Layout sounds

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End2end
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Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Fri May 23, 2014 2:25 pm

I have been thinking recently how to implement non dcc sounds on my layout.
What I would like is the following:-
Seagulls/birds (in stereo across the layout)
Station and platfrom noise including people (only at the station)
People chatting in certain cameo's on the layout (only at each cameo location)
Perhaps hammering, grinding or welding at some locations.
Other noises specific to certain locations on the layout.

Have you implemented sound? If so how did you do it?

For me the idea is to record certain sounds in stereo and certain sounds in mono (either left or right)
But this will only give me 3 speaker locations. Left, Right (mono) and middle (stereo).

There is a peice of equipment that can be used to trigger the sounds that I have been looking at. It's a small sampler called the AKAI MPX8.
MPX8.jpg
MPX8.jpg (34.7 KiB) Viewed 3369 times

This gives you 8 sound slots per page with stereo out and SD card slot meaning you can edit your sounds on your pc/mac then add to the SD card and then insert the SD card into the sampler.

My problem is that although I can rig up 3 speakers to this unit giving me left /right and stereo but that is all.
What im ideally looking for is a unit that can play back the sounds on a multiple speaker setup where I can assign 1 sound to only 1 speaker or multiple sounds to certain speakers (like the seagulls/birds which need to be heard right across the layout)
Does anyone know of such a device that is small enough to be fitted to/on/under the layout?

I could rig up multiple audio systems but that defeats the object as it would end up being a sound system with a layout attacthed rather than the other way round.

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alex3410
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby alex3410 » Fri May 23, 2014 2:31 pm

might not be helpful but what about surround sound? this would give you more speakers / locations to play with

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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Fri May 23, 2014 2:49 pm

Thanks for the reply alex.
Unfortunatly this means coding an audio cd in either 5.1 or 7.1 which although it IS possible I do not have the equipment to do it.
I can sequence all the sound I need together as 1 audio cd in the studio no problem, but it's the actual coding of the surround positions of each sound that is beyond me and my equipment.
But this does give me an avenue to investigate! :D

Unfortunatly I do not have a surround amp at present to test any recordings I do so it's off to the boot sales to find a cheap one to mess around with.
I wil report back any findings, but if any other member has ideas on implementing layout sounds I would love to hear them :)
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby alex3410 » Fri May 23, 2014 4:27 pm

next random but possibly very remotely useful thought :lol:

if you purchased the speakers that you would install in a loco - cheap, small, easy to faff around with

could you wire your input source (the box thing from first post) to these?

if possible you could then install switches between the two points to 'direct' the sound to different speakers

like this:

Image

so sound number 1 (whistle for example) could then be directed to any of the three speakers by moving the switch to position #1 #2 or #3

if each of your outputs has left and right audio each output could then deal with 2 sounds or you could use DPDT switches to direct both sides of the same audio output to a single speaker

i would assume you could also wire up multiple outputs to a single speaker but i don't have a clue if its a good idea - what happens for example if you attempt to play two sounds on a single speaker at the same time would there be an issue with feedback??

i would add this is all just theory and i don't really know what i am on about :lol:

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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Fri May 23, 2014 4:35 pm

Unfortunatly Alex the switch set up you propose defeats the object as it can only play out of 1 speaker at a time.
But after your last post about the surround sound amp, I had a quick look and although most 7.1 amps are massive I think maybe thats the way to go as I would need different sounds coming out of different outputs at the same time.

The problem then lies with the coding of a audio cd into 7.1 (actually 7 as I would not use the .1 which is the bass speaker.)

Keep your ideas coming though as what doesn't work for me might work for someone else :)
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Fri May 23, 2014 9:52 pm

After 4 hours of net scouring I have found out that my music production program can do surround sound. :D
Although I cannot check the audio output correctly at the moment as I do not own an av amp at least I know I can do it as I have multiple outputs out of my pc to my mixing desk so even without the av amp I can send sounds to different outputs to check the result.
This is starting to look, for me anyway, quite promising.

There is a cheap way to do it with a Soundblaster Audigy 5.1 sound card for those of you with less extensive audio setups as mine, but i didn't look into it because as far as i'm concerned soundblaster cards are not PRO AUDIO CARDS, which I need to produce music with.
OK for gaming/watching films etc but not for pro audio.

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Re: Layout sounds

Postby Bufferstop » Sat May 24, 2014 11:28 am

The shortcomings of soundblaster cards would not matter in delivering background sound for a model railway. It might take some time and effort to encode the sounds into 7:1 format but once done a PC could drive7 channels which could be mono or paired together for stereo as part of their output. I'd rather be putting my efforts into something solid, you know, like wood, metal,cardboard and plastic.
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Sat May 24, 2014 12:41 pm

Bufferstop wrote:The shortcomings of soundblaster cards would not matter in delivering background sound for a model railway. It might take some time and effort to encode the sounds into 7:1 format but once done a PC could drive7 channels which could be mono or paired together for stereo as part of their output. I'd rather be putting my efforts into something solid, you know, like wood, metal,cardboard and plastic.


Sorry Bufferstop maybe I didn't make my post clear enough.
I will be producing and encoding a 5.1 surround sound cd/dvd in my pro audio studio. This CANNOT be done just using a soundblaster card, only playback of 5.1.
Whereas my pro audio card and pro audio sequencer is capable of recording and playback of 5.1 on seperate channels. (In fact my setup can record 10 seperate inputs all at once onto 10 seperate channels but as mentioned before I own a professional music studio so I will definatly not consider removing my pro audio card for an inferior "soundcard" model.)

So the soundblaster card may be a possible solution for some members for playback but unfortunatly not for me, opting instead for an AV amp to playback the 5.1 cd/dvd.

I will also add as a side note that the ADAC's/DACs (anologue to digital / digital to analogue convertors) on soundblaster cards are absolutly crap which is a must for any serious producer as anything recorded into or played back out of those ADAC's sounds terrible plus the latency (the time it takes from when you press a key to actually hearing a sound) is far too much at around 48-50 milliseconds. Definatly no good for recording purposes, no matter what is being recorded, even if it is just for background sounds.

As for the time and effort to create the cd/dvd. This is somewhat negligable as audio is like 2nd nature to me as I have been in the audio realm for 25 years and thus once created I can maybe then go on to produce more 5.1 cd's / dvd's for NRM members using exactly the same settings, with only the actual sounds and thier position in the 5.1 or stereo field being changed to requirements. Wouldn't that be cool !! :D

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Re: Layout sounds

Postby Bufferstop » Sat May 24, 2014 6:35 pm

I'd gathered you are an audiofile, I think there was a time I could have demanded the same standards, but even with near perfect audio guality theres still a need to fit the sound to the movement of the trains, the current on board systems hardly fit the bill. These days I just turn off my bionic ears and leave it to my imagination :D
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Sat May 24, 2014 6:49 pm

Ahh, I should have stated that by the title "Layout Sounds", these are not referring to sounds from loco's but rather ambient and populas sounds to give life to even a static layout.
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby TimberSurf » Sun May 25, 2014 7:53 am

I am not a sound engineer!
But my investigations on the same, led me to 5.1
2 channels are a piece of cake on any device (SD amp, MP3 player,CD player, etc) but if you use a PC for playback, then at least 4 channels should be easy. I did read it might be difficult to find "free" software to create 5.1, but its certainly possible.
I will opt for an old desktop with two sound cards in it, giving me 4 channels.
My quick (pathetic) atempt is here Lumsdonia/Tips
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:30 am

I have just taken delivery of another pc which has 5.1 surround sound output on it (6 x 3.5mm jack outputs), and although I have not as yet delved into my theories, it does mean that I no longer need to buy a 5.1 dvd/cd player. Instead I'll need a 5.1 pc speaker package to test my 5.1 productions after I have made them on the studio pc to make sure my theory works. But definatly a step in the right direction I feel.
My baseboard was finished today so that will be taking up most of the layout time for a while, but this layout sound is definatly something I will carry on with once I manage to (stop buying loco's :lol: ) buy the speaker package.
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby ElDavo » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:16 pm

For the system I'm using on my layout, which is a admittedly only about 10ft long and narrow, I'm just using the 2 stereo outputs from my PC audio. I use a bit of Java code to create multiple stereo audio streams each with their own software volume and balance controls. With a bit of cunning code you can create apparent movement or positioning of the sounds across the viewing area. No special hardware required.

Cheers
Dave

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Re: Layout sounds

Postby End2end » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:31 pm

ElDavo wrote:For the system I'm using on my layout, which is a admittedly only about 10ft long and narrow, I'm just using the 2 stereo outputs from my PC audio. I use a bit of Java code to create multiple stereo audio streams each with their own software volume and balance controls. With a bit of cunning code you can create apparent movement or positioning of the sounds across the viewing area. No special hardware required.

Cheers
Dave

Interseting concept Dave, especially the movement of sounds. Although my idea is to make it available for any "multiple speakers in multipe locations" layout, rather than one that is connected to a pc (as mine will be and like yours, 8 feet by 2 feet).
But that does bring 1 thing to the fore. Those of us not capable of coding java but do have a pc connected to a layout, even if it is just for sound, I found this :)
http://environment-other.ambient-mixer. ... blacksmith
No affiliation
8 channels of pannable sound with the ability to load different sounds from the available library which you can run live from the pc. Randomisation or looping as set intervals.
I must admit, I had quite some fun with it :wink:
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Re: Layout sounds

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Oct 08, 2016 8:43 pm

A recent find, 4 buttons sounds useful! (pun intended)

http://www.electronics123.com/shop

http://www.trainelectronics.com/USB_Sound_4/, lots of other usefull circuits too!
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