There is one serious aspect of Model Railroading which I have learned by 2014. There are thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of N Scale and HO Scale equipment, sitting in boxes which has never been used or perhaps ever seen a layout; All within 50 miles of this keyboard.
====> And all I have to do to own it and get it running on my layout TODAY
= Is show up with CASH.
This is NOT the same hobby of 1977. Space is a major criteria to any consideration.
A year ago, I would not have attempted to answer your question. However that was over 20 DCC Locomotives ago, some with sound. I am not so sure of any of the above, nor of any of the suggestions. Don't Delay and don't Store it.. Use it - Even if you just loop your bedroom with it along a ceiling ridge.
There is something more and it saddens me a bit.
I have also bought the remnants of at least 7 defunct N Scale Layouts or ones that never even went to the operational stage. Now I am also coming on to HO Scale and just cleared out a large area of my basement for this scale as well. Why? Cause it is nearly FREE. One day, I also came upon an O Scale Lionel System in the box, like new >> at a Thrift Store (I am running it around the Ceiling of my Bedroom) , and they have their own sort of DCC system, helped along by Neil Young. It's a great system for his son Ben.
===> Now what is best for your Father's Son?
===> Here is the thing. Don't fret too much about it all. Just do something. Just what ever you can do... >>> Do it! Begin Today. Capri Diem as I like to joke.
While I would personally not own the Bachmann DCC system, nor would I even suggest it on any level to friend or enemy. Oops! My own personal behavior not withstanding > I attended a DCC Seminar at our Local Hobby Shop. Seemed to me at first that the Shop's Personnel ==== ?Though they all personally use MRC, they were pushing Bachmann. Why? This intrigued me, and I began to not only listen but to watch tell-tale signs of behavior. Sort of like Playing Poker. Digitrax seemed to be a bad word and nearly no mention was made of NCE. It was Bachmann and then Bachmann Again. They even had to take one out of the box to operate it as an MRC system is normally connected to one of their operating systems. For this presentation > They just built a simple oval of track. In fact they went out of their way to make this happen. Why just not use one of their already built and detailed layouts? When the seminar was over, (and it was soon over) I milled about and listened to the other participants. Soon it began to make sense.
?? Upwards and over $500 for a DCC System was no where on their customers horizon. It was simply not a target opportunity. Mentioning CV values would have just confused the lot of them. None of the nearly dozen other participants had an actual operating layout. The room hoped for may actually be in use by another member of their family. Once the kid goes off to school ... kind of thing. Despite this, several Bachmann DCC systems were sold that day.
I mean - Isn't the point of having a store, to stay in business.
So it's your railroad. If 4 x 8 is the space you have... Then Go for it! And if $129 is in your pocket today. Then just waiting ...? Well don't wait too long. Start today.
I have passed up both Bachmann and NCE DCC systems for under $100 used. I found and bought an MRC Wireless Prodigy for $220. I will soon come upon a Prodigy Squared system (wired) which I will also buy. Yes, I will buy MRC again and would suggest it to my best friends. I should mention that my MRC USED system, did NOT come with an Instruction Manual. I use it anyway and have not had a single issue. It's intuitive to me, and has been a great introduction to DCC.
No Reading = No Confusion. I also have been on Macintosh since the Apple I. For some reason, them Other machines tend to break on me or simply not function. Sort of like never been able to get well prepared Grits anywhere outside of the South, that is except if being served on a Train. What works for you may not be the best for Others and location/space may mean everything.
Will all of the above stop me from buying Digitrax? No. I fully intend to eventually, drive myself a bit crazy, by reading one of their manuals. Eventually, I will want to go beyond simple CV programming and delve into JMRI and speed matching with intricate consisting. So far however, I have not been willing to outbid Others on a Digitrax System. Meaning Yes, there are people out there who chose Digitrax as their first system, then found it overwhelming. Then there are Others, such as myself who upon a good deal will spring for one.
Will I deliberately go running down one day to my Local Hobby Shop and buy a Digitrax System at or near list price? No. And here is a serious reason why. They know LESS than I do about DCC as of at least three months ago. There won't be one once of any help in that MSRP price. There are no schools for their personnel to attend to by Digitrax. None of them own a Digitrax system. Actually, none of them know all that much about installing even a decoder and it all goes down from there. It is much easier to sell a Hasselblad, after you actually own one.
What I will tell you... There is a level to DCC and Computer control with sound - Even above all of this. And it comes with a price, along with words like Loksound and BLI.
When I was 7 years old, I received my first Train set. The nice man asked my Father what system would be best for me. O Scale or HO? My Father then turned to me and I boldly stepped up saying HO Scale. Then the little precocious 7 year old began to nearly lecture the man on why HO Scale was such a better system for our basement.
I was destined to then have 4 x 8 layout. However, when my Mother wanted a Ping Pong Table. Meaning at first my heart sank, thinking we were in competition for the same space. Instead, I was able to go to 5 x 9 with a layout which was lifted up and onto her Table. Nearly the whole rest of the week, except on Saturday Night when my parents friends would come over - I built my little empire. Especially in HO Scale, yes a 5 x 9 is like a whole other level. That extra foot does make a difference. Yet if you simply don't have it.... don't worry about it - Start today anyway.