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The ESU LokSound V4.0 Sound Decoder

At DCC Solutions, our preferred choice of sound decoder is the ESU LokSound V4.0 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?"


There have been a lot of reviews and opinions made about the ESU LokSound V4.0 decoder. They are installed worldwide in model locos and provide a maximum of fun; the new LokSound V4.0 decoder will convince you once more with its inner values.

The LokSound V4.0 decoder is the flagship decoder for the serious railroad modelling enthusiast. It is a combination of motor decoder and sound module on one PCB. You can install it in nearly every loco in HO and O and so be able to control driving, light and sound.

LokSound V4.0 decoders are offered with all established plugs, including the 6-pin, 8-pin, which can be used in hardwired applications, and the wireless version 21 pin MTC interface, suitable for many new releases of Australian Locomotives.

In my opinion, the LokSound V4.0 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 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. The most important element of the LokSound V4.0 is the sound chip, with an enormous memory of 32 MBit to save up to 276 seconds of original sounds. The LokSound V4.0 uses 8 polyphonic channels, allowing the decoder to play up to 8 different sounds simultaneously using the 16 -Bit mixer and nearly noiseless D/A converter. High power amplification with about 1.8 Watts gives 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 an 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 pre-set volume levels for personal preference and a fader control which reduces the volume by 50% with the press of one button. (Learn more about the Volume and Fader Control Function on our Info & Help Tab

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 V4.0 is equipped with the further improved 5th generation of load control. You can adjust the control frequency with a basic frequency of 40kHz adaptively. So many motors will run even better and softer. The 10 Bit A/D converter makes it possible to drive your loco very slow on the tracks.

You can determine a limitation of the load control’s influence with the Dynamic Drive Control (DDC) to control very accurately in station or shunting switch areas. Besides, uphill driving appears very natural with it.

The decoder’s load control is suitable for all common motors, no matter if by ROCO®, Fleischmann®, Brawa®, Mehano®, Bemo®, Märklin®, Faulhaber® or Maxon®.

Constant current of 1.1 Amp continuous current are more than enough for the motors mentioned above and provide enough power even for long trains.

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.

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 LokSound V4.0.

The Functions

LokSound V4.0 decoders have 4 function outputs with the possibility of using constant current of a huge 250mA. These outputs can be assigned to function keys F0 to F28 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. Apart from that, there are two more non-amplified outputs with logic level which are unable to operate LEDs on their own. However, using the DCC Solutions Power Amplifier, we are able to power those logic functions to enable them to operate LEDs for lighting. There is an LED mode on the decoder that controls the right light effects when using LEDs.


Operation modes

The LokSound V4.0 recognizes DCC, Selectrix® and the Motorola® protocol. 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 V4.0 decoders are also able to operate on digital DCC, analogue DC layouts as well as on AC layouts. 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).

The LokSound V4.0 is able to determine a constant braking distance, so that your locos stop in front of the red signal, no matter what the speed of your loco.


A very important function of the LokSound V4.0 decoder is the integrated RailComPlus® function. Your locos will be recognised automatically by an appropriate digital command station fast as lightning and will receive, if needed, a new address. Forget about the cumbersome typing and programming!


Future built-in

The LokSound V4.0 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 years to come with the cost of a new decoder.

Final Word

So in summary, the reason you might pay a little more for the LokSound V4.0 Sound Decoder is basically because it contains a completely advanced and complex software package compared to other decoders containing more than 1200 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 V4.0 is a blank decoder that requires the sound file to be programmed onto the decoder. So, let DCC Solutions install a LokSound V4.0 Sound decoder with one of our Custom Built Sound Projects designed especially for your Australian Class of model locomotive today.

You will be impressed with the results.


Or let us know what locomotive the decoder is intended for, and we will provide you with the correct version of the V4.0 to fit inside the loco and load the sound project for you to install yourself.


We have a very large selection of Custom Built Sound Projects to suit Australian locomotives, as well as all the sound files available from ESU.

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