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Sound That Makes You Say "WOW!"

The origin of the WOWSound product line from TCS is credited to a friend of our founder and CEO, whose first word after hearing the prototype Steam sound decoder was, quite literally, "WOW!" But what exactly is it about TCS sound decoders make you say wow? 

CD Quality Audio

WOWSound from TCS is the only true 16-bit CD-quality sound decoder in the world. CD-quality audio is defined as 16-bit resolution with a sample rate of 44,100 Herz. If you're not an audio geek, what this means in simpler terms is that there is ZERO compression in the audio. The sounds being played by the decoder coming out of your locomotive are the same sounds and the same quality which came out of the real thing when we recorded it!

Unwavering Dedication to Quality

TCS takes audio quality seriously. WOWSound decoders use authentic sounds in every possible application. The combination of our top-notch engineering and faithfully recorded sounds make for the smoothest operating and most authentic sounding decoders on the market. 

  • Over 30 minutes of sound files are used in EACH individual WOWDiesel prime mover. Other sound decoder manufacturers use less than one minute - and often less than 30 seconds in many cases - of total sound used to generate their prime mover sounds.

  • WOWSteam exclusive "CHUFFINITY"™️ A TCS-exclusive method for recreating steam locomotive chuff sounds - The most realistic steam sound decoder you've ever heard! (Available in WOWSteam Version 4.6 and onward)

  • WOWSound is the only decoder to use 100% organic, non-pitch-shifted sound files 100% of the time. It is common practice by other manufacturers to use inorganic or manufactured, pitch-shifted sound to make up a majority of the sounds coming from their decoder. Listen closely and what you  may be hearing is the same sound file pitch shifted and played over and over in other decoders.  We take the integrity of our recordings seriously and don't compromise on the details.

  • WOWSound is the only decoder that stores and plays back every possible transition and notch of a diesel locomotive. As a critical part of our recording process, we record every possible notch transition on the diesel locomotives we record. Yes, that's right, all 72 of them! Others use one single up transition, one single down transition and one notch then pitch shift it and use it over and over for every transition and every notch. This is why they only have less than 30 seconds of original recording on the whole decoder. You are actually hearing the same sound pitch shifted over and over.

A Complete Library of Audio On Each and Every Decoder

You may be wondering how it's possible to store all of this audio in one tiny device. After all, there are dozens of prime movers on each WOWDiesel decoder, and if they all have 30 minutes of audio each, at CD quality, the storage size requirement must be massive! You are right to think that, and that is wxactly why TCS developed our WOWSound platform using SD card technology. With a single SD card, the possible storage space is only limited by the size of the card itself, which these days is into the TeraByte range.

With this practically unlimited storage space, TCS decoders offer you another feature NO other sound decoder can - a complete library on every decoder we make. No need to download your own sounds, which could take hours for each and every locomotive you own. No! Instead, you can purchase a single decoder any use it in any locomotive you own by simply programming it with the right sounds from the library.

Industry Exclusive Integrated Programming Feature -  Audio Assist®

But programming a decoder is difficult, isn't it? And having to program dozens of CV's to get it right is time consuming, confusing. We agree! Which is why we developed AudioAssist® for the very first version of our WOWSound decoders. It has been a staple feature of every generation since.

Every WOWSound decoder comes with AudioAssist®, our friendly interactive programming menu. The AudioAssist® menu makes programming locomotives to your individual preference all without touching a single CV. WOWSound is a frustration-free decoder that gets you railroading like a pro in no time at all. 

WOWSound Offers the Most Prototypical Operations on Any Sound Decoder

Below are some of the operational differences that set TCS WOWSound decoders apart from our competitors:

  • WOWSound decoders by default give you that "In the Cab" experience. Superior motor control matched with braking features and 100% accurate and original sound to match exactly how you are operating the locomotive for all load conditions.

  • Prototypical braking features. Bring your trains to a stop at true-scale speed without babysitting the throttle. Use one braking button to slow down your locomotive at up to 5 different, configurable deceleration rates and never miss the platform again!

  • WOWSound decoders are the only decoders to provide four distinct operational modes.

    • Auto-Notching - Part of the Proto-Notch™ experience; available exclusively on WOWSound decoders.

    • Semi-manual notching - Always active in all operational modes. First introduced to the hobby by TCS.

    • Full manual notching - First introduced to the hobby by TCS.

    • Traditional -  The way most other decoders work, "slot car" operation.

  • WOWSound decoders feature premium BEMF motor control. TCS has long been known for providing the best motor control in the industry. Couple that with the best sound and you have the best and most realistic sound decoder on the market.

  • WOWSound decoders are available in many locomotive-specific WOWKits. WOWkits are a complete and easy way to install sound in most any HO scale model. They come with everything needed to convert an engine over to DCC with WOWSound. Hundreds of installation pictures are available on the TCS website to assist you in producing professional results in all your sound and non-sound decoder installations.

  • WOWSound decoders feature three user presets. Return to your personal, customized settings at any time. It's like having three of your own personal factory resets. Quickly accessible through Audio Asist®.

  • TCS offers the best speakers available for sound decoders. Our complete line of speakers and enclosures have been carefully selected and designed to provide the best sound possible.

Industry-Leading Auto-Notching and Load-Based Chuff Intensity

TCS builds WOWSound decoders with a focus on prototypical operation and authenticity from step one. Locomotive sound and performance adjust for minor grades and heavy loads alike, not just overall speed. The only way to experience this is to use it for yourself! WOWSound decoders, in conjunction with Audio Assist allow you to perform on-the-fly calibrations of the load sensing settings of the decoder so that you can fine-tune your experience and maximize the dynamics of the sound. No more stale, repetitive clatter from one end of the layout to the other! 


At TCS, we're focused on giving you the flexibility and the options you deserve, so you can spend less time programming and more time running your railroad. WOWSound gives modelers a true "In the Cab" experience every time. Installing TCS WOWSound in your locomotives gives you the best sound and operation possible in the hobby. You'll be the envy of your club when your trains perform more consistently and sound better than anything else on the layout. Still curious? Pick up a WOWSound decoder and experience the difference yourself.

WOWSound is the Only True 16-Bit Audio Decoder

Other manufacturers will claim to have 16-bit and even 32-bit audio resolution, but only TCS has true 16-bit audio. To be a true 16-bit sound decoder, you need to store the audio files in a 16-bit format and play them through a 16-bit digital-to-analog converter.  TCS WOWSound is the only decoder in the world that actually does this. Check out our video below all about CD-quality audio and how WOWSound is the ONLY decoder to accomplish this feat.

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