Feel the smooth gliding of an original Technics SL1200 pitch fader
Dark Fader raises the experience in your midi controller world
The idea behind Dark Fader
We love the amazing tactile feeling of an original Technics SL1200 pitch fader. We wished to have this fader available as a midi controller for our favourite DJ applications. But we couldn’t find anything on the market.
So we started our own project: we had to embed the SL fader into its own midi environment, and created a ‘black box’, called Dark Fader. Complying with the quality of the SL1200 fader, we decided to use the best components: a full metal chassis, stainless steel buttons for pitch bending, midi channel and shift layer. And it is Plug & Play, midi class compliant, so no driver needed.
Dark Fader is ready. It is the first controller based on our Dark Board printed circuit board. Dark Fader works great and it feels great.
Welcome the Technics SL1200 pitch fader into the midi world!
We build on your request
The hand made concept, focus on quality, and best components (metal design and portability) will never allow keeping up with the competition of (plastic) mass products. But in case you like Dark Fader as we do … we can offer to build one for you too.
How we build: we designed the printed circuit and case panels in CAD, and CNC manufacturers and professional PCB vendors build to our plans/specifications. Each device is mount and soldered by ourselves, all are hand made. We code and support the firmware.
Interested ? .. then Contact us! … We hope you enjoy your Dark Fader the same as we do.
Projected Retail Price (this may change in future)
Dark Fader: 279 € (USB/In version, no hub).
You can choose the top panel style (brushed black aluminium or clear acryl).
Please let us know if you need a mounted USB hub (with additional USB/Out, DC/In socket, DC cable). We can add for you for currently 49€.
The retail prices above are mainly driven by material costs; of course we add a fair margin for our building/mounting effort. We will see in future if we have to readjust the price.
If you are sincerely interested in a Dark Fader, then please contact us, we are happy to discuss!. Production starts with your request, all work is guaranteed.
Current delivery time: about 2-3 weeks.
- Full metal chassis
- CNC made panels, brushed black anodized 3mm aluminium, hand polished edges. Top panel optionally available in clear acryl (also completely CNC manufactured)
- Engraved pitch scale (no painting, no laser cut)
- Engraved pitch scale (no painting)
- Dimension: 207 x 65 x 38(48) mm
- Weight: 430 grams
- Original Technics(R) SL12000 fader (click-less version mk3/4/5), 100mm, A/D 14Bit high resolution
- 4 stainless steel buttons (12mm anti vandal switch, smooth low pressure versions)
- 2 bicolored LEDs (midi channel LED on top: green/red, fader mid position and midi fire LED: green/red)
PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD
- Dark Board: CAD factory made pcb, dual layer, black glossy surface, immersion gold contacts
- Mounted CPU: Teensy 3.2 (72 MHz 32 bit ARM processor)
- Midi class compliant, no driver needed
- Feature description see below
- USB-B IN: Connects Dark Fader to midi host
- USB-A OUT (optionally): Available if an active hub is mounted on board, intended use: connect additional midi devices in daisy chain
- DC Power IN (5V, polarity + inside, optionally): Available if USB-A OUT and hub is mounted. DC Power IN is not needed for Dark Fader operation (USB self powered, consumption less 80mA). Intended use: Optional power for USB OUT connected devices and Dark Fader
Dark Fader Features
- Original Technics SL1200 fader offers the wonderful smooth and still resistant tactile feeling you may know from TT or DVS
- The full metal chassis design is the perfect complement to the haptic experience of the portable SL1200 fader
- Full 14bit high processing (firmware converts the bent signal of an analogue fader element into a linear midi pitchbend protocol)
- Additional firmware features allow easy to use customizing (mid POSITION, mid RANGE, SENSITIVITY, Midi Soft Takeover, RESET
SL1200 FADER MID POSITION LED
- Bicolored LED on the left side of the fader for multiple purposes
- LED RED flash: As soon as any fader movement is detected, the LED flashes red to indicate that a midi message was sent. This gives the user a very intuitive and immediate feedback on small fader movements
- LED OFF (despite fader movements): Indicates Midi Soft Takeover is active, fader waits until user catches the earlier fader position in actual midi channel
- LED GREEN: indicates that the last sent midi value was in exact mid zero position. Permanently GREEN if pitch reset is active
Pitch Reset feature
- Dark Fader offers two options to set pitch to zero, combining best of all SL versions: MOVING to green and LOCKING to green
- MOVING the fader in mid position range (similar SL1200mk2) switches mid LED to green and sends exact midi message pitchbend mid value
- LOCKING via pressing SHIFT and MIDI CHANNEL BUTTON together. This simulates the PITCH RESET knob of the SL1200mk3 (knob deactivates the fader and locks the pitch to zero)
- Pitch Reset switches the bicolored LED at fader mid position to permanently GREEN
MIDI SOFT TAKEOVER FEATURE
- Dark Fader offers an inbuilt hardware Midi Soft Takeover feature on fader movements after deck change (midi channel change)
- This ensures that the pitch tempo will not jump abruptly after deck changes even in DJ application with limited MSTO features
- MSTO feature can be enabled/disabled in customizing settings
CUSTOMIZING & CALIBRATION
- Holding a BUTTON during power on activates the ‘Power-On Setup Mode’, allowing customizing Dark Fader to user specific needs. All changes get permanently stored also during power off
- FADER MID POSITION: Calibrate exact zero position (green LED)
- FADER MID RANGE: from zero (no green mid size via movements (similar SL1200mk3) to maximum snapping (similar SL1200mk2)
- FADER SENSITIVITY: for small movements (fader threshold)
- MIDI SOFT TAKEOVER: Enable or disable inbuilt MSTO
- RESET to factory settings
ADDITIONAL CONTROL ELEMENTS
- Dark Fader offers 4 additional buttons
- Top button is working as MIDI CHANNEL toggle
- LEFT and RIGHT buttons allow any midi mapping, typically used for pitch bend [+/-]
- Bottom button is working as SHIFT button
Midi Channel select
- MIDI CHANNEL button (on top) toggles midi channel (1/2) for each control element. Button allows the usage of one Dark Fader for several decks
- Bicolored LED above button indicates the current active midi channel (1=green, 2=red)
- SHIFT button (on bottom) offers a 2nd layer and modifies the midi notes of the other buttons
- Examples: Mapping L/R button pitchbend [+/-], together with SHIFT to fader range [+/-] or Cue & Play etc.
- SHIFT + MIDI CHANNEL BUTTON works as pitch reset knob
- SL1200 fader sends midi pitchbend 14bit command (mid: #8192)
- All buttons send midi messages on press (127) and release (0)
- Top button (MIDI CHANNEL): Note #32 [#96 in shift mode]
- LEFT button: Note #34 [Note #98 in shift mode]
- RIGHT button: Note #35 [Note #99 in shift mode]
- Bottom button (SHIFT): Note #33
- LED are handled directly by firmware (not midi triggered)
How to upDate your Dark fader Firmware
Many tools are available to upload firmware into Teensy based controller. We recommend the tool ‘TyCommander’, part of the open source TyTools project (from Koromix). TyCommander is easy to use, available for Windows, Linux and macOX, no install procedure needed; you can directly launch TyCommander after unzip. A big ‘Thank you’ to Koromix!. Workflow instructions:
- Download latest version of our firmware collection, use left ‘Firmware’ link.
- Open the zip file, inside you will find all firmware (.hex files) of all Dark Controller
- Download latest TyTools (use left ‘Uploader’ link), extract TyCommander
- Launch TyCommander (no install needed), then open tab ‘Serial’
- Connect your Dark Fader, the current installed firmware version gets displayed
- Check your current version: the 14 digit prefix (e.g. DF2.0-32-N114-) must match to one of the downloaded .hex files. Contact us if you can’t find a matching download version
- Press arrow button ‘Upload’ and select your downloaded Dark Fader hex file with same prefix
- Wait few seconds until upload process finished. Disconnect Dark Fader .. DONE
- Let us know if you need support at any step – always welcome!