Friday, April 29, 2011

Still Not Sold on Sound

It seems the latest fashion in Model Railroading, apart from the timeless vest covered with railroad patches and the tie tack with blinking crossbucks, is on-board sound.  Tiny speakers nested under coal bunkers or in fuel tanks emitting tinny noise are on the list of any beginner, and even many more experienced guys.  A speaker that's supposed to evoke standing trackside listening to the roar of an EMD 567, or the chuff of a steam locomotive have captured the hobbyist's imagination.

But not mine.

I've had the pleasure of installing a number of sound decoders into both N and HO scale locomotives.  I've also participated in a few operating sessions where sound has been in use by one or God forbid, more than one operator, and I have to say that after the first few moments of novelty, and the delight of pressing F2 and getting a faint "woot woot" from the kazoo-like speaker, the excitement plum evades me.

Maybe it's because when I'm running my trains, I've just gotten used to listening to old vinyl records.  (A fact which should say a lot about my affinity for technology of another age.)  Or maybe when I have three diesels on the point of a heavy N scale train, I like to hear them working... often sounding a lot more like a lashup of real diesels than those little micro chips can.

In either case, on-board sound just doesn't do it for me.  I don't like the way it adds significantly to the power drawn by the locomotive, I don't like the way it sounds so thin compared to the real thing, I don't like installing sound decoders and speakers and all those wires, and I don't like having more buttons on the throttle to fool around with while I'm trying to operate my train with one hand, and sip a beer with the other.

Nope.  Sound is not the savior of the hobby.  There are many who would argue otherwise, but rest assured, they are wrong.  Sound is a novelty, it will amuse the uninitiated briefly, and be a crutch to people who would rather not pursue a higher standard of model building. 

If I wish to enjoy the sound of some historic diesel, I shall spend a few moments scanning You Tube, and I'll find what I want in a matter of moments.  If I want to really enjoy the thrum of a big diesel, then I shall take my web lawn chair trackside.  And there I'll get the full Monty!  Squealing flanges, flattened wheels tapping by.  Maybe, just maybe, there will be some jointed rail and a healthy dose of clickety clack!


Anonymous said...

Never was sold on sound.

Smile said...

Great... Im just surfing the web and looking for peoples with same interests... If you will have time just have a look at laptop batteries

Unknown said...

It is useful and informative. Your insight in this matter is great.modelismo valencia

Tom Austin said...

I'd have to agree with Lee. I realize this is an older post, but I have recently spent way too much money on out of sound...and am happier for it. The speakers have been improved, but the sound is indeed annoying after a little bit of running.

Personally, I feel the sound offers its' best sonic improvement when the engine is idling and revving up and down while switching. But, to focus entirely on the sound belies the rest of the train, and the scene it runs through, IMO.

We spend over $35 a car these day for a highly detailed and accurate freight car model, only to disregard it while paying attention to grade crossings and blowing the tinny air horn, while the looped digital recording drums on and on.

No thanks.

Sathya said...

Nice post. It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the post!
Buy refrigerator online and keep your eatables fresh.

Unknown said...

nice post..
modular kitchen manufacturers in chennai
modular kitchen supplier in chennai

braincarve said...

nice post..Abacus institute Training Class in Chennai
Vedic Maths Classes in Chennai
Abacus Training Class in Chennai

PrestaShop Addons Magento Extensions CRM Plugins said...

Thanks for sharing a useful knowledge-sharing blog.

It helps in understanding and increase in knowledge.

Best Regards,
prestashop addons
prestashop modules
presta addons
magento extensions
prestashop schema rich snippets
prestashop seo module
prestashop custom html js
prestashop hreflang tags
prestashop product tabs
prestashop social login
prestashop banners
prestashop social media
prestashop open graph
prestashop twitter card
magento geolocation redirect
prestashop geolocation
prestashop popup
prestashop seo url
prestashop geoip