Did you know there are devices designed to reproduce the sounds that locomotives make? What would a thing like that be used for? Such devices are called DCC sound decoders, and if you think about it, there are some obvious places where they would come in handy.
Have you ever watched the sitcom The Big Bang Theory? On that series, Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) is an avid toy train collector and also loves to ride real trains. The DCC sound decoder is the perfect technology for his hobby. DCC stands for Digital Command Control, the system for digitally operating model train systems. It was defined by the National Model Railroad Association. The sound decoder plays pre-recorded sound effects that the operator syncs with the speed of the locomotive. When the train starts, for example, the decoder may produce the sound of a diesel engine starting up. As the model moves along, the decoder can play the “chuffing” sounds of it moving along the track. The device completes the realism of the model train in operation.
DCC sound decoders can produce the sounds of either diesel or steam engines. They are programmed with recordings made by professional sound engineers with actual locomotives. Sometimes these technicians travel to far-away places to collect the sounds they need to create the most authentic sounds for model train enthusiasts to use. They collect all the “bells and whistles”-literally. They record air horns, engine exhaust, dynamic brakes and brake squeals, you name it. Every detail is gathered to make the model train experience more convincing and more fun.
With a DCC sound decoder, the model train enthusiast transports himself to anyplace the railway and his imagination can take him. The right sounds make all the difference. All aboard, everyone.