Dear Steve, Jon, Modellers,
Steve, far be it from me to "twist your arm" about sound,
(I am forever grateful that there's room on this here train for all Modellers,
and that being a "Modeller" has no real "minimum spec" qualification,
otherwise my inclusion would be scrapping the bottom of the barrel...
but if we ever have the pleasure of meeting in person around a "sound equipped" layout of mine, please remind me to show you how
- sound CAN be contained within a layout while having respect for the "ambient noise level",
- can be prototypically accurate,
(down to the specific frequency of overtone harmonic in the flange squeal of a aussie log bogie VS a 4 wheel skip
- And can be "done well" without S.U.C. Processing, distortion, or other "otherworld" artifacting...
Jon, Modellers, Can I make the point that Sound on a layout CAN be accurately and predictably "confined" and "aimed"! This the bit that makes the difference between a
"plugging in some speakers, turning them up, and hitting Play" installation,
and genuinely "putting some THOUGHT and EFFORT" into the layout sound "sound design" and installation.
(For more details about HOW to do this, drop me a line, or alternatively, consider joining the Yahoo "LayoutSound" group
I'll say it one more time, (apologies for the "cracked record"),
Well Done sound encompasses
- the Concept of the layout
- the Sound Design to create EXACTLY the required "noises"
- some significant TIME and EFFORT to mix the various sonic elements into a appropriate pleasing "whole"
(NB Not necessarily SKILL, those can be LEARNED!!!)
- and then finally,
(and funnily enough, probably the part that most modellers focuss on, to their and the system's Detriment!),
selection of the playback system and speaker rig
Using the analogy of writing a symphony,
where you start with the sheetmusic and <some> idea of which instruments you'd like to include,
get each instrument's "part" or "performance" perfect,
then gather each of the performances together and meld them into a cohesive sonically pleasing "whole",
and finally perform/broadcast/transmit the performance to the target audience,
is actually a pretty accurate way to describe the "Layout Sound Production Workflow"...
NB that that "transmission" can be "Narrowcast" to a radii of 2/3 people "deep" at the crowd barrier, and focussed so as to ONLY be audible to that "viewer" position!!! This IS Do-able!!!
Furthur, in a small "home layout room", the collective "Din" of multiple "noisemakers" can also be significantly stressful. Ergo, these "focussing" and "sonic control" techniques are Just As critical under "home layout" conditions IMHO...
Can I also say, before anyone gets too far ahead of me,
that sure, it's "do-able",
but for myself, I put "Modelling Sound" on par with the "physical 3D modelling",
IE I put as much work into my "sonic" models as I do into my physical 3D models,
(I do not "sacrifice 3D/Physical model build quality/prototype accuracy" in order to give the sound "top billing",
unlike some of the current "electronics technology" layouts,
which give away modelling fidelity in deference to having the "latest/greatest/bigger/better/faster/more" control panel/system, for example
That's just my approach, but having had to do "commission modelling" for museums and suchlike,
(where the need to "Get It Right" in EVERY aspect of the model is far more Pervasive and Critical than anything we may build in our own layout rooms "for our own modelling enjoyment"),
I sincerely do believe that every part of a model,
- visual model itself (size, components, coloring/weathering, etc etc)
- scale movement/speed, inc animation behaviour
- both model and "display" lighting
- supporting sound design
- overal presentationof the layout/display
has to work Together to "put it's best foot forward".
This is even more critical of the "small" and "Micro" layouts class,
where there are scant sq inches of real estate to play with, and therefore EVERY element of the layout has to be designed/used to it's Best Advantage...
(And is a Good Approach when considering building a "Show Layout".
You are putting yourself and your layout "on show" to the General Public as an example of "what Model Railroading/Railway Modelling is",
to NOT "put your best effort forward" really isn't doing the promotion of te hobby any favours, is it?)
Modelling "Layout Sound" doesn't take up physical space,
doesn't have to be "ear bleedingly" loud or obnoxious,
(If it IS, you're either modelling something inherrently noisy like a steelworks from a scale perspective of a few feet
or you have FAILED to design and implement the sound properly,
see my above comments RE "Best Foot Forward")
and can enhance a model scene.
I've been proving it both "Professionally" and in my "Modelling Life" for over 15 years...
Just my $0.05c
PS: Steve, interesting comment about the "Doof Doof" being an example of "un-consciously annoying/disturbing noise". I agree, and would point to the WHO "Ambient Noise Limit" specs, which cover the subject quite well.
That said, my current project, a HO street switching layout representing a version of the corner of 41st and 2nd in Brooklyn NYC, on a cold and drizzly 03:00, has a underground "Rave Party" in full swing in the abandoned "Loft 20" building.
The sound design to create the sound of the rave, as "heard" from a "standing 40' accross the street, at footpath level, hearing the sound thru a warehouse double brick wall" perspective was a interesting challenge. The aim for the display will be to get all the air movement of the bottom end 100Hz and below "Doof",
at a volume that does NOT exceed 50dB SPL Peak,
(60 dB SPL is defined as "a small gathering of people talking in a confined space").
The aim is Also to achieve said "sound design" spec WITHOUT having any discernable "bleed" of the layout sound beyond the front 90degree viewer "arc" or vision,
IE if they can see the scene, they will hear the sound,
if they can't, they won't.
Tall order, but I'll let you know how I get on...