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  • Topic: Choices of sound equipment --Best? Worst?

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    • February 23, 2011 8:43 PM EST

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      I have in my USA GP 38 the excellent Sierra sound system from TOC, Dave Goodman. Everything he sent me works great and it is L-O-U-D and s-o-f-t per the rheostat sound control. Apparently, the entire diesel operation is captured on the Sierra sound chip -- warmup, yard speed, and the main line sounds.

      OK, Sierra has come and gone -- I doubt it available -- what are quality, reliable, brands of sound systems readers of this site have both used and trust?

      Here are some likely locos considered for sound:
      USA's diesels
      Bachmann's Annie, Connie, mallet (small number sold?), and the Forney.
      LGB retro-fit in their steamers
      Aristo's mallet, Pacific and diesels.

      What has been omitted, fine, tell us about the brand and your application.

      Wendell
    • February 23, 2011 9:35 PM EST

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      Wendell,
      I use the LGB aftermarket digital sound units, #6500X series. Unfortunately, as I use analogue, I do not get the additional MTS sound features. I use only one locomotive at a time so the generic steam or diesel sound is not repetitive, as it would be if I operated several units at the same time.

      Downside (other than being unable to access decoder features) is that a LGB/Massoth programmer is a must so as to set the start voltage ramping (on the steam units). The actual voltage that starts the sound is fixed in the software and not adjustable. If not using MTS/DCC then a standby power source is required such as the LGB stationary capacitor board (#65011) or a 5 volt battery pack wired to the sound board to get slow speed chuff or stationary sounds.

      These days, the cost of the LGB/Massoth system, after sound board, storage capacitor and reed switch pack are included, makes the unit more expensive than the better Phoenix system.
    • February 23, 2011 10:49 PM EST

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      it's my limited understanding that Dave still has some Sierra Units avail for diesels...get them while you can.

      further, limited as it may be, I also understand you can send your old sierra in to Soundtraxx and they can re-program to a different file...

      please correct if any of the above is mistaken

      cale
    • February 24, 2011 1:35 AM EST

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      With the Sierras, "reprogramming" means replacing the chip. Soundtraxx may still have some lying around, but quite frankly, unless you've got a stash of Sierras on hand and are looking to save money, they're old technology.

      You don't mention how you're looking to control the sound systems, but either QSI or Phoenix would be my only choices for that level of sound quality. For that high level of sound quality, the discussion really ends there. They've both got fairly extensive sound libraries to choose from, and are largely customizable for your particular needs.

      Later,

      K
      ____________________________________
    • February 24, 2011 8:16 AM EST
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      I use Phoenix in all my lokies that have sound.
      That's why I'm so poor...........:) :)
    • February 24, 2011 11:29 AM EST
      • Chelmsford, MA
         
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      I prefer Phoenix as well. Great sound and when you wish you can turn the volume up.
    • February 24, 2011 12:05 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      John Bouck said:
      I use Phoenix in all my lokies that have sound. That's why I'm so poor...........:) :)
      Me too :)
      ____________________________________

      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

    • February 26, 2011 8:53 PM EST

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      So far in the postings, LGB, Phoenix, and Sierra -- possibly still available via Dave Goodson or?
      Question: Is there any merit to the sound systems from the minor players -- such as Dalle products? Or adaptation of units designed for smaller scales? While not designed for large scale, could an MRC unit be adapted via a larger speaker for our use?
    • February 26, 2011 9:23 PM EST

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      Wendell, it is all a trade off.
      What is acceptable to the ear of one may not be be so delightful to another.
      For example, I find the steam sound made by MyLocosound for US$79 perfectly enjoyable for a small loco. Compared to a Dallee steam for U$99 or the fabulous Phoenix for twice as much.
      Yet the MyLocosound diesel sound doesn't compare with Dallee diesel let alone anywhere near the Phoenix.
      The best thing to do is try and listen to them. Easy with Phoenix and MyLocosound, not so easy with Dallee.

      Steam engines don't bark when "drifting" and diesels usually rev up before moving, not after they have started moving.
      None of them work 100% properly on regular DC when it comes to drifting or labouring. They can be made to operate correctly with remote control of these features, or you can do it with QSI and DCC.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • February 26, 2011 10:01 PM EST

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      Depends on what you want out of your sound system, too. I've got two MyLocoSound boards in two of my locos--one steam, one diesel. They're manually-controlled "something running around the railroad while I work in the yard" locos, so I don't need high-end, controllable sound in them. They've just got to make some semblance of noise to keep me happy. My other locos--the ones I "operate" with on the railroad, I want more control over the sounds, so they get the Phoenix or QSI boards. I've still got a bunch of old Sierra boards that do very well also. Who knows... someday I may replace them, too, but I've shuffled things around so they're in my "second string" locos; the ones I run somewhat regularly, but not my usual "go-to" locos for serious operating.

      Later,

      K
      ____________________________________
    • March 23, 2011 10:54 PM EDT
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      I 'm still confused on sound and what I need to get to hear some noise.
      Yep you heard me right, I said noise.
      What I have to spend in sound I could put towards a live steamer, maybe get an entry level loco.
      Get my fingers burnt see if I like it.
      I'm going to the ESLS Show on Friday see what I can find. :)
      Noise vs Hear it will be interesting to see what I come home with. :O
    • March 24, 2011 5:04 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      I have two Phoenix 2K2 boards, and I've always been very satisfied.

      On the other hand, what I could spend on sound boards I can more easily justify spending on rolling stock.
      ____________________________________

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    • March 24, 2011 5:19 PM EDT
      • Peoria, AZ
         
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      Love my Phoenix 2K2 board in my K-27.
      ____________________________________

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    • March 27, 2011 10:53 PM EDT

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      My personal experience is limited to the new Phoenix sound boards. I have one in my RS-3 and one in my Bachmann "annie". Both are superb.
    • May 13, 2011 5:19 PM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      The Zimo DCC decoder and programmable sound unit can give great sound.

      The latest MX695 has more than 10 watts of audio power, back-emf sync'd chuff (no chuff unless motor is tirning) or chuff sensors on wheels.

      Price..... Less than a Phoenix and for a small engine like a rail truck there is the MX64x line with 3 watts of audio output and many features of the MX695.

      Note that when coasting, the Zimo units lower the chuff just like the real engines, and increase the chuff when under a big load (curves/climbing hills).

      Many other features are available as this unit can drive different types of lights, GYRO, cabin light goes out when engine starts moving, mars, and several different types of flashing lights.

      With sound only decoders like the Phoenix, you can not do all this as they do not have any motor or light controls.

      PS, I have 3 Phoenix and 2 sierra sound units and they work great, but they are 8 year old technology.
    • May 13, 2011 6:50 PM EDT
      • Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada
         
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      Dan didn't mention that all the ZIMO decoders, for several generations back, can be upgraded by the user i.e. download the newest firmware from the Net and load it in the decoder. And the other outstanding feature: best DCC speed control in the business.
      Yes, ZIMO is still at the top of the heap in the price department, too. Your requirements may differ, mine have been specific since 2002 when I decided on ZIMO, I don't mind paying a bit more up front and getting all the stuff on the "during use" end practically free of charge.
      ____________________________________

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      HJ
      ---

      Coldstream, BC  Canada


      Inspire­d by the r­eal world

       

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    • May 29, 2011 8:14 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      But Zimo is less $$ if going DCC as it has both sound and DCC control. Everyhing on one board, less wiring.

      My friend bought a PB11 and spent more on it than I spent on my Zimo.

      And the new 695 has much more audio power output when using a 4 ohm speaker.

      Small engine, MX642 was $120, and has 3 watts audio, and DCC plus programmable sound. Even if you don not have DCC, this is a bargain for analog users. Can be set up for cabin light to go out when engine starts moving, has many different outputs that are programmable for mars/gyro/flashing lights.
    • May 29, 2011 11:16 AM EDT

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      And QSI is even less $$ and plugs into Bachmann and Aristo. (I use Zimo too, in both Z and G).

      Greg
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