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The Pain of the Poor Volume Knob Placement, And Other Assorted Knob Issues

Vintage Stereo Systems can be beautiful. No matter how many chrome faced, wood cased, and green back-light receivers or amps I see, I still love them. Case in point, this beautiful Kenwood KR-6400 currently in the store!

Kenwood KR-6400 Vintage Receiver in Seattle

 

Such a beautiful receiver! In fact I can’t say I’ve seen an ugly power amp or receiver yet from the 1950’s-1970’s. Sure there are some oddballs, but they all are unique and lovely in their own way.

Nonetheless I will tell you what I HATE about some of these vintage receivers and power amps.

KNOBS.

I hate vintage stereo knobs.

It seems simple, it seems obvious, but apparently not… we want SIMPLE, CLEAR, and FUNCTIONAL knobs.

Here are the 2 main issues I have.

Problem 1: Where is the VOLUME KNOB? All sorts of old receivers took massive liberaties in where the volume knob was placed. It could have been above the power button, on the right side, the left side, or God-Forbid… the middle? The size could have been larger than the rest (yes please!) or smaller. More often than not though they seemed to be THE EXACT SAME SIZE. How am I supposed to grab the right knob? If it’s the knob on the far right or far left at least you know that always. But, what about that stupid placement 2 in from the left side. More often than not I end up grabbing the wrong knob and crank the balance to the right, or turn the input knob. FAIL.

 

Case in point: Which knob is the volume knob?

Kenwood Knobs Fail

 

Problem 2: Where is the notch/selector indicator? Ok manufacturers, I get it! You want a sleek simple clean design, but where is the notch that lets me know where I am at for volume, where I am at for balance, or where I am at for bass or treble! I’ve seen too many knobs that have the notch roughly the size of an amoeba! If I have to pull out a magnifying glass to tell where that notch is, you failed.

Exhibit A: Harman Kardon 430….. see that little notch on the left side… get the magnifier

p1010783

 

 

Have a particular knob that you hate? Other issue with your vintage design? Share it!