Skip to main content

Did anyone else see that ESU announced the new version of their LokSound decoders?  The only changes I can tell from what little I can find on them is the bigger ones have on board stay alive circuitry now, they are advertising the standard unit for O and HO, as well as still having the L and XL versions.  Also have 10 sounds instead of 8 play at once, and have 1 or 2 more outputs depending on the unit.  Sadly no direct connections for Lionel smoke units and electrocouplers (Which I had hoped would be added to the L at least in a future version.) nor did they up the stall current on them.  They are the same as the current v4 for motor current.  They don't have the specs or manuals in English yet so no getting more details.  But it's exciting to see the improvements.  Might be a good time to look at getting some v4 decoders on clearance in the next few months as the v5 come out.

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

The v4 L still needs a keep alive added, but the XL does have it onboard.  The v5 adds 2 more outputs, two more sounds that can be played at once and the keep alive onboard.  Not a whole lot, but they do make mention that they updated the boards as some parts were getting hard to find, so I'm glad they are doing the upgrades.  Here is more info from an email from Streamlined Backshop.  It's rather long, but all the links didn't work otherwise I would just link it.

ESU - Electronik Solutions Ulm, GmbH Presents ...

ESU 58420 LokSound 5 Standard NMRA DCC Sound Decoder - NEM652 8-pin Wired Plug
Please reference the ESU Sound Project Library to explore over 100 North American prototype and hundreds more European sound project options.

Decoder Specifications:
  • Size: 30 mm x 15 mm x 6.5 mm  (1.19 in x 0.59 in x 0.26 in)
  • Connection: NEM652 8-pin Wired Plug
  • Motor Rating: 1.5 A Nominal
  • BEMF: Motor control with 50 kHz clock frequency
  • Functions:  Up to 12 amplified outputs for special functions (total: Up to 15 outputs)
  • Sound: 
    • 32-bit processor
    • Digital class "D" amplifier with up to 13 W power
    • 10 sound channels can be played simultaneously
    • Each channel in 16-bit resolution and 31250 kHz sample rate
  • Nominal Speaker Impedance: 4 - 32 Ohm
  • Protocol: DCC with RailComPlus®
  • Additional Features:
    • Updatable with ESU-LokProgrammer
    • Two-stage heavy load simulation
    • 3 new, individually adjustable brake controllers
    • Connection interface for RC servos and SUSI modules
    • Double power amplifier for controlling 2 loudspeakers
    • Optional PowerPack storage capacitor connections
  • Speaker NOT INCLUDED

2019 is a very special year for ESU. Just about 20 years ago, during the Nürnberg toy fair back in 1999, the first LokSound Decoder was introduced to the Public. For the first time ever, a multi-protocol digital decoder with an integrated,  flash memory based, user rewriteable sound module was born. Right from the start, we also had  the LokProgrammer that offers a comfortable, hassle free, PC based programming solution for ESU decoders. Over the years, many things have happened and our company has grown from a startup to an important company within the model train industry. We would like to thank you for all your support and loyalty since from the beginning. Although the product range has extended very much since our very beginning, we have never forgotten about our very first and still most important product: LokSound Digital Sound Decoders! For that reason, now in our 20th year, we are happy to announce the 5th Generation of these groundbreaking decoders!
Our 5th generation of LokSound has been developed from scratch. Thanks to a high performance, 32-Bit micro controller, we have been able to improve all key features again: LokSound 5 decoders will support up to 10 simultaneous sound channels. Each channel will reach HiFi-Quality level thanks to 16 Bit Resolution and 31250 Hz sample frequency. LokSound 5 decoders will bring your model trains to the next level and sound almost like the original. A 128 Mbit flash memory chip allows for enough capacity to hold the sounds

LokSound 5 decoders offer an advanced B-EMF load control that runs with up to 50 kHz base frequency and is optimized for low-noise operation. This is important for coreless motors such as Faulhaber or Maxon and also for Large scale locomotives.  Every LokSound 5 decoder comes with plenty of function outputs and can control servos or SUSI-modules if needed. Even better, every LokSound 5 decoder could also be used with Analog DC (even the small N scale decoder!).

Based on the command station, up to 32 function buttons are supported that can be mapped to any output due to our superior ESU function mapping. Three brake functions and a two-stage load simulation will let you enjoy your model railroad even more. Compatibility with is ensured with our LokSound 4 and Select product lines as well as we have continued to incorporate our "Full Throttle" features, like Drive Hold! Even more impressive is that all the V4 sound files already created (Over 100!) will be automatically converted in a new version of our famous LokProgrammer software so on Day 1 we will have a full library of sounds to be able to choose from!

Please note:

LokSound V5 DCC In the North American and Australian Market will be providing DCC ONLY protocol called the V5 DCC. This will only speak the DCC Language (along with Analog DC of course)
LokSound V5 For Marklin Users, and those needing more options, we will also be providing a Multi-protocol V5 version. This will speak, DCC, Motorola, Selectrix, and MFX/M4 (along with Analog AC/DC of course)

The LokSound 5 is the most important member of the LokSound family. Due to the combination of the digital decoder and the sound module on one circuit board we achieve the smallest possible dimensions of 30 mm x 15.5 mm. Therefore it fits into almost any H0 or 0 gauge locomotive.
LokSound 5 decoders are available with all popular interface types and are supplied with a sugar cube speaker (11 mm x 15 mm) and a sound enclosure.
Operating modes
Like all products of the LokSound family the LokSound 5 is a true multi protocol decoder. It supports DCC as well as Motorola®, Selectrix® and M4. Of course it supports 14 through to 128 speed steps as well as 2 and 4 digit addresses in DCC format and up to 32 functions. Thanks to RailComPlus® the decoders register themselves fully automatically on suitable command stations.
This decoder supports all DCC programming modes and thanks to RailCom® you may read out the CV values on the main, provided you have a command station supporting RailCom®. There are utility registers for command stations that only facilitate programming of CVs ranging from 1 to 255.
Motorola® users benefit from up to 28 speed steps for 255 addresses. Three additional Motorola® addresses facilitate triggering of 16 functions. An integral programming mode even allows programming with the good old Central Unit 6021.
The M4 protocol supports the automatic registration on mfx® compatible central units.
The LokSound 5 decoder supports the Märklin® braking sections just as well as the ZIMO® HLU braking commands or the Lenz® ABC system. Braking with DCC brake generators or with DC is also possible. Furthermore the locomotive with a LokSound will come to a halt when a Selectrix® braking diode is switched into the circuit. The ABC push-pull feature enables the automatic commuting between two stations.
The LokSound 5 decoder is also suitable for analogue DC and AC (!) layouts.
The LokSound 5 decoder can reproduce up to 10 channels simultaneously. Each channel offers up to 16 Bit / 31250 kHz and thus we have finally achieved hi-fi sound quality on your layout. For all practical purposes one cannot detect any difference to the original. A class D audio power amplifier with up to 3W output power feeds the speakers with a permitted impedance of 4 - 32 Ohms. The huge 128 MBit sound memory assures sufficient storage capacity.
The volume of all individual sound fragments may be adjusted separately. The outstandingly flexible sound engine without a rigid flow chart facilitates a prototypical simulation of all conceivable rail vehicles. Three separately adjustable braking functions and two alternative load scenarios provide you with maximum control of your vehicles.
We are quite aware that you want your locomotives to be as realistic as possible. Therefore we have packed many function outputs into it.  Subject to the type of interface every LokSound 5 has at least 10 amplified outputs. The decoders with PluX22 or 21MTC interface have an additional 4 outputs for controlling servos or as logic outputs. Of course, all important lighting functions are supported. The brightness of each output may be adjusted separately. The decoder supports the automatic push and pull movements - known as the coupler waltz - required for reliable operation of digital couplers such as the ones by ROCO® and Krois® as well as Telex® couplers.
Motor control
Motor control of the LokSound 5 has been further improved. A variable PWM pulse frequency ranging from 10 kHz to 50 kHz assures perfect silent operation, particularly for coreless motors. Thus the typical hum is a thing of the past. Load control can now be adjusted with up to 10 separate CVs and thus will manage even the most difficult cases. The unique "Auto Tune" function facilitates the automatic calibration of the decoder to perfectly match the motor. The LokSound 5 decoder supplies up to 1.5A motor current, which is quite sufficient even for older motor types.
Technical specifications
  • Operation under DCC with RailComPlus®
  • 32 functions switchable (depending on the control panel)
  • 32-bit processor
  • Digital class "D" amplifier with up to 3 W power (LokSound 5 XL: 13 W)
  • 10 sound channels can be played simultaneously
  • Each channel in 16-bit resolution and 31250 kHz sample rate
  • Noise memory with 128 Mbit capacity
  • Motor control with 50 kHz clock frequency
  • RC servos and Susi modules can be controlled
  • 3 new, individually adjustable brake controllers
  • Two-stage heavy load simulation
  • Updateable with ESU-LokProgrammer
LokSound 5
  • Universal sound decoder for the gauge H0 and track 0
  • Motor current 1.5A
  • Depending on the interface up to 12 amplified function outputs for special functions (total: up to 15 outputs)
  • 10 sound channels can be played simultaneously
  • Ex works with 11x15 mm "sugar cube" loudspeakers with customizable sound capsule set
  • PowerPack storage capacitor optionally connectable
  • Dimensions: 30 mm x 15.5 mm, height depends on interface
  • NEM652 8-pin Wired Plug
  • NEM660 21MTC Integral Connector
  • AT-Style Adapter Board
About the NEW LokSound 5 ...

LokSound 5 Q&A with Matt Herman
Can you explain what happens with the Select product line?
The LokSound Select is getting discontinued. It will still be supported but the reason of the change is partly because of an end of life component issue. It is getting harder and harder to find the components needed to produce the Selects and V4.0s. They are 10 years old in 2019... The V5 DCC has some of the best parts of the Selects combined with the programmability of the V4.0s plus some new and exciting features. We've priced this at the Select price though so it really is the best the both worlds.

Can I load a Select sound file on 5 hardware?  

Only V4.0 files can be loaded onto 5s.
Will the Select file library be converted to 5 files or reprocessed as new 5's?
Almost all of the Select files have V4.0 equivalents. These will convert automatically to load into a 5 with the LokProgrammer 5.0.0 Software.
New files will come made specifically for the 5s. Any new files that there was not a Select or V4.0 file for will be made also a Select and V4.0 so those users can still have that sound.

Will the current arrangement with v4.0 and Select remains exactly the same?  e.g. Select files for Select decoder firmware only.  V4.0 files for V4.0 firmware only, M4 files for M4 only...
Yes Nothing changes on the selects, V4.0 or V4.0 M4

Will there be Standard, Micro, L and XL sound file versions/numbers with the LokSound 5?

There will be just one number for each sound.

The LokSound 5 release is basically new hardware and a consolidation of firmware to either DCC or Multi-Protocol to greatly simplify the sound decoder product line.
Mostly, with some new features, better sound quality, better motor control, and more outputs.

Will there be any need for a LokPilot 5 to provide compatibility with sound features like the full throttle release?
There will be a LokPilot 5 in the fall.

As a sidebar of less interest... I also surmise the 64xxx series M4 line goes away with this product release?

Yes, The LokSound 5 is multiprotocol. The LokSound 5 DCC is Only DCC

When will the new LokProgrammer software be available?
The new Version 5.0.0 of the LokProgrammer software is available on the ESU Website as of now. This software can be used on all V4/Select/V5/V5 DCC decoders.
As a reminder all V4.0 files will load directly onto a V5/V5 DCC decoder automatically with the V5.0.0 LokProgrammer Software.

With the LokSound 5 be offered to OEM partners?
A few LokSound equipped locomotives from our partner manufacturers have been delivered with V5 decoders installed.

More are on the way now! Please be sure to use the newest LokProgrammer software to make any changes to these locos.

When will the LokSound 5 start shipping?
The Retail LokSound V5s should begin shipping towards the end of Feb 2019 as more product and packaging arrives. We will be sure to send out another update just before we begin to ship to keep everyone informed.


@A. Wells posted:

Has anyone successfully installed the ESU LokSound 5 L into either an MTH engine or a generic engine?  Anyone use the smoke function?


I installed one in an Atlas 2 rail, but no smoke feature on the engine.  I assume smoke could be used, but I don't have any steam engines to try it out on yet.  If you look at the ESU manual (available here) it mentions a smoke unit for pin 19 (heater) and pin 20 smoke temp sensor.  Hope that helps.  Good luck.

I installed one in an Atlas 2 rail, but no smoke feature on the engine.  I assume smoke could be used, but I don't have any steam engines to try it out on yet.  If you look at the ESU manual (available here) it mentions a smoke unit for pin 19 (heater) and pin 20 smoke temp sensor.  Hope that helps.  Good luck.

I'm not happy that they don't support two motors.  I do plan on contacting ESU and ask them to consider producing a 2L on the next generation or move the motor driver off the board entirely and just have motor enable, left motor PWM, and right motor PWM outputs OR provide a jumper on the board to disable the motor driver and a connector for the three aforementioned outputs.  This does preclude usage to the back EMF capabilities to autopopulate the correspnding CV's, but, oh well.  I can recover the PWM signals from the motor driver outputs but it's more work on my part.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.