Frequently Asked Questions!

The latest Enginear's Notes

Ever since the introduction of the Sale Magic™ Sound Owner's Manual, phone and email questions have dropped dramatically (whew!). But if you cannot find the answer to your question in the manual, perhaps you will find the answer here. If you don't find answers here or in the manuals, you can always contact us directly... or ask the terrific people in the Yahoo! Layout Sound Group.

Questions answered below:
What is 'Kit Bashing' sound?
Can I order four different scenes on one Scale MagicDream Player?
Can I play four different scenes on The Scale MagicDream Player? On the Pricom Design Dream Player?
Can the Dream Player play more than one scene or sound at the same time?
Is there a cheaper way to add Scale Magic™ sound to a scene in my layout?
How do I go about extracting and converting tracks from an audio CD?
Why does the wind 'howl' so loud?

What is 'Kit Bashing' sound?
You might want to consider doing what a surprising number of our customers are doing, and kit bash! Some folks buy a dream player, an SD card, and one or more of our CD's, separately (the CD's always have more tracks than will fit on the SD). Kit bashers extract (and convert to wave) the tracks they want to 'user load' into their layout... and save a few bucks at the same time. But more importantly, this allows them to pick & choose the tracks they want from the CD! Some folks load four tracks into their Dream Player, then later load four other tracks... kind of rotating the crops to keep things fresh:).

Loading your own SD card is not only easy, it gives you a good deal of creative control over the images your layout presents! Yes, you will have to purchase any additional CD scenes separately, but this gives you an hour or more of sound to choose from, with each/every scene. Kit bashing is free, there is freeware to extract and convert soundtracks for every computer platform/system.

Some energetic folks get even more creative and add their own sounds, or edit and conbine our soundtracks into new files of their own design (but this begins to get into scratch building). Basic kit bashing is simple, and easy to learn and do!


Can I order four different scenes in one Scale Magic™ Dream Player?
The Scale Magic™ Dream Player comes with only one scene, at this time you cannot order it any other way. We would have to charge for additional scenes and for custom loading (railroadies custom design).

It is much cheaper, and for most modelers, more fun to 'user load' the SD yourself (you can use the SD card we send your scene on:).

We only offer one scene on your SD, but you have the option to get additional 60-80 minute CD scenes, and to delete and add files to your SD card, any time you wish.


Can I play four different scenes on The Scale Magic™ Dream Player? On the Pricom Design Dream Player?
Yes, as long as you only want to play one scene at a time. The Scale Magic™ Dream Player is the PRICOM Design Dream Player... with Scale Magic™ sound loaded into it (same exact player).

Many people load four different sound files (scenes) onto a single SD card, and use the Dream Switcher to route each one to the appropriate scene and sound system speakers on their layouts... the switcher does this automatically, and silently.


Can the Dream Player play more than one scene or sound at the same time?
A Dream Player LITE or MK2 plays one audio file at a time, if you want sound in more than one scene at the same time, you need more than one player. Sometimes sound in just one scene at a time is desired, or you may wish to preclude sound competing in adjacent scenes, and so four different scenes on a single player, and a Dream Switcher is the perfect solution.

The Dream Player LITE and MK2 are not 'polyphonic', they play only one audio file at a time.



Is there a cheaper way to add Scale Magic™ sound to a scene in my layout?
Here again, kit bashing is a terrific alternative! You can buy the Dream Player separately, from us or another dealer, an SD card in any size you may need (prices are coming down all the time), and with freeware, load your own SD card(s).

You do not need a dream player to have Scale Magic™ Sound on your layout. CD players, if not just laying around already, are ridiculously cheap these days, as are small amplified 'media' (computer) speaker systems (which you will likely need with any player anyway). Almost anything that can play a CD can be used, for example you might use an old computer, or 'boom box'.

Some folks drive small speakers directly with the headphone/line level signal coming out of their players (Dream Player, CD, Mp3, computer, etc.). This will never be very loud, but some folks are happy with the results they get. It can vary with different players and scenes, and we cannot guarantee your results, but you can try it before 'investing' in a small amplified media speaker system.


How do I go about extracting and converting tracks from an audio CD?
Extracting an audio track from a CD is as simple as downloading freeware, running it, and clicking a few check boxes and buttons. Most of this software allows you to also convert the extracted track to any data file format you wish (i.e., a wave file format for the Dream Player, or for importing into an audio editor), as a part of the extraction process.

Simply do a google search for, 'rip & burn freeware' and you will find several free applications that will run on your particular platform and system. These are all similar and do the same thing, they extract the audio file, and when set up to do so, convert the file to whatever format you need. When extracting Scale Magic™ soundtracks from a CD for use in the Dream Player, always check that the track is extracted as stereo, at 16 bit, 44.1khz sampling rate, and is converted to wave (.wav) file format.

You can read details for extracting audio tracks from a CD in Professor Klyzlr's terrific step by step tutorial in PDF file format, available for free, right here:


Why does the wind 'howl' so loud?
There are actually a couple of reasons that the wind may appear out of proportion with the rest of the scene:

1. The volume is too loud. Scale Magic™ Imaging can literally destroy itself in thin air! Because of the extensive use of phase canceling in our imaging, some sounds will actually begin to disappear with volume. If you turn the volume up in an effort to try to make every little sound audible to everyone (and after all, you paid for them all!), you may actually be causing just the opposite effect. Many sounds will either become thin, tinny, or fuzzy, and others will disappear almost completely. The wind uses phase canceling in the same way, but is actually much quieter, so it tends to survive louder volume levels better.

2. You have a cheap sound system, or an expensive sound system. Either one of these is more likely the problem. Many cheaper little systems are boomy in the lower midrange regions in the hopes of appearing to have more bass response. The majority of the wind's energy is in the lower mid range of the soundtrack, and in the bass region.

Larger home stereo systems, or better systems with more bass response will do a better job of reproducing bass and low mid frequencies, and because of soundtrack compensation for smaller speakers and quiet listening levels, the lower regions that are exaggerated in the soundtrack, are reproduced 'perfectly exaggerated' on bigger systems. Here again the wind will be too prominent.

3. Sometimes the speakers are too far apart. As mentioned in the owner's manual, Scale Magic™ Imaging is meant to be applied in a way where the two speakers are in close proximity to each other (in order for phase canceling to occur). Some people will apply the speakers in a more conventional stereo approach with speakers separated in the room. This can prevent any phase canceling of the wind (and some other sounds!), effectively doubling the volume of the wind.

Often times any of the above reasons can be compensated for with simple adjustments to either the volume, or bass (tone) controls, or sometimes with speaker placement changes. In the rare case where a little speaker system has anomalies that cannot be 'tuned out', another system (even another little system) will solve the wind issues.

We can assure you that the wind is perfectly transparent and quite believable here when we build it. You will notice that there is (on most of our soundtracks) a gust of wind at the beginning. Indeed, we use this wind gust as a reference for setting the playback volume for any soundtrack, on any system, in any room, and for any scale. You can too, simply turn it down to where the wind is believable, and let all other sounds fall where they may relatively. This is also the way we build the soundtracks. What's the right volume? The answer is most often blowing in the wind.



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Artwork by Dan Sawatzky
Sawatzky's Imagination Corporation

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