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I just purchased a USA Trains GP-38 and plan to add sound. What unit do you recommend and why? I will probably have an experienced person/store install it. Any suggestions on where to purchase it? I live in So. California.
Thanks for your help.
Steve Quatro
 

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A Steamed Elder
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Steve,

Phoenix Sound installed by Jonathan Bliese of Electric Model Works. He is located in Chino. He has done two installs for me. I'm very satisfied.:D
 

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Steve,

I have installed Phoenix sound in my USAT F-3A, which is similar to the GP-38. It was really easy. USA has a plug in spot on their circuit board for sound. Put the speaker in the fuel tank (you will have to secure it. Drill a small hole for the sound toggle switch in the floor. Also, there is a small hole going down in to the fuel tank. You may end up drilling it out a little bit. The Phoenix speaker is pretty tall and just fits, but then there's no room for the wires to come up through.

The total installation took about 1/2 an hour, and I am certainly no expert. I find it is worth the extra money to buy the progamming cable as well. This will allow you to customize your sound system.

Mark
 

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A Steamed Elder
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Steve,

Mark made a great point about the interface cable with the sound. You can adjust ALL the sound features on the card and "tweak it" just like you want it. If you still feel that you want someone to do the install for you, then Jonathan is the one to see. He sells the sound too. here is the link for him. He is the sponsor on this site for the Sound and RC forum.

http://www.rctrains.com/
 

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I'm going to jump in here. Pleeeeeeeze! Don't discount Sierra Soundtrax cards. They can be $100.00 less than the Phoenix package and I don't know anyone who has even been dissatisfied with the performance. I have them in 7 of my diesels and I'll install them in the other three as funds become available. Besides, the speaker is far more important than the card. Find a 4 to 4 1/2 inch oval with a HUGE magnet.

Over 6 years now and never a failure.

Just thought I'd toss that in for the sake of debate. :rolleyes:" border=0>

Dave
 

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Excellent Point Dave. I have Sierra cards in three SD45s, one RS3 a Dash 9, and a Mike, and I am totally happy. They give great sound, and have no problems. I do think I need to replace the speaker that came with the dash 9, it is not up to the quality found in the other Aristo engines. Maybe I will get a new huge magnet one.
Paul
 

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Master of Disaster
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Phoenix all the way!

Please! Please! Please! buy the programming software with cable.....you will never regret it!

There are many brands and costs out there, but you asked opinions'....mine is Phoenix!

They are bullitt proof, and very simple to install! Support from Phoenix is outstanding!;)

Jim and the boys are all over it!

ONLY downside is that they are a little pricey!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif Wish they could work on that!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif


Again my 2 cents! I am always willing to share that with anyone!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

Bubba
 

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Like anything else these days, U get what U pay for... I personally own 15+
Phoenix systems, a few Sierras, and some "also rans", I've also installed some
80-100 systems for friends and dealers, mostly Phoenix... Sierra is OK, but
the Phoenix is a better system, especially the user programable 2K2 systems..
BUT, it does cost more, but again, U get what U pay for...
Paul R...
 

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I have a Phoenix card installed in an Aristo Mikado. It has really good quality sounds, but they are processed--you can hear reverb on them, for example. They have been "sweetened" in various ways by Phoenix. Most people like the sound of reverb--I do, most of the time--but on my train I find it annoying and distracting. I hear a reverberation on top of the whistle and chuff that isn't accurate to the landscape the train is moving through. But most people will hear the sound of the Phoenix and say "hey that sounds good" because of the reverb. It's the same reason they put lots of reverb on a mediocre vocalist

My Phoenix card failed after 4 months of use. I sent it back and they fixed it right away--came back last week after a very fast turnaround. In my opinion unless you're using DCC it has more features than you can use--using aristo's train engineer onboard and track power, I can't trigger a lot of what it can do. I should add that I don't have the programming cable either. That adds a lot


I would look at QSI--were I starting from scratch today, I'd get an airwire throttle and QSI cards--good quality sound, but sound and remote control are integrated so you can control the sounds more easily.

Also in my opinion--which is based on years as a semi-professional musician, mostly as a bass player--the size of the magnet has really nothing to do with the quality of the sound. We're not taking about 200 watts here, we're talking about two watts. Magnet size generally varies with power handling capacity, and with the material the magnet is made of. A bigger magnet doesn't make a speaker "sound better", it mostly just changes the power handling capacity. The single biggest issue effecting the sound for G scale, far and way, is the enclosure. What's missing in G scale sound, inevitably, is low frequencies. And the only way to improve low frequency response with a small speaker and a limited power source is to mess with the enclosure.

Small speakers that aim for good sound are always ported--they have a small hole with some kind of tube in it. The tube is of a diameter and length designed to resonate at certain frequencies. Check it out, you'll see what I mean. Any small radio that ams for decent sound, like, say, a Koss Mode1, will have a port in it. Your stereo speakers are ported. Cover the port and you'll heae the difference. I've not tried this yet, but I think the best way to improve sound in, say, and aristo steam tender would be to drill a hole and put a 1x1 or 1x2 length of PVC pipe in the hole.

If I wanted to make a big impressive looking magnet I would just use a less powerful magnet that was phyically bigger. Alnico magnets on guitar and bass speakers in the 50s were huge. "Ceramic" magnets were smaller. Neodymium magnets are tiny and weigh very little but have the same flux rating as magnet four times their size. It's not the size of the magnet that matters here.
 

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Here's an example of how reverb sweetens a sound--I recorded this just now on an electric guitar plugged into the computer. It's just the first 16 measures of an old swing tune
Then I took the same track and added reverb to it.


http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/magic/reverb.mp3



Hear the difference? Phoenix added reverb to their sounds. They've added some other things--I think the chuff has a lot of compression on it and something else I can't place. You may not care or even hear it, but I do and it bugs me slightly. But they have very good sounds and they're pretty nicely varied. And I can attest that their service turnaround is very good
 

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Being a musician myself, I like the second one the best if i was playing guitar or music but if i wanted a train sound i would prefer the 1st one with no added effects, I think in our train world most of us would prefer a more natural sound, without reverberation, or echo. The Regal:cool:" border=0> ps I would also agree with you on the QSI part of your post, and given todays economy and the need to find a lesser expensive alternative which is just as good, i would also recommend QSI/Airwire for "More bang for your buck"
 

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A Steamed Elder
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I have two steam engines with Phoenix sound. A Bachmann Connie and an Accucraft C19 #346. I don't hear reverb in EITHER engine. My engines are controlled by Airwire, so I use ALL the sounds on my cards. You definately need to get the software and the interface face cable to customize the sounds to EXACTLY the way you eant them. It's a SUPER system, IMHO.:cool:
 

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I installed a Soundtraxx on to locomotives, a steamer and my GP-9. The fellow with the steamer didn't like it. He had me change it for a P5. I also changed my to a P5.

I will be using Soundtraxx on my F-3's. I already own 2 and will be installing 1 in each of my 3 F-3's. With 3 of them, I suspect it will be loud enough.

Everything else that I have installed sound systems in has either a 2K2 or a P-5.
 

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I guess I have a tin ear..I am also a musician..drummer..maybe that accounts for me not hearing the difference./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif

That being said..I am not bashing anyones system so I will not mention any names....I have had 3 out there, with one being a brand new system being talked about....I still like the Phoenix best!

If you have the Airwire and the P-5...for me there is nothing better! I have 8 systems and counting! I can customize all the sounds and anything on the board with the cable and software...you have to have the software and cable to fully appreciate what it has to offer.

The ONLY problem I see with Phoenix is that the standing sounds are pretty much the same for all steamers..or at least if seems that way for my engines.....they need to add the compressor thump that you always hear on the western films....just love that sound!

Phoenix are ya listening? We need a strong thump of the compressor when standing still!!

Other then that I will always run Airwire and a P-5.

Gee sounds like I am opinionated..naw!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif

BUBBA
 

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here's an earlier thread on the subject--I'm not the only one who hears the reverb in there:

http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/36/tpage/1/view/topic/postid/9971/Default.aspx#9971

If you listen closely to this:
http://www.phoenixsound.com/wav/1361.wav

You can hear reverb all over it. Some of it may simply be where they recorded the sounds. But it seems to me like the verb on the bell is completely different from the verb on the whistle. "Reverb" has a lot of parameters--you can adjust the length of the reverberation, the delay before reverberation, the number of reverberations, the timbre of the reverberations, etc etc. When the train whistle blows, I hear a reverb that's not appropriate to the sonic space of my little railway.

There was also a review of diesel sound on Garden Railways in December 2007, by Gary Raymond, that noticed exactly the same thing, the processing on the diesel sounds. But if you don't hear it and it doesn't bug you then it doesn't matter. It only bugs me a little, and I agree on those guitar clips I posted the reverb sound is much better.


Also this is not meant as some kind of attack on or dismissal of Phoenix. It's just a report of my experiences. They make a high quality product, I own one, I might buy another
 
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