Sparks Production and Ribbons Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been awhile since we did a blog post so I thought I’d share an update about Sparks production and what we’ve been up to!

People probably want to know about shipping, so to get that out of the way, it’s looking like we’ll start shipping Sparks in mid-July (on-track with the original 8-12 week timeline we quoted). We’re still waiting for our packaging and paper manual to arrive which will be a few weeks.

In the meantime we’re building, testing, and calibrating Sparks every day. Sparks requires a lot of checks and balances at multiples stages to make sure the analog circuitry is performing correctly. And since it’s stereo, both channels have to be calibrated and matched precisely. It’s a lot of work but things are moving along well and we have good processes in place to make sure everything works as expected.

As soon as the packaging and paper manual arrive we’ll be good to start shipping out units - they’ll go out in batches in order received.

Manufacturing stuff

Last year we were toying with the idea of working with a third party manufacturer but we’ve since decided it’s best for us to keep our manufacturing in-house. In part to maintain our quality standards and also because we’ve dialed in a lot of improvements that have made production much smoother for our small team. Our local PCB manufacturer is doing more soldering work which has been a huge help. We’ve also developed more streamlined testing tools to speed up end of line testing.

A big time saver is our new testing software called KMART - the Kinotone Multiple ARbitraty Tester. It guides you through a workflow that validates all of the hardware and makes it so Hannah and Pat can do most of the quality testing for Sparks. We’ll use it for Ribbons going forward too. The name is a humorous spin on the Buchla MARF with a midwestern twist (IYKYK :joy: )

Ribbons is coming back

I don’t mean to distract from Sparks - we’re so excited about it and it does many incredible things that Ribbons can’t and won’t ever do. But people always ask us when Ribbons will come back and until recently we weren’t able to provide a very concrete timeline.

I’m happy to share that we’re just a few weeks away from opening orders for another run of Ribbons (in a new color too). On nights and weekends during the last several months I chipped away at a hardware redesign that allowed us to get everything on a single circuit board. It will be much easier and more cost effective for us to keep making Ribbons now.

The new version is working great on my end and we’re about to send it out to our beta team for field testing. It’s maybe worth reiterating that this is not a V2 / MKII. There will eventually be 2.0 firmware though that implements some of the updates discussed on the development blog. New features will always be available to current users.

I mentioned it briefly in this thread, but if you pre-order Sparks you’ll get first access to the next batch of Ribbons and a 15% off coupon code (~$60 off). We really appreciate everyone who has supported Sparks and we’d also like to help offset shipping costs for international users who want both.

I think that’s it for now!

We’ll leave you with some pictures from the last few weeks :blue_heart: :white_heart: :blue_heart:

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Really can’t wait to order a Ribbons pedal :smiley:

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I hope I can get a Ribbons this summer. :pray::vhs::heart:

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Dang, this makes my day! Thank you so much for the access to a Ribbons, I can’t wait to fall down the rabbit hole with these engineering marvels!

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Brilliant, just ordered a Sparks and can’t wait to replace the Ribbons I foolishly sold!

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Hi ! I’m new here :o)
What’s the best way to receive news about the next batch of Ribbons ?

Hi @LGM - welcome to the forum! :slightly_smiling_face:

When we post about Ribbons in the “announcements” category it will trigger an email to all users.

A couple people reported not getting an email last time we did this, and as far as we can tell, if Discourse registers you as being online, then it won’t send you an email - you’ll just see a notification in the upper right. It is basically trying to avoid duplicate notifications. There doesn’t seem to be a way around this but in that scenario you’d probably see the announcement organically.

I hope that answers your question!

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Nice, thank you very much for the clear answer :o) Let’s hope !

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Hi,

How will it work for people who are pre-ordering Sparks but also want to add Ribbons to the order when it becomes available and then ship internationally???

thanks guys appreciate the hard work!

Hey @simes -

It would be a separate order for Ribbons. This scenario is basically why we’re offering a 15% off coupon code for Ribbons if you pre-order Sparks (to offset shipping for international users who want both).

We plan to close the Sparks pre-order on Friday and they’ll start shipping in about two weeks, with oldest orders shipping first. When Ribbons goes live in our webstore (tentatively sometime next week), that will be its own pre-order with a TAT of 8-12 weeks. So unfortunately the timing just doesn’t work out to bundle them.

I hope that makes sense. Let us know if you have other questions!

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