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OBMFLM4: Is This DIY Project A Vision Of Future DJ Mixers?

We are often inspired by some of the amazing DIY DJ projects out there – so today we’re focusing on such mixer designed by DJ dAb that incorporates some of the more interesting product design trends into a powerful digital DJ hub. With an integrated screen, onboard computer, and an excess of controls, could the OBMFLM4 DJ mixer be a prediction of the future of DJ gear? Read on to see the full details behind this custom piece of kit.

Meet The DJ Mixer Of The Future

The OBERMod FLM4 (stands for First Love Mixer) mixer is the result of serious attention to detail in design. This is the fourth generation of this design, and this version is a compact four channel all in one digital DJ rig. The dimensions clock in at 12″ x 12″ x 4″ – including knob height and feet – so impressively it takes up not much more space than a traditional DJ mixer.

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There’s an onboard computer built into the case that runs the necessary DJ software – and since there’s a Traktor Audio 8 sound inside, it’s capable of DVS control on Traktor Pro or Virtual DJ.

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While many might find the sheer number of controls to be a bit excessive, it’s important to remember that besides individual deck control via turntables or other deck controllers, this is it – there’s no traditional computer interface (keyboard or mouse) required. Plus, the 38 arcade buttons look fantastic on this mixer, even if it might feel a bit crowded. There’s even two 100mm pitch faders, and the crossfader is an Innofader for precision scratch control:

In the above video are two other amazing features of this mixer – not only is there a HDMI and VGA output on the rear of the mixer for outputting visuals (this video is the designer testing it with Virtual DJ video control), but there’s also an easy mount to attach a second screen for monitoring the video output:

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Behind The Design

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As noted at the end of this article, Sean Ober, the designer behind the OBERMod FLM4 has a long history of designing all-in-one DJ solutions. The focus in his designs is often about creating a simple, self-contained DJ setup, and an early defining part of this design seems to be in making a mixer that would be matched in size to a record sleeve.

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Starting with the above design layout, the entire process from starting draft to finished assembly allegedly only took just over one month. Have a look at some of the internals below:

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OBMFLM4 Tech Specs

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Controls:

  • 24 Pots / Encoders
  • 2 100mm pitch faders
  • 1 innoFader crossfader
  • 38 buttons w/ shift (layers)

Onboard Soundcard + Computer

  • 2GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • 16GB Memory
  • 480GB SSD + 4TB HD
  • 7″ Touchscreen
  • NI Audio 8 Soundcard

Inputs/Outputs: 

  • Main / Booth / Headphone out
  • Timecode / Vinyl in (2)
  • Aux in (2)
  • HDMI / VGA out (Visuals/Vids)
  • MIDI in / out

Sean Ober + ITX All-In-One Gear

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So who even created this beast of a standalone mixer / DJ rig? Sean Ober (or DJ Dab) has built his own all-in-one DJ controllers for years. Above is one of his early all-in-one creations patched together in 2006 out of a Faderfox, basic jog controllers, and an internal computer inside of a flight case running Traktor.

He’s been working with DJing, production, and DIY stuff for around 30 years, and originally got started with designing DJ setups after building modular gear. A pretty impressive history – look a few of his other creations below, with iPad control surfaces as the independent deck controls, and a second iteration of the 2006 design with 45s on the jog wheels.

All images credit to Sean Ober, who was kind enough to send over all the information on his project. Check out more photos of this mixer and other projects in this Facebook photo album

  • Marco Morales

    This is the future. Love this design. But one nit picky thing, no balanced main outputs?

    • Sean Ober

      Completely hardware dependent there. I might swap NI soundcard and upgrade, in the near future.

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  • Ryan Supak

    I really, really think it makes the most sense to let a mixer be a mixer, let a player be a player, let a controller be what it is, and the same for a computer/music library. Putting it all in one case actually makes it all less useful IMO. rs

    • Sean Ober

      And, I can grab, ditch, hop a ride in a minute flat. Zero setup / breakdown… get my point? 12″ square, can be used with decks/ vinyl and has video out, etc. Breeze!

  • couic

    I dream about this at night

  • Do this for Serato DJ. Mind blown.

  • Steve brown

    Wow! Thats very impressive. Loved all the other stuff you made too, especially the one with the two ipads.
    I’d buy one of those.

  • acts_one

    Is that a screen for ants?

    (GJ btw)

    • Sean Ober

      It is small (7″) but I usually only glance at the screen to for track selections, position, breakdowns, etc. Otherwise, everything is handled through button navigation… no mouse or touchscreen needed (but avail.) Screen contrast is set for an odd angle of view, flat. Also modified font sizes (Traktor) and skins / fonts (VDJ / video use). Looks sharp.

      • acts_one

        Obviously you’re gunna have to go small to fit it in the mixer. Finding tracks looks like it can be pain due to the resolution of the screen. I’m not familiar with traktor myself. But from what you say, modifying the font size isn’t an issue with traktor….so….
        this is almost akin to that intel chip that Qbert & Thudrumble have been shopping around at the Maker Fairs.

        • Sean Ober

          Should mention I have button shortcuts for folders, layouts & browsing too.

  • Sean Ober

    A few more shots…

    • This is awesome!! Big shout out for this amazin’ work!! This is so far the best mixer i’ve seen in the last 7 years!!! Unbeatable!!!

  • Harrison

    i don’t understand why anybody would ever want this…

    • Sean Ober

      Minimally, ability to plug and play within seconds. Just power and audio out needed (most basic configuration.) Or, use as a traditional mixer with, or without, vinyl or timecode. Other potential setups… 2 internal / 2 external decks or 4 internal decks or 2 external decks and 2 external sound sources (Drum machines / synths. Has Midi onboard), etc. At it’s core you could use it traditionally with decks and not even use the buttons. Just X-fader, volume, low, mid, high, hp, cue, etc. Oh, you don’t have to fiddle with hooking up a lappy either… it’s inside. Think of it as a controller, a mixer, or both w/ computer. Didn’t even touch on other aux functions, video outs, etc. btw, this is my personal build.

      Spent 30+ years of my life watching other DJ’s (myself included) fiddle with mixer and deck problems… fast forward to now and they’re also dealing with soundcards and other hardware issues too, taking far too long to setup (Not all the time, of course). I’m just trying to circumvent all that. Plus, being a lover of vinyl and owning upwards of 10,000 records I needed to reduce stress and backaches. I built this rig to be the same size of a stack of 40 records so, of course, I throw vinyl in the bag too…. just in case. ;o)

      Dj Dab / Sean Ober

      • Where do you buy the pitch faders? I’m inspired to build a really small unit.

  • thundercat

    mixing using channel gain instead of volume huh…

    filters?

    • Sean Ober

      Gain is pre adjusted. These are actually rotary volume controls (just a typo on my sketch) Effects and more at the top of mixer. Filters controlled via additional shift press.

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  • tr4gik

    What kind of sorcery is this ?!!

  • Neil Patrick Swayze

    Is there any way that we can get the blueprints for soldering and supplies so make it ourselves? It’s just super nice, dude.

  • Sean Ober

    Appreciate the great response. Love for music, Dj culture, technology and the D.I.Y. community keeps me going. Respect to you all!

    • Respect to you too!! You’re a Genius!!!

  • Anthony Alonso

    $$ HOw much?

    • Sean Ober

      Just like building a custom pc. Plus costs of Audio 8, faders, pots, innofader, jacks, connectors, arcade buttons and the biggie, panel fabrication. Hard to put a number on it since there’s recycled bits and parts I have on hand but less than what I was considering spending on a new laptop and mixer. I’d rather D.I.Y.

      • Anthony Alonso

        I would love to pick your brain. I wanna do the same thing, but have no clue how to build the midi controller aspect.

        • noxxi

          theres a DJTT article about building a midi controller with arduino, the author uploaded a link to his code, and I uploaded a link to my code. Its really easy once you get your head around it. but the initial learning curve is like a brick wall, you have to study the code for hours/days/weeks until you can figure it out. but hey I managed it, and I’ve never coded before in my life.

        • noxxi

          or you could take the easier route and get a livid brain v2

          • Sean Ober

            Exactly what I used ;o)

          • noxxi

            that was my plan, but I couldnt afford one, so I was forced to take the arduino route, worked out good though, I feel a lot more freedom having learned how to do it, but shit it was NOT easy! stressed me out so much for so long.

            Can I ask, what did you do to get the panels looking so pro? did you get a faceplate manufacturer on it? or is it diy?

          • Sean Ober

            I started out designing modular synth panels, years back. Fabrication via Front Panel Express.

          • noxxi

            awesome, that panel look sick as well. I cant afford front panel express so i’ve got to come up with a method of labelling, I’m thinking silkscreen, but the cutting will still take ages.
            Maybe I should stump up the cash…

  • H-Hands

    Really neat setup. His backwards fader grip bugs me though.

    • Sean Ober

      Funny, this will be my first response… Sorry, I’m an old dog… 30 year old habit from when I used to scratch with up/down faders ;o) btw, when scratching with my left, I’m not all jacked up.

  • I like everything except for the fact that seems to use traktors internal software mixer? Probably a space issue among other things, can’t imagine fitting analog mixer circuitry in there with everything else.

    Call me a dinosaur but I still want my old school analog mixer… EQ’s and filters in software just aren’t there yet. Otherwise, I’ve been considering similar options with the intel NUC brand; anything with an Ethernet port can plug straight into one of my 23″ touch screen rigs running lemur without the risk/hassle of wifi.

    I could see myself putting up with Traktors mixer in order to cut down on required hardware… Something like this + a large touch screen would be a nice flexible and carry able setup

    • Sean Ober

      You should see my record, drum machine and synth collection. Lover of analog too but this is so worth the overall options available and easy transport.

  • Angelo Medina

    this iS IT

  • eugene

    what an ugly piece of machinery.

    • Sean Ober

      Thanks, I aim to please.

      • Jonathan Chasse

        what kind of computer did you use and where did you get it ?

        • Christopher Allen

          i want to know that too because i’ve been trying to do a similar project with a single board computer but i can’t find one powerful enough. or am not sure if they are.

          • Julian Iaquinandi

            I’m having a go at doing this with an Odriod xu4 and mixxx. It’s the most powerful single board I can find for the price.

          • Christopher Allen

            Yea but you would need a processor that supports x86 or x64 architecture which 95% of sbc’s don’t. They mostly have arm based processors and unless there’s a version of mixx I don’t know about it won’t work. I could be wrong but I’m trying to do the same thing and keep running into issues in different places

          • Lee Smart

            Up board.

          • Christopher Allen

            this is amazing. the only thing i need now is a way to add stereo outputs to a board like this or dual mono outputs

          • Christopher Allen

            so i took it upon myself to buy a pipo x8 for $100. it’s the same form factor that i was looking for in a standalone display. i paid someone to customize embedded windows so that i would have everything necessary to install and front load mixxx. then i bought a small soundcard and soldered it to one of the usb contacts internally so that i could have a master out and headphone out for the possibility of using this device without a mixer. so now i can use my device as a display for any device or a soundcard and display for things such as a quneo or launchpad

          • Julian Iaquinandi

            Very nice hows it running? I haven’t had much time to spend on my project lately but I have got it to the point where I can run mixxx in safe mode and it works with my sound card via usb, I just need to spend a bit of time getting it installed properly now and then testing how it performs.

          • Christopher Allen

            so far so good. performance is not an issue. everything is software related now. i’m trying to re-skin mixxx to be a little more touch friendly for a 7″ screen. that’s what i have UX designer friends for. i could always bump up the screen to 10″ but then it wouldn’t be as portable and cost effective as I wanted. will update soon.

          • Christopher Allen

            no performance issues. the 7″ screen makes it awesome for portability but i need to change the UI so that its more touch friendly, for those not using a device that has a built in browse. i plan on getting a new PCB design just so it’s less DIY and more polished, but apparently that costs 30k to prototype

  • Gorgeous. Well done sir.

  • deejae snafu

    when can i place an order? not kidding

  • CUSP

    Good Show! It looks like Sean Ober definitely has a future in teaching people how to build their own (stand alone) DJ mixers, but most assuredly as a consultant for integration of piecemeal hardware in a project. This box elegantly addresses the desire not to do everything yourself, but customizing your layout the way you want it with no compromises.

    When I get a little more time to myself, I think I’ll be working on a project kinda like this (call this inspiration).

    • Sean Ober

      Thanks and spot on! Wish ya luck.

  • noxxi

    man, thats inpressive.

  • Dubby Labby

    I was doing something similar with the combo mac mini, ipad (with is202 dock) as touch interface (lemur traxus) plus vnc (splashtop 2 or duet if you prefer cable over wifi) with audio4dj and midi controllers… But (imho) at last I stong believe that the future is ipad pro and appletv with optimized apps over x86 solutions and of course dedicated hardware. My actual setup is aira vt3+ipad dock loopyhd+kaoss pad quad. At this moment video will be with the mini but I expect some necoming apps like vidibox for appletv and left (or sell) the mini mac at home.

  • Nam

    Old skool djtechtools article 🙂

  • anon

    Better bring 2 to the gig for backup when one of them crashes or gets a virus!

    • deejae snafu

      why would it get a virus? i dont think hes using it for torrents…..

    • Damon Kaiser

      I’ve seen and played with Sean many times. My air gapped laptop crashed more times than his gear. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it crash. – dc1

  • Roy Bear

    I like the Case. And the Hardware he put in 😀 Good Thing to know I am not the only one. But 4TB? this is madness! Nice!!! 😀
    Where did he get the HDMI and RJ45-Jack?

    • Oddie O’Phyle

      Personally I’d stay away from HDD when building something like this due to how much it will be potentially moved around. I’d stick with SSD and put in a powered USB hub that was easily accessible.

      • Roy Bear

        Agree, but since this device is also used for VJing, I seriously doubt you don’t get Problems with USB3 HDDs. Therefor a big ass HDD is mandatory. Sure, he could cluster four 1TB SSDs but that would totally bust the Budget…

        • Oddie O’Phyle

          I think I saw an open PCI-e slot. Could always do PCI-e to e-SATA card and use an external HDD. I’d use the USB hub for MIDI when using things like CDJs.

          • Roy Bear

            Or, plug a GTX950 Micro (or similar cards) and do more awesome stuff with tools like resulome :>
            I personally would not recommend pulling big data via USB3, I don’t trust them 🙂

  • Oddie O’Phyle

    Cool, been thinking of something like this for a while using Livid Builder. Looks like a Mini-ITX with an Arduino.

  • killmedj

    Holy Moly!

  • Moguzi

    Looks great

  • mikefunk

    Dear NI, please learn…

  • Big Spenda

    Would it really be so hard for NI to put a custom computer running Traktor (similar to how CDJ’s run software) into their S8? It would make the product bigger and heavier yes, but the added feature of importing songs straight from a USB and storing them on the device would be a DJ revolution.

    • Roy Bear

      Too much work.
      Really.
      I know this, since I am one of those guys like Sean who build such Systems. Even NI or Pioneer have no intentions to such Solutions. Otherwise I would be glad to build custom made Maschines like this, but the Customers are also rare who would pay for this kind of fun….

      • Oddie O’Phyle

        A lot of us build neat things that will never profit or come to the market, but we simply do it because we can.

        • Roy Bear

          True, but also sad…

      • mczanetti

        AWESOME MAN

      • NI does not want to get stuck licencing/supporting an operating system and all the challenges that can come with that; best you would get is some embedded software solution and if you wanted to do anything else you would still need a laptop which takes away from the sexiness of this…

        • noxxi

          I think if they did it, it would run on ARM processors, and theyd have a workable android port, it wouldn’t be like x86 traktor

      • Anthony Alonso

        Pioneer already did it with the XDJ-RX…… .. .. And every CDJ that supported usb….. .. .. . . . . . ……

        😉

      • Big Spenda

        Maybe I should put my money where my mouth is and make one as well.

        • Big Spenda

          Well my laptop can run traktor, if I remove the screen, put a 2cm slot on the bottom of the S8, slide my laptop in, remove the screen and wire it all up that’s stand alone. I could even remove the chasis and have a self contained unit. No need for a huge box like that.

    • Linz

      I think the profit margin on a midi product is too good for them to bother making something with ‘guts’ in it 🙂

      • Big Spenda

        Yeah, it’s a shame. I can see one of the niche companies creating something like it, such as Faderfox or Livid Instruments.

    • What about a standalone version of Traktor DJ? The screens on the S5 and S8 even look like it.

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