Author Topic: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming  (Read 828 times)

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Offline logitechbro

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Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« on: Mon, 05 April 2021, 14:29:59 »
I'm looking for something quieter than a corsair k70 with mxbrowns. With quarantine my girlfriend is constantly annoyed with the clicking.
I've used the k70 for 5 years and really appreciate the volume roller and media keys but it looks challenging to find a silent keyboard with these features. I'm OK with a keyboard with media key legends on the function keys like the one I had prior to the k70 (cooler master).
I'm interested in a TKL and wonder if MX silent reds would work. Is there anything quieter switch wise? I looked at the Everest Max with silent reds but it is out of stock. I don't like RGB and looked at Leopolds but they don't seem to have labeled media keys.  I'm also contemplating a Topre keyboard with silent switches because they have labeled volume keys. Are they quieter than most mx silent red keyboards?
Finally is there a custom TKL solution with a volume roller actually available with silent keys? I saw the GMMK pro had a wheel but is not TKL and I'd need different switches. My budget is up to $500.
Thanks!
« Last Edit: Mon, 05 April 2021, 14:34:47 by logitechbro »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 05 April 2021, 15:24:53 »
Most noise is switch and stab noise the keyboard just amplifies or dulls it so your choice of switch and stabs is more important than what board you use, though that being said a nice solid chunk of aluminum will usually result in a more pleasant thunk. Something many miss is that high pitch doesn't travel as far (rarely leaves a room) so while a thud is more pleasant it's more likely to be heard from further away (outside the room). With quiet enough switches/stabs and a few tweaks this doesn't matter all THAT much so buy what you like. Not saying it doesn't matter but would you rather have a little extra noise and a board you like or less noise and board you dislike? I know what I'd prefer.

Dampened switches are much quieter, there's no bottom or top out noise which is where most switch noise comes from on linear and tactiles, your finger tapping the caps is about as loud as the switch gets. Silent reds will be more quiet however you will lose tactility in the switches. Zeal Zilents will retain tactility however at significant cost, but still within your budget and they won't really need lube as much as the reds would. I would still consider lubing them and depending on switch I'd consider a sporing swap as well since some (Cherry) can be pingy and on a quiet build that noise becomes more pronounced than ever. I'd go for Sprit or Novelkeys springs (I use the latter) and be sure to lube the tops and bottoms.

I would recommend a kit of at least hot swap (sounds like this is what you want anyhow), mostly so it's easier to lube and mod the stabs as they will be by far the noisiest part in a build like this. Just keep in mind hot swap will probably not last as long, but do you care if it lasts 10 years instead of 40, probably not.

One last thing, considering how quiet this build will be if your new board lacks it you will want foam in the base, many of us just use foam shelf liner you get at dollar stores or Walmart.


Side note, it's cheap and easy to build a volume knob using QMK and Arduino. Don't let this one thing steer you from a board you would like otherwise. You can even build a mini board with knob and media keys pretty easy. A 3d printer or cnc or laser makes it easier, but I've seen it done with hand tools, Lego, you could even do a pretty nice one using Sugru and such.
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Offline Engedi_

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 05 April 2021, 15:35:45 »
Any TKL, 65% or 75% with Boba U4's. (NOT U4T) would work as they are super silent as well. And they are affordable.


Online yui

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 06 April 2021, 08:11:23 »
my experience with gateron silent reds was rather good, although i changed office and now i do not need nearly as much silence so i do not use it anymore, as it was pretty short on keys. there was 4 stages:
straight 60% pcb and CF plate on the table with cheap pudding caps: quieter than most laptop keyboard but loudest of the configurations
pcb+plate on the table with GMK caps: quieter than the cheap pbt
pcb+plate on a mousepad with GMK caps: even quieter
keyboard in the alu case with shelf liner and on the mousepad: actually louder than just pcb+plate on the mousepad, but not the same sound at all, pretty much all thock was replaced with ping, and loads of it.

that is the extend of my experimentation with silence, because back then the person i was sharing the office with did not like any noises, and being a coder i type a lot, and although slow for most peoples here, rather fast for the common folks that get annoyed by the constant clicks.
i am guessing silent browns are decent as well, but i do not like brown switches...
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Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 12:34:08 »
You need a keyboard that can be decently silenced, plus quiet switches.

If you want something that's like MX Brown, but quiet, you can go with:

-Gateron Silent Brown

-Aliaz

-OUTEMU Silent Sky / Silent Forest

Then, there are some more tactile ones:

-Zilent V2 62 G

-U4 Boba 62 G

-BOX Silent Brown


As someone who has typed on Browns, I can tell you it is possible to build a quiet light tactile by using Silent Forest stems inside a Cherry housing [or Penguin or TTC Gold Brown V2]. Use 60 G TX [14mm] springs. Seriously. This works.

For the keyboard, your requirements for dedicated, labelled media keys and a volume roller really limits the options.

I have a Rakk Lam Ang Pro which is an inexpensive but flashy and customizable TKL.

It has labelled media keys, but the stock keycaps are thin OEM which kind of sucks. You could replace them and still have media keys, though. Just remember where they are!

It also has a volume roller, which is really cool and actually works.

I have seen videos of people silencing them. You need to throw extra dampening material in there [it already comes with some]. And you need to either carefully lube or replace the stabilizers. But in so doing, you can make them quiet. I saw a video of one with U4 Bobas.

I'm building my own silenced light-tactile keyboard right now, from an Archon AK89. [They also have a TKL AK87]. Using the Silent Sky stems in light tactile housings, replacement lubed Cherry stabilizers, and AliExpress PBT keycaps, it's actually turning out to be very quiet. It already comes with the dampening foam pre-installed.

Ask Gazzew on r/mechanicalkeyboards about the Rakk Lam Ang Pro, as he might still be importing them. And he can hook you up with the silent switches, as well.


Offline logitechbro

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 17:00:32 »
Wow, all very helpful replies thanks to everyone.
I'm going to look into the Zilent V2 and U4 boba as switches, those look like great quiet alternatives to the mx browns.
It's been intimidating looking for a TKL keyboard with 5 pin hotswap compatibility and I appreciate the suggestions. I also came across the Rakk Lam Ang Pro and the OEM version might be worth buying off Alibaba given the media keys. The archon AK87 looks even nicer. Is it aluminum?
Hopefully will find something that works out, thanks again.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 17:18:20 »
Leslieann and HungerMechanic have one heck of a lot of experience with tinkering with that stuff, so their suggestions will probably get you the quietest and smoothest experience. Based on your other criteria, I also figured why not mention some other options?

I'm looking for something quieter than a corsair k70 with mxbrowns. With quarantine my girlfriend is constantly annoyed with the clicking.

If MX brown is annoying I couldn't imagine capacitive buckling spring.

I've used the k70 for 5 years and really appreciate the volume roller and media keys but it looks challenging to find a silent keyboard with these features. I'm OK with a keyboard with media key legends on the function keys like the one I had prior to the k70 (cooler master).

You know, silent reds were kind of a Corsair-only thing when they came out. You could get another Corsair with those if you really like the board you have, or go through the trouble of desoldering the browns to swap in something else. I know I tried for a while to find a good deal on a used silent red K70 since I had never tried silent red at the time anyway. I have never bothered to try to silence anything though, much less a Corsair chassis. I know that, unmodified, they can ping. I have only noticed that with box navies though. I think Corsair kissed a lot of guaranteed success goodbye without trying to jam all of the media functions of the K70 into the K65.


I'm interested in a TKL and wonder if MX silent reds would work. Is there anything quieter switch wise? I looked at the Everest Max with silent reds but it is out of stock. I don't like RGB and looked at Leopolds but they don't seem to have labeled media keys.  I'm also contemplating a Topre keyboard with silent switches because they have labeled volume keys. Are they quieter than most mx silent red keyboards?
Finally is there a custom TKL solution with a volume roller actually available with silent keys? I saw the GMMK pro had a wheel but is not TKL and I'd need different switches. My budget is up to $500.
Thanks!

If you want a relatively small board with dedicated media keys with dampened tactile switches, have you considered the Matias Mini Quiet Pro? I think the layout is quite natural for the media mapping, and Matias "quiet click" switches are pretty quiet right out of the box. They've had their problems with quality control and/or consistency in the past but I have spent close to a year now trying to find one with Gaote-manufactured switches that doesn't work 100% reliably for me.

I have a 55g Realforce 87u, but nothing that's silenced. They're pretty thocky in that configuration, and I think mine's got some stabilizer rattle/squeak (I don't care) but it is otherwise quiet. I think the thock alone makes the standard 87u louder than the silent red TKL I have. Stock Topre also feels wonderful though and MX silent red feels ... like a dampened linear.
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 April 2021, 17:22:35 by Maledicted »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 22:31:27 »
It's been intimidating looking for a TKL keyboard with 5 pin hotswap compatibility and I appreciate the suggestions.
My understanding is that the latest GMMK shipments have 5 pin compatibility and while I kind of ranted about them not having it in the past and how it does sort of help hot swap, honestly it's not THAT big of a deal.  It just hurts spending $100 on switches and having to them clip off the legs when they could be beneficial. Yes you could use them later in another board but will you really?

In other words, don't dismiss an otherwise good board over it.
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Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 09 April 2021, 10:13:43 »
Wow, all very helpful replies thanks to everyone.
I'm going to look into the Zilent V2 and U4 boba as switches, those look like great quiet alternatives to the mx browns.
It's been intimidating looking for a TKL keyboard with 5 pin hotswap compatibility and I appreciate the suggestions. I also came across the Rakk Lam Ang Pro and the OEM version might be worth buying off Alibaba given the media keys. The archon AK87 looks even nicer. Is it aluminum?
Hopefully will find something that works out, thanks again.

Yeah, the Rakk is interesting because you can buy it branded, or unbranded from several sources: AliExpress, AliBaba, local resellers. I actually bought mine as a product sample on AliBaba:

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/2019-Newest-OEM-ODM-Bluetooth-keyboard_60856826465.html?spm=a2700.12243863.0.0.5f1f3e5f9FZvY7

It was at the end of 2019. I bought it "loaded" after consulting their sales rep: it was the full hotswap bluetooth version and came with dampening material, 3 different top covers, and BOX White switches. It was $50 for the keyboard, but also $50 for the shipping.

The Rakk has all the features the advertisements say it has. But there are 2 things I don't like about it:

1. The design is kind of blocky, like a slab. So I don't like carrying it around. It isn't as streamlined / shaped as other TKLs.

2. The switches are oriented upside down, which could cause Cherry-profile keycaps to slam on the housings. [not an issue with non-Cherry].

But it has good features like the RGB, decent stabilizers, ability to take dampening material, media keys, and volume roller.

---

The Archon AK87 is much more conventional in design. It's shaped properly like a TKL and uses what is probably standard ABS plastic. The black case goes well with many keycap sets such as Leopold blue/gray, Dolch PBT, GMK Oblivion, and so on. 

It seems to have the correct N / S orientation for the hotswap slots, so I appreciate that. It's a very good typing experience. And it is quieter out-of-the-box than any of my other MX keyboards.

If you are looking for something like the AK87, but metal, you can look into the Monstargear keyboards. The XO V2 looked awesome, but had questionable stabilizers. The new V3 might have finally fixed that problem. Monstargear seems to offer a range of keyboards that have popular features like metal case and hotswap. And if KBDFans ever makes a KBD8X Lite, that would cover your needs well [except for volume wheel, unless they add one!].

Be warned that Zealio / Zilent V2 and U4, while great typing switches, are much more tactile than MX Brown. Some people disregard them for gaming, for that reason. And you'll want to make sure to at least lube the springs if you can, this is easier with U4 Boba if bought disassembled.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 09 April 2021, 16:40:15 »
Be warned that Zealio / Zilent V2 and U4, while great typing switches, are much more tactile than MX Brown. Some people disregard them for gaming, for that reason.
Browns are some of, if not the least tactile MX switch you can buy so yeah, pretty much everything is more tactile.
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Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 09 April 2021, 19:05:21 »
Yeah, but Zilent V2 and U4 are wayyyy more tactile than MX Brown.

They're way up there on the scale. Brown is like 3/10, U4 is like 6-7/10 and Zilent is 7-8/10.

We're talking a jump from one of the lightest tactiles there are all the way to the heaviest stock tactiles.

OP wanted switches for gaming, and is used to Browns. Honestly, if I had to make a silent keyboard for gaming, I'd populate it with Aliaz swapped to 65 G TX.

Offline Leopard223

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 09 April 2021, 19:15:55 »
I can't really help you but I'll say that the best switch for gaming is what most comfortable to use for you, after using the "fastest switches in the market" (optical) I've found that it doesn't really matter and I actually like the heavier weight of the Gat Yellows. 
Also to add, linear switches such as Cherry MX red aren't necessarily quiter because they don't have any tactile event as opposed to what most people think, they still slam on the housing, the sound is just cleaner/crisper.

If you want to go the custom route you can get the GMMK Pro which is a great option, or get a cheap MK and get whatever switch you want.
IIRC Gateron sells silent brown switches that probably feel similar to Cherry MX brown but will be silent, you can go for more noticable tactility with switches such as Boba U4 (great choice) or Zilents.
Or if you want linaer, go with Silent Cherry/Gateron switches, something (I cant remember) by Durock or Boba Gum switches.

If you're going to look for a custom keyboard you might want to search for one that supports QMK/VIA which lets you program it's layout and layers to your liking.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 10 April 2021, 14:50:18 »
Yeah, but Zilent V2 and U4 are wayyyy more tactile than MX Brown.
Other than linear almost everything is more tactile than brown.
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Offline Igby

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 10 April 2021, 18:10:14 »
It's not TKL, but IO Sam just lauded the silent-ness of the Razer Huntsman Mini in his fresh review, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mtycblLFQk.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 10 April 2021, 21:50:22 »
None of these are actually very quiet, they're just quiet in relative terms, which isn't very quiet at all.  The old rubber dome $5 boards with super thin keycaps are by far more quiet because there's very little resistance and very little momentum build up. You'll never get to that level of Quiet with a heavy key cap and these stronger springs.

Offline Igby

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 10 April 2021, 22:11:44 »
None of these are actually very quiet, they're just quiet in relative terms, which isn't very quiet at all.  The old rubber dome $5 boards with super thin keycaps are by far more quiet because there's very little resistance and very little momentum build up. You'll never get to that level of Quiet with a heavy key cap and these stronger springs.

I am a rubber dome apologist, but even I will admit most rubber dome keyboards have a lot of rattle. Sure they don't clack, but the manufacturers still favor budget over tight tolerances.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 10 April 2021, 22:34:34 »
I am a rubber dome apologist, but even I will admit most rubber dome keyboards have a lot of rattle. Sure they don't clack, but the manufacturers still favor budget over tight tolerances.

Tight tolerance has some effect, but cheap, thin, light weight, low density plastic = quiet.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 10 April 2021, 22:46:11 »
That is the whole point behind dampeners, plastic on plastic (bottoming and topping out) isn't going to be as quiet as rubber on plastic.

Are dampened as quiet as rubber dome? With a little modding you can get close enough to where it doesn't matter.
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Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 11 April 2021, 19:57:28 »
What's the best quiet rubber-dome? Topre 45 G silenced?

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 12 April 2021, 09:35:00 »
Yeah, but Zilent V2 and U4 are wayyyy more tactile than MX Brown.
Other than linear almost everything is more tactile than brown.

There are linears that are a lot more tactile than MX brown.  ;D Namely, any Alps variant.

None of these are actually very quiet, they're just quiet in relative terms, which isn't very quiet at all.  The old rubber dome $5 boards with super thin keycaps are by far more quiet because there's very little resistance and very little momentum build up. You'll never get to that level of Quiet with a heavy key cap and these stronger springs.

I am a rubber dome apologist, but even I will admit most rubber dome keyboards have a lot of rattle. Sure they don't clack, but the manufacturers still favor budget over tight tolerances.

Some are quiet, some make a lot of noise on the upstroke. I think the lower profile/scissor switch mechanism ones tend to make the least noise of the ones I've noticed recently. We've got a lot of the cheap OEM boards around the schools. I've got an HP board right here that's at least as loud as the Matias "quiet click" switches I've got on a KBParadise V80 swapped into an aluminum chassis to compare off-the-cuff.

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Re: Looking for best quiet keyboard for gaming
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 12 April 2021, 10:00:46 »
None of these are actually very quiet, they're just quiet in relative terms, which isn't very quiet at all.  The old rubber dome $5 boards with super thin keycaps are by far more quiet because there's very little resistance and very little momentum build up. You'll never get to that level of Quiet with a heavy key cap and these stronger springs.
from my experience a lot of cheap rubber dome tend to be louder than silenced mechs, mainly on the upstroke mind you and also HP chicklets are much louder than my silent reds, although so fat also are the best chicklet keys i have ever used, i built my silent red originally for inventory, i was on the ingesting team and out of the 7 peoples in the room i had the quietest board, the others were a mix of cheap Logitech rubber domes and Dell chicklet. and it was not even the quietest this board ever was.
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