Miniatur Wunderland Weekly Report

21.03.05 at 13:20 hrs

Weekly Report No 229, CW 11

From Monday, 14.03.2005 to Sunday, 20.03.2005
This report was written by 2 authors. Our technician Sven Hinzman is responsible for the section about the sound system:

Today we cover the new sound system in the American section of our layout. Many insiders noticed that it took us more than 8 months to develop and configure the system. Since two months, however, the system works (nearly) flawlessly and duly follows our American fire engines to their action sets.

But first things first! One could ask why the heck we need such a complicated system! Simple reason: American fire engines have a continous sirene, not the "Tatütata", the German engines have. American fire engines have their sirene on all the time they need to drive to the incident scene. So, the sound must somehow be able to follow the vehicle in order to mimic a realistic emergency run!

That's where the problems start. We knew from the start that only with the help of computers we would be able realize this project but we didn't know which hard- and software we could use or had to program ourselves. After very intense research we found a hardware that normally is used in recording studios and fitted it out with additional software. This software enabled us to freely control 32 and more loudspeakers. The number of playable sounds is virtually unlimited. The system mixes these sounds onto the speakers and also moves them smoothly from speaker to another. The coordinates for the sound's position is sent in real time to the sound system by the Car System PCs and processed without delay.
A screenshot of the sound system

The screenshots show a bit of the workspace and possibilities of the system.

One could compare our system to Dolby Digital, however, our system is a bit more complicated since we don't have a fixed schematic of how the sounds move. We have to take into consideration that all movements on the layout are dynamic in terms of the traffic on the layout. Our system constantly receives the current positions of the vehicles (deliverd by the Car System), according to which the PC sends the right sounds to the respective loudspeakers.

The sound system

Currently, we just follow the vehicles with the sound system but during the next months we'll work on a solution to make America a delight for your ears, too. No worry, it will be background sounds, not just noise.

The sound system

We will install this sound system in Scandinavia, too, although in a modified form in order to have the ships make the right sounds!

Sound modules for Scandinavia

In the older parts of the layout, about 100 sound modules contribute to the athmosphere from the very beginning. They are used for the german fire engines, for the fun fair, weddings, and more. This system is based upon memory chips as they are used in MP3-players.

Sound modules for Scandinavia

The extravaganza is that several sounds can be sent separately to one loudspeaker. On the other hand, it is not possible to move these sounds smoothly from one speaker to the next.

The Miwu-Light module

So much for the technical side, although..... Well, I have yet another picture. This is a prototype of the MiWuLight-module we introduced last week. Currently, we have 20 of them in the layout for stress-testing.

The Danish shoreline

OK, but now we risk an eye on Scandinavia. Our small town in Denmark nears completion and urgently requires a name - a problem, we have with other parts, too (Proposals are welcome and you're invited to discuss them in the forum) :-).

Location of the water castle

And since we're in Denmark, anyway : The water castle found it's place...

Norwegian coast

A short turn to the right and our eyes catch the norwegian coast line. Here, too, more and more patches are completed.

Ocean ground

The ocean ground now shows it's real face...

Submarine mountains

The underwater mountains are modelled using pigments, polyester, and sand - a mixture that promises strength and durability.

Navigation: Article 11 in WR 2005