Hello everyone, i am not a very active forum member, i am more of a discord member (from the group who left due to some drama queen making some other people banned with him being saved). I guess it has reach that point where i can say i am probably one of the biggest expert in rubber dome keyboard around... Wait... did that pervert just say rubber dome... yes... The good kind of rubber dome.
So, i guess i will simply point every stuff i tried in the last 18 month of being into vintage keyboard, rubber dome wise.
I might sound like a rich bastard faggot... but don't worry, in reality, i am super cheapass... That why it took me 1 years to hunt the perfect deal for a 8801 on Yahoo Auction Japan... Yeah, i was fighting a lot of auction for it and giving up...
So, i wanna say first off that Topre's not something worth paying full price... you would need to have wide super large pocket to do. Most moron would pay $250 USD to $400 USD for their Topre Board... I fail to understand the logic. But personally, it's not like i don't have 5 topre board already... But i never paid more than $110 USD to $123 CAD for mine. The trick's to not buy retail price. Topre's often sold NOS in box of previous model made a long time ago. I often see the SA0100 Topre Realforce 45g being listed at 8,000 JPY in box, that Topre's made around 2008. No, the rubber dome still feel amazing. But i am not here to say that Topre's the ultimate Rubber dome, it's just a part of the ultimate equoation. I personally don't like stock Topre anymore, i only tried Stock Variable Weight in very horrible condition of almost pristine if not pristine 45g. To make Topre the Ultimate Keyboard... Sadly, it will be to invest in BKE Dome Redux from Keyclack. You can also buy the silencing ring from them who are one of the sole decent one who don't ruin the experience. But there's also a new alternative to BKE Dome Redux which i have not tried from another vendor, cannot remember the name. Personally, my finger training was 4 days from pain to fine with Space Invader Clicky then 3 more days for pain to fine with BKE Dome Redux Heavy. I personally find the Heavy BKE Dome the Best experience in rubber dome.
Now, life's not only about Topre... There's way more decent stuff on there. Most older post compare Topre to BTC Dome with Slider. Having tested a dirty 5100C first, i really liked it, then i tried a NOS lot from Japan's BTC 5119, it's amazing. Way way better than Stock Topre 45g. If you are broke, this is what you need... BUT, the main issue's your finger will start hurting if you plain intense game in under a couple minute. I don't have that happen with BKE Dome with Slider or Stock Topre. So IDK why it happen. The main issue's the rubber dome bounce too much around making micro vibration on the finger, which seem to be why i am getting tired from it.
I also tried the Scorpius Dome with Slider... Sadly, i was missing a stab on left shift and i only use the left shift while typing. So, personally, it was not a pleasant experience due to shift key getting stuck... BUT IT'S ONLY PART OF THE ISSUE... The main issue's the key upstroke WAY TOO FAST... It's like the recoil of a gun... It's so bad you get tired in less than 5min... Not pleasant at all. So that one of the reason i only tried it once and tried to make my own stab but it was not working (when i was sure i nailed it).
Now... you are expecting to be like "Is that like the top 3 recommendation of chyros for rubber dome", yes, but not quite... Here's where i make it the ultimate experience... or almost...
I got a Brother Proto Topre Typewriter, the feeling's amazing when i converted it to usb. The dome are super snappy, at the point that the membrane one can out shine the BTC Dome with Slider... Now, i heard my friend erderm also got the PCB version and it destroy it even more. I cannot remember if he said he prefer ITW Mag Valve more than Brother Proto Topre PCB variant. He can probably reply on this thread about his impression.
Finally, for something probably most of you never heard... And this is my 2nd keyboard i got with them... Have you ever heard of "Fujitsu Libertouch", nobody's raising their hand... welp... Fujitsu make the HHKB and own a bunch of share on Topre if they don't own them now... HHKB's simply the cheapest bad quality board with Topre. When i say to everyone that Topre's not just your plain stupid rubber dome but an ensemble of over engineering on quality part that make it super good. Anybody who opened a realforce for BKE Dome Redux upgrade would understand. So... Essentially, i got this Fujitsu Libertouch Keyboard TEC, i am surprised with how good they feel. The casing's definitively the same molding than Topre Realforce one. The plate's similar but with different switch housing (Yes, Topre have switch, it's more complicated than your stupid rubber dome... I will explain after this). The rubber dome are on the keycap side's slider, essentially, it's like topre but everything on the keycap side, including the dome. The spring contact the pcb or membrane like it was a IBM (i need to open mine to confirm). It feel amazing. The switch start fairly linear and then when you are at a certain point, the rubber dome on the keycap part collapse and you instant bottom out in a large travel in one shoot. It feel less tactile than topre but like 20-30% more heavy than 45g. Feel super light in a way... Being honest, i start liking them has a better alternative to 45g Stock Topre. But the BKE dome redux make it even better... The case's litterally the same that the super thicc Realforce one. The keycap are essentially the same molding but with stem part being swapped with a hole for the slider. I also tried that NEC Macropad for Super Market for a long time which i used for macro command under a udev mod for that device ID. It's totally unusable outside using it for special key i use on Linux. But, has a macro pad, it's totally fine. The issue being an alphabetic keyboard for the super market software which without remapping with that device ID only mapping would make it useless... So, cannot be used at all on Windows... I checked inside the keyboard today and made some discovery, one, it's not a PCB but a membrane, two, the rubber dome have 3 variation, 34cN, 44cN and 54cN, i got the 44cN and still feel amazing compared to 45g Topre. You can even remove the rubber dome to make the libertouch linear and it still work, sadly, the upstroke will be very slow and in a way, the switch's way more more down on up position than with the rubber dome and make the travel almost nothing anymore. Probably a great rubber dome for gaming, similar to Matsushita Prong over Membrane but without the spring cuckling.
Finally, let's me explain the way Topre work. The PCB's screw on the top part of the casing. The reason's the pression of the sandwish being a requirement for it to work fine. Hence why all case are thic clipped case. Removing the screw on the PCB and removing it, the rubber dome all get stock to it. For servicing, you will need to remove all dome by trying to not squash the spring under it and not mixing the spring so they don't fusion together. Be sure to do that on something like having 2 CD rom drive on the side of the casing (1 per side), so the switch are all unactuated (since it's like being flat and backward, you don't want the switch to be pressed down). You then see there's a slider inside a switch casing, when you press the keycap, the stem of the keycap make the slider travel down, squishing the dome, the down pushing down the spring at the same time, the spring already making more or less contact on the PCB, since it's capacitive, it listen to how much current can pass between left and right pad. So, the more you push the spring, the more the spring's outside toward the inside start contacting the conductive part of the pcb. Making it having a way to detect how much contact left and right pad by making it sense with current value, making it able to have variable actuation point or even possibly analogue feature for gaming in the future like wooting or even dual actuation option like wooting. The possibility are here... but meh, i only get 6 key rollover on Linux and seem only Windows get Full NKey... But yeah, the software for Topre actuation point changer could have been way way more... But they did not take the possibility of doing more due to gaming on PC in Japan not being that popular yet... Until last 2 years due to Sony censorship and Nintendo Switch being the only option for uncensored JRPG... So... PC gaming's making a come back in force... And probably the New Phantasy Star Online New Genesis might be going to make the gaming PC market explode in the next coming month... Trust me, i played PSO2 JP for 2800h in ship 10 and i know that it will make a big wave soon. So off course Topre could probably look that market up soon too, it's only a matter of time.
Finally, if someone want to wet themself... I always wanted to try the Sanwa Supply Topre Clone model number SKB060... But the main issue's all the keycap keep breaking... 5 keycap broke in 3 month on one of a review. So you need to literally replace the keycap on day 1... I then realise the Sanwa Supply making them's not the same Sanwa that make Arcade Part in gaming that was recognize at top quality for Arcade Stick in madz catz arcade stick.
Another interesting stuff's the Topre Short Throw who look like Chicklet Version of Topre. Finally, the Sony BKE might be something also totally different than normal Topre in term of feeling...
For the Topre clone, i heard that they are utterly cheap quality, meh for typing, but for gaming, they excel for OSU... personally i never played OSU, so not an issue for me.
Finally, i had this batch of rubber dome that everyone was giving me IRL and i had before from dumpster and from a bad yahoo auction lot (that why i never bid on lot anymore when it fucking explode your shipping price with crap). The NEC Dome with Slider was something interesting but not the best shit, would give it a pass if i was you but it's not so bad for how much they cost you in Japan. There's also NMB Dome with Slider i tried and they always fail royally. I am not a fan of them at all, the white one feel more toward linear but i was losing a 30% speed in my typing, the worse speed lost i ever had which normally not more than 5%.
The only last shit that might be similar to rubber dome but it's more similar to IBM Model M, the Matsushita Prong over Membrane... MEN, this linear blow your ass... I have never felt a linear so clean as fuck once you open it and blow a can of air inside. No fucking scratch feeling and it feel super nice for linear, the travel's probably 1.5mm to 2mm max. So perfect for gaming. Mostly found in Panasonic Typewriter. If you are into linear, go grab one.
I finally also tried multiple other fujitsu technology like leaf spring 4th gen Linear, which the bottoming out feel very rubbery, in a way that it was made that way for exactly not make you bottom out (which take me a shit load of days to train to lighter switch to be even able to use it), the 3rd gen linear i just tried who feel kinda similar to 4th gen but without the rubbery feeling. The Peerless clicky that felt way too light on the click side but was totally ass to use since the click was even less than NEC Oval Blue if my memory was good.
So yeah, TL;DR, Fujitsu Libertouch's awesome, Topre's overated until modded with BKE Dome Redux and BTC Dome with Slider feel better than Stock Topre and Brother Proto Topre or ITW Magnetic Valve's superior to even BKE Dome Redux (if i remember what Erderm said). Finally, according to Mallard, the Alps SKCM Lime (Neon Green) Bamboo revision feel like trash and Moerkedal seem to approve it since both got one for a few days before flipping it.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed my shitty rants;reviews. Enjoys Piano on your toaster connected to the TV. I am just a smart toaster who burn your toast for you, MyLord Quacker. XD
PS : I use Arch Linux with AwesomeWM, since i use Arch Linux, i felt the need to display that i use Arch Linux, that was just for the meme, not flexing it or anything. Just dm me on discord if you wanna learn to convert your basic binary switch to USB, Kelvin made me learn it in less than 2 nights and i need to learn PCB making now thank to him. Just kinda lazy into doing it.