N Scale Sound

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by woodone, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. woodone

    woodone Member

    Ok I don't know where to ask this question, but I will start here.
    After seeing in person the new Athearn Challenger, the sound system has me wondering? Does Athrean make the electronics for this loco themself? If not who? Would like to know if this kind of system could be retrofitted into some older steam power. Like a Koto Mikado. I like the remote control idea, and from what I have heard, the remote has more than one channel. (you can run two locos at the same time with two differant controls).
    I did not think the sound system would be that good, but it is ! Now, I want sound in some of my steam power.
  2. woodone

    woodone Member

    Opps! missed the spelling of KATO.
    That o & a are not even close on the key board. sign1
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I think that steam could be put into the tender of an HO scale steamy farily easily. However, it would take someone of a more "adventuresome" sort to install it in an N scale tender. That's not to say it can't be done but I think it would be easier if you put it in a box car immediately following the tender like Bruce did it here....
    This guy will actually do it for you and he lives here in Phoenix (in the winter, Munds Park in the summer I think). The only trouble is you have to be patient. He is so backed up with orders, last time I talked to him, he was 6-8 months out.
    I agree, now that I have one locomotive with sound, I will never buy another that does not have sound.
    You can actually learn a lot about DCC from his site so here is the link to his home page...
    Hope this helps you.
  4. woodone

    woodone Member

    I was just wondering if one of the other sound mfgs. were making the board,speaker and so forth. Was hoping that you could buy the receivers, speakers, install yourself and have a steamer with sound. Give someone time and I will bet it will happen.
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Athearn/Roundhouse use MRC decoders, which have a very poor reputation (MRC decoders only, other MRC equipment has good rep) in HO. The decoders reportedly get scrambled easily, and sometimes cannot be reset. Overheating and failing are also reported failure modes.

    The sound is usually considered to be inferior to other sound decoders, but there are exceptions, and they seem to be the newest Athearn/Roundhouse production. The HO Roundhouse 4-4-0 sound has gotten better reports than normal for MRC decoders. And now you are reporting good results for the N Challenger. Usually turning down the sound volume from factory default helps the quality - this applies to all sound decoders.

    I am sure the decoders used by Athearn have custom programming, and possibly some hardware changes, from MRC Brilliance decoders one buys off the shelf. You would need to contact MRC if you wanted to get the same decoder Athearn uses.

    my thoughts, your choices

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