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Hi Marker,

You can go separate DCC decoders for sound and motor control; however, understand that sound-only decoders are pretty much a thing of the past from the tier 1 sound decoder manufacturers simply because these vendors have improved their motor control from the early sound decoder days and these sound decoder suppliers are doing some great things when it comes syncing the sound with the motor control, like “auto-notching” from TCS, so you lose this with separate sound and motor control decoders.  You can still go this route of separate decoders if you want but understand that you will be getting an “extra” motor control in the sound decoder whether you want it or not such as the case if you use a separate HO sound decoder for the sound portion. 


Also, programming becomes a nightmare since you would either have to add a switch to disable one decoder while programming the other when using the same address for both decoders within one locomotive or use two different addresses and then consist the two motor and sound decoders with one locomotive – another logistics headache.  In my opinion, you are just better off using an all-in-one combo motor/sound decoder right from the get-go if onboard sound is what you are after.  Pricey, I know, but the alternative is not worth it. 


Also, with the dual motor vertical drives, I find that they have jackrabbit speeds if the motors are wired in parallel as they come from the factory, but behave very nicely when wired in series.  However, understand you basically cut your top speed in half since each motor is getting only half the motor control voltage.  Therefore, Atlas or MTH dual motor vertical drive locos will max out at about 45-50 Scale MPH but have very nice slow speed.  You can experiment to see what works for you.


Scott K

Austin, TX

Thanks again Scott!


I thought that your answer was probably the case regarding sound.  There seems to be some nice units with sound out there.  I guess I'll just have to take it a bit slower and go with the DCC decoders that handle motor control and sound.


I would rather have better low speed and with your answer, you answered a question I forgot to ask.  I've seen a number of references to series wiring but I wasn't sure it was so common.  The top speed is fine as I don't have that much layout.


You really helped my understanding with you posts in both threads.  Thank you.


BTW, It seems like I'll either run dummy A's or forget the detailed interior, probably forget the interior.


Thanks again


Last edited by marker
Originally Posted by marker:

Are the DCC decoders separate for control and sound?


Are you able to buy something like a NCE decoder and later add sound?  


What sound options would there be if you installed a decoder for control and then wanted to add sound? 

There is always Phoenix Sound which can be added to NCE decoders. There are rather elaborate sound decoders but i can easily build my own horn/bell or whistle bell sound board.  That's enough noise for me.

Lou N

The best speakers I've found for deep bass is the 4 ohm line of audiophile speakers from Tang Band. They are available from Parts Express. Because they are 4 ohms, check with your decoder manufacturer to see if it is compatible. I use Loksound decoders, which are rated for 4 or 8 ohm speakers.

Look into the TB modules instead of loose drivers. The modules come with a sealed enclosure and a passive radiator that greatly extends the bass response.

I use the T1-1925S module in brass diesels such as GPs and Alcos. The smaller T0-2008S fits in Atlas SWs, but it is easier to overdrive. In P&D single tower F-units I will be milling a hole through the frame for the T1-1942SB.

In a steam tender you may be able to fit a larger T1-1931S or even a new T1-2025SC.

The PDF data sheets all have dimensional drawings. By the way, most modules have mounting tabs on each end that can be sawn off without damage.

Link to iPhone video of TB 1942SB and Loksound 567B/C file

Link to iPhone video of RS36 and TB 1925S

Link to iPhone recording of an Atlas SW9 with TB 2008S speaker

By the way, if you go with Loksound and run diesels in consists, by varying the playback speed of the prime mover and dynamic brake by 1 or 2 percent in each unit, the consist won't sound like one decoder driving multiple speakers. That's because the #1 cylinders won't be firing at the same time.

Last edited by riogrande491

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