Kato Analogue Sound Box

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Kato Analogue Sound Box

Postby Desertdweller » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:25 pm

I just ordered a Kato Analogue Sound Box. This is a new product for use on non-DCC model railroads. It is similar in concept to the out of production MRC sound system, but has some notable improvements.

The box is wired in line with your existing throttle. It contains a good-sized internal speaker, and outlets for connecting remote speakers. The sound effects include coupler clank, bell, and an assortment of horn or whistle sounds.

The single outstanding feature is a removable card that provides the pre-recorded sounds of an actual locomotive. The box comes with a sound card for an EMD 567-series engine. The box includes an option for turbo sounds over the engine sounds.

The sounds include not only different throttle positions, but engine startup sounds, too.

The sounds are advanced not by powerpack throttle position, but from back-emf from the loco motor. A train cruising at speed will sound different that a train starting to pull or fighting a grade. Dynamic brake sounds are also included.

This is a new product on the market, and initially will be supplied with the 567 card. But plans are to offer other Diesel prime mover cards, plus steam loco cards. If you put your EMD F unit away and pull out a GE or ALCO, just pop a different sound card in the unit. Two sound cards should cover 95% of my first-generation roster.

I have high expectations for this system. If anybody out there has this system already, I would like to get some feedback from you.

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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:28 pm

Re: Kato Analogue Sound Box

Postby Desertdweller » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:28 pm

I now have the Sound Box installed on my N scale Denver Union Terminal Railroad.

This railroad is powered by an MRC Tech II 2800 dual pack. The railroad uses common rail wiring.

When I ordered this pack, the seller did not know if it would work with common rail. It does.
The Sound Box will only work with one throttle, or at least one throttle at a time. I think a dual-throttle setup could be fitted with a selector switch to connect the box to one throttle or the other. The power itself to the Box is AC off the AC terminals of the powerpack. The wiring is routed AC pack to Box; DC pack to Box; DC Box to track.

80% of my locomotives are 567-powered EMD's. I tried this system out using an Atlas GP9.

I've spent thousands of hours running 567-powered, non-turbo locos. The sound was just right, which is unsurprising considering that the sounds were recorded inside one of these units.

I am still figuring out the optional settings. The default horn is a single, but other horn sounds can be selected. There is also a turbo sound option that can be superimposed on the straight 567 sound. There is also a good bell, coupling clank, brake sounds. One of the neat features is a starting sequence, cranking and starting the 567.

I haven't tried it pulling a train, just a single light unit. I think there may be a way to adjust momentum and starting voltage, but haven't figured it out yet. If you just open the throttle moderately from a dead stop, the model takes much longer to move than the actual locomotive would. Opening the throttle wide will reduce loading time, at the cost of proper train handling.

The Boxes all come with the 567 card. Other cards are supposed to be coming. The other 20% of my locos are mostly ALCO's. A steam loco card is mentioned, and a card for ALCO's and GE's is needed. If you need a card for an ALCO 539T or a FM, you might be waiting awhile. For now, I'll run the ALCO's off the non-sound throttle. It would bother me to have an ALCO sound like an EMD. I suppose one could model some RI EMD-powered ALCOs.

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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:28 pm

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