Digital Sound

The world of digital operation holds huge potential for realistic model railway operation. In this section we will show you how to install sound decoders into locomotives big and small across 'OO', 'O' and 'N' gauge as well as revealing more about the abilities of this control system in future features author by Mike Wild and Paul Chetter.

Digital Sound modelling guides

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Installing Locoman’s BR ‘5MT’ sound

The powerful sounds of the BR ‘5MT’ 4-6-0 are now available from Locoman Sounds on the ESU decoder family. MIKE WILD upgrades an older Bachmann 8-pin model to show how it can be done.

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Quarry Hunslet Digital Sound

Fitting DCC sound in Bachmann’s tiny ‘OO9’ gauge model is difficult – but as John Gay explains, is possible, bringing it to life beautifully.

SERIES 8: Digital Sound - installing ESU LokSound chips

The fourth part of our new Digital Sound video series is here focusing on ESU LokSound decoders. In this part we had sound to a Bachmann 'OO9' Mainline Hunslet, a Dapol Class 68 and a Bachmann BR '5MT' 4-6-0. Discover how we completed the installations here.

Locoman Sounds BR 2MT sound installation guide Feature Premium

Locoman Sounds for the Hornby BR ‘2MT’ 2-6-0

The recently released Hornby BR ‘2MT’ 2-6-0 is an attractive locomotive, but challenging for sound installation. MIKE WILD explains how he fitted a powerful speaker into the tender with an ESU chip from Locoman Sounds.

Locoman Sounds GWR Manor sound demonstration video. Feature Premium

Speaker upgrade for the Accurascale ‘Manor’

Accurascale’s GWR ‘Manor’ 4-6-0 is a superb model, but it left room for improvement in the speaker setup. MIKE WILD shows how he fitted Locoman Sounds’ latest profile for these two-cylinder locomotives together with a speaker upgrade.

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What is Hornby's HM7000?

Hornby launched a new way to control model railways in 2023. MARK CHIVERS explains how the HM7000 system works - and why you should consider it.

Installing digital sound in the Heljan GWR AEC parcels railcar. Feature Premium

Installing ESU sound in the Heljan GWR AEC railcar

The revival of Grosvenor Square for the Spalding Model Railway Exhibition on November 4/5 prompted MIKE WILD to go back to the ‘60s by installing digital sound in Heljan’s new ‘OO’ gauge GWR AEC parcels railcar. Here’s how he did it complete with a video sound demonstration.

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Digital Sound: A tale of two ‘Panniers’

GWR ‘Pannier’ tanks are perennial favourites and Bachmann has added the ‘64XX’ version to its existing range. PAUL CHETTER investigates the internal changes made to this newer design in order to fit sound and ‘stay alive’ capability to this and the earlier ‘57XX’ series locomotives.

Heljan Class 45 ZIMO sound installation guide for OO gauge. Feature Premium

Earth moving sound for the Heljan ‘Peak’

First released a year ago, Heljan’s new ‘OO’ Class 45 can be upgraded to feature a powerful Earth Mover speaker with digital sound. MIKE WILD explains how.

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Grosvenor Square Phase 1: the completed layout

Layout complete, it’s time to learn the ropes for how it will run. Mike Wild discusses how the original version of Grosvenor Square operated and what it ran with on its debut in 2016 at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition.

Sonic Models GCR 'A5' 4-6-2T with ZIMO sound from Digitrains. Feature Premium

Upgrading Sonic Models GCR ‘A5’ 4-6-2T

Sonic Models’ GCR ‘A5’ 4-6-2T has been designed for simple sound installation, but with simple upgrades it can be enhanced further. MIKE WILD shows how.

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Digital sound for the ‘08’

Introducing custom digital sound to small locomotives can make for a rewarding challenge. Paul Chetter puts the Bachmann and Hornby Class 08 diesel shunters head to head and explains how to introduce a high value DCC sound decoder and ‘stay alive’ technology.

Class 50 sound installation guide. Feature Premium

Nifty 50s: Install Locoman Sounds in Hornby's Class 50

Locoman Sounds has introduced a new sound profile for the Class 50 ‘Hoovers’. MIKE WILD installs a pair of Doehler & Haass chips into the Hornby GBRf pairing of 50049 and 50007 with some nifty adjustments to the lighting functions.

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Hawkswood Junction - Nottinghamshire in the 1980s in 'OO'

Nottinghamshire during the 1980s is the setting for railwayman STEVE BRAMMER’S ‘OO’ gauge home-based layout, capturing the scene of the times delightfully.

Installing DCC Concepts Powerbase Feature Premium

How to install DCC Concepts Powerbase on gradients

Gradients have always posed a problem to model railway builders. MIKE WILD tackles the subject using DCC Concepts Powerbase equipment to install two gradients on our much modified ‘N’ gauge office test track, with impressive results.

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FAQ: Learning digital command control

We look to the enthralling world of Digital Command Control. MARK CHIVERS considers some of the terminology and jargon you may encounter along the way answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

Heljan Class 58 sound installation guide Feature Premium

Heljan Class 58 digital sound installation guide

The range of speakers available to sound installers is far greater than ever before. MIKE WILD investigates the use of Smart Phone speakers in a Heljan Class 58 using a LokSound decoder.

ZIMO sound chip updates Feature Premium


Technology is always on the move and specialist model railway decoder manufacturer ZIMO is no exception. MIKE WILD discovers what this Austrian brand’s latest MS series sound decoders have to offer.

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iTRAIN software for model railways

Digital Command Control systems are available in many forms, including the ability for full automation of a layout. One such system is iTrain Layout Control, as MARK CHIVERS explains.

DCC Concepts Zen decoder family Feature Premium

DCC Concepts Zen Decoder family

DCC Concepts’ Zen decoder collection offers a comprehensive and flexible system with the option to add plug-and-play stay alives. MIKE WILD reviews the range.

Yamorc DCC accessory decoders Feature Premium


A new name to the Digital Command Control market is YaMoRC. MARK CHIVERS looks at this fledgling brand’s newly-released accessory decoders.

HM189 Double Fairlie sound demonstration Feature Premium

Installing digital sound in the Bachmann Double Fairlie

The stunning Bachmann narrow gauge Double Fairlie has been a catalyst for new ‘OO9’ layout projects. JOHN GAY explains how you can upgrade the model to feature both sound and a stay alive for uninterrupted running.

Flying Scotsman sound installation guide and demonstration Feature Premium

Locoman’s ‘Scotsman’ sound

Using the latest Hornby model of the Gresley ‘A3’ and a Locoman Sounds profile loaded onto an ESU LokSound chip, MIKE WILD explains how sound can be added to a ‘OO’ gauge model.

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STAFF PROJECTS: New Junctions for New Junction II

As New Junction II begins to take shape, sleeper spacing, a lack of track pins and a new track formation have added to the workload, as RICHARD WATSON outlines.

Dapol GWR Manor sound installation guide Feature Premium

Wheeltapper sound for the Dapol ‘Manor’

The Dapol GWR ‘Manor’ 4-6-0 is designed with sound installation in mind. MIKE WILD explores its simplicity with a new sound profile from the Wheeltapper collection on an ESU V5 chip. Read the full guide and watch our demonstration video here.

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ZIMO Digital sound for the Hornby HST

The scream of turbochargers epitomised the High Speed Trains when they entered service. PAUL CHETTER sets out to recreate the spectacle with digital sound in ‘OO’ gauge using the Hornby 8-pin chassis HST power cars as the basis.

Hornby 9F sound installation guide Feature Premium

Locoman sound for the Hornby ‘9F’

The arrival of Hornby’s all-new and stunning model of the BR ‘9F’ 2-10-0 was a sound installation project too good to resist. MIKE WILD shows how you can install sound into the Hornby ‘9F’ as designed and with optional extras.

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Big sound for a Peco ‘Small England’

How do you fit Digital Command Control, stay-alive and sound into a tiny ‘OO9’ gauge locomotive? JOHN GAY reveals how.

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LEGOMAN ‘ Electra ’ - Class 91 sound

The new Hornby Class 91 has all the looks of the real locomotives and a powerful chassis too, but how do you add sound? MIKE WILD takes one apart to show how simple it is and completes a matching Mk 4 DVT at the same time.

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BEGINNER’S GUIDE: Model railway controller choices

Analogue or digital, app or handset, there are new important choices when it comes to driving your model railway locomotives. We surveys the options.