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Sound Pack Review : FMOD Experience - Cessna 172 by SimAcoustics I have for awhile now been a big supporter of third party sound packages. Notable is of course is Blue Star Simulations (BSS) that add in another higher dimension to airliner realism. Admittedly many aircraft already do have very high quality audio, certainly now with FMOD design which is an internal part of the X-Plane simulator. FMOD is a proprietary sound effects engine and authoring tool for video games and applications that was developed by Firelight Technologies, in that you can play and mix sounds of diverse formats on many operating systems. In this audio package from SimAcoustics it is an upgrade for the beloved Cessna 172. There are three Cessna 172s supported in the package: • Laminar Research default C172 • AirFoilLabs C172 • Carenado C172SP G1000 Noted sounds are: Authentic engine, propeller and exhaust notes, Realistic sounds for all equipment inside and outside of the aircraft, True to life system and control noise of the G1000 navigation unit, Detailed airflow and weather sound effects, Ambient (nature) noise that makes the world come to life and the package is VR Ready for optimized 3D placement of every sound source. Installation The package is not an addon, but three sets of replacement sounds for the current default FMOD sounds, and a few extras. So the installation requires you to replace each of the aircraft's FMOD sound pack with the newer SimAcoustic package. The opened package looks like this. There are three separate aircraft sound folders and two generic .bank files and the manual. Obviously you have to remove the current FMOD sounds in each aircraft package and save them safe. I just added _old to the folder and moved it to somewhere safe. Create a new FMOD folder and insert the specific folder contents for each aircraft, then add in the extra two specific .bank files to each FMOD aircraft folder. Each new completed FMOD folder should look like this Laminar Default C172SP Careando C172SP G1000 AirFoilLabs C172SP And you are done... And it sounds like! I powered up the Carenado Cessna 172 SP G1000 and instantly it felt different... not an easy thing to do as the Carenado sound pack is already very good. I traced the sounds back to two sources, one was the avionics fan, switch the avionics on/off and hear the fan start up or wind down, "wow" impressive, the other noise was the fuel pump and again it was very good, whiny and highly audible, you can have a bit of fun just turning on or off this pump or any switch on and off as these sounds are very authentic (or noisy) and that brings me to a point. Are these background sounds too loud? or do we need some control over the sounds volume? The "Warning/Caution" sound is very high and loud enough to make you jump... Obviously a C172SP pilot would say yes or no to this question, but overall the internal atmosphere is very good. Time to start the Lycoming Model IO-360-L2A engine... you hear and even feel the starter motor engage, then the turn and eventually the firing of the horizontally opposed, four cylinder, overhead valve, air cooled, fuel injected engine... and you hear all of the cylinders firing in turn and then the running of the cylinders in sequence, that is good, very good... I am seriously impressed with the start up action and engine running sounds.... All the sounds of course come from a real C172SP (the one in the header image Cessna 172N registered PH-GEO) so they are of course real, but even recording the actual sounds is really not enough to create ultra realism. Remember these air-cooled engines are very simple at their heart but also have a very distinctive sound. Car engines are muffled by their water cooling systems, except for the early Volkswagens as they have the same horizontally opposed, four cylinder, overhead valve, air cooled layout, a 2 or 4 stroke motorbike can have the same sounds, but the point is you hear every cylinder firing as the louver cooling system does not contain the reactions as well as a block of a car's engine and again a car's engine noise is also suppressed by the engine compartments noise installation materials, but an aircraft has very little of these types of sound suppression. Internally it sounds brilliant with that knocking thrum that is very highlighted here, adjust the Fuel mixture lever (knob) and the tone changes with the lean or richer mixture setting... slower to deeper in the thrum, but the churning sounds as realistic are excellent... As a note I am wearing Bose QuietComfort QC35 ll headphones, and turning left then right and the engine noise moves nicely between the L and R ears, with a full dynamic sound straight forward... ... the rear is the same but of a different tone because you are a fair way rearwards from the engine sound source and the changes in tones as I moved my head L and R. Again I was significantly impressed in the quality of the Lycoming engine sounds thoughout the whole cabin. Opening the side window and then the door did not however significantly heighten the sound volume? This is an area that Carenado do very well, but it was missing here? Externally the sounds are certainly quite different. Here there is the complex matrix of engine sounds with the twin-blades cutting through the air and creating that distinctive chop, chop sound, but the bass deep throat engine sounds as well and the final layer is the exhaust outlet sound. I have always been quite disappointed in X-Plane in that most of the general aviation prop aircraft just don't deliver that sound you hear when you are at an airport, you know the sounds I mean, and mostly it is the missing distinctive air chopping sound and a throaty engine... but they are certainly front and centre here. Move again like you did internally around the engine (or moving propeller) and you feel that huge difference in sounds recorded here, muffled slightly from the rear to more engine pronounced sounds front on, again the sounds move dynamically around between the different side ear cans, yes it is again impressive and again adjusting the mixture creates very different sets of dynamic tones... in one word it is simply... realistic. Move further out from the sound source and you could swear you were right there at an airport standing in front of a real Cessna 172SP, okay fair enough as that is what these sound packs are supposed to do, but there is also a line between simulating the sounds and feeling the sounds and that is the difference here. The lower image left above was the most interesting angle as you were in the airflow slipstream, and sounds became jungled and muffled into the same aspect, the only thing missing was the actual slipstream, so a mounted hairdryer might be a new simulator addon now required? Time to hear the sounds from in the air... taxing out the knocking of the O-360-L2A engine would be a serious concern in a car as the crankshaft bearings would have been well past their used by date... but not in here, these knocking sounds are authentic and highly realistic on a C172SP. Moving my head left or right gave me a more dynamic feel to the taxi, but I miss the open window noise? Mixture up and Power up and the clanking gives way to a roar!, wow... again very impressive, even better was the changing in the sounds as the speed rose, they sort of come together in a tunnel effect and the audio is directly aimed at you, now the wind noise sounds are added into the mix and I really loved that last ummmmph of the focused throaty roar as you reached your flying speed. Without the ground noise aircraft go slightly quieter in the air, as it does here, but the climb sounds as you change your altitude is very good as well. In the air there is excellent balanced stereo each side, but reduced volume head on and rear... but overall it is a dynamic 380º experience as you move all around the aircraft and even above and below the fuselage. Internally there is the external wind noise as well as the mechanical sounds, so move your view and the sounds follow you dynamically and the feel is very similar to the dynamics on the ground... .... one thing I really hate are repetitive sounds, or you know the ones that you noticeably are on a loop... that aspect is not present here thank god, I never bored of the drone, which is a big part of a good soundscape as realism is a constant search in simulation, but like here with this sound package it delivers a higher awareness of that important requirement... to be as good as the real thing. As in everything it is the smaller details that are the most important, again adjusting the mixture mid-flight you hear and feel the changes to the engine, pull the mixture too far out and the engine is gasping for fuel... airflow and weather sound effects are heavily detailed and the package is heavily focused for VR - Virtual Reality headsets, like my Bose they can be a far better and even more authentic than desktop speakers. Coming into land and the roar is replaced by wind noise and and an softer idling O-360-L2A engine... .... the above right image aircraft angle in sound was particularly impressive in the coasting down to the runway feel. Power back on to counter the stage one flap position... ..... then far more power to counteract the full flap position and too maintain the height to the runway, then finally reduce power to descend down... all very normal, but you fly through your ears and not your hands or feet as each power change in sound is required for a certain action in the final approach, this is an instinctive aspect of flying aircraft, it is what you do, but feel it through the machine as it responds and that is the aspect that is important... and so that makes good sound very important in translating what the aircraft is doing and how it is doing it... again it is all about the realism. Contact ground sounds are very good, but it was the ground rollout sounds that really impressed me, not hidden by the revving engine you could hear the rumbling of the tyres on the asphalt and the wind still passing over the airframe... very impressive. Only thing that made me jump was the caution "bling" on landing, that is it's job in to warn you, but it still feels a bit loud. Adjusting the mixture I went slightly too low and got a brilliant frapping sound as the engine stuttered, then a bit more fuel and the taxi continued... ... final turn to parking and a bit of power to turn the Cessna, lovely, lovely as you adjusted the throttle for last bit of flying to a turn and a stop. Once the engine powered down, it is all again very impressive, as I was again alone in the nearly quiet cockpit sitting listening to the avionics fans! So I turned off the power to save the battery. _____________________________ Summary Custom sounds are not at the top of everyone's list of features, but actually to convey absolute realism they should be at the top of the list. This is a sound package by SimAcoustics for three Cessna 172SPs, The Laminar Default C172SP, the Carenado C172SP and the AirFoilLabs C172SP. Authentic sounds are taken from a real Cessna 172SP donor aircraft Cessna 172N registered PH-GEO. And brilliant they are and right down to the internal fans, switchgear and fuel pump. 3d aural realism is 380º and very dynamic, and very good with good headgear and in the VR - Virtual Reality headspace, all sounds are catered for in the FMOD sound effects engine and replace the default sounds to heighten the experience. Some areas don't feel quite right? Opening windows or doors don't change the sounds, and from certain directions the sounds don't activate, and you don't have any control of the individual volumes as some items are a bit on the loud side. Overall an exceptional experiences that brings forward a more realistic environment one of the most important aircraft aircraft ever built. The FMOD Cessna 172 Experience is a must have if you have the Cessna 172SP (In fact every one has a C172SP in that the default C172SP is part of the X-Plane Simulator) so a worthwhile addition and betters the standard if already very good Carenado sound pack, and for the default C172SP then just stand back.... Highly Recommended. ____________________________________ Yes! FMOD Experience - Cessna 172 by SimAcoustics is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : FMOD Experience: Cessna 172 Price is US$19.99 Key features: Authentic engine, propeller and exhaust notes Realistic sounds for all equipment inside and outside of the aircraft True to life system and control noise of the G1000 navigation unit Detailed airflow and weather sound effects Ambient (nature) noise that makes the world come to life VR Ready: Optimized 3D placement of every sound source Works on 3 different models (AirFoilLabs, Carenado and Laminar Research) Compatible with AI controlled aircraft Compatible with these Aircraft Laminar Research default C172 AirFoilLabs C172 Carenado C172SP Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, mac or Linux Works with the default C172 included in XP11. Also works with the AFL C172 and the Carenado C172SP No other purchase required. Please note the installation procedure requires knowledge of moving files to appropriate directories (extracting, copying and pasting). Download Size: 120 MB Current and Review version : 1.0 (May 6th 2020) ______________________________________________________________________ Sound Pack Review by Stephen Dutton 9th May 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)