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MRC Steam Sounder

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MRC Steam Sounder
Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 10:58 AM

I'm pretty sure this description was written by engineers, because it took me a while to decipher.

The exclusive "Sounder" is a sound-only decoder and speaker that's easily added to any HO locomotive equipped with a standard, non-sound decoder or even any piece of rolling stock being pulled by the locomotive equipped with wheel pickups.

The railroader simply "hooks-up" two wires to the track power pickup points in the loco and suddenly can enjoy MRC's rich, Brilliance sound and the world's most extensive feature set.

The Steam Sounder reproduces eight, genuine articulated and eight, non-articulated steam locomotive sounds and you can select 33 whisles as well.

Features:

  • Use with any HO non-sound decoder from MRC or any other brand
  • Full 28 NMRA function capability
  • Select desired sounds and functions in "seconds"
  • No time consuming downloading or expensive purchases ... all the features are in the decoder
  • Use with any NMRA compatible DCC system to add sound "on the rails" or "below the rails"
  • Simple 2-wire hookup
  • Superb Brilliance sound quailty with multiple sounds and volume selectability
  • Capable of providing six dynamic lighting effects
  • 18V maximum input

So I get that there are 16 engine sounds and they are called forth on the programming track, but I have no idea if there is anything close to a 1900's 2-6-0 in the programming--although it might be cool to have an 0-6-0 that shounds like a Russsian. 

And the size of the speaker looks like it's better suited to the door panel in my wife's van than the tender of a 2-6-0, although the last one I got has a depression with pre-drilled holes that has to come pretty close. 

So, I guess my questions are has anyone tried one of these and what kinds of sounds does it make?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:24 AM

There no reason you cant replace that speaker with a smaller one.  That said, I would seriously boost that power supply cap.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:34 AM

DigitalGriffin

There no reason you cant replace that speaker with a smaller one.  That said, I would seriously boost that power supply cap.

MRC makes a sound decoder for light steam that comes without a speaker. If I forgo the speaker, I might as well get that. Hmmm.

On a different note, where would one go to get elecronic components if they live withing an hour and a half of a Radio Shack--and not have to pay more than it's worth for shipping?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by selector on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:42 AM

Chip, Lionel placed large speakers inside of the tender on my Challenger.  They did it by cutting the plastic tube-like housing on an angle instead of at right angles the way you'd cut a PVC pipe normally.  The effect is that it canted the speaker's cone and body at an angle inside the tender when it was glued to the open face of the tube.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, February 12, 2018 12:22 PM

Skip
 
If you’re looking for great sounding speakers take a look at these
 
 
After installing a couple of these in my Cab Forward tenders I’ve replaced most of the speakers in my locomotives with them, they sound better than great.  One thing to make note of is they are 4Ω.
 
This is a link to my blog and the installation of a pair of the eBay 1” speakers in one of my Cab Forward oil tenders.
 
 
Most small high powered (1 watt) speakers have Neodymium magnets that are super strong so if they are placed close the track you need to protect them from getting clogged with metal filings.
 
 
 
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 SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:10 PM

RR_Mel
One thing to make note of is they are 4Ω.

I'm not sure of the signifcance. I know my car speakers are 8 ohm.

The question I have is can you fit one of those suckers in your 0-6-0 tender?

 


Crandell, that is a good idea. I'm filing that one away in my brain.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:19 PM

SpaceMouse
 
DigitalGriffin

There no reason you cant replace that speaker with a smaller one.  That said, I would seriously boost that power supply cap.

 

 

MRC makes a sound decoder for light steam that comes without a speaker. If I forgo the speaker, I might as well get that. Hmmm.

On a different note, where would one go to get elecronic components if they live withing an hour and a half of a Radio Shack--and not have to pay more than it's worth for shipping?

 



I guess you don't have amazon prime?

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:21 PM

Chip,

I wouldn't use a 4 ohm as it doubles the power through the speaker which is hard on an amp.  I would at the very least cut the CV volume in half or run 2 of them in series.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:24 PM

DigitalGriffin
I guess you don't have amazon prime?

No, but my live-in son does. I guess he'll be getting random ads for transistors and blank circuit boards on Facebook and Tumblr for a while.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:27 PM

DigitalGriffin

Chip,

I wouldn't use a 4 ohm as it doubles the power through the speaker which is hard on an amp.  I would at the very least cut the CV volume in half or run 2 of them in series.

 

So what would be a good resistance for a decoder speaker?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by snjroy on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:31 PM

MRC's are usually 8 ohm, which is different than other manufacturers. I blew an MRC decoder when I tried connecting to another 8 ohm speaker that was not an MRC... You can get an MRC speaker only pretty cheap anyway (they are sold separately). And will they fit in a small tender? I installed one in a small MDC tender, but it required a little bit of grinding to remove some of the metal that serves as weight. I doubt it would fit in a sloped-tender. Personally, I would buy a new sound integrated decoder to save space. The MRC's are pretty inexpensive (although you get what you pay for).

Simon

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:31 PM

SpaceMouse

 

 
RR_Mel
One thing to make note of is they are 4Ω.

 

I'm not sure of the signifcance. I know my car speakers are 8 ohm.

The question I have is can you fit one of those suckers in your 0-6-0 tender?

 


 

 

Slope back No, Vandy Yes.
 
The MRC 1700 series dcc decoders are 8 to 32Ω, I use a 3.3Ω resistor in series when using one speaker.  I can’t tell the difference by ear using the resistor.
 
There are 8Ω speakers available in the same frame but very pricy, the 4Ω speakers are cheap.
 
 
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 SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:41 PM

snjroy
Personally, I would buy a new sound integrated decoder to save space.

I'm thinking the same thing. I'll get exactly what I want. Although it will cost $12 more per unit. I don't think my hearing is good enough to tell the difference between an MRC and a Tsunami. 

On the plus side, I'll have 5 more soundless decoders to add to the 11 I already have. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:43 PM

RR_Mel
I use a 3.3Ω resistor in series when using one speaker.

That was the question I really had. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 12, 2018 2:20 PM

SpaceMouse
 
RR_Mel
I use a 3.3Ω resistor in series when using one speaker.

 

That was the question I really had. 

 



You can add in a resistor.  The resistence of a speaker is a function of it's frequency.  Most speaker manufacturers measure resistance at 1 kHz.  However it may go up or down dependings on what frequency it's playing.   Adding a fixed resistor throws that response off.  But for tiny speakers the difference is negligable as they sit around 8Ohms for the vast majority of their range.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by garya on Monday, February 12, 2018 6:13 PM

I have one, but I'm away from home right now.  I can check it when I get home at the end of the week.

I put it in the tender of my daughter's Hogwarts Express, and she likes it. I have no idea what a 1900 2-6-0 sounds like, though.

Gary
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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 12, 2018 7:59 PM

 If it's like the MRC decoder I got, all MRC will be able to tell you is that there are 16 choices. They won;t be able to sya which engine you get for each of those 16 values in the CV that controls it. There's supposedly 32 horns on the one I have. There are 32 different sounds as I change the CV, so that part is true, but I asked them what horn each one was - P5, M3, A2, etc. Answer from MRC tech support: "We don't keep track of that"

 I'm no audiophile, but the difference between the MRC and some of the others is night and day. I'd rather half my locos have good sound then all of them have mediocre sound, so it may take a long time to get my whole fleet sound-equipped.

                                              --Randy

 

                                         


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:59 PM

rrinker
 I'm no audiophile, but the difference between the MRC and some of the others is night and day. I'd rather half my locos have good sound then all of them have mediocre sound, so it may take a long time to get my whole fleet sound-equipped.

I tried to play the Tsunami but I think the mp3 file was corrupt. I tried to play it on the website and I downloaded it and still couldn't get it to play. I couldn't find an audio file for the MRC, so I'm going deaf and relying on the ears of others.  

There are 32 different sounds as I change the CV, so that part is true, but I asked them what horn each one was - P5, M3, A2, etc. Answer from MRC tech support: "We don't keep track of that"

This seems more like sloppiness than anything. Sheesh. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:49 AM

 I'm no huge fan of Tsunamis, either. At least their diesel ones - the horns are incredibly weak sounding.

 I am now strictly Loksound, I have one Atlas Trainmaster with a QSI but that's the only sound loco I have that's not Loksound.

                          --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 DigitalGriffin on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:14 AM

SpaceMouse

 

 
rrinker
 I'm no audiophile, but the difference between the MRC and some of the others is night and day. I'd rather half my locos have good sound then all of them have mediocre sound, so it may take a long time to get my whole fleet sound-equipped.

 

I tried to play the Tsunami but I think the mp3 file was corrupt. I tried to play it on the website and I downloaded it and still couldn't get it to play. I couldn't find an audio file for the MRC, so I'm going deaf and relying on the ears of others.  

 



Chip

Here are the sounds:

http://www.modelrectifier.com/Articles.asp?ID=264

Here too for steam: (You tube to the rescue)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmAsVtD8qzw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehEdKUvFcqk

 

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:47 AM

rrinker
I am now strictly Loksound, I have one Atlas Trainmaster with a QSI but that's the only sound loco I have that's not Loksound.

I'm afraid that Loksound is way out of my price range. Their programmer alone is unfathomable. 

So, what about the Sound Bug? With speakers it works out about the same as MRC and is programable with a PR3 or PR4. 

Will the interface you sent me work for this? I know the PRs will connect the computer for use with JMRI. 

Back when I was here before there was a link to the sounds avaible. Do you still have that link?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:54 AM

 You don't need the programmer to use Loksound decoders., you can get them already loaded with whatever sound you want.

 You need a PR3 or PR4 to load sounds in the Digitrax sound decoders. The original 8 bit ones are not so good, but the 16 bit ones are decent (the ones with the X in the model number). You have to use the right sound files - the 8 bit ones will load into the 16 bit decoders but sound extra horrible. 

Some people say they aren't very loud, but I don't know what they've done to their speakers - I tested an original Sound Bug just laying on the table, no enclosure on the included speaker, and it was easily audible in the next room.

                              --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 SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:07 AM

DigitalGriffin
Here too for steam: (You tube to the rescue)

I found a similar video for chuff. Thanks. It seems like it will work. I just don't know how accurate it will be. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:20 AM

I found the Digitrax Sound Project page and unfortunately, they have very few steam locomotives. It's possible that some of the British sounds might work, but the MRC seems to have workable sounds. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10:25 AM

I have an old MRC decoder (0001656) in one of my 0-6-0s and it sounds right to me with the double chuff disabled, but I’m not a rivet counter either.  My only memory of a real 0-6-0 was from 1950 in the El Paso TX SP yard, I'm 80 without much stuff up there to remember with but it sounds good to me.
 
 
 
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 DigitalGriffin on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:23 AM

SpaceMouse
 
DigitalGriffin
Here too for steam: (You tube to the rescue)

 

I found a similar video for chuff. Thanks. It seems like it will work. I just don't know how accurate it will be. 

 



I'll be honest with you and tell you that no matter the manufacturer, getting a clean sounding chuff for production into a chip like this is a difficult task.  You need some expensive equipment and an ideal setting.

Given the expense, conditions, and complexity, most chips are likely just remixes of similar engines that have been tweeked though an EQ.  More bass and elongated chuffs & louder exhaust valves for super power.

I'm not saying they are all 1 engine.  But I'm willing to bet you are dealing with 2, maybe 3 engines at best remixed.  You aren't going to get dead on with operating steam being so somewhat rare.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 10:27 AM

"Louder exhaust valves"?

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:20 AM

Overmod

"Louder exhaust valves"?

 



I should say they are more prenounced which a sharper "Chuff" (stacato) cutoff which makes them sound louder.  Plus the preset sound track makes them louder compared to the other stock sounds.

Remember you are releasing more steam with a super power engine.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:47 PM

 I'm SURE you are dealing with a limited set of engines - there just aren't running examples of every loco listed on some decoder maker's sound lists. You can do a lot to clean up old recordings, but recordings made in the 50's on a "last chance" fan trip and sold as vinyl recordings weren't done the way they do now on still running locos, with multiple microphones to pull the exhaust from the accessories from the whistle from the turbine from the air pump. If you are lucky, it was a recording crew set up in a baggage car coupled behind the locow ith a shotgun mic. Yeah, modern signal proessing can do a lot with that but outside of distinct whistles, it's going to sound a lot the same for any remotely similar loco. And whistles are no big deal - plenty of collectors and those samples can be made seperately even if the loco it came from has long been turned into razor blades.

                              --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 SpaceMouse on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:37 PM

So what you are saying is that I can't be picky. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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