The recent surge in interest around all things Star Wars has led a to many new fans finding their way to the world of FX sabers. This combined with easier access to sabers that have multiple sound banks, even amongst the mid/lower end of the market (largely thanks to Erv’s excellent sound cards at all price points), has led to me being asked a few times recently about what fonts I would recommend starting with on their shiny new (or dirty weathered) sabers.
Not that my opinion matters all that much – but I do have a lot of sabers, and hundreds of sound fonts to go with them, so these are my personal pointers for what they’re worth, and my hope is that others will post their picks and point me to some fonts I haven’t come across myself.
Just because it’s not on the list doesn’t mean I don’t like it – font-makers please don’t take offence! There are many amazing fonts that aren’t here, and some which have pride of place on some of my sabers – but these are my personal preferences for soundscapes that sound amazing on just about any hilt. In short these are the ones that when I’m lucky enough to get a new saber I have to come up with really good reason to NOT put them on it otherwise they just default straight on there.
Lastly it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that Saberfont.com is the place to go to pick up any of these, or indeed any other fonts.
On with my starter list, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
Rogue by Madcow
According to the Youtube video Rob posted about this font it started out as a personal font just for his own use. However we should all count ourselves lucky that he decided to release it as this is one of the best and most versatile fonts ever released. It works great on either a sith or jedi saber, and it’s atmospheric and slightly cave like echo in both the hum and effects give it a great personality.
Brawler remastered by Sekrogue1985
This is a loud aggressive font that is simply one of the best out there. It brings any saber to life, but it’s definitely more sith than jedi to my ears. I’ts just one of those fonts that you HAVE to have in your collection.
The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire - Sacrifice by LordBlako
Based on the video game you might be expecting something fairly predictable from this one. However from the moment you hear the amazing default ignition sound, and experience the slightly hissy static ridden hum that oozes personality you know you’re in for something a bit different. Note that this comes with two sets of optional swing sounds – one for the light, and a slighty deeper dark set.
One by XsaberX
The description for this font lists it as being “designed to represent the state described as ‘oneness’ that occurs when being fully merged with the will of the force.” It’s not easy to describe this font in words – later in the soundfont.com description it talks about the bending of space and time – and that is probably the best take on it. Everything about the font is different, and the swings and clashes seem to mess with time and space. If all of that sounds very pretentious – maybe try listening to the demo, as this is simply an amazing font that works on any saber to give it an entirely unique feel from all the standard fonts out there – but still feel entirely within the context of the Star Wars universe.
The Force Awakens - The Dark Side by LordBlako
The cross-guard Kylo Ren saber design may have divided fans, but it’s hard to argue that the awesome spitting, hissing saber sound was a cool new take on the traditional lightsaber. This font captures that feeling well, and whilst I’m sure there will be others who attempt versions of this saber now that the film has been released, this is a wonderfully evil sounding Sith font.
Hoth by Madcow
A fantastic atmospheric sound font by Rob – with the wind and sound effects of Hoth it makes you feel cold just listening to it. Maybe Rob took inspiration from the cold winters of his native Canada :). There are some nice hidden effects here – like the sound of the probe droid deep into the hum, or the Taun-taun sound on one of the ignitions. Overall gives you the impression of being in the opening sequences of ESB without having to suffer frostbite and a Wampa claw to the face.
Rain Sizzle by Novastar
Another amazing atmospheric font. This one puts you in the middle of an epic thunderstorm. It’s an older font, so there are less swings, clashes etc. – but everything is so cool about the soundscape it creates that you just won’t care.
Grey Meat by Sekrogue1985
Another font from the standard install on Plecterlabs cards this is an often overlooked font IMHO. It’s aggressive and subtle in all the right places, and works on just about any saber you care to put it on.
Zabrack Double Blade by LordBlako
Ostensibly this is a Darth Maul font, more than that though it manages to just be a fantastic Sith font in it’s own right. As with ‘Glare’ LordBlako put up a free CF7 upgrade pack which somehow managed to improve on what was already a masterpiece.
Bespin II by Madcow
A fantastic font that manages somehow to both atmospherically take you to the Bespin ESB duel between Luke and Vader, but also be a unique font in it’s own right. I’ve used this font successfully on all kinds of sabers, and it always brings them to life in a special way.
Hero by Madcow
Similarly to Robs knockout Bespin II font this one is both reminiscent of ROTJ Luke, but also just a kick-xxx font that works brilliantly on any saber (particularly green ones).
Darth Caedus by Link
This is a great choice for a Sith font with a cool wavering motor hum and a nice mixed set of clashes. If the dark side is where your saber is headed, then you’re not going to go wrong here.
Achluophobia by LordBlako
Ever wondered what a broken sith blade sounds like? Well get this great font and you won’t need to wonder any more. Recommended.
Pitch Black by LordBlako
Amazing sith font with a dark staccato hum, atmospheric echoes on some of the clashes, and one of the best lockup sounds out there.
Nightfall by LordBlako
Another one from the default Crystal Focus pack. Nice echoey hum, and aggressive swings and clashes. Just an all round good font that I keep coming back to.
Shatterpoint by Madcow
Madcows take on a Mace saber works surprisingly well on a variety of blades - not just ones coloured purple as requested by Samuel L. Jackson. This font has some great Jango blaster sounds, along with some alternate blasters and other sounds to customise it as well.
Graflex IV HD, Graflex V HD and Dagobah HD by JuanSith
These are absolutely required for any Graflex Luke saber, and are guaranteed to bring back memories from the very first sabers ignited on screen when loaded on to any Jedi saber.
Swarm by Origin
I was in two minds on this font – not whether it would make the list, that was never in doubt, but whether to put it in the ‘now for something different’ section below. Either way it’s a truly unique and awesome font. Included are two versions – dark and light. Both are good in their own right, but the dark is my favourite. The sounds all have a vague sense of an insect swarm to them – in a good way! I have found myself using the two versions of this font more and more. It might be my number one or two font of all time - hats off to Origin for creating a classic.
Ancient Saber by Novastar
This is an older font so doesn’t have all the spin, stab and combo extras of recent fonts, but if you have a saber that needs a soundscape indicating that it’s just right on the edge of failing, but somehow just about managing to keep going then this is the font you are looking for. That battered weathered saber in your collection that looks like it's been kicked from one end of the galaxy to the other - it NEEDS this font on it. It’s one of the best atmospheric fonts out there, and the screaming high pitched metallic sounds should be annoying, but work really well on a saber (rather than through PC speakers). Handy hint for hacking this font: The powerons have a long lead in - if you are using a recent Crystal Focus card that allows preons then you can split the poweron to a preon and poweron that results in the fade in of the saber matching the sounds better - an easy hack in Audacity or similar sound editor.
The Master & The Learner by JuanSith
These are two great fonts by JuanSith representing Obi-Wan (The Master) and Darth Vaders (The Learner) lightsabers from A New Hope.
Both have complex authentic sounds, but unlike some canon fonts can be, these are not boring or predictable. There are some really innovative uses of sounds. The standout for me is The Master - this is not just one of the best canon fonts I've heard, it's just one of the best fonts period. There's a great choice of blasters, with some real surprises, and the force sounds are surprising and original, but still authentic. The swings and clashes on both fonts are a fantastic mix and flow beautifully. The hums are lengthy, and never feel like they loop to really immerse you in the experience that you are wielding a real ancient jedi/sith weapon. There are also spins and stabs to add to the experience if you have a Crystal Focus, and some nice force and blaster extras.
All the ‘Legends’ fonts by JuanSith - if you have an OT saber that matches them you absolutely have to get these.
Crystal Focus by Link - The signature font from the amazing Crystal Focus card from Erv at Plecterlabs, and it’s worthy of carrying the name. A surprisingly versatile font, with a small number of fun vocals (that you can remove if you don’t like them).
Glare by LordBlako - This font has an awesome signature ‘creaking’ hum, grating lockup, with brilliantly aggressive swings, but yet still manages to sound more Jedi than Sith. LordBlako also took the time to put up an update for free to make this a full CF7 font which he didn’t have to do, but is massively appreciated and breathed new life into it.
Grievous by Link
Revolt by LordBlako - notable as there is a free add-on pack to turn it into a fun R2-D2 infused font!
Ancient Saber by Novastar
Episode II: Age of battle by Novastar
Blackstar by Novastar
Necrovolt by Novastar - I know this is actually supposed to be a saberstaff, but it's a darn fine font on any saber.
Revan: Rebirth by Link - This is a great powerful font, and one of Links best.
And now for something completely different…
I’m not generally a fan of loading sabers up with lots of ‘gimmick’ fonts – but having one or two here and there can really spice up the saber collection. Here are a few of my favourite fonts that are something a little bit different….
Wendigo by Ahriman
This older font is based on the Wendigo cannibalistic spirit myth – yes you read that right. It has a hypnotic and an oddly disturbing hum that has a slow methodical rhythmic beat. The swings are like roars, and the clashes are an odd mix of smashing glass type sounds and metallic hits. This is a hard font to describe – but if you want the perfect soundscape to put on a saber over Halloween then look no further – it is genuinely creepy.
Xenoform by Link
Firstly to be clear I’m not even vaguely a Tranformers fan. So why is this font on my list then? Because it’s just very cool. Set up some nice pitch shifting on a CF card and this font is just a blast. Oh and handy hint – the boot sounds work great as preon/pstoff sounds :)
Predator by Link
A fantastic Star Wars / Predator mash-up that Link put up for free a while back. I am a fan of Predator – which might explain why this one’s on the list, but also it’s just too perfect on a JQS Pro-Qui :)
Metropolis by TheBaconWizard - Ever wondered what a font themed off of the 1927 Fritz Lang classic 'Metropolis' might sound like? No, neither had I, but the answer is it sounds pretty cool! TheBaconWizard posted this for free on FX-Sabers, and it's a great original font. There are three hums - each of them cmplex and multi-layered, but with a decreasing number of layers to give you options. A little hack is to splice the different hums onto the blasters, swings and clashes and create an every changing soundscape - awesome!
Death Rattle by Ahriman
Crystalline Workshop by Novastar
Vibroblade by Link