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The eight pin sound decoder

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The eight pin sound decoder
Posted by robert sylvester on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:56 AM

Confused Can anyone tell me who makes an 8 pin sound decoder that is reasonably priced and where it can be purchased.

I have several engines that are DCC ready with 8 pin plugs and would like to install an 8 pin sound decoder in each. I have noticed that the decoders tend to be pricey, why cna't you buy them at a reasable price?

Robert Sylvester

Newberry-Columbia Line

Newberry, SC

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Posted by khier on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:00 AM

Sound decoders are generally expensive regardless of the plug. Hornby released a line of relatively cheap sound decoders. No idea, however, if they can be -reconfigured. In any case there are tons of adapters available that connect almost everything to anything. 

Regards

Walid Khier

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:09 AM

In a world where an Athearn DCC with sound loco costs $100 more than the DC version, reasonably priced is going to be $85 -$100

At least one forum member swaps decoders between his various locos.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, June 24, 2019 10:03 AM

BigDaddy

 

At least one forum member swaps decoders between his various locos.

 

That would be me Henry. 
 
I have 15 Rivarossi Cab Forwards and only two SP type articulated sound decoders.  I built up a couple of spare tenders with decoders and swap the tenders to the locomotive I want to run.
 
I also have a sack full of E7s and I swap the decoders into the ones I’m running.  I do have several EMD 567 decoders that I move around.  I program the E7A equipment number in the B units so that I don’t need to fiddle around with consisting.
 
I have 8 MRC 1700 series decoders that work and sound very good, they come with the NMRA 8 pin connector.  I buy them off eBay for under $45 free S&H.  The 1730 is EMD 567 Prime Mover and the 1731 is heavy steam.  The MRC 112704 is Alco 244 sound also under $40 on eBay.
 
They do not come with a speaker for that price, I buy my speakers off eBay too.  The best sounding speakers I have found are 1” 4Ω & 16Ω Neodymium magnet speakers.  The MRC decoders are 8Ω so I series a pair where room is available and use a 4Ω resistor when the available space won’t allow dual speakers.
 
I can’t find the 4Ω speaker right now on eBay but I have several of the same size 16Ω speaker and they sound very good to me on the 8Ω MRC decoders.
 
 
I build enclosures from .04” Styrene sheet.
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by tstage on Monday, June 24, 2019 12:42 PM

Robert,

You need to first define what "reasonably priced" is to you?  Most good-quality sound decoders (e.g Loksound, TCS Wow!) are going to run you $85-$110.  However, for that price you get a lot of features, sound PLUS terrific motor control.

And there's nothing wrong with just installing non-sound decoders at first then gradually install sound decoders when the funds are available.

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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Posted by wjstix on Monday, June 24, 2019 4:29 PM

I know many disagree, but MRC sound decoders are good decoders and the (slightly) older ones can often be found new for around $35-40. I have maybe a half-dozen EMD and Alco diesels with MRC sound decoders now and I'm quite happy with them.

Stix
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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:40 PM

I agree with Stix!  I have 13 MRC decoders that work equally good as much more expensive decoders, I can’t tell any difference in the motor operation.  The sound is very good in all 13 decoders.  All were bought off eBay for $37 to $42 each, less speakers.
 
I have only had one problem with a MRC decoder, it was DOA out of the box and MRC replaced it in less than a week from my call to Customer Service.
 
I have also had good luck with the economy Digitrax sound decoders, under $60 each.  I have two Soundtraxx SP Cab Forward Sound decoders but at over $100 I won’t be buying any more, thus the reason for two sound equipped SP oil tenders that I swap around.   
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:53 AM

 I've tried Tsunami, QSI, Loksound, and MRC. And this is where I have to disagree. The worst quality of sound is from the MRC. The worst motor drive is from MRC. MRC claims to have dozens of horn files you can switch between with just a CV change - true. But even their tech support can't tell you what kind of hooorn you get for what value in the CV! "We don't keep track of that" is what their answer to me was. Granted, it was easy to install, it was a board replacement for Athearn RTR - but them, so are other brands in that form factor. 

The Tsunami prime mover was decent, but the horns were weak and muddy, not a whole lot better than MRC, actually. That was in a factory sound loco, a different run came with a Loksound, so I traded even up with someone who was more of a Tsunami fan than I am. Apart frooom my one Atlas loco with a QSI, all my sound is Loksound. They aren;t the cheapest, but they aren't the most expensive. But they do things none of the others can (though that flexibility means they can be more difficult to program, but JMRI or even better, the Lokprogrammer, solve most of those issues).

 Oh yeah, I do have one of the original Digitrax sound decoders laying around somewhere. Not very good, the sound is like a really poor quality MP3 file. And the original ones try to do too much with the little microcontroller on the board, the loco actually slows down when you blow the horn. The newer 16 bit ones (with the 'X' in the name) are better sounding but still have the annoying Digitrax rounding in the BEMF motor control which causes jumps at certain speed steps that no amount of momentum can fix. Same applies to their motor only decoders, which is why I don't use any even though I use a Digitrax DCC system.

                           --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 Tuesday, June 25, 2019 9:00 AM

Randy
 
Have you tried the newer MRC decoders?  I really like the 1700 series sound and the motor control to me is very good.  As to horns I’m not into accuracy in horns so I just pick the one that suits my fancy, similar to what I hear from the SP tracks near my house.
 
I only have sound decoders in my E7s and PAs diesels and I believe it was you that suggested the 112704 Alco 244 decoder and it works fine for me.  I had been running the 1730 EMD 567 in my Alcos until I was made aware of the correct sound for my Alcos.  The SP never retroed their PAs with the 567.
 
Bottom line is I’m very happy with the MRC decoders especially the price.  I’ve been retired for 12 years and pennies count in everything I buy for my hobby especially when I can’t tell the difference their in operation or sound as compared to the few high cost decoders I have.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 10:16 AM

 I hae to dig it out to see which one I have. It isn't the very newest, but it isn't one of the really old ones, either - it does read back the CVs unlike the earliest ones, and it doesn't have a large capacitor just flapping in the breeze off one end. I don't remember if it is the chip on board type or has an actual chip - I really hate that chip on board stuff (where the actual ship is soldered to the pc board, and then covered with a blob of epoxy, as opposed to a square or rectangular chip with legs or no legs, if it has an array of solder balls on the bottom) which is mostly found in cheap toys.

                              --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 Tuesday, June 25, 2019 1:11 PM

The only MRC that I own that won’t read back the CVs is the one I bought with my Prodigy back in about 2006.  I didn’t buy any newer decoders until about two years ago.  I ran 99% DC only until about 2015 when I finally got around to running a bit in DCC mode.
 
I’m thinking that the 1730 decoders were released about 2017 and over a period of about 18 months I bought 8 MRC 1700 series decoders, six 1730 and two 1731.
 
My arthritis is giving me a fit this morning or I’d open up a locomotive and take a picture of one of the 1730 decoders.  The dongle hanging out of the MRC 1700 series decoders looks like a TO-220 transistor, I haven’t removed the heat shrink to see what it is.
 
Not happy with the generic articulated sound for my SP AC-9s and AC-10 to 12s I bought a Soundtraxx 826105.  It has all the peculiar SP articulated sounds.  The generic articulated sound in the 1731 works OK for non SP sounds, Y6B, 2-6-6-2, MC-2&3 and the early AC-3 to AC-6.
 
About a year ago I bought a TSC WOW 101, the Cab Forward sound has the SP compressor sounds but I like the Soundtraxx sound better.
 
I can’t tell any difference in motor operation in any of my decoders since you walked me through setting up the BMEF.
 
As I have always speed balanced my locomotives to run together in DC mode I haven’t had to dink around the any speed CVs on any decoder.
 
The only newer DCC ready locomotives I have purchased haven’t worked out as well as my older DC locomotive so most of them are gone, never liked the Proto or the newer Athearn diesels.  95% of my fleet (well over 70) are old DC locomotives, they seem to run better for me than any newer locomotives.  I really like the old Model Power E7s and Athearn Blue Box locomotives.  I put a can motor in them and they run much better and have more pulling power than any of the newer locomotives.
 
I would rather buy an old clunker and restore it to better than new than buy any of the newer locomotive but that’s my thing, restoring old stuff.
 
I think I have bought my last decoder, I don’t mind taking the locomotives apart and swapping the decoders around.  I haven’t even been tempted to buy a clunker to restore in over two years.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by NS6770fan on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 3:07 PM

Actually, the RTR DCC and Sound locomotives only cost about at most $40 more. RTR is not that bad. It has really evolved since the old days and could be considered the same quality as some older genesis.

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