MX blacks: random impressions

User avatar
depletedvespene

16 Aug 2019, 01:29

Muirium wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 00:05
Meanwhile, the HHKB has `~ and Esc as entirely separate keys. When throwing shade, aim right!
And that's about the only thing that HHKB got right (even if the placement of the BACKQUOTE key is less than stellar).

User avatar
Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 10:51

In your wildly mistaken opinion, yes.

Fkazim

16 Aug 2019, 12:05

I used to use a Func KB-460 gaming keyboard with Cherry MX reds for a long time. From my experience Cherry MX reds are great switches lovely and light, smooth and thats how I like my switches relatively light. Heavy switches do NOT work well for me. The only problem I had with the Cherry MX Red's is they were too light to the point I would press a key by just touching it ever so slightly.

Now you guys may hate me for saying this but the Model M's switches I tried and instantly hated for these reasons 1 too heavy, 2 no N key rollover which I needed for gaming, 3 the switches click was not very crisp feeling. These are only my opinion so take as you want.

After trying the Model M and hating it. I decided to try an IBM Model F XT from things I had read about it online. I liked the feel of its light clicky switches but its damn layout was terrible with the tiny enter stepped keys and that layout with its numpad stuck to the alphanumeric keys , Heavy spacebar. Well Later I found out that there was a much rarer nicer layed out Model F this was the Model F AT. So after many weeks of talking to some sources I got one. Then fully restored it with new foam and changed the layout to a UK one with ISO enter. I have been using it ever since then and it is really fantastic its got everything I want and with some key remapping it is pretty much keyboard perfection for me.

Now some time ago I got a Wyse ACll Keyboard with cherry MX blacks it is very nice feeling I have not been able to use it for an extended period of time as I can't convert it to USB. From the little typing I have done on it I would say it gets the best of both worlds when compared to Cherry MX red's its not light but not massively heavy either and is still very smooth just like Red's overall a very nice switch that i could see myself using on a day to day and yes people hating on cherry is a huge thing now.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 12:11

The old Wyse will have nice smooth MX switches. (Vintage Blacks, as people call them.) Your MX red board will be scratchy in comparison. That’s my main complaint of my Filco with silent reds, as well. If it’s so silent, then why does it forever emit all this shuf-shuf-shuf? And then there’s those creaky springs…

Model F slides quite nicely. But try a Topre sometime to find out quite how silky smooth and silent sliders can be.

Fkazim

16 Aug 2019, 12:23

You are right about the shuf-shuf-shuf noise with Cherry MX red's. In comparison the MX blacks don't have this problem although I say problem but before getting the Model F I did not even notice it. I guess you don't notice a problem until you try something that does not have that problem. I do kind of home in on that problem now that you mention it when typing on my Cherry MX red keyboard. BTW also Cherry MX blues is an absolute fail for a clicky switch since we are on the topic of Cherry.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 12:55

I believe modern MX blacks are also shuftastic. It’s a production thing, not a weighting thing. Cherry used to do a better job.

Word has it they used the old MX molds so long they wore down and the resulting switches got worse and worse as the years went on. Then recently they remade the molds and things got better. I hoped so. But my silent reds are surely recent production and feel more like the bad reds I used five years ago than the vintage blacks in my older boards. Let alone my one and only Nixie. Disappointing!

No wonder the kids bust out their soldering irons, Korean springs and voodoo lubes. (Okay, the young at heart, more like!) MX can be so much better than what Cherry ships today. Indeed, for many years it was.

Anyway, I hope Vometia hasn’t noticed. Fixing the shuf is a world of fiddly hurt. One which ultimately leads all the way to Topre.

User avatar
vometia
irritant

17 Aug 2019, 09:00

Actually she has noticed! That's why I was asking about lubricants, but it's sounding like it may be more troublesome than that. Bugger. :( I'm currently back on the canard à la citron vert as I've had a stressful week and constantly having to think about the modifiers on the Poker was just too much think when I wanted to relax. Worst case it'll end up attached to the Zbox I intend to use as a media centre for the TV: okay, I've been planning that sort of thing for over a decade, but with Sky jacking their prices up constantly it's about time I got on with a digital broadcast homebrew DVR thingy. Shame I know nothing about the subject, but that's a discussion for another forum!

Anyway, gf didn't like the Ducky with Limes: keys are too heavy and she's not a fan of the SA profile. What she does like is of all things the Unicomp rubber-dome: I mean as rubber dome keyboards go, it doesn't feel too bad, though it's from that generation where the case is a bit thin and flimsy, not helped by the blanking plates over the mouse-button holes. Anyway, she likes the weighting, curve and cylindrical keys and says her "perfect keyboard" would be pretty much that minus the number pad. I think she may have a long wait!

Talking of that sort of thing, Model Ms, as just mentioned. They remain my favourite keyboard though I haven't used mine in a while because of the noise issue which led to me embarking on my keyboard odyssey. I had a play with one when she was wondering what else she might try out and she kinda liked it except "the cat wouldn't like the noise", which is true. But what surprised me after all this time is that the keys were a lot lighter than I remembered: my entirely subjective feel wasn't the 85g I've heard elsewhere but probably about half-way between the reds and blacks. But I do agree that the space bar is weirdly heavy. That may just be me though as I often think the spacebar is oddly heavy whatever I'm using, even on e.g. Cherry MX keyboards without the extra-heavy switch designed for it.

What also surprised me is that I couldn't really notice much difference between it ("it" being a 2004 vintage SSK) and my Model F, a 1984 XT. Maybe I'm too much of a pleb to appreciate the finer points, or maybe more extended usage would reveal the differences; or maybe they're just not that different.

But given the comments about the problems with current Reds I'm thinking maybe my keyboard adventure should either come to its conclusion or take a different direction altogether. Pity, I thought I'd finally found the perfect switch but that "shuf" isn't awesome: it's not just audible either, I can feel on both keystrokes and it's rather grating.

Other stuff I should reply to but feeling bleh this morning, hence my return to a more familiar layout.

The one thing about the Ducky I do find distracting and irritating is the light grey colour of the case's bottom half. I don't know why they decided to do a two-tone case, I don't like it. Suggestions for an easy-to-apply, durable black paint I can cover it with? I know some plastics can be tricky when it comes to getting paint to actually stay on. I'd previously thought of painting one of the SSKs too but I suspect that would gain me major disapproval!

Anakey

17 Aug 2019, 10:00

This is why i recommended coming to a meetup where you would be a able to try many different switches instead of just what cherry is offering before buying a full keyboard. There are several in the community that would be willling to lube switches and/or build the board for you and make sure everything works if that part is putting you off.

User avatar
swampangel

17 Aug 2019, 15:16

vometia wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 09:00
What also surprised me is that I couldn't really notice much difference between it ("it" being a 2004 vintage SSK) and my Model F, a 1984 XT. Maybe I'm too much of a pleb to appreciate the finer points, or maybe more extended usage would reveal the differences; or maybe they're just not that different.
I haven't had my hands on a Model F, but I have two Model Ms and an SSK, and each feels like it has a different key weight. So it wouldn't surprise me that some Ms are more F-like than others (and vice versa)

User avatar
Muirium
µ

Yesterday, 09:44

Model Ms vary a lot. Model Fs less so. I’ve had my mitts on maybe a dozen of the latter—four Kishsavers included—and they’re admirable for their perseverance even through decades of battle with human hands and neglect. The Ms are the ones to get loosey goosey, mealy mouthed, and maybe even a little square pantsy if they’ve really had to eat curry. They’re dull and scratchy compared to F even to begin with, and seem to have more freedom in their choice of ways to degrade.

In a word: have I ever felt an F go to moosh? No. But I’ve felt many a key on M’s go all the way to squidge.

Much as I like Model F, they aren’t as free sliding and graceful as they could be. Topre is the gold standard for that. Beamspring is up there, too, so free and smooth, but add a click with the kind of tactile presence you imagine those controls must have in movies, where battleships and deathstars are steered and locked on target. You picture you’re commanding unseen missions with every bullet-sharp keystroke. Well, if you’re so inclined!

Meanwhile, back in the modern realm, there are all those Cherry MX clones in their resurgence now, many of which are meant to be so superior. Wouldn’t be too surprising if they even are, the way Cherry’s older stuff is so much better, too. I know nigh on jack about Healios, Tealios, Zealios and whoever else is showing up these days. All sounds a bit faux Italian cheeky chappy plumbers to me. But the Box debacle did reach my notice, so beware of any “MX compatible” switches which touch your caps with more than just the + of their stems. They can and did fuck that up.

User avatar
vometia
irritant

Yesterday, 11:13

Mine haven't had curry but they have had the occasional beer: I did say I was clumsy! The SSKs recovered but the newer (and flimsier) Unicomp M eventually died. Shame, because it had quite a crisp keystroke, rather surprisingly given its rather insubstantial build. Maybe 2004 was just a good year, or SSKs have a sharper feel or something, I dunno.

The other switches sound a bit of a minefield. Anakey's suggestion of actually attending a meet-up would be the way to go if I wasn't constantly so "argh, outside!" about any sort of excursion. Still working on fixing that, so maybe one day.

The stem thing reminds me of a not entirely dissimilar problem on my hifi amp where a cheap crappity cable from Amazon managed to leave the pin from one of its DIN plugs stuck in the socket. Not surprising looking at it with the not-even-paper-thin metal surrounding a core of... I dunno what it is. Probably not ceramic but very hard and brittle plastic. No idea how to remove it short of totally dismantling the amp. I should stop buying "compatible" stuff from Amazon, whether it's a scratch-plate for one of my basses (does anything line up? What do you think!) or shoes that are two sizes smaller than they say. Trouble is it's getting increasingly difficult to find stuff of any description that isn't crap.

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”