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The ESU LokSound V5.0 Sound Decoder

2019 is a very special year for ESU. Just about 20 years ago, during the Nürnberg toy fair back in 1999, the first LokSound Decoder was introduced to the Public. For the first time ever, a multi protocol digital decoder with an integrated,  flash memory based, user re-writable sound module was born. Right from the start, ESU also had the LokProgrammer that offers a comfortable, hassle free, PC based programming solution for ESU decoders. Over the years, many things have happened and ESU has grown from a startup to an important company within the model train industry. 

Although the product range has extended very much since our very beginning, we have never forgotten about our very first and still most important product: The LokSound Digital Sound Decoders!  For that reason, now in our 20th year, we are happy to announce the 5th Generation of these groundbreaking decoders!

The ESU LokSound V5.0 Sound Decoder

At DCC Solutions our preferred choice of sound decoder is the ESU LokSound V5 Sound Decoder.

Why?..... Let us explain the benefits and why it is worth the extra dollars.

The question is often asked..."there are cheaper sound decoders on the market so what warrants paying more?"

Well after working with ESU's predecessor sound decoder, the LokSound V4.0 for almost 9 years, it has proven itself worldwide as a leading sound decoder offering features and endless possibilities with what you could do with it, to be able bring locos to life providing maximum of fun and enjoyment.

Now ESU has released the new LokSound V5 which is basically and upgraded version of the V4.0 which loads of additional features.

So judging on what we have been able to achieve using the V4.0, DCC Solutions is excited with what the new V5 decoder offers, and we are planning to upgrade all our Custom Sound Projects to make full use of the added features.

In our opinion, the LokSound V5 is the most robust and reliable decoder on the market that offers the user trouble free operations with all function outputs and the motor current output overload protected providing the lowest chances of destroying it and releasing the 'magic smoke' contained inside. ESU wants you to have fun with your decoder for as long as possible!

The LokSound V5 decoder is the flagship decoder for the serious railroad modelling enthusiast!

The Sound

A fully programmable decoder allowing you to create, modify and add your own sounds to create your very own sound file. With this fantastic feature we are able to create the DCC Solutions Custom Sound Projects which can include recorded sounds from our own Australian Locomotives for a more authentic sounding model locomotive.  One of the most important elements of the LokSound V5 is that the sound chip has been upgrade from the original 16-Bit controller with 32Mbit memory found on the V4.0 to now have a high performance 32-Bit micro controller with 128 Mbit flash memory to save up to 550 seconds (around 9 minutes) of original sounds which allows for enough capacity to hold the even more sounds that DCC Solutions has in its sound recording library.

The old LokSound V4.0 used 8 channels, allowing the decoder to play up to 8 different sounds simultaneously, but the "New" LokSound V5 now has 10 channels to play 10 different sounds simultaneously with each of the channels reaching Hi-fi Quality level thanks to 16 Bit Resolution and 31250 Hz sample frequency. LokSound 5 decoders will bring your model trains to the next level and sound almost like the original.

LokSound V5 decoders have high power amplification due to Digital class "D" amplifiers with up to 3 watts of power output (or 13 watts for the LokSound XL 5) providing great sound using 4 or 8 Ohm speakers. When partnered with our range of Dynamic Speakers you will have an impressive sounding locomotive. 

Each individual sound that makes up the complete sound file can be adjusted to sound different and its volume can go beyond the default of 100% and all the way up to 200%. This allows us to vary the sound volumes for each sound in order to get the best possible sound when using smaller speakers in installation where space is an issue. It doesn't mean you are going to have the loudest loco that is driving you crazy but a nice sounding loco. 

At DCC Solutions we program a function that allows the user to adjust the master volume in 5 preset volume levels for personal preference and a sound fader controller which reduces the volume by around 50% plus control the timing of the fade in and fade out with the press of one button.

DCC Solutions Custom Sound Projects

The LokSound V5 sound schedule now includes a number of additions and improvements that will allow DCC Solutions to eventually upgrade all of our Custom Sound Projects to include a more sophisticated sound schedule providing our customers now with even a more realistic authentic sound than ever before thus creating a more like-life operating experience when operating their model trains.

The Motor

You would expect an excellent motor control from a LokSound Decoder and deservedly so! It would have to have the best motor control of any decoder.

The LokSound V5 is equipped with the further improved 6th generation of load control. You now can adjust the control frequency of the motor between 10 and 50 kHz in increments of 1000 Hz to assure extremely silent, smooth motor operation, particularly with coreless motors. Your locos will crawl super slowly thanks to the new 10 Bit A/D converter technology. The load control can be easily adapted to different engine and transmission combinations with the addition of compensating for gearbox backlash. The decoder‘s load control is suitable for all common motors, including ROCO®, Fleischmann®, Brawa®, Mehano®, Bemo®, Märklin®, Faulhaber® or Maxon®. 

The LokSound V5 offers a motor current of 1.5 amps  while the V5 Micro offers 0.75 amps, V5 L has 3.0 amps and V5 XL has 5.0 amps so there is a decoder for all gauges.

ESU offers load compensation (using B-EMF) resulting in a smooth and precise locomotive operation. ESU believes that good motor control is mandatory for model trains: Even the best sound is worthless if the locomotive running is not smooth! We have been able to get many motors, even older ones, running better and smoother with the old LokSound V4.0 and now with 4 new additional B-EMF settings added to the LokSound V5 getting your loco running super smooth will now only get even better.

Here at DCC Solutions we have tweaked and programmed the decoder to provide super slow speeds perfect for those who like their locos to move off slowly. In Speed Step 1 your loco barely appears to be moving but it is allowing you to slowly reverse to couple on to your rolling stock, perfect for those who like to operate shunting.

The Lighting Outputs

New specifications for the LokSound V5 lighting outputs is really exciting as here at DCC Solutions we specialise in individual lighting control for more realistic light operations in your models.

The LokSound V4.0 decoders with 21 pins had 4 light function outputs with two more non-amplified outputs with logic level which are unable to operate LEDs on their own and needed the DCC Solutions Power Amplifier to be able to power those logic functions to operate LEDs for lighting. In time, we were able to increase the light outputs to 8 on the 21 pin version. While the 8 pin decoder version only offered up to 6 light outputs. 

The "New" LokSound V5 now offers 10 powered light outputs plus 2 logic outputs allowing DCC Solutions to offer you 12 light outputs with the addition of our own power amplifier.  The V5 Micro now offers 6 powered light outputs plus 1 logic output allowing DCC Solutions to offer you 7 light outputs which is 3 more than it's predecessor. 

These outputs can be assigned to Function keys F0 to F32 and controlled individually for the use of lights, smoke units, servos, etc. They provide full support for all lighting functions and brightness allow for multiply lighting options. There is an LED mode on the decoder that controls the right light effects when using LEDs. Output overload protection is also included to protect the decoder.

Function Mapping

Depending on the command station, 32 function buttons are now supported, up from 28, and can be mapped to any output due to the superior ESU free flowing unrestricted function mapping.

Braking Modes

Three new brake functions will now allow you to set up 3 braking speed settings to control the level of braking.

DCC Solutions will add this new feature to our already brake squeal on deceleration/braking on a single function button to allow the user to apply the brakes with varying braking levels as needed to bring your loco to a stop. Light - Medium - Heavy braking. 

Load Simulation

The "Full Throttle - Drive Hold" feature introduced later in the life of the LokSound V4.0 sound decoder was a great addition to simulate a hard-working locomotive. The LokSound V5 now includes a two-stage load simulation option which will let you enjoy your model railroad even more by allowing varying amounts of drive hold applied to add to the realism of a hard-working loco.

Operation Modes

The LokSound V5 is true multiprocessor protocol decoder and recognizes DCC with RailComPlus, Selectrix®, and the Motorola® protocol.

As well as the Märklin® M4 format and will automatically log on to modern Märklin® stations. 

It can be operated with 14, 28 or 128 drive steps.

You can assign the decoders to 2-digit, 3-digit (1-127) or 4-digit (1-9999) addresses as well as a consist address.

LokSound V5 decoders are also able to operate on digital DCC, analogue DC layouts plus AC layouts with some decoder versions. The decoders can switch automatically between all modes during operation. This is important if some parts of your layout works with analogue control (e.g. fiddle yards).

Atlas Quantum Engineer is now supported allowing DC operators to use certain functions that were only available to DCC users.

The LokSound V5 is able to determine a constant braking distance, so your locos stop in front of the red signal, no matter what the speed your loco.


A very important function of the LokSound V5 decoder is the integrated RailComPlus® function. Your locos will be recognised automatically by an appropriate digital command station, so you will never have to remember DCC addresses.

What is railcom? 

It basically enables bi-directionnal communications between your DCC command station and decoder. In normal DCC, decoders can’t speak to or answer to the command station. So, the station sends orders for example "Move forward" and the decoder does it and your loco moves forward.

With Railcom however, the decoder can speak back to the command station providing information about the state of the decoder. 

Future Proof Built-In

The LokSound V5 also allows updating the internal firmware making it future-proof. This means, the internal software on the decoder‘s memory can be replaced by new versions supplied by ESU when new features, improvements or bug fixes are released. You‘ll simply need the ESU LokProgrammer and a PC or you can return your loco to us for the free upgrade. This means the decoder you buy today will not be obsolete when a new firmware version is released, unlike other brands, so you can enjoy all future decoder improvements in the years to come without the cost of a new decoder.

Compatibility with the LokSound V4.0

So you have a number of locomotives with the older LokSound V4.0 already installed. No Problems!

Compatibility is ensured with the LokSound V4.0 and LokSound Select product lines so you will have no problems mix and matching with the V5.

No need to change any V4.0 decoders you already have installed, unless of course you wish to do it by choice.

Final Word

So in summary, the reason you might pay a little more for the LokSound V5 Sound Decoder is basically because it contains a completely advanced and complex software package compared to other decoders and contains more than 1300 CVs that enables more advanced programming options and allows us to create a completely custom-built sound project to make your locomotive operate and sound more prototypical than ever before.

The LokSound V5 is blank decoder that requires a sound file to be programmed onto the decoder. 

So let DCC Solutions install a LokSound V5 Sound decoder with one of our Custom Built Sound Projects designed especially for your Australian model locomotives today. You will be impressed with the results.

We have a very large selection of Custom Built Sound Projects to suit Australian locomotives that will make them sound like an Australian locomotive.

Also, available from ESU are all the sound files for other locomotive models from all over the world.

LokSound V5 Decoders

The LokSound V5.0 Decoders will now be available in two main variants with additional version available within these variants.

LokSound V5 DCC 

For the North American and Australian Markets and will be providing DCC ONLY protocol called the V5 DCC. 

This will only speak the DCC Language (along with Analog DC of course)

Versions available: 

LokSound V5 DCC with 8 and 21 pins

LokSound V5 DCC Micro with 8 and Next18 pins

LokSound V5 DCC Direct

LokSound V5 DCC L with adapter board or pin header.

LokSound V5 

For the European market including Marklin Users, and those needing more options, this will be a Multiprotocol V5 version. 

This will speak, DCC, Motorola, Selectrix, and Marklin MFX/M4 (along with Analog AC/DC of course)

LokSound V5 with 6,8 and 21 pins, PluX22 and Marklin 21 pin.

LokSound V5 Micro with 6 and 8 pins, PluX16, Next18

LokSound V5 L with adapter board or pin header

LokSound V5 XL with screw terminals or pin header.

Starting from February 2019, ESU will begin replacing the LokSound V4.0 decoders with the LokSound V5 DCC and LokSound V5 in only 8-pin and 21-pin versions. The remaining version like the Micro, L and XL with be available from late March 2019.