Information about ZIMO Sound Projects and the Sound Database


Info about sound loading for MS-Decoders see MS-Decoder update page


"Ready-to-use" Sound Projects and Sound Loading Devices

  • A sound project is always loaded into the flash memory of a ZIMO sound decoder. The project is a file that is composed of the sound sample files for each feature of the vehicle, as well as the instructions on how to play the files in the form of flow charts and the configuration data in the form of a CV list (volume, load dependencies, link between function and sound keys, random number generators, switch inputs, etc.).
  • Freshly-delivered ZIMO Sound Decoders usually contain by default (except for special orders), a "Sound Collection" (a special type of sound project, see below). This preloaded sound collection can always be replaced by one of the "Ready-to-use Sound Projects" (.zpp Files) from the Sound Database or by a Sound Project created by the user.
  • NOTE: A "Full Featured" Sound Project as a .zip file exists for some, but not all entries in the Sound Database (usually the Free Sound Projects). These are not loaded directly into the decoder, but with the help of ZSP (ZIMO Sound Programmer) unpacked and processed. Within ZSP, assignments and settings can be made; sound samples can also be taken for external processing or exchanged for others; thus your own or highly individualized sound projects can be created. The result is again a .zpp file for loading into the decoder.
  • The "Ready-to-use project" (.zpp file) is loaded into the decoder, after downloading it from the Sound Database using one of the following ZIMO products:
    - MXULFA (current decoder update device); see description of MXULF (A)
    - MXDECUP (old decoder update device)
    - MX31ZL ("System Cab" old-generation system)
    - Z21 (ROCO command station)
    - in future MX10 (current ZIMO command station)
    The data transfer from the computer to each device works via USB stick or online via USB cable.

The ZIMO Speciality - "Sound Collection"

  • ZIMO sound decoders usually are delivered with the "European Steam/Diesel Collection" sound collection. This includes sound samples and CV parameters for several types of vehicles (in the case of "European Collection", 4 steam and 1 diesel), these are included in the flash memory of the sound decoder. Through a selection CV (# 265), set by the controller, it is decided which sound (which locomotive) will actually be heard while driving the vehicle.
  • However, the user has the freedom to create the sound of a locomotive to his or her taste. The user can, for example, use one of the five existing chuff sets (for steam locos) in the collection, with any of the loaded whistles (or with several of them combined) and with each of the other noises and functional sounds. This is the purpose of the so-called "CV #300 procedure" which, while listening to the sounds, allows the selection of various bells, air pumps, coal shovelling, oil burner, brake squeal sounds etc.
  • Even normal sound projects ("normal" = for a specific locomotive, so no collection in the above sense), can exhibit properties of "Sound Collections", for example having multiple whistles available for selection. This is a useful option if, for example, several locomotives of the same type are to be acoustically distinguishable.

Free and Chargeable Sound Projects

ZIMO tries to cover the greatest possible number of model locomotives by appropriate sound projects, and offers especially high quality. The obvious way, to try to develop all sound projects by ZIMO itself, is not possible (due to limited resources) and ZIMO cannot supply the world-wide market in model locomotives, therefore a network of so-called "Sound Providers" has emerged. These "Sound Providers"are user independent sound authors with their own specialty and expertise with good contacts and cooperation with ZIMO. Therefore there are sound projects of various kinds in the Sound Database.

Among the sound projects available in the ZIMO Sound Database, there is a distinction between them shown by color coding green - blue - red :-

  • "Free D’load" (= free download) Sound Projects (partly coming from ZIMO itself, including some from Roco): These sound projects can be downloaded without cost, and loaded into any ZIMO Sound Decoder. On request, a specific sound project can be loaded, by ZIMO or a dealer, into a new or into an existing ZIMO sound decoder. Usually a small loading fee is charged (in the UK called a "re-blow" fee).
  • "Coded" (= chargeable) Sound-Projects - coming from external "Sound Providers" *)
    The "Coded Sound Projects" are  contributed by external ZIMO partners (the "Sound Providers"), who are rewarded through the sale of "Load Codes". The sound projects themselves can be downloaded for free from the ZIMO Sound Database, however, these can be played in the decoder only if the correct load code is registered in certain CV values. There is a small fee (in the range from 15.00 to 25.00 euros, see price list) to have the load code registered at the factory or this can be done by the user, after a payment of the same fee, and the load code can be written into the CV values  (CV #260, #261, #262, #263).
  • "Preloaded Sound Projects" are exclusively installed in decoders by retailers or vehicle manufacturers and made available, sometimes they are already installed in the vehicle. These special decoders are usually not delivered by ZIMO itself, but by the respective vehicle manufacturers and dealers, which are also responsible for the prices. In the ZIMO Sound Database, these sound projects are listed but not available for download. A link to each manufacturer or retailer website provides a way to obtain the decoder or vehicle with the sound project preloaded.

*) Each sound decoder has a unique Decoder ID (4 numbers, which can be read - but not written - from CVs # 250-253 each with values 0 - 255). Against this decoder ID, ZIMO or an authorized partner (including the sound-provider) can provide the user with a Load Code (after payment of the fee), valid for a particular bundle of sound projects (e.g. "RhB Heinz Däppen"). This load code can only be used in the decoder with the specified decoder ID.

The load code is written into the decoder, either directly in the CVs #260-263, or by a special procedure in MXULF, or by the "ZIMO CV Setting" (ZCS) program. After that, the decoder is capable of playing all sound projects of the relevant Bundle (e.g. every RhB Sounds of Heinz Däppen).

The actual loading of a "coded" sound project, which needs a "Load Code" to play, takes place in the same way as a free ZIMO sound project. This is an encrypted data transfer. The loading of new versions or other projects from the bundle is always possible.