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New Guy
New guy here again... I was wondering how exactly does sound in the engines work. Do you buy a decoder that comes with a speaker? Is the speaker sold seperatly? Does Digitrax Zephyr put the sounds out or does the sound come from something else? Or do you have to put a 'chipset' in the engine that will allow for sound?
Thanks in advance!


Lazy Daydreamer

I think Digitrax Zyphyr refers to a command system, not a sound system. For awhile, sound decoders had to be added to the regular DCC decoder if you wanted sound. But now there are numerous decoders on the market that allow both DCC control and sound. Soundtraxx is the most popular 'aftermarket' sound decoder manufacturer, but Digitrax is also getting into the sound business. QSI supplies sound decoders built-into locomotive models manufactured by BLI, Proto-2000 (Life-Like), and Atlas with the speaker already installed. Speakers are always sold separately from aftermarket decoders because of the various sizes/shapes of locos that they will fit in (the larger the speaker, the better quality of sound).

My personal favorite - when it becomes available - is the Soundtraxx "Tsunami" with 16-bit sound (all the current offerings have 8-bit sound).

That's my limited knowledge of the subject, I know others will have plenty to add...:D


New Guy
Thanks for the reply. I knew Zephyr was a command system, but I didn't know if the sound itself was from it or a decoder. So in order to get sound I need a decoder that has it along with a speaker to put in. Is the sound from the decoder controlled through DCC or is sound controlled at all?
Nevermind, I checked out the soundtraxx website and understand it now!
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Lazy Daydreamer
Aaron I don't know why I didn't think of this the first time:

Contact Tony's Trains at - these people are the absolute masters of anything related to sound and/or DCC, they have great customer service too from what I've heard. They can answer any detailed technical questions you might have.:cool:


Coal Shoveler
I'm plugging Bruce Petrarca at Litchfield Station.

There's some info on installations and such.

I've also dealt with Tony's.

Regarding sound decoders, don't forget Loksound. Their claim to fame is downloadable sounds when connected to your PC via their adaptor and using their software. I know of one guy who's mixing his own horn sounds and uploading them into one of his locos....

The sound occurs as a part of what your throttle cab does. Things like engine noises are linked to speed. Horns and whistles are user-initiated, as is coupler clank and dynamic brake noises. Some are automatic, like maybe brake squeal or boiler blowdown, or safety valves going off, or air compressor cycling on and off.

Some decoders come with speakers, some you have to buy them separate. Which one fits best is a matter of opinion; in some instances, having a specific speaker that comes with is good (for certain locos). In others, like my dummy "F" units, I'd rather buy my own speakers since I'm of the mind to try and put 3-4 speakers inside the shell for that 'huge' sound!


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