Firm or soft? How do you like you boards typing experience to be?

Now that I’ve had some time with a couple really soft & flexible boards I come to recognize that soft & flexy is my prefered feel for my personal boards. With gasket mount & half plates becoming so popular it seems like the community is leaning more towards the soft/flexy feel. Because of that I figured this would be a good point of discussion for us. So how do you prefer your boards to feel?

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I tried :

  • Top mount
  • Tray mount
  • Integrated plate
  • Kinda burger mount between orings !? (hex 3c)

Materials: Steel, Alu, Brass, 1.5 & 4mm PC, POM

It all depends on the switch also.

Long story short, I prefer soft and aspire to a flexy bottom out, and for that I use an HHKB Type S for the moment, which is kinda the board I keeb getting back to for speed/silence/productivity without distractions.

I feel like I could use any plate, with some light/medium tactility + smooth & low wobble & light 45-55g silent switch, but would prefer soft&flexy. For prefered plate now it’s ABS & POM.

I’m also waiting for Kei R2 to try a real gasket mount, but that’s gonna take a while :slight_smile:

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I am kind of in the same boat right now. When I first got into the scene, anything that felt flex-y corresponded with “cheap” in my head.

Now that I have had some time, I think I have come to the conclusion that I like silent type switches for the bottom out feel and for the noise reduction.

Recently I have added acrylic (thick 3mm), FR4, and POM plates to my collection. POM is the one that I have experimented with having some flex, and I have really come to like it. It is probably my favorite board right now and might be my best all-rounder.

@AdrianMan comment of: “I feel like I could use any plate, with some light/medium tactility + smooth & low wobble & light 45-55g silent switch, but would prefer soft&flexy. For preferred plate now it’s ABS & POM.” fits my feelings a lot right now. I just don’t think I would go for that light of a spring weight.

I need to give aluminum a try again after giving up on it for so long.

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I like firm but not harsh, if that makes sense. I don’t really like gasket mounts that completely decouple the switches from the case. It makes them feel dead. Can’t get a good thock or thud out of an isolated plate setup.

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I get what you are saying. I also can get down with firm but not harsh setup (my T60 I just rebuilt with a CF plate & Cherry topped Alpacas comes to mind there). Ultimately though I think a top mounted half plate (with optimal mounting points) matched with a PCB that has a decent amount of flex cuts would be my fav combo so far! Materials can vary depending on case size, material etc. as to what I prefer in what, but that particular set up would be my got to!

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Soft bottom out, but firm switches.

Really liked the feel on the Sirius, but wish I went with stock Cherry blacks instead of creams to have firmer/heavier switches.

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This issue has come up in other topics WRT MX Browns. B/c the first Browns may have been mounted on plateless or flexible plate setups on Kinesis and early Cherry keyboards.

So there’s been the assertion that modern manufacturers do Browns ‘wrong.’ They were supposed to be a soft bottom-out. The Asian OEM manufacturers in particular seem to like hard metal full-plate setups for everything, and it’s been alleged that this was not the original intent for the switch.

FWIW, when I had full control over a custom, I chose polycarbonate plate for my light tactiles. The KBD8X MKII in the summer only came with brass, and this was unacceptable to me. I ordered aftermarket plates, and haven’t looked back. The keyboard is endgame in quality.

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I feel like I have noticed this as well with my Brutal series board, and it is just a burger mount. Not saying it is a bad feeling, but it does seem like it takes some thing away.

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I have a Love TKL with a PP plate on it and 106 lubed MX browns, and I have to say that the typing feel is vastly better than any other stock experience of browns that I think I have ever felt. I do think that tuning the switches has made them much better and more “refined” feeling, but really the plate being pretty flexy and not being the most rigid thing ever makes it that much more bouncy feeling and comfy to type on.

I think browns on firmer materials is another taste, but IMO not as good for typing as a softer one like you had said.

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For my brutal, I swapped out my fr4 plate with a carbon fiber plate to make it feel better. Gave it more life IMO

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I have been meaning to try a copper plate. I saw a post of someone with one in a Brutal. They were kind enough to give me a plate file.

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I prefer boards on the firmer side of the spectrum

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What would you guys consider to be the main factor that contributes to harshness rather than firmness?

I’m currently trying my first board with a brass plate (top-mount TKL), and I’m trying to understand the relationship between visible flex from the mounting style and bottom out softness/hardness due to material.

My HHKB, for instance, has no flex at all due to the integrated plate (even if I press down hard in the middle of the keyboard), but the bottom out feels notably compliant because the plastic plate seems to nicely disperse vibrations.

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So far I have tried burger mount of the Savage65…I really like the soft typing experience that is not too soft, and still retain a nice amount of stiffness. Ever since I got this board, I stopped using my other boards like kbd67 and tofu65 :smiley:

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For me, “firm” would mean very little flex or bounce, while “harsh” would mean that any high-frequency vibrations translate into the hands.

Things that mitigate one tend to mitigate the other, but not always.

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@Deadeye Pretty much hit the nail on the head with his statement. Firm to me is just a stiffer typing experience that you can not feel a ton of feedback from. Harshness would be a board so stiff & unforgiving that you literally heavily feel the reverberations from typing on it.

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Thanks, this is a pretty fantastic synopsis.

I’m guessing a combination of high density and thickness can lead to harshness, whereas a thinner or less dense plate can yield firm but non-harsh typing feel.

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Yes, firm doesn’t move, not that you can percieve. But it has some give. Imagine a large piece of drywall or plywood tacked between two studs. If you hit it with the palm of your hand, it doesn’t move. But it does give a bit. Contrast that with hitting a steel wall or bolder with your palm. Again, it doesn’t move, but it doesn’t absorb anything. For me, firm is nice. Sandwich mounts are firm. Carbon fiber is firm. Brass is firm. Aluminum or steel on a tray mount is usually harsh.

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Honestly I’ve only ever typed on brass plates because I like my boards to be heavy for no reason at all other than I love the thought of it having the potential to be a weapon at a moments notice.

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