Author Topic: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files  (Read 801 times)

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jdcolombo

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Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« on: February 10, 2017, 10:21:47 AM »
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Since we've had a lot of announcements about sound decoders from ESU and Zimo, I thought it was time to do a comparison of the EMD 567 V-16 sound files from each company using components we typically would use in N scale.   The ESU file is #73436 (there are two different 567 V-16 sound files on ESU's site); the Zimo is their 16-567 sound file dated March 22, 2016.   The speaker in each unit is an 8x12mm in the Keystone Customs 3D-printed enclosure; each has been glued to the frame with a dab of CA.  I took the shells off just to make sure that the comparison was as fair as possible; I think the shells are pretty much the same, but one dates from the pre-DCC-ready days.  Both files actually sound a bit better with the shells ON, which gives the sound a bit more reverb.  The decoders are the Zimo MX649 and the ESU Loksound Select Micro.

In any event, my own view is that the ESU file is superior in all ways except, perhaps, the horn.  I'm not sure the two horns are actually the same - I tried to find one of the ESU horns that matched the Zimo one, but they sound slightly different in harmonics to me.

One final note: for some reason, the Zimo horn does not seem "playable" - that is, if you press F2 and quickly release it, the horn keeps sounding until it is done.  There is no way I've found so far to do a traditional Long, Long, Short, Long sequence for a grade crossing.  I'm sure there must be some way to adjust this, but I haven't found it so far. 

Here's the video:


I don't think the Zimo sounds bad; it just doesn't sound as good as the ESU (at least with the small speakers we use in N scale - it sounds better, frankly, on my computer speakers).  The Zimo is probably "good enough" for those of you facing installation issues with the LokSound Micro (the MX649 is only 9mm wide; fits easily on my GP9 frame with only minor frame modification); it does come with a thick plastic (or maybe it's vinyl) surround that could probably be removed if more room was needed.  I haven't tried other Zimo files (and I don't have a Zimo programmer so that I could do so), so with other files, you're on your own.

John C.


Cajonpassfan

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 10:28:55 AM »
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Thank you for doing that, John, an excellent comparo. Nice to have choices that work in N scale! We never had it so good....
How would you rate the motor control between the two? I know the ESU is excellent.... Is the Zimo on par with it?
Otto K.

jdcolombo

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2017, 10:32:47 AM »
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Thank you for doing that, John, an excellent comparo. Nice to have choices that work in N scale! We never had it so good....
How would you rate the motor control between the two? I know the ESU is excellent.... Is the Zimo on par with it?
Otto K.

Zimo actually has the best motor control in the industry, in my view.  Back when the Kato FEF was first introduced and the first-run of the TCS drop-in decoder was a disaster, I tried both the ESU LokPilot and the Zimo MX621 in the engine.  The Zimo was better than the ESU - not by much, but enough to be noticeable at speed steps 1/2 (out of 128).  If it wasn't for my desire to have just one decoder brand to learn, I'd use Zimo for non-sound installations and ESU for sound. 

John C.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2017, 10:39:20 AM »
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Thanks John, good to know. And you make a very good point about brand consistency....my brain hurts already without introducing yet another decoder manufacturer into the mix :facepalm:
Otto

tehachapifan

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 11:10:52 AM »
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Great video comparison, John! Thanks for doing that! :D

I agree the ESU decoder just sounds better all around but this also confirms for me that the Zimo certainly sounds pretty darn good too. I'm actually quite impressed and, due to its size, will most probably give a Zimo MX649 a try now.



Russ

Mark5

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2017, 11:39:30 AM »
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Can't listen to the sounds at the moment, but when you say ESU is superior except perhaps for the horn - does each decoder have multiple options as to horns? (Leslie, Nathan, etc)

Thanks!

Mark

jdcolombo

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2017, 01:12:59 PM »
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The ESU has 16 horn options; you can get a list by looking up the sound file on their website here:

http://www.esu.eu/en/downloads/sounds/loksound-select/loksound-select-usa/

The Zimo also has several horn choices and apparently a couple of different bells.  Here's the relevant info from a PDF about the Zimo file:

"This project includes various horns: Nathan K3H long (33), Nathan K3H short (34), Nathan K5LLA (35), Nathan M5 (36), Nathan M3 (37), Nathan P3 (38), Nathan P5 (39), Leslie RS3K(40), Leslie RS3L (41) and Leslie RS5T (42). You can easily switch the horns in ZIMO Sound Programmer (ZSP) or modify CV 516 by changing its value to the above mentioned. You can also add other horns/sounds into this project in ZSP. You can switch the bells by modifying CV 513 from 30 to 31 or 32."

I've tried to attach the whole PDF file on this.

John C.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 01:29:37 PM by jdcolombo »

jagged ben

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2017, 07:25:37 PM »
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Probably this deserves a whole other thread, but if you're a sound engineer is it possible to edit the files yourself?  And can the OEM ESU decoders be uploaded with new or edited files? 

RBrodzinsky

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 07:47:12 PM »
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Most of the ESU OEM boards are fully functional  LokSound Select models. While you can, with a LokProgrammer, overwrite the sounds, it must still be with a complete Select file as produced by ESU. I have not heard of anyone else having the ability to create one.

If you have a full version LokSound V4, then you can add your own sounds in.
Rick Brodzinsky
Chief Engineer - JACALAR Railroad
Silicon Valley FreeMo-N

reinhardtjh

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2017, 12:00:57 AM »
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Probably this deserves a whole other thread, but if you're a sound engineer is it possible to edit the files yourself?  And can the OEM ESU decoders be uploaded with new or edited files?

The short answer is depends and again, depends.


The long answer is that the OEM decoders (at least those sold in the USA) are LokSound Select series (Select, Select Direct, Select Micro) and sound files for the LokSound Select series  cannot be edited.  You CAN load other Select files into them, but you can't create them yourself.  The Select series are marketed as a lesser expensive sound decoder for the USA/North American market and the price break means the sound files are not user editable.  Hardware wise they are nearly identical to the LokSound V4.0 decoders with some variation for number of functions and the DCC protocols that the decoder recognizes.  The LokSound V4.0 series decoder will allow you load sound files created by the you (or anyone) using the LokProgrammer software and hardware.

ESU generally releases it's own sound files in both a V4.0 and Select version.  The V4.0 files you can load into the LokProgrammer PC software (Windows only, but works under VMware Fusion, Parallels and Oracle VirtualBox with Windows installed - will NOT work under Wine or Crossover).  You can install the LokProgrammer software on any PC, you don't need the programmer hardware to run the program.  You just can't download the file you create without the hardware.  But you can create a file and take it to a dealer or friend with the LokProgrammer hardware and program a V4.0 decoder.

The OEM files ESU creates for others such as Bowser, InterMountain, Atlas, etc for the US market are nearly always Select files and they have not released V4.0 files for them so you can't modify them.  Because the Select is USA/North America only, OEM files for other countries are almost al V4.0 files and those you can modify.

ESU has a library of standard sounds you can download to use with your own V4.0 projects and they update that library quite often.  So some of the sounds that are used in the Select decoders are in the sound libraries.  But you have to create your own sound project, including sound slots, schedules, timings, etc. But what you can do is find an V4.0 sound file that works how you want (i.e. Full Throttle features or perhaps an articulated steam or dual engined locomotive) and replace the sounds in that file with sound you want, saving you from having to learn some of the nuances of V4.0 programming.

The OEM files are usually created by ESU on request from their OEM customers, although some, like Rapido, create their own V4.0 sound files and then ESU turns them into Select files which are only available on the OEM"s web sites.

John H. Reinhardt
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jagged ben

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Re: Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 Sound Files
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2017, 10:13:16 AM »
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Thanks for the info