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Looking for Sound Decoder recommendations


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I have a couple of locos already fitted with DCC and I'm thinking of adding sound. they are a Proto 2000 ATSF E3 (powered A unit, unpowered B unit) and a Bachmann PRR K4. I would like the A and B units to start and shut down in sequence: would this require two decoders, or is there a decoder scheme that will simulate the two locos? Any recommendations to avoid or go for? 

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13 hours ago, webbcompound said:

I would like the A and B units to start and shut down in sequence: would this require two decoders, or is there a decoder scheme that will simulate the two locos?

I would think it would need two seperate decoders, one in each engine, but I'm not sure how the chip in the 'dummy' engine would respond, without being connected to a motor. It's something I intend to experiment with myself, at some point.

Personally I feel that sound in steam locos emphasises the lack of real smoke and steam, especially when the sound indicates the loco is working hard, and so it detracts rather than enhances things. On the other hand I've seen smoke-equipped diesel models where the continuous billowing of clag also becomes a novelty gimmick that wears off very quickly. All just my opinion of course.


As for decoder recommendations, as well as the Thread that is already in this section, my own experiences are as follows -

I don't like Soundtraxx Tsunami; I found them very 'fussy' decoders that want impeccably clean track & wheels, and will still stutter & drop sound and lights where no other locos with other decoders have a problem. Keep-alives haven't really helped, and the horn sounds are rather feeble. I keep them in service as they cost too much to throw out!!

TCS Wowsound have great sounds and horns that sound like real air horns. I hesitate to recommend them entirely, as I'm struggling with programming the one I have to get it to respond to the throttle as I want; this is probably as much down to my own ineptitude as it is the decoder's instructions; but in general it's been a reliable decoder.

ESU Loksound I have decided is my 'default' decoder of choice, despite the fact only 3 of my locos have them!!; good sounds all round and reliable; instructions tend to be difficult to comprehend but again that might be me as much as the translation from German sometimes going awry.

I have a QSI decoder currently not in use (awaiting putting in a 'dummy' loco) which was Atlas factory-fitted - the air horn is the best of the lot, literally blows the Tsunami away in particular. It was in an O Scale loco so wouldn't fit in an HO model; I don't know what there is for HO in the QSI range.

I have some Zimo non-sound decoders and the motor control on those is brilliant, making my old Atlas/Roco O Scale Plymouth switchers run the best they ever have. I should think Zimo sound decoders would be good too. I also have a Lenz non-sound decoder which again has good motor control.

I've used Digitrax in the past, they were good, but not as good as Zimo. 


These have all been for diesels.

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I would recommend Soundtraxx decoders. Not just because their decoders are good but their customer service is excellent. I've emailed them  couple of times for advice on installs and they've got back to me within a day with how-to's. I would drop them an email with what you want to do and I'm sure that they will be able to advise you.


No affiliation apart from a satisfied customer.



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