DARK Flame

Dark Fire's ,little brother': Half size - Half price - Full features ; )
4 RGB illuminated pads support easy to memorize multi-layer mappings
Traktor user can map all NI hotcue type colors


Planned next

The idea behind Dark Flame

Our user asked for a ‘little brother of Dark Fire’ with less controls but same powerful MIDI mapping and firmware capabilities: Half size – Half price – Full features, that’s the whole idea behind.  

So Dark Flame will be our next controller – fitting into the palm of your hand.

We wished no compromise in quality, so we decided to use the same materials and components as on Dark Fire (CNC made chassis, metal encoder knob etc.). We discussed user workflows to avoid removing mandatory controls: Dark Flame supports 4 RGB pads (instead of 10 as on Dark Fire) and 1 encoder (instead 2). We even added controls (2 knobs L/R of the centered encoder instead of 1 central knob), to allow for support of workflows (e.g. song library browsing) more easily. Most importantly: we kept ALL powerful MIDI and customizing features of Dark Fire, so everything you know from Dark Fire works in Dark Flame 1:1 the same.

The earlier multilayer and RGB concept has paid off. We were surprised ourselves how powerful ‘only’ 4 RGB pads can be mapped. Our Traktor mapping support all our needs, triggering 8 hotcues, browsing thru song library, nudging, stem support etc., all feels intuitive. Even the NI typical 2 encoder concept (Beatjump & Looping) works well using the SHIFT layer. In summary: We like it. We do not feel a big difference to the double sized Dark Fire. And we hope that the final price will allow even more user to own and enjoy our handmade Dark Controller.

Dark Flame has exactly the half size (length) of Dark Fire. We hope our material costs will be about 50% too, so we plan also to halve the target retail price to €198. Let’s cross the finger where we end.

We plan to be ready for building (GA/General Availability) for any interested folks eof March 2021. The prototype works great already, we tested first mappings in Traktor and it works perfect. So we will start the beta testing phase now.

Keep an eye about the progress, we will update the project status regularly.
 

Let us know what you think about our planned Dark Flame.

Stay tuned !

Dark Flame in a nutshell

Dark Flame will be the most underestimated Dark Controller for sure : ) .. looks like a tiny controller with few knobs only, but that’s deceiving: Dark Flame supports ALL features from big brother ‘Dark Fire’:

  • Dark Controller mounting quality (CNC made metal chassis, black anodized brushed alu panels, single multi-layer pcb in QFN-SMD technology, MEC controls, encoder metal knobs etc.)
  • Full 4 deck/channel controller, midi class compliant, usb bus powered
  • Highly customizable DECK / CHANNEL / BANK controls (modifying Dark Flame from single deck to multi-deck/multi-layer controller)
  • Offering up to 8 midi layer (4 Banks, w/o Shift) for each 4 deck (32 in total)
  • Supporting all Dark Fire customizing features (Power-On Setup, Color Explorer, LED Booster etc.)
  • RGB pads support 125 colors (midi mappable, separately for each pad on each layer)
  • RGB idea fits perfectly together with a tiny multi-layer controller like Dark Flame. MIDI actions can easily memorized with user custom colors, very intuitive to distinguish layer specific MIDI actions
  • Traktor user: Feels like ‘made for Traktor‘, supporting all ‘NI typical’ Hotcue colors. And we are exited the moment when the NI TDJ app (iOS) will allow midi inbound, Dark Flame could be best friend ; )
  • DJ Player Pro user: Highly portable setup on iOS, low power consumption allowing to connect one or even more Dark Flame devices without any additional power supply
  • DVS user: Maybe one of the most portable controller for DVS user, they often wish a small controller with few MIDI controls in addition to their mixer and TTs
  • Size (L/W/H): 10.5 x 6.5 x 4 cm (palm size, L/W similar a cigarette box)
For more details to all firmware features see: Dark Fire

DOwnloads

Documents

Datasheet

Dark Flame overview, technical specifications, features, MIDI chart
(coming soon)

QuiCk guide

How to use Dark Flame, control elements description
(coming soon)

Customizing Guide

How to customize Dark Flame, Power-On configuration setup
(coming soon)

Mapping Files

MAPPING PREVIEW

How we mapped Dark Flame controls in Traktor Pro and DJ Player Pro.

Traktor Pro
Mapping fileS

Supporting 8 hotcues (with all Traktor RGB colors), loop controls, nudging, stem channels, Sync & Master, Track Browser support
... and much more.

Universal .tsi file for 1-4 decks, detailed mapping charts (pdf) included (coming soon)

DJ Player Pro
Mapping fileS

Supporting 8 hotcues, including loop controls, nudging, stem channels, Track Browser support
... and much more.

Universal .djmap file for 1-4 decks, detailed mapping charts (pdf) included

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 FLAME 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)
  • Select 2nd tab ‘Serial’ (between Information and Options) to open serial monitor
  • Connect your Dark Controller, the current installed firmware version gets displayed 
  • Check your current version: the 13 digit prefix (e.g. DFLAME1.0-32-) 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 hex file with same prefix
  • Wait few seconds until upload process finished. Disconnect Dark Fire .. DONE
  • Let us know if you need support at any step – always welcome!

MIDI Mapping Ideas

Traktor Pro: 8 Hotcues (NI colors) – Looping/Beatjump – PLAY/CUE/NUDGE – Track Browser
Master – Sync – Keylock – Loop IN/OUT – Stems

Our DJ Player Pro mapping looks quite similar

We are excited the moment when DJPP will support more colors on hotcues ; )
We will share alternative mappings from our friends and beta user soon

PROJECT STATUS (HistorY)

Update February 28, 2021: 

  • CNC constructed alu panels arrived, they look great for us. So we could built some more DFL for our beta tester.
  • Mapping for DJ Player Pro ready to go, puplished on website, Traktor Pro mapping will be next.
  • Latest firmware version published (no open issues or defects found), ready to download.

Update January 1, 2021: 

  • First announcement Dark Flame on our website. Hardware is ready, fully tested, works perfect. All posted pictures (with LED on) are real. Shooting LED is difficult due the low dynamic range of camera sensors, so i used a SLR, mounted on a tripod and HDR filter to mirror reality as best i could. I did not use any ‘faking Photoshop coloring’.
  • We have some handful of SMD assembled PCB already on stock. We ordered the first series of CNC constructed chassis panels (still waiting for delivery). We plan to send some first devices to our beta user soon.
  • The firmware is in beta phase, some first mappings of Traktor and DJ Player Pro are ready, user documentation on work.

Our plan for General Availability (GA):

  • GA including complete documentation is planned eof Q1 2021 (we target eof March 2021)
  • We will publish all firmware, mapping files and documentation on this website in prepare (step by step)
  • Once GA we plan a delivery time of about 2 weeks (after build request)
  • Let’s cross the finger we keep all dates : )

Let us know what you think about Dark Flame
all feedback very welcome!