I've often commented in my reviews and articles that many FS
add-ons are lacking when it comes to their audio impact on the end
user. It is very difficult to imagine flying an aircraft if the
sounds being emitted from your speakers do not match it. Flying a
747 would be no-where near as much fun if the sound-set was that
of a Cessna.
There are many developers, both freeware and payware, who help to improve our immersion within our flight simulators by producing 3rd party sound-sets which can be installed into our favourite aircraft to help them sound better than before. Let's face it, the default offerings from Microsoft are not the best.
AWG Simulations are one such developer and are a relative newcomer to the developer community having only being formed in July 2011 by 3 'flight simulation geeks' (their words not mine). Since then their development team has grown to 7 with more waiting to join. They wrote to Mutley's Hangar a short while ago and asked if we would be interested in reviewing one of their latest add-ons, the Boeing 737 Classic CFM 56-3 sound-set.
The CFM engine is one of the most popular in the aviation world with over 20,000 units being built over 4 variants, the majority of which have found their way onto the classic Boeing 737-300/400/500. Combined these engines have now flown over 53,000 years of flight hours which goes to show both their reliability and popularity with airlines.
Purchase & Installation
The sound-set can be purchased for $9.99 directly from the AWG Simulations website and will only take up 50mb of hard-drisk space once downloaded. The initial version which I downloaded was version 1 and I was disappointed with the manual as the installation instructions were very unclear. I spoke with AWG who walked me through the process, took on-board the criticism and have now amended the manual in Version 1.1 to show clear installation instructions. The documentation isn't as polished as some that I have seen but it does the job, after all you only really need to know how to install the sound-set.
● Sounds recorded from the real aircraft
● New realistic touchdown and gear sounds
● Autopilot/Autothrottle disconnect sounds
● Take-off and landing roll sounds
● Custom cockpit sounds
● Custom flap and lever/switch sounds
● FSX Sound Cone Technology
Going For A Flight
When I reviewed the Wilco Classic 737 PIC Evolution Deluxe at the time I thought that the sound could have been better, which made it an ideal candidate for the AWG CFM56-3 sound-set. Installation is relatively simple; back-up the current sound-set and replace it with the AWG sound-set.
|Default Wilco Start Up||With Soundset Start Up||Default Wilco Taxi||With Soundset Taxi|
It is always difficult to review a product which is based solely on sound, which is why I have included some before & after videos showing the various stages of flight. The best improvements for me were the start-up and take-off sounds that are miles ahead of the sounds which are included with the Wilco 737. That's not to say the originals were poor, just that they are not as good as these. The roar from the engines is exactly as I remember them from a recent flight to Prague on a 733 and the hum during cruise is very close to how I remember the real engines sounding too.
|Default Wilco Take Off||With Soundset Take Off||Default Wilco Climb||With Soundset Climb|
|Default Wilco Cruise||With Soundset Cruise||Default Wilco Descent||With Soundset Descent|
During a conversation with one of the development team at AWG I mentioned that I thought the sounds in the cockpit were louder than I would imagine them to be, considering that the cockpit is quite a distance from the engines. The reason for this is that getting access to a cockpit during flight to record the sounds is practically impossible in the UK. All sounds had to be recorded from within the passenger cabin itself, which makes perfect sense. I assume that this is also the case for other add-on developers too.
The overall experience after installing the CFM 56-3 Sound-Set is fantastic and improves the flight experience even further. You do not need to own a copy of the Wilco 737 in order to buy these sounds, they can be installed into any aircraft (just be sure to keep a back-up of the original sounds should anything go wrong). I've flown a lot of flights over the last few weeks since installing this sound-set and really enjoyed each flight as it almost feels like you are right there in the aircraft during flight.
|Default Wilco Approach||With Soundset Approach|
If you regularly fly in the classic 737 series of aircraft (payware or freeware) this is a sound-set which you should strongly consider purchasing. For $9.99 it can be installed into any aircraft you own and will add another dimension to your flights. I hope that the included videos are enough to whet your appetite.
Mutley's Hangar Score
● Improvement over the original offering 8/10
● Ease of installation 10/10 (after update)
● Documentation 7/10
● Quality of sounds 9/10
Overall Score: 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