The Athearn U50 Impressive Grille Work Diminishes Sound Decoder Performance
The Athearn U50 comes with 2 cutouts for 1.2″ speakers near each end of the locomotive. This certainly facilitates easy speaker mounting and installation.
We performed sound decoder installations in the U50 for several of our customers and when we heard the results we were somewhat disappointed. Based on experience with the Veranda’s and Turbines we expected better. After looking at the installations it soon became obvious that the problem was not related to the installation but actually a result of the numerous ventilation grills all over the locomotive that rendered the shell virtually useless as a speaker enclosure.
There are two possible solutions
- Seal all the grills from the inside of the locomotive with a heavy transparent tape. This improves the sound but the tape adhesive will tend to attract dust.
- Sacrifice the 2 interior generators so that speaker enclosures can be mounted. The Generators can be removed from the chassis with two small screws.
The above would apply to any sound unit used.