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Best Sound Decoder

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  • Member since
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Best Sound Decoder
Posted by steamfreightboy on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:05 PM

Okay, please don't start in on me because this is a frequent topic. I ran searches on google and the forum and did not quite find what I needed. I might be replacing a fryed sound decoder in a Roundhouse 4-4-0 and want to know what the best sound decoder to replace it with is. Right now I am thinking either tsunami, QSI, or Loksound. I don't want to spend too too much, but I want good sound. My LHS list tsunami at $102, Loksound at $126, but I don't know if they carry QSI steam decoders. I want to know which would be the best value for my money.



"It's your layout, only you have to like it." Lin's Junction
  • Member since
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  • From: Northeast OH
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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:30 PM


Since you are trying to outfit a 4-4-0, that may help narrow your choices.  Do you know for sure whether the Tsunami, QSI, or Loksound decoders have a 4-4-0 sound file?


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

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:56 PM

Big problem you should have seen in Google searches is, there is no Best, only what different people like Best.

SoundTraxx, QSI and LokSound have armed camps fighting over which is Best. I belong to some Yahoo DCC Groups and see the fighting quite often.

Near flame wars have occurred at times. Sound depends on the speaker/baffle install and some decoder companies alter some of the sounds digitally. Exactly which ones do this is argued.

I use all three. For my Spectrum 4-4-0, a SoundTraxx Micro Tsunami and one inch speaker. A LokSound Micro has a limitation of 500 ma. The Tsunami, 750ma. That is motor and lighting current total.

All the decoder companies have sizes for their decoders. Measure the tender shell.

Now for the fun. Bachmann does not use standard DCC wire colors. Let a tender truck all the way around and you will get a short.

Make sure you have a multimeter for doing continuity checks.


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Posted by Hamltnblue on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:59 PM

Soundtraxx makes one for the Richmond 4-4-0 american.

Springfield PA

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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 6:32 AM

I use sound decoders from all three manufacturers.  I'm very happy with all of them.

Big help, huh?  I think it's important that you are likely to by happy with any of the high-end sound decoders.  They are all good products.

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

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  • From: Colorful Colorado
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:50 PM

Best value is easy - the cheaper one.   Since you don't already have a preference there isn't much difference.  For the difference in sound quality, motor control, prototypical sounds, programability, etc. between those two (or even three) choose the cheaper one.

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Posted by Mark R. on Saturday, April 30, 2011 1:11 AM

I prefer the Loksound decoders myself. Sound aside, they have the best motor control out there - and have for years. I've even installed them in some older brass and was amazed at how well the engines ran. New sound files are being added on a regular basis for the new 4.0 decoders that are much improved from earlier releases.

Right out of the box, Tsunami's have very poor motor control and is not synced with the movement very well - the engine should begin to rev up to notch one before it starts to move .... not after it's reached switching speed. Granted this can be tweaked, but it's can be a real pain to get it configured properly.


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