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Armen's Ode to Joy

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Armen has done such stellar work on the 747 v3, that I hardly know where to begin.


We have many who have taken you on video journeys... I will take you to a place where closing your eyes occasionally and dreaming of the perfect airliner silhouette responding to your lightest touch, powered by silky hydraulics that allow you to extend through the airframe and caress the air, much as you did that first time you put your hand outside the car window; will allow you a glimpse of what will be.... soon.


From the outside she breathes, vibrates and blankets out her surroundings very much like a real -436. Moving around and beneath her the soundscape is as much present as the visuals. From the nose, working backwards the sound is constantly changing. As she pulls on stand, your virtual Marshaller will need ear protection to avoid an ibuprofen crisis. The vicious shriek of still air being converted to thrust, even at idle is awe inspiring.


When engineering is inspecting the flap tracks and canoes, and requires a full exercise on the ground- the noise you hear is relative to the position you adopt. Forward, to the rear, underneath- they all sound appropriate and directional. From sticky flap tracks to spinning flap rods, to motors under load- you can hear it all.


Further back the APU drowns out your farther world. As you walk to the tail, the noise which was annoying becomes positively painful. Above it all the heat bloom and mirage effect streaming out the exhaust have to be seen to be believed.


Up on the flight deck the pre-start routine allows for a complete appreciation of the sound cocoon that has been so very carefully built around you. As you move through your familiar flows (with EZCA as I do) you will be astounded at your suspension of disbelief. Initially fairly quiet, except for the equipment cooling that engineering thoughtfully left on for you, the sound is distant but present. The APU Gen 1 engages with a very satisfying thunk. Then as you start bringing packs and recirc fans online it all changes. As you look up to the overhead and down to the CDU, it all changes. As you strain to look for right clear and left clear, it all changes.


Motor an RB211 and it all changes. Feel a momentary pulse of structural harmonization as she spools up, and then feel them syncopate as the other 3 come on line. Initially the starter motor and rotational thrum can be heard and felt, but then it all subdues into the background and only the thrust change whine becomes the variable prevalent.


Taxi is a love affair with sound... from fuselage vibration, to galley carts jostling, to creaks and groans, you can believe there are 390 odd tonnes of Boeing around and beneath you.


Line up and push four thrust levers forward and the Rollers remind you that Sir Henry believed in a singular pursuit. Engage TOGA when stable and the Rollers remind you Sir Henry believed in singular perfection. The runway center line lights thrum as they blur, the fuselage transforms from trolley bus to bird of prey, and the Rollers remind you that they are the sole reason that 397T can levitate and leave the surly bonds of earth behind.


It is in the departure turn that I remembered the first moments of my love affair with the 747-400. The grunt of four RB211s at max thrust, felt as much as heard is an unforgettable experience. Add the spine tingling excitement of the realization that all 397T are commanded by your fingertips and the moment is electric. Throw in the superb flight modeling and visuals and for brief moments in your mundane day, you can escape from the salt mines and soar amongst the wind swept halls of air.


Cruise is a series of position reports and file burn figures, ticked off meticulously to ward off the onslaught of sleep, insidiously advanced by the sound of flat plate drag overpowering all else. Those who use a sound generator to ward off distractions during slumber will be hard pressed to stay awake during Mongolian crossings. Attention to escape route planning will assist.


Descent is vibratory with the Rollers mostly idling and the wing slipping through the layers of the atmosphere. With proper attention given to descent forecasts and temperatures VNAV does a great job of managing descent. As in the real girl, pilot attention during Hold annunciation, along with gentle exercising of the thrust levers allows for mostly constant noise levels- windshield noise still being all prevailing.


It is when establishing on the glide that the Rollers assert their presence once more. Throw in some gusting conditions and the ebb and flow of spool ups and downs is intoxicatingly attractive. Suddenly windy conditions become appealing instead of intimidating.


All those wheel trucks allow everyone but the most ham fisted pilot to stroke her onto the markers and after gently planting the nose, reverse brings forth a crescendo of whine that erupts through the fuselage resonance. The high speed exit departure gives time to stow the reversers and spoilers (yes the actuator noise is replicated) and then everything goes back to electronic noise and fans. After 60 seconds of taxi idle it's time to cut number 3, which motors down with scant a whimper.


Then the click, click of overhead switches bring the APU online and providing power. Turning on to stand, another click turns the lights off. Establish electric power and pack, and after a couple of EFIS button pushes through Status and Engine Synoptics it's time to move the 3 remaining fuel control switches from run to cut-off. The engines fade into the distance and only then do you realize that they were still part of the soundscape. Now, it's just the recirc fans and electronic buzz.


How long before you can enjoy the Opus again? Ta Armen!

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Thank you so much for your kind words and the way you have detailed all your audio experiences in the post - it is a great read indeed!   :smile:


We have tried to take the audio experience onto a new level with the 744 - not just the engines, but also all parts of the flight experience ..... and a lot of this has come from the amazing programming work undertaken by our developers to facilitate so much of the new functionality present in this aircraft.  


A big thank you has to go out to Michael, Chris and Alex for all their hard work !!!


Now - since you are a RR RB211 fan ..... currently you have the beta soundset from the 23rd DEC .... since the 30th I have easily spent 50 hours working on just the RR sounds.  Ive been constantly referring to the recordings I made on my four BA flights and I believe I have managed to improve the engine sound realism even further ...... wait till you hear the new spool up from idle up to 60 % N1 ........  :Whistle:

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Masterfully put Carl.

Having just installed a Bose® sound system on my machine with a huge sub-woofer, spooling up the GE-90s on the 777 is an audio experience that can't be adequately described with words!

I can't wait hear what a quartet of Rollers punching out their hypnotic tones sounds like through them.  :smile:

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