Why are alps keyboards not as popular?

samuelcable

17 Oct 2019, 20:04

Pennywoloz wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 20:00
This could also go for Topre. What made cherry mx and its clones become the dominant key switch? We now have a rise in custom made keyboard switches (like the romer g and steelseries switches) but razers clones, gateron, greetech, etc and the original cherry are far more popular. Then I'm looking for some alps type keyboards and literally the only ones that aren't discontinued are the Matias, which I've heard aren't as nice as original alps. Keyboards like the filco zero and ducky 1087XM went out of production shortly after they were started. Why do you think this is? I've never tried an alps keyboard (I have ordered a set of the clicky, quiet click, and linear matias switches with keycaps from a guy on eBay, but that's not the same as trying it out on a real keyboard) and it seems like something I may be into but the matias keyboards are by their own admission "not used for gaming" (which I guess means they don't have nkro?). Why did cherry emerge as the dominant force in mechanical keyboards, and not alps, or topre? Or hell, buckling springs? While none of these kinds of boards have gone the way of the dinosaur, when compared to mx and clones, I'd be surprised if they comprised a tenth of the market share that cherry does.

Alps are hard to find and aren’t made any more , I don’t think it’s because people dislike them (although that’s my reason for not using them), and they are destroyed by dust and dirt, which is common for vintage boards. I think the main reason is accessibility. You can get cherry mx type switches anywhere nowadays

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swampangel

17 Oct 2019, 20:45

Buckling springs and Alps switches were over time replaced with rubber domes for cost savings.

This would have affected Cherry too, but their MX Blacks and MY switches continued to be used in lots of retail/industrial keyboards because of their durability.

So, when mechanical keyboards came back in vogue, the tooling for making Cherry MX switches and keycaps was still available and in use, while Alps manufacturing had basically stopped. Once Logitech and other "gamer" brands got in the market, Cherry MX was the de facto standard.

It doesn't help that all of the modern production Alps clones have various issues compared to the original SKCMs.
Pennywoloz wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 20:00
I've never tried an alps keyboard (I have ordered a set of the clicky, quiet click, and linear matias switches with keycaps from a guy on eBay, but that's not the same as trying it out on a real keyboard) and it seems like something I may be into but the matias keyboards are by their own admission "not used for gaming" (which I guess means they don't have nkro?).
I have a Matias Ergo Pro and KBParadise V80 with Matias switches. I'm not sure if they offer NKRO or just 6KRO, but they're both perfectly fine for gaming.

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abrahamstechnology

17 Oct 2019, 21:02

There are quite a few Alps clones still in production (Hua-Jie, Tai-Hao, and Matias/Gaote, all have their strengths and weaknesses)
There is a lack of keycap sets and chassis/PCBs available. Tai-Hao would likely make any Alps keyset in any color imaginable, but there is a MOQ of 100+ sets which people like me don't have the resources for to buy all at once.
There could be a group buy, but the immature kids on Reddit seem to prefer destroying working AEKs then get new Alps keyboards made.

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abrahamstechnology

17 Oct 2019, 21:10

There's also other good switches, like SMK.
SMK still exists and perhaps they still have their old tooling? I don't think anyone has checked but there are still large stashes of new old stock SMK switches.
Image

samuelcable

17 Oct 2019, 21:16

abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:02
There are quite a few Alps clones still in production (Hua-Jie, Tai-Hao, and Matias/Gaote, all have their strengths and weaknesses)
There is a lack of keycap sets and chassis/PCBs available. Tai-Hao would likely make any Alps keyset in any color imaginable, but there is a MOQ of 100+ sets which people like me don't have the resources for to buy all at once.
There could be a group buy, but the immature kids on Reddit seem to prefer destroying working AEKs then get new Alps keyboards made.
I’d rather harvest a worthless , badly built aek keyboard with good switches than make a new board with clone switches. Aek are also common as dirt. I don’t see how it makes people “immature kids” to harvest a very common source of good switches that are stuck in a shitty housing forever

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abrahamstechnology

17 Oct 2019, 21:18

samuelcable wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:16
abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:02
There are quite a few Alps clones still in production (Hua-Jie, Tai-Hao, and Matias/Gaote, all have their strengths and weaknesses)
There is a lack of keycap sets and chassis/PCBs available. Tai-Hao would likely make any Alps keyset in any color imaginable, but there is a MOQ of 100+ sets which people like me don't have the resources for to buy all at once.
There could be a group buy, but the immature kids on Reddit seem to prefer destroying working AEKs then get new Alps keyboards made.
I’d rather harvest a worthless , badly built aek keyboard with good switches than make a new board with clone switches. Aek are also common as dirt. I don’t see how it makes people “immature kids” to harvest a very common source of good switches that are stuck in a shitty housing forever
They are not common and are well built. Plus people want the for their vintage Macs as well.

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Myoth

17 Oct 2019, 21:20

abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:18
samuelcable wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:16
abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:02
There are quite a few Alps clones still in production (Hua-Jie, Tai-Hao, and Matias/Gaote, all have their strengths and weaknesses)
There is a lack of keycap sets and chassis/PCBs available. Tai-Hao would likely make any Alps keyset in any color imaginable, but there is a MOQ of 100+ sets which people like me don't have the resources for to buy all at once.
There could be a group buy, but the immature kids on Reddit seem to prefer destroying working AEKs then get new Alps keyboards made.
I’d rather harvest a worthless , badly built aek keyboard with good switches than make a new board with clone switches. Aek are also common as dirt. I don’t see how it makes people “immature kids” to harvest a very common source of good switches that are stuck in a shitty housing forever
They are not common and are well built. Plus people want the for their vintage Macs as well.
AEK are dirt common, what are you on about

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abrahamstechnology

17 Oct 2019, 21:22

Myoth wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:20
abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:18
samuelcable wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:16


I’d rather harvest a worthless , badly built aek keyboard with good switches than make a new board with clone switches. Aek are also common as dirt. I don’t see how it makes people “immature kids” to harvest a very common source of good switches that are stuck in a shitty housing forever
They are not common and are well built. Plus people want the for their vintage Macs as well.
AEK are dirt common, what are you on about
A good condition/restored AEK can fetch around ~$100 USD plus you never find them at thrift stores.
"AEKs are common" is misleading and a myth.

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Myoth

17 Oct 2019, 21:25

abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:22
Myoth wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:20
abrahamstechnology wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:18


They are not common and are well built. Plus people want the for their vintage Macs as well.
AEK are dirt common, what are you on about
A good condition/restored AEK can fetch around ~$100 USD plus you never find them at thrift stores.
"AEKs are common" is misleading and a myth.
you don't find them at thrift stores because people aren't dumb, they know everything apple is worth a wee bit, even more so when it's old

they're on ebay all the time, and they sell regularly for less than 100usd, don't try to push your market "knowledge" onto me to try to justify what you said, because it's simply not true
Last edited by Myoth on 17 Oct 2019, 21:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Myoth

17 Oct 2019, 21:29

to reply to OP, the reason why Alps aren't more popular is because SKCM died in the 90s, and their switches after that were not good, so no one bothered to use them.

and clones are bad, as long as they will be simplified, no one (read as : a significant mass of people) will be interested in them

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abrahamstechnology

18 Oct 2019, 00:38

Myoth wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:29
to reply to OP, the reason why Alps aren't more popular is because SKCM died in the 90s, and their switches after that were not good, so no one bothered to use them.

and clones are bad, as long as they will be simplified, no one (read as : a significant mass of people) will be interested in them
"Simplified" refers to the contact mechanism, not the keyfeel.

Also, your previous claim is just silly. If manufacturers cared about how "good" their keyboards were, the wouldn't have switched to rubber domes. It was a cost-cutting measure. More upmarket keyboards like Matias and some various other Mac-oriented brands used SKBM Alps well into the early 2000s (Matias used them until the very end, of course)

Also I said in good condition an AEK will sell for around ~$100 USD. If you get one for $40 it's going to need some restoration work. Deep clean the case and keycaps, sand and repaint the plate, clean, lubricate, and possibly replace some switches (or parts of them) and replace the electrolytic caps.

Findecanor

18 Oct 2019, 12:58

Pennywoloz wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 20:00
Why did cherry emerge as the dominant force in mechanical keyboards, and not alps, or topre?
Those few brands that (also) made office keyboards with them (and not just specialised products such as cash registers) happened to become popular - and that started the whole trend.
We got Steelseries 6G and 7G that were sold everywhere, Filco Majestouch that the enthusiasts liked, and Deck/TG3 that started first with backlit keyboards for cop cars, and then pioneered backlit mechanical keyboards for desktops as well.
samuelcable wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:16
Aek are also common as dirt. I don’t see how it makes people “immature kids” to harvest a very common source of good switches that are stuck in a shitty housing forever
Dirty scratchy AEKII are common. AEK are not.
There are some much rarer keyboards that immature kids harvest for vintage MX Black switches.
Last edited by Findecanor on 18 Oct 2019, 13:32, edited 1 time in total.

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purdobol

18 Oct 2019, 13:19

As much as I understand the dislike for destroying old tech. The truth of it is...
People can do whatever they want with their stuff. And there's enough collectors around to safe at least some of it.

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Myoth

18 Oct 2019, 14:44

abrahamstechnology wrote:
18 Oct 2019, 00:38
Myoth wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:29
to reply to OP, the reason why Alps aren't more popular is because SKCM died in the 90s, and their switches after that were not good, so no one bothered to use them.

and clones are bad, as long as they will be simplified, no one (read as : a significant mass of people) will be interested in them
"Simplified" refers to the contact mechanism, not the keyfeel.

Also, your previous claim is just silly. If manufacturers cared about how "good" their keyboards were, the wouldn't have switched to rubber domes. It was a cost-cutting measure. More upmarket keyboards like Matias and some various other Mac-oriented brands used SKBM Alps well into the early 2000s (Matias used them until the very end, of course)

Also I said in good condition an AEK will sell for around ~$100 USD. If you get one for $40 it's going to need some restoration work. Deep clean the case and keycaps, sand and repaint the plate, clean, lubricate, and possibly replace some switches (or parts of them) and replace the electrolytic caps.
The contact leaf plays a part in the feel though. And even then, try finding simplified equivalents to the praised complicated Alps.

They didn't care, not because of the feel, but because it's infinitely cheaper to make rubber domes. And I meant it in the community, the industry is not going to change, however and since the OP is about MX Clones, if there was more interest in SKBM switches (and SKCM to an extent), in the early days of the hobby, I'm sure they would have been popular, but because of the Cherry MX caps available at the time, and the lack of Alps keycaps, no one saw an interest in trying to revive them, and the clones aren't helping the cause ;)

Lmao, I've never seen anyone restore an AEK to this extent, whichever the price point was. Never ever. You're delusional.

samuelcable

18 Oct 2019, 19:49

Findecanor wrote:
18 Oct 2019, 12:58
Pennywoloz wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 20:00
Why did cherry emerge as the dominant force in mechanical keyboards, and not alps, or topre?
Those few brands that (also) made office keyboards with them (and not just specialised products such as cash registers) happened to become popular - and that started the whole trend.
We got Steelseries 6G and 7G that were sold everywhere, Filco Majestouch that the enthusiasts liked, and Deck/TG3 that started first with backlit keyboards for cop cars, and then pioneered backlit mechanical keyboards for desktops as well.
samuelcable wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 21:16
Aek are also common as dirt. I don’t see how it makes people “immature kids” to harvest a very common source of good switches that are stuck in a shitty housing forever
Dirty scratchy AEKII are common. AEK are not.
There are some much rarer keyboards that immature kids harvest for vintage MX Black switches.
I see AEK's on ebay all of the time, im not sure how they could be uncommon. More people are realizing their worth so ebay sellers love to charge more for them now sadly. Also to your second point, Ok? i never said they didnt do that and i dont see how that's related at all, people can desolder vintage blacks if they want the same way people should be able to desolder orange alps

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

18 Oct 2019, 22:11

I found a really nice AEK at the local Goodwill for $5 within the past year!

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flowerlandfilms

21 Oct 2019, 07:07

The short answer, which is quite long, is because Alps is a massive Japanese conglomerate, that makes all kinds of buttons, switches, dials and input devices/electronics, and at some point in the 90's a businessman saw on a balance sheet that everyone was going rubber dome and there was no point propping up this one product they make if there was going to be no profit going forward. They sold off their stuff to other companies and moved on. Would they have kept their tooling and manufacturing if they foresaw the mechanical resurgence coming? Who knows. But I imagine even if they were the dominant switch manufacturer for keyboards today, it would still pale in comparison to their profits from other hardware in the industrial sector.
Plenty of old common boards to be harvested though if you know where to look. And there are a lot more interesting Alps keycaps sets out there than people think. Fun colours, sphericals, double-shots, shine throughs and even transparent keycaps exist. Have fun hunting.

Donnelly20

21 Oct 2019, 20:13

I recenlty picked up and ALPS branded at102 and im in love with it i think hte switches are bamboo white alps. here are some pictures of it had to clean it a bit
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PS. I got this for free. the guy was throwing it away and i asked could i have it cause i knew what it was and the keyboard was made only one hour from my house.

HungerMechanic

22 Oct 2019, 02:31

swampangel basically answered the question. It's been talked about in other places.

Basically, mechanical keyboard switches faced an apocalypse after the '90s, and Cherry was the last-man standing. [Their switches are durable and affordable]. So, by default, they became the standard mechanical switch during the recent resurgence.

Why are ALPS keyboards not as popular? Well, put yourself in my shoes. I just got interested in mechanical keyboards in the last year. I know ALPS switches are great to type on. So am I going down to the store to buy some SKCM ALPS? Not possible.

What about used keyboards? I've got to scour eBay for yellowed keyboards with no guarantees that are north of $75 with shipping for the dodgy ones, and well over $100 for anything clean looking. As I don't have a soldering set-up, or knowledge of restoring ALPS switches, I would not be able to do anything useful were I to obtain even some nice SKCM Orange ALPS.

Again, if I could buy them from the store, I may not have even bothered with MX.

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zrrion

22 Oct 2019, 04:33

Anyone have any ideas about why alps style tactile and click Lea eshavent been implemented in an MX compatible switched? It seems like that would be a good way to make a robust switch line that has the advantage of working with existing keyboard designs but so far nothing has surfaced.

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ZedTheMan

22 Oct 2019, 04:37

zrrion wrote:
22 Oct 2019, 04:33
Anyone have any ideas about why alps style tactile and click Lea eshavent been implemented in an MX compatible switched? It seems like that would be a good way to make a robust switch line that has the advantage of working with existing keyboard designs but so far nothing has surfaced.
Proworld switches exist like this, unfortunately, they are pretty obscure and hard to find, easier to just use alps at that point. TheInverseKey should have some though, dunno if he's selling.

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zrrion

22 Oct 2019, 06:04

Yep, proworld and SMK 2nd gen switches are in the realm of what I really want out of a modern switch, but unfortunately neither are in production. Tactiles seem to be all the rage in the MX world and considering how nice alps switches are in terms of tactility I am surprised no one has come up with anything yet.

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Elrick

22 Oct 2019, 09:44

Suspect the OP wanted to know why ALPs switched based keyboards are not popular and have instead lapsed altogether into history, which is extremely unfortunate for those that still worship them.

Although you can still buy right now, newly produced Matias keyboards sporting his version of the ALPs switch and I do have a couple of his keyboards in a some boxes stored somewhere. My fault for ignoring them and sticking with the common filth known as Cherry based keyboards.

Have joined the moronic many here when it comes to using the 'popular' keyboard's. Maybe it's just me being lazy because the valued stuff is kept stored away from my children who would love to spill something when I'm gone out of town. The Cherry-based junk isn't important and can be tolerated if any of them decides to throw anything on them for amusement.

YES, the ALPs is slowly being eliminated from our collective memories and soon all the newbies will be asking - what are ALPs switches, which is truly depressing for 2019 and beyond :( .

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TheInverseKey

24 Oct 2019, 20:42

The main reason it honestly keycaps.

Think of it this way, because GMK has been doing all of the fancy colourways that people love and they can do it in a reasonable time frame the more people want to invest into MX based keyboards. Then you have all the other keycap manufactures that are trying to compete with GMK like epbt.

It's a viscous circle to be honest... Not enough keycaps being produced therefore, no net new switches that are competitive with Cherry therefore, not a lot of boards that support Alps.

Need to break the cycle to get Alps to come back into the mainstream.

I would love other peoples thoughts as well on this.

Wazrach

24 Oct 2019, 21:47

My personal take on Alps is just that I can't be bothered and don't see the point. I don't see the magic with them, although I haven't exactly tried any NOS specimens so I wouldn't know. Besides, I'm starting to appreciate linear switches more. I miss my Pingmaster, but it was so uncomfortable to type on.

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TheInverseKey

25 Oct 2019, 02:48

Wazrach wrote:
24 Oct 2019, 21:47
My personal take on Alps is just that I can't be bothered and don't see the point. I don't see the magic with them, although I haven't exactly tried any NOS specimens so I wouldn't know. Besides, I'm starting to appreciate linear switches more. I miss my Pingmaster, but it was so uncomfortable to type on.
I own both NOS SKCM Brown and White. I have to say after using them on and off there is for sure a unique feel to Alps over Cherry for both clicky and tactile. I know that some people don't like those offerings and like linear instead therefore, SKCL Cream is the best so fat that I have owned. There is sill the option to buy Matias even though personally I don't like their housings and try new things with different spring weights. Alps might not be for everyone but they stand out from a lot of other switches.

Wazrach

25 Oct 2019, 10:51

TheInverseKey wrote:
25 Oct 2019, 02:48
Wazrach wrote:
24 Oct 2019, 21:47
My personal take on Alps is just that I can't be bothered and don't see the point. I don't see the magic with them, although I haven't exactly tried any NOS specimens so I wouldn't know. Besides, I'm starting to appreciate linear switches more. I miss my Pingmaster, but it was so uncomfortable to type on.
I own both NOS SKCM Brown and White. I have to say after using them on and off there is for sure a unique feel to Alps over Cherry for both clicky and tactile. I know that some people don't like those offerings and like linear instead therefore, SKCL Cream is the best so fat that I have owned. There is sill the option to buy Matias even though personally I don't like their housings and try new things with different spring weights. Alps might not be for everyone but they stand out from a lot of other switches.
Yeah, I did find my Matias Tactile Pro to be a bit underwhelming, even if the feel was nice. If they fix the switch wobble and return stroke rattle, I bet they'll be much more popular.

I do LIKE Alps, it's just such a faff trying to find good specimens for a good price. The vulnerability to dirt is probably what puts me off the most.

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