Author Topic: New LokSound decoder coming?  (Read 1684 times)

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jdcolombo

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New LokSound decoder coming?
« on: January 03, 2019, 09:03:17 AM »
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Hi everyone.

According to a couple of posts on the LokSound Yahoo group, ESU is planning to release a new "version 5" decoder soon.  The messages on the Yahoo group indicated that the new decoder will be capable of 50 khz BEMF control (today's decoders generally top out at 40khz); have a 32 bit processor, 128mb of memory, 16 bit audio with 31khz sampling (that sounds very weird as a sampling rate; 44.1 is the CD rate, and 48khz is used in a lot of audio production), and up to 32 functions. Another post indicated that ESU would be replacing their entire line (including the LokSound Select) with the new decoder by the end of February, 2019 (!) and that updated sound files for the V5 would appear this month.

All this information appears to have come from discussions on German forums, but it seems logical to me - ESU's V4 decoder platform has fallen a bit behind technically to Zimo and some other European brands and apparently is facing stiff competition in Europe (not so much in the US, where their extensive library of US prototype sound files more or less dominates the market).

If these reports are true, I hope ESU updates the footprint of their wired Micro decoder.  Something about 9.5mm wide would be much appreciated, even in these days of the board-style decoders gaining wide acceptance.

John C.



MK

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2019, 09:16:43 AM »
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Any talk about price increase/decrease/stay the same?

RBrodzinsky

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2019, 09:48:21 AM »
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John has summed up the discussion nicely. I read through one of the German forums, and the discussions quickly devolved into what kind of weird and gross sounds one could put on the upper functions.  It was actually unclear to me whether the "announcement" was referring to function buttons (which will also require new command stations / throttle updates) or more physical outputs.   I assume the former.
Rick Brodzinsky
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davefoxx

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2019, 10:11:29 AM »
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So what does this mean for those of us with existing LokSound Select decoders?  Will ESU stop providing updates or sound files for these?  I literally just bought two decoders within the past several weeks and they're already obsolete?  I assume an upgrade to my LokProgrammer will ensure that it can continue to do its job, even with V5.

DFF

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RBrodzinsky

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 11:13:32 AM »
+1
Who knows?   I assume that there will be a period of full support, including projects.  They still have their V1-3 files on the web site, so I wouldn't anticipate V4 any different. 

Since I haven't seen anything official (the US ESU office is closed until next week for the holidays), we should continue on, IMHO, with any projects we currently have underway.  Something new and shiny coming doesn't mean the great product available now is no longer great.
Rick Brodzinsky
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tehachapifan

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2019, 11:22:26 AM »
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A little worried and excited at the same time. Worried for the same reasons already mentioned above. I guess we'll see.
Russ

C855B

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2019, 11:25:54 AM »
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So what does this mean for those of us with existing LokSound Select decoders?  Will ESU stop providing updates or sound files for these?  I literally just bought two decoders within the past several weeks and they're already obsolete?  I assume an upgrade to my LokProgrammer will ensure that it can continue to do its job, even with V5.

Anticipating an iPhone-like product "improvement" curve, are we? :trollface: :facepalm:
...mike

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Jbub

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2019, 11:36:11 AM »
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I'm pretty happy with their decoders as is so unless there is a noticeable improvement I'll keep buying selects until stock runs out.  Even if retailers keep them at the same price I'll bet they are still less expensive then a v5 anyway.
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RBrodzinsky

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 02:18:11 PM »
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Rick Brodzinsky
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davefoxx

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 03:59:06 PM »
+1
Anticipating an iPhone-like product "improvement" curve, are we? :trollface: :facepalm:

I really have no idea what this means, and that is why I asked the question.  Considering that I just spent a lot of money over the past two months or so to purchase locomotives, decoders, motherboards, a laptop computer, and the LokProgrammer to convert my fleet to ESU, I am concerned about the eventual lack of upgrades and updates to the current version of decoders and LokProgrammer.

Jokes aside, I'm not the type that needs to have the latest shiny version of things like cell phones.  Heck, just last year, I finally upgraded from my five-year-old Samsung S3.  The only reason I got rid of the phone was because the software wasn't being updated as much and I was losing features.  Similar to the concern I have with the sudden announcement for V5 decoders.

DFF

Who knows?   I assume that there will be a period of full support, including projects.  They still have their V1-3 files on the web site, so I wouldn't anticipate V4 any different. 

This post makes me feel better, though.  Good point, @RBrodzinsky.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 04:00:49 PM by davefoxx »

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MK

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 04:08:45 PM »
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I really have no idea what this means, and that is why I asked the question.  Considering that I just spent a lot of money over the past two months or so to purchase locomotives, decoders, motherboards, a laptop computer, and the LokProgrammer to convert my fleet to ESU, I am concerned about the eventual lack of upgrades and updates to the current version of decoders and LokProgrammer.

Jokes aside, I'm not the type that needs to have the latest shiny version of things like cell phones.  Heck, just last year, I finally upgraded from my five-year-old Samsung S3.  The only reason I got rid of the phone was because the software wasn't being updated as much and I was losing features.  Similar to the concern I have with the sudden announcement for V5 decoders.

DFF

This post makes me feel better, though.  Good point, @RBrodzinsky.  Thanks.

Dave, the announcement of v5 is not going to make v4 lose its features.  If v4 serves your fine then you will be good.  But if v5 introduces new features that you can't live without (say, mind control DCC  :trollface:), then that will make your v4 feel obsolete.  But in reality the announcement of v5 doesn't change the current v4.  And to say that a decoder is "obsolete", what does that really mean?  It will still work and run your trains.

C855B's comment was a swipte at Apple's MO of providing new features and "upgrades" that often brick older devices, in a way forcing the masses to upgrade even though they don't really need it.  Planned obsolescence in a 800 lb gorilla corporate kind of way.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 04:13:10 PM by MK »

davefoxx

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2019, 05:19:36 PM »
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Dave, the announcement of v5 is not going to make v4 lose its features.  If v4 serves your fine then you will be good.  But if v5 introduces new features that you can't live without (say, mind control DCC  :trollface:), then that will make your v4 feel obsolete.  But in reality the announcement of v5 doesn't change the current v4.  And to say that a decoder is "obsolete", what does that really mean?  It will still work and run your trains.

As I posted previously in this thread, I don't need the newest, shiniest version.  I also doubt that features will be added that I just have to have, but that remains to be seen.  However, I will be really disappointed if this means that v4 will not get new projects or updates that improve sounds.  For example, I would like to see ESU continue to improve recordings or continue to add more variations of recordings for horns and bells.  If v4 doesn't see those improvements, but v5 does, then, "Crap."

DFF

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Steveruger45

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2019, 06:58:43 PM »
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...... I hope ESU updates the footprint of their wired Micro decoder.  Something about 9.5mm wide would be much appreciated, even in these days of the board-style decoders gaining wide acceptance.

John C.

Absolutely.  I hope ESU takes this opportunity to make a wired decoder narrower too. 
Now, if it was at all possible, make one Single sided with components and only 2mm tall and short enough to fit between the motor saddle mounts, now that would be something fantastic.
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

Maletrain

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2019, 08:37:38 PM »
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Although V4 decoders will continue to run trains after V5 decoders are introduced, the real question comes down to what happens when one of our installed V4s dies, or we buy a new loco that needs an ESU decoder.  Do we then need to invest in a lot of additional equipment to program V5s? Or, will the existing Lok Programmer work with the V5s, perhaps with software updates?  Will the software updates kill the Lok Prorammer's functionality with the V4s?

The problem is that many (most, all?) manufacturers are mainly thinking about maximizing profits in the short-term, rather than supporting the hobby for the long-term.  The electronics industry is starting to look like the U.S. auto industry in the 1950s, with planned obsolescence.  It just doesn't have "tail fins".

RBrodzinsky

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Re: New LokSound decoder coming?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2019, 09:39:04 PM »
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The LokProgrammer will get a software update to handle v5. And, it still handles programming for v3.5, so V4 support won’t disappear anytime soon. I haven’t heard, for sure, but I expect Dave Heap on the JMRI team is already at work on a DecoderPro profile for the new decoder.

One other tidbit I picked up today, there will be more on-board capacitance. No details on how much, and whether that will be on the Micro (n scale) version, where space is at a premium. Also, I did notice the announcement didn’t discuss Select models.
Rick Brodzinsky
Chief Engineer - JACALAR Railroad
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