This is what we do

Mark Thatcher at workLet me introduce myself: my name is Mark Thatcher, and I am the Noisemaker-in-Chief of Model Sounds. I am an ex-sound engineer, and have worked with top-notch broadcast sound kit from the age of sixteen. I am also a keen hi-fi enthusiast with a passion for good quality sound. When I am not working in the TV industry my hobbies include model trains, boats and tanks, in all scales and sizes. Those of you who read Garden Rail magazine will be familiar with my contributions as Buildings and Structures Columnist.

There are several factors that led me to create Model Sounds LtdTM. Having looked for a high quality, reasonably priced sound effects module, I couldn’t find one, so decided to develop my own – the “Master Blaster”!

I firstly took a look at the competition, and found you would pay around £50 for a basic sound effects module for starters. Many of these don’t even come with a speaker (the most important bit for high quality sound reproduction), and if they do, it may need soldering to the main board. The speaker will need careful positioning, it won’t be ported (more of that later) and will need an external DC power source, either clunky 12V batteries or expensive AA or PP3 (9V) batteries.

The sound files these units play are usually squashed onto a silicon chip, and largely sound very digitised! And you can’t alter them either once they are there.

Mark Thatcher with one of his model boatsMoving up a level, for around £100 you could buy a far more sophisticated sound unit, but again, the sounds are limited and it will need hard-wiring into your model.

So I set about creating a sound module that had to tick the following boxes:
· A plug 'n' play solution
· Small enough to fit into a medium sized OO gauge model railway building
· Needing no external power supply, but rather has a rechargeable on-board battery
· Totally portable for easy relocation – an amplifier and speaker all in one box
· Top quality sound and loud enough volume for use outside
· A ported speaker enclosure for better bass response
· A customised set of HIGH quality sounds that do not sound digitised
· A retail price of around £30

Mark Thatcher in his elementWell, with my “Master Blaster” I have done it!
At a little over half the price of a cheap sound module, the Master Blaster is a small cylindrical unit, with a similar diameter to the inside of a toilet roll. I have also created a library of bespoke sound files, using broadcast quality software. You select which of these you'd like loaded up onto the MicroSD card that is included with the unit too. Please check out our products page, then take a dip into our sound library also.

If you want to know why porting is important, then see our Techie stuff page.



Master Blaster montage