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A little Spotify remote to remind you that there's a lot of music out there.


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Knobby: a little remote for Spotify and more

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Knobby is the remote control made for discovering music and rediscovering your own collection; your one-click cure for musical boredom.

example of playing a random genre with a Knobby

One knob controls your musical universe

  • Spin and explore 6,000+ microgenre and country playlists from
  • Or hold the knob to randomize — put all of Spotify on shuffle!
  • Enjoy fast access to your own playlists and liked songs
  • See what's playing and control playback on any Spotify Connect device

knobby with wood finish in hand

Untether music from your phone

Always ready, free from distractions, and designed to be shared: Knobby is the perfect partner to any smart speaker. Show off your meticulously curated collection in your home, or pass it around a party and let your guests take control.

three knobby remotes

Make it yours(elf)

Knobby’s minimal design is easy to build and customize, with open source firmware based on the Arduino framework. The 3D printed enclosure is designed around a common ESP32 development board and a single rotary encoder. You can buy one from me to support this project, or build one yourself.

I sell on Tindie

See it in action


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  • Turn the knob to navigate between menu items.
  • Click the knob to select or play something.
  • Push in and rotate the knob to switch menus.
  • Hold the knob for couple seconds for a random genre, country, or playlist from the last open menu.
    • Keep holding the knob until the progress bar reaches the end to play immediately.
    • Release the knob before the progress bar reaches the end to keep browsing.
  • When browsing genres, double click the knob to switch sort modes: name (the default alphabetical order), suffix, ambience, modernity, and popularity.
  • When playing something, double click the knob to skip to the next track.


  • Spotify Premium is required — Knobby will not function properly on a free account.
  • An always-on playback Spotify Connect device is highly recommended. Knobby can control any Spotify app or device, but a smart speaker or home audio system usually works best. If using a mobile app or some devices such as Chromecast, playback must be started before it can be controlled though Knobby.

Build your own

Get the parts

Other rotary encoders

If you use a different rotary encoder in your build and find that the knob must be turned two clicks to move one item through the menu, you can configure the encoder’s pulse count.

  1. Edit data/data.json and replace null with 2 for pulseCount.
  2. Run pio run --target uploadfs to upload the configuration file.

Wire it up

wiring diagram of rotary encoder with t-display board

  1. Connect the rotary encoder A and B pins to GPIO pins 12 and 13.
  2. Connect one pole of the switch to GPIO pin 15.
  3. Connect other pole of the switch and the encoder’s remaining middle pin to ground.

soldering rotary encoder’s wires to the circuit board

Install the firmware

The Knobby setup tool can flash the latest firmware and configure wifi credentials over USB (requires Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge for Web Serial API support).

Alternatively, you can download the latest release and flash it yourself. You will need to have Python and installed. With the USB cable connected, run the flash script in the directory of the extracted firmware zip:

  • on Linux or Mac: ./
  • on Windows: flash.bat

Compile from source

  1. Edit data/data.json and enter your wifi network information (if you want; it can also be configured later)
  2. Build and upload with PlatformIO: pio run && pio run --target upload && pio run --target uploadfs

If data.json is not configured or there is a problem connecting to your network, knobby will enter configuration mode. Join the temporary wifi network displayed on screen and wait for the configuration portal to appear or visit Enter your wifi network information, then switch back to your normal wifi network and visit http://knobby.local to continue.


All code is released under the MIT license. The case design is released under the CC-BY-NC 4.0 license.