Slider or Knob on a Mixer Channel?

I’m actually working on the GUI for a mixer channel for my Tape Recorder.

Does a slider or a knob do a better job for controlling the volume on a mixer channel?

What’s your opinion, and why?

everyone uses slider. reasons are:

  • you can see all the volumes at a glance easier.
  • physical ones do, and we like to slavishly adhere to that.
  • at least with physical ones it’s easier to get fine control.

That said, I use knobs because they take up less space.


Some words about the history:

My first idea was to make the module as narrow as possible for displaying as many channels as possible on a small screen (see left side of screenshot).

Then I enlarged the display for better readability of the VU-meter. For this I had to make the module wider (see right side of the screenshot).

So there appeared a lot of space that could be filled by placing all the elements more loosely and by doing so, giving a more relaxed look to the module.

On the other hand this space could be used to display a fader.

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Looking forward to these modules! Imho the wider version seems to be fine. The size difference isn’t that immense although I appreciate Module makers trying to keep their modules as narrow as possible. One thing I am wondering: are you going to keep those inputs, outputs and knobs tucked to the left edge of the module? Have you tried centering them in the wider version?

Oh and the knobs work very well as their values are clearly readable with the high contrast white line.

On the wider version, I’m thinking about using a slider/fader instead of a knob for the volume but I’m not sure about the slider/fader, so I’m asking for other people’s opinions on slider/fader vs knob. Therefore the layout of the wider version is not finished yet.

I like the wider version, it only takes up a bit more space and the fader/slider does sound a good idea. Always look forward to your releases for this little beauty of a Tape recorder.

Just putting a piano [well samples] into it from RJModules’ Esseff Sound font player. Then Nysthi’s QuadSimpler plays ‘Sparky’s Magic Piano’ and then it all turns into reverb/echo fest!!!

I would prefer a slider for the mixing the narrow version looks a bit overloaded imho

Pop up a slider when you hover above a knob?

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Oh, and to follow up on my previous comment - I use knobs. For a few months my modular mixers were very popular. Mostly because a lot of the “other mixers” were terrible (I’m sure not all of them, of course). But — after a few month the Mind Meld mixer came out an cornered the marked on free mixers.

Which is all a long-winded way of suggesting that maybe sliders are more popular.

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If you look into data visualization and statistics, knobs and sliders resemble pie charts and bar graphs. And we know that pie charts is bad. The issue with pie chart


sure. But still modules use knobs for most things.

But why pull real life masochism into the virtual world? :wink:

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oh, i don’t like a lot of module UI, but that’s not my point. I’m just saying that VCV users seems to prefer sliders to knobs for mixer volumes. I didn’t say they are “right” :wink:

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Thank you for all these interesting statements. To me it sounds a bit like “don’t break the unwritten rule and use a volume slider”

I did some research on vintage multi-track cassette recorders and all models I found had sliders for the volume and knobs for everything else.

In Eurorack hardware, knobs are far more common, even for controlling volume.

All DAWs I know so far use volume sliders.

On most mixing desks the input gain is driven by a knob and the volume isr driven by a slider.

At the end, the mouse movement to change a value is the same for knobs and for vertical sliders.

No sliders/faders here:

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Yes, that’s the other rule. If you are going after the vintage market and want to charge a lot of money, use a big plastic knob that looks like it came from a stove.

Big knobs!


a) that must be expensive. b) your mom is mad that you stole all the knobs off the stove.


I mostly agree with that, especially the first point, when there are several similar signals to balance. With something like, say, “Input Gain” versus “Wet/Dry Mix” it’s not such a big deal.

In the real world, you’d might see more sliders if they weren’t also more expensive. Also in the real world, adjusting two or more together is much easier, especially if they are next to each other.

Ooh - now wouldn’t a slider-ized version of stoermelder’s µMAP be nice? :star_struck:


If you plan to keep the knobs, add some marks to indicate where the 0 and 10 positions are.

Do your “VU meters” have actual VU ballistics? Then it should have a yellow-beige background.

oh, come on now. are you trolling?