Author Topic: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)  (Read 23183 times)

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Offline Findecanor

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Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 06:24:30 »
Are volume knobs useful?

I mean, are they really much better than having buttons for volume up, down and mute?
Is there much need for adjusting volume more than one or two steps at a time?

Also, does anybody here use a rotary encoder on their kit keyboard for something else than a volume knob?
« Last Edit: Sun, 01 September 2019, 01:52:03 by Findecanor »
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Offline Coreda

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 06:42:16 »
I wouldn't use speakers without one since I set them to a higher volume then reduce the volume of other audio on the system. Sometimes I'll need a rapid volume adjustment and nothing beats a quick analog movement there. They're also useful on laptops, however the pots are more prone to accumulating dust/debris.

For anything I have complete control over though, such as ReplayGain'd audio playing on an audio player I've set to a certain volume level it would be less necessary since the output is completely predictable and only smaller adjustments are used typically.

Offline nelamvr6

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 12:25:23 »
I really prefer an analog knob to buttons.
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Offline romevi

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 12:30:20 »
I much prefer them for volume since I can get the perfect volume and they work as soon as I turn them.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 12:57:25 »
I wouldn't use speakers without one since I set them to a higher volume then reduce the volume of other audio on the system. Sometimes I'll need a rapid volume adjustment and nothing beats a quick analog movement there.
I'm sorry. I should have told better that I was really asking specifically for input devices, such as on the corners of keyboards, not speakers.
Then there are separate volume knob devices, and then there are generic "dial" style of devices that can be used for multiple things.

A speaker should have a precise volume control that is easy to use, absolutely. But when you have set it once, initially, do you then need to adjust often using the analogue knob?
With a PC's volume control, there is often at least one slider inside the system for setting volume, which could serve for that initial setting.
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Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 21:26:15 »
Are volume knobs useful?

I mean, are they really much better than having buttons for volume up, down and mute?
Is there much need for adjusting volume more than one or two steps at a time?

Also, does anybody here use a rotary encoder on their kit keyboard for something else than a volume knob?

The media buttons on my K63 prove far more useful

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 20 July 2019, 02:18:54 »
the pots are more prone to accumulating dust/debris.

My nice 5.1 Creative system has exactly that problem and I can't for the life of me find a replacement pot for it. I just set it to a spot above the dead spot and hide it behind the computer now. I'll hard wire in a resistor before I buy anything newer though, good speaker sets are stupid expensive.

I have two buttons on my mouse (G900) mapped to volume and I just use those now.



But when you have set it once, initially, do you then need to adjust often using the analogue knob?
With a PC's volume control, there is often at least one slider inside the system for setting volume, which could serve for that initial setting.
I am always adjusting mine, different places set their volume different.
Also, internal sliders are HORRIBLE.

Not only do they require several (semi precise) movements, but they can be quite imprecise and a hassle to get to if something comes on blaring.
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Offline Coreda

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 20 July 2019, 05:06:46 »
A speaker should have a precise volume control that is easy to use, absolutely. But when you have set it once, initially, do you then need to adjust often using the analogue knob?

Yeah, that's what I meant in the second sentence since volume output of things like video from browsers and games for example are unpredictable so having a way to rapidly adjust the volume on hand is preferable. Unlike a digital volume level which can't adjust in such a range without taking time from keystrokes (mouse-adjustable sliders are different but then they're not available blindly).

Such analog adjustments might only occur a couple times per session (if that) but there isn't any other way for sweeping volume adjustments so it's useful. Fwiw my speakers also don't respect the Windows global volume level, so more fixed OS-level adjustments are made per-program anyway.
« Last Edit: Sat, 20 July 2019, 05:11:52 by Coreda »

Offline nelamvr6

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 20 July 2019, 09:29:41 »
If you're asking about the inclusion of volume knobs on keyboards, I need to change my answer, I prefer no media controls of any kind on keyboards.
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Offline VelourFog

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 27 August 2019, 15:44:56 »
I love volume controls on keyboards.  Be it knobs or barrels.  Not so big on keys since I like on the fly volume adjusting.

Offline 1Weeb

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 28 August 2019, 17:38:59 »
I used to think they were useful but I've found software that allows me to adjust volume more efficiently by using the scroll wheel up/down on my mouse while holding the right mouse button. This way I never have to rely on moving my hand to reach for a physical volume knob or button. It's called X-Mouse Button Control, though I believe it only works on Windows.
« Last Edit: Wed, 28 August 2019, 17:44:13 by 1Weeb »

Offline Stupidface

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 30 August 2019, 09:46:10 »
Are volume knobs useful?

I wonder if, perhaps, your posing the following question might help to move you closer to the heart of the matter:

Quote
I have two keyboard models to potentially offer: Keyboard A has no volume knob; Keyboard B does.  Which keyboard would you prefer, A or B, and, if B, how much more would you be willing to pay for it?

People are willing to pay for features they find useful; the amount they are willing to pay is usually in direct proportion to a given feature's perceived usefulness.  Asking people to put a price tag of their own choosing on something can, quite often, furnish an insight into just how useful they feel that something truly is.

Personally, rather than a volume knob, I would prefer, instead, a "Cone of Silence" feature that eliminates all noise within 10 feet of the keyboard, but that's just me.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 August 2019, 09:49:19 by Stupidface »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 30 August 2019, 20:38:08 »
I wonder if, perhaps, your posing the following question might help to move you closer to the heart of the matter:
[...]
Yes, I could have written the first post better so as to better trigger interesting responses, but I was not interested in how people would think in a purchasing-situation but how people actually use the keyboards (and other input-devices) with knobs that they already have.
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Offline Stupidface

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 31 August 2019, 04:14:54 »
Yes, I could have written the first post better so as to better trigger interesting responses, but I was not interested in how people would think in a purchasing-situation


If it is any help, I see I should have read what you wrote more closely; I saw the phrases "volume knobs" and "kit keyboard" and promptly grasped the wrong end of the stick.  :-[


but how people actually use the keyboards (and other input-devices) with knobs that they already have.

Knobs?  On my keyboard?   :)

No doubt this will make me sound an odd stick in 2019, but I have always viewed keyboards exclusively as instruments for typing.  If I want to control media, (e.g. lower the volume of Filboid Studge) well, that is what a mouse is for (in my view, at least).

I think it is great that in the present day there are keyboards with all the knobs one could wish for on offer.  However, somewhere along the way I seem to have adopted the viewpoint of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when it comes to choosing peripherals:

Quote
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Offline Stupidface

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 31 August 2019, 06:02:08 »
My nice 5.1 Creative system has exactly that problem and I can't for the life of me find a replacement pot for it. I just set it to a spot above the dead spot and hide it behind the computer now. I'll hard wire in a resistor before I buy anything newer though, good speaker sets are stupid expensive.

You may have tried this already, but just in case you have not: have you considered an application of DeoxIT [sic]?

DeoxIT is a contact cleaner that comes in small, but ludicrously overpriced cans.  However, there are also "sample" 2mL mini-tubes available with enough cleaner for a single application that are only semi-ludicrously overpriced.  I mention it because it is specifically designed to safely restore electronics like balky pots or faders to full working order.

I don't know how much of a nuisance your problem is, but it might be worth a look on eBay for it.   I don't know where the pot is situated on your speakers, but you'll want to take a careful look at all the different applicators on offer (tube/brush/spray can/needle dispenser) if you decide to take the plunge.


Offline Leslieann

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 01 September 2019, 01:36:32 »
I'll look into it, thanks.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 08 September 2019, 09:29:22 »

DeoxIT is a contact cleaner that comes in small, but ludicrously overpriced cans. 


I will second the recommendation for DeoxIT, it can work miracles. I have mostly used it on decades-old stereo gear.

There is a cleaner and a lubricant, and a 2-in-1 if I remember correctly, and both or all are too expensive but they go a long way.

PS - we have also used it to bring SD cards and Nintendo DS cartridges back to life when they seemed dead - spray it on a paper towel and wipe the contacts
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Offline Capsmiths

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 13 September 2019, 11:38:25 »
I feel like I use my keyboard volume knob way more than the PC volume controls. Mute buttons are nice too.

Offline mizzoperator

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 04 October 2019, 08:29:22 »
Honestly, I can imagine that volume knobs can be useful. Most of the time, however, they're in strange & inconvenient places.
I always find myself reaching for the windows volume control anyway or twiddling the little slider wheel on my headset, but I'm sure
that I'd use volume knobs more if they were actually placed on a convenient spot.
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Offline Findecanor

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 04 October 2019, 13:23:04 »
I used to think that the Lily58's placement for an optional knob right above the innermost thumb key was weird until I realised that that placement is very close to where the thumb and index finger would otherwise normally be. Therefore, stretching to turn it with thumb and index finger wouldn't be very far.

Otherwise I think that it looks best when a knob is on a separate panel that is angled up, maybe 45° from the desk.
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Offline Olumin

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 10 October 2019, 17:59:54 »
After I got my first AMP for my HD600s (which had a volume knob), I now could not live without it.

I like to adjust the volume very precisely and do it very frequently.



Offline L0rdN1k0n

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 10 October 2019, 21:09:20 »
The volume knob is the only feature I like about my old K70 anymore that I use at work.

At least my full size Ducky has dedicated volume buttons, but it's not quite the same.
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Offline romevi

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 11 October 2019, 00:32:43 »
I could eat a knob at night.

Offline ergonaut

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 29 October 2019, 04:03:01 »
This is only tangentially on topic, but I always feel that the steps for volume control in the OS (specifically Windows, but others as well) are too coarse. Especially when using headphones at low volumes, I often find myself wanting a volume level between two steps. Is there anything I can do about that (apart from using some external analogue volume control)?

Offline StickyBlueJuice

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 29 October 2019, 07:33:45 »
After getting a dedicated volume knob I can't see myself being without one.
I find I adjust the volume a lot more with a knob and it's helping not to damage my ears more than they already are.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #25 on: Tue, 29 October 2019, 17:27:40 »
This is only tangentially on topic, but I always feel that the steps for volume control in the OS (specifically Windows, but others as well) are too coarse. Especially when using headphones at low volumes, I often find myself wanting a volume level between two steps. Is there anything I can do about that (apart from using some external analogue volume control)?
You can adjust the steps in many programs (Audacious does, I think VLC does) but also a registry edit can change it in Windows.

Brightness steps however are a lot more tricky.
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Offline ergonaut

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 30 October 2019, 03:08:03 »
You can adjust the steps in many programs (Audacious does, I think VLC does) but also a registry edit can change it in Windows.

Good to know, thanks!

Offline kmicu

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 30 October 2019, 16:15:55 »
Dunno whether they are useful on keyboards but I always **enjoy** rolling barrel when I’m on G710+.
Keys are optimal for on/off states—knobs, barrels, sliders are optimal for ranges.
That’s why we see a lot of them on music devices like mixing panels or my MPK49.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 31 October 2019, 05:15:22 »
Haha...
Mapped spare mouse buttons to scroll lock and pause.
Mapped those in KDE to vol up and down...
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Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #29 on: Wed, 27 November 2019, 12:10:35 »
The minute i enter a game it's too loud because the In game volume is set onto ||||||||| (max)

Offline Ckeeb

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Re: Are volume knobs useful?
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 27 November 2019, 17:19:08 »
I really prefer an analog knob to buttons.

Just feel the same

Offline 1391401

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #31 on: Fri, 27 December 2019, 03:27:01 »
I'd say yes - although my keyboard does not have one I bought a pair of those massdrop gaming headphones that has a simple volume dial and it's such an amazing feature to have and I use it every time I use them.  I think if it had buttons it'd still be OK but the analog dial is super easy to use, lets me choose just the right volume, and rapidly turn the volume down versus muting it (think: that person on discord or a conference call who is way too loud).
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Offline Riverman

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 02 January 2020, 15:18:46 »
I bought a used Das Keyboard 4 that has a volume knob, and it's kind of fun to turn and looks cool, but I don't think it's any more functional than volume buttons.  I wouldn't consider it to be any kind of requirement for buying a new keyboard.

Offline jacethesaltsculptor

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Re: Are volume knobs useful? (on input devices)
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 02 January 2020, 20:02:17 »
At my job, I do a little bit of Audio Video as the firm I work for is small, our IT department kind of has to take over that as well if we want to expect decent results.

For that reason, we work with what we have, which are a combination of brand new audio equipment and REALLY old audio equipments.

We've got these older analogue speakers that you can connect pretty much anything with a 3.5 to, and they are small, and have two buttons, each for up and down volume.

I can't tell you how much I dislike these buttons, as the increment each press creates is very imprecise and it's hard to tell the results from behind the speaker effectively.

We have a newer set with a volume knob and we can work with that much more easily.

Now not every speaker with a binary up and down is this bad, but these speakers at work have convinced me knobs are the way.

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