Welcome to RMC readers.  My article on Layout Sound appears in the May, 2008, issue of RMC.  To hear the soundtrack from the article, scroll down to the playing controls.

I'd like to add sound effects to the Shoebox Inglenook.  Sounds could include:

bulletCity sounds, keeping in mind that this layout is set in the 1920 - 1940 time frame
bulletSteam locomotive sound, preferably synchronized with the locomotive

As a first experiment, I downloaded a sound editor called Audacity, then downloaded several free sound tracks, including:

bulletWaves lapping
bulletChurch bell
bulletGeese flying overhead

I built a sound file with the waves as a continuous background, the church bell ringing occasionally, and the geese flying by just once.  

For a second version, I changed the waves to a gentler version and added 

bulletan occasional slap of water against a boat hull (off left)
bulletSounds from the wooden shoe factory - hammer, saw, sanding - from the left channel
bulletCarillon playing in the distance one time

A slightly altered third version, with the hammer and water gains reduced and an occasional bicycle bell added, and now a later version with the bicycle bell sounding more realistic and a "bicycle drive-by" created by Jim Wells added.  I've tinkered with the church bell, varying the gain and adding some delay for the more "distant" occurences.

Here's what it sounds like (about an 8mb mp3 file):  Click below to hear the sound - turn your volume up, as some of the sound is fairly low volume - it's ambient, after all.  This sound track lasts about 8 minutes.


If you are interested in participating in the Layout Sound Yahoo! group, CLICK HERE.

I started my sound experiments by placing a pair of inexpensive self-powered computer speakers behind the layout and driving them with an old mp3 player.   Now, I've purchased a pair of Radio Shack 273-092 8-Ohm Mini Speakers and mounted them in the ends of the layout base.  These little speakers are only 1 1/8" (29mm) diameter.  I tried driving them with the same mp3 player and found that I get good sound from them.  I probably will add some amplification, however, for noisier environments.

I've added a second set of speakers for synchronized locomotive sound from a MRC Sound Box: Steam.  See the speakers on the Construction page - Click Here

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