Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Back again with another little project

After my previous months flurry of posts I ran out of steam however I was off again when I heard that the Model Railroad Craftsman had received the first QSI Titan sound decoders. Now, those that know me realise that I like to experiment and try new things so off to Blacktown and $135 later I had a Heavy Steam Titan in my hands.
Now, what to do with it? You would think that I would already have a plan after waiting for it to turn up for so long but no. The Titan comes in several versions with different sound sets that can be changed so the Heavy Steam version wasn't a problem as I had a QSI Programmer and the accompanying software and could change it if necessary.
After due consideration I opened the storage draw under the lower staging yard and decided on my NSWGR D57 class so the Heavy Steam sound set was fine after all.
There is a story about this particular model that I would like to tell.
In 1973 in the first year of Chris' and my marriage we were living in a flat at Cronulla and desperate to get a block of land I approached Neil Cram who I had built a NSWGR 25 class 2-6-0 locomotive for and worked out a deal. He assisted us with money for a deposit on our land at Helensburgh and I would  build him the equivalent in locomotives (no actual number was discussed we would work it out along the way). The first loco of the deal was a 57 class that Neil had some brass etchings made up for consisting of the tender, cab and smokebox. Along with the etchings was a 4-10-2 chassis from a brass loco to be used as the basis for the 57. Anyway after a lot of work on a small desk with a Unimat lathe that could be converted to a milling machine the 57 resulted.
About 6 years ago I was in Tom's Hobbies at West Ryde when I noticed something in the second hand display case that was very familiar. Along with it were several other locos I recognised and I guess Neil was cleaning up his collection, a lot of better model locos having been produced down the years. I couldn't afford them all so I bought the 57.
Now to the present, the Titan comes with two speakers as it has stereo output so that you can get sound from the appropriate areas of a loco. The two speakers being 28mm diameter were too large for what I wanted to do so I bought a 18mm and a 13mm speaker and enclosures. The idea was to put the 18mm one down the boiler as far as possible for the chuff and compressor then to put the 13mm one in the cab for whistle, generator, blower, injectors, etc. The QSI CV Manager software has sliders for each sound so that any sound can be directed to either speaker or balanced somewhere between. The speakers placement was accomplished relatively quickly but I had to put the Titan above the motor and sticking into the cab a bit, thanks goodness for the large boiler made from rolled brass (that was fun to make way back when). I couldn't put the decoder in the tender as I has soldered it all up, no way in and the floor was milled from a piece of brass.
Using the QSI Programmer and the accompanying CV Manager software I proceeded to choose from the available sounds to produce what I felt a 57 sounded like based on a DVD I have with 5711 chuffing away. The Titan has a number of different chuffs, many whistles including the Eureka 38, 60 and Austrains 35, different compressors and generators to choose from. The whole sound scheme can have the overall pitch adjusted (bass to treble range) and the chuff has another pitch adjustment as well. Of course with small speakers some of the bass is not really available. I would love to hear the Titan on some larger speakers. I was also able to nominate 6 chuffs per wheel revolution. There are many other adjustments available that I won't go into but do investigate. I should mention that it allows a 'User sound' to be loaded in and this sound can be looped if necessary, I am not sure what you can do with that though, perhaps a more suitable compressor as it is a simpler sound than a whistle for instance. A whistle could be done but it would always have the same length and couldn't be looped as a whistle has a start, a middle and an end that have to dealt with separately to extend the whistle sound.
Anyway, enough talk, here is another rough video of the 57 in action on Bylong.


Anonymous said...


I think you have captured the 57 sound reasonably well, especially in comparison to others I have heard.

My thoughts overall & that is based on the same recordings I have are probably the same ones you have also, is that the exhaust level is far too sharp, or tinny.

While there is no doubt the small speakers do not help, I seem to hear 2 sounds in there, & after watching a youtube video from the QSI site they also sound the same or very close. link here.

What I seem to be picking up is perhaps the affect of the stereo setup, with the more prominent exhaust coming out too sharpish but in the background there seems to be a 2nd set of exhaust that is of a lower frequency & from my ears seems much better.

Overall though I am a bit more positive towards the Titan having now heard it with your set up, but gee I would like to see the whistles gotten right. Especially when the 57, 58 & 38 all had the same brass 5 chime from what I have been able to pick up. The classic sound of the 57 is the one on Night Shift with 5711 approaching Galong especially the whistle there.

I would love to hear the model without the 2nd speaker working, & with more bass in the beat.

& on that score at least, while it may not be the same as the graphic equaliser on the Tsunami, but seeing it does have some adjustment prospects, that is a step forward. Which brings another question.

I gather you used the Quantum programer, but as many use Decoder Pro, & I understand there is an update for the Titan available, does it have the same range of sound adjustments to it as the QSI programer?

None the less things are looking better.


Ray P said...


I think that the tinny sound is due to the small speakers I have used in an attempt to direct the various sounds to the appropriate ends of the loco. I might dig out the coal load and cut through the brass in the bunker and mount a large speaker to see if the bass gets better, I suspect it would but then it will be coming from the tender again. A problem we will always be stuck with I think.
The video link you supplied is an example of large speakers as they are in the tenders and the sound is very much rounder/bassy (is that a word?).
The chuff is only coming out through the front 18mm speaker so there is no stereo effect.
Each sound can be output to either speaker or proportionally between. I had to use a bit of the front speaker for the whistle as it was overdriving the small 13mm speaker in the cab.
I used the QSI Programmer and CV Manager software but I have also looked at the recent Decoder Pro file for the Titan and the QSI software is better but you could get used to the Decoder Pro file without too much trouble, it is just not quite as friendly.


Nemesis said...

Ray, for what it is worth speakers will tend to sound more bassy if they are enclosed in a box. I know the limitations of room in HO scale loco's at times demand small open speakers be used, but the added bass from an enclosed speaker is so much better to listen to.

I enjoy your posts, especially your video's. You are an artist whose talent is so readily displayed.

Excellent blog!

Ray P said...


The speakers both have enclosures, the problem is that given the space in the loco they are just too small to bring out much bass. I am thinking of mounting a QSI mega bass speaker in the tender to see what bass the Titan can put out which of course goes against the intent of getting the chuff to come from the right place in the loco.


Ray P said...


Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated.

I have along way to go with the videos though, very different from doing still shots, not much depth of field.