nOb – A Steampunk Big Knob Controller For Media Production


The nOb is a precise generic endless knob controller, being produced via a Kickstarter campaign.

The controller was designed for fine control of any type of parameter during media production.

Here’s the official intro video:

Here’s what the developer has to say about it:

nOb is able to control virtually any parameter you would normally adjust with your mouse, delivering out-of-the-box compatibility with any operating system and software package. You simply have to point your mouse cursor to the parameter you want to control and use nOb’s big knob to fine-tune it to taste. Based on the current mode of operation, any draggable interface element found in modern media production software can be controlled, including sliders, scrollbars, knobs or even draggable value indicators.

nOb is available to backers for approx €165. See the project site for details.

29 thoughts on “nOb – A Steampunk Big Knob Controller For Media Production

  1. Nice features and a quality rotary knob sounds like fun and nice haptic feeling but way to expensive. If it’s just emulating an input device it should be not that complicated to build it by yourself for maybe 40 bucks? Correct me if my assumption is bullshit.

    1. All you gotta do is precisely cut and assemble a half dozen pieces of wood, sand and stain it, create the electronics, get a PCB made, write some firmware and assemble it all.

      So yeah, if you’ve got a week and the skills, you could probably make this for 40 buck.

    2. You’re definitely wrong. You could build one with less resolution, less weight, and less functionality for that much. As an electronics designer I roll my eyes a little at people who don’t understand how much it costs to build stuff like this. The general rule is to take the public cost of an item and divide it by 3 – 1/3 profit (aka wages), 1/3 back into company (overhead, R&D), 1/3 materials cost.

      If they use something like that formula, it makes sense – costs about $75 in raw materials. That rotary encoder alone is probably $40 at least, depending on how many they could buy at one time.

      It’s annoying when people who don’t understand what it takes to make a quality product and just shit on people’s hard work. If you don’t have the money, it’s not *for* you. This would be incredible for mixing in the box. Cheaper encoders don’t have enough steps to be useful to a pro for that. As someone who is developing carpal tunnel from mouse use, especially from hours of mixing where you are constantly holding the mouse button down and making tiny, tiny adjustments (the kind you wouldn’t be able to make with a cheaper encoder), this is a godsend. Saves you thousands in pain and medical bills later on in life.

      Also, to the people who say you could make it yourself for cheaper – how much is your time worth? Nothing? You don’t factor it in to your price estimate, so I assume as much.

      My friend is sending me a cheapo Garmin one, and I’m going to see if that’s ok for my uses. If it isn’t, I’m absolutely going to buy this thing. Bravo designers. Would be nice if you could offer different stains though, not the hugest fan of the hue you picked.

      1. Why is the nOb so expensive? A thousand men, say, go searchin’ for a high quality rotary encoder. After six months, one of them’s lucky: one out of a thousand. His find represents not only his own labor, but that of nine hundred and ninety-nine others to boot. That’s six thousand months, five hundred years, scouring websites, Kickstarter campaigns and music retailers, goin’ hungry and thirsty. A high quality rotary encoder, mister, is worth what it is because of the human labor that went into the findin’ and the gettin’ of it.

      2. …it´s not the question ´bout time and money to see just a problem in your point…We are talking still ´bout aprox. 150$…and w/o any point of higher mathematics and even the “higher” development of economy…it is simply just a gimmick, a tool with an high price. And w/o any doubt you´ll never got the better quality out of this “tiny piece of sheit” what you´re thinking you had payed for…why call it steampunk…why not put this in “cold” alluminium…no it´s “steampunk” the one and only reason to make this thing so special than even idiots give their 150$.

  2. I find it amusing that every time a post like this shows up there’s always a few people dismissing it on a price basis. Have these people never done anything in their life to understand that when someone else tries to sell a product, the cost is more than the cost of the parts?
    Do you give any value to your time? (You spend it with these comments…)
    Do you think about the work before and after such a project is done? Design, project management, parts ordering, specs, logistics, delivery, costumer relations, etc, etc.
    What if the person/people doing the project is trying to dedicate their life for the moment on such a project (we all have dreams, no?)? How do you expect them to pay for the whole time used on the project if you’d only pay for the parts?
    I didn’t even see the project, since I’m not interested in such a product, nor did I check the background of the people behind this specific project to understand where they come from and if the price would be fair. But I’m afraid neither do these commenters.
    I hope that any time in your life you want to do something you can’t afford to, someone backs you up, so you can understand that not everyone is like you, and that for some people, helping someone else achieve their goals is also a good way to use their money and that increases the value of the result of such project.
    Well at least this knob doesn’t come with mini keys…

    1. Digital encoders like that are really pricey. Maybe $60 alone for that one part. The stepped attenuator the Neve 1073 preamp uses is like $100 by itself if bought directly from the company that makes it. Then add however many lbs of aluminum that is, those switches are probably $10 ea, they look like they belong on a Soviet submarine!, and then the wood, the labor. Seems about right to me.

  3. First off, the non-early bird cost is €149. For all the naysayers, y’all are pretty ridiculous. The touch functionality alone is probably not easy to build and again, it’s not the cost of parts, but the R&D factored in as well.

  4. To the naysayers of the naysayers… fair enough and thanks for piping in. But it’s not necessarily just the “You could build that for 8 dollars!” crowd. It’s also the “why in the world would you spend €165 on a knob with perks?” crowd. I’m in the latter. Seems like buying a Ferrari when a Porsche is plenty of sportscar.

    I get that nice stuff costs money and I, without a doubt, would be happy to see one of these handsome buggers sitting next to me right now but €165 just seems decadent. Especially in the context of a “no trust us, it’ll be boss” kickstarter campaign.

    I don’t mean to crap on it at all. Looks very cool and I hope they’re successful enough to make it feel less decadent to purchase (while they maintain a decent margin).

    1. If you had Universal Audio Plugins like I do, you’d want a quality knob to go with your quality plugs. Literally the only things keeping the hardware pro audio world afloat are this:

      1) Client “Wow” factor – studio looks like a spaceship
      2) The knobs
      3) Vapor

      That’s it. UAD’s stuff, as well as other plug makers – it’s sonically indistinguishable. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. You might like the color of a particular unit better than the plug, but that’s a flaw of the units – they don’t all sound or behave exactly the same, especially old LA-2As with fading panels. People buy new ones and think they aren’t as “good” as the old ones, when really they just need to adjust the settings that they’re used to using, because the electroluminescent panel fades over time (though the new ones are probably more durable than the old ones).

  5. fuck this was a project i had in mind for a while now… although truth be told it’s a lot better implemented, but the basic idea is still the same. bravo nob for getting there first with a superior product. i wont be purchasing it though as it’s too expensive for me. but i definitely think it’s a good product especially with out of the box compatibility with everything! that’s awesome!

    Would love to know more about the code behind the nob.

  6. there are definitely much more affordable jog-wheels and one-knob controllers out there

    so, if you need one get one, but dont kid yourself that this is the only game in town, or somehow greatly superior to something like this:

    because, really – all you are paying for here is design… the tech is well known, and its been done many times already

    some people are all about status, appearances and so on, and if thats your thing, then go ahead and live it up… but, yeh – you arent fooling anybody

  7. Meh. Give me a proper music oriented launchkey controller rather than some girl playing Atari with it. Already my girlfriend doesn’t dare approach my launchpad….

    1. Yeah that was probably the worst choice to show – that Atari controller was famous for killing your wrist, and was partly what led to the development of NES-style controllers.

  8. The idea of high resolution weighted knob is very appealing to me and something I’ve wanted for years.

    If they fixed either the price —$100US max
    The look — maybe a nice birch & aluminium and modern switches

    I would buy it heartbeat and use it for my day job as a Graphic Designer & night job as bedroom super star producer.

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