About this site and the recordings
Thanks very much for visiting this site, which catalogues my passion for recording our audio heritage. Someone recently pointed out that my name wasn't anywhere to be found on the site, so if you were wondering who the nut was with the fluffy microphone hanging out a train window, my name is Tony Weber, and I've been at this malarky for the last 25 years or so. I'm a qualified steam locomotive driver and regularly run a narrow gauge 0-6-2T up at Woodford, north of Brisbane (see pic below), at the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society at Woodford (you can find them on the links page).
Whenever I mention that I like to record trains, people always ask "why?" at the same time as giving you a look that suggests they suspect that you may not be in full control of all your faculties... Well it's like this. For me, the sound of a steam locomotive hard at work just epitomises the power, technology and ingenuity of the mechanical age. Audio seems to convey that for me in a much better way than video or still images. It also leaves something to the imagination, where the listener has to build their own image of the scene being listened to. For those of us who also study and practice the skills of building and driving locomotives (in miniature or full size), we can hear and understand exactly what is happening with the loco. A wheeze can signify a leaking gland, a sign of hard work or poor maintenance, a wheel slip can identify bad rail conditions or poor handling, all work together to again give a picture of what is happening.
The recordings I make at the moment used to be captured on a Sony NH1 HiMD Minidisc portable recorder, through a Sony ECM-MS957 microphone. These aren't professional devices by any means, but they allowed me to capture reasonably high quality recordings for a relatively low cost. The minidisc format never really took on in a lot of countries, but it was just about the most ideal method for recording audio in the field as it is small, light and easy to use. Couple it to a half decent microphone, and, well, you can hear the results. It is now just about impossible to get the HiMD minidiscs nowadays, so I've now switched over to a Sony PCM D50 Solid State Audio Recorder. I have to say that while it has taken a little to get used to, it really is a professional, ruggedly built recorder (so rugged, that it can handle the odd little fall from a moving train!) and allows far more control over the recordings than I was ever able to get previously. Coupled with 8GB of memory (both built in and memory card), it has plenty of room for all of a day's recordings with heaps to spare, so hopefully it will fit the bill for many years to come. You can see a photo below of the recording equipment at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway back in August 2008 (along with a certain Steamsounds UK proprietor!).
Welcome to Steamsounds AU
The home of Australian Steam Train Sounds (and the occasional diesel)