Massdrop x Input Club K-Type Keyboard

Discussion in 'Geek Cave: Computers, Tablets, HT, Phones, Games' started by purr1n, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I never would have known about this had some peeps brought up some drama about this keyboard (not going to go into it - search the Internet yourself if you are curious).

    The Massdrop link to this product is here: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-input-club-k-type-mechanical-keyboard

    I have no idea whether the item will drop again or not, but I managed to get my hands on one of them. Given the circumstances, it is possible there may never be another drop.

    This is my first foray into keyboards with mechanical switches, not counting the clicky IBM PC / XT keyboards of the 80s which I have missed for decades. All I know is that I woke up one day, and all the keyboards were suddenly shit. Really didn't think much about it because there wasn't a choice, or at least I didn't know there was one.

    I opted for the Halo Clear switches as opposed to the Halo True. The Clear were a bit easier for me to deal with: just a tiny bit more force to start the initial downward press, but easier the rest of the way. Just in case you guys thought we were crazy about measurements, check these two pages out illustrating the force curves of these switches:

    https://input.club/the-comparative-guide-to-mechanical-switches/tactile/halo-clear/
    https://input.club/the-comparative-guide-to-mechanical-switches/tactile/halo-true/

    BTW, there is also a blue switch that mimics the IBM clicky of the golden era of PCs.

    The K-type keyboard is way more fancy than I need. I do like the fact that the number pad has been eliminated with the arrow and page keys compacted arranged in their place. This is referred to as tenkeyless or TKL. I wasn't sure at first, but this arrangement allows me to position the keyboard and mouse closer together. It does feel good to me to not have to reach so far for the mouse on the right.

    Coming back to the fancy part: the keyboard has a solid aluminum plate and LED bottom and backlighting. Out of the box, the K-type was configured to have rainbow lighting cycling colors from left to right. This was annoying and embarrasing at work. I tried to reconfigure the keyboard to a lighting scheme more sedate. I will say that the the written documentation in the Input-Club sucks (lacks illustrations and examples), but the instructional videos are quite good. So if you go about wanting to customize the K-type, just watch the videos. (As a end-user I would still prefer the process to be easier and less DIYish without the need for installing custom drivers, a custom program, a firmware uploader, etc.).

    This is what I did. I tried for a Vader's meditation chamber color scheme. The red is a bit pink. I couldn't quite get that blood red that I wanted, but close enough.
    [​IMG]

    Past the fancy stuff, the keyboard simply feels incredible. All the keyboards I have sitting around the house, including my steelseries gaming keyboard feel like complete rubbery indistinct shit.: think of a veiled grade C- Audeze coupled with one of those older Burson amp. BTW, if anyone can recommend a low-cost decent quality keyboard with mechanic switches, please let me know. In many ways, the K-type is overkill (and too costly) for all the computers in the house.

    Now, not all is perfect. While the small keys are great with a solid tactile feel, the longer keys suck. The spacebar is OK, but the return, shift, and backspace keys rattle and sometimes bind upon a keypress, especially if the edge of the key is pressed instead of the middle. This is a well known weakness of the keyboard. The problem lies with the stablizers - they are cheap, flimsy, and do not have tight tolerances.

    The good thing is that there is an easy fix. I went to switchtop and bought these plate-mounted stablizers: http://www.switchtop.com/product/plate-mounted-cherry-stabilizers

    The cherry type replacements are on the left, the stock on the right.
    [​IMG]

    The K-type actually comes with all the tools necessary to transplant the parts. The replacement was a bit of a tight fit, but I was able to jam them into the top plate of the keyboard. Here is photo with the enter key stablizer removed.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a handy video how to replace the stock stabilizer:
     
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  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Marvey reviewing keyboards now?!

    I have a keyboard with Cherry Blue switches, very clicky and similar to the IBM keyboards.
     
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  3. Sylafari

    Sylafari Acquaintance

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    I have one as well and I just love the metal frame on mines (which is honestly the main reason for the huge price jump, also it’s very hard to find a fully metal mechanical keyboard sold by a large company; most have just an aluminum top plate and a plastic bottom). I have the Halo Trues instead of the Clears so it takes more force to actuate the switch. I got used to it much more quickly than I thought tho I don’t really have a preferred switch (I like most Switches except a certain few).

    As for the stabilizers, do you notice the stabilizers when you look at them off angle and do they get in the way of the LEDs at all?

    My only issue with the keyboard is that the PBT keycaps are a bit rough and one of the magnets in the vertical height extension bar (forgot what it’s called) fell out. I’m not really bothered by the rattling issues even though I have owned a K70 and currently have a Logitech G Pro as well. Will probably contact support about the magnet or epoxy it in myself.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The black replacement stablizers don't seem to get in the way of the LEDs. The LEDs shine through the way of the clear switch frames, not the stablizer frames. It's possible that the black frames might absorb more ambient light from the LEDs, but the environment I work in is pretty well lit, so I probably would not be able to notice a small difference.

    As for the seeing the stablizers, I guess it might be possible since the keys are lifted off the top plate a bit, but I have one of those keyboard shelves that sit the keyboard lower under the table top, so I probably wouldn't notice unless I made an attempt to peek under.

    I actually wanted the Blue switches, but the Clear and Blue was all I could locate. Keyboards are important. We shouldn't have to put up with such shitty keyboards just because Dell and Lenovo only offer shit keyboards.
     
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  5. fishski13

    fishski13 Friend

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  6. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I remember having a discussion on the importance of preamps because it's the part you interact the most with. Amps you just set and forget.

    I feel the same way about keyboards. We spend a ton of money on video cards, hard drives and all sort of other components you'll never see again after they are installed. But we actually interact with the keyboard and mouse and most people just tolerate the $10 keyboard/mouse combo that came with it.
     
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  7. Za Warudo

    Za Warudo Acquaintance

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    I have a Leopold FC660M with MX Brown switches. It's a 66% keyboard so it's almost as compact as 60% boards but has arrow keys. I've been considering getting a low actuation linear switch board for gaming.

    For inexpensive mech keyboards, I often see the Aukey with Outemu blue switches go on sale for about $20.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  8. Vent

    Vent Friend

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    Leopold makes great keyboards. I have one and it's one of the best mechanical keyboards I've ever used.

    But my favorite is another one by Input Club, the Whitefox. I got one off eBay about two months ago. It's perfect. Red switches.
     
  9. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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    I've been using decent keyboards (IBM Model Ms or their external scissor switch Thinkpad boards) for decades before discovering that they had again become a 'thing' then went through a recent phase of board nerdery (modding or replacing switches, trying different keycap materials, etc).

    I've reached my endgame combination of keyboards so haven't felt the need to look into Halo switches. The only thing that might bring me back to obsessing about boards would be the release of a Tex Yoda pre-mounted with Zelio switches.

    One point to make with the old IBM Bucking Spring switches, the 'click' was an integral part of their function, and the force/travel curves are unmatchable in anything designed by Cherry or their clones. The click of a Cherry Blue switch is a bit of an afterthought sound effect, the force/travel curve is identical to their non-click tactile switches. The MX and BS switch designs sound and feel completely different.

    If you want a modern IBM feel, you can get a Unicomp board for ~$80. Unicomp took the equipment from the old IBM factories and is still pumping out keyboards. The main limitation to be noted is that they didn't manage to keep the molds required to keep producing the TKLs, so they only make full size boards.

    Unicomp: https://www.pckeyboard.com

    I no longer use my IBM boards, they are simply too noisy with anyone else within earshot. I've switched to modded MX or Topre type boards for a similar force/travel feel and less noise. Topre and Topre-clone also feels marvelously high quality during key actuation- there is way less key wobble than with MX designs and key travel is really smooth.

    For another cheap(ish) good board recommendation, from reading around I think the badly named Noppoo Electro Capactitive boards might be good Topre clones. I think they use the same parts as the board I'm currently typing on.
     
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  10. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    If you think the Model M / Unicomp BS are noisy, try a Model F (aka PC-AT Keyboard, the model that preceded the Model M). Thing sounds like a goddamn typewriter. Mine finally broke a couple of years back, but honestly I don't think it's much of a loss, since it was just too loud to use regularly.

    Cherry Blues are similar enough to IBM BS to substitute in a pinch (or if you just have to have a feature that vintage IBM's and Unicomps don't offer, like backlighting), but I do agree that they feel pretty different. (They're quite good in their own right, though -- I could see how someone might prefer the Blues' lighter touch while still having the click.) I've heard that Cherry Greens are more similar to buckling spring, but they're less common and pricier, and I haven't had a chance to try them for myself.

    I'm a bit curious about the Halo switches, but the fact that IC doesn't seem to make a 100% KB and the fact that I love my Model M so much probably means I won't have an excuse to get a KB with them anytime in the near future. Though getting a less loud keyboard to use with open-back headphones might be an idea...hmm...
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Topre... Is that like the STAX of keyboards?
     
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  13. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Friend

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    In a way. Japanese company. As far as I know Realforce keyboards are made in Japan. HHKB as well. Leopold is a Korean company.

    Topre switches are my favorite, personally. I've tried a lot of MX style switches but always go back to Topre. The force curve of a Topre switch just feels nicer to me. They collapse. I can always feel the required force increasing on MX style switches when I bottom out. MX style feel more fatiguing to me because of that.

    Topre switches are much more crisp and tactile than cheaper rubber dome boards, but they are rather expensive.

    BKE Redux domes make Topre boards feel even nicer too. Pretty excited to try out the ultra light variation when it's released. Currently I have the light variation, and they're a bit more crisp and tactile than standard Topre 45g domes.
     
  14. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Not sure if that's what I'd call them.

    I quite like their short-travel switches though.
     
  15. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  16. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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    Despite some fans considering Topre the be all and end all, they're basically essentially rubber dome boards. Just done by the Japanese, so done properly.

    The reassuring thing about the keyboard world is that can get a bit crazy, but nowhere near as OTT as the audio world. 'Expensive' keyboard cables cost relative peanuts and are just done for aesthetics, and nobody ever worries about USB :)
     
  17. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    For a compact I'm currently using the KBP V60 since that has the best (IMO) 60% implementation versus Poker, etc.. The Planck sits on my shelf of shame as an instinctual purchase.

    No you just haven't met the japanese.
     
  18. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Friend

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    No! We need our $200 keyboard to PC USB decrapifiers and boutique cables.
     
  19. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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  20. WNovizar

    WNovizar Facebook Friend

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    Welp, I see Marv is dipping his toes into the world of geekboards, which imo is a deeper wallethole than headphone enthusiasts. Here is my office keyboard (similar color, photos by someone else):

    [​IMG]

    You see that? more than 4 kilos of awesomeness, which is heavier than some Model F keyboards. Typing at this keyboard is a heavenly experience. I prefer linears, especially black, lubed vintage ones with 62g springs.

    [​IMG]
     

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