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rondon9898

PMDG sounds

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Hi chaps,

 

Do you mind me asking how you record the extraordinarily detailed and wide-ranging mass of sounds in a PMDG cockpit? I saw RSR in a photo when he was in the 747 simulator, so are the sounds recorded from the simulator, or from the real aircraft? Or are they made from scratch by a sound artist?

Sorry to ask these sim-building questions but I just wonder how some of the basic things we take for granted in the sim are achieved because there are so many sounds in a PMDG flight deck. If this isn't the place, then just delete the post.

 

Cheers,

John

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or from the real aircraft
From what I have read in Introduction Manuals, Tutorials, and various PMDG Forums the sounds are recorded in the cockpit of a real airplane using sophisticated equipment. 

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oooh no i'm delighted with them i'm just interested to know how they record them. is it the same with the engine sounds, do you know? how can they be recorded in the real aircraft, presumably they can't get an aircraft to do a full power run up?

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PMDG has an audio wizard, Armen L Cholakian , who painstakingly collects live data and processes it to keep VAS use reasonable.  He is very good, and has access to all the events he needs for the simulation.

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They're all in stereo too, and seem to have realistic pan settings for where you'd hear the sound, from the Captain's spot..... so I'd guess Armen uses a high quality 44.1kHz, 24 bit stereo field recorder.

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Well full respect to Armen as you say the sounds even alter as you pan across the cockpit so the recording process must be an absolutely enormous undertaking

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Hi John,

 

Usually we get our sounds from two sources, all cockpit sounds and some of the engine sounds are recorded by Paul and Ryan from the team, this usually comes from recordings from the actual aircraft we are simulating. In addition to that I record a lot of the engine sounds myself. When I'm flying long haul I try to sit as close to the front as possible, to be able to the get the audio levels as close to the cockpit levels. For example, I got some great RR RB211 recordings sitting in row three on the upper deck from a while back - these of course will be used on the upcoming 744 release.

 

Fundamentally, all our engine sounds are programmed via the FSX / P3D engine implementation, and then every other sound is custom programmed by the PMDG team. Overall, there are over 500 sounds to mix, and from there we build a stereo and surround sound sets depending on your hardware. Of course it is a challenge to mix, level, pan and EQ all the sounds, especially the engines, it usually takes about a year to lock it all down and get it to final mixes that you experience in the released versions.

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That's an excellent response Armen thank you for that. The sounds in the 777 are really superb pretty much the best of any fsx addon and i was interested to know how such immersive sound detail was recorded without really elaborate, costly and difficult access to the real aircraft but if you can record a lot of the sounds simply as a passenger, that's pretty straightforward. Keep up the good work Armen and I shall look forward to hearing those RB211s from my PC hopefully in the near future!

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John,

 

Armen is being pretty humble in his reply- and I don't often get the opportunity to "brag on" our team a bit- so please allow me...

 

The work Armen does is incredibly detailed and he puts a tremendous amount of effort into making sure it it comes out "sounding right" when you sit in front of the computer.  This is a challenge because it isn't always possible for us to get clean recordings that isolate specific sounds for processing.  For example, it is nearly impossible to get a good, clean recording of the engines without also picking up the background sound of the air conditioning and equipment cooling fans on the airplane, because you can't get one without the other running in the cockpit.  Armen works with some very sophisticated equipment to isolate sound frequencies and remove background noise in order to get as close to a pure, clean sound as can be had under the circumstances.

 

But then he runs into other trouble:  He has to layer and remix all of the various sounds while taking into account some of the distortive properties of FSX so that when the sound ultimately plays across your ears, it sounds the way it would were you sitting in the cockpit of the airplane.

 

In a decame with PMDG, Armen has developed techniques to make certain that what was recorded at great effort doesn't come out sounding like something else because of some strange tone/pitch shifting attribute of the simulator.  In our view, Armen's skill at this is unmatched.

 

In addition to all of Armen's skill, we have another very unusual talent onboard in Ryan Maziarz.  Ryan is one of those freaks of nature with nearly perfect tone sensitivity.  Ryan is a musician (among other things) and since I am not, I tended to be dismissive of his (and, to be honest, Armen's) comments on tone, pitch, etc.  Then, one evening late in the development of the NGX product line, I saw an exchange between Ryan and Armen in which Ryan identified not only the note, but the frequency of the engine sound on the 737-800 at takeoff thrust.  Armen worked that feedback into the next build and even Tone-Deaf-Rob nearly fell over with delight at what I heard.

 

What was even more fun:  When we tested our sound samples- it turned out Ryan was correct- and accurate with the frequency.

 

As I said:  Freak of Nature.  B)

 

One of the truly enjoyable aspects of running PMDG is that we have some extremely talented individuals like Armen on the team- who not only bring a significant amount of expertise, they bring quite a bit of self motivation to the process as well.  Armen has invested a huge amount of time and effort into developing processes that allow him to get a finished product together in the least amount of time possible- and the error rate for his work is practically zero.

 

If only I could emulate that level of success...  :ph34r:

 

One of these days I should tell you guys about Paul...  He is to airplane systems what Ryan is to sound frequencies...  Yet another freak-of-nature.

 

Thanks for giving me the chance to brag-on the guys a bit, John.

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Robert/all,

 

let me put this the most positive, respectful, and constructive way I could possibly ever be able to:

 

You PMDG people are all, without exception, Freaks of Nature!!   :lol:

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Yes, I chatted with Ryan once when he was "on my PC" doing some remote support for an activation issue with the NGX years ago...... he was talking about his band and music and stuff and, as a fellow muso, it;'s very clear he knows his kHz from his dbFS !! :smile:

 

Sound is often neglected within the sim world, but you've only got to look how many different switch and button WAVs are emplyed in the PMDG "Sound" folder, to see that's not the case with PMDG!

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Yes I suspected Armen was being a tad modest, Rob. I can't see how such detail can be emulated without enormous amounts of very fiddly, specialist work. And I hate to sound facetious but with his spidey sound sense, I think Ryan *might* be a superhero - something the PMDG team should investigate :)

 

Just out of interest, how exactly does FSX 'distort' the sound? Is it something to do with how FSX processes the sound files?

 

Excellent responses chaps I have these kinda behind-the-scenes questions because I'm interested in the sim-making process so it's really good to get a detailed insight from those who know best! (PMDG, that is :D )

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Robert - thanks for your kind words!  :lol:  Ok back to work !!!!!  

 

John,

 

The FSX engine implementation is quite complex - FSX has provided us quite a versatile way to make rich layered engine sounds using dozens of sound files - you assign sounds to engine curves, and as you move the throttle up and down the pitch of the sound varies - just like speeding up or slowing down a record on a turntable (yep im quite old to bring this up!).  Of course we have total control of how we pitch sounds up and down based on the engine N1 across the full throttle range.

 

Imagine you have a clean recording of a jet engine at idle - the recording in fact contains a number of tones and elements of the engine (the bass rumble, the high pitched airflow, the humming of the engine , the whining of the turbines etc).  Since it is all contained in one recording, when FSX pitches it up and down, it pitches all the elements of the sound at the same rate.  But on a real engine as the throttle is moved up and down the different elements of the sound vary in different rates.  So you cannot just place one or two recordings across the throttle range and hope it will sound realistic ... it wont!  The trick is to deconstruct all the elements from the recordings into seperate sound files and then deal with each sound element in its own right based on the performance of the real engines from the aircraft.  The act of deconstructing the engine sounds from one file while keeping the character of each deconstructed sound is the main challenge.  

 

But as Robert said, if you manipulate the sounds too much with the pitching then the audio will noticably sound weird and distorted - because the further you pitch a sound away from its original pitch, the worse it will sound.

 

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[...]When I'm flying long haul I try to sit as close to the front as possible, to be able to the get the audio levels as close to the cockpit levels. For example, I got some great RR RB211 recordings sitting in row three on the upper deck from a while back - these of course will be used on the upcoming 744 release.

 

This answers my question why fuel pumps are hearable on the 737NG. Have serviced only -800's but never ever heard the fuel pumps which were switched on after powering up APU to ease power from DC pump. The cockpit door silences the noise (as it does on A320 series with Hyd transfer pump).

 

I don't want to blame anyone. Just read the thread and got a gotcha. PMDG sounds are one of the best in flightsim community if not the best but I always wondered about this item in every video I saw.

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For example, I got some great RR RB211 recordings sitting in row three on the upper deck from a while back - these of course will be used on the upcoming 744 release.

Hopefully we won't hear the kid screaming behind you in seat 5F :P

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Hopefully we won't hear the kid screaming behind you in seat 5F :P

 

*shudder*

 

Naw, the buzzsaw hairdryers do enough screaming on their own.

(In all actuality, I do think the RB211s are some of the coolest sounding out there, despite looking wholly stupid and hairdryer-like. :P )

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*shudder*

 

Naw, the buzzsaw hairdryers do enough screaming on their own.

(In all actuality, I do think the RB211s are some of the coolest sounding out there, despite looking wholly stupid and hairdryer-like. :P )

 

Nothing says "hairdryer" like the CFM56-5C on the A340.

I don't know if it was just the aircraft Air France kept sending to us, but the one we serviced had the distinction of letting us hear all the fan blades shift in their slots as the fans turned in the wind and gravity kept dropping them as they came around.

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Nothing says "hairdryer" like the CFM56-5C on the A340.

I don't know if it was just the aircraft Air France kept sending to us, but the one we serviced had the distinction of letting us hear all the fan blades shift in their slots as the fans turned in the wind and gravity kept dropping them as they came around.

 

I think the BR715s of the B717s sound more like hair dryers than any other engine out there. But damn do they sound awesome when you're taking off  :lol: Sounds like something from Star Wars. Best engine sound by far!

 

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I don't know if it was just the aircraft Air France kept sending to us, but the one we serviced had the distinction of letting us hear all the fan blades shift in their slots as the fans turned in the wind and gravity kept dropping them as they came around.

 

All jet engines will do this to a certain degree. Some are louder than others.

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I think the BR715s of the B717s sound more like hair dryers than any other engine out there. But damn do they sound awesome when you're taking off  :lol: Sounds like something from Star Wars. Best engine sound by far!

Less of a high pitch hair dryer than a low buzz of a buzz-saw, reminded me of the beautiful C-141 Starlifter which had a very powerful buzz during initial climb.  Love it:

612775_dryden_1997_zpsvuteidqo.jpg

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