Steam sound decoders...Tsunami vs QSI

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Seams that most say tsunami are the best sound decoders out there. I have one QSI steam decoder and it has some nice options that the tsunami does not.

For instance the QSI has a cool feature . I call it cruise control. You press one of the function buttons and it maintains that speed yet when you turn the knob on your controller it makes the chuff louder or softer. This is neat when you pulling a hill and the loco sounds like she is really working. or running the flats and things are nice and easy.

They also have regulated throttle control that automatically slows the loco when pulling a hill or speeds up on the decend...all adjustable in cv settings.

If you have diesels you may like all the extra hard wire outputs for f and r headlights,number boards,mars lights,beacons, all the extra wires are there for what ever you want...

With that said tsunami really has set the bar for sound decoder options. It seams anyone that has been involved with sound has or wants one of these decoders. I have about 8 tsunami and love them. For simple ease of use and performance you can't beat them...

So what are your thought between these 2 sound decoder mfg...


Active Member
The Tsunami rightfully held first place between 2006 and 2009. However, it really shared that spot with EU LokSound, a decoder with peerless motor control at low speeds. Those who bother to get into the manual for the Tsunami can fine tune it for excellent motor control, but few bother. These are the same people who were willing to live with the quirky/jerky QSI decoders that were issued in the first Paragon series of steamers from BLI. At the time, QSI had to disable their BEMF due to a court case and possible liability in a challenge between MTH and Lionel. I have tuned a Stealth BLI J Class with a heavy steam Tsunami to crawl as well as any LokSound.

However, QSI caught up with the Revolution series in 2009, and they now share first place with LokSound with their Titan series. I have two locos, one a Spectrum Heavy Mountain diecast model and the other a diecast BLI BlueLine DC version that had its DC sound decoder removed and a Titan installed. WOW!!! It Soundtraxx doesn't get back to issuing an updated Tsunami or a brand new decoder series, it will be left behind. The sounds on the Tsunami are good, but they have now become too generic IMO. Every steamer has exactly the same rod clank, for example, and the chuff is the same for all versions except the articulate chuff. People have accused QSI of the same problem, and they're probably right, even to be the eventual claim against the Titan.

LokSound now has a fully customizable v4, but you must specify what you want from a list or purchase the programmer for about $135 (I think, it might be had for less). The Titans are also customizable, but when I asked, the dealer has to load the set you want in the readable files. Maybe that has changed.

Bottom line, I have a Tsunami in a Proto 2000 Heritage 0-6-0, in a Trix Mikado (hated the LokSound sound files, and they couldn't be changed in that early v3), in a Rivarossi H-8 Allegheny (hated the sound files in the LokSound v3.1 or whatever it was), and in the Stealth J Class 4-8-4. To date I have kept LokSound OEM decoders in the PCM Y6b 2-8-8-2 and in a Trix GG1. Except for those, and the four Tsunamis, I have about 16 QSI decoders, and like them...except their sounds are also generic in the ones issued prior to 2009.

Really, though, its a very subjective experience, sound in steam in HO.


AKA Gomez Addams
Staff member
I have both QSI and Tsunami in both steam and diesel, and I prefer the Tsunami in diesels, and QSIs in steam engines.
I have the QSI programmer, and can program the sound files in any V7 and newer QSI decoder. I am a very popular guy at my MRR club... As a gag, I loaded an "ooga" horn in a Trainmaster, but I digress...
You can do a lot more with a QSI steam decoder than you can with a Tsunami steam decoder, but it does require learning what to do, both with CVs and programming, and how to use it "on the road".
... add to the mix that TCS is about to release sound decoders for steam, and I've always been impressed with their motor control.
I'll be trying one of theirs as soon as they show up at my LHS. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to