Author Topic: Sound in N-Scale  (Read 1793 times)

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tehachapifan

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2023, 01:40:23 PM »
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I switched to sound a while back with virtually all my own custom (ESU and Zimo) installs and will never go back to no sound. I absolutely love it!

Here's a couple of my sound installs in kitbashed N scale switchers. If you think these sound good with only 8x12 speakers, you should hear my road units....

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I echo what John C. said. An adequately sized and completely sealed speaker enclosure is an absolute must for quality sound. I rate this as every bit as important as the quality of the decoder and the sound file.

I also agree that sound doesn't scale well as far as with distance and obstacles, so locos on the other side of the room, in a tunnel or in a hidden staging area might be too audible and a whole bunch of locos running all at once can get to be a little much at times. This said, I often run two trains, both with 2 or 3 sound units running, and still enjoy it considerably.

peteski

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2023, 01:49:00 PM »
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Every so often this exact subject comes up on TRW. I'll post links to the more recent conversations and also one older own about virtual sound.  My opinions about big (gut-shaking) sound for little models has not changed, and it is expressed in those threads.  :)

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=46248.0
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=54951.0
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=55364.0
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=38205.0
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2023, 02:08:33 PM »
+1
The ProtoThrottle brought sound back into the mix for me.  And then, only because I wanted the buttons and controls to do all the things while running, even if mainline.

Before that sounds was an annoyance.  I was an early adopter and then stopped because it was too much white noise in the train room. 

jagged ben

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2023, 02:46:20 PM »
+1
I have not had the time to get into it myself, but I still have a feeling that the industry is likely underachieving when it comes to the sound design, i.e. optimizing the EQing for individual sound files before uplaoding them to the decoder.  Tsunami has an EQ feature but it affects the entire sound ouput, meaning if you optimize the prime mover for the best sound possible it de-optimizes the horn and pretty much everything else.  This confirms for me that the limitations in getting a good prime mover sound out of an N scale engine aren't entirely physical.  Now, I  don't expect the decoders to have the computing power or the CVs to EQ each sound effect individually.  But it can be done with the source files.  The effort there is lacking.

My other comment, especially for those who like to leave locos on their layout: learn to use F8, and power down those prime movers when the crew ties up the loco, just like on the real thing.

peteski

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2023, 03:18:03 PM »
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Let's face the facts: no amount of equalization will allow the puny sub-inch size speaker (even with a large enclosure) to produce a satisfying low-frequency rumble of a Diesel engine, or the lower frequencies of a steam loco's chuff.  That tiny speaker diaphragm is just incapable of moving enough air for that. 

There is no substitution for size.  N scale loco will never produce sound that a G scale loco can with a 4" long-throw full range speaker.

But other higher frequency sounds like horns, whistles, or bells work really well in N scale.
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tehachapifan

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2023, 03:49:50 PM »
+3
There's really no changing anyone's mind with regards to this (rather highly divisive) subject. That said, to me a low heart pounding rumble coming from an N scale loco would sound out of place and, well, ridiculous. I'm in the camp that believes that it should sound like I'm several hundred feet away from the loco(s) and hovering high above it as if I'm in a drone, as that's how many scale feet I am typically away from it. I'm also willing to wager that, if you were able to shrink yourself down to N scale and stand at trackside, the sound would be pretty similar to the 1:1 world.


Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2023, 03:54:31 PM »
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Here's a couple of my sound installs in kitbashed N scale switchers. If you think these sound good with only 8x12 speakers, you should hear my road units....

GTFO with those. Seriously, absolutely incredible stuff.

ednadolski

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2023, 04:04:11 PM »
+1
That said, to me a low heart pounding rumble coming from an N scale loco would sound out of place and, well, ridiculous.

It sounds ridiculous in any modeling scale, and in 1:1 you would be reaching for the hearing protection (or risk hearing damage in short time).  It may not be apparent in the video, but I keep the volumes set really low, otherwise they become overwhelming and annoying in no time.

For me one yardstick of success is, what is your reaction when you switch the sound off?  Is it a relief, or does it feel like something went dead?   It's entirely a personal/subjective preference, and I find that for me it even can vary day-to-day or depending on how tired I am.

I'd also be the first to agree that little tinny speakers by themselves get tiresome in a hurry too.  This was a common problem with earlier, poorer quality sound (esp. when the default sound levels were too loud).  A fuller range is needed, by the same token I would not be hooking anything up to the 400W subwoofer that can (literally) shake walls.

Ed



sd45elect2000

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2023, 04:28:54 PM »
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I've spent nearly 40 years on locomotives. I can tell when an engine is loading or not, I can hear defects in the engine. After 40 years I have no desire to take the noise home with me. On the first example of the SW1500, the sound file is wrong, I assume it's from a GP-38-2. The SW1500 doesn't have twin starting motors, it has generator starting like the SW1200. Oh, and remember the sw1200 has a normal top RPM of 835 and the SW1500 is a 900 RPM machine. The sounds will never be right for me....


Randy

tehachapifan

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2023, 10:24:39 PM »
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GTFO with those. Seriously, absolutely incredible stuff.

Thanks, Ed! :D

I've spent nearly 40 years on locomotives. I can tell when an engine is loading or not, I can hear defects in the engine. After 40 years I have no desire to take the noise home with me. On the first example of the SW1500, the sound file is wrong, I assume it's from a GP-38-2. The SW1500 doesn't have twin starting motors, it has generator starting like the SW1200. Oh, and remember the sw1200 has a normal top RPM of 835 and the SW1500 is a 900 RPM machine. The sounds will never be right for me....

Randy

Actually, I have since changed the sound file in both the SW1500 and SW1200 from what is heard in the videos. The file for the SW1500 that is heard in the first video is S0828, which ESU says was recorded from an MP15AC. I have since changed it to file S0733, which ESU says was recorded from an SW1500. The SW1200 originally had file 75871 as in the video, which was apparently recorded from an SW-8. It has since been changed to file 73860, which was recorded from an SW1200 per ESU.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2023, 11:45:14 PM by tehachapifan »

sd45elect2000

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2023, 05:31:46 AM »
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Thanks, Ed! :D

Actually, I have since changed the sound file in both the SW1500 and SW1200 from what is heard in the videos. The file for the SW1500 that is heard in the first video is S0828, which ESU says was recorded from an MP15AC. I have since changed it to file S0733, which ESU says was recorded from an SW1500. The SW1200 originally had file 75871 as in the video, which was apparently recorded from an SW-8. It has since been changed to file 73860, which was recorded from an SW1200 per ESU.

Yes, the MP15 AC has the twin starter motors.

jagged ben

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2023, 09:43:55 AM »
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Let's face the facts: no amount of equalization will allow the puny sub-inch size speaker (even with a large enclosure) to produce a satisfying low-frequency rumble of a Diesel engine, or the lower frequencies of a steam loco's chuff.  That tiny speaker diaphragm is just incapable of moving enough air for that. 

There is no substitution for size.  N scale loco will never produce sound that a G scale loco can with a 4" long-throw full range speaker.

But other higher frequency sounds like horns, whistles, or bells work really well in N scale.

What is 'satisfying' is subjective and unprovable.

What is provable and objective is that EQing of source files isn't being fully utilized.

jagged ben

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2023, 09:50:36 AM »
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Also here's another approach I'd suggest to anyone who finds the tinniness or repetitiveness of prime mover and similar sounds annoying: turn them off.   That is, turn off everything except the sounds that are of operational interest, namely the horn and bell.  These are the sounds you actually hear from farther away in real life anyway, and they're better reproduced by small speakers and probably more appreciated when showing off the layout to your visiting relatives.

tehachapifan

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2023, 01:51:33 PM »
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What is 'satisfying' is subjective and unprovable.

What is provable and objective is that EQing of source files isn't being fully utilized.

I agree with this and have wondered for a while if the lower sounds could be tweaked so that the tiny speakers could reproduce them a bit better, so the really low sounds would be a little less low.

Going back to my points about what I expect to hear from an N scale loco and a low, heart-pounding rumble sounding out-of-place, remember that tiny operating model train that I think DKS did? I think it might've been an N or HO scale layout in N scale. Let's say for a moment that we had layouts that tiny and we also had the ability to add sound, which in that case could even be a speaker under the entire layout. Would you even want to hear a heart pounding rumble coming from something that tiny? Wouldn't it seem way out of place?

Regarding my other point about being able to shrink oneself down to 1:160 and standing at N scale trackside, what if we were also able to increase our size 160 times bigger and stand at 1:1 trackside, would we still hear a heart-pounding rumble? Remember, our ear structures and chest cavity are now also 160 times bigger as well and our ears would be hundreds of feet in the air. This is why I think that a 1:160 version of ourselves, with 1:160 ear drums and chest cavities standing at N scale trackside, might hear something more on par with the 1:1 world. I tend to think this may be the case as I can often put my 1:1 ear right up to one of my N scale installs and can then hear the low-end rumble type sounds that I can't hear as much or at all at a normal viewing distance. So, the sound is often there, we just can't hear it. An N scale ear, with its tiny ear structures, might be able to detect that low end sound far better. That's my theory anyway. ;)

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Sound in N-Scale
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2023, 02:48:41 PM »
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Something that I find helpful is to turn off or way down everything but the prime mover.
Traction motors, engine fan, sanding valve, air compressor etc. to me just turn the sound file into an annoying mush of noise.
I also do pushbutton on the fly volume control with ESU and usually run my engines at about 20% or maybe 40-60% at a show where there’s more room and high ambient noise.

Jim
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