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Have MRC sound decoders improved in the last year or two?

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Have MRC sound decoders improved in the last year or two?
Posted by hobo9941 on Friday, November 03, 2017 1:18 AM

Have the MRC sound decoders improved ny in the last year or so/ Thnks.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 6:31 AM

I’m impressed with the MRC 1700 series, I have several of the 1730 and 1731 decoders,  They operate the motor and function switches very nice.  I don’t use MRC speakers, I buy 1” full range 1 watt 4Ω speakers from China and build my own enclosures.  I use a pair of the 4Ω speakers in series for 8Ω, the MRC 1700 series drives them nicely.
 
For me the 1730 Diesel EMD567 sounds very good in my E7s and I use the Articulated sound in the 1731 for my Cab Forwards.
 
For the low cost of the decoder I couldn’t ask for anything better, as $$$ is available I’ll add more to my fleet.
 
Here is a link to a steam tender speaker installation
 
   
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by snjroy on Friday, November 03, 2017 6:56 AM

I agree with Mel. The sound may not be as good as other decoders, and I often need to tweak CVs a bit, but the new generation of MRCs is quite reliable. For steam, I find that removing the BEMF is often necessary to have a smooth running loco. I had about 30 locos to convert, so dollars do matter. 

Simon

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Posted by hminky on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:20 AM

Bought one for an S2 and the sound is truly dreadful. Even tried it with a 1.56 diameter speaker and it still was shrill/tinny.

Harold

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:30 AM

 Even if they have, they are nowhere near the leaders like ESU, TCS, and Soundtraxx. There's a reason they are generally less expensive...

 There's has been a lot of new recording going on by ESU and TCS, haven't seen MRC posting about updated recordings, let alone adding features. Since they aren't field updatable like ESU, adding new features similar to the Full Throttle would require a new decoder. Have they actually released any new decoders recently? 

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 9:43 AM

Randy
 
I have one Soundtraxx decoder (SP Cab Forward sound) and I do like the sound better than the MRCs.  I don’t really get into the more elaborate goodies of the high end decoders so I can’t really tell much difference between the MRC and Soundtraxx other than the more realistic unique SP articulated sound.  So for me the MRC is less than half the cost and they work very good for what I do on my layout.  I just can’t justify the $$$ for other decoders.  For non sound locomotives I use the cheapo Digitrax.  They all work great.
 
I still run more on DC than DCC, my only reason for going DCC was for sound.  My layout isn’t designed for multiple train operation (1980s design) and I’m too old to start over.  I doubt if I’ll even totally finish all the scenery on this layout before I’m pushing up grass.
 
All in all over the years my MRC Prodigy Advance Squared² has worked very good since I bought it in 2005 and does everything I need.  I’ve read and heard about all kinds of problems with the MRC DCC stuff but from day one everything has worked OK for me including the first series of MRC sound decoders.  I received one DOA 1730 a year ago or so but MRC replaced it quickly at no cost.
 
I had programming problems with the first 1700 series decoders but you helped me by getting me into DecoderPro and walking me through the setup.  Since I got that figured out everything has been perfect!  A big thanks for your help!!!!
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, November 03, 2017 10:03 AM

I'm surprised anyone is still buying MRC sound decoders after the terrible reputation they got when they were OEM installed in Athearn engines for years.  You almost never hear about MRC sound decoders any more - probably for a good reason.   I honestly didn't know MRC was still in the sound decoder business.

Maybe some are are still sold - probably because they are low cost compared to sound decoders with a reputation and consensus of high quality sound, like ST Tsunami and ESU Loksound.  Of course you pays your money and takes your chances - if you aren't terribly picky, they may work for you.  You generally get what you pay for.

I don't own an MRC sound decoders but I can say I'm not very impressed with the QSI sound decoders that came with my Atlas GP40-2's.  I'd rather spend a little more and have high quality sound or simply buy silent engines - and install aftermarket sound later if I need it.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by hminky on Friday, November 03, 2017 10:58 AM

I tried one of the new HO ones because I bought a n scale 1812 drop-in and it sounded pretty good.

Like I said the S2 sound was awful no matter what speaker I used.

Harold

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, November 03, 2017 1:19 PM

Do they buzz so much as to bleed through the sound when running slowly at 20% volume?  If not count me in.

I long for the days of QSI.  I hope the newer MRCs are like them. 

- Douglas

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Posted by BRVRR on Friday, November 03, 2017 2:13 PM

I've been using MRC decoders for years. The first one I installed in a Bachmann Niagara which lasted for nearly ten years before it died. I replaced it with a MRC 1618 decoder that was/is a significant improvement. Particularly with motor control.

We have an Athearn Challenger that came with some version of a MRC sound decoder. It failed totally with no warning in two years. I replaced it with a Soundtraxx DSD 100LC decoder which took some tinkering to get right.

Most recently I installed a couple of MRC 1716 sound decoders in a pair of E8s. To date they have performed flawlessly.

As far as the sound is concerned, the MRC decoders have met my needs. I have a small train room so pure sound isn't necessary. For my money you can't beat the MRC decoders.

I recently purchased a Soundtraxx Econami ECO-100 sound decoder to install in a E8. Thirty to 40 dollars cheaper than most of the other high end decoders the Econami has promise and may give the MRC decoders some competition. We'll see.

Allan

Remember its your railroad

Allan

  Track to the BRVRR Website:  http://www.brvrr.com/

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 2:33 PM

Doughless

Do they buzz so much as to bleed through the sound when running slowly at 20% volume?  If not count me in.

I long for the days of QSI.  I hope the newer MRCs are like them. 

 

I can’t hear any buzz in my 1730 or 1731 decoders, all of my MRC decoders are driving Canon EN22 or Faulhaber 2224RS motors and most have dual speakers.  I have a total of 13 decoders, No tinny sound out of any my decoders, 8 MRC 1700 series 1 1656, 1 Soundtraxx or 1 WOW101.  Good enclosures normally take care of any tinny sound.  I also have 2 Digitrax DH123 decoders without sound driving DC71 motors (MDC Shays).
 
Like I said above absolutely no complaints on any of my DCC decoder equipped locomotives going back as far as 2005.
 
I haven’t had to turn off the BEMF in any of my decoders to get them to run smooth.  The only problem I’ve had was lack of power compared to DC powered locomotives on my 3½% grades and Randy walked me through the proper setup using DecoderPro and they all work great.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Doughless on Friday, November 03, 2017 4:16 PM

Mel, thanks for the info.

Also, I'm not a fan of the contemporary and popular producers' representation of EMD turbocharged prime movers or some ALCO prime movers.  QSI had the ability to mute individual sounds from the PM, turbocharger being one of them by a simple CV49 to 14 then CV 52 to 0 combo.

So I'm leary of any producers' version of anything other than a non turbo EMD 567 or 645, or a GE FDL, or Baldwin. 

Not sure where MRC's turbocharged prime movers rank on the dog whistle/vacuum cleaner squeel scale, but that would be another factor for me to consider.

Also, the more comtemporay producers seem to not have the notching sequence quite correct, at least to my ear.  Out of the box, QSI locos would rev slightly before I could perceive an increase in speed.  Some say that isn't necessarily realistic, but it seems more logical to me when I operate the locos.  Hopefully, MRC doesn't fall short in that area.

For me, there are other factors besides who has the absolute most prototypically accurate sound, but to each his own.

- Douglas

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 4:56 PM

Doughless

 

Also, the more comtemporay producers seem to not have the notching sequence quite correct, at least to my ear.  Out of the box, QSI locos would rev slightly before I could perceive an increase in speed.  Some say that isn't necessarily realistic, but it seems more logical to me when I operate the locos.  Hopefully, MRC doesn't fall short in that area.

For me, there are other factors besides who has the absolute most prototypically accurate sound, but to each his own.

 

I’m not into super detail and don’t have any idea what a real EMD567 sounds like.  I worked next (100’) to the Santa Fe main line east out of the Bakersfield yard for 20 years and heard hundreds of current locomotives from idle to get up and go.  I couldn’t tell one from an other.
 
My E7s sound very good to me at idle to full speed on level ground as well as my 3½% grades and the speed matches the sound to me.  I’m sold on the MRC 1730 in my E7s, they sound and run great!
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by hobo9941 on Friday, November 03, 2017 11:47 PM

Thanks for all the great replies. I have several of the older MRCs that are OK, but they lose their addresses from time to time. And the volume is always max, regardless of what you to with the CVs. I also have the Lokounds and Tzunamis. but I really don't need all the extra bells and whistles of the top end decoders. I just want the prime mover, bell and horn and brake squeal, and the low price of the MRCs is a bit appealing. The motor control on the earlier MRCs left a lot to be desired.

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Posted by nscaleman on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 5:36 AM
I just bought a Kato F7 (DCC ready) and was going to get the MRC 1957 DCC sound decoder so I find it interesting what you all are saying. I was hoping the MRC was decent enough because it looked easy to install and I really like my KATO locomotive to not be able to use it on my new DCC layout.
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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 2:50 PM

nscaleman
I just bought a Kato F7 (DCC ready) and was going to get the MRC 1957 DCC sound decoder so I find it interesting what you all are saying. I was hoping the MRC was decent enough because it looked easy to install and I really like my KATO locomotive to not be able to use it on my new DCC layout.
 

I have a MRC 1956 decoder and it has worked great for over ten years.
 
EDIT:
Sorry mine is a 1656 not a 1956, I have eight 1700 series decoders that work very good and sound great.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 3:41 PM

hobo9941

Thanks for all the great replies. I have several of the older MRCs that are OK, but they lose their addresses from time to time. And the volume is always max, regardless of what you to with the CVs. I also have the Lokounds and Tzunamis. but I really don't need all the extra bells and whistles of the top end decoders. I just want the prime mover, bell and horn and brake squeal, and the low price of the MRCs is a bit appealing. The motor control on the earlier MRCs left a lot to be desired.

While the Tsunamis have okay motor control, TCS and Loksound are terrific at it.  That's more important to me than the sound.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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