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My Kingdom For A Remote Volume Knob! can this be made?

MattHooper

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I was watching an old Darko video in which he discussed his appreciation for being able to control an audio system with a remote volume knob.

He gets to the "why" of this around 51 seconds in:


I was like: YES! Someone gets me!

I place a high value on the combination of ergonomics and aesthetics and the "feel" of equipment.

When I'm streaming my digital music in my system I'm using my iPhone as the remote (or iPad), so that just feels like, well...using my damned iphone again. Like I do all day long. There isn't anything particularly "nice" about the feel of using my phone or ipad for this purpose. For volume I can use the iphone (using logitech server software) but I often prefer to leave the volume at 0 and adjust volume via my pre-amp remote (or universal remote control). Again...pretty much held hostage to the feel of the supplied remote, or my universal remote.
Eh.

What I'd REALLY LOVE is just what Darko describes in the video: a big ol' physical volume knob to control volume, right at my listening position. Ideally one that looks super high quality and lux, and feels that way. I could even imagine a nice wood knob as the dial.

I once had this when I used a Museatex Bidat DAC, which could be run directly in to my amps, the volume was a wired remote control - a dial on a little wood block like this:

Museatex DAC w remote.png


Not exactly luxurious, but it's the general idea.

I did a fairly extensive search on the web and there doesn't seem to be a product like the one I'm describing. There is the occasional product with a knob remote control, but it's usually proprietary to the device in question. There are remote knobs that you can set up via blue tooth or wired to your computer, but that doesn't solve it either. (My Apogee Duet usb audio interface I use with my DAW has a nice volume knob, though doesn't do exactly what I'm asking).

I have both analog sources (turntable) and digital, running through my preamp in to my system.

So what I'd need is a remote volume knob that is also able to learn or download remote commands to control either my LA4 or Conrad Johnson preamps. Right now those are controlled with their own remotes (and an IR repeater system).

Lacking any finished product I wondered if such a learning volume knob could be built custom. But I have no idea if there are any sort of "computer module" parts that would constitute the "learning remote codes" part somehow in concert with some potentiometer section or whatever?

To be honest, this post is more curiosity about how difficult such a project would be more than any likelihood I'd engage in trying to build one. And among the vast experience on this site, perhaps someone has actually come across something like this, or used one before.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I made a volume control system for my preamp similar to the one you show. I found this one which uses a motorized volume control and works similarly to the one I made. The kit doesn't use a nice big knob, but if you're handy enough I'm sure you could make something which uses the remote control with perhaps some custom programming to do the trick. Most systems like this (and mine too) use two relays to apply power in opposite polarities to the motor on the volume control pot.
 

mhardy6647

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I made a volume control system for my preamp similar to the one you show. I found this one which uses a motorized volume control and works similarly to the one I made.

The kit doesn't use a nice big knob, but if you're handy enough I'm sure you could make something which uses the remote control with perhaps some custom programming to do the trick. Most systems like this (and mine too) use two relays to apply power in opposite polarities to the motor on the volume control pot.
I mean -- you could get a big knob for it.
One of the knobs from that ludicrous Kinki integrated amplifier would fit the bill (or is that fill the bill?).



KinkiStudio-main.jpg

maxresdefault.jpg


I reckon you could get one on aliexpress or suchlike for... I dunno... 47 cents or so. ;)
 

Somafunk

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I was like: YES! Someone gets me!

I place a high value on the combination of ergonomics and aesthetics and the "feel" of equipment.

Gets me as well, I’d love a nice weighted milled/turned aluminium control knob with an oled display in the centre to control my cxn v2 as the standard remote is bloody gawd awful in use.

The width of a food can, bout 30 mm depth, simple operation such as rotate for volume, one press to play/stop, press down and turn left/right to skip back/forward and charged by usb.

Why is this not a “thing”, I’d buy it for sure if it was well engineered and tactile/functional in use.

I’d buy that for £150.
 

Kal Rubinson

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I've used a Microsoft Surface Dial with my server/streamer but the range is limited.
 
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MattHooper

MattHooper

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I've used a Microsoft Surface Dial with my server/streamer but the range is limited.

I looked in to the Microsoft Surface Dial a while back and it looks neat, though doesn't do what I am thinking of (e.g. learning remote IR codes...as far as I know).
 

Somafunk

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Something like this remote below would be an upgrade over the brick sized remote I’m currently using, may have to spend a few hours googling what my options are.

Tidy wee IR learning remote
 

Kal Rubinson

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I looked in to the Microsoft Surface Dial a while back and it looks neat, though doesn't do what I am thinking of (e.g. learning remote IR codes...as far as I know).
Yup. No IR at all!
 

8bits

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With some programming skills, you could use the Microsoft Surface Dial to control a raspberry pi (or an Arduino) that would translate and send IR commands to whatever you want
 

Kal Rubinson

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With some programming skills, you could use the Microsoft Surface Dial to control a raspberry pi (or an Arduino) that would translate and send IR commands to whatever you want
It has been done, iirc, to run Roon.
 

IPunchCholla

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Arc from Monome might be overkill, but the have the lux feels down. I am running everything (including TT) through my computer at this point, though so the integration might be easier.

73A8652F-4BDC-477C-BB91-74A18DBE2D38.png
 

mkt

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Very solid and close to the platonic ideal on desktop.
genelec_9310bm_wired_volume_control_for_1638525932_1676003.jpg
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Do any of these control the volume going to an analog preamplifier or are they digital only?
 

IPunchCholla

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Do any of these control the volume going to an analog preamplifier or are they digital only?

Digital. I was thinking about how to do this in the pre-amp and I think I would still go digital. IR could work, but I get the sense the cost of good enough emitters/receivers that could have wide enough line of sight and also enough levels to have really nice rotation would be prohibitive.

So then we need an arduino based pre-amp with a motorized volume control and a separate Bluetooth remote. Again, expensive for a pretty small market.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Digital. I was thinking about how to do this in the pre-amp and I think I would still go digital. IR could work, but I get the sense the cost of good enough emitters/receivers that could have wide enough line of sight and also enough levels to have really nice rotation would be prohibitive.

So then we need an arduino based pre-amp with a motorized volume control and a separate Bluetooth remote. Again, expensive for a pretty small market.
For my analog based one, I used an 8 pin PIC microcontroller, a couple relays with their driving transistors, and a quadrature encoder for the remote control 'pot'. This runs an Alps motorized volume control inside the preamp.

If I wanted to get really fancy, I could use a version of the Alps pot with an extra element which feeds a DC voltage back to the PIC and a similar motorized pot on the remote end so that if you moved one pot, the other moved to the same position. :p
 
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Dunring

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I got the AIMOS Lnline Volume Knob and it's programmable. Read the top axon review and it shows how to use notepad as a terminal to program it. I had one for months and not that expensive.
 

MarcosCh

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@MattHooper i am on the same quest since over a year now, and want something that looks and feels good, but ain't that easy... I even bought a surface dial that is waiting in a box until i find out the way to make it work (only to manage to pair it with a raspberry pi was already an adventure). I don't have roon.

But i don't loose hope, very recently minidsp anounced that it will be possible to use the dial to control the volume of the shd (why a discontinued product???), so it must be possible. Maybe i will have to end up buying a shd to give my dial something to do :D

 

Soniclife

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Buy a Devialet :p I've got one, the remote would be hard to give up, that style of remote is what people want, even if most if them don't know it yet. The Kii controller is nice too.

There are a selection of roon options out there, see https://rooextend.com/ They are using existing hardware, someone must have created a ir bridge for one of them?
 

abdo123

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I have defeated my basal instincts for a volume knob by having loudness normalisation enabled at all times.
 
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