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Better knobs, improve your gear!!!!


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This is a thread about knobs. It makes me happy when gear has good knobs. There are photos attached.

 

It's also a tale of stupidity and victory. The piece of recording gear I've had the longest is an HHB Radius 40, all the other gear I had back then is gone.

These have never been too highly regarded. Mine was a bit noisy and then the pots got scratchy and the switches got itchy. I decided to clean the components. I've used CVC 2-26 to clean/lubricate lots of pots in tired sounding old Peavey guitar amps with great sucess.

 

I took it apart, except somehow when I was trying to remove a knob it tore the front shaft bearing plate off the pot and hosed it. The circuit board leads on the pots are much shorter than Peavey so I couldn't get anything done without removing all the pots. I decided against that and ordered a short split shaft pot instead of the long solid shaft the rest of the pots have. Genius. Pots arrive, I put them in the HHB radius zombie box.

 

Probably 4-5 years later, I pulled it all out and started in on it. That was last week. I got it up and running and decided not to put the old knobs back on since they are evil (way too tight!!!).

I checked my now all-in-one-place knob accumulation - what can I say, I've been a guitar tech for over 40 years so there's stuff in there. I chose only solid shaft with set screw. Some singles, some sets.

 

8 knobs across the top, 9 across the bottom.

I used the singles on the ends. The all time best Bull Goose Looney knob (points if you get the reference!) is on the top left - The Silent Sound knob.

The dynamics controls have 2 sets of knobs, the EQ section has two different sets of knobs. The +/- attenuator for the LF band has a short stub end of a split shaft pot, there to keep me humble.

 

I notched and painted markers on all the knobs. That's funny because I usually grab the one I want and turn back to the speakers when I adjust it. I don't want to look at it.

 

I have found that having these different knobs makes it simpler to find what I want to adjust quickly. Anybody else do something like that?

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It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Usually when someone tries do to that as part of an actual shipping design, it's dismissed as gimmicky. Also, as I discussed in PUSH TURN MOVE, industrial design of knobs can actually get pretty complicated, and once a company finds a design it likes that is suitably distinctive, it's not going to change it. I suppose some folks might swap knobs around or 3D print new ones, but it's not even a common practice on modular synth gear that's renowned for being tweaky.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Musician, Author, Editor, Educator, Impresario, Online Radio Guy, Cut-Rate Polymath, and Kindly Pedant

Editor-in-Chief, Bjooks ~ Author of SYNTH GEMS 1

 

clicky!:  more about me ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job ~ my bookmy music

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Usually when someone tries do to that as part of an actual shipping design, it's dismissed as gimmicky. Also, as I discussed in PUSH TURN MOVE, industrial design of knobs can actually get pretty complicated, and once a company finds a design it likes that is suitably distinctive, it's not going to change it. I suppose some folks might swap knobs around or 3D print new ones, but it's not even a common practice on modular synth gear that's renowned for being tweaky.

 

 

I am good at doing stuff "wrong".

This was coincidental, the knobs it came with are too tight.

I just happened to have a lot of knobs that have been sitting around for years.

 

I posted in humor but at the same time, it does provide visual cues.

I don't think anybody would ever give me much for it anyway, not exactly a sought after piece.

I'm certainly not looking for another one but I can get some use out of this one.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Thanks Todd, yes the wooden knobs are lovely.

I used what I had on hand.

 

I'd forgotten about the "Silent Sound" knob, that one wins a Surrealist Absurdity award for the design! Cheers, Kuru

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I'm not saying it's NEVER done, just that it's rare, and when people do it, it is often for historical rather than practical reasons.

 

Example: Chandler Limited loves putting chickenhead knobs on its gear, because chickenhead knobs.

 

Counterexample: Whoever came up with the design of the knobs on API gear was a damn genius. Easy to read from a distance, easy to grab and move with accuracy, and utterly, utterly iconic in looks. Ditto Neve. Those are classic because they work, not because they were inherited from 1930s radio sets.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Musician, Author, Editor, Educator, Impresario, Online Radio Guy, Cut-Rate Polymath, and Kindly Pedant

Editor-in-Chief, Bjooks ~ Author of SYNTH GEMS 1

 

clicky!:  more about me ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job ~ my bookmy music

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I'm not saying it's NEVER done, just that it's rare, and when people do it, it is often for historical rather than practical reasons.

 

Example: Chandler Limited loves putting chickenhead knobs on its gear, because chickenhead knobs.

 

Counterexample: Whoever came up with the design of the knobs on API gear was a damn genius. Easy to read from a distance, easy to grab and move with accuracy, and utterly, utterly iconic in looks. Ditto Neve. Those are classic because they work, not because they were inherited from 1930s radio sets.

 

I totally get it. Chicken head knobs represent a "vintage" look. That said, I like them, very easy for a blind owl like me to see from a distance. I had 4 of them that ended up on my HHB - 2 of them were so large that I had to customize them so they would not interfere with other knobs. Tabletop disc sander to the rescue!

 

On guitars I like the old knurled dome knobs but I just leave them turned all the way up anyway so I don't care how they look. The knurling makes it easy to do volume swells. Can't see what you are doing but I am not looking so I don't care.

 

I do appreciate good knob design. If the original HHB knobs had not been a "disaster factor" I would have just put them back on.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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  • 4 weeks later...
I"m sweaty and blind so these work fine.

 

6-B51-AF27-BDB9-4-F09-A643-B95-E27-DE25-C7.jpgfree photo upload and share

 

Those look great! I might take a thin black sharpie to the 8 yellow knobs on the top panel, make a black marker line like the 2 green knobs right above them. Everything else is really easy to see.

 

Did it come with those? I want some!!!!! Thanks for sharing!

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Dan Phillips, the engineer at Korg who is the "father" of the Wavestate, is a good friend of mine. I can not WAIT to hear his reaction when I email him this photo.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Musician, Author, Editor, Educator, Impresario, Online Radio Guy, Cut-Rate Polymath, and Kindly Pedant

Editor-in-Chief, Bjooks ~ Author of SYNTH GEMS 1

 

clicky!:  more about me ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job ~ my bookmy music

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