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TOPIC: DIY Sound Board Breakdown

DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #48976

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Saber Core 2.0

Cost: $70
Size: TBD
Battery support: 3.7v (Requires a single high-current-draw Lithium-Ion cell)
LED Support: Single-color. 13W limit on LED channel.
Soundfonts: One font per board. Available in Light (Viridium) and Dark (Crimson) variants.
Effects: Swing, Clash, Flicker. Blaster Block (Viridium only) and Lockup (Crimson only). No FoC.
Switch: One Main switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: No dedicated accent pads.
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Available pre-wired via ASP.

Nano Biscotte v3

Cost: $67
Size: 1.12" x 0.73"
Battery support: 3.4-5.5v (Can run on a single lithium-ion battery)
LED Support: Single-color. 6W limit on Main channel. 4.5W limit on FoC channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 2 PL-compatible soundfonts.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker. No lockup. No blaster block.
Switch: One Main switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: One 3.3v pad
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Available pre-wired at TCSS


Prizm v4

Cost: $115
Size: 1.6" x 0.93"
Battery support: 3.4-5.5v (Can run on a single lithium-ion battery)
LED Support: RGB mixing. 10 Color Profiles. Power limits unclear - currently assuming 6W per channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 6 PL-compatible soundfonts.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker, Lockup, Blaster Block, Force Push.
Switch: Two switches required. One Main switch (Momentary or Latching). One Aux switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: (x4) 3.3v pads
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: Single color with FoC with standalone board, or RGB crossguards with add-on.
Other:

Petite Crouton v3.5

Cost: $125
Size: 2.02" x 0.93"
Battery support: 5.5-1v (Requires 2 lithium-ion batteries)
LED Support: Color mixing via PEX/CEX incompatible with SF LEDs. 6W limit on main channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 6 PL-compatible soundfonts.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker, Lockup, Blaster Block, Force Push
Switch: Two switches required. One Main switch (Momentary or Latching). One Aux switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: (x4) 3.3v pads
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Voltage Regulator can be de-soldered from the board to support operation on a single Lithium-Ion cell. If Main channel isn't used, channels 2 and 3 can each be used to drive a 3W LED for color-mixing and FoC.

Crystal Focus v8

Cost: $152
Size: 2.02" x 0.93"
Battery support: 5.5-1v (Requires 2 lithium-ion batteries)
LED Support: Color mixing via PEX/CEX incompatible with SF LEDs. 6W limit on main channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 6 PL-compatible soundfonts.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker, Lockup, Blaster Block, Force Push
Switch: Two switches required. One Main switch (Momentary or Latching). One Aux switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: (x8) 3.3v pads
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: Board support the feature, but incompatible with SF LEDs.
Other: Support for Soundtracks. Advanced Motion Tracking. Magnetic sensors for features such as no-button activation. Voltage Regulator can be de-soldered from the board to support operation on a single Lithium-Ion cell. If Main channel isn't used, channels 2, 3, and 4 can each be used to drive a 3W LED for color-mixing and FoC. Channel 4 requires an external PEX.



Spark 2

Cost: $80
Size: 2.07" x 0.85"
Battery support: 3.7v (Requires a single high-current-draw Lithium-Ion cell)
LED Support: Two-channel color mixing. Up to 12W per channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 3 PL- or NEC-compatible soundfonts. Alternate soundtrack mode.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker, Lockup, Blaster Block.
Switch: One switch required. Two switches possible. One Main switch (Momentary or Latching in 2-switch configuration. Momentary required in 1-switch config.). One Aux switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: (x3) 3.3v pads
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: Single-color only. Channel 2 can be delayed. Useful for Crossguard with 12W Main blade and 6W Crossguards or 12W/12W Saberstaff.
Other: Advanced Motion Tracking.

Spark Color 2

Cost: $116
Size: 2.07" x 0.85"
Battery support: 3.7v (Requires a single high-current-draw Lithium-Ion cell)
LED Support: Four-channel color mixing. Up to 12W per channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 6 PL- or NEC-compatible soundfonts. Alternate soundtrack support.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker, Lockup, Blaster Block.
Switch: Two switches required. One Main switch (Momentary or Latching). One Aux switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: (x8) 3.3v pads
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: Native single-color support. Channel 2 can be delayed. Useful for Crossguard with 12W Main blade and 6W Crossguards or 12W/12W Saberstaff. RGB Crossguard support with X-Saber board.
Other: Advanced Motion Tracking. This is the board in SF Hero-Tier Sabers

Igniter 2

Cost: $150
Size: 2.07" x 0.85"
Battery support: 3.7v (Requires a single high-current-draw Lithium-Ion cell)
LED Support: Four-channel color mixing. Up to 12W per channel.
Soundfonts: Up to 16 PL- or NEC-compatible soundfonts. Soundtrack support (can mix soundtrack with saber sounds).
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Flicker, Lockup, Blaster Block.
Switch: Two switches required. One Main switch (Momentary or Latching). One Aux switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: (x8) 3.3v pads
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: Native single-color support. Channel 2 can be delayed. Useful for Crossguard with 12W Main blade and 6W Crossguards or 12W/12W Saberstaff. RGB Crossguard support with X-Saber board.
Other: Advanced Motion Tracking. Saber Apps.



There are a few other options for high-end boards, but availability and/or documentation aren't readily available. Obviously there's SF SaberCore, but it's not possible to buy the boards standalone. There's also Obsidian, but documentation is sparse.

Feel free to comment if I missed anything or wrote something downright wrong.
Last Edit: 1 year 6 months ago by Kouri.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #48978

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Woah! Fantastic resource, Kouri! I'll probably have questions later, but there's plenty here to get me started.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #48979

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Thanks so much for doing this! A great comparison for people to use when choosing the right board for them! I'm leaning towards a spark 2 since I won't need color mixing. Great work Kouri!
- Light em up

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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49035

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Thank you Kouri! $$$ thread!
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49036

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Found a few questions, Kouri: What accounts for the price difference between Spark Color 2 and Igniter 2? The only feature they don't appear to have in common is the ability to use saber app. What sorts of apps are we talkin'?

Also, considering only the Spark/Igniter boards appear to have full 12w support, will SF's LEDs be brightest on those boards, assuming a standard, no frills install?

I think I want to get a Spark Color 2 wired to use the same quick connects as SF, to use with my ASP.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49038

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@kouri great post, good summary for someone that has been out of sabers for 2+ years or more
"A word here, an act there, allowing people to choose between good or evil at their own speed and peril was more our way." -Hal Horn
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49047

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Borommakot wrote:
Found a few questions, Kouri: What accounts for the price difference between Spark Color 2 and Igniter 2? The only feature they don't appear to have in common is the ability to use saber app. What sorts of apps are we talkin'?

The boards, physically, are near-identical. As far as I can tell, the difference comes down to Igniter having more advanced programming.

Spark Color keeps color profiles and soundfonts separate. Each font has a default color, but you can swap between color profiles at the flick of a wrist (literally - press and hold Aux while twisting the saber)

Igniter assigns a specific color to each font. At first, this might sound like a lack of a feature for the higher-end board, but one of the Saber Apps is actually the entire Spark Color firmware - so you can switch into the SC2 app to also change colors on the fly.

Soundtrack support is also different between the two.

Spark and Spark Color have an extra "font" which basically turns your saber into an mp3 player. You need to switch back to a normal font to use the saber as a saber.

Igniter instead has a soundtrack app called "Saber Cinema". Since apps run independently of the main firmware, it's possible to continue use of the saber while Saber Cinema music is playing. If you want Duel of the Fates playing in the middle of your sparring match, Igniter's the only one of the three that'll support it.

Igniter also has more advanced options for accent LEDs. One correction I need to make, Spark Color and Igniter both have 8 accent pads (three big easy-solder pads, and five smaller pads). Spark Color has a few pre-set dropdown options for the LEDs, while Igniter has a bajillion sliders and drop-downs n whatnot.

Also, considering only the Spark/Igniter boards appear to have full 12w support, will SF's LEDs be brightest on those boards, assuming a standard, no frills install?

Pretty much. SF LED stars are designed to be run in parallel, and the star is designed with a common positive to make that sort of wiring easier. Plecter Labs boards are designed with individually-addressable positive and negative contacts for each LED though, which is why they work better with the typical Tri-Rebels/Crees and LedEngins. There are also current limitations on the boards that prevent you from running too many parallel LEDs at a time, and it's not possible to wire SF LEDs in series.

Naigon designed his boards with parallel wiring in mind. More specifically, he designed it with LOTS of parallel wiring in mind (he offers a common-positive 18W RRGGrBrB color-mixing LED on his website that pretty much only works on his NEC boards).

So not counting speaker, chassis, switches, and soldering tools:

A ) To make a Plecter board work in a SF saber, you either have to limit yourself to a 6W, run a 12W at half-power, or hack your board with extra transistors to compensate for the extra power (and no, I'm not getting into hardware-hacking a $100+ board). You also might need to replace the single battery with a double-battery solution (this doubles voltage, not capacity, so no increased runtime).

B ) To make a Naigon board work in a SF saber, you basically just drop it in between the 18650 battery and LED.

I think I want to get a Spark Color 2 wired to use the same quick connects as SF, to use with my ASP.

While possible, you might be doing a bit of re-wiring on the SF LEDs anywho. If the White, Green, Blue, or Deep Blue LEDs have any resistors wired to them, those resistors ought to be removed before wiring the LED to the board. Also, if you've got any mixed color, you might consider splitting the colors up between channels to enable color mixing (you'll always have the option to run them all full blast as a single 12W color).
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49051

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What about in the case of quick connect LED's? That would be the ideal, being able to have one, good board, and swap in whatever LED I'm feeling.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49054

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Mmm, Spark or Spark Color, depending on how many accent LEDs and sound fonts you want/need at once.

Forget what I said about resistors.

Wire up one set of QCs to channel 1.

As a bonus, you could wire up a second, longer set of QCs to channel 2 on Spark or channel 4 on Spark Color. Then you could coupler on an empty Initiate hilt with another 12W LED for instant saber-staff running on the same board and switch. Could even setup different single blade or double blade profiles depending in whether channel 2/4 gets any power on the selected font/profile.

I've got a Darth Maul build coming up later in the year, and the plan is for two ASP Maulers or US Menace permanently joined in the staff configuration. One half will house most of the electronics. Other half will just be an LED and recharge port. Going to use a Spark 2 to power two tri-PhotoRed LED units with one single-blade font and one dual-bladed font.
Last Edit: 2 years 4 weeks ago by Kouri.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49056

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Thanks for the advice :) Sounds perfect for my needs.
Last Edit: 2 years 1 week ago by Borommakot.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49057

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So let's say I wanted a 12w LED with one soundfont. Would that imply that the Spark 2 would be my best option?


Xiphos, Eris, Oracle Shoto
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49059

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Eddlyss64 wrote:
So let's say I wanted a 12w LED with one soundfont. Would that imply that the Spark 2 would be my best option?

Aside from grabbing a Champion hilt from the get-go or fixing up an Economy board, yeah, Spark 2 would be your best bet.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 4 weeks ago #49123

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Great post!
I'm new with the saber world so there is a lot that I still don't know or understand.

I even don't have a saber yet (it should be arrieving in the coming weeks) but I'm kinda planing my next one.

So, I don't mind having different fonts.
What I like in a saber is the brightness of the blade and the motion tracking and that's why I bought a champion.

But from the videos I've seen showing champion sabers, I don't think their tracking is that good.
And I'm starting to think FoC can be a good thing if you pick a good color.

That being said, which board you think would be more appropriate for my needs?

I saw people talking about how good is the Crystal Focus tracking. But what about the brightness?

Thanks! xD
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 3 weeks ago #49172

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Blircos wrote:
Great post!
I'm new with the saber world so there is a lot that I still don't know or understand.

I even don't have a saber yet (it should be arrieving in the coming weeks) but I'm kinda planing my next one.

So, I don't mind having different fonts.
What I like in a saber is the brightness of the blade and the motion tracking and that's why I bought a champion.

But from the videos I've seen showing champion sabers, I don't think their tracking is that good.
And I'm starting to think FoC can be a good thing if you pick a good color.

That being said, which board you think would be more appropriate for my needs?

I saw people talking about how good is the Crystal Focus tracking. But what about the brightness?

Thanks! xD

Okay. The boards don't control the brightness, the LED does. However, the Plecter boards can only run 2 dies of a Tri-Cree at full blast, and will only run one of our 12w+ modules at half power. However, if Flash on Clash is worth sacrificing some brightness to you, you're probably going to want to get a Tri-Cree with one LED dedicated to FoC (as these seem to be the preferred light everywhere but here), in which case none of the boards will limit you. However, if you decide not to use FoC, you can get one of the Saberforge 12w+ modules, which you'll want an NEC board to run at full power.

So if you want FoC, get a Tri-Cree LED with one die as a dedicated color for the flash, and you can choose any of the boards you like.

If you don't want FoC, get any LED you want, and get one of the NEC boards. You can use the Saberforge LEDs for this if you like.

EDIT: Oh, and thanks Kouri for the comparison. This is something we needed.
The above post may be subject to editing. A lot of editing.
Last Edit: 2 years 3 weeks ago by RyanRising.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 3 weeks ago #49175

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Oh, I see!
Thank you, Ryan =)

Another question:

Does any one know if the motion tracking from the saberforge champion and hero tier are the same?
Or the hero does a better job?
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 3 weeks ago #49177

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I received my Crystal Focus 8 last week. Once I get my saber, I can run a comparison with the Sabercore. I'll try messing with the 12w+ LED for a bit, but I'll probably put a RGB tri-Cree in it at some point. My goal is to eventually make a socketed chassis that I can switch between different hilts.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 3 weeks ago #49197

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Blircos wrote:
Oh, I see!
Thank you, Ryan =)

Another question:

Does any one know if the motion tracking from the saberforge champion and hero tier are the same?
Or the hero does a better job?

The Hero board is an NEC board, so it has, according to this list, "Advanced Motion Detection". So yes. It should be better.
The above post may be subject to editing. A lot of editing.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 3 weeks ago #49201

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I'll probably need to update the initial post, but this is how I look at motion tracking:

Basic: Swing, Clash
Economy
Original Force FX
UltraSound
Nano Biscotte

Intermediate: Hard Swing, Soft Swing, Clash
Black Series Force FX
Pico Crumble
Prizm
Petit Crouton

Advanced: Hard Swing, Soft Swing, Thrust, Twist, Clash, Orientation
Crystal Focus
Spark
Spark Color
Igniter


If I had to pick a top-of-the-line motion sensor, I'd probably say Crystal Focus, but the NEC boards are a *really* close second.

I don't have any experience with SaberCore or Obsidian - if anyone wants to chime in, I'll gladly adjust the list and pop it into the opening post.
Last Edit: 2 years 2 weeks ago by Kouri.
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 3 weeks ago #49241

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Kouri wrote:
If I had to pick a top-of-the-line motion sensor, I'd probably say Crystal Focus, but the NEC boards are a *really* close second.

I don't have any experience with SaberCore or Obsidian - if anyone wants to chime in, I'll gladly adjust the list and pop it into the opening post.

Oh if that's the case I might just buy a hero tier to save me trouble =)
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DIY Sound Board Breakdown 2 years 2 weeks ago #50526

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Kouri wrote:
I'll probably need to update the initial post, but this is how I look at motion tracking:
Kouri, I'm surprised by where you put the Nano Biscotte; according to the manual, it doesn't seem to have multiple swing speeds. I haven't actually used one, though; does it support them and it's just not documented?

I don't have any experience with SaberCore or Obsidian - if anyone wants to chime in, I'll gladly adjust the list and pop it into the opening post.
In terms of motion tracking, Obsidian Lite and Obsidian v3/v4 both have just swing and clash. v4's is somewhat more sensitive out of the box, and the parameters can be adjusted; Lite's cannot. I haven't used a v3, but it should be identical to v4. For the record, even Lite's is much better than basic or Ultimate FX Hasbro boards; I'd put Lite slightly below Force FX Black Series in sensitivity (but, of course, without the dual swing speeds). v3/v4 seem to be roughly as sensitive as the Black Series out of the box; I haven't tested my v4's limits.

I've added what is known about Obsidian v3 and v4, and Lite just for fun (although Lite isn't currently available separately). I'm also specifying Emerald separately. (Is Obsidian the only board that doesn't have native four-color mixing but can have it added?)

Obsidian v3:

Cost: $125
Size: 2.35" x 1"
Battery support: Not specified
LED Support: Single-color. At least up to tri-Cree.
Soundfonts: One soundfont; .LSU files only. Up to 8 swing and 8 clash sounds (I think).
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Lockup. No blaster block.
Switch: One Main switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: None
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Ultrasabers has implied that the Obsidian boards can use a large voltage range (I've seen 3.7V-12V implied), but the actual range does not seem to currently be documented. Obsidian boards are pre-wired. Can be used with the Emerald driver.

Obsidian v4:

Cost: $135
Size: 2.35" x 1"
Battery support: Not specified.
LED Support: Single-color. At least up to tri-Cree.
Soundfonts: Up to eight soundfonts; .LSU files or 16-bit 48kHz .WAV files. Up to 12 swing and 12 clash sounds.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Lockup. No blaster block.
Switch: One Main switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: None
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Ultrasabers has implied that the Obsidian boards can use a large voltage range (I've seen 3.7V-12V implied), but the actual range does not seem to currently be documented. Obsidian boards are pre-wired. Can be used with the Emerald driver.

Obsidian Lite:

Cost: N/A (adds $100 to saber)
Size: [I'll check]
Battery support: 4xAAA.
LED Support: Single-color. At least up to tri-Cree. (In theory, anyway. Running a tri-Cree on 4xAAA is... "marginal", to put it nicely.)
Soundfonts: One soundfont, not editable. 3 swing and 3 clash sounds. No volume control.
Effects: Swing, Clash, FoC, Lockup. No blaster block.
Switch: One Main switch (Momentary only)
Accent LEDs: None
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Obsidian Lite is currently not available separately; Ultrasabers has not indicated whether they plan to offer it separately. IMO they shouldn't bother, because I doubt it will be inexpensive enough to compete. CANNOT be used with the Emerald driver.

Emerald:

Cost: N/A (adds $135 to saber)
Size: [I'll check]
Battery support: Not specified
LED Support: Four- or Two-channel color mixing. Limits unknown (factory installs use LED Engin 10W)
Soundfonts: N/A
Effects: flicker
Effects (including Obsidian): Swing, clash, FoC, flicker, lockup
Switch: One Main switch (Latching only) or driven from Obsidian
Accent LEDs: None
Crossguard Delayed Ignition: N/A
Other: Emerald FoC settings override Obsidian FoC settings; however, it has no motion sensors of its own and requires Obsidian for FoC. Currently not available except pre-installed in a saber or as a factory upgrade; Ultrasabers has implied since launch that Emerald would be for sale separately, but to date it has not been.

...and my editorial: I don't expect we'll ever actually see Emerald for sale. It's questionable (at best) whether Obsidian is worth it on its own; if you add the cost of an Emerald board (based on the price jump for a full saber, it'd be around $135) you would have far and away the most expensive combination on the market but without the features of other >$100 boards. (Until the recent SF price increase, an Obsidian/Emerald saber was within 10% of the price of a Hero-tier SF saber, while stunt versions of those sabers were much further apart in price. The Emerald/Obsidian v4 combination adds approximately $270 to the price of the saber.) Obsidian is not particularly compelling on its own; again, the price of the board is too high for its feature set, and Obsidian Lite is even worse. The reason these boards exist is to be integrated into Ultrasabers' sabers from the factory, and US no longer seems to pretend otherwise.

I reserve the right to change my opinion when my Epoch gets here. Maybe I'll find Obsidian/Emerald is far better than Spark Color 2 in some way. But I'd bet against it. :P (Arguably, I already have bet against it. :) ) Don't misunderstand me--I like my Obsidian/Emerald saber. I would buy it again, and I have nothing bad to say about it. It's just that, based on what I know of them, there are better boards out there for the price.

When I get the chance, I'll measure the Obsidian Lite and Emerald boards and post their dimensions; I'll also see if I can determine the factory battery configuration as a starting point for knowing the voltage specs. (Obsidian and Emerald sabers use 2 14500s; what I'm not sure is if they're in series or parallel.)
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