Bob's Bench

Introducing the Dream Switcher

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So you want to add more sounds, or more speakers to your layout, but don't have many Dream Players, or many CD players. Well the Dream Switcher might just help you out.

Yea, there are lots of ways to skin a cat, or as we do at our house, butcher chickens (completely different story, ask if you want to...) Here is the situation: You have a great background sound track for a scene on your layout, using a Dream Player of course. But there are also some events that you want to use a trigger and play sounds. However, those sounds might need to come from different places on the layout. Getting personal (as if the chicken comment wasn't enough), I have a situation where I wanted to have triggered events on my layout, but leave the background track playing continuously. Easy, buy 2 Dream Players. But I want more than 2 sounds. My buddy Jim Wells would probably just build it into the mix and create a beautiful symphony of sounds. But it's still really tough, or maybe even impossible to have triggered events inside of a single sound track. What if we could have a background symphony, and some 'spot effects' at the same time? Find a scrap computer, write some software, play the sounds??? Ok... What if you want a simpler, or at least quicker answer? Enter the Dream Switcher.

The Dream Switcher doesn't do much for our background track player described above, but it does help our spot player application.

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Looking at the connection diagram to the left, we take a Dream Player (or any other audio source for that matter) and feed it into the Dream Switcher. From there, we can drive up to 4 separate speaker systems. In this diagram, we are using the Control Outputs from the Dream Player in a 1:1 relationship. That means Control #1 feeds Switcher input #1 and so on. This causes the speaker in Scene 1 to turn on whenever the Dream Player is playing Track #1. Think of it like this, you could have a water-fill sound in Track #1, a plane crash in Track #2, a car crash in Track #3, and a crow in Track #4. When each of these track plays, only one can play at a time. As each plays, it turns on separate speaker systems in each different location on the layout that matches the 'spot sound'. Of course if you are working in Z-scale, you may not have room for all those speakers, but I hope you get the general idea.

Four separate Dream Players could also do the trick, and we would be happy to sell them to you, but we believe in choices! You have the choice of how you want to approach your scene. You could also just wire up 4 relays on your own, and be done with it. Once again it is your choice! If you want to build it, here is the schematic. If you would rather buy it ready-made, check out these fine dealers.

Since the Dream Switcher is just another modular building block, you can combine them in rather unique ways. You could also combine a couple Dream Players together using a simple mixer circuit (shown here). The whole idea is to create useful building block for you to choose from.

I'll add some more actual pictures, since those are always more fun than the pretty graphics. But to be honest, my bench isn't as clean these days and it is a little embarrassing to show. I found the "straighten" function inside Photoshop, but it wasn't what I really needed in this case...

Bob Scheffler