Keyboard recommendations based on a few preferences?

User avatar
xTek

12 Sep 2018, 09:44

Hey guys,

I'm looking to build a custom keyboard or to get an existing one, based on a few of the parameters.

As far as the switches go:
- Short Key Travel
- Light to Medium actuaction force
- High tactility
- Silent or Deep/Bassy sounding or simply put nothing that is high pitched

As far as the keyboard itself goes:
- Full 104 layout
- SA style keycaps.

Do you have any recommendations?

Thanks!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 10:49

Strike off item number one and you’re all set.

Findecanor

12 Sep 2018, 11:17

With Cherry MX and like switches, the usual way to reduce key travel is to add O-rings on the keycap stem right up to the internal struts inside. Those will hit the top of the key switch when you bottom out. Unfortunately, Signature Plastics' SA profile is not compatible because it does not have such struts.
Matt3o's MT3 profile is also high-profile, contoured and spherical like SA (but not identical to SA) but it has struts, so it should be compatible with the O-ring mod. MT3 is unfortunately only available through Massdrop.
NovelKeys is working on a spherical contoured keycap profile that should also be compatible with O-rings, but it is unknown when that will become available — maybe first next year.

For light tactile switches: MOD switches, purple Zealios, purple Outemu, MOD switches are reportedly the most tactile but are a bit scratchy and wobbly. Zealios come in a silenced variety, but any Zealio are very expensive.
NovelKeys are supposed to have a Kailh Box switch that is even more tactile but I would not recommend Box switches because they are known to break some keycap stems.

O-rings and using thicker keycaps will silence / make deeper and more bassy. Otherwise, the overall build of the keyboard matters: steel plate (not aluminium), more weight, thicker plastic shell, surrounded switches (not floating keys).
There is a lot more to choose from. A few years ago, I would have recommended Ducky, but they don't make them as the used to any more.
Keyboards can also be modded to be with lead weights, bitumen (adds weight and absorbs vibrations), rubber, electrical tape and/or foam inside where appropriate.

User avatar
xTek

12 Sep 2018, 11:50

Findecanor wrote: Zealios come in a silenced variety, but any Zealio are very expensive.
Well well, lucky me I guess, look at this :D

User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 11:52

Can’t. MassDrop account wall.

User avatar
xTek

12 Sep 2018, 11:58

Muirium wrote: Can’t. MassDrop account wall.
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:)

User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 12:00

That price for 100 switches? Pretty expensive. I was looking at around the same for silenced MX blacks for my Bluetooth 60% project when I had to pack it in on costs.

User avatar
Nuum

12 Sep 2018, 12:03

That price of $56.99 is for 70 Tealios or Zealios switches, though. If you want 110 of the Zilents switches you are at $106.99 already! Not exactly cheap, but I've seen worse prices for Zeals switches. No comparison to Cherry switches, though, you can get those at around 0.50-0.60€ per piece here in Germany.
Last edited by Nuum on 12 Sep 2018, 12:04, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
xTek

12 Sep 2018, 12:03

Muirium wrote: That price for 100 switches? Pretty expensive. I was looking at around the same for silenced MX blacks for my Bluetooth 60% project when I had to pack it in on costs.
Nope this is the actual price for 110 switches:
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User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 12:11

Nuum wrote: No comparison to Cherry switches, though, you can get those at around 0.50-0.60€ per piece here in Germany.
Lucky you in Deutschland! Switches aren’t the only costly part of my keyboard project, however. It all just keeps on adding up. Pity, because I’ve got the caps—boy have I got the caps!—and I’m hardly using them at all these days thanks to my HHKB. Turns out if it’s not portable and it’s not Bluetooth, I’m not using it much now.

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

12 Sep 2018, 12:36

Nuum wrote: ... No comparison to Cherry switches, though, you can get those at around 0.50-0.60€ per piece here in Germany.
You've been missing some developments lately. The most popular Cherry switches currently, retooled MX Blacks, are commonly available on Arrow.com for (currently) 0.31€* and even cheaper in larger MOQs.

They used to be even cheaper, close to 0.20€ for a while!

https://www.arrow.de/products/mx1a-11nn ... ericas-llc

* incl. free same-day shipping. Price might be lowered again when they end the free-shipping campaign!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 13:26

What about silenced?

Shihatsu

12 Sep 2018, 13:54

We need a video with a comparision of old and new linear switches, black, red, custom weight, stickered, lubed, stock, vintage, nixie, stock, retooled, etc pp :(

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

12 Sep 2018, 13:59

Muirium wrote: What about silenced?
There's been a UK based GB of MX Silent Black switches a while ago and they were like ... roughly ... 0.35€ iirc

I bought a few thousand and mostly harvested them for the HOUSINGS ... if you are interested in some MX Silent Black stems let me know.

User avatar
xTek

12 Sep 2018, 13:59

Guys what about Aliaz switches?

Are they any good?

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

12 Sep 2018, 14:01

Shihatsu wrote: We need a video with a comparision of old and new linear switches, black, red, custom weight, stickered, lubed, stock, vintage, nixie, stock, retooled, etc pp :(
I don't think it's possible to bring across the subtle differences between all these switches. You can focus on one of the characteristics and try to demonstrate the differences in a special setup. But an overall comparison is so hard to do.

This is mostly something people would really LIKE to see and that would probably catch a lot of views when someone is bold enough to claim such a video but I highly doubt we're going to get more than a personal impression from such a video.

User avatar
Myoth

12 Sep 2018, 14:02

I would have said an AEK with SKCM Orange but there is no such thing as high profile Alps keycaps :/

User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 14:07

Wodan wrote:
Muirium wrote: What about silenced?
There's been a UK based GB of MX Silent Black switches a while ago and they were like ... roughly ... 0.35€ iirc

I bought a few thousand and mostly harvested them for the HOUSINGS ... if you are interested in some MX Silent Black stems let me know.
Intriguing. Are the housings one of the things cherry got so wrong until recently? I don’t have a reliable source of vintage housings, so my inner Everything Can Go Wrong and Will Go Wrong alarm is sounding.

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

12 Sep 2018, 14:10

xTek wrote: Guys what about Aliaz switches?

Are they any good?
:lol: This is turning into a personal shopper experience for you eh?

What are you really expecting here?
Look at the switches people who build a lot of keyboards use in their builds.

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

12 Sep 2018, 14:12

Muirium wrote: Intriguing. Are the housings one of the things cherry got so wrong until recently? I don’t have a reliable source of vintage housings, so my inner Everything Can Go Wrong and Will Go Wrong alarm is sounding.
Naw I was just fed up with "vintage" housings occasionally giving me chatter issues. So I got a LOT of modern "retooled" housings. Not even sure there was any retooling done. I am happy with the housings!

You crack me up µ ... best I can offer are beforementioned vintage housings that might occasionally give you chatter or other issues.

User avatar
Myoth

12 Sep 2018, 14:16

Wodan wrote:
xTek wrote: Guys what about Aliaz switches?

Are they any good?
:lol: This is turning into a personal shopper experience for you eh?

What are you really expecting here?
Look at the switches people who build a lot of keyboards use in their builds.
I mean he clearly mentioned he was looking for recommendations from his preferences so of course it's a personal shopper experience.

yeah, hail Zealios and hail BOX switches hm ? you're the first one to shit on the latter so I'm not sure if that last sentence was ironic or not :?

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

12 Sep 2018, 14:22

Myoth wrote:
yeah, hail Zealios and hail BOX switches hm ? you're the first one to shit on the latter so I'm not sure if that last sentence was ironic or not :?
Maybe they are, too, switches to look at then ...
Just because I have a clear preference for a given switch type doesn't mean other people can't come to a different conclusion. And people building top-kek kits usually have put some thought into their switch selection. It might make sense to filter out the "trend" or "hype" switches but they might also be worth a try.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

12 Sep 2018, 14:37

Wodan wrote: You crack me up µ ... best I can offer are beforementioned vintage housings that might occasionally give you chatter or other issues.
Chattter? Soounds liike muusic too my worrry deemon’’s pointy weee eears..
Last edited by Muirium on 12 Sep 2018, 16:54, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

12 Sep 2018, 16:54

Jailhouse blue MX

Findecanor

12 Sep 2018, 19:00

fohat wrote: Jailhouse blue MX
Good one! Those have the tactile bump high up.
But it is a mod, which you would have to apply to every switch. A bit tedious.
xTek wrote: Guys what about Aliaz switches?
They are a lubricated variant of Gateron Silent Brown, which is a silenced clone of Cherry MX Brown. Very low tactility, and the tactile bump is in the middle, which you might want to avoid if you are going to reduce key travel.

User avatar
xTek

12 Sep 2018, 19:24

Findecanor wrote:
xTek wrote: Guys what about Aliaz switches?
They are a lubricated variant of Gateron Silent Brown, which is a silenced clone of Cherry MX Brown. Very low tactility, and the tactile bump is in the middle, which you might want to avoid if you are going to reduce key travel.
I see.

Well I am officially more lost than I was before I asked the original question :D

LeslieAnn

13 Sep 2018, 00:17

Findecanor wrote:
fohat wrote: Jailhouse blue MX
Good one! Those have the tactile bump high up.
But it is a mod, which you would have to apply to every switch. A bit tedious.
A faster way is the Jspacers, but it does lead to a bit different feel than the wire method. The wire method creates almost a Matias Clicky switch, it's not the same as mx blues, methods using rubber or Jspacers result in something closer to a Matias Quiet Click. It's still tedious to open them all even on a board you can open and results in high spring pressures unless you cut some coils (cutting 3 tight, one normal coil results in stock actuation force). I still think it's the best MX switch you (can't) buy.

That said, this and click bar box switches are the only way to really get any tactility from MX switches. The bump on clears/Zeals is so wide it comes across as not much more tactile than a brown switch, which isn't necessarily bad, but it's a far cry from Alps/Matias white or MX blue, it's pathetic.

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