Matias promises mechanical keyboard minus the noise

Mechanical keyboards are pretty awesome. They offer precise tactile feedback, and the various switch types allow users to pick the one with just the right characteristics. Some switches have a tactile bump at the actuation point, others offer linear travel, and then there’s the amount of force required for actuation. None of the mechanical switches we’ve used has been really silent, though. Sure, some have been quieter than others, but they’ve all had that unmistakable clickety clack that can drive roomates, coworkers, and significant others crazy.

Now, it may be possible to get the mechanical feel without the associated chatter. Canadian keyboard maker Matias has announced the Quiet Pro, a new model that’s “no louder than a regular keyboard,” according to CEO Edgar Matias. The Quiet Pro is a version of the firm’s Tactile Pro keyboard, which uses Alps mechanical switches. For the Quiet Pro, Matias spent two years designing its very own switch. The feel is supposed to be similar to the Alps switches, minus the noise.

The Quiet Pro keyboard is already available on Matias’ site for $150. In addition to the new switches, it features sculpted key caps, laser-etched lettering, media controls, and N-key rollover. There are three USB 2.0 ports onboard, and Matias puts an extra Tab key in the numpad to speed up data entry for Excel junkies.

Lest you think Matias will be keeping its silent switch tech in-house, the company says it intends to start selling the switches to other keyboard makers. Hobbyists will also be able to buy the switches “in small quantities” for their own projects, as well. We’re going to have to get our hands one one of these Quiet Pro keyboards to see just how quiet the new switches areβ€”and how they feel. Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

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    • not@home
    • 7 years ago

    I was at goodwill the other day and found a IBM model M13 for $3.99 in mint shape. I of course bought it. It is the first mechanical keyboard I have ever had. It is definitely loud, and it does not work with all mobos (I think it draws too much power for some mobos, but it works fine in my main machine). My typing is too rusty to tell if I am faster with it. I do really like the nub thingy though. Its just like my Thinkpad, so I got used to that right away.

    • Kaleid
    • 7 years ago

    I already have a decently quiet keyboard, now if I only could get a quieter version of Logitech’s mx518.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 7 years ago

    I’m pretty sure the ABS M1 mechanical keyboard I bought my SO uses Alps, or Alps-copy switches. I have to say that while on NewEgg discount price of $19.99 it was a steal, the feel doesn’t come close to Cherry MX or buckling-spring (e.g, IBM/LexMark, Unicomp) switches for the quality of keyfeel.

    I hope that Matias does a better job with theirs. I’d like at minimum a review, or better, to try one out, though; I think $150 is nuts for a keyboard, which is why while I want one for work, I haven’t bought a Das Keyboard Silent.

      • bhtooefr
      • 7 years ago

      It depends on the Alps switch, really.

      The trick is, Alps hasn’t actually made keyswitches for almost 20 years, IIRC.

      And, there’s two generations of the genuine Alps switch – a “complicated” and “simplified” generation, the simplified generation (which appeared in 1988) widely considered to be inferior in typing feel.

      Looks like the Tactile Pro III ran both Fuhua (often referred to as Fukka due to a mispronunciation, it seems) and Strongman switches. The ABS M1 runs Fuhua. All of these are clones of the simplified switches.

      I have used a TP3, and found it to be horrible – wobbly imprecise keys with awful tactile feel. (It was a Japanese layout one, but I have no idea what switches it actually had.)

    • vargis14
    • 7 years ago

    My 1st computer was the vic20 then the 64 what kind of keys did they have?? scissor ? or mechanical? Or none of the above.
    Might as well google it:)

    Not much luck googling but i am thinking they had buckling spring switches.
    I do recall a clackity clack from them and that vic 20’s green monochrome monitor πŸ™‚
    I remember my fav c64 game was the olympics game πŸ™‚ I cannot recall the true name but it kept me and my friends bzy trying to break world records:)

      • bhtooefr
      • 7 years ago

      I believe it depends on what C64 you’re using, too.

      The one I’ve used had linear switches of some sort, IIRC.

    • vargis14
    • 7 years ago

    I am typing on my blackwidow ultimate and it’s not too loud but in the dead of night and it you hit the keys hard they do get loud….but i have gotten to the point i can type on it without bottoming out the keys, that makes the keyboard make much more noise. But once you can control your typing where they do not bottom out it is pretty quiet, but nothing like the silence of a horrible rubber dome setup.

    Since the keys come off so easily you could customize the keyboard with say 2mm thick silicone or foam cutouts or maybe 3m double sided molding foam tape with one side of adhesive exposed to quiet the keys when you bottom them out that would quiet any mechanical keyboard considerably and would be quite cheap to do but time consuming cutting out all the holes for the switches, but it is the perfect width and thickness.
    The space bar is by far makes the most noise by far of any keys on my B-widow-U
    I like the Name black widow…I just imagine i am touching Scarlet Johason’s/Natasha Romanoffs Buttons.Too bad they do not make soft smushy silicone keys πŸ˜›

    • oldog
    • 7 years ago

    Does it glow in the dark? A very useful trait for some, myself included…

    • DarkUltra
    • 7 years ago

    need a flat scissor key keyboard for my lap in the sofa. With 500hz or 1000hz so I can swap to my equipment in games 8ms sooner than my opponent. Razer lycosa have non-scissor rubber dome keys that are awful to type on, some keys will literally get stuck if I press slightly off the center. fortunately it has other problems too so i’ll be able to return it and get my money back, hopefully. thanks for reading this rant πŸ˜›

      • ptsant
      • 7 years ago

      I recommend a PS/2 keyboard. PS/2 is interrupt driven and is faster than 1000Hz. Plus, you get to use the mini PS2 port of your motherboard.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 7 years ago

    Full sized [CAPS] key for great justice! Now it will be even easier to use [CTRL]

    • Captain Ned
    • 7 years ago

    Heresy, sheer heresy. The proper keyboard will always make its distinctive noise.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      …says one of the other people on this site who is old enough to have grown up while keypunches and Selectrics were still in use!

        • Captain Ned
        • 7 years ago

        Learned to type on a Selectric, which probably explains my adoration for the Model M.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          There was also something quite satisfying about the solid KA-CHUNK of an IBM Model 029 keypunch. Talk about audible and tactile feedback! While I was in high school they upgraded to newer keypunches that stored keystrokes in a 1-line buffer (giving you the opportunity to correct typos before punching the card); there was a solenoid inside the keyboard that shook it slightly with every keystroke, to simulate the classic IBM 029 feel!

            • Captain Ned
            • 7 years ago

            I missed the keypunch era but I wrangled with/mashed keys on an ASR-33 Teletype back in the high school days (I/O to a PDP-8). I’d write my program assignments on the DECWriter then log in from the ASR-33 to “save” them to punch tape. Getting stuck “typing” on the ASR-33 was a bitch.

          • bhtooefr
          • 7 years ago

          I learned to type on the awful proprietary switches that came with the original Apple //c (worse, mine were corroded, causing some interesting side effects).

          But, there was the odd Selectric here and there.

          I still say that thing is my favorite key feel. Better than the Model M for sure – lower peak force, far lower preload, and a more smooth tactile event – not sharp like a Model M or F, yet it still felt like it fell out from under your finger (even more so than an M or F, oddly). Which reminds me, I still need to ship this Selectric off for repairs…

      • Krogoth
      • 7 years ago

      You only take away my Unicomp when you can pry it from my dead, cold hands.

    • Machupo
    • 7 years ago

    It’s not hard to make a mechanical kb quiet. I had a Poker w/ Cherry Blues… loud as hell. Swapped the switches to MX Clears (same force and tactile bump as blues without the clacky noise) and added buffer washers (look like braces rubber bands) onto the back of each keycap stem. Voila, no noise and all the benefit of the mechanical switches. Only thing I had to do was suffer a bit of Geekhack to get what I needed, haha.

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    Pity about the price. My home PC is about due for a new keyboard, and at $100 they would have gotten me.

      • Ryhadar
      • 7 years ago

      Check out wasdkeyboards.com. The build quality on them is fantastic (typing on one right now), and for an extra fee, they’ll install o-rings for you that will work to prevent noise while you’re typing (ineffective on blue switches though).

      Then again, you’re probably looking at $150 after the keyboard, o-rings, and shipping sooo maybe my suggestion isn’t as good…

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, I just checked it out and walked through a basic setup, looks like $150-200 range.

    • Dazrin
    • 7 years ago

    I still want an ergonomic mechanical switch keyboard, quiet would be nice too since I do work in an open office and have 2 small kids at home – and my office is next to their room.

    Something simple like the original MS Natural (which just had the two sections and no extras) or something more “modern” like the MS Natural 4000, I don’t really care as long as it is well layed out and has normal arrow keys, num pad and insert/delete block.

      • anotherengineer
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]https://secure.trulyergonomic.com/index.php[/url<]

        • Perezoso
        • 7 years ago

        Hey! That layout looks fantastic.

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        That’s cool, but no Home/End? Even if I wanted to live without a Numpad, I use those way too much to spend $230 on a keyboard. Also, I want a Numpad.

          • mutantmagnet
          • 7 years ago

          It has both buttons. They are in the lower left in the cross-like configuration.

          Also the numpad is built into the {M,0} grid

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I’ve occasionally wondered about that myself. I imagine it is more difficult to do with mechanical switches, since you’d need some sort of weird shaped – and no doubt difficult to manufacture – metal frame to individually support each switch at its proper location and angle. I’d buy one if it existed (and wasn’t too outrageously priced).

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        The ones anotherengineer linked have mechanical switches.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          They’re also over $200.

          Now that you mention it, I’ve seen those before. So yes, they do exist. But they’re also ridiculously expensive.

        • bhtooefr
        • 7 years ago

        Actually, you don’t need a metal frame to do it.

        If you use a switch that can be PCB mounted, like a Cherry MX, and use a thin, flexible PCB, you can contour the PCB some. Then, you take care of the rest in keycap design.

        Or, most mechanical ergo keyboards just split the layout, and don’t do any contouring beyond what a keyboard normally does (which is done in the keycaps on a flat PCB for Alps and Cherry, normally, and the IBM Model M15 is based on the (non-contoured) Model M2). Some boards like the Cherry G80-5000 and the IBM Model M15 actually split into two separate keyboards, so you can get a LOT more adjustability.

    • The Egg
    • 7 years ago

    I sure wish companies would make premium keyboards like this in the ergonomic “natural” form factor. I’ve got 4XL hands and standard “straight” keyboards are very cramped and uncomfortable. The MS Natural 4000’s that I’ve been using for 6+ years leave alot to be desired.

      • kuraegomon
      • 7 years ago

      I’m with you on that. If you have large hands, broad shoulders, or both, normal keyboards are excruciating to use. And laptops are exponentially worse. I code for a living, and I have MS Natural 4000’s both at work and at my workstation at home. I’d really like to go with premium keyboards, but the ergonomic form factor is far more important for me.

      • madmilk
      • 7 years ago

      If you’re willing to fork over $300, the Kinesis Advantage uses Cherry switches and looks pretty well thought out.

      • bhtooefr
      • 7 years ago

      There are a few split premium keyboards out there, but they’re not common.

      If you don’t mind some DIY, there’s always the ErgoDox project:

      [url<]http://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/split-ergonomic-keyboard-project-t1753.html[/url<] [url<]http://ergodox.org/[/url<] That'll use Cherry MX switches. Also, there were a few Alps-based "normal" ergo boards back when ergo boards first became popular. If you want to pay through the nose, could always get a used Cherry G80-5000 (no points for guessing which switch maker's products are on it, although they're MX Browns, IIRC) or an IBM Model M15.

    • bthylafh
    • 7 years ago

    Aren’t there two kinds of Alps switches that are supposed to be silent already?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    I LOVE the sound of my clicky-clack keyboard at home as I start pounding out keystrokes. Very satisfying.

    But in an office setting, I totally see how this would be hugely popular. I can only imagine how loud all those typewriter rooms were back in the 40’s…

      • designerfx
      • 7 years ago

      On my enermax caesar at work I’ve had at least 75% of the people that have ever been in my area give me shit about how loud the thing is. It’s comfortable, great functionality, but man a loud keyboard earns a lot of hate.

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        Tell them that some people pay good money for ambient noise generators, while their ungrateful little ears are getting “rain in the trees” [i<]for free[/i<].

        • pragma
        • 7 years ago

        Future office computer be powered by user keystrokes. Very green. Everyone pound keyboard in the morning. Longer on Mondays. Cow-orker tell too much clack. Observe cow-orker, clack a key when he presses one. Cow-orker angry turn towards you? Quickly look away, hum innocent tune.

          • Mourmain
          • 7 years ago

          Daddy, what’s a Cow Orker?

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            I imagine that would be someone who has the magical ability to turn cows into [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ork_(Warhammer_40,000)<]orks[/url<]...

    • IOwnCalculus
    • 7 years ago

    I’m intrigued – because yes, my coworkers are debating using my Model M to kill me.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 7 years ago

      Stop blaming the keyboard for your own deficiencies. Oh, can I have your keyboard when you’re gone?

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      Fortunately I’m not out in the cube farm any more. I do have an office mate, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Has his headphones on most of the time anyway. A while back I switched from a Unicomp buckling spring to Cherry MX blues; I’d say they are a *little* quieter than buckling spring, but not much.

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