Model Train Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All
I am a beginner with HO scale. About the sound of trains I often see such as: TSU, ESU, Proto, Pragon .... Does anyone have documents or websites that talk more about these sound brands?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,149 Posts
Not really, unless someone has a vlog or a 'review' website that deals with decoder comparisons. Usually it's a review or comparison about the entire package, i.e., the locomotive as a whole. But most forums have plenty of archived discussions you can search for where installations and decoder characteristics are compared.

The largest suppliers by units sold are ESU LokSound, Soundtraxx, TCS, and MRC. Paragon might rival TCS and MRC for units sold, but I wouldn't bet on it. Those are the sound decoders, whereas Digitrax, TCS, and NCE probably have the majority of the non-sound decoder market...not so sure since I only use sound-equipped locomotives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,138 Posts
Keep your budget in mind with sound. Also you might want to try a single unit of two before going all in on sound. When I converted to DVD sound was starting out. I thought it was great and converted several locks to sound. Only to find it anoying to run for long sessions. I like to listen to music in the background and it became competition rather than an excessory. On top of that a 10 pack of NCE non sound decoders went for a few bucks more than a single sound chip at the time. Yes that was years ago but there is still a big price difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,343 Posts
Forewarned about ESU: If you want sounds specific to your locomotive, you need to get ESU's programmer. Currently around $140 - $150.

That depends upon where you purchase.

Most heavy volume ESU dealers will program your selected sound file for free.

I buy from a half a dozen dealers and all of them will program a Loksound decoder.

I've never needed to program my own Loksound decoder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,505 Posts
For an alternative look: how certain are you that you even want sound? Sound doesn't scale very well, and many people consider it a detraction from realism rather than adding to it. Before you go all-in on sound, see if you can visit a club operating session where they use it. You might be surprised at what you discover.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
645 Posts
When I’m running trains on my layout I shut the sound off. I also have a couple economy decoders from soundtraxx that I don’t care for. They have very little as far as being able to program motor voltage. The locos that have those decoders seem like they’re either on or off no in between. This may work great if you’re using a lower quality or higher voltage motor but not a good idea to use on can motors
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,400 Posts
I recently got my first sound decoder, a Tsunami II, and I really love what it adds. One thing I learned quickly is that for ANY sound board you're going to want a baffle. This is basically a small plastic can that covers the back side of the speaker and GREATLY improves the volume and sound quality. You can pick up baffle kits or 3D-print your own. The Tsunami line also responds to motor load, so the sound will change when a loco is struggling up a hill, adding more realism. Of course you pay for all the features, and the Tsunami is no lightweight at $106 or more for each decoder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,343 Posts
I like sound. I like all of my locomotives to have it, but they do not. Those that do not either did not have a sound file available for the locomotive, or did not come with a decoder at all. These would be locomotives for which there was no option for sound pre-installed by the manufacturer, or because the original purchaser did not install a sound decoder.

My ACME Br.120 with sound was discontinued a few years ago and all stock everywhere was depleted. I bought the non-sound model and installed an ESU Loksound 4.0 and was programmed by the shop I from where I purchased.

My DB Br.111 was purchased on consignment from the same shop, but at the time I could not afford the Loksound card, so selected a non-sound ESU decoder. Hopefully will upgrade this one sooner than later.

My DB Br.151 was also a consignment purchase, but was a gift, so that one also has only a non-sound decoder.

My Swiss SSB Re/420 4/4 (new for 2020) has ESU Loksound 5.0, My Br.187 has a Zimo 645 sound decoder, and my TRIX Br.187 has a Märklin sound card installed.

My Roco ÖBB 1014 locomotive did not have a sound file available for this locomotive so a non-sound Viessmann decoder was installed into it. I couldn't even find an almost identical ÖBB 1822 sound file for it.

Jägerdorfer has the only sound file available for the ÖBB 1822 and they aren't giving it up. I would have to buy one of their fine models to have sound. They won't even say where they got it, but I suspect they set it up and recorded the sound themselves or contracted it out to a sound company and are guarding it closely. It uses the ESU Loksound 4/5 card(s).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,787 Posts
I prefer sound but sometimes turn it down, way down. I think it adds a nice fun dimension to the engines. I mean they are real right? With the sound it is easier to imagine it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
965 Posts
When I got back into the hobby, the idea of "sound" seemed intriguing at first.

So... the first new engine I picked up had sound (Walthers Proto SD9), and I can't complain about the implementation. It sounds good, but...
... I found that I grew tired of it after a while.

I realized that I enjoyed the engine just as much without the sound as with it.
So... none of the engines I've added since have sound. I found that I prefer a smooth, quiet runner above all else.

Makes it a lot cheaper and easier to convert dcc-ready engines to dcc, too...!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,138 Posts
I have an old Athern Blue Box that had 'sound' before it was converted to DCC 😊. It increased with the speed too. I hate to admit it but I could not bring my self to quiet the motor noise down after converting it. Something about remembering how things were when I started that brings a smile. To me that was what I remember the sound of model rail roads being. Most of the rest of mine run silently though. Just a few are for old times sake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,343 Posts
Perhaps because electric locomotives are somewhat quieter they don't get on my nerves as much as listening to five diesel locomotives all running at once would.

Not sure I'd want to listen to that cacophony either.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top