Detended vs non detended encoders

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about encoders.
On my synth, I have used non detended ones for the prototype. I found them nicer to use, and I thought the majority of us prefer non detended encoders but my friend did not really bother. He told me he was not disturbed with the detent.
For me the only drawback of non detended ones is when you want to do a very small value edition, like moving one step lower or higher, it’s easier with the detent because you clearly “feel” the step. I think elektron users know what I mean… :wink:

What do you guys generally prefer? (Please no “pots vs encoders” war :wink: )


N non-detended encoders for parameters + 1 auxiliary detended encoder for fine edit of the last edited parameter and navigation :slight_smile:

Interestingly, the Waldorf Microwave XT uses a mixture of detented and non-detented encoders.

Non-detented ones ones are used for those controls that set a value in a continuous range (i.e. cutoff frequency), and detented ones are used for those controls that select discrete items from a list (i.e. wavetable index). It feels intuitive in operation.

It’s slightly different from the Shruthi-1 approach, in that both types of controller are continuous. They’ve tried to get round some of the limitations of continuous encoders by allowing faster knob movement to increment/decrement values more quickly, with the non-detented encoders.


Pichenettes idea and tonebursts description of the Waldorf method sound like excellent compromises to me!

OK, let’s reformulate the question: if you had to choose between detended and non-detended encoders, to be used with BOTH continuous and discrete values editing, which one would you prefer.

Of course, when you can, using both depending on the value type is the best option.
But let’s say you cannot afford this option :wink:

I’d say use detented ones, but have them skip values when turned more quickly.


I prefer detended encoders and alpha dials. Not having a way to move up and down discreet values with minimal jitter is one of my synthesizer pet peeves. Of course, I have not used your synthesizer, so I do not know if the encoders jitter when they are not being touched or not.

@audiohoarder: I have solved the common encoder jitter problem a long time ago. It was one of my priorities when starting development.
Without detent, you just don’t know how much you should turn just to get a +1 value. So you tend to turn slower than with a detended encoder.
Well I am used to it now but I admit it can be better with detent in those cases - and IMO only in those cases, but your taste may vary.

@elektrosamplist: For faster tweaking yes, that would be better. However, if there is no jitter, there should not be an issue with your current solution. :slight_smile:
Now, if they start to squeak after being used for some time… that can still be an issue. This is more of an issue with alpha dials though.

As like on the MicroWave2: no detents for “continuous” values like cutoff, detents for “discrete” values like Modulation Destinations/Sources, if i have to choose, detents, please!