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ESU LokSound Notching Rate


I am frequently asked how adjust the Notching Rate of an ESU LokSound decoder.


Some brands have a specific CV that can adjust the Notching Rate based on the Speed Step setting of the throttle, e.g. Increase 1 Notch Every 7 Speed Steps...

Some brands have absolutely no adjustment and well, you get what you got.

The ESU LokSound v4.0 and Select product lines are very much adjustable, it's just not completely evident how to do this.

I am told we may get a similar, single CV adjust in a future firmware release but nobody knows when that will happen.

Until then, my solutions follow...

I am aware of two ways to do this using the current firmware (4.4.19).

The Speed Table Method can be used with both the ESU LokSound V4.0 and ESU LokSound Select models since it does not affect the sound schedule.


The Transition Table Method can only be used with a ESU LokSound V4.0 decoder using the ESU LokProgrammer since it involves editing the sound schedule.


Speed Table Notching Rate Method


The Speed Table Method may or may not appeal to you because it does affect the top end speed of the locomotive.  You may not find a suitable combination of speed and notching rate.

The premise is simple and works because ESU has linked the sound files directly to the speed table.

The method is counter-intuitive... you have to make the model run slower to make the engine sound notch up faster.

The LokSound sound file is directly linked to the 255 bits used for speed control.

The transition settings between each successive notching .wav file is assigned a speed step value that corresponds to the speed step settings of the throttle in a table in the sound schedule, the Transition Table.

See the Transition Table Method below for more details about this table.

As you adjust the speed of the model using the throttle speed steps, the sound transitions up and down when the speed crosses the threshold point of each notching step in the Transition Table.

The bits are set via CV 2, 5 and 6.  They can be fine tuned via the Speed Table CVs 67-94.

The default setting for minimum speed via CV2 is 0 and maximum speed via CV5 is 255.  

Therefore, the range of the speed table is 0 to 255.

When you set CV5 to a lower value, say 50, you effectively re-scale the range of the speed table from 0 to 50.

The 0-255 steps in the sound file remain constant through the range of the table but they are effectively compressed between the min and max speeds.

Now the prime mover will notch up faster relative to the speed of the locomotive.

If you have speed matched your locomotives and limited the top speed using CV5 and 6, you have already applied this technique and can do nothing else though CV editing to alter the Notching Rate.


Additionally, this concept may work with other brands that do not have a specific adjustment since the underlying premise is the same, the implementation may need to be adjusted to the specific model.

Speed Step Notching Rate Examples

Here are the default settings for all(?) OEM sound files.

This table illustrates the relationship between Speed Steps, Notch, and Scale Speed.

Speed Step Notch Scale Speed
1 1 1
4 2 44
8 3 88
12 4 132
16 5 176
20 6 220
24 7 264
28 8 308

You won't reach Run 7 until step 28, which in N scale equates to a scale speed of about Mach 1 before I can spool the engine up completely.

Now, the good new is ESU typically loads up the transitions on the front end of the curve so it spools up quicker than my example but the premise is still true and the rate varies by sound file.

This is an edited speed table.

CV5 = 50
CV6 = 25

Since the top speed has been changed from 255 to 50, the prime mover will notch up faster relative to the speed of the model.

Speed Step Notch Scale Speed
1 1 1
4 2 9
8 3 18
12 4 27
16 5 36
20 6 45
24 7 54
28 8 63

Now the Notching relative to Scale Speed is much more realistic.

You can refine the responsiveness of the notching further by using the speed curve.

Note that with an ESU decoder, the speed curve supercedes the value of CV6 only.

CV2 and 5 will still define the min and max speed accordingly.

In our example, the range will still be 0 to 50.

The following example illustrates the default predefined speed curve.

Also note, that adjusting this curves may influence the rate at which the models increases and decreases speed.

You can further influence the effect of the speed curve settings by managing the momentum values in CV3 and 4.

Transition Table Notching Rate Method


The Transition Table Method involves editing the speed step value of the transition settings between each successive nothing .wav file.  

This method is more flexible since it does not affect any other feature of the decoder.

This method is unfortunately limited to the LokSound V4.0 line of decoders because the Select sound file is locked.

This is the tangible difference between the two products.


Set up is very easy. 


Using the LokProgrammer software, open the prime mover sound slot.

Newer files automatically display the transition table in the Constant values.

If it does not, copy the entire sound flow diagram, delete the original diagram, then paste the copy back into the slot.

The table will now appear in the Constant values.

Simply double click on each value to open the ConstantForm dialog box.

Now edit the values to set the transition between notches to occur at the desired point in the speed table.


Then write the new configuration and sound file to the decoder.

You must use the Write sound data command to write the changes to the decoder.


Here are the default settings for one OEM sound file. 

I have found the values vary from file to file.

This table illustrates the relationship between Speed Steps, Notch, and Scale Speed for this file using the same basis as the original example.

Speed Step Notch Scale Speed
1 1 1
2 2 11
3 3 22
4 4 33
5 5 45
7 6 67
9 7 89
11 8 111

Keep in mind that editing the Speed Table will still affect these values.

As you decrease the value of CV5, the Transition Table will be re-scaled accordingly.

It is best to speed match the loco and establish the desired operating characteristics before attempting to adjust the Transition Table.

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