Model Railroad Magic Logo

About The Model Railroad Magic Website Site



To "the world's greatest magician's assistant"... Christie!!!

Chief Enginear:

"that dang Dale" E. Williams


About this Site:

The Model Railroad Magic Website is intended to serve as a singular focus and reference for the many aspects of model railroading that represent "the entertainment factor", a factor too often ignored or ancillary elsewhere. I hope to teach the practical side of making your railroad, "fun to play with"...

The Magic site is built to an original specification which "would allow anyone with an internet connection and a minimum browser to have complete access, without the need for downloading additional software, or special plug-ins". I wanted to share the information with as many modelers as possible. Unfortunately, this criteria has precluded the placement of sound around the site, with ANY predictability. Long time visitors to the site know that we have been searching for the "right" audio format, or even plug-in (although there are number of QuickTime soundtracks around at this point). During this time, the virtual IDH has remained mostly silent. The only truly important sound, the sound for YOUR railroad, is always available for downloading to all major platforms, at The General Store (and elsewhere around the Magic site).



1979 - Sutton Sound Studios, Rick Sutton - enginear

1982 - Santa Barbara Sound Recorders, Daniel Prothero - enginear

1994 - T.N.T. Studios, Doug Tomoka - enginear

1997 - Painted Sky Studios, Steve Crimmel, - enginear

Thank you Bill Murry and Ka Norton for the help with keyboards and midi!


Hardware & Software:

This site was initially created, designed, and constructed on "Morris Ratchet", our Macintosh II (no letters, just II!), using system 7.5.5, Adobe Illustrator 6.0, Adobe PageMill 2.0, Adobe SiteMill 2.0, and GifBuilder 2.0.

The work continues on the new Mac G3 ("Morris Jr."), using OS8.5, the usual software with the addition of a new Digidesign Pro Tools Project digital audio workstation with 888 I/O and Waves plug-ins. We also added a Yamaha CDR 400T, a Sony MZ-R30 mini disc recorder/player, a JBL Media-1 monitor system (w/ a nifty "Classic Mac" looking subwoofer), and a JBL 5.1 cinema surround monitor system... all neat toys.

Additionally, I am happy to announce that we have made a total commitment to the Beatnik way of life! We are busy converting all sound files at the Magic site into the .rmf (or compatable) format. If you have not yet installed the free Beatnik plug-in, get after it right now!

. . .



Our Award:

TrainNet Web Gem Award

"We would like to thank all the little people, who made this award possible... (thanks elves)"



Another Award (Gosh!):

C&H Award

This is getting embarrassing...



And then this happened in December of '99...

...and we didn't even know about it until a couple of weeks afterwards! Golly Gosh!


About the author:

James Robert Wells never stood a chance. His parents were model railroaders before they were parents! His parents were also musicians. It is this juxtaposition of media that, in hindsight, left him with no choice in what he would be "when he grows up" (assuming that ever happened...).

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1948, he was already playing piano at age two, and still has fond memories of riding the Pacific Electric "red car to Grandma's house". He built and sold his first HO layout at age nine, began playing music professionally and ventured into his first recording studios at age fifteen, and became an avionics technician in the Marine Corps air wing at age eighteen (an opportunity he attributes directly to his experiences with model railroad wiring). He joined the Audio Engineering Society at age twenty-two and has worked professionally in literally every aspect of music production and sound reproduction ever since. Over the years he has designed, engineered and implemented several broadcast and music recording studio facilities, innovated in the application of piezo ceramic transducers for distributed music/paging systems and for audio-animatronics, and toured nationally as a mix engineer for portable concert sound.

He met and married his understanding wife Christie in 1979, and shortly thereafter they started Fantasonics (tm) Engineering, a design/consulting group specializing in the creation of music programs and audio systems for theme park attractions and animated shows. With his company of "Enginears" he has pioneered in the design of portable sound, three dimensional animated sound fields (Aural Image Animation (TM) Systems), and some of the fundamental ways in which sound is created and recreated. He has remained a model railroader the whole time, working in extremely large scales and live steam for the past two decades.

These days, his time is focused one way or another on the evolution of portable, musical, animated display for commercial application outside the theme park environment.

The I.D.H.R.R. itself is in part a design model for the first "animation transportation (tm) system", a system in which passenger animated characters, and the transportation system itself, are each synchronized musical parts of the display/orchestration through which they are both traveling. It was inevitable that the first ever "animation moving" transportation system would have a railroad theme.