Author Topic: Alps Throwback review  (Read 461 times)

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Offline mounds

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Alps Throwback review
« on: Sun, 06 January 2019, 09:54:12 »

Hey guys, thought I'd do a quick write-up of my experience so far with the Alps Throwback keyset that ran awhile ago.

A bit of background

I came across this set by sheer luck. While planning an ALPS 65% using the SMK65 by lfkeyboards, there were a couple of new-to-ALPS hiccups along the way that guided the build to its eventual end state nearly ~7 months later. Part of these trials was finding Cherry-style stabilizer support in keycaps, since that was the default on the SMK plate that I received. As soon as the group buy was discovered randomly, wallet was empty, and, fast-forwarding a bit, the keycaps arrived sometime this winter after only a few mfg snags. The SMK65 review will come at a later date  :thumb:

Alps Throwback - not like the others

So what's so different about Alps Throwback, compared to other drops / options? Well the caps are not exactly like the thick-walled PBT of AEKII past, but they come really close. Dye-sub PBT is one of the best combinations for keycaps, making for an excellent keycap thickness, sound, and durability.

It's also good to not confuse these caps by putting them in the same category as ABS-based offerings such as Alpine Winter or Tai Hao keycaps, because they feel much more akin to AEK caps in construction and sound profile. To try and dress the SMK65, I did try the Tai Hao caps at first, only to be disappointed by the ALPS-based stabilizers, and the soulless sound of the hollow space bar.

Dedicated support for various keyboard layouts had me ordering all the things in no time.

Alps Throwback - verdict

The keycaps are very good, and work with more common Cherry stabilizers. Dye-sub clarity is excellent, and the colors are great. Next to R1 dev/tty/ the dye sublimation really shines, albeit the mt3 caps have a bit of a different texture too. Finally, DCS isn't a first choice for a lot of people, but it is well executed with this set. My first choice would have been XDA because of multi-layout switching support, but fat chance ALPS XDA dye-sub PBT caps will make an appearance in the near future.

Alps Throwback PBT wall thickness comes in around 1mm, with Tai Hao measuring around .8mm, and AEKII caps at around 1.4mm. Spacebar differences are a bigger schism, with Alps Throwback measuring 1.45mm, Tai Hao at 1.05mm, and the control variable AEKII spacebar coming in at an average of 1.55mm (side thickness somewhat erratic).

As for sound quality, Monterey Blue switches bring out the differences between the cheaper Tai Hao offerings and Alps Throwback, with the pronounced click being more echo-y with the Tai Hao set, while Alps Throwback click reverb showcases the punctual nature of the switch. Comparatively to AEKII caps, the sound profile was very similar with Alps Throwback, with the thicker PBT AEKII keycaps having a bit louder click. Tai Hao just feel really cheap - you get what you pay for?

Considering the growing difficulty in sourcing AEKII parts such as the ALPS stabilizers/plunger pieces, hopefully great sets like these will come around more often, and the large / growing ALPS community will give them a shot. Conclusively, while not a huge commercial success like MX-based sets around the forums, I'd say this set is a knockout  ;)
Tada68 (Jailhouse Aristotles) / MiniVan (Jailhouse Aristotles) / Planck (Aristotles) / Teensy m0116 (Orange & Salmon) / ALPS64 ('Pine' SKCM White) / Teensy NeXT Non-ADB (SKCM Cream) / ALPS HHKB (SKCM Cream Dampened)

Offline JaimeTray

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Re: Alps Throwback review
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 17 January 2019, 04:13:46 »
Vet ikke hvor mye du kan hjelpe meg med f denne informasjonen fordi jeg vil ha tilgang til mye informasjon, vet ikke hvordan jeg skal hjelpe meg?