Frequently Asked Questions
The Answers You Want
Q: WHY DOES THE HORN DISTORT THE SPEAKER?
A: Most decoder sound files are tuned for "typical" DCC-Sound speakers (i.e. thin, harsh sounding). To compensate for this, some horn sounds are enhanced with lower-frequencies in an attempt to make them sound fuller through stock speakers. When these horns are played through full-range speakers, such as Scale Sound Systems, the added lower-frequencies of these horns can cause excess distortion in speakers that can reproduce these low frequencies. In my experience, some Leslie S3L, Nathan P5 and Hancock whistle horns have been particularly problematic. Reducing the horn's volume, or the master volume, should solve the problem. Note that not all horn sounds have this low-frequency energy, so it may not even be an issue for you.
Q: MY STOCK SPEAKER SEEMS TO GET LOUDER THAN THE SCALE SOUND SYSTEMS SPEAKER. WHY?
A: While most of my customers claim they need to turn the volume down after switching to Scale Sound Systems speakers, it is possible that some other speakers appear louder than a Scale Sound Systems equivalent (though certainly not always). Almost every DCC-Sound speaker on the market is most sensitive, and thus efficient, in the upper-midrange frequencies where the human ear is most sensitive. They cannot even reproduce lower frequencies to any beneficial volume. Lower frequencies require more power to reproduce to a level humans can hear equally well. Scale Sound Systems speakers have much more of this acoustic potential in the lower frequencies while simultaneously smoothing out the midrange and high frequencies to produce a more even response with deeper lows and no piercing midrange and high frequencies.
Thus, Scale Sound Systems speakers are actually louder than other speakers at the broad spectrum (lows-mids-highs) we desire to hear from our locomotives. Most other speakers are only louder at a narrow, upper-midrange spectrum, resulting in the thin, piercing sound we’re accustomed to hearing from sound equipped locomotives, while not even attempting to reproduce lower frequencies.
Q: IT SAYS “DROP-IN SPEAKER SYSTEM” BUT IT WONT FIT WITH A DROP-IN SOUND DECODER. WHAT GIVES?
A: Most of my designs for newer locomotives require no modifications at all to replace the stock speaker with a Scale Sound Systems model - or to install a Scale Sound Systems model into a non-sound equipped locomotive.
However, I also have numerous speaker designs for older locomotives that were made 10+ years ago that were not design by the manufacturer to be “sound-ready” even if they are “DCC-ready”. In these instances, large weights usually fill the shell space that the factory PCB ins’t occupying. I have designed speaker systems for these so that you do not have to remove any weight or modify the locomotive at all and the speaker will drop right in. But, you may have to remove the factory PCB and hardwire a decoder in. This allows all the weight to remain, usually provides space for a capacitor, requires no frame/mechanism/shell modification and results in the best DCC-Sound installation for these older locomotives.