|DEVELOPER||Immersive Audio||PRICE||10.70eur (+TAX)|
As part of our Community Charter, we provide full disclosure at FSElite.
Immersive Audio NGX Cockpit Sound Immersion was provided free of charge to FSElite for the purpose of reviewing for the community.
The PMDG NGX is probably the most popular add-on aircraft for FSX and P3D to date. I don’t think you can find many people that don’t have this fantastic add-on, and for good reason too. It has been modeled to perfection by the crew at PMDG, offering an incredibly immersive 737NG experience. But can that experience get even better? Well, perhaps so, with the Immersive Audio NGX Cockpit Sound Immersion add-on designed specifically for the PMDG NGX. This add-on offers over 300 new cockpit sounds including cockpit ambience, pack sounds, circuit breakers, APU sounds, instrument sounds, the infamous 737 trim wheel sound, and more, offering an even more realistic experience.
Installation was easy, though the documentation could be clearer. The instructions tell you to backup the original folder, then copy the new sounds in and overwrite when prompted. I want to point out that the sounds provided by Immersive Audio don’t fully replace ALL sounds, only certain ones, and some default sounds will still be used, so make sure you COPY the entire 737NGX folder to a new location. There are also “Alternative” sounds that you can install, and I will talk about those later. Also included is two “Recommended Settings” screenshots of sound settings in the FMC. I tried these and for me the sounds were a little too faint, but give them a try as results will vary depending on your hardware and personal preference. Once everything was installed and ready to go, it was time for a test flight!
I decided to test these sounds on a simple maintenance flight, Delta Air Lines 9980, a round-robin to and from Minneapolis St Paul International Airport. I began at the Delta Tech Ops hangar located on the southwest side of the airport. It’s not winter yet, so the aircraft was not in a “warm” configuration but rather the standard cold and dark. As I flipped on the master battery I immediately noticed the cockpit ambience sound, the fans cooling the instruments and circuit breakers, the slight hum as everything begins to run. I’m impressed so far, it’s already sounding rather realistic, but let’s see what else it has to offer.
I ran through my flows, reviewed the release sent over by dispatch (aka yours truly, I’m like a swiss army knife you know), and configured the aircraft for our test flight. I couldn’t help but notice the subtly of the knobs, switches, and other various systems. The sounds were not overpowering and cheesey, they had a subtly about them, which is good. Everything up to this point has been fantastic and made me feel as if I was onboard the real deal. I readied the aircraft for taxi, and as I dropped the flaps I really enjoyed the realistic sound of the flap lever being moved, it matched nearly perfectly with my experiences with this aircraft. As I went to transfer power from the APU Generator BUS to our left and right IDG generators I noticed the first sound that I felt wasn’t realistic. A hard “chunk” and a sharp switch sound followed as I transfered to the left and right IDG BUS. I’d expect that sound on the older 737’s, but not the NG.
Not to worry though, it’s only one sound, so I began my taxi to runway 35 for a quick departure. I noticed that as the engines were running the fantastic sound of the knobs and switches seemed to be so faint I could hardly hear them. Perhaps this was due to my use of alternate engine sounds, or perhaps the volume of these sounds need to be slightly louder (the alternate sounds I am using are quieter than the default engine sounds PMDG supplies), nevertheless it didn’t ruin anything for me despite being an issue throughout the flight. Being an empty maintenance flight we rocketed out of MSP rivaling the climb rate of Space Shuttle Endeavour (ok, maybe we only rivaled the Endeavor Air aircraft below, close enough though). The flight was routine and there isn’t much to report during cruise, but as I made my descent and prepared the aircraft for arrival I was yet again happy with the thing things I was hearing.
I armed the spoilers, set autobrake to a measly 1, and prepared for an approach to runway 30L. As we approached the new EGPWS sounds began to play, “twenty-five hundred”, “one thousand”, and so forth. I couldn’t help notice a certain echo and faintness to these sounds, which I personally did not enjoy, and it possibly the weakest part of this sound package. I touched down, smooth as silk of course, and rolled out to make a left hand turn onto taxiway C. I enjoyed the subtle swoosh of the spoilers deploying, and again the flap lever as I retracted the flaps. I brought the aircraft back to the Delta Tech Ops hangar with a thumbs up, this add-on is a keeper! Though I think there are some things to be fixed, I think it is top notch and well worth the money.
After the flight I did some investigating on a few sounds. There is a folder with “alternative” sounds in it, but for the most part the differences in these files are very minimal from what I could tell. The exception being the standby instrument sound, which doesn’t have any sound to it in the version you install, but has a nice sound to it in the alternative version. I did noticed that the recommended settings said to select the analog standby instruments and not the ISFD, and I believe that is because the cockpit ambience sound more or less has the sound of the analog standby instruments baked into it. In reality, aircraft that come with the ISFD have a slightly quieter cockpit, this is because the standby gauges have a vibrator in it that prevents the needle from getting stuck and that is the clacking sound you hear with it. If you select between ISFD and analog using the default sounds you will notice the sounds are slightly louder with the analog and will quiet when you select the ISFD, properly simulating this system. I think installing the alternative standby instrument sound will give you the same effect, though the circuit breaker sounds are a bit loud to begin with and give you the feeling you are running analog standby gauges.
I mentioned the EGPWS sounds being the weakest part of this sound package. They have a certain echo to them, and they are a little faint. When I compared the raw files against the original sounds from PMDG, I felt the PMDG sounds were much more crisp and clear. I guess this one comes down to personal preference, but in my opinion when examining how it sounds in real life, they are crisp and clear, and therefore I will probably overwrite these with the original PMDG sounds. Something that was also forgotten was the “Approaching Decision Height” sound. We’ve all heard it say “Approaching Minimums”, but the EGPWS system can also callout “Approaching Decision Height”, and that sound was not included by Immersive Audio.