Originally Posted by Wodgy
Dan, you seem to be missing the core of what people are saying to you. They're not saying to ditch your system, and they're not saying to add a stepped attenuator. They're suggesting you use a rotary encoder, a digital rotary encoder rather than an up/down toggle switch. That's all they're suggesting. A rotary encoder would be more usable.
Here is some of my thinking:
Is a 56 position rotary is practical? Imagine 56 positions at about 6 degree per position... I do not know if such a device is available, but is so; I would not wish to paint 56 numbers on a front panel. That would call for a display such as I use (My 2 digit display).
Most rotaries based device use 2 devices, such as one device for 1dB step and the other for a 10dB step. So every 10dB, you need to reach the 10dB step device, and then reach for the 1dB step device and make a 9 dB "correction". Say you want to go from 19 to 20dB:
If first you change the 1 to 2, which gets the volume up to 29, an increase of 10dB (blowing your ears) then you need to change the 9 to 0, to 20dB.
A better way is to first lower the gain from 19dB to 10dB, and then go for 10dB device and change it from 1 to 2, for a 20dB.
In other words, you need to think about the order - which rotary switch to use first. If you want to reduce from say 40 to 39, you have to reverse the order you access the switch, in order to prevent a sudden intermediary 10dB boost...
Of course there are other considerations here that I did not mention. In fact, designing calls for a lot of considerations, not all are obvious and some are best kept proprietary.
I do my best to listen to inputs, and act on it. The DA11 is the third device with a volume switch and 2 digit display (the other are DA10 and MP10 micpre). The vast majority of feedback was very favorable.
I find the idea of up for more volume and down for less volume very user friendly and intuitive. Also note that for the >PIC< (tm) I used horizontal switches (activate sideways). If you want a wider image on the left, push the left image switch to the left. A narrower image on the left calls of pushing the left switch to the rights (of course the right channel switch is opposite). That is very intuitive beacuse the hand motion goes along with the desired action. You can see that I am very interested in user friendly and intuitive controls.
You said that a rotary will be more usable. Why? I like feedback but I would like to have it coupled with reason. What is it about an up down switch with a clear digital display that is less usable? What is it about turning a knob that makes it better then pushing a switch up for more volume, or down for less volume? Why is it that a rotation to the right is better for more volume? Why is it that some tiny numbers printed on a front panel (for attenuation) are better then my large lit numbers? The lit numbers are certainly clearer in a dark room...