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TOPIC: First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report

First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 3 days ago #82369

  • TOPACES
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This is a review for my first LED Lightsaber.
Rather than just reviewing the saber itself, I'd like to also describe the overall experience with SaberForge from the first Idea to get a Saber, to the actual review after receiving it. I myself am always thankful to learn from other people's experiences, and maybe someone will find this helpful for themselves in turn.

//MODS: If you feel like this kind of thread is in the wrong place, please relocate it accordingly.

Foreword:
I got into cosplay only this August while attending a Star Wars cosplay con with a couple of friends. Since I have been a big fan for decades, I knew I wanted to dress up. So I got myself an Amazon Jedi Costume, and after some very positive feedback and photo requests, I knew I wanted to get in full time.
So the next logical step was - of course - to get a Lightsaber.

After some weeks of watching video reviews, reading in forums about other people's experiences and thinking about what I am looking for, I finally settled for a SaberForge. The main reasons being the ASP system and the many possible designs to go with this, as well as the new SaberCore 3.0 Soundboard and its features.

At this point, I'd like to thank the Forum again for their support and advice on choosing a hilt design and what to consider. There were so many things I wouldn't have thought about otherwise!

Ordering:
The Customer Service was awesomely fast with replies on my many questions to finalize my order.
I got a chance to save 15% with the Fall'17 discount. That basically only saved me the shipping cost to Germany, but was still a welcome opportunity.
After I placed my order, the special requests did not show up in the order confirmation at first, but customer service was able to add them upon notice within a couple of hours.

Delivery:
After only three and a half weeks, I got my shipping confirmation. I never received an order update in the meantime, but it turned out that this was the actual shipping confirmation. Merely a work week later, the package arrived in Germany safe and sound.
In the end, I payed another +100$ for custom fees, but at least FedEx was so convenient to take care of that for me at the time so I didn't have to go after my package at the customs office.

And here it is now, in all its glory!














Specs:
  • ASP Hilt: Fallen Emitter / Fallen Switch / Vigilant Body / 04 Pommel
  • Champion Tier Assembly Package - Medium Blue / Light Side SoundFonts
  • ASP Blade Plug 4 - Dual Tone
  • Standard Finish for the hilt parts
  • Special Requests:
    - Brass Covertec Knob
    - unlit AV Switch
    - for them to choose the Blade Plug length to be flush with the emitter when installed

Design & Handling:
Overall I am very satisfied with the design. The Hilt is actually a bit thicker than I imagined, but still has a good feel / grip size. It fits two hands comfortably. After some first spinning tryouts, I am very satisfied with the handling and design - which is also why I chose a more plain Emitter / Main Hand grip section.





The Greeblies on the vigilant body also still allow for a comfortable second hand grip without getting in the way.





The overall length is almost exactly 12" (30.5 cm) - which matches well with the calculated 11.9" from the ASP visual editor.





The 37" Blade length has been discussed in this forum quite a few times, and I found myself thinking very hard whether to go for the 37" or rather 32", as many claimed the 37" to be very heavy.
I am 6' tall and found it to be the ideal length for me. Even for some controlled indoor spinning exercise, I did not have a problem not to hit the floor or ceiling without paying much attention to it.
The long hilt balances the blade quite well, although I can imagine that a lighter shorter hilt / blade might be easier for long sparring / spinning exercises (I haven't tried that yet). For optimal balance however, I have to grip the hilt at the front (black) choke section.


Last Edit: 5 months 2 days ago by TOPACES.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82370

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Quality:
I did not find any burrs or the likes on the outside. But I found that the threaded hole for the blade retention screw has a slight burr on the inside of the emitter, which causes the blade plug to get stuck sometimes. That's something I would have preferred to be taken care of during the assembly.





All the parts were properly aligned, except for the pommel, which is slightly off when tightened. But to be honest with you, that doesn't really bother me much.





Update: The emitter section became a little loose after a week of spinning and started to rattle. Tightening the emitter by hand, I could resolve that. But I'm a little concerned about warranty since the pre-assembled sabers would normally only have full warranty when not disassembled.

The brushed aluminum finish looks awesome and is well done. On the often claimed "sharp" edges of the hilt parts by SaberForge, I have to say that - yes, they are kinda sharp, but not more than I would expect from machined aluminum parts. For spinning however, I still found that the grooves at the upper grip become irritating to my bare hand very quickly.
Which unfortunately brings me to the first real issue of this review. As mentioned earlier, I found the best balance when gripping the upper black choke section. Since this is coated / painted, I found it much less irritating. However after only a couple of spins, I noticed that the black paint was sticking to my hand. And after first thinking that this might just be some residue from production, after only two days most of the paint is gone on the contact surface.





I actually do not mind the overall look with these two surfaces blank, but since I will now have to remove the paint completely to make it look properly, and since I think that should not happen in general just by normal spinning, I have to call this out as a quality issue.
Update: After checking with customer service, they offered for me to send the saber back to them to have the residue paint removed instead of just recoating the area in question.

The Switch section has the AV Switch a little bit recessed. I found that to be just the right amount to comfortably control it without accidental activation during handling.
Unfortunately, I found that the USB plug of the provided cord is actually too short, or the port is too recessed in the blend, to properly connect every time. However it connects with another USB cord that I have.





Saber Features (Light / Sound / Motion):
The Saber is awesomely bright - as I expected from the various other reviews and videos. The color also matches my expectations, although I do have to say that I expected the overall glow to be a little more "authentic" from what I saw in video reviews. But I guess that's just due to being a video and how the camera captures the light.





The sound effects and other functions are all working as intended.
Flash on Clash is not as bright as I imagined, but shows especially in the dark. Be sure though to choose a slow or static blade effect (pulse or none) to really make it show. The shimmer just seems too hectic for the flash to be an accent.

Once I figured out the correct activation for Blade Lock and Force Effect, I found it easy to use and it will definitely be a nice show effect for the cons.


SaberCore 3.0 Editor:
I found the stock motion / swing / clash sensitivity to be a little too slow for my taste.
After a first calibration session, I found the Editor to be very intuitive.

Update: After the first couple of rounds of calibration, I encountered a malfunction. Luckily, I was able to fix that myself via a firmware update. You can read more about it in this thread.
My advice for anyone getting a saber with this soundboard: Be sure to save the SoundFiles first and do a firmware update with the .sc3 file that is provided with the Editor download.






The 100 steps for motion sensitivity really help in calibrating the saber to my movements and make it feel much more authentic. I did around 10 cycles of adjustment while playing around with the saber and thinking about where and how I will use it, and there's likely gonna be more tweaks over time. But having that kind of control to set everything up is just great!

After some research here in the forum I learned that the board is using Wav-Files in 22050 kHz / 16 Bit PCM. With that information it was easy enough to go ahead and create some custom effects / boot sounds myself.

For now I set up the three sound fonts for different situations as follows:

Parade (for trooping and photo sessions and to save battery):
  • Motion / Clash / Spin sensitivity: 0 / 0 / 0 %
  • all sounds except startup and confirm replaced by 1 silenced wav file
  • Static blade glow
  • sound volume: 50 %
  • Inactivity timeout: 30 min

Showoff (for showing off ;) ):
  • Motion / Clash / Spin sensitivity: 60 / 78 / 68 %
  • pretty much the standard sounds with some cleanup done
  • Slow pulse blade glow
  • sound volume: 80 %

Battle (for full contact or choreography battles):
  • Motion / Clash / Spin sensitivity: 57 / 78 / 70
  • blaster sounds replaced by clash sounds for manual activation
  • Static Blade glow
  • sound volume: 100 %


Summary:
Overall, I am very pleased how the saber turned out. I love the design and am looking forward to next month when I get to take it to the Ep8 premiere. I already got a brief guest starring with the Rebel Legion and did receive very positive feedback for the saber.
I am especially happy for the relatively short waiting time and very positive communication with SaberForge throughout the Ordering process.

Some minor improvements (USB plug, retention screw burr) could be made for the future, but these are nothing that really bothers me.
The Paint rubbing off after only a couple of days is a big no-go for a 400$ saber in my opinion.
Another issue is the lack of official documentation for the SaberCore 3.0. For troubleshooting, I never really knew if I did something wrong or if it was a malfunction. While the features are great, there's quite some aspects that just aren't as self-explanatory as it might seem.


Ordering & Delivery: 5/5
Design/Handling: 4/5
Manufacturing Quality: 3/5
Saber Features: 5/5
Customer & Tech Support: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4/5



Next steps:
...after I will get the saber back from its repair would be of course to recalibrate it - hopefully without any further issues.
Then I'd like to color the greeblies. Since they came unglued, it should be easy to paint them to further customize the look (e.g. a red thumbscrew wheel, fake diode color accent, control box color, etc.).
I will also be looking for a thumbscrew to replace the retention screw for easier blade installation - although that might get in the way of my main hand grip. But I want to at least give it a try.

Lastly, I purchased a standard blade plug from Ultrasabers in parallel because I considered the plain design more fitting for that hilt style. Unfortunately it is too short to be tightenend in that emitter. So that's another thing to look into to maybe create an extension for it to hold in place.
I would have preferred to choose an Apprentice Plug from SF with the right length, but sadly I was told that these are not offered separately.





Last Edit: 4 months 3 weeks ago by TOPACES.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82371

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Very nice! Love the overall look of the saber!

What features on the sound board were you referring to as "missing"?
Imagine what you will know tomorrow....
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82372

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Brax wrote:
What features on the sound board were you referring to as "missing"?

The Flash on Clash and on Blaster Effects, and the Force Sound Effect.

I looked at it very intensely as the stock shimmer has the brightness vary constantly, but i never saw a spike in brightness of any kind when clashing or doing blaster effects.

And with the Force Sound, I just never get it to work. Customer Service said to hold the button for 2 secs and then tap, but as often as I tried, I always got either the Saber Lock sound, or the Saber shutting down (which I find to be almost exactly after 2 seconds of holding the button).
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82373

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Did you watch the Intro Video? There is no dialog, but they demo all of the features, including accessing the various special effects. I have found it takes some practice, especially the force power.

Intro Video
Imagine what you will know tomorrow....
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82376

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Looks awesome! Mash-up of Revan and Ki Adi Mundi. ;)

Unfortunately, I don't have any Sabercore 3.0 advice since I don't have one. :(

If you want to accent the body section (Ki Adi Mundi) to accuracy, the fake diode should be blue, the button next to it should be gold, and the bars on the control box should be a pale red. The other button near the pommel is supposed to be silver. BUT... if you want to take it another direction, that'd be cool to see.

That black finish should NOT be rubbing off. It's supposed to be anodized, so I have no idea what's going on there. I do agree though... it looks cool with the silver exposed.

If you're looking for low-profile thumbscrews, I found these brass lamp screws on eBay a few months ago. It's REALLY easy to file or sand them down to length. The TCSS thumbscrew heads are quite large by comparison lol.

I have those brass ones on most of my show sabers. If you're going to duel, I'd swap it back out for the set screw though (keeps the blade in better and less change of stripping threads).
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82382

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TOPACES wrote:
Brax wrote:
What features on the sound board were you referring to as "missing"?

The Flash on Clash and on Blaster Effects, and the Force Sound Effect.

I looked at it very intensely as the stock shimmer has the brightness vary constantly, but i never saw a spike in brightness of any kind when clashing or doing blaster effects.

And with the Force Sound, I just never get it to work. Customer Service said to hold the button for 2 secs and then tap, but as often as I tried, I always got either the Saber Lock sound, or the Saber shutting down (which I find to be almost exactly after 2 seconds of holding the button).

Yeah, Sabercore 3 is nice but when I've played with it I noticed that the features are a bit hard to use. I think its great that they have a 1 button board with aux effects, so my opinion has been its a trade off.

There's a lot you can do for your greeblies. Rub and buff and one clear coat spray is my usual solution. Antique gold is a good brassy gold.
RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
Last Edit: 5 months 2 days ago by Darth Squidious.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82385

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That's a great looking saber, great choice for parts. The Vigilant body really fits with the Fallen emitter and switch sections, and that pommel caps it off nicely. Nice choice with the brass covertec too, for a spot of color.

I'm really surprised the black on your emitter came off like that, the black on all of my hilts is very strong and resistant to most things, except hitting it with tools and whatnot.
Last Edit: 5 months 2 days ago by scifidude79.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82388

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Brax wrote:
Did you watch the Intro Video?Intro Video

Ha! Thanks, that showed what's up with that.
So you have to hold for one second, then tap twice rather than hold for two seconds and tap once. And that worked right away then :)
Service must have mixed up the description.
Guess this could have been much easier if there was a proper "getting started" guide for all the functions than just the video.

The Flash is working now as well after a night of recharge. Maybe the voltage was just a little low.

So once I get to calibrate the motion sensitivity I should be all set.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82393

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KelbornX wrote:
If you want to accent the body section (Ki Adi Mundi) to accuracy, the fake diode should be blue, the button next to it should be gold, and the bars on the control box should be a pale red. The other button near the pommel is supposed to be silver. BUT... if you want to take it another direction, that'd be cool to see.

I'll probably think about a custom color scheme. After all, it's a custom saber ;)
I've been playing around with that already.





I'd like to have that two-shaded control box coloring simulating like a battery indicator for the energy cell.
But seeing how the black paint came off, I'll definitely skip the gold/brass coloring for the emitter, since any paint that I would apply there myself surely would come off again just as fast.

KelbornX wrote:
If you're looking for low-profile thumbscrews, I found these brass lamp screws on eBay a few months ago. It's REALLY easy to file or sand them down to length. The TCSS thumbscrew heads are quite large by comparison lol.

I have those brass ones on most of my show sabers. If you're going to duel, I'd swap it back out for the set screw though (keeps the blade in better and less change of stripping threads).

Thanks for the hint. I'll have to look for similar ones that are available in Germany.
Do you know if the 8/32 is the correct thread measurement? I've read 6/32 here in other threads. Will have to convert that to Metric then.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 5 months 2 days ago #82411

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TOPACES wrote:

I'll probably think about a custom color scheme. After all, it's a custom saber ;)
I've been playing around with that already.





I'd like to have that two-shaded control box coloring simulating like a battery indicator for the energy cell.
But seeing how the black paint came off, I'll definitely skip the gold/brass coloring for the emitter, since any paint that I would apply there myself surely would come off again just as fast.

I feel ya. That looks pretty good. The control box is supposed to be a power level indicator, so that'd be a nice touch. Leaving what black remains on the emitter would make it even more unique. ;)

I actually just got in a KR Sabers KAM and the control box on it is an actual PLI bargraph... seriously considering a CF8 for that bad boy to get the PLI function, rather than simply wiring it as accent LEDs. B)


TOPACES wrote:
Thanks for the hint. I'll have to look for similar ones that are available in Germany.
Do you know if the 8/32 is the correct thread measurement? I've read 6/32 here in other threads. Will have to convert that to Metric then.

Technically, they are #8-32. A #8 size shaft, 32 threads per inch. They are SAE/Imperial threads; you cannot simply "convert" it to metric. You'll strip the threads if you try and force the wrong thread pitch into there. The #8 shaft is 0.1640", or 4,1656mm. Closest metric is M4 x 0,70mm which is a hair smaller shaft, and I do not believe the thread pitches match at all.

You COULD simply drill out and re-tap in the hole in a larger metric size though. Next up from the 8-32 would be an M5 x 0,080mm I believe.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 4 months 4 weeks ago #82574

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KelbornX wrote:
You COULD simply drill out and re-tap in the hole in a larger metric size though. Next up from the 8-32 would be an M5 x 0,080mm I believe.

I'd rather not. If I find the thumbscrew to get in the way afterwards, I'd have to find me a new setscrew as well. But thanks for the suggestion.
Last Edit: 4 months 4 weeks ago by TOPACES.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 4 months 4 weeks ago #82576

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Update:

After an electronic issue during the calibration, I'll have to send the saber back in for repairs.
Hope they can fix it for good. It's very disappointing to get a downgrade to a warrior tier saber this way just by testing out the functions of their praised soundboard for the first time.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 4 months 3 weeks ago #82797

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Updates added:
- Emitter loosening.
- Editor functionality and troubleshooting.
- Rating by aspect
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 3 months 3 weeks ago #84006

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Do you have to pay return shipping yourself for warranty repairs?

From Switzerland, that would be 30 USD one way..
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 3 months 3 weeks ago #84019

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Hey Sharangir,

in the end I didn't ship back my saber after the residue paint at the emitter scrubbed off over time nicely.

To answer your question:
I don't know how Saberforge handles this usually in practice, but the FAQ's state that "Shipping costs are not included in warranty coverage". So I assume that we'd have to pay the overseas return shipment by ourselves.
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First ASP Review / Customer Experience Report 3 months 3 weeks ago #84023

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Thanks for the reply.

I guess, if I should encounter an issue, I'll have to find others to do a collective shipment to save costs :D
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