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May 2013 editorial

KnobFeel...reviews based purely on the feel of the knob!

[KnobFeel, reviews based purely on the feel of the knob]

Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: May, 2013

Seen one, you've seen them all, right? Wrong! A couple of months ago our official TNT-Audio Facebook profile received a friendly message, from a certain Stephen Woodmansey, who invited us to visit a new website devoted to HiFi. The name of the website was intriguing: KnobFeel. The subtitle was even better: Reviews based purely on the feel of the knob...Yes! A website that reviews HiFi gear basing evaluation on the feel of the knobs (volume control, mainly).

They don't listen to the components, neither they measure or analyse them...they (he?) just touches the knobs, evaluates the material they're made of, the way these work, whether they rotate off-center or not, if they feel solid, smooth and comfortable etc.

Everything appears to be extremely pro though the intent is certainly sarcastic and auto-ironic. The components, err, their knobs, are evaluated by means of a brief (< 20 secs) YouTube video and then the results are summarized and published as a text caption for the video itself.

Knobfeel went online in January (2013) and contains several..."reviews" already! There are more than 6 reviews published in April and a couple in May. In addition there is feedback from readers. If you're looking for negative reviews you'll find several of these. For example, read what Knobfeel writes about the Onkyo TX-NR525 receiver:

The brand new Onkyo TX-NR 525 has only one redeeming feature, it looks pretty. With it's concave-dished front and sleek surround, I was excited to get my analytical appendage on it. But immediately, the plastic material, the sharp edges, the slippy surround & the inexcusable amount of axial skew really disappoint.

Of course, there are knobs that seem to satisfy the reviewer, for example the volume knob of the Rega Osiris Reference amplifier in which he comments:

Here is something special! The Rega Osiris Reference Amplifier. Weighing in at just over 25kg, I was expecting a heavy knob. Quite the opposite was true, this is a silky smooth experience. Zero Axial Skew, and such a smooth rotation I could barely contain myself.

The website hosts a kind of a online store, too, where you can purchase T-shirts with the funny "I love a good Knob Feel" logo and several other gadgets. The graphic appearance of the website is simple and attractive.
I don't know whether these guys (guy?) are totally crazy or not, certainly they (he) proved they (he) have a good of sense of humour! The videos and short reviews are entertaining and prompt us not to forget we should always be auto ironic and never too serious about this hobby!

Evaluating any HiFi component by the feel of its knobs might sound weird and crazy but it is not much different from evaluating weight, thickness of the front fascia, diameter of the cables, gold plating, leds, lights or VU meters. In our enthusiasm we are like children, never quite grown up, indeed, we love our toys but we should remember to evaluate HiFi components by their function: how do they sound? KnobFeel takes a decidedly different approach. For this reason I greatly enjoyed the crazy idea behind it: it allows us to look into the mirror and smile.

© Copyright 2013 Lucio Cadeddu - direttore@tnt-audio.com - www.tnt-audio.com

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