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MRC The Leader in sound decoder Technology????

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MRC The Leader in sound decoder Technology????
Posted by kenkal on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:28 AM

OK, this has really bothered me for quite some time now and wonder if it's just me or others have noticed and wondered about this as well. HOW can MRC make the claim that THEY are The Leader in sound decoder technology?  This has been on the back page of Model Railroader for some time now.  They go on with exceptional choices, legendary variety, unbelievable sound quality, less space (? see picture on the 8/08 MR back page -- the decoder BOARD takes up almost the entire inside width and length of an HO S2/S4) and more.

Now, I don't want to start an MRC bashing post here, but, come on, my experience has been the exact opposite of what they claim. From what I've seen on various MR and other boards, other modelers experience has been even worse than mine.

Anyone have a clue on what they can base these claims on? Are hobbyists exempt from truth in advertising laws or something like that? Or is it because the perception of sound quality is relative? Just HOW are they a leader and in WHAT????

Call me just perplexed.  Ken 

 

 

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Posted by Paul3 on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:49 AM

Sure, MRC is "The Leader" in sound decoder technology...if you're running backwards.  Hey, they never said how they were "The Leader" (should that be "Fearless Leader"?) or even in what way.

BTW, they are bald-faced liers.  They lied right to my face at Springfield (MA) at the Big E.  I asked them straight out that I had heard that their Atlas S-unit sound board was actually using an RS-3 (244) recording.  The guy at the MRC booth said that they record all their own sound, and that it was an S-unit (539) prime mover.  The next month, Model Railroad News reviewed the decoder, and the headline reads something to the effect of, "MRC Releases Authentic Alco 244 Sound for Atlas Switchers!"

Personally, I'd call 'em "The Leader in sound decoder technology failure"...which has certainly been the case in my club.

Paul A. Cutler III
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Posted by cacole on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:05 AM

After the experiences I and other club members have had with MRC non-sound and sound decoders over the years, I'll never touch another one.

The are and have always been the leader in DC power pack technology, but their DCC decoders are the worst product on the market.

 

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Posted by jamnest on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:17 AM

MRC DC power packs are probably the best on the market.  Before converting to DCC I had two MRC 20s with walkaround throttles and they worked great.  A few years ago I gave my nephew a train set which included a cheep power supply, however I purchased a nice MRC power pack to go with the set. 

On the other hand, MRC DCC decoders have been a big let down!  They will need to make a lot of improvements before they get my DCC business.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:46 AM

You did start something. Watch your blood pressure guys. Stuff happens.

Rich 

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Posted by simon1966 on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:47 AM

Marketing spin which discredits the entire company. 

If you make a claim, and the vast majority of the viewing public regard it as a false claim, then you devalue your brand.  When they next make a statement, which may in fact be true, many will simply dismiss it. 

This is simply an appalling error on their part as it eliminates decades of goodwill that they have developed. 

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:06 AM

I worry about this thread, but I will say that I agree with you, Simon, and others who feel the message is laughable.  C'mon, there are so many complaints about the MRC decoders that there's almost nothing left except to laugh.  And really, isn't the meta-message in the subject claim the same as, "Hey, you...ya, you....you look stupid, so have a read of this?" 

I feel it is a serious mistake to diss your client base.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:03 PM

This is a typical piece of advertising hype - and MRC is far from being the only culprit!

If this originated in-house, they should either:

  • Get into some SERIOUS research, and make it true, or;
  • Change the ad copy.

If it was some outside ad agency's brainstorm, they should consider shifting accounts.

As a user of analog DC, I swear by MRC for propulsion power, but I do have to wonder about a company whose ads are so obviously divorced from reality.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:28 PM
I wish Athearn would take a closer look at this situation.  Putting MRC sound in their engines is probably hurting sales.  From what I've read on this forum, I wouldn't buy an Athearn sound engine, just because I don't want to have to deal with these decoders and their problems.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:42 PM

Sorry, I see this as normal advertising.  You should read some of the health product ads - MRC is pretty tame in comparison.  As for truth in advertising unless they make a specific verifyable claim that is false there's no grounds for complaint. After all what it means to be the leader is different for different people, same for easier to install, unbelievable sound quality, etc. 

The only real claims they make are that it will work with any NMRA compatible system, have 28 functions, come with speakers, and use sounds recorded trackside.  And they have a table of drop in replacements for 9 locomotives.  All the rest is just normal adverstising blather.

No issue here for me and I love their dc power packs.

Enjoy

Paul

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Posted by cacole on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 6:26 PM

Those of us who haunt this forum know that MRC decoders should more accurately be advertised as smoke generators, but how many thousands of gullible modelers are there in the world who don't know of the bad reputation they have?  If MRC can convince 1/10th of them to buy a sound decoder their advertising is paying for itself, whether true or not.

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Posted by ereimer on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 6:46 PM

truth in advertising

falls in the same catagory as

jumbo shrimp

military intelligence

airline food

 

 

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Posted by jfallon on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 7:23 PM

       I have one MRC Brilliance steam sound decoder that I installed in a Spectrum USRA Heavy Mountain about two years ago. It has worked fine ever since, although I admit that I run the locomotive only a few times a year. Every other MRC decoder that I have tried to install, either for myself or for others, at best ran once before dying. MRC's dc throttles are the best out there, and their Prodigy DCC system is a very good one for the cost, but their decoders stink!

                                                                         John

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Posted by Paul3 on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:12 PM

The other thing that gets me with this ad of MRC's is the picture they used.  Look, I love FL9's as much as the next guy (well, probably more-so, considering), but why o' why did they use a picture of one that's dirty & rusty?  There have to be thousands of color FL9 pics to choose from, and they picked that?  Jeez...

BTW, what does an FL9 have to do with MRC sound anyways?  It's not even one of the sound effects listed.

Paul A. Cutler III
************
Weather Or No Go New Haven
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P.S. Hey, look at the ad!  They even say that their Atlas S-unit board is an ALCO 244!  Unbelievable...  M.R.C. = J-U-N-K

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:42 PM
When I saw the title of this thread I almost split my sides laughing! MRC the leader in sound decoder technology? That'll be the day! My best advice about ANY MRC decoder is to get as far away from it as possible. They are absolute junk.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, July 2, 2008 12:15 AM

Maybe they are the leader...in defective decoders. Whistling [:-^]

Rotor

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Posted by Jacktal on Friday, July 4, 2008 9:35 PM

Well...you guys have just made my day...sort of.I just purchased an Athearn N scale Big Boy about a month ago and only used it about five minutes on a length of track (DC) and it has been absolutely flawless...so far.You pretty well convinced me that I should sit down firmly when I get to try it on the club's layout...and keep the fire extinguisher on hand...pretty reassuring indeed.

Now,when it does "smoke",I suppose that if I send it back to Athearn on warranty,they'll replace the decoder with the same junk.Waiting two months or more to have it back with both ways shipping at my expense only to see the cycle most likely repeat itself,I'll be better off buying another brand of sound decoder and install it myself.

Since I was already planning to order a Micro-Tsunami for my forthcoming Kato Daylight (in the mail right now),I might just as well order two just to be safe.I've been told they are good and I have other locos that can use it,should the Big Boy keep on ticking after a while.Thanks for the info...sad...but helpful...... 

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Posted by ereimer on Friday, July 4, 2008 11:27 PM
 Jacktal wrote:

Well...you guys have just made my day...sort of.I just purchased an Athearn N scale Big Boy

 

maybe some of the N scale guys can jump in , but i don't recall reading anything bad about MRC's N scale decoders . then again i'm in HO and may have missed any N scale threads

 

ernie

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Posted by Jacktal on Saturday, July 5, 2008 7:29 AM

Right now,I'm strongly questioning my purchase as these models have rapidly become available on Ebay.OK,Athearn may have litterally stormed the market with these so that there are so many,but it doesn't look normal to me that this type of model has become so easy to get on the "used" market so soon after their introduction.

Even worse,there is an Ebay seller (Hobb-e-Mart) that regularly has defective units of both Athearn models (Big Boy and Challenger) available.Defects vary though from non responding motors to broken side rods or binding trucks,etc but some do suffer from defective decoders.Obviously,these are offered with no warranty whatsoever.The fact that owners have elected to ditch them on Ebay instead of fixing them has me wondering indeed that I may regret my purchase with time,but then only time will tell.

So far,mine doesn't seem to have any mechanical problem.Nothing broken,motor is silky smooth wich means I will try another decoder when it fails but I admit it does upset me somewhat since this is an expensive model to start with.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, July 5, 2008 8:45 AM

On the subject of broken siderods, you wouldn't believe how careless some people are when they pick their models up. They grab them with their fingers and thumb solidly on the siderods, pushing them against the wheels, then have the audacity to blame the manufacturer for defective equipment when the rods bind against each other.

As far as the decoders go, I'm not sure haw good the ones in the N Scale models are but the ones in the HO Scale models are well and truly junk.Dead [xx(]

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by jwils1 on Saturday, July 5, 2008 9:17 AM

I think it's only fair that I say that I have a MRC #1663 sound decoder in my Atlas S2 that just keeps on running beautifully.  It's the wrong sound but that doesn't bother me.  The motor control is excellent.

I also have an Athearn F3 with MRC that has been running for  a long time.  The only probelm here is motor control.  I hate the "jump" starts and abrupt stops.  I'm in the process of changing it out to a Digitrax with a Sound Bug.

Jerry

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Posted by loathar on Saturday, July 5, 2008 9:55 AM
Don't know about the sound units, but I've had a 100% success rate with MRC decoders.
(I own 1 and it's worked fine for over 8 months.Big Smile [:D]) That's more than I can say for an NCE I had that croaked after 6 hours.
I do wonder how many MRC decoders turn into smoke units due to faulty installations and the decoder itself??
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Posted by loathar on Sunday, July 6, 2008 11:22 AM
 davidmbedard wrote:

 loathar wrote:
Don't know about the sound units, but I've had a 100% success rate with MRC decoders.
(I own 1 and it's worked fine for over 8 months.Big Smile [:D]) That's more than I can say for an NCE I had that croaked after 6 hours.
I do wonder how many MRC decoders turn into smoke units due to faulty installations and the decoder itself??

Most of the failures come from factory installations.  Also, I have had a 70% return rate on aftermarket sound units.

David B

Yeah, but I know some people that install things at factories that are total morons and some supervisors that let complete garbage out the door just to hit their numbers. (what country are these being installed in??Confused [%-)])

And with the 70% after market failure rate, how many of those people aren't really smart enough to use a soldering iron, meter and wire strippers?

I'm NOT saying MRC doesn't have a quality issue, I just wonder how many of these AREN'T MRC's fault directly.

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Posted by pastorbob on Monday, July 7, 2008 8:14 AM

Can't stand it any longer.  My experience with MRC sound?  snort, ugh, bah, humbug,and stronger words.  Ripped it out of two new Genesis units and put in new decoders from another source.

No more MRC on my railroad.

Bob

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by loathar on Monday, July 7, 2008 11:37 AM
 pastorbob wrote:

Can't stand it any longer.  My experience with MRC sound?  snort, ugh, bah, humbug,and stronger words.  Ripped it out of two new Genesis units and put in new decoders from another source.

No more MRC on my railroad.

Bob

Watchya gonna do with that crappy MRC sound decoder you ripped out??Whistling [:-^]

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Posted by pastorbob on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 1:16 PM
 loathar wrote:
 pastorbob wrote:

Can't stand it any longer.  My experience with MRC sound?  snort, ugh, bah, humbug,and stronger words.  Ripped it out of two new Genesis units and put in new decoders from another source.

No more MRC on my railroad.

Bob

Watchya gonna do with that crappy MRC sound decoder you ripped out??Whistling [:-^]

You would have to search one of the city dumps in Kansas City to find it.  It left the house encased in garbage and trash in a Glad Bag.

Bob 

 

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Posted by Last Chance on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 1:45 PM
 MisterBeasley wrote:
I wish Athearn would take a closer look at this situation.  Putting MRC sound in their engines is probably hurting sales.  From what I've read on this forum, I wouldn't buy an Athearn sound engine, just because I don't want to have to deal with these decoders and their problems.


Precisely.

I have skipped about 1000-2000 worth of athearns for QSI technology instead over the years.

It's a shame because Athearn makes good engines. But such crappy ... aw never mind.

I know enough never to consider MRC Decoders or sound ever again.

MRC makes excellent Analog power packs, one of which is approaching 7 years of service without any problems. Even good enough (Precision in control) to drive high strung QSI engines once in a while.

The last two (And only two) MRC decoders were scrapped along with the engines. Straight to the trash can. The money spent was written off as a learning experience. One disappeard under a sledge hammer and the other was cut into a million peices by a dremel.

It is unlikely that I will ever allow frustration to get the best of me to seek out destruction of property, like model engines. If they dont work well on the rail, what good are they? Stress relieves I say. That manical fit of laughter was much good for me after the things were kaput.
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Posted by iomtt on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 8:02 PM

This  doesnt  make  for good  reading   on  MRC  decoders as  i  am   milling  out  an  SD-40  N scale  chassss  to accept  the  speaker,  should i  continue  or   return the decoder  to  the  guy  who  sold  it  me,  i  would  like  to   purchase  an  N scale  big  boy  for  the  layout  but  reading  this  post  has   made  me  have  second thoughts.

I wouldnt  want  to get  one  and  have  it  blow  out on  me,  rather run   my   S.P and U.P.    locos  with  a sound  system  under  the  boards  on speakers. 

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 10:09 PM
I haven't heard much on the N Scale MRC decoders. You could use it an d it may work well. If it doesn't you can return it as defective. Myself, I would use Digitrax, but then I don't do the sound thing.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
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Posted by kenkal on Saturday, July 12, 2008 12:26 AM

Just happened to re-read the wording in that MRC ad on the back of the August MR.

 "A sampling from of our vast range of sound decoders". 

Huh?  "...from of our..."?  Apparantly they put the same level of care into their ad copy as they do their sound decoders!

;-)  Ken

Huntley, IL

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