All right, what's up with these linear Alps?

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hellothere

02 Feb 2021, 03:20

I've said in a couple of threads that I decided I don't care for linear switches. I don't get enough feedback and they feel loose and just bleah. I've owned a couple of linear KBs, including a Tandy 1000 (Fujitsu Leaf Springs) and, of course, a couple Cherry MX red switches. I was pretty comfortable saying, "I don't like linear."

So, I finished painstakingly -- as in, most KBs take me a week to fix and this one took a month -- repairing an SGI bigfoot case that I installed lubed (Nyogel 760G) yellow Alps switches in. It's really nice. The weighting is almost exactly what I want. The feel is waxy-smooth. It's also soooo quiet. I'm using my orange Alps right next to it and that sounds like a machine gun in comparison.

So, what's the best linear switch? Do I need to go out and get a Zeeeenith ZeeeeKB with green Alps? A Pingmaster? Something more exotic, like magnetic reed or something? Give me some direction!

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TNT

02 Feb 2021, 03:40

hellothere wrote:
02 Feb 2021, 03:20
The weighting is almost exactly what I want. The feel is waxy-smooth. It's also soooo quiet. I'm using my orange Alps right next to it and that sounds like a machine gun in comparison.
If you like yellow Alps, then you'll probably like green Alps too. Especially since your saying that their weighting feels almost right to you.

To me, they feel like a better weighted, lighter version of yellows. They're also in their own league compared to other linear switches, which are quite "uneventful" in comparison. They still got the "Alps feel", yk? G.e. I've got some Alpacas (linear MX clones), that are very smooth and very nicely weighted, but they feel kinda bland next to SKCL greens.

Chassis depends on your personal taste of course. Zenith boards are pretty nice and definitely a good choice. Very sturdy case and distinct look. Since I lubed the switches that were in need of that, my Z-150 is my favourite board, right next to my Model F.

Older linears are mostly on the heavier side, afaik.

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Chyros

02 Feb 2021, 12:14

Smoothness-wise, you can't beat those modern contactless switches. However, linear Alps very much have a certain je ne sais quoi to them, like you said. Linear Alps were also the first linears I liked, as it happens :) .

Greens are lighter than yellows, so if you think they're a little bit too stiff, that might be worth thinking about. The also feel cleaner than yellows, but considering you're probably going to lube them, that's going to be lost anyway.

An easier way to try green Alps is to linearise bamboo blacks, they feel very similar.

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hellothere

02 Feb 2021, 21:50

> An easier way to try green Alps is to linearise bamboo blacks, they feel very similar.
I've actually got a bunch of blacks on the shelf behind me.

>They're also in their own league compared to other linear switches, which are quite "uneventful" in comparison. They still got the "Alps feel", yk?
I kinda get that. FWIW, I think that the yellows feel an awful lot like cream damped. My orange feels like a slightly lighter version of my salmons. (Pine) whites are lighter than blues.

> Smoothness-wise, you can't beat those modern contactless switches.
As you've mentioned a few times :D.

I did some further research on the SteelSeries Apex Pro, which you said blew a whole bunch of really good linear keyboards out of the water. I can get a used one for a much better price than new, but it doesn't look like I can replace the springs with something heavier. They're 45cN and the yellows are 58.8cN. The Wooting One is 55cN and I can get different springs. You've reviewed both the SteelSeries and the Wooting, Chyros. How much better is the SteelSeries in your opinion? (Anyone else that's tried both of those boards or bunches of linears including the Wooting or SteelSeries, I heartily invite you to comment, too!)

Please also note that I'm not really a gamer, so the actuation at two different positions, like on the Wooting, doesn't really matter to me.

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Willy4876

02 Feb 2021, 22:54

I have a Zenith that I rebuilt with NOS Yellow Alps and it's one of my favorite boards. I'd say if you know you like the yellows not much reason to switch to the Greens (although I have never tried them myself). I do have an AT-101w with bamboo blacks that I linearized and I don't like it quite as much as the Yellows. I think it's just slighty stiffer, but that might be because they're not as clean as the Yellows. Imo, they're very similar.

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TNT

04 Feb 2021, 12:54

While I agree that they're pretty similar, I think Chyros said it best when he described the greens as feeling cleaner. They're somehow more refined, a little hard to explain. If yellows are your favourites you should try to snatch some greens somewhere and compare them!

kelvinhall05

04 Feb 2021, 14:13

FLS is overrated and absolute garbage imo, tried a NOS one and it wasn't any smoother than a my near-NOS SKCL green while having a much shittier weighting and force curve. Modern MX-style linears are pretty damn nice when lubed but my favourite linears are green Alps for sure. Linear space invaders are a very close second.

headphone_jack

04 Feb 2021, 16:55

kelvinhall05 wrote:
04 Feb 2021, 14:13
FLS is overrated and absolute garbage imo, tried a NOS one and it wasn't any smoother than a my near-NOS SKCL green while having a much shittier weighting and force curve. Modern MX-style linears are pretty damn nice when lubed but my favourite linears are green Alps for sure. Linear space invaders are a very close second.
wrong lol

User avatar
TNT

04 Feb 2021, 17:21

kelvinhall05 wrote:
04 Feb 2021, 14:13
FLS is overrated and absolute garbage imo, tried a NOS one and it wasn't any smoother than a my near-NOS SKCL green while having a much shittier weighting and force curve. Modern MX-style linears are pretty damn nice when lubed but my favourite linears are green Alps for sure. Linear space invaders are a very close second.
I agree that they might be overrated, but they're still excellent switches. Especially Gen 3.

A little Teflon spray helps a lot with binding and scratchiness (mine were well used and are pretty nice after I lubed em).

bujorc

05 Feb 2021, 17:10

Chyros wrote:
02 Feb 2021, 12:14
Smoothness-wise, you can't beat those modern contactless switches. However, linear Alps very much have a certain je ne sais quoi to them, like you said. Linear Alps were also the first linears I liked, as it happens :) .

Greens are lighter than yellows, so if you think they're a little bit too stiff, that might be worth thinking about. The also feel cleaner than yellows, but considering you're probably going to lube them, that's going to be lost anyway.

An easier way to try green Alps is to linearise bamboo blacks, they feel very similar.
Let me try to have a go at that "je ne sais quoi" part: the nice "shhhhckkk" light friction sound that Alps have AND the sound of the slider hitting the bottom case strongly connected to the chassis. How about that? Sums it up? We can even keep the delicate tactile event out ;)

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hellothere

07 Feb 2021, 03:31

So. Linearized black Alps. Dell Bigfoot case with original key caps (for anyone watching my ad in the Marketplace, I still do want to buy those key caps). Initial thoughts: it's nice.

I contacted Wooting regarding getting a full-size keyboard from them, which is called the Wooting Two. Page 1 says they're in stock, page 2 says I have to pre-order, so I need them to sort that. The Wooting One is sold out and will no longer be produced. They're gearing up for their new HE line, which will feature Gateron x Lekker Hall Effect switches, so I might have to wait for that. They're going to be available in April.

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hellothere

23 Feb 2021, 00:16

Wooting never got back to me. Their loss ... because I made a purchase. A used Apex Pro that was significantly cheaper than new, which I'm typing on right now. Creamy smooth. The keys are a little light for me, but they're better than I expected.

I already set the actuation down to 7. The default is 1 and that's definitely too high. I have the little OLED just doing system specs (CPU temp, memory utilization, etc.). For me, there's not really much purpose for the OLED.

Chyros was also correct in saying how bright and vivid the colors are. They really do look like miniature neon lights. I had to turn the brightness waaay down.

The key caps are a little worn already. Luckily, a new set from SteelSeries is only $15, but they're out of stock.

I've only had it for about two hours. Testing will continue.

Rayndalf

23 Feb 2021, 01:18

Is Steel Series trying to make actuation distance the new DPI (a number minimized or maximized for marketing that doesn't correspond to better performance)?
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ddrfraser1

23 Feb 2021, 04:46

I still think Steel Series contactless is better than anything. It’s kind of unfair.

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