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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I'm lost...

I'm thinking of buying a Magnum decoder as soon as my CFO approved the expenditure. But which one do I chose? Spending another $80 on the programmer isn't in the cards at the moment, so I'd prefer to get the right thing from the beginning.

The loco in question is a very small 2-4-0, 1870's vintage, wood fired. I don't need any air pump sounds, generator, etc. What I do need is something with a nice "sweet" whistle tone, and a good sharp bark to the exhaust. The engine is small, but I'm figuring that the exhaust would have been constricted to give better draft, thus producing a very loud, sharp bark.


Looking at this page Available QSI Magnum Steam Models I find no way to listen to the sounds, and minimal description, at best.

My thoughts are either the 0-4-0, 0-6-0, 0-8-0, 2-6-0, or 4-4-0, but I have no idea what the whistles sound like. Is there any way to get some sound samples, or do I just have to buy one and hope for the best?
 

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Go to Litchfield Station to purchase youre qsi he will program it before it leaves the store, and if you buy a $100 shipping is free. They are very helpful there!623-298-7355 ask for Bruce.
 

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If you have a PC you can download the "Q2 upgrade" program, and then download and listen to the sounds. If you're using a mac you have to either install windows or a windows emulation program. I installed windows on my mac using apple's "boot camp" software, which comes with system 10.5



If you're using a PC just download the q2 program and then you can preview as many sounds as you like.
 

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Super Modulator
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Ask Bruce at Litchfield to turn off the air pumps and dynamo when he programs it.

You did not mention if you were running DC, DCC, or AirWire. If you use the latter two, you can play with the volumes of each individual sounds without the additional programmer.

I also strongly encourage you to download and install the programmer software so you can hear the sounds yourself. You can even save the configured file and email it to Bruce for installation.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, guys! I had not realized that the program was available for free, or that it would work without the programmer kit. That sounds like my best option - I just hope it works on WinXP64.. Darned foolish of me to build a 64 bit machine, but that's another subject entirely.

The reason that I did not mention DC, DCC, or Airwire is that I have none of the above! I selected the QSI because it will allow me to run on DC, eventually on DCC (which I would prefer), and possibly on Airwire, if I chose.


It may be a couple months before I'm ready to purchase the decoder. What is the likelihood that there will be something newer and better out by the time I'm ready to boy? I'm assuming there will not be a new decoder, but what about sound files? Also, are there 3rd party sound files available to play with?
 

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Yes--the program itself is free--the programmer is a track interface that lets you upgrade/change the sounds in individual locos.


It works well on straight dc esp. if you get the chuff synch right



QSI has less sounds, it seems to me, than Phoenix does, but they say they will be adding new sounds all the time.
 

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If you look at the HO sounds available for the earlier decoders, you see they have a very big library. These are all supposed to be converted to the new decoders.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Greg,

This may be a stupid question, but are you saying that the HO sounds are usable (via the Q2 program, I assume) in the Magnum? Or are you merely giving an example of the range of sounds that we can expect to be available at some point in the future?
 

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The latter, all the HO sounds are slated to be converted...

They are so busy building new stuff, that I'm not worried about the sound library, I'm happy the USAT project is going strong, I have about 15 locos just waiting for the decoders!

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey, this is fun! I downloaded the program on my wife's computer (since hers is running windoze, and I'm on linux), downloaded some steam files, and went to town. 30 minutes later, I have something that I think sounds good. Some of the sounds seem very proessed, but others are quite nice. Are they synthesized, or actual recordings?

I wonder, when I buy the decoder, can I specify the driver diameter and have them program that for me at the same time they're loading my custom sound file? If not, I'll just have to take it down to my local hobby shop and ask them to program it for me. Or just wait until I have some place to run.
 

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Since you have the software, you can see what is possible.

Asking a dealer for a particular sound file is normal.

Asking them to customize it, per your instructions is somewhat unusual, and not all dealers understand or will take the time.

Asking them to customize and calibrate the driver diameter implies you want the speed calibrated exactly.... no offense, but if I was a dealer I would never do this, because of all the extra time it entails and the likelihood that the customer will not be satisfied.

Since the dealers probably only make 20-30 bucks on this, you cannot expect a lot of free time programming. One mistake on their part would wipe out their profit.

Does not hurt to ask, but I'd keep my expectations limited. There is a LOT more to customizing and tweaking the QSI that is possible, so start small, then grow from there... I would get an inexpensive DCC system and run it and program it.

Regards, Greg

p.s. the sounds are real, but necessarily some are processed and/or looped.
 

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I assume a dealer might be willing to program a sound to your parameters--it doesn't take very long. You could emal the dealer all your parameters in a single file, and he could install it. As Greg said synching the chuff would be a bigger deal


I agree--some of the sounds are a little "processed sounding." The chuff, in my opinion, is always the weakest part of any steam sound, because, I assume, they have to reduce it to one revolution and then speed it up and slow it down. Your real experience of an engine chuff would always be varying as the engine moved, as it gained speed, and as the surroundings changed: the chuff sound would be changing, not just the speed. But my guess is they record a couple minutes of chuff, at several speeds, and then edit it down to a single "measure", a single revolution, and then construct a loop. Then they speed up or slowdown the loop in response to voltage, which introduces further distortions. I think that's probably how they do it--it sounds like it. It's the same way you construct a music track with DAW software. If you make a drum loop, you can speed it up within limits, but if you go to far it sounds odd


It would be better to record a loop of something like 3 minutes of chuffing at multiple speeds, and repeat those three minute loops, but then you've got memory and processing problems. At least that's my assumption--I may be wrong
 

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Actually they vary the chuff according to the load. It "barks" more under load, and gets very quiet when drifting. That's one huge advantage of the QSI, the load-sensitive (NOT speed sensitive) changes in the sound.

They are looking at more tweaks to the chuff so that the "machine gun" effect at high rates is reduced.

The connection between the BRMF and the changes to sounds is a fairly rare feature these days, the Tsunami has it, and the Lenz with a SUSI sound decoder and I think the ESU. Makes a huge difference in how the sounds match the actual operation of the train.

Regards, Greg
 

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I would say just buy the programmer and make things simple. Around $80 for one. You can do the programing without having DCC. However to use the functions once programed then you need the system or a compatible analog system. Later RJD
 
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