I ask this because I have one of the first-issue Legacy GP in NYC livery and I just received a recent NKP GP9 'Torpedo'. The sounds on my early Legacy GP seem so much more 'robust' - the prime mover sounds deeper, the horn more unit specific. The NKP version, the sound are good, more flange squeal and diesel 'racket' - but sounds the same as my NW-1 and SW-7, right down to the horn. I know these units were all built by EMD, but usually they have little discernible sound traits the differ from one engine to another. I'm curious if all the Alco units sound the same as well.

Original Post

I think the variety in the sounds has been scaled down, and of course, all the road number/name specific crew talk disappeared as well.  Cost cutting at the Blue & Orange.

You'll also notice you lost the bi-colored LEDs in the marker lights too. IMO the" first gen" legacy stuff is the pinnacle of Lionels sound. Nearly every steamer offered had its own unique chuff.

Now I think Lionel has only 1 or 2 chuff styles making most locomotives sound alike aside from whistles.

Recent articulated offerings i.e Challenger and LM bigboy don't even have the correct articulated chuff .

Lionel has a new sound engineer since RT left. This may have something to do with it.

I believe the Lionel NYC GP was their first Legacy Diesel and indeed the sounds were much more varied and interesting than the later geeps. One just sold for small money so someone else got a nice engine but I have two already.

I am OK with non specific crew and tower com though. Makes it easier when I get an engine to reletter for another road.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

Mentioning the marker lights I thought something was off. I’ll have to check my NYC GP Torpedo as well. I have two steam engine that are light years apart - a scale 0-8-0  With TMCC and a legacy B6sb. I love the way the B6 sounds and operates. I hope the upcoming B6’s don’t suffer the same ‘generic’ fate. 

I'm also fine with the non-specific crew talk sounds.  I mean, in reality, a CSX dispatcher is not going to call a train by "CSX (insert cab number)".

But the worst offender of generic sounds comes in Lionel's newer EMD diesels.  Everything over the past few years including SD40s, SD45s, SD50s, SD60s, SD70s, and SD80s of all variations all use the same sound set, which isn't even that great in my opinion.  It's sad because they've made some really nice equipment, especially with the semi-fixed pilots and roadname-specific details.  But for the price, an SD40 and an SD70ACe should not be having the same horn, bell, and prime mover sounds.  And I don't understand why, because they have sound sets they've used before that are are much better that I don't know why they're not still using.

An example: The Lionel 6-28330 UP SD70ACe from 2009 has a great horn and prime mover sound set.  Why aren't they using this one on the new SD70ACes?  Do they not own the right to the sounds, perhaps?

Last edited by Woody Ridenour

They have a new sound engineer, and I'm guessing he's not up to speed in creating new sound sets.  I can't imagine Rudy would have let those get out the door like that.

I have always wondered if it's really the expense of creating new sound sets, or instead just saving on assembly costs.

Having the factories keep track of multiple stockpiles of engine-specific chips must be more costly than having a big pile of generic "sound chips" that can be stuck in multiple products.

I could be wrong, but I can't see how there can be much expense in specifying which sound set gets loaded onto a chip.  I would think the expense from sound would be all the time and work of recording, editing, and producing the sound files.  I guess what I can't see is why, when better and more accurate sound files have already been made, more generic files would be chosen and stuck in locomotives.  For instance, the 2008 release of the Legacy GS-4 steamer had a whistle clearly recorded from the real 4449 excursion steam locomotive.  Yet the 2016 updated version of the locomotive I personally own has a generic SP whistle (a good whistle nonetheless, but not as accurate as the real one).  Why would they use a generic one when they already went to the trouble of recording the real one?  

Its one thing to have unique whistles and chuff sounds. Another to have specific road names and cab numbers mentioned. They could use the same sound set for all the SP GS 2-6 engines if cab numbers are not mentioned. No doubt some varied and Jack will point that out but for most of us if they duplicate 4449 it would be close enough for the rest.

Pete

 

  I guess what I can't see is why, when better and more accurate sound files have already been made, more generic files would be chosen and stuck in locomotives.  For instance, the 2008 release of the Legacy GS-4 steamer had a whistle clearly recorded from the real 4449 excursion steam locomotive.  Yet the 2016 updated version of the locomotive I personally own has a generic SP whistle (a good whistle nonetheless, but not as accurate as the real one).  Why would they use a generic one when they already went to the trouble of recording the real one?  

On top of more "generic sounds". The new challengers have 4 chuffs instead of 8. The new $1000+  Lionmaster Lionchief bigboy  also has incorrect 4 chuffs. Previous LM bigboys had 8.

It will be interesting to see if the new scale bigboys are incorrect as well.  The new  J3 hudsons got 5 chuffs instead of 4.( how the H**l did that happen?)

The Pennsy 2-10-4's got an incorrect hooter whistle instead of a 3 chime. Lionel insisted it was accurate( because they know better?)

Additionally the H10 audio board is over powered and cuts out.

It has been mentioned in the past that Mike R was a "train guy".  I have no clue if any of Lionels current personnel are "train people" or if there just "electronics people" that got a gig making toy trains.

FWIW. Former audio engineer Rudy T. seemed very interactive here on the forum as far as input regarding the accuracy of sounds.

There has to be someone at Lionel who either knows the difference, or at least cares, or they will continue to produce stuff thats "good enough", or "close enough". Then we get things like silver paint instead of graphite, and 2 entirely different shades of red on a PRR steamer.

 To those folks that think " mistakes happen" and "its not Lionels fault". I ask, when is the last time you paid over $1000 for anything, and were O.K. with it being incorrect, or defective?

God bless em'. They can be the "beta testers" that I can base my purchase decisions on.

 

Last edited by RickO
@Norton posted:

Its one thing to have unique whistles and chuff sounds. Another to have specific road names and cab numbers mentioned. They could use the same sound set for all the SP GS 2-6 engines if cab numbers are not mentioned. No doubt some varied and Jack will point that out but for most of us if they duplicate 4449 it would be close enough for the rest.

Pete

 

Absolutely agree.  All they need is a good generic EMD 710 prime mover sound set they could use across SD60s and 70s, and a good 645 prime mover sound set for use in SD40 and 50 series.  Then get a basic set of Leslie and Nathan horn recordings and they'd be set to be as accurate as anyone but the most rivet-counter types would need for all these modern O scale EMD. This is exactly what MTH has done, and the reason why I've honestly been buying more of Mike's stuff lately, even though I tend to prefer the operating characteristics of Legacy. 

But one generic "EMD-ish" sound and a generic "5-chime" horn to use across everything from a 1960's Southern SD45 to a 2010's BNSF SD70 is just going too far for me.

I think the variety in the sounds has been scaled down, and of course, all the road number/name specific crew talk disappeared as well.  Cost cutting at the Blue & Orange.

And i aint gonna "shed a tear" when it comes to loosing "crew talk"

However Lionel needs more alco, EMD, and GE sounds. An ALCo 244 doesn't sound like an ALCo 251 and a GE U series doesn't sound like a C40-8 and an EMD GP38 doesn't sound like a GP7/GP9 either!

I have always wondered if it's really the expense of creating new sound sets, or instead just saving on assembly costs.

Having the factories keep track of multiple stockpiles of engine-specific chips must be more costly than having a big pile of generic "sound chips" that can be stuck in multiple products.

To quote Henry Ford

Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.

Sad, if this is the reason. Actual, whatever the reason.

I have always wondered if it's really the expense of creating new sound sets, or instead just saving on assembly costs.

Having the factories keep track of multiple stockpiles of engine-specific chips must be more costly than having a big pile of generic "sound chips" that can be stuck in multiple products.

When Electric Railroad was still in the Lionel engineering center in California, the sound boards came in blank. They were programmed individually at ERR.

The RS-Lite boards are programmable, so there is only one Legacy board for all the different models, it's just the programming that changes them.  I'm sure it's the fact that they'd have to keep straight all the variations and get them into the right road names and numbers that is the driving force.  Gosh, they couldn't even get the articulated chuffs into the Vision Line Challenger, think about it.

If only the boards we accessible by the consumer for modifying and swapping sounds like MTH and also most other DCC products.  Then I wouldn't care what they put on it from the factory as long as I could pop in and set it up to my liking.  Or at very least, if other boards could be (easily) purchased and swapped in.

I guess I'm just an audio-oriented person.  I love music, too, and for me a great part of the excitement of railroading are the sounds.  So for me when an otherwise fantastic model has sounds that are way off, it just ruins it for me in a way I suppose it may not for many.

I'm with the early legacy crowd here. I have the GP38-2, F7, Dash-8, Trainmaster and 3 SD70ACes all with the road specific crew talk and love it. I only have 3 post 2010 legacy engines and they sound good but not as good as the early stuff. My NYC F7 has a better horn than my CB&Q F3s from 2012 (although I do like the squeaking and creaking sounds when moving). Overall though, the early legacy stuff was the best. Guess the Cinderella song/phrase "Don't know what you got till it's gone" applies here. 

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