The Model Railway Show – Episode 0037

Listen to this archived episode of The Model Railway Show through
streaming audio at TrainLife!

Sound and movement

In this episodeā€¦

Jim Wells, owner, Fantasonics Engineering.
Fritz Milhaupt, member of the Operations Road Show.

The magic of sound

Increasingly, our locomotives come sound-equipped – so what are they doing rolling through scenes so quiet you could hear a pin drop? Scenic sound is often overlooked, or poorly executed, which is a shame because it can add so much to the enjoyment of our layouts.

Looking to give your layout a voice of its own? Why not get in touch with Jim Wells?

Jim scratch-builds sounds for layouts – big and small – through his company, Fantasonics Engineering. He also offers several off-the-shelf scenic sounds via his web site and it’s worth giving his sound samples a listen. He joins Jim to explain why scratch building sounds at his workbench is superior to recording actual sounds… why low volumes work best… and how he worked with Pricom Design to develop the Scale Magic Dream Player.

Jim has developed a couple of free sounds for listeners of The Model Railway Show to try out. To get the most out of the sounds, follow Jim’s instructions:

1. Download the day audio file and night audio file, and load them into any player that has a headphone/line level audio output.
2. Wire tiny speakers as shown in this wiring diagram.
3. The soundtracks were built on High Bass speakers, such as the QSI models available through Tony’s Trains. I recommend the HB90S, HB106R or HB110S mounted in the appropriate enclosures.
4. Do NOT use any speaker larger than these, but almost any teenie tiny speaker in almost any enclosure should be swell
5. Keep the speakers close together (this isn’t stereo), and keep the volume low.
6. Plug the speakers into the player and hit ‘play’
7. Stand back and ‘see’ where the various critters and birds appear
8. Have fun!

Have a question about this? Contact Jim at Fantasonics for answers.

The Operations Road Show

Time Table and Train Order (TT&TO) operation is quickly growing in popularity among serious operations enthusiasts. But learning about this classic form of operation isn’t always easy – especially since it’s best learned by apprenticing with someone who understands it, on a layout that’s built to support it.

So a tip of the conductor’s hat to the members of the Operations Road Show. This group in Michigan has built a large layout designed from the start as a tool for teaching TT&TO operations, and invites convention goers and other interested individuals to join in the fun.

As group member Fritz Milhaupt tells Trevor, the idea grew out of a conversation with an official from the Operations Special Interest Group, and the group’s Wabash-themed layout made its debut at the NMRA National in Toronto in 2003. Since then, it’s been featured at a number of national conventions, and is scheduled to appear at this summer’s NMRA National – Grand Rails 2012 – in Michigan. (The group has announced it is committed to holding a dozen three-hour operating clinics during the convention!)

Fritz also offers advice to other groups that might consider taking on such a project of their own.

How to listen:

Right-click (Windows) or hold Control and click (Mac OS) on the following link for downloading options:
Episode 37 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Trevor speaks with noted layout designer and author Iain Rice.
Jim talks to Brian Scace about overcoming planning challenges for layouts in larger scales.

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