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last updated 12/28/2004

Posted 12/28/2004, by Ben Sullivan
Review of Proto 2000 GP9 w/ QSI sound
by Tom Matty

I just received one of the new Proto 2000 GP9s with factory installed QSI sound. I'm less than impressed. Below is my view of the P2K/QSI sound against the SoundTraxx EMD first generation decoder.

By sound element:

Bell -- It's a toss-up between the two.
Horn -- The P2K horn doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard.
It's not quite a single trumpet "blat," yet is doesn't sound like a multi-trumpet horn either. SoundTraxx gives you the option to select various horn types and number of trumpets by setting CVs on the decoder. For example, you can select a single trumpet blat, 3-chime Nathan, or 5-chime Nathan. The sound they emit is a better representation of the prototype to my ear.

Prime mover -- The P2K unit sounds ok, but it's not quite true to my ear. What bothers me most is that it doesn't provide "transition" from series to parallel as the throttle increases. With SoundTraxx, there's a point between the 3rd and 4th throttle notch where you hear the prime mover throttle back, some relays kick in, then it automatically throttles back up with a change in the prime mover/generator sound now that the traction motors are running in parallel.

Dynamic brakes -- P2K's sound is slightly better because it provides not only the resistance grid "humm" but also the cooling fan sound.

Coupler "clank" -- Edge to P2K. In DCC is provides different sequence modes. For example, for uncoupling you first hear cut-lever sound, followed by the knuckle opening, followed by the air dump sound. SoundTraxx only provides the linkage and knuckle noise.

Air compressor -- Slight edge to SoundTraxx.

Track speed indication message -- P2K wins this hands down (not provided by SoundTraxx). When you press function 10 on your throttle the P2K emits an audible message about your scale track speed. For example, it will say "one seven" for 17mph or "two two" for 22mph. Of course, the message changes throughout the speed range. You're going to find that you've been running trains way too fast!

For me, the two most important sounds are the prime mover and the horn, and SoundTraxx wins here hands down in my opinion. As a result, I'm sticking with SoundTraxx for future sound purchases. Your results/opinions may vary.

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