We combined our dream components and made them portable
Pioneer CDJ-2000nxs2 C/P - Jogwheel - Encoder - Hot Cues
PLANNED in Q4 2019
The idea behind Dark Wheel
I missed such a controller long ago for myself. Dark Fader is perfect for manual beat matching, but sometimes I am one of these ‘hot cue junkies’, using sync with 4 decks to mashup songs on the fly. I also spend lot time preparing songs (grid & cue), so having a portable controller on travel would be perfect.
As a NI Traktor user I learned to love their 2 encoder concept (beat jump and loop size) and the direct access to 8 hot cues. And I made a dream come true: getting this amazing feeling of Pioneer CDJ-2000 Cue & Play knobs. So we added the original spare parts (2000 black / 2000nx2 silver).
Adding a jogwheel was a must have to complete any grid and cue search workflow. We could not find any tiny jogwheel in high quality, so we made our Dark ‘Wheel’ ourselves; in metal, smooth feeling, and a high tick per turn resolution.
A flexible firmware will complement the concept: User Customizable Shift and Alternate layer features, and a midi channel concept which allows to trigger 1, 2, or even 4 decks with one Dark Wheel.
I am quite sure Dark Wheel will be my favourite mobile controller ; ) .. ready to go midi with iPad or laptop. For preparing songs on travel and for playing gigs. And it matches perfectly to the connected Dark Fader.
Let us know what you think about this project!
Insights into the technical concept
Dark wheel is our most complex controller. Based on the Dark Board as always (using Teensy 3.2). The challenge was the portability and amount of controls. We constructed a 2nd printed circuit board as the carrier for all tactile elements, added some MCP in smd technology to this pcb and placed it as sandwich above Dark Board. We use the I2C bus technology to connect both printed circuits.
We milled the top panel backside to hold the original Pioneer cue/play panel spare parts. For the jogwheel, we used best components we could find: Magnetic hall encoder with ball bearing shaft and high resolution. We added the metal knob for a perfect smooth feeling.
The tactile feeling of original MEC switches with 2 colored led was our choice for the hot cues. And we completed with 2 original Bourns Encoder with metal knobs
Project Status: The hardware is ready to go, Dark Wheel feels great for us … the firmware coding will be next step.
Projected Retail Price
We don’t know yet ; ) .. let’s see when its finished, but please do NOT wait for the Dark Wheel if you are in search of a cheap controller.
Dark Wheel will be expensive – because of the high costs of the components (examples: NXS2 panel cost €40, the high tech jogwheel encoder about €90 etc). Currently we estimate the material costs to be more than double the Dark Fader.
So cross our fingers, we remain true to our vision, producing in best quality we can … then we see where we end.
Let us know what you think about this project, all feedback welcome!