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Thread: Cheap DAC?

  1. #1
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    Default Cheap DAC?

    No doubt this is a massively asked question, but hey, it's my first post, I'm allowed to be a noob :P


    Here's the story. I've purchased a nice 130mW 10kpps RGY scanner that's ILDA compatible for my first scanner, I'm planning on modding it out with a 150mW blu-ray labby in place of the 100mW red to make a GVC scanner

    I was going to purchase a DAC that you could get added on as an option, but thanks to andy_con I've been informed that the DAC was itop or something and pretty terrible software. Which has kinda messed up my plans


    My budget is pretty tight. $250 USD is the maximum really, though I can got a little higher. I'm looking for a nice ILDA DAC and software that I can use. I want to use the scanner for animations more than beam shows, so the software will have to be good for that. Also, if the software could run a soundtrack in sync with the scanner animations that would be a HUGE plus. Oh, and premade would be good too. I can do basic electronics, but I don't trust my abilities with something as complex as a DAC.


    Thanks in advance for any help, scanner peoples!
    Last edited by Murudai; 08-25-2008 at 08:28. Reason: Had to include that I can't DIY!

  2. #2
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    My advice is to first figure out what software you will be using and then get a DAC that works with it. I have several DACs and they are all about the same. It's the software that makes the difference and it may only support certain DACs.

    I think RIYA might have the cheapest prebuilt DACs now and they work with a lot of software like my free Spaghetti software as well as HE Laserscan, Mamba, and maybe even the new Popelscan. The sound card DACs are the cheapest but are a DIY solution. You might be able to get someone on here to build you one, though, if you aren't able to do it yourself.

    If you don't mind spending $500 you could step up to the Pangolin FB3 package. Not a bad deal from what I hear but you won't be able to use any software except for the Pangolin stuff. That has been the dealbreaker for me.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I looked in to Spaghetti before. Seems pretty good, but I couldn't figure something out. Are you actually able to custom make animations with that software? ie; draw all the lines yourself, create the curves, make up the frames, etc. Being able to custom make own animations is essential for what I want the scanner for

    While ebay browsing I happened upon this DAC, pretty cheap: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=360081041802 but I think it's another itop/ishow made thing. It doesn't come with software though. Would I be able to use that DAC with some good free software and create some nice animations? Is that a good DAC?

    Oh, and if this 'RIYA' can create cheap dacs, got a thread you can link me to? Got a vague idea of the pricing?

    And you talked about finding good free software. Well... can you help me out a little there? I'm still finding my feet with the whole scanner business Got any good threads or anything you can link me too?

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by Murudai; 08-25-2008 at 09:14. Reason: Need to add about free software!

  4. #4
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    Spaghetti does not currently provide a tool for drawing your own frames but it works natively with standard .ILD files and there are plenty of free tools that let you draw and/or edit them. In the future, Spaghetti will have a built in frame editor but I have no estimated time for it. What Spaghetti does do is let you put the pre-built animations or still frames on a time line and apply effects to them like morphing, movement, scaling, color change, and rotation.

    I looked at the ebay DAC. Never heard of it. I would not buy it without knowing exactly what it is and where you can get the drivers and documentation.

    Here is a link to Riya Lasers. I think their entry level DAC is around 100-150Euros but don't quote me on it. You'll have to email them and see.

    There is a webpage that has a link to about everything laser show related but I don't have it with me here. Maybe someone else can post it. If you just look around on this forum for awhile you'll find all kinds of info and will learn a lot.

  5. #5
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    Okay, so you mean this? http://www.riyalasers.com/riya_usb_sa.htm Thanks! I'll email them and ask about it

    But since you talk about software first, I'd rather find some good software I can use before going for the DAC. Then I can make sure the DAC is compatible, better to find the wrong 'free' thing than the wrong 'expensive' thing!

    I'm really looking for software that allows animations. Spaghetti looks more like it is focused on beam shows, and making animations is a bit of a hack. Easy animation making is what I'm really looking for

  6. #6
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    Spaghetti is neither focused toward animation shows nor beam shows. If you want to create animations you will need some type of drawing software that you can use to make a bunch of cartoon like frames that you can turn into a sequence. The standard format of these files is .ild. Once you have the files you can easily synchronize them to music with Spaghetti. Spaghetti doesn't care if the frames are pictures of circles, dots, or tacos. You will find this to be the case in most laser show software. For drawing animations, you are actually better off not using any laser show software but some other type of generic powerful drawing software and then converting that output to ilda files. You might check into the free LaserBoy software. It is more of a drawing/conversion tool than laser show software.

  7. #7
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    Since I'm a professional Flash Developer, if I could find a way to turn a Flash animation sequence in to a laser show I'd be thrilled I see pangolin has that kind of software... but boy, it's a little expensive for poor old me! If you know of a free alternative that could do the same thing, then convert it to Spaghetti friendly files, then that would be perfect

    Got any links to some conversion software that could do that? If it can just to GIFs or something then that's fine, I can export Flash animations as those as well.

    That actually makes a lot of sense, using a more dedicated graphics suite to produce the animation, then converting that in to a format for laser shows. I think I'll try that

    As for software compatibility, is your Spaghetti software compatible with that RIYA DAC? If that thing really is 100-150 EUR, then it's perfect for me And as you talked about compatibility... well... here's the question

    Thanks for all your help!

  8. #8
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    Take a look at LaserBoy.

    It is the foundation of the modified sound card + The LaserBoy Correction Amp.

    You don't really need to go that far though. You will find that LaserBoy is a fabulous translational matrix. That is to say it can open a few different file types and save them as others; most notably, it can open a DXF file or a folder full of numbered DXF files. I'm sure you already have software that allows you to draw DXF. LaserBoy also has its own drawing utilities. They are uniquely designed for laser vector art and they work in full 3D rotation.

    Oh yeah, it's free.

    http://hacylon.case.edu/laser/LaserBoy/

    James.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murudai View Post
    Got any links to some conversion software that could do that? If it can just to GIFs or something then that's fine, I can export Flash animations as those as well.

    As for software compatibility, is your Spaghetti software compatible with that RIYA DAC? If that thing really is 100-150 EUR, then it's perfect for me And as you talked about compatibility... well... here's the question
    I know LaserBoy will convert dxf files. And I think Norm's Laser Show software might have something to convert from gifs, but I don't know how well it works if at all. Do a search for "Norms laser show" and you can find it. Awhile back there was a thread about about some other drawing software that had an ILDA plug in but I don't remember what. I don't do any of my own drawing so I have not had to do any of that so I am not the best resource for those questions.

    Spaghetti currently supports the following DACS:
    - EasyLase
    - Lumax
    - RIYA
    - Modified sound cards (ie LaserBoy DAC mod)
    - Moncha

  10. #10
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    Default

    looks like most the options were just covered but to add to the note since you are doing a gbc scanner you will not be able to use the red dichro. you will need to use a 405nm one but since they dont exsist yet you will have to take what you can and go with the 473nm ones and take a little power lose.

    i'll pm you.

    and welcome to LP i was hoping you would show up
    -Josh

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