Selecting the Right Sound for Your Steam Locomotive

If you aren’t sure which sounds are appropriate for a given steam locomotive, choosing the correct decoder can seem confusing. Ultimately you should pick a decoder that appeals to your own sound tastes and preferences. This page will help you understand the various sound effects that are unique to each steam Tsunami2 Digital Sound Decoder.


Understanding the Air Compressor

Tsunami2 steam decoders are equipped with a selection of air compressors based on the prototypes recorded. The sound of the air compressor comes on when the locomotive is placed on a live DCC track. On a prototype steam locomotive this sound is heard any time that the locomotive main reservoir falls below a pre-determined P.S.I. and will continue on until the governor shuts off steam to the compressor due to the main reservoir filling up. The two most common types were built by Westinghouse and are known as single-phase and cross-compound. Both designs are pictured below.

Single-Phase Cross-Compound

Simply look at your model and determine which type of air compressor(s) your locomotive has to help you select which is appropriate for your model. Some locomotives will have two air compressors of the same type. Tsunami2 decoders include dual compressor options so you can make your sound decoder more prototypically accurate.

Older locomotives, that were built before the addition of air brakes, don’t have an air compressor on them. If you don’t see either of the compressor styles shown above, your model may be based on a prototype prior to the late 19th century air brake era. Tsunami2 decoders have individual volume controls for all sound features, this allows you to set the volume of the compressor to 0 if your model doesn’t have a compressor.