Lets jump right to your first question... "How much"?
Custom soundtracks generally cost between a couple hundred dollars, up to a couple thousand per scene. Clients have spent more. Its always best to inquire first, its free and we're accessable.
One thing we can tell you without hesitation is that no two scenes, or layouts, or layout owners, are ever exactly the same! That's where the 'custom' part comes in:). Our sound is in hundreds of layouts all over the world, and we're model railroaders ourselves... we understand. And no one anywhere has more experience building sound in scale than the RailRoadies, no matter what you may be dreaming of doing, we can painlessly guide you through all your options.
If you can imagine it, we can bring it to life. Our clients often have terrific imaginations, and some can afford to comission anything they wish,. But quality scale sound does not have to be elebaorate and expensive. We'll work with you to evolve a design that makes you, your layout, and your budget happy.
Once a client realizes that they can have anything imaginable, they tend to get... 'enthusiastic'. We always stress keeping lauout sound simple and straightforward. Moreover, we are usually the 'voice of reason' when it comes to simplifying an overall layout sound strategy. A straightforward approach will always be easier all around, less invasive to an existing layout, and invariably less expensive.
We routinely create specialty era approapriate music and character
voices in the recording studio. We also do field recording, create/perform
sound FX in the studio, or build any sound imaginable from scratch
in the digital domain. If you imagine it, we really can bring
it to life.
The Fantasonics Enginears pioneered in sound in the themeparks, and we'll always bring the same spirit of innovation and personalization to your pike! Private layout or commercial public display, we can work with you, and all of your builders and contractors to integrate sound seamlessly with your layout's visual presentation.
For us, the best part of being RailRoadies is getting to work
with some of the most talented, skilled and creative folks in
the Hobby! Anywhere, really.
We can engineer an audio system for a single scene, or an entire layout.
The audio system components are generally less than 10% of the overall cost.
Integrating the soundtrack and the audio system with the visual elements of a layout is our specialty. We've learned how to simplify the audio system requirements through creative integration of soundtrack and system. System and sound is either integrated consiously, or it will likely sound like it wasn't!
Its up to you (and your layout:), but just a few free running scenes with sound are all that is usually necessary in the vast majority of layouts, in order to bring 'the other image' to life.
At right are the audio systems for two very different layout
operations. One is a highly orchestrated sequenced 'show', the
other primarily free running scenes (with 'co-ordinated' day/nighttime
transitions), assisted by several operator cued audio and animated
We routinely work with unusual projects, and in every scale imaginable... its what we do.
No layout is too big or too samll to benefit from the addition of well placed sound... hearing is believing!
Pictured at right is the on board audio system design for 'No.2, The Phoebe', a 15" gauge electric steam outline ride-in loco. Not your typical scale model railroad, but one of our favorite projects to date.
At left a design for a 7.5" gauge riding layout. Here the operation is more like a theme park attraction where events are cued/triggered when trains enter the tunnel (from either end). Besides very real explosion sounds and lighting FX, audio driven lighting FX in lanterns light the scene and the approach to the mine entrance.
At right, the actual mine scene in Tunnel No.
The Athabasca System, Granite Canyon Division, an Nscale masterpiece by Clayton Berry.
Everything about this layout was extraordinary, and quite frankly, it would have been the best in show... even without sound.
Our first RailRoadies client and layout sound project were both sweetharts!
Of course some of our clients have imaginative layouts that require highly unusual soundtrack design and one-of-a-kind audio system creation... No problems there.
Pictured here are some of the designs for a totally emersive layout experience. Literally nothing of the basement the layout occupies is ever visible to an operator or visitor. The systems and soundtracks for this pike mirror the visual image presented, and often 'bridge' between the scale model and the full scale environments through which the visitor travels.
At left are speakers built into full scale clocks, and in
canary cages, speakers hidden in knotholes, and in floor to cieling
Innovation at every turn...
We've been working with Joel & Jenny Bragdon in combining layout sound reproduction with their incredible Geodesic Foam Scenery system for many years now. Dubbed, 'Talking Rocks' early on by Joel, the process has evolved into the seamless integration of aural and visual scenery!
The results (at right) are genuinely invisible speaker positions that defy the viewer/listener discovery... watching folks trying to find the a speaker is a ton of fun, and they sound amazing!
Shown here are rock outcroppings, but the same technique can be done with any visual model (i.e., building fronts, etc.).
We're tickled to be associated with the Bragdons and are working together on a number of synchronized special lighting and sound FX that are available exclusively through the RaiRoadies services.
The Great Outdoors!
Sound outside, that sounds good, can be a challenge... and is sort of a specialty of ours:).
We've worked on outdoor projects from G to 18" gauge, and from garden to themepark!
Weather, tamper, and critter proof are no problem... making
these things sound good too takes some doing, but we can do it.
We've created turnkey projects for museums, garden railways,
private riding railroads, amusement parks, and even full scale
The L.I.V.E. Mix Down.
There is only one way to build a scene perfect for your layout...
That's to make the final decisions with you, and on your layout. We can do anything you wish, when we plug into the layout, and use the the installed speakers as our reference monitors! The Fantasonics Enginears pioneered the L.I.V.E. Mix Down in the early eighties for themepark attractions. We were the first yo successgully insrall sound on board audioanimatronics characters (something even Disney had not been able to accomplish!). Of course, no one had ever mixed soundtracks on speakers riding on board animated figures before... this necessitated the L.I.V.E. Mix... a technique only available to the themeparks until we scale down our operations.
We're all tooled up to take our scale sound studio on the
road. and mix your layout's sound... on your layout!
The 'other image' is half the Fun.
Chances are we can help you, your operators, and everyone who ever visits your railroad empire... have more fun!