A Silent Mechanical Keyboard Setup in 2024

Just stumbled across this reddit post regarding the V3 max for a silent build with Outemu Cream Yellows. It seems like they didn’t have such a good experience: https://www.reddit.com/r/BudgetKeebs/comments/1bdzf2i/my_keychron_v3_max_review/

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That is a very interesting review that I encourage people here to read.

In general, I find that the wireless versions of keyboards are worse [from a typing standpoint] than the wired ones. If we’re talking mass-produced factory keyboards.

Generally, concessions are made to the wirelessness, in terms of space given to the wireless adapter and battery. These lead to internal changes that may compromise elements of the dampening or mounting setup.

It seems as though some of the problems in this review are specific to the MAX variant. [Kind of like with the Boeing 737!]

I recommended the regular wired V3 / Q3 as they appear to have better factory dampening.

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Okay, after lots of searching on portable TLK cases, I was wondering out of desperation if somehow making the Neo80 lighter by not using the external weights would be possible.

Something like the Tiger Lite but wireless would have been perfect.

Otherwise I’m currently leaning towards the GMK87, potentially with extra dampening and aftermarket stabs as an add on.

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After trying a whole lot of quiet switches in a few different keyboards, I believe that most dampened switches are good enough that it’s more effective to focus on acoustics. For example:

  • A deskmat (especially thicker rubber ones) can do wonders in some cases.
  • Keycaps matter a lot. My favorite set is from XMI and made out of PBT. I’m not saying all PBT keycaps are quieter, but mine are definitely quieter than GMK for example, and have a more pleasing, calmer sound when I hit them with my nails.
  • Use all the foams
  • POM is definitely a good all-round choice for a switch plate. Yet my quietest keyboard as a “skeleton” aluminum plate.

These are interesting questions, but I do not know enough about the boards.

I’m sure a lot of boards can function w/o their external weights, but it may affect typing characteristics. And the integrity of the board while traveling.

It would probably be a good idea to pose your questions to BudgetKeebs somehow. Perhaps post a prospective build, with questions, and ask them to evaluate it?

[They have a “General Help” post that you should probably start with. Next, their Discord.]

The issue with the GMK87, after reading about them on BudgetKeebs, is that they are a little sensitive as to how they are put together:


There is a film you may have to remove, you have to be careful about flex when building. This doesn’t mean GMK87 is a bad board. It is a good board for the price, but there are considerations.

So I think it would be especially valuable for you to talk to the people at BudgetKeebs, as they have experience with the GMK87 [and Keychron V-series.]

They would know how to dampen a GMK87.


Yes, deskmats help. I agree also about keycaps.

It turns out, in my experience, that the best keycaps to match with silent switches are thick Cherry-profile PBT.

I’m talking, the really cheap stuff. Like $20 USD sets from AliExpress. They are thick, and PBT, and they really muffle sound.

XMI is kind of like that stuff, but more consistent, and with way better legending. So, sure, go for it. [Or Shenpo, or JC Studio]. Maybe Xiaomi.

Almost the cheapest is the best!

WRT to foams, I noticed during reading that builders say that the regular Keychron V-series can be pretty decently stuffed with foam.


Someone’s impression of various silent switches:


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Interestingly, Milktooth has some Outemu silent switches that I had never heard of before:

Specifically, the “Outemu Silent Green” (not to be confused with the “Lime”) and the “Outemu Silent Yellow” (not to be confused with the “Cream Yellow” or “Yellow Jade”) may be new switches? I couldn’t seem to find these two varieties from other vendors.

Also, they have two versions of the Silent Ocean, with or without the “dustproof” stem.


As I’m waiting for the Aliexpress sale in a few days, I’m looking through to try and find any thick PBT keycaps that are White on Black. I’m assuming that they need to be dye-sub, as XMI, Shenpo, and JC Studio all seem to be thick dye-sub keycaps as opposed to double shot.

Surprisingly I’m having trouble finding any sets from AliExpress that aren’t double shot, especially in WoB. :cry: I don’t really care about the quality of the legending, as long as the silent part is met (thick, PBT, ?dye-sub)

For WOB, it would need to be reverse dye-sub, as the dye generally has to make things darker to work. Reverse Dye Sub is more expensive and is more often used for complex, higher margin stuff.


I’m honestly not sure if the difference between dye-sub vs double-shot will really make that huge of a difference towards silence, if other factors are equal or similar. I’ve been using a cheap PBT (as listed, but possibly blended), double-shot keycaps in my silent build with fairly good results. Maybe the thickness of the caps and the profile are bigger factors than whether they are double-shot vs dye-sub.

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Are you looking for fully silent or partially silent? I had an almost completely dead silent keyboard with lubed MX Zilents and that was no fun at all. I wanted something that very low-volume, almost pillowy like sound so I cleaned off the lube. I recommend taking a look at Taeha’s MX Zilents Sipline sound test.

To this day, I still have not found a silent switch that’s

  • not mushy on bottom out
  • not completely silent
  • pillowy sounding

MX Zilents (made with alias & old cherry silents) fit the bill but they’re scratchy and if you lube them with 205g0 they’re almost completely dead silent and it takes some of the fun away - use a thinner lube if you take this route. Looking for a more economic alternative to these if anyone knows of any.

Also recommend looking into Nuphy’s ghostbar if you haven’t!

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This always a tough one. Rubber dome over membrane keyboards are insanely cheap of course, but a big reason people tolerated the change was that they were so much quieter even than an average linear of the day. The only way to stop plastic hitting either metal or other plastic is to decelerate before bottoming out, and most of the ways to do that for the average typist make things mushy.

Now, I’m sitting here by myself clattering away on some Box Jades, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but IMHO mech keyboard users should level-set the quiet end of their expectations at “only a bit louder than a rubber dome”. It may only be a matter of time before some companies bring back MX sliders for membrane boards anyway, given some of the more common semi-removable keycap formats in that space and the number of “mechanical feel” keyboards on AE and Amazon.


I’ve done a build a with Outemu Silent Yellow Creams, which I think is both much quieter and feels much better than a Logitech K120.

The K120’s stabilizers are especially bad with tons of rattle, and even the keys have a loud, rattling sound when typing fast. Maybe silenced Outemus are not the ideal feel for everyone, but I think the bottom out and tactility are still much better than the K120s that I’ve used.


The K120 is why I use mechanical keyboards. It was abysmal.

And I’m talking brand-new.

Even a budget build with OUTEMU Silent Cream Yellow Pro V2 would utterly blow-away a K120. I’m talking NCR-80 with generic stabilizers and stock OUTEMU budget switches, or some $50 budget Chinese hotswap keyboard.


Just reporting back on the Outemu samples I received recently from Aliexpress. I did a blind test of the silent switches on a keyboard I have already (RK84 with foam mod) and found that the Silent Cream Yellow Pro was my favourite in terms of silence and feel.

I was surprised at how quiet most of these switches were, coming from RK Red switches. I couldn’t notice a significant difference between the Silent Cream Yellow Pro and the Silent Jade Yellow in terms of volume, but I did enjoy the former over the latter’s feel.

I was disappointed with how scratchy the Silent Peach V2 felt, and the Silent White felt too mushy. Interestingly, I believe the linears would be ever so slightly quieter than the tactiles if the scratchiness was not there, but overall I found that the tactiles did not have a significant difference in how silent they were compared to the linears.

Some of the switches that I found to be too loud for my needs were the Silent TOM, Silent Ocean and the Silent Lemon V2.

I also decided on the GMK87 for the case, and found a cheap PBT dye-sub 1.5mm thick keycap set from Aliexpress after hours of searching for WOB! Just waiting for shipping now.


By the way, when it comes to ordering a full set of switches, I would recommend buying a bit more than you need. For example, going for a 110 pack rather than just 90, which is typically only a couple of dollars more. I think this is especially worthwhile for silent Outemu switches, since there is a significant amount of manufacturing variation. You might find a handful of switches in your set having noticeably worse silencing/scratchiness, so it’s convenient to have plenty spare in order to swap out for better ones in the batch.


Yes, the SCY is a very popular choice, these days.

I, too, preferred the Silent Cream Yellow over Silent Jade Yellow in hotswap. In-hand, the Jade actually seemed better. But the Butter Yellow seems a little easier in a board.

The sound difference isn’t much. Currently, it seems that the reason to pick Jade would be RGB.

The “Pro” OUTEMU switches you tried are better-lubed than the older-generation Silent Lemon and Peach.

That’s why the Peach seemed scratchy, and the Lemon loud. I can tell you for sure that Silent Lemon is much quieter with 3204. Quieter, in fact, than stock Butter Yellow.

But there’s no point discussing them - the Silent Cream Yellow Pro V2 is a good switch, and is popular for a reason. And if you’re looking for a smoother silent linear, try JWK/Durock Silent Alpaca or variants, or Bobagum.

I agree that Silent TOM is relatively loud, but I like the feel of even the stock switch.

Also, @yeeb is right about buying extra. At AliExpress prices, it’s cheap just to go to the next tier [110 instead of 90]. Esp. during sales.

Not only for the reasons mentioned, but b/c if any switches fail, you can easily replace them. Perfect with hotswap.


A bit late for your needs, @mccoytyner but the KBDFans Tiger Lite seems to be available again:

It’s a “Drop,” which means you have to wait, but the price is right.

It’s possibly more robust for travel than the GMK87, but the GMK87 possibly has better sound / silencing.

It would actually be a tough choice between these two keyboards, but the GMK87 is probably cheaper and more readily-available.