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The latest "Garden Railways" magazine (the way it is going, will be an annual pamphlet) arrived today and I saw a small article on a garden railroad with sound. I have had the Fantasonics CDs for a few years and have thought about doing a review and the article prompted me to do one.

One of the things that attracted me to G trains years ago was the sound from a Bachmann locomotive. That was long ago before the DCC and sound decoders and locomotive sound was rare except for G gauge models. I also like the idea of having sound coming from certain sources on a layout that one may hear if they were there looking out onto some area of the real world. One might hear the buzzing of an open saw mill or the iconic ringing of the blacksmith's anvil typical for steam era modeling.

As far as I know, there doesn't seem to be a great selection of ambient type sound recordings or units for model railroading . Perhaps there is just not much interest. Fantasonics sells a variety of sound CDs applicable for different potential model railroading sound sources.

From the CDS I bought and listened to and from the sound sample from the Fantasonics site, I would rate the recording as OK to annoying. One of the annoying things to me is perhaps every CD has relatively loud wind. It is like a train station in a wind storm, a blacksmith's shop in a wind storm, a saw mill in a wind storm, etc. The seller, that calls himself an "enginear" (get the "ear" part) (seems similar to a garbage man being called a sanitation engineer), instructs that one should have the sound played so low that one must "lean in" to the source to hear it. I am sure this concept was meant for those down in their basement with a layout shallow enough to be able to reach the back part of it and perhaps it would get annoying to have a variety of sound sources all being heard at once. I suspect that low volume playback and ";leaning in" would not work so well for large scale layouts. Another thing I found annoying was some of the sounds. As an example, on a logging camp CD I bought, there is bad banjo playing that occurs several times through the recording and I would rather that not be there. Perhaps if the CD was played so low that one only heard it if they "lean in" to the source, then the repeated bad banjo would not be so annoying.

Another thing about these CDs, as told to me by the seller, is that they are the kind that will lose data over time and therefore one needs to make backups in case their CDs go bad.

I have considered doing some recording of my own. Thought like one could do some sort of warehouse or loading platform recording by getting out on some wood deck with a cart and a wagon and some boxes of stuff and move them around on the deck and say something here and there as , "put those crates over in that area" and record it. Maybe I will have time when I am past 100 years old.

Doug
 
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