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Model Railroading > IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???


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Date: 04/08/19 16:48
IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: wheel_slip

Last week there was a discussion on the quality of speakers used on the ScaleTrains SD40T-2 models and how one of the guys used an IPhone 4 speaker in place of the factory speakers.  I went ahead and did the swap simply because I felt the stock speakers were a slight bit "raspy" and were weak in the bass area, and I wanted to see if this would change anything.

Video 1 is the stock speakers at 30% volume. Not too bad, but you can hear a bit of the raspy sound I mentioned.

Video 2 is the replaced speaker at the same volume setting. This actually does sound better.

As mentioned in the post from last week, it is a simple swap. The most time consuming is trimming the speaker and sealing it closed. Is it worth the effort? Your own ears will have to be the judge. 

I've read about using IPhone speakers several times, but never really gave it much of a consideration until last weeks posts. It is my opinion that these things are pretty good and far cheaper than some of the speakers that are available to us. I have several locomotives from Rapido, and apparently these are the spaekers that they are using. ScaleTrains is using 2 sugar cube speakers vs. one Iphone 4 speaker. I think the quality is a tad better with the IPhone speaker and its probably got to be cheaper with 1 vs. 2 speakers.... Hmmmmmm....

Thanks for the tip sixaxlecentury!!!!!

Andy
 

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Date: 04/08/19 16:58
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: andrewcastle

It would be interesting to see somebody replace the Scaletrains sugar cube speakers with sugar cubes from ESU. I have been using pairs of the ESU 50321 sugar cubes lately and find the sound quality to be better than the iPhone 4 speakers. It makes me wonder if Scaletrains is just using cheap crappy sugar cubes.

On a semi-related note not all iPhone 4 speakers are equal. Rapido uses them in many of their sound equipped models, I noticed the sound quality from my VIA F40PH from the latest run was not as good as the sound from a first-run model. I traced the lower quality sound to the speakers. In this case I swapped the Rapido iPhone 4 speakers out for a pair of ESU 50321 and was quite happy with the result.

Andrew C



Date: 04/09/19 09:12
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: checkmate007

I also put in the speaker and noticed a significant volume increase.  I had expected better after buying the Dash-9 that sound great, so not sure why the sound is so bad on the T-2.  I hope they fix the issue.



Date: 04/09/19 09:55
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: hogheaded

I hate to say this, but based upon my own experiences running various SP power, the decoder does a fairly credible job simulating the 567 in, say, a GP9, but does not sound anything like the 645 in a Tunnel Motor. The replacement decoder does represent an improvement of sound quality, however.

Sorry,
EO



Date: 04/09/19 10:43
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: SPDRGWfan

hogheaded Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hate to say this, but based upon my own
> experiences running various SP power, the decoder
> does a fairly credible job simulating the 567 in,
> say, a GP9, but does not sound anything like the
> 645 in a Tunnel Motor. The replacement decoder
> does represent an improvement of sound quality,
> however.
>
> Sorry,
> EO

Replacement speaker?

As for sounds, isn't it possible to change out the sound files when a better tunnel motor sound is available?

 



Date: 04/09/19 11:19
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: checkmate007

Not sure if with the ESUProgramer can up the volume? 



Date: 04/09/19 16:02
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: PHall

hogheaded Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hate to say this, but based upon my own
> experiences running various SP power, the decoder
> does a fairly credible job simulating the 567 in,
> say, a GP9, but does not sound anything like the
> 645 in a Tunnel Motor. The replacement decoder
> does represent an improvement of sound quality,
> however.
>
> Sorry,
> EO

They didn't replace the decoder, they replaced the speaker.



Date: 04/09/19 16:34
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: tiltone

andrewcastle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It would be interesting to see somebody replace
> the Scaletrains sugar cube speakers with sugar
> cubes from ESU. I have been using pairs of the ESU
> 50321 sugar cubes lately and find the sound
> quality to be better than the iPhone 4 speakers.
> It makes me wonder if Scaletrains is just using
> cheap crappy sugar cubes.
>
> On a semi-related note not all iPhone 4 speakers
> are equal. Rapido uses them in many of their sound
> equipped models, I noticed the sound quality from
> my VIA F40PH from the latest run was not as good
> as the sound from a first-run model. I traced the
> lower quality sound to the speakers. In this case
> I swapped the Rapido iPhone 4 speakers out for a
> pair of ESU 50321 and was quite happy with the
> result.
>
> Andrew C
I am with you on this subject     The sound file in the ST tunnel motors sound exactly like ESU sound file #75407  which is susposely for a EMD  20 cylinder but i down load it for all my EMD 645 16 cylinder  and use esu twin sugar cube speakers  which sound ok with me  Cheers Dennis



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/19 16:56 by tiltone.



Date: 04/09/19 18:40
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: hogheaded

SPDRGWfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> hogheaded Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
>> The replacement decoder
> > EO

> Replacement speaker?

Mea culpa. I meant to say replacement speaker, not decoder. This does not change the fact that the decoder puts out what sounds like a GP9 to me - the 567 clatter and the screaming supercharger whine when notched out. I'm surprised that such an otherwise gorgeous model has such poor sound reproduction, especially given that the decoder is an ESU. I have several LokSound V4.0 decoders using various Baldwin and Alco sound files, because to my ear, they are the best, several levels better than the T-2's 645.  But this is just me. I'm sure others are quite content with the loco as-is.

All that said, I'm gonna give the iPhone deal a whirl, as it does seen to make for a better sounding loco. Over the years, I've noticed several videos on U-Toob (apologies, Todd) about installing same, but I haven't felt particularly compelled to try it until I heard Andy's comparison here.

EO
 



Date: 04/09/19 19:31
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: sixaxlecentury

Ill agree that its not the best turbo 645 file they have.  

..... but in no way shape or form, does it sound like a GP9 to me.  



Date: 04/09/19 21:30
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: tehachapifan

Is there an enclosure attached to the speaker?



Date: 04/10/19 04:57
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: CM1

I keep turning the master sound down because it is too loud. So why do you want more sound? Running the engine in a mall? Also, what exactly is the problem with the sound file? I hear opinions, but no reason why they don't sound good..



Date: 04/10/19 09:13
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: PHall

CM1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I keep turning the master sound down because it is
> too loud. So why do you want more sound? Running
> the engine in a mall? Also, what exactly is the
> problem with the sound file? I hear opinions, but
> no reason why they don't sound good..

You don't replace the speaker to get more sound volume, you replace it to get better quality sound.
And you're right, the master volume is usually set too high at the factory.



Date: 04/10/19 09:24
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: SPDRGWfan

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> You don't replace the speaker to get more sound
> volume, you replace it to get better quality
> sound.

Of course I agree. I wonder if the volume change with the speaker change was due to a difference in impedence between the two speakers?



Date: 04/10/19 14:10
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: navarch2

CM1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I keep turning the master sound down because it is
> too loud. So why do you want more sound? Running
> the engine in a mall? Also, what exactly is the
> problem with the sound file? I hear opinions, but
> no reason why they don't sound good..

As is the case in most HO locomotives - the lower register/frequency sound of a turbo 645 is way low. What you are getting is a lot of turbo sound and not enough of the lower frequency sound.
But that p[roblem is the rsult of speakers that cannot adequately put out the bass sounds.

This is a case where the Tsunami 2 really does have a better "sound" to it.

Bob



Date: 04/10/19 15:20
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: RioGrandeFan

The problem with the speaker set-up in the Scale Trains T-motor isn't so much the speakers, it is the enclosure. They used an enclosure that doesn't seal the speakers, there's no "ledge" for the edge of the speaker to seal to, only 4 small points that act as stops to keep the speakers from going too far into the enclosure. These stops should be ledges which would do two things, stop the speaker from falling in AND seal it better. Small sugar cube speakers can't push that much air and really need to be well sealed in order to avoid the raspy crackly sound that you get from these.

To get the best sound quality and the best bass, you need to move air which requires space. Unfortunatley our HO scale locomotives don't have the space. You could trade weight for more space but which is more important to you? More pulling power or better sound quality? In all honesty, I run multiple units on my trains so I might lean toward better sound quality and a little less weight. Our HO scale locomotives are scaled heavier than the prototype in most cases anyway. 

It would be great if either Tang Band could design a passive radiator that could fit in HO diesels, or manufacturers could design a way to use the existing one. These things are incredible but even the smallest Tang Band (T0-2008S) is too wide for anything other than "carbody" style locos like F's and E's.

I too did the iPhone 4 speaker trick and it works well. I did modify the sound volumes though....I set my Master Volume CV63 to 192 (max) and then brought the prime mover volume down to a value of 96 (75%). This way the horn sounds louder than the prime mover. Since these are 8 ohm speakers and the iPhone 4 speakers are 8 ohm, I'm trying to figure out a way to get two of them in there wired in parallel just to see if it makes any difference.

Lee Ryan - Rio Grande Fan
Denver, CO

 



Date: 04/10/19 19:46
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: sixaxlecentury

Lee, 

My initial conversion I used a pair of the Iphones, and I really did not see any reason to keep doing it, vs. just using a single one.  



Date: 04/11/19 05:24
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: SPDRGWfan

RioGrandeFan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The problem with the speaker set-up in the Scale
> Trains T-motor isn't so much the speakers, it is
> the enclosure. They used an enclosure that doesn't
> seal the speakers, there's no "ledge" for the edge
> of the speaker to seal to, only 4 small points
> that act as stops to keep the speakers from going
> too far into the enclosure. These stops should be
> ledges which would do two things, stop the speaker
> from falling in AND seal it better. Small sugar
> cube speakers can't push that much air and really
> need to be well sealed in order to avoid the raspy
> crackly sound that you get from these.

>> Lee Ryan - Rio Grande Fan
> Denver, CO
>
>  

Hello Lee,

This is the kind of analysis that could be good for ScaleTrains to review and make improvements for future runs.  Have you discussed this with anyone at ST?

That said, I'll plan on ordering some IPhone speakers for units I have from the 1st run.

Cheers, Jim



Date: 04/11/19 08:04
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: checkmate007

What is the CV to lower the volume on the prime mover?



Date: 04/12/19 16:04
Re: IPhone 4 Speaker Swap - Is it worth it???
Author: Chad

Quick question. Is that as load as they can get or did you turn the volume down? 

​Thanks



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