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Author Topic: Anybody do any train recordings?  (Read 885 times)

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Offline Life In Rewind

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Anybody do any train recordings?
« on: November 17, 2016, 08:34:47 AM »
I've become a bit of an O gauge head lately - build a collection of mostly postwar LIONEL stuff - but have a few more modern pieces with "RailSounds" built in.

I live in train country (south central PA)...and have plenty of chances to make "Railfan" recordings...

Anyone else give this a try?

I assume most of the gear we use would work fine for this task...?
Audix M1280/Avantone CK-1/APEX 435/Altec 626A/TEAC ME-120/Sony ECM-999PR/Sony ECM-MS5
TASCAM DR-70D/Tricorder

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 09:55:35 AM »
They get awfully loud, but most gear that will handle metal will handle steel rail.

Offline ScoobieKW

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 01:53:47 PM »
The RailSounds recordings were made by Neil Young. When he bought Lionel and saved it from bankruptcy he decided that he didn't like the quality of the samples being used. So he took gear and did it right.

Our gear is more than adequate, have fun.
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Offline flipp

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 02:53:50 PM »
Since I live about a block from some BNSF tracks I record the trains occasionally, usually from the front porch but every once in a while I'll take the equipment over by the tracks and record from the right-of-way. If you have the capability try MS recording; also vary the height of your mics - from track level to headlight (or horn if your stand will go that high) height. While I haven't recorded trains in over a year, the one sound I would really like to capture is a train whistle blowing simultaneously with a thunder clap.

As others have stated, what you already have is adequate but if you record close to the tracks (on the right of way) start by setting your levels very conservatively.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 02:56:26 PM by flipp »

Offline kleiner Rainer

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 03:10:21 PM »
yes, me. I have been recording them for the last 35 years or so, starting with a mono tape deck. At the moment, I use a Tascam DR-44WL. The internal mics are fine, they can withstand extremely high sound levels (132 dB SPL) and the limiter works also very well - steam whistles are extremely loud when operating just a few yards away...

Using a fur windscreen is mandatory, a Rycote Mini Windjammer for the H4N (fits like a glove on the DR-44WL)serves me well. Setting up the recorder on a camera tripod, I carry foam rubber discs to cushion the tripod against conducted vibrations and noise. All other methods used for recording at outdoor festivals (except stealthing, trains dont mind being recorded  ;D ) are applicable.
And now something important: location, location, location! I prefer grades in forests, far away from roads (if possible). An elevated position above the tracks is recommended.
A place like this: is where I can be found recording (on this side of the pond of course...).

And this is my favourite hunting ground:
Daily Steam trains, all year round. Fichtelbergbahn. Not a museum, it serves the highest german city and famous winter holiday resort, Oberwiesenthal.

If you want to get a feeling how it can sound, visit this:

Joerg has been recording steam trains for decades, and we made some recordings together - this one for example:
My Mics were placed about 5 feet to the right.




recording steam trains since 1985

Offline Eldo Rado

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 09:17:24 PM »
There are so many frequent trains here where I live on the southeast shore of Puget Sound near Tacoma, WA.  Quick and fast Amtrak Cascades and Coast Starlight to the 140+ car triple diesel BNSF monsters.  I set up right at the grade with a Rode NT4 and cable away down to my PCM M10.  Most interesting ones are when the freight trains and moving veeeery slowly right before or after a complete stop.  The metal squeals are amazing.  Yeah, they're nice to record, but I still hate the freight trains.
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Offline morst

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 03:32:05 PM »
No, but I like to record the tuesday 12:00 noon siren and test-announcement here in SF!

"[SIREN] This is a test. This is a test of the emergency outdoor warning system. This is only a test" ... ("only a test, only a test, only a test..." go the echoes, if it's a still day with no traffic going by...)
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Offline Moke

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Re: Anybody do any train recordings?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 07:25:41 PM »
Incidental to recording live music, yes.
The train station was right next to the San Juan Capistrano Mission Courtyard (across the road), where a series of summer concerts was held.
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