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Thread: Do You Prefer Sound or Standard Non-sound DCC Locomotives?

  1. #1

    Default Do You Prefer Sound or Standard Non-sound DCC Locomotives?

    I have a small to medium sized layout and usually run several locomotives at the same time. Two locomotives on the main and maybe two locos switching cars at various industries. I operate DCC and approximately at least half of my locomotives are sound equipped. I found that more than several locomotives running with sound at a time can be overbearing and I prefer to listen to only a single or two locomotives with sound at a time.

    When visitors enter the layout room they are greeted by the elevated Saxeville Interchange and usually several locomotive are idling in the interchange while others have their headlights operating. Visitors' first impression is that my railroad is a larger model railroad and more realistic than imagined upon hearing the sound of locomotives.

    On the mainline visitors find two locomotives pulling trains slowly, making their way around the layout's trackage and the individual locomotives' sound is distinct which attracts everyone's attention.

    What do you prefer...sound or no sound or a limit sound locomotives?

    PS: Nothing beats the sound of an ALCO starting and then the sound of the locomotive struggling to start moving a string of cars.



    Click image for larger version. 

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    Saxeville Tunnel...Interchange yard is above to the left. No trains yet to appear emerging from the tunnel.
    Last edited by Greg@mnrr; 10-08-2017 at 10:18 AM.

    Transporters of Wood, Coal, Ore and Anything Else

    Est. 1983

    HO Scale

    __________________________________________________ ___________

    Where the SOO, Milwaukee Road, C&NW and Wisconsin Central Meet

    Charter Member of the Fallen Flags Model Railroad Club

  2. #2


    I like to have the sound on when I'm operating them. Other times, when I'm working at the desk on a project, I usually turn the sound off and take a break every once in a while to watch them go by. I have the radio on to talk shows, so the loco sound will cover up the talk right at important points.
    When ya absolutely positively need model railroad fun, choose the D&J Railroad.

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  3. Default

    The sound in HO is horrible. Period. But, it beats not having sound in my opinion.

    Part of the problem, aside from the physics relegating our tiny plastic enclosure speakers sounding tinny, is that the sound doesn't scale well. In our 15 foot long room, the sound from a steamer 12 feet away is almost as loud as the sound from the switcher we're working right in front of us. For that reason, and because the factory default volume is wretchedly high and awful, when I get a new loco the first thing I do is to get into the Master Volume CV and cut the range in half. From there I go to the individual sounds and adjust them, usually downward again by half. The whistle should be loud, but the bell half that. The injector noise howling and raling away? Nope, you can hardly hear it, even standing right beside a steamer. Turbo-generator is also too loud. And so on....

    I never have more than two locomotives emitting sound on the layout at the same time. Maybe two idling, panting away, hissing, pumps cutting in every three minutes, but nothing else. I usually only work two locomotives, so that would leave one other idling on a ready track.

  4. Default

    I go both directions, mainly depending on my mood. However, if I've been running a sound-equipped locomotive and switch, it's hard going back to a silent loco.

    If it was possible to equip everything with sound, I would.

    Odd duck, aren't I?

  5. Default

    Sound is the only reason I run DCC at all! I agree some of it can be annoying and needs adjusting out-of-the box. Otherwise, I don't care that much for DSS vs DC.

  6. #6


    I am going deaf, currently 50% hearing loss in one ear and 90% in the other (current hearing aids cannot help) so I usually pass on sound versions. You have to make choices based on what you really want. For instance, I did buy the sound Rapido RDC SP 10 as no non-sound DCC version was offered. Rapido indicated adding a decoder would be difficult to the DC version.

    But I would not give up the pleasure of DCC control over locomotives. I switched to DCC 15 years ago and have never wanted to go back in time to DC and block control.
    Last edited by autocoach; 10-08-2017 at 05:03 PM.
    Ken Adams

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Caboolture in SE Queensland, Australia


    Yeah, I'm definitely in the W/sound camp, but as I run at a club, it can and does become overwhelming, especially as most operators don't know how to adjust volumes, or aren't all that interested in finding out how, one disadvantage of using phones for control and the programming track being separated from the layout. If I take a break I turn the power off to the siding I leave the train on. Can do this because of the 3 position direction switches on each track.

    I'm lost. I've gone to look for me. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

  8. #8


    I prefer sound although I take your point about running x amount of sound equipped loco's, it might get a little annoying.

    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

  9. #9


    I PREFER sound, but I can AFFORD standard DCC. But then, I'm from the days a freight car kit cost $3.50 to $5.00.

    Oh, I probably should add that I have 5 sound locos (or to be accurate: 1 sound loco and 4 sound equipped trolleys) and 42 non-sound locos and 26 non-sound trolleys.
    And to be more accurate - 30 non-DCC and 12 DCC only locos and 6 non-DCC and 20 DCC only trolleys. So the cost of going fully sound would be ............. (insert adjective)
    Last edited by Red Oak & Western; 10-08-2017 at 06:44 PM.

    General Manager
    Red Oak and Western Railway Company

  10. #10


    I definately prefer sound.most of my locos are sound but I do adjust the sound-volume down..especially the bells. And yeah...nothing better than the sound of the old Alcoa’s starting up and chugging under load!

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