Stuck on potential 60% upgrade

Hello all,

I’ve been wanting to get into a nicer 60% mx custom for awhile, and I’m sort of stuck on what I should even consider since there’s a lot of nice looking options lol. I’m more looking for something that would prioritize quality of typing over looks, but I guess if it looks nice that’s a good bonus too. If there’s any upcoming groupbuys or in stock that would be a plus, but I’m also willing to wait and hunt for a specific board on the used market if there’s something that’s already ran that’s really worth considering over others. I’d say my budget for the total build would be around ~1k ish usd, but flexible.

I think so far in terms of feel I prefer something a bit firmer feeling, out of what I have, I really like a jacky piggy60 with a brass plate with zaku 2 and sa, jer j80 with vintage cherry blacks, and actually mode envoy polycarb copper plate with boba u4t with kat profile caps. I’m not really partial to a specific mounting system or plate material as long as it’s not something too soft (don’t like a lot of flex in things personally), but also not the biggest fan of some of the overly firm mounts I have like a m0110 brass plate with cream clickie. I guess in design I do prefer big bezels or vintage inspired cases, but also fine with more modern designs as well so nothing super specific there. I do think I need something that can at least support split backspace and split right shift, basically hhkb layout but also fine with a full bottom row if it can support the latter. I would greatly prefer hotswap either natively or if I can get another pcb working in it, simply because I find myself swapping switches more than I should and I also dislike soldering tbh, though if soldered is the only way to go for feel I guess so be it lol. Switch wise I’ll likely just play around until I find something I like, I do want to avoid clicky for this build though (already have some nicer non mx clicky boards) so something that would either be linear or tactile depending on how the board reacts to it.

Currently from what I’ve gone though, the strongest contender from a precursory search of upcoming gb seems to be the cloudnine 60, although I guess as with any gb typing experience is going to be an unknown until people actually get it in their hands. And also doesn’t seem to be hotswap. Also looking at the eden 60 as well, not hotswap either though

Any suggestions for what to consider or what to look out for here? Feeling a bit lost lol, help would be greatly appreciated.

One quick suggestion is lower your max to $600 $700-800 all-in. Plenty of great options. No need to spend $1,000, unless you fall in love with something in demand that’s only available after market.

Some that I like are the Salvation and the Ellipse. If you’re interested I can comment more.

EDIT: Adjusted total since I wasn’t accounting for how expensive GMK can be and for you getting extra plates and so on.


Will do, 1k was really more a max than a target, the less I spend in the end the better lol. I just didn’t want to limit any potential options either if there’s actually boards that can justify themselves at that price point (but of course that’s subjective from person to person)

I’m going to try and limit the cost spent on caps if I can, not interested in really getting some of the fairly expensive gmk sets, honestly only gmk set I’m waiting for is gmk 1520 if it ever runs, but I guess it depends on the board if I can bring myself to spend more for just looks lol

Wilba salvation or a different salvation? If it’s anything like the thermal+, I like that board but I feel like I don’t find myself using it as much as I would have expected, it’s fun board but I find it’s something that’s a bit more fatiguing over time especially with some long pole switches (ended up liking gateron baby raccoons and prevail nebula v2 the most in it). Ends up having some pretty fun bounce, but I also find myself typing harder on it to get that increased bounce and over time didn’t feel as satisfying, but still use it from time to time

Not heard much about the ellipse so I’d be interested in hearing about that

Got it!

Yes, probably similar to Thermal, I’ve been told, though I only have the Salvation.

The Ellipse is by Funderburker/Skepur…still extras on CannonKeys. Not well known but the shape is beautiful in person. Three mounting styles. There is honestly a lot of case ping or hollowness with the top mount or o-ring, but the latter feels great. The gasket mount is quite firm but still comfortable and clean/punchy sounding. Some would find it still a bit hollow but it’s very controlled and minimal to me…just character. And the designer is a really nice person :grinning:

One excellent feature is that it’s compatible with the CK version of the Bakeneko PCB, so you can use any such PCB in it. That includes their Bastion series. The plate files are also available. So for example when Hiney puts up extras of the 1.2mm CEM Purple Nurple PCB, you could get a half plate made and pick one of those up for a softer feeling build.

One of my favorite keyboards! I’d say it’s more of a sidegrade from a Thermal, just different feeling and sounding. Then, I’d put everything as a side grade at this “level,” with more expensive ones just being fancier perhaps (which is fine).

Unfortunately it’s not an easy one to audition. Here’s a link to a sound test. I think this is with gasket mount.

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Good to know, might pass on that one only because I already have the thermal, and I don’t want to get something that might be a bit redundant since I do still like the thermal, but it’s just not something I’d want to really daily.

I should clarify that a bit, I’m kinda looking for a board that’s not more specialized in typing experience to where it’s reasonably well rounded and something that’s just both really nice but also something that is a great everyday use sort of application as well. And not interested in a lot of the extra/sub features in some boards like anything related to lighting, screens, knobs, etc (not bashing them, but I just personally don’t care lol).

It seems pretty cool, seems like case ping and hollowness is sort of common with a lot of the oring or top mount boards from my experience and I don’t personally mind if they feel good lol. Don’t really like overly dampened/foamed/etc boards most of the time anyways, prefer something a bit more resonant. I think I’d be most interested in the potential oring mount, when I’ve tried oring mount boards I’ve liked them but not really owned a good one (closest thing I have is a neo65 to see how things have come in that price range, and I liked the gasket mount more in that case)

Oh that’s convenient

So that’s really the core problem I’m having lol, I sort of want to find something that isn’t going to be a sidegrade, and more of something that can offer a level of typing experience that exceeds what I have for my current mx boards, while still being mx. I’m just having a hard time trying to figure out what might potentially be that next step, and also if there really even is a next step or if a lot of what I might consider would just end up being sidegrades.

I know some point to things like tgr/singa/keycult type boards, and I’d really like to try one, but I hesitate to actually buy one considering the exclusivity/popularity markup they typically have second hand, and I wonder how much of what I’m paying for is actually typing experience vs design & qc vs rarity/hype (only way to know in the end is to try though in the end)

Hey that sounds nice! It almost reminds me of a deeper more refined bakeneko65 build a friend had a bit (from rough memory). Wouldn’t really call it all that hollow personally, I like it

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I mean, if you want to collect cool keyboards and have money to spend, I totally understand wanting to own something that has a high price point for the sake of collecting. Higher price tags sometimes mean better quality and longer endurance in value.

But if you’re looking for a “nicer” typing feel, that would suggest price point doesn’t matter and you need to figure out what type of mouting/plate material/switch type/spring weight/keycap profile/keycap material you like. Those 5 things are what effect typing feel. Piggy would be a good start b/c with a hotswap PCB you could figure out 4 of the 5.

Piggy60 could easily be worth over $1000 if it had a more universal appeal in aesthetics. Are you in need of more desk space or portability? If so, if would make sense to look into some more slimmed down boards, but they probably won’t have as good of acoustics as the Piggy.

How much have you messed around with the setup on your Piggy60? Do you have a the hotswap PCB? If not, you could probably find one on mechmarket for $45 or so and start there.

Maybe you could hold off on looking for a “nicer” board (which you have to understand is extremely subjective to the individual), and you could try to first spend time to narrow in on what you prefer in terms of mounting, plate material, switch type, spring weight, keycap profile, and keycap material.

I’ve owned BMWs that were $30K and BMWs that are $130K. It’s hard to look past the bells and whistles, but the engine, suspension, and handling for a majority of the time is the same. Now I know that the value of the base is important, but a huge part of my perception of the overall vehicle comes from the sum of all the little parts.

Be even more precise on what it is what you like and don’t like if you want to be successful in finding something you deem “better.” I have struggled with this idea and still do, but I’ve let go a bit and tell myself that nothing is really “better,” just different and perhaps more suited to my tastes.


Makes sense, I’m sort of operating under the assumption of “you get what you pay for” which has been the case for a lot of other hobbies from my experience, but of course what you pay for may also not be what you’re really after. I’m personally sort of wondering/asking if there’s many options within the higher end brackets of boards that you’re mainly paying for typing experience, and not unique design, extra features, or rarity/exclusivity. I specifically don’t want to make things about collecting since I like to use all of my boards at least semi frequently, and if I don’t they get sold off. If a lot of the higher end boards are moreso paying for things other than improved typing experience, then I guess I should stick with what I’ve got then lol, since I’m not really interested in collecting or something just more for show/prestige

Alright, in that case I guess it’s time to nail down things further then. I sort of came to the conclusion that I should look toward other boards mainly because I kept swapping in and out switches and caps in a lot of my boards and while I still enjoy them and aren’t unsatisfying, I sort of get the feeling that I could also do better. At the same time, I got the feeling that the limitations were in the board itself rather than the switches or caps after swapping things in and out and spending more time with it.

In terms of mounting, honestly I haven’t decided on a specific preference yet, the only ones I’d say I’m not partial to are integrated plate and older tray mount. I really like plateless builds but at the same time I don’t think I want to go plateless for a future build since I’m satisfied with the jer in that regard. Gasket mount can just be many different types so it’s hard to nail down what I really like there.

Plate material I think over the years I’ve gravitated most toward brass and copper plates, although I also like alu and carbon fiber plates, feel mixed on fr4 (seems consistently average for me), and pc and pom are not my preferences although I’ve not really gave too much time to these plates either compared to the others. Steel plates for vintage boards but I just prefer to use vintage boards as they come most of the time

Switch type for MX I like tactiles and linears the most, because I think a lot of the clicky mx have paled in comparison to a lot of the clicky other switch types I’ve tried. I think with SA caps I’ve liked long pole more but with cherry profile I’ve found I prefer more normal/traditional more. In terms of tactiles I generally prefer something that’s a bit on the heavier side of things, generally with the tactile even more at the top for mx switches. Some examples of tactiles I like depending on the board are bolsa zaku 2, neapolitan ice creams, sp star magic girl classics. For linears I think I prefer something a bit on the heavier side of things, not too picky about smoothness, and with cherry profile caps I think the switches I prefer are things like vintage mx blacks, tangerine v2s, thic thock marshmallows, and alpaca v2 (but only when lubed). For longer pole options I have liked gateron baby raccoons and prevail nebula v2, but I haven’t tried too many long pole linears yet.

I think in terms of keycaps, I either prefer SA or cherry profile, KAT profile is something I like a decent bit recently as well. It all depends on the board and use case for which one I end up preferring. For SA caps I just go with SP which are ABS and like that the most. For cherry profile, I might have a slight bias toward pbt but it depends on the manufacturer and also the built itself, some builds I end up preferring abs more (although I dislike the shine). KAT has proven a nice middleground but I only have one build with them so I’ve only tried it on a limited amount of boards. I think I’d want to go cherry profile for a future build for both compactness and comfort reasons. SA is really fun but I have enough high profile builds, and I don’t think it’s as comfortable (and don’t type as fast on them) vs cherry.

I’d also say the case material affects feel, in that from my experience a polycarb case feels different than an alum case even with the same variables for apples to apples, but it wasn’t super different. Don’t want to go for a polycarb build for this one.

I really like the piggy, but I think I like it more with an SA cap build, and it’s also something where I want to go for a 60% for the actual benefits of a 60% size wise where the piggy sort of negates any size benefits lol. I’d agree the piggy sounds nice, here’s a sound demo of my build for it. I think for a future build I’m less worried about sound although it’s always a benefit, and may be one of the reasons why I have sort of gravitated toward larger cases in the past.

I’ve gone though about 6 different tactiles, and 4 different linear switches, and messed around with caps some to get where I am now, it is indeed a hotswap board. I’m happy with the result and I don’t really want to change it really. This is really more of a “where do I go from here, if I can even go higher in the first place” from a typing experience perspective

Fair, should spend more time to really nail down what I like, but then again there’s only so much separation you can do, have to consider things as a whole and not individually as everything contributes to the end experience. Have tried a few boards which on paper looked like they’d really be up my alley, in the end though was left disappointed or underwhelmed. But this isn’t really something where I’m looking to jump to something new right away, fine with waiting things out, at the same time though always get worried about the nature of groupbuys and if there’s something that would really suit me well that’s about to close or something lol

Yeah have had similar experiences where there have been times where moving up the price bracket wasn’t worthwhile for me either, sometimes because I wasn’t going to use/appreciate extra features and amenities, or sometimes because I just didn’t like the type of experience something was going for. There have also been times where I felt stupid for not making that next leap into the next realm of things either, something that really just made a lot of the more budget or midrange stuff feel like a waste to deal with. All depends on what you’re after, how experienced you are in something to even notice/appreciate the differences, and also the hobby/realm itself. And that’s really what I’m trying to get a gauge of in the end lol, sort of want to find an option to try in that what some would consider next step range, and see if it’s something I actually find value in or not vs what I have


It sounds to me like you have an well informed opinion about what you prefer. My experience over the past 10-15 years in the keyboard hobby is that the price has very little to do with the type feel of a final product, to a point. Yes, I have keyboards that feel pretty much equal that are $1000+ apart in price. In fact, many will tell you (and I agree) that often times, the more affordable option turns out to be even “nicer.”

I think one key factor in considering anything going forward would be who is designing the board, and who is helping them to manufacturing the board (vendor). You have nice keyboards. You don’t want to get something that is from a first-time designer. There are too many lessons to learn. Not only about the design of the board, but about the whole operation.

I don’t know of much more I can offer for advice. I have hundreds of keyboards. I would be very hard pressed to tell you which ones are the nicest. But my first and strongest instinct would be to pull out the ones that cost the most. However, I’m typing this on a Adam lego keyboard that was less than $100. It has a very nice feel and sound… plus it has a cool lego guy on it. :rofl:

I found that after all of these years, I do have definite preferences. But I move outside of my taste often times because I like the look of something. Sometimes I’ll use a keyboard for several weeks just because Iike how nice it looks. Sometimes I’ll get riddle in anger about any switch noise or case ping and I’ll pull out another board that sounds better.

Wow, this has gone on too long. I would stick to the keyboard that gives you the most options. Because as time passes, you are almost certain to change your preferences. This would keep you happy for longer.


To be honest it doesn’t really feel like it lol, but I think I have some preferences I can go by, I just don’t know if they’re really solidified preferences, and I feel like I’m still pretty open to considering a lot of different designs, which is probably why I feel conflicted in the first place lol. Really need to reduce the scope of what I’m willing to consider and try and find a better way to define preferences for myself to narrow things down.

Good to know. I guess a question I’d have knowing that is are there any that offered something distinctly different that you didn’t really find in the more affordable options? Something that justified it’s cost in typing experience rather than other metrics? Hard question I know, but it would just be helpful to get some sort of context/starting point to help decide what I should really consider and what I likely shouldn’t. I don’t really like to use cost as a metric of potential quality, but it’s at least a starting point, and I also don’t want to have cost be a limiting factor for considering something that could offer a potentially more worthwhile experience than what I have. If I can find something I like more for less, that’s always going to be a win.

Better/nicer is very vague/hard to quantify, but I also just feel as though I don’t have the proper vocabulary to articulate what I’m really after either.

Not the most up to date on what current designs have withstood the test of time vs ones that haven’t, and I guess in the end the simplest thing I could ask is what 60% designs around the same price range as something like the piggy or above are worth looking into with a focus on typing feel, and of course with something that open ended is going to give a lot of variety in response, but at the same time it’s helpful to get different perspectives and get more boards to look into to make a decision later on.

:+1: noted, want to avoid hassle if I can lol. While some of the more experimental stuff is neat, I do want to sort of stick to the more tried and true side of things especially if I’m going to be spending a decent bit into it.

Feel sort of similar, the boards I’ve ended up liking and using the most tend to also not be the most expensive out of what I have (right now just typing this on an hhkb). And that’s sort of why I’m really looking for a more traditional 60% than the piggy at or above the same range for something that I can use more often and have an at least equally worthwhile experience, so that what I’d consider my “nicer” and my “daily” board somewhat align. I’d say 60% is one of my most used form factors and I don’t really have a mx board that I’d say is a really practical really sort of refined experience like I get with something like the hhkb. Granted if I wanted the feel of the hhkb, I’m going to use the hhkb, so I’m not looking for a mx build to try and emulate that sort of experience since that’s a waste to try, but rather looking for something that can fill that same role of how I personally use an hhkb with similar standards I hold it to (I really like the feel of the hhkb over a lot of mx builds I’ve tried even though I have different preferences for mx builds). Something pretty nice to go alongside it lol

For further context, in terms of 60%s, I’ve got the hhkb, piggy, modern m0110, saturn60, modern dasher d60, etc. Most of all the 60% I have fall into the realm of “I really like these, but at the same time I also feel like they’re a bit more looks and design focused than typing experience and practicality focused” so I feel like I’d really appreciate having something a bit more function over form for 60%s (aside from the hhkb)

Makes sense lol, there are def some things I got just because they’re plain cool even if they aren’t exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to a performance perspective. The piggy actually falls into a middleground there for me where I really like the typing experience and really appreciate the looks about equally so it’s a nice place to be. In this case I was looking to see if there were options that I could essentially trade a bit more of the unique looks/style for a larger emphasis on performance and practicality.

That’s really why I’m more interested in hotswap boards, gives me more flexibility in the future if I ever get the itch to change anything. But will do, thank you for the advice!

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Side note, the ai03 vector seems really nice, very well known designer and distributor, in stock, and I like the look a lot, it’s a shame it’s solder only lol

I’ve thought several times about buying that one but it’s so expensive for what it is. You could ask around and see if it works will milmax sockets though.

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I have more limited experience, but I don’t know of any boards above the middle price range that are offering something you can’t get for less $ in terms of general overall typing experience. They’re more about a specific designer’s work or aesthetic niceties and may have a low run so higher price, or they may not cut any corners on machining. I like having different boards that have different layouts or attributes to their sound and feel.

Maybe it’s a sidetrack, but there are more and more Topre/EC options for aluminum keyboards these days.

For example, the Type-B should have extras after the GB completes soon, and there is going to be an EC kit released for it before then (on CannonKeys). I think the Class60 has a EC build as well. These aren’t “higher end,” though the Type-B rather is, but it’s a direction.

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Feel similar, don’t remember past projects like the vega being that expensive either

Never actually done anything with millmax sockets, will have to look into that process

Alright, good to know then!

I have a heavy grail coming at some point, waiting to see how that will be

Oh the type b looks interesting, will have to check that one out.

The class 60 was something I almost went in on, but it felt a bit redundant at the time already having so many large bezel boards already. I think I liked the design of the class65 more iirc as well

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EDIT: I think you’re backing your way into a aluminum Unikorn and might as well go for it if it could be your endgame :joy: I’ve never tried one.

But yah, maybe Type-B.

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I’d try one if it weren’t for the insane markup on them, I think that’s really put me off from one lol

The first thing I thought of when you said type b was beamspring lol. I might consider it for the mx build, I don’t want to go in on another ec board when I have the hg coming. That cloudnine60 really interests me as it’s another project with a true hhkb layout, and I also think it’s a sleek looking design, but will have to wait and see how it turns out. Looking into it, the type b seems pretty sleek, putting that on the list for sure

There’s always the repro Kishsaver if you want something more unique, but it sounds like you’re looking for something more generalist.

People are going wild over the JJW Moment and Derivative. Would also be aftermarket, but I imagine only flippers are selling them. They’re beautiful looking keyboards, and I don’t think the high regard is unjustified, but people, like, STAN JJW. Part of the Derivative thing is potential to be built really bouncy. I think the Moment is more just a well-built and nicely shaped classic keyboard. Haven’t typed on one yet, but I should be at a meet in about a week.

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Yeah, I’ve also already got a 3178 c2, and I think I’d rather just use that instead if I’m going to go the cbs route. I did try the f104 repro and liked that although I preferred the real thing and also sort of wished I got the f77/62 instead. I also plan to sometimes take things to work, and buckling springs at work typically isn’t a nice thing to do (anymore)

Think I’m pretty set on other switch type builds, have a few alps modern builds and vintage boards, same for buckling springs, and others like space invaders, and I kinda always felt like my mx boards lagged behind in terms of enjoyment, so wanting to really see if I can hone in on one to see if I can make a build that equals my enjoyment there.

I was eying those but I missed out on them, and it doesn’t really seem like there’s many up for sale at all (and if they were, I’d imagine they might get a pretty strong markup). If you get a chance to try them, would really be interested in knowing what you think about them :+1:

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Unikorn offers nothing over a Bakeneko. I own one. Rarely use it. The design is cool though.


Interesting, well that’s a nice thing to cross off the list then lol (although realistically can’t say it was on there due to price anyways). I was impressed by the bakeneko when I got to try one, pretty great, better than I was expecting

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A HMKB I bought for $100 has the same feel as my Jane v2. My Noxary 280 feels better than both of them. :man_shrugging:

I love all of these boards. They’re all top mount. And I know that’s what I like. The 280 sits hard against the mat. I think the feet are undersized and that’s what gives it the difference in feel.