Decoders and Installation
There are many brands of decoders out there, so how do we choose what to offer you?
Some are easy to dismiss, especially the train-set brands, because they are inevitably compromised and often with limited features. Those with poor support or reliability that just let us down too often are quickly taken off the list too.
We look for sheer “first time reliability” in running, versatility, adherence to standards so they work with all systems and many other things too. Usually we also look for perfect running under DC control for those in transition to DCC. (ESU and DCCconcepts are clear winners here).
Differences can be small so the positives are often harder to see, so it can be hard to pick a winner… Many have OK features, run OK and meet the standards, and even price will not help if it is in balance with results…but we DO have one test that never fails.
We look at all of the decoders, we test and review and ask ourselves one simple question: Would we spend OUR money on this decoder?
So.. We have carefully chosen an overall range that we really like, to cover every possibility.
Loco Drive Decoders:
In this area, we offer our DCCconcepts, DCCconcepts Zen and ESU ranges.
Both brands perform really well, and between those ranges, we accommodate the installation needs of all popular scales. ESU offers a versatile range that allows perfect marriage between their loco drive and sound decoders, and the DCCconcepts ranges offer top performance with best value (Standard range) and exceptional versatility in installation. (Zen range).
Lighting or Added Function Decoders:
Only our own DCCconcepts CL decoders are good enough here because they are the one and only decoder, world wide, that will allow easy reading CV’s without the need for a dummy load at any time, in or out of the installation. They work in harmony with all other brands too, so we do not need any other option. They are also excellent value!
In sound, both versatility and performance quality in loco drive and audio quality matter very much. A sound decoder needs a well-balanced performance.
For programmability and versatility, allied to an exceptionally good loco drive and extreme sound customisation ability, we have chosen ESU. For the wide variance in specialised US sounds and the really nice “tenability” of on-board sound via EQ, we selected Soundtraxx Tsunami, and while to be quite honest we do prefer the sound qualities of ESU and Tsunami, for the added dimensional options of two channel output and ability to re-load, we also added some of the QSI range.
Will we ever stock other brands? Possibly – We cannot stock them all, however, we never stop looking and learning. Perhaps this also depends on you. If you think we should look at any other range, or even want our feelings about any other ranges, by all means tell us why. We will always respond.
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