Author Topic: Speaker comparisons  (Read 4151 times)

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Speaker comparisons
« on: October 09, 2015, 03:40:56 PM »
Originally posted by kpack05 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 15, 2015

While testing various installations of speakers, I made some recordings of what the sound was like using different speakers.  Here's a video showing side-by-side comparisons that I think is rather revealing.

HO model railroad speaker comparison

The recordings were made with a Tascam DR-05 and Seinhauser mic.  What you hear on the video is what I hear in person.

I'm interested in hearing your opinions and thoughts regarding the different speakers.

-Kevin

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2015, 03:41:09 PM »
Originally posted by William Brillinger on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 16, 2015

I'm not sure what to say about these, except to say I know I don't like the round speaker for sure.
It would be nice to have an example of the real sound for comparison too.

- Bill

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 03:41:19 PM »
Originally posted by kpack05 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 16, 2015

I don't have any recordings of actual locomotives, otherwise I would've included them.  Or better yet, sent them on to Tim to have him replace the current prime mover files. 

I agree, the rounds are pretty terrible.  I used to think they were okay, but then I started using the DSM-8.  Now I'm leaning towards replacing everything with Knowles as I think they add a bit more depth to the sound.

-Kevin

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 03:41:30 PM »
Originally posted by picturemaker22 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 16, 2015

Kevin

I certainly agree with Bill regarding the round speakers, they sounded rather tinny. I do prefer the Railmaster DSM-8 speakers overall, the Knowles Grand come in second, they seem a bit muffled.

I have three locomotives that have DS1436-8 Railmaster speakers installed. They sound very much like the DSM-8's, though I do wish that they had better bass response.

Mel

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2015, 03:41:41 PM »
Originally posted by kpack05 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 16, 2015

Mel,

I used to have some D1436-8's installed but I felt that the bass/lower notes were virtually non-existent.  I replaced most of those with DSM-8's.  The DSM's are certainly much more difficult to install due to size, but their casing is fairly thick and can be shaved down with a Dremel or mill. If you do happen to make a hole it can easily be patched.

The DSM can be extremely loud and certainly has good, clear sound.  However, sometimes I still feel like there is a bit too much treble with those speakers.  It helps to mount it facing down....the sound will exit the frame cutout for the trucks and spread out over the ground, helping to dissipate the shrill higher notes.  The shrill sounds are especially noticeable with air blasts and such. 

The Knowles is definitely muffled in the 645 Turbo sample.  The locomotive shell I have them installed in right now has zero openings, and barely any openings for the trucks.  Most of the sound is trapped.  Once I detail that loco there will be openings for all the fans (Cannon) and I should be able to hear much more of the higher notes.  Hopefully not too much though.

I will say that the Knowles seem to be able to add much more bass (probably not true bass, ie sub 100hz) than the DSM.  They certainly sound lower in person and seem to have a little more "depth".  The higher notes are much more subdued, especially the air let-offs and such.  That may or may not be a good thing though....I have a hard time hearing the air compressor now, but thankfully the other air let offs aren't so overpowering (especially on the 645 roots).

Thanks for the input Mel! 

-Kevin

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 03:41:55 PM »
Originally posted by TS on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 17, 2015

Well I wasn't using anything I'd consider high quality in the way
of headphones to listen but my take is:

First off, we know that the quality of sound recordings from Ring
are not as good as what's available from others (but that should
come in time) so we take that into account.

Knowles: Sounded muffled with some distortion. See below.

DSM-8: Much more crisp but sounded like it was struggling to push air.

Round: Much the same as the DSM-8, crisper than the Knowles but also
struggling to push air.

Now all of that is subjective of course, as far as I'm to understand
different sound paths will also alter the sound as well, so a speaker
(let's say DSM-8 for example) will produce really nice sound in brand
A SD-XXX compared to brand B SD-XXX that wasn't designed for sound.

On the subject of the Knowles and sounded muffled/distorted, Do they
have the ohms written on them so you can tell what they are? I have some
"sugar cubes" (not Knowles) and they sound the same but do not have
the ohms written on them. I measured them and from memory they were
over 16 ohms (closer to 30 I think). I think they could be being over
driven.

Tim
Land of OZ

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2015, 03:42:04 PM »
Originally posted by kpack05 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 17, 2015

TIm,

Here is the exact speaker I am using: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/2403%20260%2000071/423-1200-ND/4376274

8 ohms, 0.6 Watt power rating, 1 Watt max.  In pairs I have them wired in series so they are only recieving 0.5 watts max. In double pairs I have them wired series-parallel....16 ohms/2 = 8 ohms total.  I shouldn't be overdriving them because I'm nowhere near max volume on anything.  Most of them are around 30%.

Some of the distortion that I'm hearing I think is due to the recordings themselves.  For example, the 645 roots probably had some clipping in the original recording.  It's not as noticeable when listening through the DSM-8, but I can definitely hear it with the Knowles.  But it seems to be there with both.

And yes, the type of locomotive the speakers are installed in makes a big difference.  The Kato is not designed for sound in the shell and therefore sounds very muffled.  If I were to open up the fans (which I will do eventually) the sound would change dramatically.  What's interesting to me in the case of the 645 Turbo is that you can hear the underlying prime mover sounds with the Knowles, whereas you can only hear the turbo whine with the round.  Opening the fans should give the best of both worlds....good turbo whine while still hearing the deeper prime mover.

-Kevin

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2015, 03:42:17 PM »
Originally posted by TS on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 17, 2015

Kevin,

Your right, with those setting I can't see how you'd be overdriving
them. At least you got specs, I got some similar to these
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail
/en/2403%20260%2000091/423-1201-ND/4376275
from eBay (no real details in the listing but the price was very good)
for testing and measuring them again tonight they are ~25 ohms DC,
which makes them about 28 ohm speakers! I'll have to wire 3 in parallel
to use them. The other speakers I got are the iPhone speakers in a
moulded, ported enclosure and these sound great so far.

Yes, Rings recordings aren't the best and until he opens up loading
custom prime mover sounds we'll have to work with what we've got.

What seems a shame though is there are some real good sound engineers
out there, even in the model rail world who could help manufacturers
design the best way of getting sound out of a model, but I doubt any
are ever consulted.

Cheers,

Tim

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2015, 03:42:29 PM »
Originally posted by William Brillinger on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 17, 2015

Tim is totally open to receiving new recordings.

TS egroupstuff@eftel.net.au [RailProUsers] wrote on 7/17/2015 10:21 AM:
> Yes, Rings recordings aren't the best and until he opens up loading
> custom prime mover sounds we'll have to work with what we've got.
   

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2015, 03:42:40 PM »
Originally posted by kpack05 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 17, 2015

28 ohm?? Yikes! 

Knowles makes some other speaker sizes that should work in smaller applications.  I've only tried the Grand 18mmx13mm.  Here is the search page showing all Knowles 8 ohm speakers: http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?v=423&pv60=106&FV=fff4000b%2Cfff80046&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=25.  Ordering from Digikey has been good for me.  The speakers aren't terribly expensive and shipping is quick.  At $2 US a piece if you buy 10 or more, it's hard to go wrong.

Regarding Ring's prime mover files, the three that I tested in the video are ones that have been around since Railpro was first introduced.  I believe Ring was outsourcing their sound at that point...i.e. the sound files were provided by some company and were most likely already processed.  I am not a huge fan of whatever processing they did on those files, and I'm not a big fan of the source recordings in general.

That being said, the newer recordings are MUCH better.  As I understand it they were recorded by Tim (or someone in Ring Engineering) and are much more pleasing to the ear.  The EMD 567 and Alco 539T are examples of this, as are the new Heavy Steam and Light Steam.  They don't have weird "artifacts" like the older recordings do, they have good depth of sound, and sound much more realistic to me.  Word on the street is there should be a new GEVO file coming soon that was recorded by a Railpro user...all 8 notches up and down while pulling a heavy train with no wind noise.  It should be awesome.  Those are the kinds of recordings we need.

-Kevin

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2015, 03:42:48 PM »
Originally posted by kpack05 on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 17, 2015

And yes, like Bill said Tim is totally open to people submitting recordings.  I have basic recording equipment but can't find access to record any prime movers or much else.  I did manage to capture a decent K5HA-R2 (Gevo) horn file, and I have posted the edited files here for anyone's use.  I'm not sure if anyone has bothered to download and try it out though.

-Kevin

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2015, 03:43:02 PM »
Originally posted by TS on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 18, 2015

Yeah 28 ohm! Well, I did only get them to test with, and the price was
was cheap enough; a few $$$ for 5 with free postage. I've yet to wire
three in series and see how it goes but even a single one does work ok.

Of course Tim is open to getting recordings, he gets something for free
to help sell his product. yes, I do know you can request they not be
made available to everyone else but it was the same with the pictures
before that was opened up, everyone else did the work and he got
marketable material for free.

There might be an argument for taking one for the team with recordings,
the more available the more sellable the system is, which leads to
improvements through market share etc but I don't know how many will
fall for it. I know if I spent a day professionally recording a
locomotive and then spent some more days post editing I certainly
wouldn't be inclined to give away that effort for free, and if I did
I can do that without the middleman.

Cheers,

Tim

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2015, 03:43:13 PM »
Originally posted by William Brillinger on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 18, 2015

Personally I think this is a horrific approach. "waaaa, bo hoo, the manufacturer gets something out of my efforts" :(

When I make recordings for myself, I will certainly make them available to the rest of the community, including Ring Engineering at no charge. Anything that improves the strength of the community and product is good for everyone.

I have no problem with hobbyists sharing their efforts to improve the product, especially when so many other manufacturers just snub their noses at the efforts of their product proponents. Ring has shown themselves to be receptive to user input and that is to be encouraged.

- Bill

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2015, 03:43:25 PM »
Originally posted by TS on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 18, 2015

Warning... fairly long post, with some content relevant to just Bill
as I try my best to explain myself.

I don't disagree with you Bill, but I think it's the reality out there.

I read many a comment from individuals that would never buy into
Railpro because they had to send their photo to Ring for conversion and
then he got to use it as his property. Of course they mostly missed the
point about requesting their work not to be public and now it's all
changed anyway because we can do it all ourselves but that's how it
was. I see it the same with recordings.

There are two sides of the story. I'm a fan of opensource where
applicable and I agree, anything that helps the community is good and
Tim's "mostly" openness is to be commended for the reason you stated
and if I recorded a horn I imagine I'd make it available free to all.

However, if I was like one person I know of and travel hundreds of km
to spend a lot of time to professionally record all the sounds of a
locomotive and then spend days in post editing (just the prime mover
needs 27 sound files) to get seamless transition then there's a lot of
time and effort invested and I'd be thinking hard on giving all that
time and effort away for free, especially if someone else gains
financially from it (even if given away for free if it helps someone
sell their product then they gain financially).

I guess another example; way back in 2002 (and I still have the emails!)
you gave away the artwork for Boley IH truck grills to anyone who asked
on the 87scalecars list. Even though people could have gained from them
you still gave them away (and it helped the hobbyist to improve a
product). I don't know how much time you spent to create them but I
imagine it was enough time that you could have asked for remuneration
if you wanted to. If Boley had come along and wanted to use the artwork
to improve their product which they sell would you have given it to them
for free?

I know it's a bit chalk and cheese but what I'm trying to say in a long
winded way is there is a cut off point for how much time and effort
people are willing to give away for nothing that allows someone else to
get something.

Cheers,

Tim

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Re: Speaker comparisons
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2015, 03:43:36 PM »
Originally posted by William Brillinger on the RailPro Users Yahoo! Group on Jul 18, 2015

Tim,

I guess, the big difference in my mind is that; if I made the recordings for my own benefit, and by sending them to the manufacturer, I receive that benefit, then I have no problem with giving it away.  If I made the recordings with the express intent to market them, then that is a different story.

I only know of a few people, who were vocal about about sending images for processing, but I will say, failing to include the ability to upload your own images locally, from the start was a mistake for Ring.

Cheers,
- Bill