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RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Samulis - 03-05-2022

That's a really awesome keyboard! I really like mechanicals but like you have never much cared for the really clickly, shrill, "hollow"-sounding ones (which sadly seems to be the majority of them I've tried in stores). I'm glad you were able to find one that's at least on the quieter side! It also just plain looks fantastic, and that red matches your MIDI keyboard so well.

Last year I was in the same pickle. I've used the same cheapo Logitech keyboards (literally their cheapest membrane model) and mice for eons and killed both of them after years of heavy use and the text completely wearing off most of the keys.

I sort of had a keyboard "midlife crisis" and decided the only solution was to buy a really good keyboard.

After a few weeks of searching (and a bunch of hours watching Chyrosran22's keyboard reviews, among others), I ended up deciding to get a Wooting keyboard. They're a small-ish Dutch brand which makes keyboards using Hall Effect switches instead of mechanical or membrane and thus claim to be more or less indestructible, plus the switches can be swapped if they fail, a big step up from the cheapo membranes which often are useless once one or two keys go.

At the time they had ended the pre-order period for the awaited but rather gawdy-looking Lekker keyboard, using their new custom switch design, but not yet begun the period for the black version. So, I applied for the waitlist and somehow managed to get in line for a Lekker keyboard, as honestly the color scheme doesn't matter too much to me. Fortunately it shipped within a few months and I could finally get back to using all the keys on my keyboard!

Well, here it is after about a year of hard (ab)use (don't mind the ugly old generic wrist-rest):
[Image: IMG_3260.jpg]
[[edit: the yellowness of the image was bothering me so I updated the image to more closely resemble real life]]

It's honestly not super attractive to me, but the aesthetics don't matter too much as long as I keep it clean, plus the white actually happens to match my MIDI keyboard's keys pretty well. The key feel and sound is just exceptional though, quite deep compared to most keyboards these days, with the keys being incredibly smooth. Like the BlackWidow V3, the Lekker uses linear switches. I type rather moderate to hard on it (probably, like you, it is from switching from heavier keyboards to a lighter linear), but if you type light, it can be reasonably quiet.

The big selling feature for me is that, thanks to the analog hall effect switch design, you can set the activation point of the keys to whatever you want in millimeters via software; a very light touch, a full stroke, anywhere in between. As someone who spent way too much time trying to tweak the sensitivity of my MIDI keyboard to feel "right" to me, this feature really made it worth it for me, funky colors and all. They now have a black version, but I've spent my keyboard budget for ah... the next few years.  Dodgy

I'd definitely recommend Wooting keyboards to anyone interested, so long as the price isn't too absurd. It's a lot for a computer keyboard, but honestly not far off a decent MIDI keyboard.


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Mattias Westlund - 03-05-2022

(03-05-2022, 12:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: I really like mechanicals but like you have never much cared for the really clickly, shrill, "hollow"-sounding ones (which sadly seems to be the majority of them I've tried in stores).

The hollow sound in particular is something I just can't stand. I'm guessing much of it comes from not having a big rubber membrane inside that dampens vibrations as you type.

(03-05-2022, 12:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: I sort of had a keyboard "midlife crisis" and decided the only solution was to buy a really good keyboard.

Yep, same here too. I spent around $50 for the HyperX two years ago. First I thought I'd just get another one, but then realized it might be better to splurge a bit and get something that will last longer. I'm not done typing for a long while yet.

(03-05-2022, 12:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: Well, here it is after about a year of hard (ab)use (don't mind the ugly old generic wrist-rest, or the lighting making it all look rather yellow):
[Image: IMG_3260.jpg]

Wow, never even heard of that brand! It's a cool look, reminds me of some early 1980's terminals with those bright colors along with the off-white Smile

(03-05-2022, 12:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: Like the BlackWidow V3, the Lekker uses linear switches. I type rather moderate to hard on it (probably, like you, it is from switching from heavier keyboards to a lighter linear), but if you type light, it can be reasonably quiet.

Reading that it dawned on me that yes, you can actually type more quietly on the BlackWidow if you type softer. Something which is impossible with a switch that has a tactile bump you need to push through for it to actuate. Like I said, this is going to take some getting used to.

(03-05-2022, 12:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: The big selling feature for me is that, thanks to the analog hall effect switch design, you can set the activation point of the keys to whatever you want in millimeters via software; a very light touch, a full stroke, anywhere in between. As someone who spent way too much time trying to tweak the sensitivity of my MIDI keyboard to feel "right" to me, this feature really made it worth it for me, funky colors and all. They now have a black version, but I've spent my keyboard budget for ah... the next few years.  Dodgy

That does sound like an amazing feature, I wish this keyboard had it.

On a side note, I just realized that the keycaps from the HyperX Alloy Elite are totally interchangeable with the BlackWidow ones! And unlike the BlackWidow, they have backlit "secondary" legends (like the various shift/alt characters on the number keys) and are maybe a hair less tall. I'm going to attempt a keycap swap tomorrow and see what that looks and feels like.

You gotta love custo options Big Grin


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Samulis - 03-05-2022

(03-05-2022, 01:15 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: The hollow sound in particular is something I just can't stand. I'm guessing much of it comes from not having a big rubber membrane inside that dampens vibrations as you type.

I was originally going to buy more of a mid-range 'gaming' keyboard option, but I did not have any experience with mechanical keyboards. I went by a computer store nearby and tried out a few and was really shocked by the dreadful sound they made. That lead me to start watching reviews of a bunch of different ones; Chyrosran22 is one of the few reviewers who consistently record keyboard sound at the end of their reviews, even if he has some very specific interests in what he looks for in a keyboard that don't necessarily match mine.

(03-05-2022, 01:15 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: Wow, never even heard of that brand! It's a cool look, reminds me of some early 1980's terminals with those bright colors along with the off-white Smile

I fixed the colors in the image there, so it's a bit less yellow. It is still definitely off-white.

My only real complaint with the keyboard is that it uses graphical symbols for alt, ctrl, and function, and it always takes me a second to remember haha.

(03-05-2022, 01:15 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: Reading that it dawned on me that yes, you can actually type more quietly on the BlackWidow if you type softer. Something which is impossible with a switch that has a tactile bump you need to push through for it to actuate. Like I said, this is going to take some getting used to.

I know, right? Sort of confusing at first, but once you learn to relax a bit, I think you can type softer and perhaps even faster with linears.

(03-05-2022, 01:15 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: On a side note, I just realized that the keycaps from the HyperX Alloy Elite are totally interchangeable with the BlackWidow ones! And unlike the BlackWidow, they have backlit "secondary" legends (like the various shift/alt characters on the number keys) and are maybe a hair less tall. I'm going to attempt a keycap swap tomorrow and see what that looks and feels like.

You gotta love custo options Big Grin

The customization has to be the best part of higher-end keyboards! Being able to swap or replace parts is such a fantastic thing, be it for maintenance, legibility, or even just style.


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Mattias Westlund - 03-05-2022

(03-05-2022, 02:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: Chyrosran22 is one of the few reviewers who consistently record keyboard sound at the end of their reviews, even if he has some very specific interests in what he looks for in a keyboard that don't necessarily match mine.

A lot of keyboard reviewers actually do that but I often find the sound examples to be kind of useless. As we both know, what a microphone picks up and what you hear with your ears are two completely different things.

(03-05-2022, 02:14 AM)Samulis Wrote: The customization has to be the best part of higher-end keyboards! Being able to swap or replace parts is such a fantastic thing, be it for maintenance, legibility, or even just style.

It is indeed fantastic, and you know what? The HyperX keycaps fit perfectly and look nicer. I kept the Razer spacebar though, since the Alloy Elite one has a pointless HyperX logo on it.

[Image: IMG_20220305_133214.jpg]

Also, the keys are slightly quieter with these keycaps. Don't know if it's due to a different type of plastic or just the construction, but it's definitely a big plus.


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Samulis - 03-05-2022

(03-05-2022, 12:54 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: It is indeed fantastic, and you know what? The HyperX keycaps fit perfectly and look nicer. I kept the Razer spacebar though, since the Alloy Elite one has a pointless HyperX logo on it.

[Image: IMG_20220305_133214.jpg]

Also, the keys are slightly quieter with these keycaps. Don't know if it's due to a different type of plastic or just the construction, but it's definitely a big plus.

Wow, what a win-win! Nicer looking and quieter is hard to beat; so glad the 'operation' was worth it!


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Paul Battersby - 03-05-2022

Speaking of keyboards, the default, low profile keyboard that came with my computer drove me nuts. For some reason, when pressing the Shift key, I would also graze the Ctrl key. I don't know how many times I'd be in the middle of typing into a forum, (like I'm doing right now) and I'd press some magic combination of Ctrl+Shift+some other keys and it would be the magic combination of keys to close my browser and confirm that I really wanted to shut down my browser and close all open tabs. Angry

I ended up buying a  used keyboard from a used goods store. The keyboard isn't quite right for Windows 10, it was created without the Windows key, but it's better than the alternative. At least I no longer accidentally shut down my browser in the middle of typing a paragraph! 

Maybe one of those mechanical keyboards (like they were in the 80s / 90s) is what I need if the keys are taller and more effort is needed to intentionally press a key.


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Nayrb - 03-05-2022

Sam, I actually like the look of that keyboard! I would totally get something ridiculous looking like that (ridiculous compared to the rest of my rig, which is characteristically black and modern looking).

Most of my peripherals are hand-me-downs from my brother. I don't recall the last time I shopped for and bought any. That being said, my low-profile keyboard is weird feeling and has annoyingly shaped keys, especially the delete key; and my mouse is some kind of gaming mouse with stupid buttons on the side that mess things up every now and then and some other buttons on top that I don't need. The best part about the keyboard is that it has two levels of backlighting, and the mouse itself is reasonably comfortable.

Maybe one day I'll shop around for something else I like better, but I generally just take what's available to me Big Grin

Even though the wires can be annoying, I don't much care for wireless keyboards. wireless mice seem to be just fine (I have one for my laptop), but the keyboards I use at work are terrible and get stuck on certain letters or miss other ones, so tyyyyyyyypng loks likee ths.


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Mattias Westlund - 03-07-2022

(03-05-2022, 01:52 PM)Samulis Wrote: Wow, what a win-win! Nicer looking and quieter is hard to beat; so glad the 'operation' was worth it!

I noticed that the HyperX caps appear to be painted rather than double shot plastic, so I can't speak for their durability. I'll probably be looking around for something a little fancier, but in the meantime these will certainly do.

I absolutely love how you can select a color for each individual LED with the Razer Synapse software. I've always stuck with red backlight since I've used peripherals from different manufacturers, and red is a color they all can all reproduce correctly, whereas some other colors come out looking a bit different between devices. Here's a cyberpunky, vaporwave type of color scheme I came up with playing around with the Chroma editor:

[Image: IMG_20220307_011918.jpg]


(03-05-2022, 02:22 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: Maybe one of those mechanical keyboards (like they were in the 80s / 90s) is what I need if the keys are taller and more effort is needed to intentionally press a key.

Yeah, you should totally give it a shot. Heck, if you'd like to go truly oldschool, the classic IBM Model M keyboards are still available I believe (though not from IBM).

(03-05-2022, 03:47 PM)Nayrb Wrote: Even though the wires can be annoying, I don't much care for wireless keyboards. wireless mice seem to be just fine (I have one for my laptop), but the keyboards I use at work are terrible and get stuck on certain letters or miss other ones, so tyyyyyyyypng loks likee ths.

I don't like wireless for either TBH. Wireless keyboards are pointless for me -- what am I going to do, go sit and type over there in the corner? -- and wireless mice equals batteries, which equals additional weight. I like my mice nice and light Smile


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Samulis - 03-07-2022

Hahaha I love that 'Cyberpunk' look! The way it lights up the bottom of the keys on the MIDI controller make it looks like that has RGB too.

I ended up going for a wireless mouse. I actually find it nice in my case because the cord usually got snagged under my MIDI keyboard with wired mice. It is heavier, but it's not bad.

I actually saw a very good example of a wireless keyboard in practical use a friend's studio. He used it to control his DAW with hotkeys when he was solo recording himself. Since he needed to get away from the computer to avoid noise, it worked out well at least for starting and stopping takes, switching tracks, etc.

Personally not much a fan of wireless keyboards, but the wireless mouse isn't that bad.


RE: Looking for computer keyboard recommendations - Nayrb - 03-07-2022

(03-07-2022, 02:12 AM)Samulis Wrote: Hahaha I love that 'Cyberpunk' look! The way it lights up the bottom of the keys on the MIDI controller make it looks like that has RGB too.

I ended up going for a wireless mouse. I actually find it nice in my case because the cord usually got snagged under my MIDI keyboard with wired mice. It is heavier, but it's not bad.

I actually saw a very good example of a wireless keyboard in practical use a friend's studio. He used it to control his DAW with hotkeys when he was solo recording himself. Since he needed to get away from the computer to avoid noise, it worked out well at least for starting and stopping takes, switching tracks, etc.

Personally not much a fan of wireless keyboards, but the wireless mouse isn't that bad.

That's been my experience, too. The mice tend to be more reliable. Then again, I'm pretty sure my company isn't splurging on the best keyboards... I can certainly see one being a useful transport. My wireless mouse on my laptop hasn't even needed a new battery in almost two years. And I DO tend to snag the wired mouse on my desktop and pull it off the keyboard shelf...

In any case, I wouldn't mind upgrading my keyboard. I've realized I might like a mechanical one, given that I type very hard (people on video chats have commented that my typing is very loud). I "learned to type" on a typewriter, and I started using computers in the mid 90s. Maybe what I want is some variety of mechanical... What I hate are keyboards with oddly shaped keys. I don't mean the variations on the slant and the ergonomics and such, I mean like I said my current desktop keyboard has an unnaturally long "delete" key. And the keyboard before it had a really small "Enter" key and a weirdly bulky "Shift" below it. Again, these are hand-me-downs, and I don't complain; but what gives? I can adapt to almost anything, but there are some layouts in which my muscle memory just feels duped...