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I have NYC locomotive from BLI with Paragon3 sound and am considering to buy more from this brand.
1) How is sound from QSI sound compared with Paragon3 (diesel sound)?
2) What does sound upgradable on PCM means? There is no built-in speaker?
3) BLI blueline, I have to buy sound decoder, right? I can't just plug and play digitrax dh123 to use sound.
I have heard they are the same company. The quality between is equal?
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I have a couple steam qsi sound models and the one is good and the other has been a battle from the word go. I’ve seen a bunch of bad from bli but the old saying nobody remembers the good but when you make a mistake you wear it for life is what I think the scenario is with them. I have no pcm models to give you that information. I have a couple paragon models I’m going to pick up at some point so I’m personally not afraid to give them a try
 

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BLI has had several lines over their corporate lifetime. They started with Paragon and went through to what is currently Paragon 4, almost all of them with capacitors.

Early one, still during the Paragon series between 2002 and 2008, BLI had a Power...something...series. Can't remember any more. They were poorer in details and strictly DC.

BLI also had a 'Platinum' series. Their first all-metal Pennsy K4s 4-6-2 was from that series. Also QSI, and mine still works.

The original Paragon series all had QSI decoders. I still have all but one of mine. I recently upgraded a Paragon Niagara 4-8-4 from a slightly wonky QSI to the Paragon 4 decoder. I had this done by Train Service Depot in FL. The gentleman was very easy to deal with, quick to respond to my emails, and was very fast at returning the locomotive to me. Runs like a top.

Next came BLI's PCM series, but they also introduced 'Stealth' at about the same time, give or take a year or so. Precision Craft Models (PCM) were higher quality with more details and metal chassis/shell. I have their Y6b, a true grand slam home run if there ever was one for HO models costing less than (today's dollars) about $600. The Y came with a V2 Loksound decoder, which failed at the 6 year mark. I had a QSI Titan, then the latest QSI, installed. Still works well, now ten years running.

The Stealth models were Paragon, just no decoder and sound, strictly DC.

Around 2006, BLI announced their BlueLine series. They had sound decoders, but not motive decoders....I think I have that correctly. Took some figuring out how to get them to work for those with DCC control on their rails. I did eventually purchase a BlueLine N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 and had a QSI Revolution installed. It still works, now on its 10 year. The details are comparable to Paragon. Essentially, BlueLine is a DC locomotive with sound.

By the way, the QSI Revolution and Titan are excellent. All of mine still work, and they have excellent sounds. QSI went out of business, possibly supplying Paragon decoders still...???

BLI have had a couple of poor runs. I recall scads of their first Mikados, I think in P2, showing up on their refurbished page on their website. This was back around 2012-14 or so...can't quite recall. But I will say this for BLI: they have yet to let me down. They fixed that same Niagara, which I purchased refurbished, when I sent it to them having shorted the decoder myself by installing a tender wheelset backwards. No charge. They repaired my PCM Y in 2012 when I dropped it and broke the front engine. Total cost, returned to me, plus my shipping it, was $40. They sent me the 'lid' or top cover for my BlueLine Class A's Worthington feedwater heater free when mine went missing.

I have a total of 12 BLI steamers acquired over 15 years now. I have the ATSF Blue Goose Hudson on order. I have had their ATSF 2-8-2 in the 4000 Series since Christmas, in Paragon 4. It's a gem. I would not hesitate to recommend BLI for those interested in quality steam with sound. If you do get a dud, there are more to swap with if you return it to the retailer, but BLI will make you whole one way or another.
 

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I have 2 BLI steamers and 4 of their diesels, all N gauge. The only one I have had a problem with is a paragon 4 diesel. And as soon as I set it to use the paragon 3 CVs, it has run like a champ too. Right now, BLI is my second favorite manufacturer, right after Kato.
 

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So I run in N scale, and have several BLI Paragon 3's and one Paragon 4 loco. Had a few hiccups which was more due to my track issues and not always the engines. In N scale they do not have built in keep-alives, yet. I like them, and will add to the one P4 I have. But as always, YMMV. Good luck.
 
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