µReview: Filco Majestouch 2 TKL with MX Silent Reds

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Muirium
µ

12 Dec 2018, 03:17

Finally! The video review I shot of the prize I won in this year's DTAs: a rather fetching Filco Majestouch 2 TKL with MX Silent Reds, thanks to the Keyboard Company. They were kind enough to let me choose the exact model, and so I gave silenced MX reds a shot.

So, what does this self admitted Topre fanboy make of the quietest MX keyboard he's ever come across? How does it compare? I pulled out some boards and dived deep, without a script!
Turned out quite informative, I think. It's more of a lecture on the many pros and cons of my own quietest keyboards, covering boring yet decisive things like stabs. The kind of thing you might hear if you ever find me in the boozer, irredeemable keyboard nerd that I am. Shot freehand on a phone though, so feel free to compare my production with Chyros's well put together videos. It's only fair. I'm about as dulcet and opinionated!

And yes, that chest of drawers is what passes for my desk these days. (I'm flying away soon.)

So, how about half an hour with µ? I await your glowing negative praise! And of course corrections. Yes, "strain relief", I know…

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Elrick

12 Dec 2018, 05:02

Loved your review, a very candid showing BUT your camera movement all over the place gave my eyes - whiplash.

Sorry, but when you move your camera around constantly I start to go wobbly and sick, ready to throw up on the floor.

Liked your comparison with the filco (mx) and realforce (thorpie) keyboards here and YES, the RF beats the Filco every time. Not only with construction details but also when it comes to quality of feel when you press down upon any keys (excluding the Space bars here).

Overall a decent showing and PLEASE don't go trying to compare yourself to Chyros, do not go there. WE all need differing videos showing varying aspects of personal perceptions to some keyboards here. If there was a production line of constant Chyros videos from everyone out there on the Net, that would be a total turn off (not to my Mrs, she loves his voice).

Don't get me wrong, Chyros does entertaining reviews on just about every type of input device but not mice, oddly enough (have to push him into that sphere).

Chyros can do his style of reviews and you should do your HONEST exploration into Keyboards but PLEASE, steady that camera for the love of God.

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chuckdee

12 Dec 2018, 05:35

Elrick wrote: but PLEASE, steady that camera for the love of God.
+1

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Muirium
µ

12 Dec 2018, 09:40

Ha! I quite agree. Thing is, I fly out of here real soon so it was either this or bugger all. It was a whole lot quicker quicker to speak my mind than write a review, which always gets iterative and would have timed out.

Point taken re: the Chyros compare. I was mostly just being cheeky, pre-empting the likely comments to come. I know he’s gone to the bother of developing his vidya skills, from camera work to editing. Me? Ha! Just a phone and my opinions!

Pressing keys and talking about them, keyboards side by side, is a visual experience as much as my audio commentary. So yeah, I do indeed get your point. Makes me wonder how I could do something like this again some other time without a camera at all, or a bloody slideshow!

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stratokaster

12 Dec 2018, 11:07

Nice review. A bit rambling, but it gives a good idea of what these switches are actually like.

Menuhin

12 Dec 2018, 13:10

Hey µ, one of the highest elders in DT.

Have you ever lubed (or wanted to lube) your rattling stabilizers..?
It saddens me every time people pull out yet another set of Cherry SAU dye-sub as if they are everywhere to be found in affordable price.

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HzFaq

12 Dec 2018, 13:44

Interested to hear your thoughts, will give it a listen tonight whilst I'm mopping the kitchen.

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Muirium
µ

12 Dec 2018, 13:55

Yeah, good idea, it’s more of an audio than a visual experience!

By the way, I must ship you that NeXT when I’m back from the New World.
Menuhin wrote: Hey µ, one of the highest elders in DT.

Have you ever lubed (or wanted to lube) your rattling stabilizers..?
Actually no. I know, I know, people swear by various Korean greases and Klingon lubes, but it’s all a lot of bother far as I’m concerned. I’m just not a tinkerer. Much prefer to get something solid and throw nice caps at it, than tear it down to its finicky guts.
It saddens me every time people pull out yet another set of Cherry SAU dye-sub as if they are everywhere to be found in affordable price.
Hey, I never said they were cheap! Think I pointed out right at the get go they were worth more than the keyboard. Now, yes, I got mine for a bargain back when Photekq scored a G81-1000SAU haul (forgive my Cherry code ignorance, it’s a fullsized MY in ANSI with a credit card magnetic stripe reader). That’s the good of knowing people in the community. Stick around and good things will come. I used to think I’d never get an SSK, once upon a time…

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HzFaq

12 Dec 2018, 14:04

Muirium wrote: Yeah, good idea, it’s more of an audio than a visual experience!

By the way, I must ship you that NeXT when I’m back from the New World.
I'd totally forgotten about that, will drop you a message when the mopping has been done. Seems apt to come up on the topic of silent keyswitches...
Muirium wrote:
Menuhin wrote: Hey µ, one of the highest elders in DT.
Have you ever lubed (or wanted to lube) your rattling stabilizers..?
Actually no. I know, I know, people swear by various Korean greases and Klingon lubes, but it’s all a lot of bother far as I’m concerned. I’m just not a tinkerer. Much prefer to get something solid and throw nice caps at it, than tear it down to its finicky guts.
One of the few things I do to all keyboards I get is either clip the stabs if they are Cherry ones or lube them if they're Costar. Clipping can be a bit of a pain but makes the most difference I've found. Lubing Costar usually happens when I'm changing the caps from whatever rubbish the board comes with so isn't too much of a hassle. I use a massive tube of silicon grease I got off of Amazon about 100 years ago, I've lubed every board I've ever owned with it and I think the tube is still mostly full. Best £5 or whatever I ever spent.

I'm more of a tinkerer than Mu though, first thing I do when I get a new toy is to take it apart...

Muirium wrote:
It saddens me every time people pull out yet another set of Cherry SAU dye-sub as if they are everywhere to be found in affordable price.
Hey, I never said they were cheap! Think I pointed out right at the get go they were worth more than the keyboard. Now, yes, I got mine for a bargain back when Photekq scored a G81-1000SAU haul (forgive my Cherry code ignorance, it’s a fullsized MY in ANSI with a credit card magnetic stripe reader). That’s the good of knowing people in the community. Stick around and good things will come. I used to think I’d never get an SSK, once upon a time…
Caps come with time, the longer I hang (hung at this point I guess) around the more I ended up with. White on black Cherry doubleshots were the unicorn for me, I have a drawer in my office full of 3 sets of them that I will almost definitely never use, but don't want to get rid of just in case, not counting the 3 sets on boards I use. Stick with it, the good stuff comes eventually.

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Hypersphere

12 Dec 2018, 19:29

@Muirium: Thanks for acquiescing to popular demand to post a video of your Filco prize!

Friendly unsolicited advice: post a warning at the start of the video that viewers should take a Dramamine tablet about 30 minutes before watching the review. This will help forestall motion sickness. ;-)

It would also be helpful to those of us who have acquired the modern disease of ultra-short attention spans to edit out all but the salient bits -- something I have yet to implement effectively, but I appreciate it when done by others!

Regarding stabilizers: I have often seen the good advice about clipping Cherry stabs, but I have not yet tried this myself. My favorite stabs are the wire Costar-type, preferably mounted on the plate for easy access. My Alps and Matias boards have this type of stabs, and I really appreciate them. They make switching keycaps less convenient than it is with Cherry-type stabs, but they are not mushy, and they can be quiet when amply lubed. Another silencing technique for spacebars is to apply some very thin self-adhesive foam on the plate where the spacebar makes contact.

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HzFaq

12 Dec 2018, 21:58

Right, mopping done. I won't comment on the wobblecam as I had you audio only, the bit I did see...

I know you mentioned both, but I would recommend a replacement controller as well as a detachable cable mod if you plan on spending any time with the Filco.

Detachable cable mods used to be pretty prevalent, I know some makers used to sell conversion kits. I got mine from Paranoid, I think Pexon used to do them as well, pretty much a plug and play solution although if you don't want the little "pig tail" you will need to mod the case a little for a flush fit for your socket.

The real star mod is the controller though. I have a HID Liberator which is the predecessor to the Pegasus Hoof loaded with TMK goodness. I don't need to explain why that is a useful thing to you, but for anyone else listening, it's a game changer being able to define your own layouts and FN keys.

My HID Liberated Filco used to be my work board until the Phantom came around and I loved the thing; I've been considering getting it out again for a reunion tour soon so your video is pretty timely.

How are the switches vs the Alps dampened? I've been using my little Apple mini for over 2 years at home with no desire to change to another board. Love everything about this little bugger so would love to know how the pinks compare.

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Hypersphere

12 Dec 2018, 22:11

@HzFaq: Does your Apple mini have damped cream Alps? Like the silent mx reds, they are damped on both the down stroke and return stroke, but unlike silent mx reds, they are tactile, whereas the silent reds are linear.

Recently, I assembled a Tokyo 60 kit and put Zeal PC 67g "Zilent" switches into it. These are damped both up and down, but they are also tactile. Until trying Zilents, I had not liked mx or its clones much at all, but I like the Zilents quite a lot. Their tactile bump is near the top, somewhat like tactile Alps and Topre.

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hansichen

12 Dec 2018, 22:12

Nice review. Kinda unfair to compare tactile and linear switches but also a fair comparison in regard of sound. I'm always surprised by the pleasent silent sound that stock topre has and it's even better with the silenced version. Now we just need a 30g hhkb version :D

I personally have a custom pcb mount 60% build with these switches (lubed though) and they are more silent. I agree with your thought that the build structure with the plate makes the switches a bit louder than they could be. But that definetly adds up to the build quality (else people complain about pcb mount and the light weight again :lol: ). Good decision to use your Cherry caps, kinda sad that Filco still uses his abs caps (though they have Filco SA caps and other replacments available). Varmilo, Leopold and other companies realized that keycaps are also part of the keyboard experience and start to ship their boards with better stuff. We definetly have quite a lot of improvments in the stock keyboard market these days.

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HzFaq

12 Dec 2018, 22:23

Hypersphere wrote: @HzFaq: Does your Apple mini have damped cream Alps? Like the silent mx reds, they are damped on both the down stroke and return stroke, but unlike silent mx reds, they are tactile, whereas the silent reds are linear.
That particular board has standard dampened creams but I have tried modded dampened linears; wasn't a fan to be honest, I found them too light and I do naturally lean towards tactile switches anyway.

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Muirium
µ

12 Dec 2018, 23:23

HzFaq wrote: How are the switches vs the Alps dampened? I've been using my little Apple mini for over 2 years at home with no desire to change to another board. Love everything about this little bugger so would love to know how the pinks compare.
Good question. My Alps boards are mostly unusable day to day because of obsolete protocols. I could really use an SGI converter for my pre-PS/2 Granite, for instance. And I've yet to USB convert my NeXT. Did give the AEK I & II a spin with a Blue & White G3 some years ago (native ADB port) but that's long enough back I've quite forgotten. All these big old full-size boards just don't get much use with me and my heavy fondness for compacts.

The only Alps board I've put to use lately is my blue Alps 60%. Whole different category to the quiet boards in my review. It's more of a Kishsaver challenger with its metal case reverb clicks!
hansichen wrote: Nice review. Kinda unfair to compare tactile and linear switches but also a fair comparison in regard of sound. I'm always surprised by the pleasent silent sound that stock topre has and it's even better with the silenced version. Now we just need a 30g hhkb version :D
Thanks. Yes, it's unfair to compare linears and Topres, but it's an honest representation of how I feel about them. The first time I pulled out the Filco, and looked beyond the caps, I was struck by how quiet and confident it felt. Linear MX is the best MX, to me, and I do quite like them in their dampened incarnation. Sure, there's no Topre swing, but it's nice in a similar if different style.

I find the HHKB to be perfectly weighted, to be honest. But sure, I'd love to have a lighter weighted Realforce. Their metal plates don't have the give of an HHKB, so you feel every gram that much more. I briefly tried HaTaa's 30g one time and liked it on first contact.

Actually, yesterday I took the Filco, a NovaTouch and my 55g Realforce here around a friend's. They're all too big to travel with me, so I offered him his pick for the winter. Despite my ever obvious Topre fandom, he turned the 87U down because its feel is just too damn heavy! He went instead for an ISO NovaTouch and the Filco. The caps were part of his decision process too, of course, but it was the weight what won it.
hansichen wrote: Good decision to use your Cherry caps, kinda sad that Filco still uses his abs caps (though they have Filco SA caps and other replacments available). Varmilo, Leopold and other companies realized that keycaps are also part of the keyboard experience and start to ship their boards with better stuff. We definetly have quite a lot of improvments in the stock keyboard market these days.
Yeah, shipping decent keyboards with lousy caps is… well, an invitation for most of us to swap them out for something so much better! But if you're just starting out, it's got to suck when the spacebar shine first strikes your eye.

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Muirium
µ

13 Dec 2018, 19:45

So much for a safe winter's home…
IMG_4827.jpg
IMG_4827.jpg (655.39 KiB) Viewed 1064 times
My friend's new to mech keyboards, so doesn't know any better. But that mix of Signature Plastics DCS and Cherry SAUs is making me wince.
Last edited by Muirium on 13 Dec 2018, 19:48, edited 1 time in total.

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HzFaq

13 Dec 2018, 19:47

Is it too late to ask for it back?

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Muirium
µ

13 Dec 2018, 22:32

His rationale:
I switched them over. I really don’t like the alpha legends on them. They look soft, undefined, a bit “comic” and cheap looking.
Cheap SAU? If only! He’s heard me say how much they’re worth. Guess it takes an educated eye to behold them. Or he’s just winding me up!

Can’t say I prefer Cherry’s font to the beloved Helvetica on most of my other dyesubs. Indeed, I like Gotham better too, one of the strengths of Matteo’s legendary Granite. But I appreciate the SAUs sheer depth of dye. Those legends are good and dark. And the profile, oh the profile! Yes, I get why people love them.

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Hypersphere

14 Dec 2018, 15:52

HzFaq wrote:
Hypersphere wrote: @HzFaq: Does your Apple mini have damped cream Alps? Like the silent mx reds, they are damped on both the down stroke and return stroke, but unlike silent mx reds, they are tactile, whereas the silent reds are linear.
That particular board has standard dampened creams but I have tried modded dampened linears; wasn't a fan to be honest, I found them too light and I do naturally lean towards tactile switches anyway.
I have an SGI Granite. It has damped white Alps switches. Not bad, but from what I've read, I think I would prefer damped cream Alps.

I am still surprised at myself for liking any mx or mx clone switch, but I really like Zeal PC Zilent switches (damped tactile). In fact, after conferring with the owner of Zeal PC, I am considering a new build with his v.2 Zilents at their heaviest bottom-out weight (78g). The ones I have now are v.1 at 67g. Zeal PC switches are graded according to bottom-out force rather than actuation force.

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cookie

17 Jan 2019, 01:13

Coming over to this thread. I have to say that I am very pleased with the review and the sound of the switches. I think I'll get some for my Tokyo 60!

Thanks for the review :)

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Muirium
µ

17 Jan 2019, 02:46

You weren't driven to hurl by the camerawork, eh? A refreshing perspective!

It's been a month since I last laid hands on that keyboard—I've been pretty much 100% Topre over my winter in America—so I'll bring that perspective back with me when I try it again. From what I remember, damped reds are my favourite MX for sure, and compare pretty well with super fancy Topre stuff. Not ideal, but strong, at last!

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cookie

17 Jan 2019, 14:14

No why should I?
It's an honest review upright produced about a switch I wan't to know more of.
And even better, they are not compared with some other mx type switches but instead with Topres, that's something you don't see so often in reviews.

Anyways, I've already ordered a set of silent reds for my board. The silencing seems to be better, the price is right and I can't justify spending 12 bucks on 10x 67g Zilents... To be honest I can't keep with all the mess that is going on since Cherrys patent expired and everyone is throwing their own interpretation in there. It's wild! It scares me, I am an old man now...

I am also very curios to see how the PBT Topre keycaps are I've ordered alongside the mx switches. KBDfans is showing some love for HHKBs and Topre boards, I like this but it's a topic for another thread.

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Muirium
µ

17 Jan 2019, 16:47

I was just taking the piss. When I posted the video in the first place, I warned everyone it was just my freehand phone and some opinions. Thought that might put the issue to bed, but the comments were mostly about that rather than what I said. Lesson learned: post a video and no one reads a damn word you wrote! /grumble

Anyway, I do happen to have a full set of those KBDfans Topre caps, too. Been using them on my HHKB the last few weeks. They look great and make a refreshing change. The spacebars are a bit iffy, though. The one I tried, once, was too loud so I pulled it off and swapped back to my Matteo spacebar, which was instantly quieter again. Maybe they need worked in? Maybe they’re trash? I’m yet to know.

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cookie

17 Jan 2019, 18:00

Well I am a very special snowflake then, could also be that my job made me this way, who knows? To me content is king and not the flashy wrapping paper!

Well warping on spacebars is no issue for me, I went total nuts on Matteos GB and ordered... uff too many?
So I am fine in that regard, but good you've mentioned that. I think I will buy a set just to check it out.
Fun thing aside, my pro1 happens to be back in field duty again. I've fixed the messed up case and primed it in a grayish primer that is quite close to the original case color. What I found very charming is that KBDfans call it "Rice Milk" I'd would have prefered a god damn RAL color or something I can acutually buy.

Maybe another thing worth trying is to re-heat the warped spacebar, bend it into the desired position and let it cool off. I know this from working with resin.

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Hypersphere

17 Jan 2019, 21:43

Muirium wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 16:47
I was just taking the piss. When I posted the video in the first place, I warned everyone it was just my freehand phone and some opinions. Thought that might put the issue to bed, but the comments were mostly about that rather than what I said. Lesson learned: post a video and no one reads a damn word you wrote! /grumble

Anyway, I do happen to have a full set of those KBDfans Topre caps, too. Been using them on my HHKB the last few weeks. They look great and make a refreshing change. The spacebars are a bit iffy, though. The one I tried, once, was too loud so I pulled it off and swapped back to my Matteo spacebar, which was instantly quieter again. Maybe they need worked in? Maybe they’re trash? I’m yet to know.
I was wondering whether or not to trust the knockoff Topre caps being sold by KBDfans. Genuine Topre are so elegant and perfect, I would be cautious about buying imitations. However, if you say they are good, this carries a great deal of weight for me.

It's one thing to make a Topre cap that actually fits perfectly on a Topre switch and quite another to make dye-sub legends as elegant as those found on RF or HHKB boards. From the images on the KBD site, the legends don't appear to be up to the Topre standard. What say you, Mu?

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Muirium
µ

18 Jan 2019, 01:32

I’ll do some photography when I’ve time. For now I’ve just my HHKB, besides. My impression is positive. I like the Cherry look of them, and I really appreciate the mellower colouring than Topre’s own rather bluish white caps. I think they’ll be a treat on my Realforce. But I’ve not given them my usual scrutiny as yet. And the spacebar, while it fits, is much too tight on its stabs and clatters despite the spacebar dampers on my HHKB. Matteo’s is better.

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Laser
emacs -nw

18 Jan 2019, 09:38

A-ha, after talking with you about those keycaps at the time - when the kbdfans groupbuy ran - I kept wanting to ask how you finally found them, just that I'm so freakin' busy lately. Good to know you do like them :)

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