Zimo vs. ESU EMD 567 V-16 sound files

jdcolombo Feb 10, 2017

  1. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

    Since we've had a lot of announcements about sound decoders from ESU and Zimo, I thought it was time to do a comparison of the EMD 567 V-16 sound files from each company using components we typically would use in N scale. The ESU file is #73436 (there are two different 567 V-16 sound files on ESU's site); the Zimo is their 16-567 sound file dated March 22, 2016. The speaker in each unit is an 8x12mm in the Keystone Customs 3D-printed enclosure; each has been glued to the frame with a dab of CA. I took the shells off just to make sure that the comparison was as fair as possible; I think the shells are pretty much the same, but one dates from the pre-DCC-ready days. Both files actually sound a bit better with the shells ON, which gives the sound a bit more reverb. The decoders are the Zimo MX649 and the ESU Loksound Select Micro.

    In any event, my own view is that the ESU file is superior in all ways except, perhaps, the horn. I'm not sure the two horns are actually the same - I tried to find one of the ESU horns that matched the Zimo one, but they sound slightly different in harmonics to me.

    One final note: for some reason, the Zimo horn does not seem "playable" - that is, if you press F2 and quickly release it, the horn keeps sounding until it is done. There is no way I've found so far to do a traditional Long, Long, Short, Long sequence for a grade crossing. I'm sure there must be some way to adjust this, but I haven't found it so far.

    Here's the video:

    I don't think the Zimo sounds bad; it just doesn't sound as good as the ESU (at least with the small speakers we use in N scale - it sounds better, frankly, on my computer speakers). The Zimo is probably "good enough" for those of you facing installation issues with the LokSound Micro (the MX649 is only 9mm wide; fits easily on my GP9 frame with only minor frame modification); it does come with a thick plastic (or maybe it's vinyl) surround that could probably be removed if more room was needed. I haven't tried other Zimo files (and I don't have a Zimo programmer so that I could do so), so with other files, you're on your own.

    John C.
  2. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

    That ESU sounds like an Alco, not an EMD. EMD locos typically don't sound that "clatter" when starting.

    (I may get a lot of arguments here but the ESU sounds more "interesting" but not realistic compared to the prototype)

  3. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    Personally, I like the sounds of the ESU board.
    But, I tend to like the Zimo horn a little better.
    Combine the two, and I'd be quite happy!
    Granted, they both sounded good.
    Just my personal opinions FWIW.

    A quick question: Where is the speaker mounted?
  4. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

    Well, its been a very long while since I've heard a Roots-blown 567 V-16 in person. But I literally grew up across the street from an Illinois Central branch line, which was switched three times a week with IC GP7's and 9's. Every time I hear the gutteral throttle-up of the ESU file, it reminds me EXACTLY of the sounds I heard as an 8-12 year-old listening to and watching those IC units.

    ESU, by the way, has two different EMD 567 16-cyl. files. The other one sounds a lot more like the Zimo (I still think the ESU has better throttle-up sound). Of the two ESU files, I like this file better. But YMMV.

    John C.
  5. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

    Each unit has the speaker mounted on the front part of the frame - it's the black box that sits there (that's the enclosure).

    John C.
  6. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    Well I think I like the Zimo overall the best. But both do sound very good!

    Thanks for the demonstration John!

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