Dark fader

Feel the smooth gliding of an original Technics SL1200 pitch fader
Dark Fader raises the experience in your midi controller world

available now

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: 330 € (USB/In version, no hub).

You can choose the top panel style (brushed black aluminium or clear acryl). Please let us also know if you want a mounted USB hub (with additional USB/Out, DC/In connector, DC cable). We can add for currently 40 €.

The retail prices above are mainly driven by material costs, we also included a fair margin which motivates us to spend the soldering and mounting effort in building your controller in our spare time. Keep in mind that the price may change in future. 

If you are sincerely interested in a Dark Fader, then please contact us. We would be happy to build a Dark Fader for you. 

Current delivery time: Our current delivery time is about 2 weeks after PayPal payment. In case we get many orders we could add you to a waiting list, giving you an estimated delivery date before you order or pay finally. Each Dark Fader is handmade, and we guarantee on quality.

Technical Specifications

Chassis

  • 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)
  • Dimension: 207 x 65 x 38(48) mm
  • Weight: 430 grams 

Control elements

  • Original Technics(R) SL12000 fader (click-less version mk3/4/5), 100mm, A/D voltage conversion in full 14Bit resolution
  • 4 stainless steel buttons (12mm anti vandal switch, smooth low pressure versions)
  • 2 bicolored LEDs (green/red) indicate current active midi channel and pitch fader status (midi messages and fader zero position)

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)

IN/OUTPUTS

  • 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 (5.5/2.5mm, center pin +5V): Only 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

FIRMWARE

  • Midi class compliant, no driver needed 

Dark Fader Features

SL1200 Fader

  • Original Technics SL1200 fader offers the wonderful smooth and still resistant tactile feeling of real turntables as midi control 
  • The full metal chassis design is the perfect complement to the haptic experience of the portable SL1200 fader
  • Dark Fader firmware converts the bent signal of an analogue fader element into a linear midi 14bit pitchbend protocol
  • Inbuilt Low Pass Filter (R/C element) on circuit board and the intelligent noise reduction algorithm in firmware allow highest sensitivity
  • Fader behaviour is highly user configurable (see customizing and calibration)

SL1200 FADER MID POSITION LED

  • Bicolored LED on the left side of the fader is used for multiple purposes:
  • LED RED flash: As soon as any fader movement is detected, the LED flashes red to indicate a sent midi message. This gives an intuitive and immediate feedback on small fader movements
  • LED GREEN: indicates that the last sent midi value was in exact mid zero position. Permanently GREEN if pitch reset is active
  • LED OFF (despite fader movements): Indicates Midi Soft Takeover is active, fader waits until user catches the earlier fader position in actual midi channel 

MIDI CHANNEL BUTTON

  • MIDI CHANNEL button (on top) toggles midi channel (1/2) for each control element. Allows the usage of one Dark Fader for several decks
  • Bicolored LED above button indicates the current active midi channel (1=green, 2=red)

LEFT / RIGHT BUTTONS

  • Free for mapping, typically used for pitch bend,  in SHIFT mode e.g. to fader range or Cue/Play

SHIFT LAYER BUTTON

  • SHIFT button (on bottom) offers a 2nd layer, modifying the midi notes of the other buttons

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 into 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 (deactivates 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 

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 stored permanently
  • 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: Customize fader threshold for small movements
  • MIDI SOFT TAKEOVER: Enable or disable inbuilt MSTO
  • RESET to factory settings

Midi Mapping

Downloads

Documents

Datasheet

Dark Fader overview, technical specifications, features, midi messages chart

Quick Guide

How to use Dark Fader, control elements description

Customizing Guide

How to customize Dark Fader, power on setup mode, fader calibration features

Mapping Files

DJ Player Pro
Mapping file

SL1200 fader: tempo pitch
L/R knob: pitch bend -/+
L/R knob & Shift: Cue/Play

2 deck mapping (A/B)

Traktor Pro
Mapping file

SL1200 fader: tempo pitch
L/R knob: pitch bend -/+
L/R knob & Shift: Cue/Play

2 deck (A/B) mapping and
4 deck (Focus A-D) mapping

Serato
Mapping file

SL1200 fader: tempo pitch
L/R knob: pitch bend -/+
L/R knob & Shift: Cue/Play

2 deck mapping (A/B), DJTT
Thanks to DJ Hombre !

Firmware

Firmware

Latest firmware collection (unzip download to see all .hex files)

Uploader

Link to TyTools (free open source project from Koromix)

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!
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