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Thread: Kato Sound Box?

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    Default Kato Sound Box?

    Has anyone tried this product? Is it worth getting?

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    That depends on what you are looking for. I've seen this product at the last train show (end of March) and it was demo by Kato at their booth. It is for DC and at the time only had sound for first generation diesel so there could be limitations. I liked it, but I'm hooked on sound decoders. Do a search on this forum because it has been talked about on other theads.
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    I am DC at this time, and after watching the videos & demonstrations, I am going to steer clear of it. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice toy. It just seems there is way too much to do in the operation of it, while running trains. One of my major drawbacks is, the sound emanates from a single source. I even considered soldering in "remote speakers" at different locations around my layout, from the Kato Sound Box? It just seemed to toy-ish for me. In time, I will move to DCC, and that will have the sounds on the locomotives that I desire. At this point in time, I can't justify spending the money on it, knowing I am eventually going to DCC.
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    I am waiting on two things

    1. steam sounds
    2. cost of each sound card

    that will make it or break it for me
    sincerely--

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    I've only seen the videos. Biggest gotcha for me is I use a walkaround throttle and the soundbox is stationary. But there is real potential in running the sound thru a good stereo to get some good bass - if the recording is good it should really rumble.

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    I saw it diminstrated at a show. The one nice thing is it sincs to the throttle. So as you increase the throttle the sound does to. If the engine is not moving it just idles. The diminstrator had two other speakers pluged into the controller and it sounded pretty good. Yes it does not sound as if the train is coming toward you or going away but since some of us do not want to go to DCC it would sound better that a couple of other sound generator does. It does not have to be used with a Kato power pack either, it can be installed to any DC power pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    I've only seen the videos. Biggest gotcha for me is I use a walkaround throttle and the soundbox is stationary. But there is real potential in running the sound thru a good stereo to get some good bass - if the recording is good it should really rumble.
    Back in the 90's when I had a house, I had the trains set up in the basement. I had purchased an audio CD with clips of train sounds. So, I put it into the stereo, and cranked it up. I swear the whole house shook. I'm sure if you connect it to a decent amp, it will sound like you're in the cab. I'm looking forward to getting one, but I'll probably wait until someone gets tired of theirs and get it off of ebay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightfly View Post
    I'm looking forward to getting one, but I'll probably wait until someone gets tired of theirs and get it off of ebay.
    +1

    I can buy a lot of other things that I need more right now for 200 clams.

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    I purchased it and have found it to be a lot of fun to operate with. The sound of the engine revs up before the engine begins to move. When stopping the sound of the motor goes down and the train then stops. There is a delay to both the start and stopping of the engine. The bell and whistle sound good. I am pleased with my purchase of this item. I do not care for DCC and this lets your DC engine operate like DCC with the delay on start up and stopping. Try it you will like it. later, Craig

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    Quote Originally Posted by CASMMR View Post
    I purchased it and have found it to be a lot of fun to operate with . . .
    I agree! I think it was one of my first MRR purchases when I re-entered the hobby. I just got the new EMD 2nd-gen diesel card, and it's the best so far with a really cool new air-horn. Next, I'm going to get the 3rd-gen GE diesel card to go with my AC4400. Start-up and shut-down sequences sound great, but at constant-throttle, the sound really doesn't vary at all. I use the over-rev button to "cure" this. Another weak point is it's kind of wonky momentum circuit (adjustable with a pot). The built-in momentum circuits in MRC controllers work much better (but doesn't work in conjunction with the SoundBox' momentum, which you cannot turn off).

    But as for syncing the sound with your throttle-movement, mine syncs pretty well (sync is adjustable), so that's very cool. I have mine hooked up to a 150W surround-sound system with a sub-woofer. Through an external amp, it sounds amazing. I have it on all the time. When it's not on (e.g., while I'm working on something on the layout), I really miss it. Not for everyone, but it sure cured my no DCC-with-sound-locos blues. But, for anyone with a DC-layout who wants to high-fidelity loco sound to your operations, this is it.

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    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
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    Do you have to have Kato throttles?

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    I have a Kato controller. The momentum is equally finicky with either the Kato controller or my MRC controllers. Also, I could determine no noticeable effect or benefit from the Soundbox' claimed use of back-EMF to improve the realism of its operation. The Soundbox also works well with MRC controllers (that's how I have it hooked up now). The sound quality is extremely good, though as I said, at constant-throttle, the sound doesn't vary. That said, I wouldn't dream of operating my layout without it. It adds a lot of fun to your operations, and it does sync pretty well with your throttle-movement. Hook it up to even a cheap 3.1 surround system, and you'll definitely be "Wowed!"

    And one more thing . . . after getting my Soundbox, I now have zero desire to switch to DCC.

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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