I just recently finished up an installation of ESU LokSound in my new Bachmann ALCo S-2 switcher, which I got on a spectacular deal from ModelTrainStuff. I paid less than $40 each for two of these, and I plan to repaint one to mimic a local museum's S-2.
I used the LokSound Select decoder, which I ordered from TrainTek LLC since they'll program it for you when you order it. I don't have a LokProgrammer, which is required to program ESU decoders yourself, but when you order from TrainTek you don't need one.
These decoders are about $90 at the time of this writing, and I bought mine with an NMRA 8 pin plug, but they are available with a variety of harnesses, including the 21 pin plug.
Since this is a switcher, space is limited inside the locomotive. I will post a detailed teardown/install video soon, but you have two practical options for speakers in this locomotive:
- You can order a speaker from Bachmann that fits into the existing (empty) baffle. However this is expensive and inconvenient, and probably isn't a very good speaker as most OEM speakers are mediocre at best.
- You can custom mount an aftermarket compact speaker, such as one of TDS's "sugar cube" speakers.
I opted to try out the sugar cube speakers from TDS, as I'd heard good things about them and TrainTek carried them. I looked up the dimensions of the inside of the locomotive and found that the full size sugar cube speaker will not fit well, if at all. However, the "Mini Sugar Cube Speaker" will fit nicely, either in the cab or elsewhere in the locomotive, depending on how much work you're willing to do. So I ordered a mini sugar cube speaker and the corresponding acoustic enclosure, which is essential for good sound from this speaker.
One bonus to the TDS speakers is that they do not require soldering. Throughout this whole install, I never touched a soldering iron. The speakers use compact clips, similar to the terminals you'd find on a home theater reciever, and they make connecting the speaker much easier than I anticipated.
I plan on doing a more detailed install video soon, but in the meantime, here's a demo of this decoder's sound. This is programmed with the ESU LokSound ALCo 539T sound file, and I adjusted the volume to my liking and changed the horn. I'm very happy with the sound on this unit, especially for such a tiny speaker. I highly recommend LokSound decoders and TDS speakers!