Tried ALPS for the first time

PlantSomeTrees

01 Nov 2019, 00:08

Now I see why so many people love these switches. I got a NTC Zeos KB-6251EA with ALPS White in fair condition, it wasn't dirty by any means, but it wasn't spotless. At first, how stiff they felt caught me off guard a bit, it makes me wonder if they haven't been broken in yet (If that's even possible, had it happen on one of my boards) since they seem to be barely used. The click I can really only describe as beautiful, with a lot of bass. They somehow feel clean to me, although the tactility seems a bit weak to me, but I'm not sure if that's just an issue with mine. The keycaps on this specific one are I'm presuming ABS, they are doubleshot, and the font on them is beautiful as well. Keep in mind I hadn't cleaned, removed any keycaps yet, which I'm sure will somewhat improve the feeling (Judging from my Model M, somehow it felt, sounded better after a good cleaning of both the board and keycaps). The weight, although stiff as I mentioned before, feels very nice to me. Included is a picture of a keycap, and the keyboard itself, excuse the poor lighting. https://imgur.com/a/1pNuGTP

To end this off, how was your first experience trying any ALPS switch?

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Chyros

01 Nov 2019, 09:22

My first one was a Chicony KB-5161 with white Alps. I got it for free from the guys who dispose of tech stuff from the uni, back in the UK. It had been sitting in a cupboard for years, and it still had the dust cover on it, so it was very clean, but some keys didn't click properly, because something had been sitting on it for years. After re-bending the leaves it worked fine though, great board :) . Soon`after, I got a NIB AT101W - at least, I think it was that way around, it's been so long ago now xD .

mr_a500

01 Nov 2019, 12:56

Oh, you kids.... I first tried Alps in 1981, on a TRS-80 Model III. I liked it, but was disappointed the keycaps didn't have any symbols on the front, like the Commodore PET.

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swampangel

01 Nov 2019, 13:14

I got a white box/lightly used Omnikey 101 for $20 when I was in college. At that point I didn't know it was anything other than a "clicky keyboard" like my Model M. It's been my main board for 10 years :D

I remember playing Super Meat Boy on my pc, which has a message strongly recommending using a controller instead of the keyboard. I didn't see what the fuss was about until I later tried playing on a Model M, then a Das with MX Browns. The early and super-precise actuation point of alps switches gave much better control.

Your keyboard looks quite clean to begin with, so hopefully you enjoy it just as much :)

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ppCircle

01 Nov 2019, 15:04

I got a Chicony 5161A with blue alps from a school removing. Before that i using cherry red board. After first press i just asked to myself is something can feel and sound that good? After that i sold my cherry board and start colecting vintage keyboards with alps switches.

Now i need to find space in my room for them all. :roll:

PlantSomeTrees

01 Nov 2019, 15:46

mr_a500 wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 12:56
Oh, you kids.... I first tried Alps in 1981, on a TRS-80 Model III. I liked it, but was disappointed the keycaps didn't have any symbols on the front, like the Commodore PET.
Would be pretty interesting to see some ALPS keycaps with those today. Interesting story as well.

PlantSomeTrees

01 Nov 2019, 15:50

ppCircle wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 15:04
I got a Chicony 5161A with blue alps from a school removing. Before that i using cherry red board. After first press i just asked to myself is something can feel and sound that good? After that i sold my cherry board and start colecting vintage keyboards with alps switches.

Now i need to find space in my room for them all. :roll:
I understand this feeling too well honestly. Priority boxes work really well for storing keyboards though. That's insanely lucky, what year was that in?

PlantSomeTrees

01 Nov 2019, 16:08

swampangel wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 13:14
I got a white box/lightly used Omnikey 101 for $20 when I was in college. At that point I didn't know it was anything other than a "clicky keyboard" like my Model M. It's been my main board for 10 years :D

I remember playing Super Meat Boy on my pc, which has a message strongly recommending using a controller instead of the keyboard. I didn't see what the fuss was about until I later tried playing on a Model M, then a Das with MX Browns. The early and super-precise actuation point of alps switches gave much better control.

Your keyboard looks quite clean to begin with, so hopefully you enjoy it just as much :)
Man, you'd be hard pressed to find one for that price today, good find, I see most on Ebay going for 100+ now. Wow, 10 years? Have any of the switches given out yet? Interesting, although they seem to be a bit stiff for some gamers. Yes, it's surprisingly very clean, funnily enough, that's how it came, I hadn't cleaned it or anything of that sort, I cleaned off the keycaps, and tried one today since it was dry, and it felt much better, even sounded better, I can't wait to fully put it together, which will be in a couple hours. Not only that, but the feel of ALPS is much better, I've never tried Browns personally, but have tried Reds, and surprisingly, my reds aren't extremely scratchy, but they feel no where near as good as ALPS, and sound no where near as good as any of them.

PlantSomeTrees

01 Nov 2019, 16:15

Chyros wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 09:22
My first one was a Chicony KB-5161 with white Alps. I got it for free from the guys who dispose of tech stuff from the uni, back in the UK. It had been sitting in a cupboard for years, and it still had the dust cover on it, so it was very clean, but some keys didn't click properly, because something had been sitting on it for years. After re-bending the leaves it worked fine though, great board :) . Soon`after, I got a NIB AT101W - at least, I think it was that way around, it's been so long ago now xD .
It's great your first ALPS board had whites, I've heard bad things about the tactility of black ALPS. Like many of these posts, that's a pretty good find, although isn't the build quality of the Chicony not great? I can't remember honestly. I know it was a long time ago, but what did you end up doing with them? Did you leave them stock?

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ppCircle

01 Nov 2019, 17:26

PlantSomeTrees wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 15:50
ppCircle wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 15:04
I got a Chicony 5161A with blue alps from a school removing. Before that i using cherry red board. After first press i just asked to myself is something can feel and sound that good? After that i sold my cherry board and start colecting vintage keyboards with alps switches.

Now i need to find space in my room for them all. :roll:
I understand this feeling too well honestly. Priority boxes work really well for storing keyboards though. That's insanely lucky, what year was that in?
Year ago. A loot of vintage stuff they threw to recycling. Unfortunately I heard about it at last day. So i could pick up only those things what was left. Something with cherry black, ibm model m and that chicony.

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swampangel

01 Nov 2019, 18:04

PlantSomeTrees wrote:
01 Nov 2019, 16:08
Wow, 10 years? Have any of the switches given out yet?
I should hope not! The numpad . key has lost its click, though, which means I need to try re-seating its click leaf, or giving it a gentle bend.

HungerMechanic

01 Nov 2019, 19:30

The first time I knowingly tried an ALPS switch was at a keyboard meetup last year.

It was SKCM Orange, from an Apple keyboard, in a new PCB and case.

I was stunned by the Orange ALPS switches, because the tactility was on a whole other level as compared to most MX tactiles.

I immediately felt betrayed by all the marketing and advertising for Cherry switches, offering 'tactiles' such as MX Brown and Clear.

Here was a switch with a reasonable weight, and a tactility that could be felt through the entire keypress. The dynamics of the tactility changed as you pushed through, giving you feedback about switch actuation. But the tactile quality was more intricate, here was a true 'mechanical' switch. You have this complex descent and ascent, it reminded me of a bicycle with gear shifting.

I also tried Matias "tactile pro" and so-called "quiet clicky" switches at that meetup. The tactile pro was more interesting, I think, a less restrained tactile switch. The "quiet clicky" wasn't quite as quiet as I had hoped, and the tactility was dampened. Neither was as good as SKCM Orange, although they were more interesting than stock MX tactiles.

Overall, I don't think that the meetup was really the first time I tried ALPS switches. We had some Apple computers back in elementary school. Being black + white and non-standard, we didn't really like them, but I felt that the keyboard was the best feature, and enjoyed typing on them even then. So maybe I had tried ALPS decades before, perhaps Salmon or Cream or some other common variant.

Riverman

01 Nov 2019, 20:06

My dad bought a Macintosh SE/30 back in 1989 with the Extended Keyboard II. That was our keyboard through several different Macs in the '90s, and I still have it, along with another AEKII, and a regular Apple Keyboard with orange or salmon Alps switches that I picked up at a computer surplus store years ago, before people considered them valuable. I've tried a couple of Matias keyboards, and all I can say about those is that whoever designed their Alps knock-off switches and thought they felt anything like the old ones was smoking something. Cherry MX switches are decent, but they're no Alps. I didn't like their quite switches at all. They feel nothing like an AEK II's cream damped Alps switches. I have a pair of Topre keyboards now, one for my PC at work and one for my Mac at home. I do wish that someone would make a decent replacement for those old Apple keyboards. I need to retrobrite mine and find a spacebar that's not completely shiny.

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Jaki1122

04 Nov 2019, 03:24

My first ALPS was my beloved Northgate Omnikey 101 I imported from USA. Almost NOS, it feels amazing. Even more considering my previous keyboard was... the one in my laptop and a Genius crap thing. Ever since, I got myself a Monterey KBD 104 that was in poor condition and restored it. Still not at 100%, but is great. Will post the whole restoration soon on the forum. Now I use the Monterey as a daily driver and the Northgate is only for very special occasions :)
And yes, they feel a bit stiff, but I love it, since I don't like super soft keys.

ollir

06 Nov 2019, 21:37

Acer 6012 with white Alps when I was about 14. It was a beast among all the other boards I had, which were all rubber domes. Some decent Key Tronic and an Olivetti ANK-27 102 were among those but the Acer had class that wasn't matched. It was loud and had a nice solid feel to it. I no longer have the same unit with me, but I've relatively recently acquired two of those after being on the lookout for too long. It's still my favourite board.

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