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Author Topic: Your Opinion on Smoke and Sound  (Read 7357 times)
NWsteam


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« on: January 16, 2010, 01:05:19 PM »

I have never liked smoke. It smells (There is that no odor stuff), it gets everywhere, and in my opinion it doesn't look very good. Though the BLI/MTH smoke genorators with the chuff are a kind of cool.

I haven't even liked sound that long. Everytime I heard it I was not impressed. I just purchased my first sound locomotive (BLI N&W A) and its alright. Maybe its because I haven't messed with any CVs at all. I like sound some of the time and some of the time I like to just shut it off.

The reason I bring this up is I am also a part of the BLI forum. They all request engines that have been done by other companies like a berk for example and say there is a great need for them. I don't see the need as several other companies make a berk. The only reason the want BLI to do it is for smoke and sound. (OK getting off my soap box).


The real reason I posted this is because I wanted to hear your opinion of smoke/sound.


-Brad
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 10:38:45 PM by NWsteam » Logged
jward


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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2010, 01:47:20 PM »

ok, i'll bite.

smoke. the smoke units i've seen in action don't look that good to me. plus, rails tend to attract things like smoke out of the air. i don't know if locomotive smoke is like cigarette smoke but if it is you'll have an oily crud on your track. with dcc being finicky about good contact between wheels and rails, i can't see smoke as an advantage.

sound. i am no expert on steam sound. so i can't make a judgement there.
diesel sound, though, is hit or miss. there are some sound decoders out there that are dead on. mrc has one for the alco s2/s4 that is a dead ringer for an alsco 244 prime mover, as used in the rs3 and fa2. the s2/s4, however, used tha 539 prime mover which had a whistling chug that sounds nothing like a 244. somebody also makes an excellent emd 567 decoder that sounds great in an f7 or gp9. most sound decoders, though, seem to miss the mark by varying degrees....

bottom line, i would not buy a locomotive equipped with sound without first hearing it and making my own judgement as to its accuracy. i can't see paying a couple hundred for something that isn't dead on.....
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Chris350
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2010, 03:27:20 PM »

In a nut shell, sound is kinda fun, but usually way to loud. Smoke is a gimmick.  Fun for a minute or two then it's just smoke.  I'm also on the bLI forums and wonder about the regular requests for "redo's" of other manufacturers locos.  But I guess that's the expense of being a "boutique" model train builder.
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Atlantic Central

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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2010, 04:02:27 PM »

Smoke - totally unrealistic in HO and not a good idea indoors or around a model layout.

Sound - I have experiance designing HiFi speakers, so to me almost of it in HO or N scales sounds terrible, diesel or steam. Its all way too loud, even turned down in many cases, there is no bass, its all tinny and sounds like a 1967 nine transistor radio.

In larger scales some of it is quite good, but not in HO or N scale for me.

Another thing many don't think about is how far you are from the model in scale feet? how loud would it be?

Three feet is 261 feet in HO scale, that's not real close. 12 feet across a room is 1044 feet, would you hear it hardly at all?

I still run DC and no sound and will stay that way.

Sheldon
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pipefitter


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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2010, 05:34:39 PM »

I am one step behind the current state of the art. My trains are mostly 60's through 80's that I didn't have time for while I was working. Now recently retired I have time to enjoy them  Cheesy Regarding sound however, I don't want it. Growing up with AHM, Tyco, Life Like and Bachmann toy grade locos, I was thrilled when I got a Mehano (LL Scene Master) Mikado during the 80's and it was silent! When running it all one hears are the train car wheels rolling. Even better is the clickety-clack of the wheels going over the joints in my Atlas snap track, "click-clack, click-clack..............click-clack, click-clack..............click-clack, click-clack.............." Ahh, the silence is music to my ears  Grin
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 05:52:55 PM by pipefitter » Logged

Grew up next to B&O's Metropolitan Branch - Silver Spring Maryland
NWsteam


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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2010, 07:01:57 PM »

Sheldon- I have never thought of that. My second job is a part time sound tech. I'm used to things sounding nice.

-Brad
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Joe Satnik


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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2010, 07:49:18 PM »

In the smaller scales it would be nice to have a woofer or sub-woofer under the table.  Not sure what the best way would be to co-ordinate with the mids and treble from the loco..

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If your loco is too heavy to lift, you'd better be able to ride in, on or behind it.
jbsmith


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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2010, 08:07:55 PM »

smoke--i kinda like to see the smoke now and then. my layout is 2 4x8 in an L configuration so all the track is easy to reach and clean wich i do about once a month anyways  regardless so that is not a big deal to me. plus i am a dc runner.
The smell of the smoke does not bother me at all,,i've been to
real train festivals and the smell of coal smoke was everywhere and thick.
I lived in the smog  and wild brushfire capital of SoCal for 20 years[ i live in SW MI now],,so comparatively speaking the smoke from an HO 2-6-2 Prairie or the 4-8-4 UP from the Overland set is nothing.

Sound--i agree with most that the sound is like listening to a old pocket sized 9volt transistor radio. I have been considering the mrc symphony 77 for sound as opposed to paying the extra $200+ for a single loco that has sound. the mrc 77 may not be the best but it beats the locos i have heard so far when it comes to the quality of the sound, plus i can live with the generic steam and diesel sounds it has.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 08:15:52 PM by jbsmith » Logged
GN.2-6-8-0


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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2010, 08:29:42 PM »

Have no time whats so ever for smoke units,sound yes its a bit tinny and mostly too loud,I have 3 and turn it down to a minimum setting.....or I'll  mute it if it begin's getting on my nerves lol
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Rocky Lives
RAM

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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2010, 10:10:19 PM »

I don't have any locomotive that have sound or smoke.  Like most people I think smoke is just a toy.  I had a friend in KC who had a PFM sound system, so I go way back.  It sounded great,  I was something new.  But he said after a while he would turn it off, and run the trains.  As far as people wanting BLI to redo a 2-8-4.  Too many people feel that Bachmann only makes junk.  Once you start out making toy train you can not change.  It is just their loss.
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jward


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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2010, 11:45:45 PM »

it is a shame that so many can't get beyond the bachmann = pancake motor mentality. in my opinion, the bachmann diesels out to-day run better than the atlas diesels of the 1970s. they are definitely more reliable and less derailment prone. bachmann is proof that you can change.

i wonder why lifelike, which started out making locomotives similar in quality to the old bachmann pancake motor stuff, but upgraded their line to proto 2000, doesn't have the same reputation problems? the p2k stuff has some very well documented quality control problems with cracked axle gears. i have never encountered problems like that with bachmann products.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
lmackattack

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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2010, 12:44:19 AM »

I think DCC has made sound so much fun with model trains. I remember the days when people would sell Tape cassets of Diesel/steam sounds to play under the layout LOL. Now we play with sounds that emit from the loco running on the layout. Its very cool. Smoke. ....I dont own any locos that smoke...yet....The old tyco smoke unit is BS. However I think the BLI/MTH puffing smoke is very cool when putting on a show for guests. I like the slow speed puffs like when you are pulling a train out of a station at 10mph , passing under a bridge and picking up speed... it looks pretty cool. Its not something to be used all the time. its just one of those things that you use when "showing off".

 
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Joe323

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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2010, 01:35:45 AM »

Honestly I have one Steamer that smokes in my layout and that's fun more like 5 minutes and then I'm done.  The smoke is not very realistic.

As for sound I also considered The MRC system but decided that It wasn't worth it.  I do remember have a Lionel 2-6-2 as I kid with Sound of steam and smoke and the sound was good but the smoke sucked.  I pretty well over the need for either
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Barney R


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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2010, 11:23:44 AM »

I do not use smoke. I have only one unit with smoke, however I do not want to use smoke because of the dirt factor on the tracks.
As to sound- I love it. I have a Bachmann 4-6-0 (52") and I think that the sounds are great. The johnson bar activation, the water filling, chuging and  I can still hear the ckicking over the rails. I just installed a sound decoder in a older 4-6-2 Heavy Pacific (Rivarossi) and it is outstanding. The slower motion movement is exceptional. With a cab position of 1, there is a steam blow off, followed by a chug and a smooth slow take off. I is just outstanding.
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CNE Runner


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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2010, 11:47:12 AM »

Realizing that opinions are like noses and everyone has one; I'll jump into the fray.

As a past collector of Lionel trains, I have come to hate smoke units in trains. Generally they produce a noxious-smelling vapor that is wispy (at best) and only lasts a short time. After running 2 or 3 of these locomotives indoors; take a look at the visibility in the train room (think fall mornings in San Francisco). I choose not to breath cigarette smoke - and feel likewise about model railroad locomotive 'smoke'.

Regarding sound: I definitely prefer sound to silent. Case in point are the two Bachmann American 4-4-0s I currently run. One of these locomotives is silent as it was purchased before sound was available...the other is not. I much prefer running the sound-equipped locomotive as it seems to add another dimension to the experience. Yes, the speaker is tinny and devoid of much base tone...but enjoyable none the less. Unfortunately the sound level is deafening. I always adjust the sound such that the level approximates the sound level one would hear some 200+ scale feet away. This procedure puts the locomotive IN the scene such that it enhances the experience and doesn't overwhelm.

I vote NO on smoke and YES on sound...which are only two of the vast number of opinions I have in store.

Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
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