FSX in it's current form is the best ever release in the MSFS series, but there is still something lacking; realistic ambient sounds from within the cockpit. Most of us will have sat in a tube-liner bouncing down the taxiway before we head off on holiday and then heard the wind rush (more on that later) as the 737 blasts down the runway. Simmers fortunate enough to have flown in some of the old classics will have moaned that the cockpit looks great but doesn't sound realistic as it doesn't rattle and shake as it should – although Accu-Sim does help solve that.
All this is now a thing of the past thanks to the latest add-on from the development team at A2A Simulations. Accu-Feel is a program written for FSX that 'uses additional physics and sound to elevate your entire aircraft collection' (helicopters are not currently supported). The beauty of this add-on is (if you choose to) after installing it you never have to make any changes to it. Accu-Feel sits in the background, analyses your aircraft.cfg file and makes the appropriate changes to create a custom sound and physics profile, which is stored outside FSX.
* Ground physics – dependant upon the aircraft being used and the surface you are on, the aircraft will behave and sound differently
* Tyre screeching – land hard and your tyres will cry out in protest
Landing and Brakes
* Runway/Pavement seams – your aircraft will now bump and bounce
it's way down the taxiway
* Cabin sounds – older planes rattle more than the newer tubeliners, as you would expect
* Dynamic wind – as the speed increases so does the wind noise
* Fuselage drag rumble – is dynamically created, recreating the dropping of flaps, gear, or high pressures developed when approaching
an airframe's Vne (Never Exceed Speed). Both IAS and Mach limits are simulated
* Stall buffet – Prior to the onset of a stall the aircraft will begin to shake
* Brake squeal – As with the tyres, if you abuse the brakes they'll let you know
* Open cockpit experience - allows you to hear the suction of the wind, deep wind, propeller, or turbojet whine when opening a canopy or door
Ground Wind Noise
With a program such as this the documentation is always doing to be on the small side. The manual is 13 pages long, explains the installation procedure and what each variable is and which way to move the sliders to increase/decrease the effect. No more than that is required.
Is It Any Good?
In a word, yes. I think it is a fantastic improvement over what we are currently used to when in the cockpit. My personal preference is to leave the settings as they are when Accu-Feel has created them; Accu-Feel can interpret the physics of the aircraft far better than I can. That said, some of the sound settings may need altering depending upon your personal preference. I found that the wind noise in the heavies did seem a little unrealistic at times.
I've been using Accu-Feel since it was released and have tested it
with a variety of aircraft, each time the aircraft is improved
above and beyond the default offering. I do feel that Accu-Feel is
better suited to the smaller GA aircraft, probably because the
changes are much more noticeable than they are in the heavies –
although adjusting the parameters could change this.
It was fun to test out the GA aircraft for the stalls and wind noise by inducing a stall then diving down at maximum speed. The cockpit begins to shake and shudder when you are flying on the edge – good job that 'Aircraft Stress Causes Damage' is turned off.
Dive to Stall
Taxing around the airports is massively improved now as you feel like you are moving along an uneven surface. Once you switch from tarmac to grass the drag on the wheels increases and the aircraft bumps around a lot more, as you would expect with a much more uneven surface.
Taxiing On Rough Terrain
My major criticism is that a lot of the wind and structural noise
is better heard when you load up another window over FSX e.g
Firefox. The drag rumble effects are best heard this way, which
can spoil the approach slightly. They can still be heard from the
cockpit but not as well. I managed to combat this by lowering the
engine volume in FSX itself but then the structural sounds are
louder than they need to be, so the master volume of Accu-Feel
needs lowering. It starts a vicious circle!
Overall this is a massive improvement over the default offering, and at the bargain price of $14.99 is well worth adding to your FSX set-up. I feel that Accu-Feel is more noticeable and better suited to the GA aircraft, but still works well with the heavies. The one drawback is that some of the sounds are not very audible from within the cockpit, but maybe this could be fixed with a service pack. It's difficult to describe this product as it is an audible package, I hope that the included movies have done it justice!
I find myself awarding this a Mutley's Hangar score of 8.5/10
Review machine Spec: Intel i7 2600k @3.40GHz | 8GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz |NVidia GTX570 1280MB GFX Card |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium