I’m not sure being away from our layout “Ambleton Vale” for a few days is really a good thing. As we couldn’t fiddle with the layout, instead the mind took over and started to think of ways we could add more interest to the setup but keeping it simple. Now we know this is nothing new but we have decided to go with a soundscape or two. We don’t want an overall sound running for 6 or 7 hours at an exhibition, that would be annoying to everyone but something that comes and goes and is position specific. Sort of sound puddles perhaps one over the Horse race course and another that takes in the cattle market and station. Most of our engines already have onboard sound.
I spent yesterday researching all the ways it could be done, some very simple and some a bit more complicated. I found 2 or 3 model railway specific sound modules plus a system that looked very simple and ideal for us but once I’d watched a couple of video reviews thought better of it.
Now our philosophy at Ambleton Vale has always been to keep it all as simple as possible. As new comers to this hobby we need to know that if things go wrong at an exhibition that we have a good chance of fixing it there an then, hence using a mix of DCC and wire in tube for the point work and no working signals etc.
So what did we come up with in the end?
We actually stepped away from the model railway world and decided the simplest way for us would be to use 2 cheap mp3/Bluetooth/rechargeable players attached to the back of the layout where we stand to operate the layout, allowing us to easily turn each sound on and off at will, plus a couple of small hockey puck size Bluetooth, rechargeable speakers that can be either fixed under the layout in the key areas or above the layout in the lighting pelmet. No wires and both things will easily hold enough power to play all day if required.
I have already down loaded 4 or 5 sound files which I will throw into a sound editor when I get home and cut, past and mix until I get the right mix of Cattle, auctioneer and station sounds and then mix down to one 4 min mp3 that fades in and out. We will then do the same for the Race course. At the end of the day we would like to be able to kick each sound off at will from where we stand and have them overlap at times too. So this is our plan on returning home. Will let you know how it all goes. If it works, then fine and dandy and if it doesn’t we will have to think again. Would like to have it in place for Shoeburyness and Manchester exhibitions later this year :-)