Keyboard Wonderland – ENGLISH Version – Part I

Scris de: , in categoria: Periferice, in 19 April, 2022.

2.1 Alps and Matias


Alps switches kind of disappeared from the keyboard scene. And when I write “kind of” this is because we can not buy them from the store anymore (online or otherwise). This is because Alps Electric Co., Ltd – the company manufacturing these – has not done so for a good number of years. There are still Alps clone around and produced in the present, e.g. by the Matias Corporation. They make switches which are clones of the Alps SKBM White and Black which have not been manufactured since 2012 (2000 being the last year SKBM switches have been produced under the Alps brand).

Alps SKBM/SKBL and their clones are a series of switches which are closer to the MX standard than their SKCL/SKCM kin because they close the circuit via a metal leaf spring. SKBM/SKBL are also called simplified Alps due to the lower number of components than the Alps SKCL/SKCM switches which used a fixed metal foil to close the circuit.

In theory, Alps and Matias are switches that excel in tactility and “feeling” when compared with MX switches from Cherry for example and the clicky ones are sought after due to their tactility and special sound signature. What is certain is that there are Alps switches with prohibitive prices (Alps Orange for example at one point reached 8$ per switch) since they are hard to source and also hard to implement in a build – you need a PCB that is Alps compatible as well as the switches, stabilisers and keycaps.

Alps switches can not be found on new keyboards unless you find some “new old stock” on the internet somewhere and you should expect to pay a premium for these. We have decent priced choices with Matias (like the KBParadise V80 at around 120$) which I personally did not try but people who did didn’t really complain.

Alps currently can be found in vintage boards or certain custom keyboards where price is not an issue. There are rare builds with Green or Orange Alps on rather usual aluminium or brass plates or more exotic ones like carbon fibre in anodised aluminium cases with a final bill of materials that would cause any normal human to faint. The experience of owning and using such a product can probably be compared to owning and driving something like a Singer Porsche. What is certain is that most people are completely uninterested in stuff like this but it is nice to know they exist.



2 comentarii la: Keyboard Wonderland – ENGLISH Version – Part I

  1. Kinesis copied Maltron.

  2. Neo Post author a scris pe:

    Ian, I’m sorry, but if you point far enough backwards in time a germ gets blamed for splitting in two. Maltron had the ideas but the execution has been thoroughly terrible throughout time and they never caught on. At the same time I didn’t want to touch upon too much history because the article is complex enough as it is.

    That being said, Kinesis is one of the first actually ergonomic keyboards that is actually good and was available and came up in searches online back around 2005ish, so I went with it as the contemporary origins. Maltron will always be remembered for this abomination which sold for $400 –

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