Which Scale Best For Sound

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by T-Mac, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    My 9 year old son and I are trying to get started on a layout and we can't make up our minds which scale to model. He really loves the sound. We have an O scale track built on a shelf around his room above the doors and windows. We just bought an new MTH diesel engine for this track with proto-sound 2.0 and he thinks it's great. We are going to build a layout in our shop that will be approximately 20' X 10' with an operating pit in the middle. I know nothing about DCC but was wondering can we operate sound locos in HO cheaper than in O guage. Looks like most everything in HO is less expensive. What is the best HO track and switches. Also is anyone familiar with NCE power cab DCC. From what I've read this sounds pretty good but I know very little. Hoping some of you can help us with these decisions.:)
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    T-Mac, WELCOME TO THE GAUGE!:wave::D . as far as the cost of sound decoders, theres not much difference in price between the scales. as far as installation goes, the bigger the scale, the easier sound is to install;) . i am into HO, and have sound in ALL my engines, MANY times i wish i had more room to work with, as most HO engines leave little room for sound decoders and speaker/s. as far as what scale to choose, you can get more in less space going HO as opposed to O scale. the scale choice is a hard one, as both scales have there pluses, and drawbacks. as far as power supplies go, i think the scale you choose will be a factor in the power supply you will want. :D -Deano
  3. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Thanks for the reply Deano! I really don't know much about setting up an engine for sound.:oops: If you buy an engine that says DCC ready, what does that mean. Can you add a sound card cheaper than buying an engine already equipped?
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    T-Mac, "DCC ready'' means the engine has the plug in it to install a decoder OR sound decoder, it DOES NOT HAVE ONE IN IT;) . in most cases the cost of installing a sound card in an engine without sound is about the same as buying one with sound. EXAMPLE: if you buy a P2K engine without sound for $139.00, then buy a good quality sound decoder, like LokSound for $119.00, now you have to take the time to install it, total cost=$258.00 YOU could buy the same engine, with sound already in it for $265.00 , NOT much a savings. HOWEVER, if you wait for train shows(this is how i get most of my engines), you can pick up engines at a GREATLY reduced price, and get the sound decoders at better prices:thumb: , in this case, it WOULD be cheaper to do;):D . i guess it just boils down to "do i feel like installing the decoder". for me, i don't mind installing sound decoders, each engine is kinda a challenge:thumb: . hope this helps! :D -Deano
  5. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    T-Mac, NOT to toot my horn:oops:tooth1, but in my "old" thread, "Layout progress and engine pics", i wrote three posts pertaining to sound decoders, you might find of interest ;) . on page 9 of that thread, look for "My thoughts on sound decoders", on page 23 of that thread look for "My thoughts on MRC Brillance sound decoders", and on page 10 of that thread, look for the tutorial i did, "Easy sound decoder install". perhaps these posts might be of some help:thumb: . :D -Deano
  6. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

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    You should try to find someone in your area that has and operates the MTH DCS system to hear all the features in the PS2 engine. There is no comparison between DCC and DCS. There is over 22 more sound fuctions in the DCS system.

    I have used DCC at our local train museum and I run the MTH DCS system at home.
  7. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    i TOTALLY AGREE with spankybird, if you decide to go with O scale. DISREGARD ANYTHING i have posted if you are going O scale with DCS. sorry, T-Mac, but i have NO experience with DCS:( . -Deano
  8. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Thanks Deano for all your help! I checked out the links you gave and that is really helpful.
    Tom,
  9. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Thanks Deano for all your help! I checked out the links you gave and that is really helpful.
    Tom, I assume you must be running O guage at home. Would
  10. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Thanks Deano for all your help! I checked out the links you gave and that is really helpful.
    Tom, I assume you must be running O guage at home. Would you
  11. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Thanks Deano for all your help! I checked out the links you gave and that is really helpful.
    Tom, I assume you must be running O guage at home. Would you say if sound is a big
  12. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Tom, I'm still learning. Would you say if sound is a big interest O scale and DCS would be a better choice? Won't O guage trains run as tight a radius as HO?
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    T-mac: The toy end of O-gauge trains will run on a tighter radius than HO (13.5" for Lionel O_27 vs 18" for HO) but the larger, more-scale O trains take proportionately larger radius than HO (and not all HO will run on 18" radius).
    When you look at cost, consider that an Item in O will take 4 times the space of HO. So it takes 4 times as much HO equipment to fill a room to overflowing (the normal state of a model railroad) so work that figure into your cost calculations. (actrually O takes 8 time the volume, but that isn't as important.)
  14. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

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    The Minium Dia track in O gauge is 027 (27" diameter from outside rail to outside rail). You can also use 031, 042, 054, 072 etc if you have the room. Many engines that are marked for 031 will also run on 027 track with the right switches.

    This is not very scale, but is fun to use. My present layout at home is O gauge, 027, with DCS.

    Here is a pic of one of my two home layouts. This one is 10'x 20'
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Also realize that the speaker in an O gauge engine is twice the size of that in an HO engine.
    :wave:
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Another option is narrow gauge On30. That is O-scale equipment designed to a 30 inch narrow gauge so it runs on ho track. Bachmann makes most of the On30 equipment that I know of. It will run on 18 inch radius, but the equipment is bigger to allow more room for sound. The buildings and scenery details will be bigger, but it can still be quite compact.
  16. T-Mac

    T-Mac New Member

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    Thanks! to David , Tom & Russ. I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my questions. All very helpful info. And I really enjoyed seeing your layout Tom. It always helps to see what someone else has been able to accomplish. Not many people in my area model trains so it's hard to be able to compare. Do you typically find better prices on O guage engines at train shows. I think they have one in Memphis each year. This is about to hours from my home.

    Thanks again:wave:

    Tim
  17. alexander

    alexander Member

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    Just somthing about Buying non DCC/Sound locos and installing it later

    If you buy it with sound and DCC, it means your not taking the shell off and mucking around with that. If its how you buy it, your warranty is covered

    If you buy the loco and put sound in later, you may void your warranty

    just a heads up

    alex
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I just thought of something else to add. If you have a local hobby shop, go in and ask them to demonstrate sound equiped locos in various scales. Generally, the bigger the speakers, the better the base sounds. That is one reason why you can get better sounds from O scale and large scale trains, they have the room for bigger speakers. You can get more operating interest in a given area in a smaller scale, so it all comes down to compromise. How much operation do you want to do, and how much compromise are you willing to accept for the convenience of a smaller size?
  19. alexander

    alexander Member

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    But, its not just that simple. If your on a budget, HO scale is the best choice if your on a Restricted budget, and more stuff is made for HO

    its a big choice out there
  20. petey

    petey Member

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    As has been stated, O gauge(and larger) is the best for sound. If your first introduction to sound was through O gauge, you might be disappointed by the timbre of the smaller HO scale speakers. While HO has more variety, and overall might be somewhat cheaper than O, 027 & semi-scale O, are not necessarily more expensive per item. Plus they have the advantage of a satisfying heft and impressive size. If you can accommate the space necessary, O is the way to go.