Author Topic: The Keeb Thread  (Read 7789 times)

Bobbias

  • #1 Poster
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7210
  • 404 Avatar not found.
    • View Profile
    • Magnetic Architect
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2020, 02:53:45 PM »
:/ looking at some of the pictures on /r/mechanicalkeyboards I can see lots of unusual/custom form factors, but I don't exactly want to build my own. It's just that I'd love to have more actual keys. I'd love something like the space cadet, with all it's modifier keys. I could do without additional function keys if I could have more modifiers. I've been looking into remapping some keys like capslock, as well as adding additional combinations for modifier use (like mapping ctrl+shift a to say, a box drawing character, or greek alpha, or fraktur A etc.) but honestly I'm not super happy about how limited I feel with the standard 104 key factor. Note: apparently the database does not like unicode, I had to remove characters from this post...
This is going in my sig. :)

BANNED FOR BAD PUNS X_x

Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2020, 01:30:25 AM »
Look into keyboards that support the QMK firmware, such as the ones that Drop sells (pretty sure there are some less expensive Chinese designs available on Amazon as well that would fit the bill). Those allow you to remap keys at the firmware level and utilize up to 16 layers.

The database is set up to use Unicode (if it weren't, the label for the old Snowman board wouldn't appear). I'll bet it's an SMF limitation. Kinda seems like so few fucks are given about SMF 2.0 that they don't even bother updating the copyright date at the bottom anymore (and yes, there have been patches released after 2017).

Here's hoping SMF 2.1 comes out one of these years. I'd like to be able to get it installed before I turn 40.

(To add some context, the first public alpha of 2.1 was released in 2012, the first beta was released in 2014, and the first release candidate was released in 2019. I turn 40 in November 2024, so we'll see what happens.)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 01:32:54 AM by Spectere »
"This is a machine for making cows."

Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2020, 01:05:14 PM »
So I ended up heading to the office today to work with someone directly on a project (basically doing a lot of last minute tweaks%u2026way easier to just go in rather than coordinate everything over Teams), which gave me the opportunity to use my trusty Logitech G710+ again.

Kinda feels weird to use MX Browns again after using other switches for so long. I'm not used to switches that have this much pre-actuation travel, that's for sure. These switches have at least 1mm of travel before the top of the tactile bump.

This keyboard uses a plastic plate and o-rings, so it's pretty damn quiet. Way quieter than my GMMK (aluminum plate, I believe) and custom board (carbon fiber). In terms of switch feel, the MX Brown is serviceable. Definitely far from my favorite at this point in time.

The thing that feels really odd is using a full-sized keyboard again. Like, this thing actually feels unreasonably large. I'm so used to using a center-aligned keyboard that I had to shift my desk around so that the alphanumeric keys are somewhat centered. Fortunately, I'm using a trackball, so I was able to just shove that over to the side without an issue. Good stuff.

But yeah, not too bad. I'll still take my weird lab experiments over it, but it's serviceable.

Edit: Back home now and yeah, night and day difference. Gaming mechs are definitely better than rubber domes (unless they're equipped with Romer-G's), but it's incredible how much of a difference using a non-Cherry switch with a solid plate makes. Honestly, I think I like the feeling of my Apple Magic Keyboard 2 more than the G710+, to be perfectly honest. It uses some very crisp scissor switches with a solid aluminum body, so it feels sturdier and has a nice, snappy response.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 04:25:24 PM by Spectere »
"This is a machine for making cows."

Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2020, 11:22:16 PM »
HEY GUESS WHAT, I HAVE A NEW KEYBOARD



Yeah, I decided to try the whole ortho thing. I wasn't bold enough to grab a Planck and join the whole 40% movement, so I just went with a 50% layout (the Preonic) instead. I'm kinda glad I did, honestly, since it gives me a lot more room to tweak the layout without things getting too far away.

To input symbols, you would use the lower/raise buttons (the keys flanking the space bar) and tap home row keys. For example, lower-J gives you '-' and upper-J gives you '_'. A someone who primarily programs in C/C++/C#, being able to lower-L and lower-; for '{' and '}', respectively, is one hell of a killer feature.

Beyond that, I did some tweaking to the standard keyboard layout to bring over a few things from my 60% configuration, like Fn+WASD for arrow keys and the like, as well as adding in a few essentials like right-ALT (since I use that as a compose key in Windows/Linux).

It's been…interesting so far. I've used it for about ten hours and have found that the orthogonal key layout does sort of change the way you have to type, so it's hard to say whether or not I'm completely sold on it. The staggered key layout allows you a great deal of flexibility in how you type things. For example, if you type the word "certify," with a staggered layout you can very easily move your left index finger down (or your thumb up) and left to pick up 'c', tap 'e' with your ring finger, 'r' with your middle, then 't' with your index. The way I approach typing is full of little quirks and optimizations like that.

With an ortho layout, typing "certify" using the method I outlined above is a hell of a stretch since your fingers have to move a full step over instead of a partial-step. The number row is even more awkward, which is why I suspect that the Planck layout appears to be a bit more popular than the Preonic. If you shove your middle finger up two rows on a typical staggered keyboard layout you land on '2', while on a Preonic you land on '1'. The combination of these two factors definitely initially decreased my confidence to the point where my speeds fell to levels I haven't seen in around 30 years.

I've built back up to around 60-80% of my usual speed (I still fumble with symbols) and there are certainly things that I've grown to like. There are two keys on a standard keyboard layout that are a bit tricky to hit: 'B' and 'Y'. 'B' is a step and a half away for both fingers while 'Y' is slightly closer to the right hand, but from a home position they're both a bit awkward. On an ortho both keys are a single diagonal step away.

I plan to stick with it and try to steadily improve my performance. If things really don't work out I doubt I'll have a problem selling it.

As far as the specs, it's capable of accepting taking both Matias-style (requires soldering) and MX-style switches (with Kailh hot-swap sockets). I went with 67g Zealios V2 switches. They're currently unlubed (it took USPS a week to get a small parcel from New York to Ohio and I just wanted to assemble it) but I'm planning to pop the switches out and give lubing them a shot. I like how Zealios switches feel unlubed, so I'm curious to see how much of a difference it'll make. The included space key stabilizer is unlubed, so I plan to take care of that as well. It squeaked like crazy on day one but it seems to have quieted down quite a bit…somehow.

The keycaps are the fairly typical Drop x OLKB Acute set, which are dyesubbed PBT caps in the OEM profile. They feel pretty good, but it is a little strange going from my exaggerated MT3 profile boards to this one. The case is a nice lilac colored aluminum jobby. It's nowhere near as heavy as the chonky case my 60% is in, but it has a reasonable amount of heft.

I do swap between my three keebs occasionally (had to switch back to my 60% for work yesterday because the Preonic was slowing me down way too much for the amount of work I had to do, and occasionally I need the nav cluster from my TKL), so I also picked up a magnetic cable. Basically, you just pop the little adapter into the microUSB/USB-C/Lightning port and the magnetic thinger attaches to it. That'll be nice if I decide to haul a keyboard back and forth between work and home after the lockdown ends.

Oh, and just to give y'all an idea of how small this sucker is, here's a picture of my G502 casually resting on top of it:



And, finally, a comparison shot/group photo/whatever you wanna call it:

"This is a machine for making cows."

Bobbias

  • #1 Poster
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7210
  • 404 Avatar not found.
    • View Profile
    • Magnetic Architect
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2020, 07:22:42 AM »
See that level of control and extra buttons to do with is what I'd love... With a full keyboard layout. Or larger. Without breaking the bank. And I suspect that is not easily accomplished.
This is going in my sig. :)

BANNED FOR BAD PUNS X_x

Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2020, 03:52:37 PM »
Yeah, that sort of thing just isn't mass produced. If you want something that's super flexible, there are 75% PCBs (TKL with a condensed navigation key layout) that have several spots for switches around the space bar. Thing is, the PCB and case usually run around $60-100 (depending on case materials), with the caps and switches running another $100+ easy, with stabilizers and lube running another $10-20, depending on what you get (all figures in Freedom Bucks. Not sure about the what the cost would be in Maple Leaf Moneys, especially since you'd probably have to import a bunch of stuff :(). That's assuming you're up to hand solder everything, too. PCBs with pre-installed Kailh sockets are usually a bit more.

Honestly, I would take a few moments to consider if you really need a full keyboard layout. After working with a 60% for several months, even going back to a TKL slows me down and forces me to shove my mouse further away from the keyboard. Being able to just Fn+WASD to navigate feels awesome, especially in macOS (since Cmd+Left/Right is home/end and Cmd+Up/Down is PgUp/PgDn). Being able to navigate quickly thought documents without having to move from the home row honestly feels incredible, and I can honestly say that I'm actually far more productive with this keyboard than any of the ones I've owned in the past. I occasionally miss having a numpad, so I built myself an external numpad that I can just plug in whenever I need it. On the Preonic I could even add a proper numpad to a separate layer, given that it's already an ortho layout.

As long as you're using a keyboard with the QMK firmware you can do basically anything with it. Head over to the QMK Configurator, select any keyboard from the list, and just check out the crazy shit you can do with it using the keycodes listing below. I think there are some cheaper QMK-compatible DZ60-based compacts and TKL boards on Amazon for fairly reasonably prices (roughly $70-80 IIRC) but I can't really speak for their quality.

The only real downside about all of this is that whenever I use my laptop undocked I always end up inadvertently turning on caps lock and typing "AAAAAAAAA" out of habit. Whoops.
"This is a machine for making cows."

vladgd

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 591
    • View Profile
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2022, 09:28:58 PM »
Due to my keyboard having pretty regular double inputs with a sprinkle of non inputs, it's got me to look at another board. As with anything I do I spiral out of control from where I started.

Budget, cool...but having just owned one, and it's mostly fine, but has some annoying issues, I could drop some dough on something more substantial. Problem...keyboards are complicated. TKL ONLY, I don't use F keys all the time, but not having them is something id rather not deal with...and diablo 2 uses f keys and I ain't unlearning 20 years of muscle memory for a new keyboard.

Ducky One 3, love the color scheme but...want it in tkl, also cool color scheme, but...I prefer the former.

It says hotswapable so that would be cool to try new switches down the line...then I went deeper...

https://idobao.net/products/idobao-id80-75-hot-swappable-mechanical-keyboard-kit?variant=33586934874243

https://drop.com/buy/drop-ctrl-barebones-mechanical-keyboard

Then looking at pcb's and blablabla isnt in stock for one, the other comes with one, yadda yadda might be more money and trouble for what it's worth.

Summary, I don't know what im doing, but I might get the ducky TKL and replace the switches with something else? Gateron yellows are cheap and well received, so those might be a good base to try lubing everything. Down the line I could look at other switches, but having a working board to plug stuff in would be nice. It wouldn't be too much to buy switches in small batches, and if I don't like em, its cheaper than buying a whole new board. I know I don't want to make this a "hobby" as a the "community" takes it(I'm already knee deep into pocket knives with it's share of accessories and whatnot), but I wouldn't mind getting my own switches and putting in the work to make them function better for a board.

There was other boards I was eyeballing, like that varmilo sakura board...but...I think having the ability to change switches is to be mandatory. I only know cherry reds, and it would be cool to experience other stuff.


Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2022, 03:02:55 PM »
https://idobao.net/products/idobao-id80-75-hot-swappable-mechanical-keyboard-kit?variant=33586934874243

I have the gasket mount "crystal" version of this keyboard. Thissun: https://idobao.net/collections/75-layout/products/idobao-transparent-acrylic-id80-keyboard-kit?variant=34240839975043

Currently using Kailh Polia switches with Drop + Matt3o /dev/tty keycaps.

I've been pretty impressed with this thing so far. Assembly was easy, the packaging is fantastic, and brass plates are sex (a bit on the pricey side, but worth every penny). The RGB lighting is fantastic as well, so if you want something that's a bit showy it's a good option.

Summary, I don't know what im doing, but I might get the ducky TKL and replace the switches with something else? Gateron yellows are cheap and well received, so those might be a good base to try lubing everything.

There are a couple considerations there. For one, those Ducky boards are mostly plastic. This largely comes down to personal preference, but I find that metal backplates both tend to offer a better feel and sound. Plastic tends to feel kind of mushy and sound hollow by comparison. The Drop CTRL and ID80 are both aluminum (with the ID80 crystal being brass).

One thing that I feel is a bit more important is the Ducky firmware isn't customizable. This doesn't sound like too big of a deal, but once you've dabbled with hardware remapping and layers it's hard to go back. For example, one of the things I've been consistently doing is configuring it so that holding caps lock and pressing WASD causes it to send directional keys (with Q/E being pgup/pgdn and R/F being home/end). Seems like a small thing, but it's very convenient to be able to page through a document or source code file without your hands leaving the home row.

That said, there is a pretty big cost difference. With the Ducky boards you get everything you need for $150. With the others you get just the base keyboard (no switches or caps) for the same price or more. That said, if I add up the amount of money I spent on shitty mechanical keebs (SteelSeries 6Gv2, WASD Code, Logitech G920...probably $400-500 total. None of them were all that good and two of them failed after only 13-18 months) I could have easily bought a good one years ago and ultimately spent less money overall. Thing is, you could have the most awesome switches in the world, but if you plug them into a less-than-ideal base they're still not going to feel all that great, y'know?

Also, yeah, I would consider hotswap to be mandatory. Switches do fail prematurely (one of my Kailh Polia's developed chatter after about 6 months), and it's nice to be able to just yank them out and swap them without having to bust out the soldering iron. That being said, just because you can swap them out doesn't mean that it's particularly easy. You basically have to take a metal tool and pinch these two little clips on the switch down, then pull them free of the plate and board. It's not too difficult, but then you have to repeat that another 79 times (not to mention having to remove the keycaps, then install the new switches and such). It's pretty tempting to mess with new switches once in a while, but make sure you 1) have good tools and 2) are willing to dedicate 30-45 minutes to the process.

Still, even knowing that I can't help but order neat-looking tactile/clicky switches that pop up on Drop to take them for a spin. That's how I ended up with these Polias, and they're some of the smoothest switches I've used (I still really like the crisp tactile bump that the Zealios V2s have, though...).

One thing that does make this a bit more pleasant is a switch tester. These are essentially keyboard shells that you can mount switches into so that you can get an idea of how they're going to feel. Most of them also include a bunch of switches so that you can mess around with a bunch of them. I ended up snagging this one from KBDfans that's pretty nice:

https://kbdfans.com/collections/switches-tester/products/kbdfans-72-switches-tester-all-in-one

Basically, you can order a small batch of switches, plop them in the tester, and feel them. If you don't like them, you're out maybe $4-6. If you do, just order a few more bags and get ready to do some swapping.

If you're looking for specific keyboard recommendations, I would suggest skipping the Ducky and going with either the CTRL or ID80. The initial cost is going to be a bit more, and you'll have to source your own caps and switches, but you'll have a very solid base, and a programmable microcontroller to boot.

Oh, as far as keycaps go: get PBT unless you like them becoming smooth and shiny after a few months. <_< Just to give you an idea of how long they stay textured, I have a vintage 1992 IBM Model M hooked up to my retro PC and its keycaps still have texture.
"This is a machine for making cows."

vladgd

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 591
    • View Profile
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2022, 09:10:52 PM »
So like, I decided while I went crazy on the steering wheel...the further I go down keyboards the more I don't really want to "build" one.

Wanted to try new switches, in a hotswapable keyboard, in something that isn't going to give me double inputs like my corsair keyboard.

Ducky One 3 tkl with cherry mx brown switches

I've used this thing less than 20 minutes as of this post so this is just initial impressions.

So the main 3 types of switches are clicky, tactile, and linear. From what I see online nobody likes clicky switches, so it's whether you want tactile or linear switches. My last keyboard had cherry reds, so I've heard good things about browns and not so much about clears so that was my decision made for me.

Pressing a single key it's very hard to feel the tactile "bump", but typing on it feels quite different than with the linear keys. And this gets to why I am kind of happy I didn't dump $400 on a new keyboard, pretty much all of this stuff (as what seems to me) is totally subjective. I like keyboards and I think the different switches are cool, but I'm not "into it" into it, yknow? I just want a premium feeling thing that feels and looks nice, and from what I can see with this board, it's the single nicest feeling keyboard I have personally experienced. I can't say browns > reds, they both feel nice to me to be totally honest. However this thing looks/feels/sounds good to me, and my first impressions is pretty positive.

It looks a lot nicer in person than it does in the pictures/videos I've seen, and feels a lot more hefty/solid than my last board.

Kinda reminds me of a knife I bought.



Benchmade Bugout in carbon fiber and s90v steel. Looks pretty nice in the pictures, then you get it...and the real carbon fiber pattern has this cool 3d effect that doesn't show unless you're handling it in person. And it's sharp as heck, and STAYS sharp as heck. You can read about s90v having insane edge retention, it's one thing to read that. However seeing your knife feeling as sharp as the day you got it with months of casual use, that's another thing entirely. Mine is still one of the sharpest knives I own, and I have a lot of newer stuff with less use. Now sharpening s90v is neigh impossible for an amateur so there's that...but this is a keyboard topic so back to that...

Seeing and using this keyboard feels like that, it looks nice, but it's a lot nicer than the videos/pictures portray.

AT LEAST FOR SOME SIMPLETON WHO'S ONLY USED 2 MECH KEYBOARDS, take my opinions with that giant grain of salt.

Now maybe in the future I'll see how easy or not so easy yanking out switches is on this sucker so I can play with other switches. Currently eyeing gateron milky yellow, and ink black...but I'm kinda content enough with these normal cherry mx browns where I think I'll be content for a little while. Feels pretty damn good to me, and could be placebo effect, but I swear my typing is 20% faster on this thing too.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 09:24:38 PM by vladgd »

Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2022, 01:32:41 AM »
So the main 3 types of switches are clicky, tactile, and linear. From what I see online nobody likes clicky switches, so it's whether you want tactile or linear switches.

I love clicky switches. The only reason I stopped using them is because I started doing the YouTube gaming thing.

Before I started doing that I used Kailh Box Navy switches. Very heavy switches, but they felt great to type on.

And this gets to why I am kind of happy I didn't dump $400 on a new keyboard, pretty much all of this stuff (as what seems to me) is totally subjective.

It doesn't really start getting expensive until you start messing around with different case materials, plates, etc. I basically fell in love with a combination of gasket mount keebs with a brass plate, but that's far from being the cheapest way to go.

Now maybe in the future I'll see how easy or not so easy yanking out switches is on this sucker so I can play with other switches.

I love trying out new switches, but I hate swapping them, haha. Definitely invest in a good switch puller if you're going to do that. The weird, stiff metal ring ones are kinda awkward (and if you slip, the hooks at the end are very good at slicing through skin. Don't ask how I know).

Currently eyeing gateron milky yellow, and ink black...but I'm kinda content enough with these normal cherry mx browns where I think I'll be content for a little while.

The Cherry MX Brown is a good baseline switch. A lot of enthusiasts seem to like to shit on them, but I think they're fine.

If you like them, you'll probably love Kailh Polias. To me they feel like smoother, slightly heavier, yet crisper Browns.

Feels pretty damn good to me, and could be placebo effect, but I swear my typing is 20% faster on this thing too.

Eh, probably. One of the reasons tactile keyboards are beloved by typists is that you can feel roughly where the actuation happens. With practice you'll be able to consistently actuate the switch without bottoming out (or at least without bottoming out hard). That can make quite a difference in the long run.
"This is a machine for making cows."

vladgd

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 591
    • View Profile
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2022, 11:37:08 PM »
I love trying out new switches, but I hate swapping them, haha. Definitely invest in a good switch puller if you're going to do that. The weird, stiff metal ring ones are kinda awkward (and if you slip, the hooks at the end are very good at slicing through skin. Don't ask how I know).

I could see a 60% keyboard easy to replace switches in being a good testbench for switches. I wouldn't want to daily drive anything smaller than a TKL but as a testbench type of thing...im interested in searching for one.

I think it would be fun to have a platform to try switches, even something really small like buying in batches of 10. In all honesty it's more of a "toy", I don't need another expensive "hobby" right now tbh...

Cool for the people who are into it, but some people just want a nice "premium" keyboard without any of the bullshit. Which there seems to be plenty of options now a days, so, something for everyone. My analogue is knives, so when someone asks me about wanting a pocket knife, I need to ask a few questions. Not everybody needs or WANTS a $200+ pocket knife, and I think that's the same thing for anything really. I mostly blame youtube, because that's where I look for things, and people who make their living off one SPECIFIC thing, gotta go hard on that one thing, and I think it unintentionally breeds elitism. This is for a lot of things, not just keyboards, but specifically what I encountered on the youtube/reddit in my search for a keyboard. Again this is in my other interests, like beer, knives, warhammer, bikes, everything. Just makes it a little harder as a consumer.

/softrant?

Curious, do you just go ham and make 100 keyboards to try new switches? Or do you buy small batches of 10 and plug em in somewhere before you take a bigger plunge? I really don't know how people can know so much about switches without having a proper typing experience with them. Like with liquor, you can try 2oz at a bar or something, switches...iunno.

Spectere

  • \m/ (-_-) \m/
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5714
  • printf("%s\n", "Hi!");
    • View Profile
    • spectere.net
Re: The Keeb Thread
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2022, 11:37:07 AM »
I could see a 60% keyboard easy to replace switches in being a good testbench for switches. I wouldn't want to daily drive anything smaller than a TKL but as a testbench type of thing...im interested in searching for one.

If you have a programmable keyboard (running QMK or VIA firmware) compact is kinda hard to top. I'm currently using a 75% layout with some custom tweaks and it's been absolutely wonderful. TKL feels like a waste of space for me at this time, both in terms of gaming and productivity.

Mind you, this is coming from someone who couldn't even imagine stepping down to TKL keyboard a couple years ago. :P

I think it would be fun to have a platform to try switches, even something really small like buying in batches of 10. In all honesty it's more of a "toy", I don't need another expensive "hobby" right now tbh...

The problem is that when you start getting to more of the "exotic" sizes you tend to lose the advantage of mass manufacturing. The GMMK Compact is one of the few I can think of that are pushed toward a mass market, but not being able to fully reprogram a compact keyboard is kind of a tough sell IMO. If you would primarily be using it as a switch tester it would work out well, though.

Cool for the people who are into it, but some people just want a nice "premium" keyboard without any of the bullshit. Which there seems to be plenty of options now a days, so, something for everyone. My analogue is knives, so when someone asks me about wanting a pocket knife, I need to ask a few questions. Not everybody needs or WANTS a $200+ pocket knife, and I think that's the same thing for anything really.

That's one of the things I really appreciate about r/HeadphoneAdvice. Give them your budget, your current equipment, and what you listen to and they'll try to match you with something that'll make it pop. Audio is just as subjective as keyboards are, there are a lot more options available in that realm, yet some Redditors managed to make a dedicated recommendations sub work.

I wound up leaving that subreddit with a nice set of headphones and knowledge. r/MechanicalKeyboards has such a high signal to noise ratio by comparison that I didn't know where to even start, so I wound up going with GMMK. It was better than I had, but I wouldn't call it a good choice for someone who sits at a computer for 8+ hours per day. If there weren't so many crossed wires and rampant elitism I would have been able to get to my current place sooner, for less money, and with more decisiveness.

I mostly blame youtube, because that's where I look for things, and people who make their living off one SPECIFIC thing, gotta go hard on that one thing, and I think it unintentionally breeds elitism. This is for a lot of things, not just keyboards, but specifically what I encountered on the youtube/reddit in my search for a keyboard. Again this is in my other interests, like beer, knives, warhammer, bikes, everything. Just makes it a little harder as a consumer.

Never underestimate the power of the Internet echo chamber, as well as what people will gleefully form cliques around. I swear, half of the reason they don't even know why they're doing it.

I mean, I've literally been called stupid to my face for using an iPhone by people who could barely navigate their way around a Windows PC. People are fuckin' weird.

Curious, do you just go ham and make 100 keyboards to try new switches? Or do you buy small batches of 10 and plug em in somewhere before you take a bigger plunge? I really don't know how people can know so much about switches without having a proper typing experience with them. Like with liquor, you can try 2oz at a bar or something, switches...iunno.

I'm not that into it, haha. One thing to keep in mind is that everything kinda works together to make the complete product. If I were to test switches in a keyboard with an aluminum shell and a carbon fiber plate, it wouldn't feel or sound the same as it does in my main keyboard with its acrylic shell and brass plate. If I wanted to have a dedicated test keyboard, I'd basically just have to buy another crystal IDOBAO ID80…for $260. :s

If I do decide to try out switches, I go all the way. I yank all the switches out of my board and plop new ones in. If I still like them after a couple weeks, I keep them. If not, I swap them all back. The latter has only happened once so far (Drop Holy Pandas. They felt good but were so unreliable that I got tired of messing with them).

You could get away with just replacing the alphanumerics and modifiers, but in my case that's almost the whole keyboard.
"This is a machine for making cows."