Author Topic: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only  (Read 1111 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Doc Frankenfield

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 72
  • Respect: +1
need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« on: January 27, 2016, 05:22:17 PM »
0
I plan on  ordering the intermountain  SD40T-2, NYS&W engines.
 the issue I have is since I will run them lashed up; is it of advantage to run all with sound?
Would four DDC sound engines result in a cacophony.
 IS one sound equipped engine actually more desirable?
 obviously cost is an issue but they are pretty expensive already so I can't see a few bucks really being that much of a determining factor.

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
http://www.intermountain-railway.com/n/images/69410w.jpg

craigolio1

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1565
  • Respect: +308
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 05:37:44 PM »
0
Due to the size of my fleet, cost of sound decoders, and complexity of installation, I have decided that only certain units in my fleet will get sound (once of course I'm over my current boycot of DCC).

I will mostly be running consists of two or three locos and so I thought I would do lighting and sound on models that will lead, and any middle fillers would be simply motor control decoders with no sound or lighting. This would guarantee at least two sound decoders in a consist.

My thinking here is that two will give that feeling of the noise of a multiple unit lash up, with out being too noisy (or expensive!), and also add effect when a lashup includes units with different prime movers.

So I guess I feel that one would not be enough because it would very obviously sound like just one. It doesn't have to be a cacauphony. Just turn the volume down on the locos. Too loud and I think it would become an annoyance with even one loco. We view our models from a scale that could be hundreds of feet away and I feel like it should sound more like distance has been modeled vs a more up close representation, which you would get if you put your ear closer. For example, I don't want to hear it while it's inside a mountain. I want to hear it burst from the tunnel.

Disclaimer. My experience with sound consists of running my GMD-1 back and forth on a piece of flex track at my kitchen table.

Craig
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 05:41:11 PM by craigolio1 »

carlso

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 828
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +179
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 06:03:33 PM »
0
Doc,

I am, by no means, an expert on anything. You know a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. However I have installed several sound decoders in steamers and diesels so let me give you my 2 cents worth and the experts can chime in as well.

First off, IMHO, life's sounds are a cacaphony (computer did not like this spelling but this is what Webster says) so why not in a model railroad set up, whatever it may be. IMHO, too many of one prime mover sound would be rather boring so I use one in a consist. However, if I was running an EMD with a GE then the two different prime mover sounds might be cool. Don't know if EMD and GE run well together in the real world but I am pretty sure they must. I run my trains primarily at club shows so running sound volume wide open is necessary and then it is hard to hear sometimes. At home the volume must be turned way down or totally muted. Wouldn't it be  cool to hear EMD, GE, and Alco mu'd together and pulling a long General Merchandiser through the landscape.

What ever you do, it is your railroad and always have fun! !

Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

ryan_wilkerson

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 932
  • Respect: +143
    • ShastaRails.com
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 06:05:14 PM »
0
This is a good topic. Not only would I consider the sound experience but also the operating performance. I'm surprised how much difference there is between decoder brands. Just last night I installed a Digitrax decoder in an Amtrak P42. I tried to run it with P42 with a TCS decoder and they were completely different. The TCS started running on throttle setting 1. The digitrax started at 9. Makes me want to standardize on one brand.

So getting back to the sound vs non-sound. I wonder if two identical locomotives (SD40T-2) with the same brand decoder but with and without sound would run the same?

Santa Fe Guy

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 946
  • Respect: +185
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2016, 06:23:06 PM »
0
Doc, on my SFRSD I always run two locos that are MU'd (I use Digitrax Duplex) and only one of the loco's has sound. I run EMD or GE together not mixed. It is better if you can speed match the locos as you will obviously obtain better performance. To assist my operators in ops sessions my car cards for the locos always has the TOP loco shown first so they can quickly address it on their throttle. I have a mixture of Soundtrax, Loksound and MRC sound decoders so by only running one loco in the consist I have no issuers with decoder compatibility.
This way I do not need to purchase more sound decoders than I can afford and almost all trains that run during an ops session have sound.
Rod.
Santafesd40.blogspot.com

C855B

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 8111
  • Respect: +1068
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 06:28:08 PM »
0
I understand that sound decoders can sometimes draw a bit of current at higher volumes, so total amperage for each lashup may be a consideration if you're operating more than one train.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

jdcolombo

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1812
  • Respect: +583
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2016, 06:31:28 PM »
0
I use one sound-equipped diesel in a three-unit lashup.   One is enough, IMHO.   

John C.

craigolio1

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1565
  • Respect: +308
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2016, 06:56:14 PM »
0
I've decided on standardization as well.... well sort of.

I havnt done a lot of testing but I believe I have settled on TCS for non sound, and Loksound for sound equipped. The Loksound decoders have a very good reputation, have sound files for the locos I want and enough function outputs for the lighting I'm planning.

From my side business installing hometheaters I have learned that it's advantageous to learn a selection of products and become experts at those products vs. leaning a little or just enough about everything. When it comes time for programming, speed matching, and troubleshooting I want to be an expert on the ones I'm using instead of banging my head against the wall with every type of decoder.

It would be very interesting to know if sound and non-sound decoders from the same manufacturer perform the same.

craigolio1

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1565
  • Respect: +308
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 07:24:36 PM »
0

 obviously cost is an issue but they are pretty expensive already so I can't see a few bucks really being that much of a determining factor.


You mention cost not being too much of a determining factor but I think it makes your question even more relevant.  If all of our locos were available with sound and for not much more than the non-sound equivlent it would be a no brainer; Get them all with sound and if it's too much then you can turn it down or run a few locos muted.  Sped matching is easy, programming is cut and paste.  Maybe you're at that train show and it's not enough sound now? Four units running wide open would sound much better than one.  But, unfortunately for one reason or another we have locos with no sound.  We are faced with the task of installing sound equipped decoders and modifying chassis, or paying someone to do it.

  I have a 4 unit consist of Kato SD40-2 Snoots that will need decoders.  For the sake of supporting my point I'll choose decoders that I'm thinking of using.  At my LHS a TCS K1D4 is about $50.  A Loksound Select Micro is about $140.  I can go non sound for $200 or all sound for $560.  This is not including any installation service or my time, which is also valuable (the TCS is a drop in.  The Loksound needs frame mods and hard wiring).  So now the question, for me, becomes "How few locos can I install sound into and still achieve an effect that I feel will be realistic"?  If I go with my plan of two sound units, my cost for this consist is down to $380.  Considerable savings.  John C. is happy with one sound decoder and is down to $290.  Even better.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 07:26:37 PM by craigolio1 »

sp org div

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 190
  • Respect: +21
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2016, 09:16:24 PM »
0
Tim Dickinson's HO layout has every loco sound equipped in each lashup, and it sounds nothing less than awesome...  but when you shut the layout power off, it seems deathly quiet.
For now, I only run the second in mult-unit lashups (3-5) as sound equipped, and have most power sets speed matched with both the lead and second (sound equipped) loco addressed the same.  If this new LokSound decoder in the Intermountain -2's makes it easier to install sound in hood units, I will finally be ready to commit to more of the fleet.
FWIW, none of my Tunnel motors run the same speed, and most have their own speed curves...

Jeff
http://espeeoregondivision.blogspot.com/

Mike Madonna

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 296
  • Respect: +27
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2016, 09:30:01 PM »
0
I run A-B-B lash ups of IM SP "Black Widow" F units. I have a TCS drop in decoder in the A unit. The B units have Loksound Select Micros. So, 2 of the 3 units have sound. That said, I do turn the volume down on each B unit. I have a video showing a "run by" and hearing two 567s rumble by is pretty cool  8)
Mike
SOUTHERN PACIFIC Coast Division 1953
Santa Margarita Sub

carlso

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 828
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +179
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2016, 09:46:57 PM »
0

Craig,

May I make a suggestion for you to check out your quoted price for an ESU Loksound Select Micro. There is at least one, and maybe more internet shops that sell these decoders for $79.99 loaded with the sound file of your choice. That would make quite a difference in your cost comparison. Of course you would have an extra charge for an enclosure and speaker to go in it.

Just info. for you to consider. Have fun, that is the main thing.

Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

craigolio1

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1565
  • Respect: +308
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2016, 10:05:43 PM »
0
Carl.

Thanks for the heads up. When the time comes I'll be interested for sure!!!  I stocked up on Knowles Fox speakers so I'm good there.   I'm hoping that by the time I get there ESU will have some drop in designs.

I love to support local shop but hearing price differences like that makes me shake my head. How can it be? That being said my guess is that price you quoted is US and mine was Canadian. With our dollar as it is it would be almost the same price after exchange and shipping. That's a tangent for another thread though.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 10:07:58 PM by craigolio1 »

jdcolombo

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1812
  • Respect: +583
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2016, 10:21:47 PM »
0
If you are going to use the ESU LokSound as your sound decoder, consider using the ESU LokPilot as the non-sound decoder.  The LokPilot has the same superb motor control as the LokSound.  And the point you make about standardization should lead you down this path.   The LokPilot's motor settings are all exactly the same as the LokSound; once you learn how to tweak one, you'll know how to tweak the other.

My experience with TCS is mixed; I have some units that weirdly slow down from speed step 1 to step 2, then get back to normal at step 3.  Other units are fine.  The momentum "scale" that TCS uses is different from ESU, so you have to figure out how to match momentum settings (if you use accel/decel momentum; I do).   And TCS doesn't have the ability to fine-tune the BEMF settings in case that is necessary for particular motors like ESU does. The LokPilot is a bit more expensive than TCS's Z or M series by about $10 (US), but well worth it for the improved motor control and the savings in aggravation of dealing with two completely different decoder "systems."

And take Carl's advice - there are plenty of places on the web where you can buy LokSound Select Micros for $80 US; the LokPilot goes for about $35 (US).  You can do a 4-unit lashup with one sound unit for under $200 US using all ESU decoders.  Don't know how all this converts to Canadian, but I assure you that your brain will thank you.

John C.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 10:26:51 PM by jdcolombo »

craigolio1

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1565
  • Respect: +308
Re: need advise on mixing engines with sound vs DDC only
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2016, 10:24:03 PM »
0
Great!  Thanks John.