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RIP Tsunami?

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RIP Tsunami?
Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:18 PM

I have been listening and reading other model railroader's opinions, and I have seen it in new products. I also get this feeling that the question has already been asked. But, why is Loksound the new "best" ? What happened to Tsunami in Athearn Genesis and Kato? Which should I put more consideration into for the future?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:49 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler
But, why is Loksound the new "best" ?

Because we say so. Big Smile It is no different than the argument  between Ford and Chevy, BMW and Harley Davidson, Home Depot and Lowes, Bourbon and Scotch, blondes and red heads.  I could mention the banned subjects, but I won't.  But the principle is the same,  only one opinion is allowed these days.

Henry

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:52 PM

But then why do certian brands support this "shift" in opinion?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, June 30, 2018 7:01 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler
But then why do certian brands support this "shift" in opinion?

I wouldn't rule out money and profit.  If BNSF UP supplied the decoders to Athearn, wouldn't that give you a leg up in selling after market decoders or getting a contract with Bachmann, or Rapido, BLI or the others?

Henry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, June 30, 2018 7:20 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler

I have been listening and reading other model railroader's opinions, and I have seen it in new products. I also get this feeling that the question has already been asked. But, why is Loksound the new "best" ?

Some have commented that once Soundtraxx was King and then let too much time go by while ESU was upping their game and getting a lot attention with very good sounds and ability to download sound files to their newer decoders.

That said, customers who have used both the new TSU2 and the newer Lok report sound is very good on both, although some prefer some Lok featured on sound control vs tsu.  Do some reading.

That happened to Tsunami in Athearn Genesis and Kato? Which should I put more consideration into for the future?

I think Athearn has an engine with Lok but most announced still have Soundtraxx. 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Saturday, June 30, 2018 7:25 PM

The back EMF on Tsunami1 was rather futzy and hard to tune.  They made it much easier on Tsunami2.  They also added three point speed curves on the T2.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

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Posted by RR Baron on Saturday, June 30, 2018 7:28 PM

Tsunami Digital Sound Decoders were discontinued March 2016 and replaced with Tsunami2. Best decision is based on current information.  Good place to start is SoundTraxx website.

RR Baron

 

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, June 30, 2018 11:56 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler
But, why is Loksound the new "best" ? What happened to Tsunami in Athearn Genesis and Kato? Which should I put more consideration into for the future?

Hi BNSF UP.... :

 

From my experience, the ESU Loksound Selects are the best decoders I have used thus far so I'm going to stick with them. However, that shouldn't be interpreted as suggesting that the ESU decoders are better than everything else. My 'experience' is limited to what are now very ancient versions of the other brands. I haven't tried out the latest offerings so obviously I can't say that ESU is better. How would I know? I suspect that a lot of pro ESU biases are based on the same sort of outdated comparisons.

I do intend to stick with Loksound Selects for a few reasons. The main one is that eventually all of my fleet will have a common set of procedures. Right now I have four or five different brands. Trying to remember what buttons I have to push just to start up the engines for each manufacturer is a pain.

Having common CVs to program will also be nice. I will have to do a lot less manual reading. The less manual reading and head scratching the better AFAIC.

The other important reason that I will stay with ESU is because they work wonderfully. I lack the spare cash to experiment with different brands so when I can afford a decoder I will spend my money on what I know will work for me.

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, July 01, 2018 4:52 AM

When I look at my roster of locomotives with sound decoders, I have a number of QSI decoders, a few Tsunamis, and one LokSound.  All came factory installed except for the LokSound which I purchased from Intermountain as an upgrade to replace the original factory installed non-sound decoder.

I must admit, the LokSound is the best of my decoders in terms of overall performance and sound quality.

I really do like my QSI decoders, but QSI does not seem to be available any longer.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/p/265058/2994777.aspx

The Tsunamis are the worst. One came factory installed on a Bowser switcher. I would be more than pleased to swap it out for a cheap non-sound decoder which is all that I need on a yard switcher.

I love sound on my passenger locomotives, many of which are factory equipped with QSI sound decoders. But I also have two Athearn Genesis AB consists with Tsunami decoders. The combination of the crappy Athearn incandescent headlights and the inferior Tsunamis drives me nuts. The lights and sound cut off at the mere thought of dirty wheels or power gaps whereas all of my other sound decoders are immune to such problems. I will eventually get around to replacing the Tsunamis.

Rich

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Sunday, July 01, 2018 8:51 AM

I haven't followed the saga of QSI but had heard with the Titan they had created an upgraded generation of decoders.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by selector on Sunday, July 01, 2018 11:22 AM

I have the strong impression that QSI is dead.  They haven't introduced a new decoder in about seven years.  Mind you, Sountraxx held onto their original version of the Tsunami for about nine years, so....

I have at least one of their Revolutions (2010-ish) installed in a second-hand BLI Santa Fe 4-8-2 and I like it a lot.  I have had at least two Titans installed in BLI steamers, and like them a lot.

Between TCS, newest Tsunami, and the always-excellent LokSound, the newest decoders are heads above what was available prior to 2010.  Better installations make a big difference, including newer speakers, but also the better baffles.  Also, the tunable amplifiers with reverb make the sounds more immediate and realistic.  Finally, motor control has improved across the board.  The original Tsunami was very complicated to use if you wanted fine motor control, and it involved tweaking at least three CVs high up near 190-212, but it could be done, as I learned on my own.

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, July 01, 2018 12:30 PM

 A lot of the more specialized OEMs are using Loksound because of the realtive ease of customizing the sounds - witness the Rapido FL9's which have botht he diesel prime mover and the electric mode, or the ScaleTrains GTELs which have both the diesel hostling mode and the turbine.

 Can Soundtraxx do that? I'm sure they could, but it would be an in-house thing because the decoders are not programmable or updateable by the end user or OEM. No one knows their internal architecture but I suspect is is not as straightforward and event + condition driven like Loksound's.

 Then there is that upgradability. Oh, so you bought a Loksound before they added the Drive Hold feature? No worries, just update the firware and now you have the feature. Need a Tsunami with Alco sounds, but the dealer is out of stock? You have to wait. With Loksound, the decoders are all the same. Just load the sounds you want. Simple and straightforward - NO editing WAV files and all that, if you don't want to get that deep into it. Just download and install the sound file of your choice, no sound editing required. Don't want to bother? Any of the reputable dealers will load your choice before sending it to you. Still easier for them because they don't have to track and inventory different decoders for Alco, EMD, GE, or other sounds, PLUS different form factors (board replacement, wires, micro size, etc). 

                          --Randy

 


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Posted by Mark R. on Sunday, July 01, 2018 12:59 PM

The reason OEM engines are using ESU is simple .... price. ESU offers a better price point than the competitors. Also, ESU decoders are assembled in China right at the factory. Tsunami decoders are shipped to China from the US - if there is a problem, there is a time delay to ship replacement decoders. It's all about having a leg up on the competition.

Mark.

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Posted by peahrens on Sunday, July 01, 2018 1:32 PM

My first loco (this time around) was a Genesis GP9 w/Tsunami sound.  As I got into converting DC locos to DCC w/sound, I soon went with LokSound Select as my default.  I even replaced the GP9 Tsunami mainly due to a primary complaint, poor horn sound, but I also upgraded the speaker so made 2 changes at once.

What I like about the Selects are the good motor control, ability to optimize BEMF with a CV54 procedure, a pretty good range of specific sound files (certainly for diesel types.  And with the LokProgrammer I can update a file; e.g., when the 2-motor E units files were created awhile back.  There are some features I have not got around to yet.  If I could add features by priority the first would be wires available (or a plug) for keep alive type devices as one must solder to tiny pads after cutting back the plastic shrink wrap.  

I have not kept up with the Tsunami2 to be able to compare.  If I considered alternates I would first look at the TCS WowSounds.  I know TCS used to get good marks for motor decoders motor control so I presume the WowSounds are good in that area but do not know how to compare with Loksound.  One feature I note with the WowSounds is that at least some have some keep alive built in to the motherboard (not sure it non KA boards have a connector, which would be nice).  I don't know how the Wow sound library stacks up against LokSound in terms of quantity (types) and quality.  And I see that Wow offers "kits" for specific locos, which many folks might prefer.  (I perfer to address each loco speaker setup on my own).

So it seems to me that Lok and Wow would get my first look, but I do not know if Tsunami2 has some "pros" against those because I am pretty settled for now.  

One unknown for me is the current Sound Value decoders (formerly stripped down Tsunami in features and technically not Tsunami's) in recent Bachmann locos.  They used to have a feature that I disliked immensely, to the point of changing it out for Lok.  It would start the steam sounds on powering up the layout, to which I objected, and the needed CVs were not available to keep the sound off until ordered.  I am curious if, with the Tsunami2 & Economi advent, whether Bachmann has improved the Sound Value features.

Anyway, there are several good options in current offerings. 

 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Sunday, July 01, 2018 2:56 PM

selector
Mind you, Sountraxx held onto their original version of the Tsunami for about nine years, so....

And that very long duration is why some say ST lost the big lead they had.  During those nine long years, other companies like ESU were working on new decoders.

Between TCS, newest Tsunami, and the always-excellent LokSound, the newest decoders are heads above what was available prior to 2010.[/quote]

Right, and the QSI in my Atlas and Walthers P2k are prior to 2010, which is why the new TSU2 should be "heads" above (referencing the upgrade topic).

Better installations make a big difference, including newer speakers, but also the better baffles.   Finally, motor control has improved across the board.  The original Tsunami was very complicated to use if you wanted fine motor control, and it involved tweaking at least three CVs high up near 190-212, but it could be done, as I learned on my own.

Both good points for us he need to tweak older Tsunami's.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Sunday, July 01, 2018 4:16 PM

Well then, can I buy these loksound decoders for under $90? They seem to all sell for over $100...

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Sunday, July 01, 2018 5:08 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler

Well then, can I buy these loksound decoders for under $90? They seem to all sell for over $100...

Mb Klein's has them for about $88.  That was just the first place I looked.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, July 01, 2018 6:46 PM

Looks like Yankee Dabbler has the Selects for about $84.

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, July 01, 2018 7:05 PM

I haven't noticed any difference between Tsunami 1 and Tsunami 2 as far as sound quality or slow speed motor control.  I'm not sure what the upgrade did.

Athearn uses Tsunami.  I think Genesis uses the full Tsu2 but I'm not sure if the RTRs use a simpler version.

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Posted by Geared Steam on Sunday, July 01, 2018 7:50 PM

Doughless

I haven't noticed any difference between Tsunami 1 and Tsunami 2 as far as sound quality or slow speed motor control.  I'm not sure what the upgrade did.

Athearn uses Tsunami.  I think Genesis uses the full Tsu2 but I'm not sure if the RTRs use a simpler version.

 

 

You are the only one that I know of that hasn't noticed the improvement. Genesis uses TSU2.

No you cannot program TSU2 but why would I ever have to, besides if thats what I like to do all the time. I buy a decoder with the correct sounds, and TSU only has three decoders, Diesel, Steam, and Electric. Those decoders have almost every prime mover, whistle and bell you can imagine. so, If I pull my TSU2 out of my 4-6-0 and install it in a shay, I simply go change the sound to "Geared", or "Articulated". (Light, meduim or heavey chuff) The motor control is as good as any brand, and the TSU2 has a excellent sound mixer the others do not. DDE is also another excellent feature from Soundtraxx, it can work off the motor load, and you can play with straight to 8 went starting off in a diesel (F11). The keep alive simply plugs in as opposed to that silly ESU powerpack and the solder pads. You have to trim away a portion of the protective coating from the solder pads, while you stare at a warning label that says something like, "Removal of the protective coating will void the warranty". The power pack if your lucky on keeps a 2 or 3 second supply, I prefer the TCS Ka3 or Ka4 to any keep alive, they last the longest, and I have never had a problem programming a decoder (JMRI and interface) so the "simpler" 2 wire keep alive work just dandy. 

The manuals on all brands can be a challenge, ESU is especially difficult, as a German engineer wrote it. (good luck with that)  Matt Herman however has really brought ESU into the States with his forward thinking, which is great for all of us, competition is always good for all of us DCC consumers. 

My humble opinion, I have had ALL the brands mentioned here, and I chose TSU2 for my reasons and preferences.

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, July 01, 2018 8:03 PM

Geared Steam

 

 
Doughless

I haven't noticed any difference between Tsunami 1 and Tsunami 2 as far as sound quality or slow speed motor control.  I'm not sure what the upgrade did.

Athearn uses Tsunami.  I think Genesis uses the full Tsu2 but I'm not sure if the RTRs use a simpler version.

 

 

 

 

You are the only one that I know of that hasn't noticed the improvement. Genesis uses TSU2.

No you cannot program TSU2 but why would I ever have to, besides if thats what I like to do all the time. I buy a decoder with the correct sounds, and TSU only has three decoders, Diesel, Steam, and Electric. Those decoders have almost every prime mover, whistle and bell you can imagine. so, If I pull my TSU2 out of my 4-6-0 and install it in a shay, I simply go change the sound to "Geared", or "Articulated". (Light, meduim or heavey chuff) The motor control is as good as any brand, and the TSU2 has a excellent sound mixer the others do not. DDE is also another excellent feature from Soundtraxx, it can work off the motor load, and you can play with straight to 8 went starting off in a diesel (F11). The keep alive simply plugs in as opposed to that silly ESU powerpack and the solder pads. You have to trim away a portion of the protective coating from the solder pads, while you stare at a warning label that says something like, "Removal of the protective coating will void the warranty". The power pack if your lucky on keeps a 2 or 3 second supply, I prefer the TCS Ka3 or Ka4 to any keep alive, they last the longest, and I have never had a problem programming a decoder (JMRI and interface) so the "simpler" 2 wire keep alive work just dandy. 

The manuals on all brands can be a challenge, ESU is especially difficult, as a German engineer wrote it. (good luck with that)  Matt Herman however has really brought ESU into the States with his forward thinking, which is great for all of us, competition is always good for all of us DCC consumers. 

My humble opinion, I have had ALL the brands mentioned here, and I chose TSU2 for my reasons and preferences.

 

Really, the PM sound in the 2 is noticeably better than the 1?  Of course, I always thought the 1 was pretty good, but I only run diesels.

And even in switching mode with the 2, my older QSIs still stop smoother from speed step 1 than the 2.  The only reason I bought the 2 was for hopefully getting a less abrupt stop from slow speeds, so the 2 hasn't advanced at all in the one aspect it mattered most to me.  No, I don't see the fuss.

 

- Douglas

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Sunday, July 01, 2018 9:53 PM

I will check MB Klien and Yankeedabbler. I have bought from both before, and been pleased with their service.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 01, 2018 10:18 PM

I have only one word to respectfully add to the discussion - Loksound!

My 2 Cents

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, July 02, 2018 9:44 AM

 Not only did Soundtraxx coasr by on the Tsunami for a reltively long time, the introduction of it was ALSO very much delayed. When they announces the original Tsunami, it was by far the best sounding (spec-wise) sound decoder out there. Way beyond anything currently ont he market. Except they had some design and delivery issues and by the time Tsunami first appeared, the other manufacturers hadn't just been sitting still.

 As for Loksound being complicated, they really aren't. Some look at the functioon mapping and go "OMG, 256 CVs" but it's all just a table with 32 rows. All rows identical. They are the ONLY decoder ont he market that allows ANY function, ANY function wire, ANY sound, to be mapped to anything, with a variety of conditionals like direction of mootion, transistion of motion, status of another function, or what have you. No one else allows that - most limit a certain set of output wires to a few functions, then the next set of output wires to the next group of functions.

                                         --Randy

 


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Posted by trainnut1250 on Monday, July 02, 2018 10:52 AM

Randy,

QSI came out before Tsunami with a great decoder that rivaled the TSUs about a year before TSUs arrived - these appeared in early BLI offerings. In addition ST did come out with the econami during the "gap" between TSU and TSU2.

The new TSU2 is quite good ...I have installed several. ST does have a very loyal group that dates back to the LC/DSD days....

 

Guy

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Posted by woodone on Monday, July 02, 2018 4:53 PM

Got two things to say about the Tsunami’s— equilizer- and MADE IN THE USA!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 02, 2018 6:39 PM

woodone

Got two things to say about the Tsunami’s— equilizer- and MADE IN THE USA!

Thats wha my ex said and we bought a Ford Taurus new.  The head gasket went at 60k miles.  After that I did lots of research on car repair history and sadly, US made cars had poor repair history while Toyota, Nissan etc. were much better.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by woodone on Monday, July 02, 2018 7:18 PM

You do know that Toyota has a factory in the USA.

ALSO not too many pieces for Ford come from THE US.

SoundTraxx is made right here in the USA!

A very nice production factory— then There is the sound equalizer!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 02, 2018 8:22 PM

Yep. Yep.   It just goes to show you it's not so clear cut with foreign cars assembled in the states.  But my first wife insisted on buying US brand cars and at the time they had a poor repair history.

Ive read Soundtraxx version 2 tsu are much improved, mainly motor control and horns.  I've done some listening to the newer Lok sound and I was really Impressed.

 Anyway  I bought two Soundtraxx TSu2s to take advantage of the June upgrade promotion but after investigating have found the physical remove/replace for the engines with qualifying decoders was more complex than I anticipated so I've already cancelled one TSU2 order and been refunded and may do the same for the other.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by woodone on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 9:44 AM

Too bad you find the replacements were looking difficult to do. 

You would be impressed with the new sounds- And the chance to use the equalizer on the Tsunami 2's.

What keeps you from trying this change? Should be just cut and match the wires and your done.   

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