Speakers ain't speakers, or size doesn't matter ! (32 update)

Sorry I have been a bit preoccupied with 'the cave' of late so here is the latest from the LLC & WW bench. I have a few other rolling stock entries to come but photographing them is proving a little difficult. The pics below are taken with the latest aquisition, a 2nd hand Canon EOS 30D. They are large files, approx 3 mb each, so let me know if they prove difficult ot tedious to view and next time I will reduce the file size

After a long wait the sound gear for the 32 arrived the other day from the states.
An initial mix up actually turned out to be beneficial from a learning perspective anyway. I had ordered a "light steam" Tsunami decoder with a Digitraxx Mega Bass speaker, I received a "DGRW K class" decoder and a QSI speaker.

As it turned out the K class decoder is the better choice for a 32 in terms of sounds. The QSI speaker(1 watt, 8 ohm) on the other hand it too large for the 32 tender and has no mounting points. I have put this aside for a future project. The Mega Bass speaker has approx the same size cone and magnet as the QSI speaker, comes with a mounting plate and is physically a smaller unit in all dimensions, it is also rated at 2 watts ! double the output of the physically larger QSI speaker. An extra watt may not sound like much but that is a 100% increase in power output!

I have never claimed to know the in's and out's of DCC let alone throwing sound into the equation, so this will be a learning curve for me as well. Hopefully the specs will prove them selves and the adage that "size doesn't matter" will be proven true.

This pic shows the diference in the size between the two speakers.
The Mega Bass speaker is in the foreground.

Soundtraxx decoder and Mega Bass speaker in situ. The speaker also includes a template (left) which is handy for installation.
If I'd known this was going to be a sound job I would have done all the drilling prior to folding/asembling the tender. I will also experiment with a scratch built speaker enclosure to see if this improves the quality of the sound as the tender body will not be a good acoustic seal.


  1. Congrats on getting the permitting to build your "mancave". Hopefully you didn't have to submit too many $$$ as "donations" to get it approved!

    I look forward to reading about your sound-equipping the 32 class. . .I ALMOST bought a Tsunami the other day at the local hobby shop, but decided instead to spend the money on pointswork (in other words, I chickened out).

  2. Gary
    Don't bother trying to screw the speaker in place, a little carefully applied superglue around the rim will work (don't get it on the cone). If you need to get the speaker loose later a little bit of pressure with the tip of a jewellers screwdriver under the rim and it will pop off.

    I find that the tender body is more than enough provided you have a reasonable fit to the floor. Also a speaker enclosure will use up some of that valuable space which will quickly fill with all those wires and the capacitor.

    Get that Tsunami as soon as you can as it adds another dimension to your 'world'. I find that the Tsunami is far superior in programming capabilities compared with a QSI (16 bit sound quality is equivalent) . Just the ability to map the brake (F11) to the brake squeal button (F7) so that a press of F7 will both slow the loco and give the squeal is almost enough by itself. Then add in notching controls with momentum and it all starts to get expensive when you want all your locos sounding and working the same.

    On second thoughts, better not buy one ;-)

    Ray P

  3. Thanks Blair. Funny you should mention "donations", our local council was sacked and a govt appointed administrator took over only last year for that very thing! Mine is all above board.

    MRRC is or will be producing sound decoder "kits" for most of the loco's you will be running. Ray has been taking the programming of these to the next level, I may need to go back to drivers school!, it really does add another dimension to fool the senses.

  4. Thanks Ray. Will take all that on board. Since the last post I have fitted and wired the speaker, capacitor and the decoder and there appears to be plenty of room. I am going to mount the resistor for the LED headlight in the tender as well. Pick ups for the tender is next.

  5. Gary

    Is this loco yours or for someone else?

    Also, what part of the state are you thinking of modelling for your layout?


  6. The loco is for someone else. As for which part of the state I've not really decided, I had some ideas but I don't think they are practical. I will talk to you over the weekend if we cross.

  7. Hi Gary,have started building a DJH 32 myself,I've been thinking more along the lines of building the tender with a removable floor to allow access to speaker/decoder etc.to keep the body as a rigid,(hopefully)air tight unit, measure 27 times,cut once.Am still evaluating the idea as well as keeping a close eye on what you are doing down your way.Keep ya posted,regards,John.

  8. Hi John, thought about that too but the top is a much easier option. Don't get too hung up on the air tight part, it doesn't make that much difference. A scratch built styrene enclosure is what I am going to try. This speaker is the best fit I have found. Good luck. Hi to B. Cheers.

  9. Gary how is the k class decoder different from the light steam? and how does it suit the 32 better? Geoff.

  10. Geoff, my understanding is that the DRGW K class is a similar size and config to the 32 class. The 'chuff' is a better sound and there is a closer whistle to the 32 than the light steam decoder. Once I get this one running (and chuffing) I will be in a better position to pass on any info. The light steam decoder has a pea whistle which is good for all the smaller engines, so I am told.