the video was recorded "live", directly by the camera (i.e., no dubbed-over audio tracks).   If I turn it up loud, it can almost sound like a real loco is right there in the room.

The connection from the decoder's speaker output *must* be made thru an audio output transformer, but that is simple, almost trivial.  I also had to set the output volume level of the decoder pretty low (like 20 IIRC) to avoid distortion.  (The idea is to let the subwoofer do the heavy lifting.)  I derived this arrangement from a Lance Mindheim setup: http://www.lancemindheim.com/20AprilSound%20011L.jpg

You can see the Tsunami in the upper right hand corner of the video, with the LEDs lit up.  The loco has its own, separate decoder with its sound muted.   You can program both decoders to the same address, or separate addresses and then consist them together.

I think if I were doing a shelf/switching layout, I would try something like this, and not even bother to put a sound decoder in the loco. There is no way that a speaker that will fit in any scale model can compete on the same footing as a good quality subwoofer system.

Ed


ednadolski

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 09:49:20 PM »
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1.  The sound ends up obviously not coming from the loco, which was disconcerting to me.

I haven't tried this, but another possibility (with some decoders) is to play the engine sound only thru the stationary speaker decoder, and the other sounds (horn, bell, air hiss, etc.) thru the mobile decoder.   The theory behind subwoofers is that the lower/bass sounds aren't perceived as directional.

Ed

kelleywpns

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 07:23:34 PM »
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Thanks so far for all the suggestions.

Going with the suggestion of using the LokSound Select Micro, does anyone see a problem with utilizing this decoder and installing a resistor to mimic a load (on the motor leads)?

Also, any suggestions on a speaker?

Thanks again.

Mike
Modeling the New Haven and Boston & Maine

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2014, 11:34:09 PM »
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Hi Mike...

I am experimenting with a similar set up in my Slocan City area having copied Lance Mindheim's system.  http://www.lancemindheim.com/headphone_sound.htm I have tried both under layout speakers and radio headphones

So far I have been disappointed with the synchronization of the acceleration and deceleration to the movement of the loco but I am not convinced, even after several hours of experimenting, that I have the settings correct.  I end up programming huge momentum to try and match the tsunami sound file for the FM unit I am using. 

The sound quality of the decoder through the headphones is poor and messes with my mind as the sound is obviously not coming from the locomotive I am viewing.  The speakers are somewhat better but still not great.

So the jury is still out for me but so far I am unhappy with the result.

md

I've had similar unsatisfactory results under my LA 1st. Street yards. Thought I would emulate switch engines, while road engines have on board sound. Now that Atlas is coming out with Sound equipped S-2' (which happen to be perfect for my setting) and John Colombo's recent impressive narrow hood sound installs, I think I will give up on the notion and just go with onboard sound....technology marches on...

mr_mike_m

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 11:40:57 PM »
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You may want to also check out surroundtrax.
http://www.soundtraxx.com/surround/

sirenwerks

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Re: Under Layout Sound Decoder
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2014, 10:34:15 AM »
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I too am waiting to hear the Atlas S2 in person, even though I want S4s.  If the quality bugs can be worked out of the headphone idea it still has one downside, you can't do stationary ambient sound, like a river or industry.  Unless you can figure out a way to kick in the sounds when an operator is in proximity and have that sound delivered only to that operator's wireless headphones. 

In a multiple operator ops session, headphones would cut down on camaraderie and chatter too, which is one reason I go to those sessions.  Unless you install a comm option into your system too. 

It seems like this is a DCC companies opportunity to develop a new niche product - a throttle-based sound system.  Imagine not having to install each loco with a sound chip?!  And not having to install speakers around the layout room?   

The programmable sound chip and speaker could be in the throttle with a 3.5 mm phone jack for headphone - which would negate the need for expensive wireless headphones by using readily available OTS tech that's tethered to the object you have to carry around anyway (with the benefit of less likelihood of losing your throttle too, since you're tethered to it).  The comm issue could be dealt with via a mic in the throttle or the jack could be send/receive so the user could use gaming phone headsets which are plunging in price daily.  Stationary sound could delivered via location-installed chips with a limited-range (with variable range, so you can customize it to your layout room experience) RFD transmitter sending signal to a receiver in the throttle - the closer you get the louder and clearer the stationary sound comes through your throttle's speaker/headphone.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.