Upgrade, Part Three

In retrospect, I spent a fair amount of time debating if I should go with Soundtraxx Tsunami2 or ESU Loksound 5 decoders when I made the decision to upgrade my locomotive roster on The Hills Line. Both have clear pros and cons when it comes to their design and execution. Ultimately I made the decision to go with the Loksounds, but it was a close call on the choice.

But when it came to what speakers these next generation decoders would be connected to… there was no other option. Scale Sound Systems was the clear winner.

I blame my friend and fellow IAIS modeler Scott Thornton. He had sent me a note about SSS speakers and how lifelike they were. But it wasn’t until he posted the above video that I realized what I was missing out on, and what I needed to do to improve the aural experience of the railroad.

Fortunately JT Burke has created a speaker option for a large variety of locomotives, even the Frankenstein arrangement that is my version of IAIS GP38-2 no. 708. Because it originally was an Atlas Master GP38, I went with his version designed for drop-in replacement.

However, since I had replaced the shell with a factory-painted Athearn one, drop in wasn’t an option. Luckily, the speaker fit into the shell without issue or needing to alter the enclosure. Even in the shell, there’s no rattle or hum.

And oh… what a difference a speaker makes.

Over the years, no. 708 had fallen out of favor with me since better running and more detailed IAIS locomotives had come along. With my control and decoder upgrades, it has once again become my favorite unit to run on the line.

Standard disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated with Scale Sound Systems, nor was I compensated in anyway for this post. I’m just a satisfied customer.

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