Sound Test: Silent Alpaca vs Zeal Rosélios vs Gateron Silent Ink vs Gateron Silent Black
The Silent Alpaca
The Silent Alpaca switch is manufactured by Durock and was made available in early January 2020. Durock drama aside, let’s see how these switches perform and how they fit in the landscape of silent linear switches.
The switch has a smoky black transparent housing with a light pink stem that is meant to pair with SA Bliss. The spring is gold coated with a 62g bottom out. The switch comes prelubed on the stem arms with a light amount of oil.
In comparison to Gateron Silent Inks which share a similar coloured housing, the Alpaca housing is thinner and so the sound is a little higher pitched. The housing suffers from a loose top and bottom connection which results in increased wobble and noise.
The stem cruciform is smaller than some switches and keycaps are a bit easier to remove. The keycap isn’t loose but it is noticeable when using a keycap puller to remove the keycaps. The lube is an oil unlike most typical stock lube and it’s also not overdone or messy like a lot of stock lube can be.
A common complaint with silent switches is that the stem sticks to the top housing if they have been resting for a while. I notice this issue with both the Zeal silent switches and Gateron Silent Ink but haven’t noticed this issue with the Silent Alpacas.
The spring is fairly typical for a gold-plated spring. I didn’t notice much pinging like is typical with Zeal gold-plated springs.
Putting it all together
Out of the box, the Silent Alpaca is very smooth and in hand they are quiet. Putting the switches into a board, however, results in a very different sound and feel.
I noticed immediately that the switch had a lot of wobble because there’s quite a bit of play between the top and bottom housing. This housing issue results in a switch that is louder than most silent switches and you can even feel the movement when pressing the switch.
Having some TX switch films lying around, I decided to put those between the top and bottom housing to see if this would improve the switch and, wow, does it ever!
Switch films save the day
The Silent Alpaca with switch films is hands down my favourite silent linear beating out Gateron Silent Inks and Zeal Rosélios, both of which are top-tier silent switches. I cannot recommend the Silent Alpacas, however, unless you are going to modify them with switch films. They really do go from one of the worst to one of the best switches with just one modification. Of course, like every switch, redoing the lube will make them even better.
How do these compare to other silent switches available?
This is by no means a comparison to the whole silent switch landscape but the Gateron Silent Inks and Zeal Silent switches are praised in the community for being some of the best silent MX switches available.
Rosélios or any Zeal silent switch for that matter are about on par with Gateron Silent Ink switches. I prefer the Inks because they have a slightly deeper sound than the Zeal switches. Both are tremendously better than stock Gateron Silent switches which are quite scratchy. Performance comes at a price, however, with Zeal switches selling at $1.20/switch, and Silent Inks at $0.80/switch. Gateron Silent switches are available for $0.38/switch. Is it worth paying double the price? To me, yes. It’s a huge improvement in sound and feel that justifies the added expense.
The Silent Alpaca now brings an even cheaper option with the price at $0.70/switch. With that said, if you don’t plan on using switch films, which are $0.05/film, I’d actually recommend the Gateron Silent switch over the Alpaca switch. But if you’re willing to modify the switches with films you can save money and, in my opinion, end up with one of the best silent linear switches available.
So, from greatest to worst my ranking would look like this:
- Switch Filmed Silent Alpacas
- Gateron Silent Ink
- Zeal Silent Rosélios (and variants)
- Gateron Silent Black (and variants)
- Stock Silent Alpacas