Recommendation needed - quiet mechanical for Model M user

swechsler

22 Feb 2019, 19:57

I just moved to a new job that has an open office layout. I've been using Model Ms since the late 1980s almost exclusively, so it's what I'm used to, but it's no longer an option. I'm looking for a quieter, relatively inexpensive mech keyboard. Only requirement is a standard 103 key layout; USB is preferable but I can use an adapter if PS/2 is the only option. I'm assuming I'll need to go with brown switches now, but I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks!

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fohat
Elder Messenger

22 Feb 2019, 21:17

IBMs replacement for the Model M was the KB-8923 and that is what I use at work.
It is very sturdy and is one of the best rubber domes around. You can also get it in black.

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Hypersphere

22 Feb 2019, 22:43

swechsler wrote:
22 Feb 2019, 19:57
I just moved to a new job that has an open office layout. I've been using Model Ms since the late 1980s almost exclusively, so it's what I'm used to, but it's no longer an option. I'm looking for a quieter, relatively inexpensive mech keyboard. Only requirement is a standard 103 key layout; USB is preferable but I can use an adapter if PS/2 is the only option. I'm assuming I'll need to go with brown switches now, but I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks!
Cherry mx brown switches are tactile non-clicky, but they have bottoming-out and return-clack noise. There are Cherry-switch keyboards available with the newer Cherry silent switches -- these are linear red or black.

Cherry switches and their various clones are my least favorite type, but among these, I rather like Zeal PC "Zilent" switches. These are nicely tactile non-clicky and silenced on both the downstroke and return stroke. Unfortunately, as far as I know, these are only available for sale as "loose switches" for installation yourself in a custom DIY keyboard.

My all-time favorite quiet switch is silenced Topre, but boards with these switches are very expensive.

So, it appears that your best bet might be a board with silent reds or blacks, but these will be linear, not tactile.

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abrahamstechnology

22 Feb 2019, 22:54

I could throw together a Dell AT101W with Matias dampened tactile switches or a winkeyless Cherry G81-3100 with whatever MX style switches you wish.

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Darkshado

23 Feb 2019, 03:48

I'll second the Matias dampened tactile switch option: much sharper tactility and quieter than unsilenced Cherry MX Brown or Clear. Haven't tried Zilents yet.

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Muirium
µ

23 Feb 2019, 11:27

Well, Matias has our good old surrrrly elephant in the room: their switches QA is for shit these days.

Before anyone makes the next move in the dance, let me broach the Alps.

As for a positive rec? Well, money is an object so you’ve ruled out Topre. I guess one of those cheapish full-size MX / clones? I ignore them—the last thing I need is *more* full-size boards—but they’re definitely an option. Silenced linears work great for quietness, so either get used to that feel or save up for a silenced Topre!

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abrahamstechnology

23 Feb 2019, 16:32


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Howard81

23 Feb 2019, 23:00

You can get Model M keyboards with rubber domes.. they're actually quite nice.

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Elrick

24 Feb 2019, 13:56

Muirium wrote:
23 Feb 2019, 11:27
Well, Matias has our good old surrrrly elephant in the room: their switches QA is for shit these days.
Hey you got me at a Bad Time, hence my exaggerated hatred for Matias and that is quite low even for you.

True his standards have fallen but let's be clear here, it's still far better than most Cherry Keyboards. Alps can be wonderful but also can be extremely frustrating, especially with the wide range of quality and execution of this wondrous switch.

You need to be very positive but also accept the status quo, that Alps are indeed the minority here whilst the Cherry Ugliness is everywhere upon this sad and deluded planet.

Hopefully the OP can find some Brown Alps keyboard in decent condition off Fleabay soon.

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Muirium
µ

24 Feb 2019, 14:54

Real talk, Elrick. They’re neither to your taste nor mine, but MX is solid. They’ll work and they’ll work for millions of keypresses, as sold. Matias switches now don’t. I’m not going to lie to people just out of misplaced loyalty.

It doesn’t matter who you are: if you sell shit, you’re selling shit. Matias is the only one who can fix this. We are not the problem. Even if we stick our fingers in hard and mash those dodgy switches in the hope of willing them back to life while singing his praises. Faith won’t fix it. Quality control must do.

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Hypersphere

24 Feb 2019, 16:39

@Muirium: Just curious, which Matias-switch keyboards do you or have you owned?

I have seen several reports of issues with Matias-switch boards, but I have several, some purchased relatively recently, and they all work fine. Mine are all KBP V60 models with Matias Click, Quiet, and Linear. I sold the Linear, because I don't particularly like linear switches, and these were also too light for me. But they worked.

I agree with you about Cherry mx and clones. These are my least favorite variety of switches, but they have always worked for me. Moreover, despite also not preferring linear switches, I have a KBP V60 with Gateron Yellows that I like, probably because of the smoothness and ideal weight of around 60g. And I rather like my custom 60% with Zilent v1 67g switches -- as near to Topre as I've experienced in an mx switch, nicely tacile, not too heavy, smooth, and extremely quiet. Unfortunately, Zilents are very expensive -- overpriced in my opinion, but quite good for their kind.

And not being anywhere near as lucky as Chyros at finding pristine Alps, I have found vintage Alps to be frustrating. It seems that there is always at least one dodgy switch that either binds, fails to register, or chattersssssssssss.

Typing this on my current favorite -- a black Realforce R2 TKL PFU Edition with all-45g factory-silenced Topre switches. Glorious, elegant, refined.

Still waiting for my F62 ....

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Muirium
µ

24 Feb 2019, 16:53

By necessity, I have to spend almost nothing on this hobby. So the only Matias boards I’ve used were quick borrows, including the prototype Ergo Pro Matias went to me himself for review. I banged out a few weeks worth’s work on that one, and wasn’t keen on its feel or its quirks. Definitely did not consider buying my own.

Out here in Europe, new boards are more expensive and selection is greatly reduced. This was certainly so back in 2014-2016 when I was more into acquisition. I got into vintage stuff as a result, starting with my XT, which spoiled me rotten for build quality and key feel. So I’ve bought very few new keyboards indeed, of all types combined. I know what the good stuff is like, and can’t bear overpaying for junk.

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depletedvespene

24 Feb 2019, 17:35

About a year and a half ago, I was in pretty much the same position as you are (Model M user since 1991, upgraded to Model F at home... yet working in an open office where I couldn't use any of my IBM keyboards). I looked around for a while, and I settled on the following:

- Bought a WASD V2 TKL, ISO, with MX Clear switches.
- Sent the keyboard to Mike, who modded the switches into Ergo Clears (with 62g springs) and put QMX silencing clips as well.
- He also lubed the switches with Krytox GPL105 (which further helped the silencing; powder lube doesn't achieve that).
- OG Cherry keycaps.

It's good enough for me, and I'm happy to have this keyboard. I could do a demo typing video if you want to.

Menuhin

24 Feb 2019, 19:03

For a split second, I thought "brown switches" means SKCM browns Alps - heavy tactility but not making as much noise, which kind of makes sense. But then I checked the # of posts of OP, ... hmm... probably can't be it.

I hate that I don't like the key feel of Model M because I had a black M13 for many years and at work I could have an industrial Model M, the key feel of Model F is more acceptable for me. They are really handsome but they were collecting dusts when I have them.
fohat wrote:
22 Feb 2019, 21:17
IBMs replacement for the Model M was the KB-8923 and that is what I use at work.
It is very sturdy and is one of the best rubber domes around. You can also get it in black.
KB-8923, especially those with trackpoints, are my favorite IBM keyboards - they are rubberdome but very smooth in a linear switch way with subtle tactility and the keyboards are solidly build.

I hate modern MX browns - like hitting a sharp little bump on the road when you're driving. Clears and Ergoclears are not at the level of tactility of Model M either - clear tiring, and ergoclears can be "mushy" for Model M users. The bump of Zealios V1 is similar to clears, just smoother; haven't tried Zealios V2 yet and those Holy Panda, Holy others things - are they that good?

For me, "switches" with good tactile profiles are Topres. Model M users may like their 55g. And then followed by Alps, e.g. the clicky blue and white Alps, but if you don't like clicky, you may like the "dampened" Alps - I recommended only the earlier "pine" version with slits on the sides of the top housings, but not the "bamboo" version which does not. There are dampened white Alps and dampened cream Alps.
More common keyboards that sports these twos are Silicon Graphics Bigfoot keyboard, and Apple Extended Keyboard II - some have bamboos in them so you have to check, or you can look at the model numbers and date and place of manufacturer to infer.

I'm typing on some tactile cream Alps, not the dampened kind - so not so quiet. :P

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abrahamstechnology

25 Feb 2019, 16:40

Check this out, dampened tactile Alps in good condition.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-Macint ... 3662550200

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JP!

25 Feb 2019, 18:02

Find the rubber dome version of the Model M?

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mattlach

26 Feb 2019, 06:01

I recently made the same transition.

For work I decided to go with a first gen Ducky One (black, white LED's) with Cherry MX Clear switches.

Like the MX browns recommended above, they don't have a click, but they have a tactile bump. They are a bit heavier though, so coming from a Model M they may be a better fit.

Since bottoming out still makes noise with them, I bought a pack of rubber o-rings to out under the keycaps. The difference wasn't as big as I had thought, but it is reasonably quiet now.

In the end, for those of us who love buckling spring boards, there is nothing else even remotely like them. I was forced to give up on that agenda. I'm reasonably happy with the Ducky though. Very solid quality board.

jonb2501

06 Mar 2019, 05:40

Have you tried the MX Silent switches? They're like Reds with an "O" ring, very quiet and smooth.
If you want the bump, I'd say Romer G tactile as in Logitech G810. I have two Matias Quiet Pro keyboards which are very quiet, but as someone else on this thread stated, their quality control switch wise is crap. It's sad because when they do work, they're great.
I'm typing this on a Das Keyboard 4Q, which I like but the browns are clacky when they bottom, and it's hard to train yourself to stop pressing when you hit the actuation point, at least I've never been able to consistently do that.

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