For those of you using Loksound or Soundtraxx Tsunami version 1.2 decoders, there is a way to make multiple, identical locomotives operated in a consist sound better. An example would be an ABA set of F3 locomotives.
The basic problem is that ordinary decoders, when operated in an advanced consist, all fire the #1 cylinder at the same time. My ABA F3s sounded like I had one decoder driving 3 speakers. Now mind you, back in 2002 we thought they sounded great. In 2002 any sound was great.
Lately I’ve been standardizing on Loksound decoders, and I came across something wonderful. I slowed down the playback speed of the 567BC prime mover in one unit by about 2% and sped it up in another by the same amount. Now the #1 cylinders don’t fire at the same time, and the consist sounds like a cacophony of 3 separate engines.
Here’s a link to my Smugmug account to a gallery with two videos. The first video, recorded around 2002, shows the ABA consist with ancient Soundtraxx DSX decoders, all of which fire cylinder #1 at the same time. The second recent video shows them after the speakers were replaced with “high bass” units (and will again be replaced with Tang Band 1825 modules) and Loksound decoders, running normal speed, +2% and -2% speed shift.
If you have a LokProgrammer, here’s how the speed shift is done.
Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, the Alco dynamic brake is something I intentionally changed. That’s because the F3 (and probably F2 and FT) used squirrel cage blower fans to keep the dynamic brake grids cool. Those had a high pitched whine, closer to the Alco DB than the stock EMD DB sound.
Here are a few photos of the F3 DB assemblies. These are non-functional, as are all other known F3 DBs.
Dynamic brake grid in an ARHS F3, upper right:
Dynamic brake squirrel cage fan on one side of the ARHS F3. There are two of them: