Wind Studio has been making some of the most interesting custom keyboards since its debut. It just announced its latest DIY keyboard kit, the Wind Studio Sin65, blending form and function to create a unique keyboard that stands apart from most other 65-percents on the market today. At $288, it’s on the expensive end, but with its different build options and unique aesthetics, it’s sure to find a dedicated fanbase.
- Current Price: $288 (CannonKeys, Wind Studio)
- 7° typing angle
- 6mm PCB available in wired solder, wired hotswap, and wireless hotswap
- Plate is 1.5mm available in PC and Alu
- 125Hz polling rate for wireless, 1000Hz polling rate for wired
- Wired PCB supports VIAL, bluetooth PCB supports LDN
Wind Studio Sin65 - Math Inspired: Unique and Eye-catching
Wind Studio is nothing if not adventurous. From its previous line of X keyboards (the Wind X R2 and Wind X98) to its more recent Z75, it blends together form and function to deliver typing experiences that are smooth, satisfying, and full of personality. They’re also full of options, allowing you to craft a typing and gaming experience that’s personalized to you.
The Sin65 is such a keyboard. Inspired by the mathematical function, Sine, the keyboard features a 65% layout with an exploded Escape key, offset to the upper left. It features a traditional 65% layout (no function row or numpad, but arrows and a column of navigation and editing buttons of your choice) and supports stepped Caps Lock and either a 6.25u or 7u Spacebar on the hotswap version. If you don’t mind soldering your switches in, you’ll also be able to use split Backspace, split Left Shift, and an ISO layout.
The case is precision CNC milled and available in five different colors: Anodized Orange, Anodized Grey, and Anodized Black, as well as E-coated in off-white and e-green. A polycarbonate version will also be available. Each of these cases features graceful contours on both sides leading to the case bottom. It’s understated but looks great, in my opinion.
The star of the show is the bottom weight. It’s formed with a ripple effect, surrounding an inset sine logo pulled directly from math textbooks. I’ve never seen anything like it and it looks even better in real life. The entire case assembly was flawless on my sample with no stray marks from the anodization process: exactly as you would expect from a nearly $300 compact keyboard.
The offers plenty of options for the prospective builder. That begins with the layout options provided by the wired, hotswap, or wireless hotswap PCBs (each 1.6mm, non-flex cut). It’s also able to be built in either top mount or PCB gasket mount configuration. While top mount requires screwing the assembly into the top half of the case for the firmest typing experience, PCB gasket mount uses soft PORON gaskets on the PCB itself that are then sandwiched between the two halves of the case.
This also means that the keyboard can be built completely plateless if you like. If you go this route, you’ll certainly find it to be very flexy and have a clacky typing experience, but you’ll want to use the thick layer of included plate foam to help stabilize the switches (they’ll wiggle without it). This means that you can go plateless in a fully hot-swap build, however, which is pretty neat.
The kit also includes both an aluminum and polycarbonate plate. These allow you to pull two different sounds and feels from the keyboard without needing to buy anything extra. It's a nice touch and great to see.
Wind Studios also provides a full foam kit with the Sin65. This consists of two plate foams (thick and thin depending on if you’re going plateless or not), a layer of IXPE switch foam, PCB foam, case foam, and two dense filler foams for the battery compartments if you opted for a wired PCB. With these, you can really fine-tune the amount of flex and the sound profile you’re looking for.
Like most kits, you’ll need to bring your own switches, stabilizers, and keycaps. Most builders approaching a kit like this will also want to customize these elements, so it’s no surprise, and goes with the territory. If you’re considering this as your first custom keyboard, it’s worth bearing in mind, as you settle on a budget, however.
Wind Studios has a great reputation in the mechanical keyboard community due to the quality and versatility of its products. They’re refined and feature design elements the go above and beyond what’s available in lower cost kits. The contoured edges, ripple weight, unique offset Escape key… the foams and two included plates. The ethos is clear: the keyboard should look good and both sound and just how you want it to, without needing to rely on the foam.
Wind Studio Sin65 - Assembly
Assembling the Sin65 is immediately familiar if you’ve ever build a custom keyboard before. There aren’t many unique quirks here, so you can follow the usual process. Prepare the stabilizers and switches you would like to use, applying lube to taste. Place the IXPE sheet on the PCB if you’re using it and screw in each stabilizer with the feet going into the larger holes.
The next step will change depending on if you’re using a plate or not. If not, you’ll want to use the thicker piece of plate foam to stabilize the switches. If you are, choose aluminum or polycarbonate, you should use the thinner piece (or none at all) and position the plate in line with the switch ports. Next, press the switches into place. If you’re not using standoffs (I rarely ever do), install switches in the corners and center of all four sides and then several across the middle to hold it in place. Be sure to support the hot-swap sockets from beneath to prevent popping them out of place. They’re more fragile than you think.
From there, it’s time to decide how you want to mount the keyboard. If you’re planning on using top mount for a stiffer typing experience, you can use the included fasteners and silicone dampers and move forward fastening the assembly to the top half of the case. If you’re opting for the softer gasket mount, you’ll need to apply the PORON strips. Note that the tabs for the strips are on the PCB, not the plate, which is what allows this to be a plateless build if you like that sound and added flexiness.
With that done, it’s time to prepare the bottom case. If you have a wired PCB, you’ll need to put the two harder foams to the battery slots. You’ll also need to screw in the USB daughterboard using the two included screws. Case foam and PCB foam can then be added if you prefer a deeper sound signature at the expense of some flex.
With that done, the PCB can be connected to the USB daughterboard the assembly can be set inside the bottom case or halves put together depending on your build style. Add keycaps and you’re done.
The whole build process is straightforward but it’s still worth taking a look at the manual to make sure you don’t miss anything, especially with it supporting two different mounting styles. Overall, though, Wind Studios did a very good job of making it intuitive and fun. Also, bonus points for making the JST cable connecting the daughterboard and main PCB long enough to easily install.
Drop DCX Skiidata Keycaps
For my personal build, I opted to use DCX Skiidata keycaps from Drop. These keycaps are inspired by the GMK set of the same name and feature a black and orange colorway with bright orange accent keys. It’s one of the few sets that comes in black and orange – a fact that still baffles me since it works with so many keyboards – and is very, very well done.
Drop’s DCX keycaps are made of doubleshot ABS plastic and are, in essence, the company’s answer to GMK. GMK, if you’re not familiar, has long been viewed as the gold standard for custom keycaps. Unfortunately, they’re almost always available through group buy if you want to find them at a reasonable price (aftermarket sets are routinely $180 to $250 or more) and for you to wait all the way from six months to two years to actually receive the end product. It’s untenable, even if they’re the best keycaps in the world.
Which is why it’s so refreshing to have DCX keycaps be such a worthy competitor. I’ve examined numerous sets from both companies and Drop’s quality easily matches and in some cases exceeds GMK – especially newer GMK sets, which I’ve found can have weird, shiny inconsistencies. That’s not an issue with DCX, the thickness is virtually identical, they’re both made of the same material and have extremely similar sound profiles, and the quality of the legends is outstanding on DCX. The best part is that they’re available in-stock for only $99 for a full base set covering a full 104-key keyboard, including extras for alternative layouts. They’re a steal.
Drop’s DCX Skiidata set was perfect out of the box and are just as gorgeous as I had hoped. Skiidata uses a black base with orange legends to create a beautiful, eye-catching contrast. There is light texturing across their surface to add grip, but the matte finish was consistent across the board, unlike my recent experience with GMK. The legends were crisp and consistent. The mold-work was also well done. They easily fit on my SOTC switches but were tight enough to stay in place just as you would expect them too. You won’t have to worry about any stem stretching.
The sound profile is light and poppy, a perfect match for the long pole switches. The spacebar especially sounds nice and has a much livelier sound than the PBT keycaps I used at first. Even so, they have thick walls, so you’re not sacrificing solidity for sound.
Drop’s Skiidata set is just as great as I expected it to be based on my experience with other DCX keycap sets. This particular set is uniquely appealing because of its solidarity on the market. So long as there are so few other black and orange keycap sets readily available, and even if there were frankly, this would still be one of the easiest recommendations for completing a build of that style.
Wind Studio Sin65 - Performance
I won’t beat around the bush: The Sin65 is excellent. I really have to commend Wind Studio on the consistency of its releases. They have been universally innovative and very well designed, and the Sin65 is no exception. Here, that innovation comes with the layout, multimount design, and that gorgeous ripple weight. Its embrace of options in its mounting style is also a very welcome trait. More choice = more fun and more value for the builder.
I’ve come to find that Wind’s keyboards really lean into a higher-pitched, clackier profile. Even with the PC plate and thick PBT keycaps, it’s rather hard to get a sound that I would consider deep and thocky. Thockier, perhaps, but the Sin65 is simply a very lively, bright-sounding board. Using all of the foams definitely creates a foamy, marbly sound signature, however, so that's still very much within reach if you prefer it.
In that way, it pairs very well with the current trends in the mechanical keyboard scene. Long pole switches are the current go-to for many keyboard fans. Phrases like “cheat code to good sound” are bandied about to describe them the same way PE foam was last year. Either way, a set of long poles in this board sounds great.
For my build, I used a set of Createkeebs SOTC switches. These are, you guessed it, a long pole linear switch. They’re also pre-lubed but I did take the time to disassemble the switches and apply some oil to the springs which were a touch crunchy out of the box (no ping, though!). With that small mod, they became really refined and just an excellent match for the Sin65.
I built the keyboard in four configurations: plateless with only the required plate foam; the aluminum plate with thin plate foam, the PC plate using just the plate foam, and the PC plate using all of the foams. Trying such varied options gave me a very good impression about the range of the board but bear in mind that your choice of switch will also make a major difference.
Have a listen below.
The plateless build is expectedly flexy and has definite bounce if you leave out the case foams. The switches stayed in place well with the taller plate foam and didn’t wobble like I’ve found on some other plateless hotswap builds. After trying them all, I returned to the plateless build, as it turned out to be my favorite. There's something unique about it, as you'll hear in the video above.
The aluminum plate offers a nice, crisp sound profile. If you don’t use the case foams, there’s also plenty of flex to the typing experience, which makes your keystrokes soft. With all of them in place, there is considerably less with only a small dampening of the sound profile, so you can safely use the case foams as a way to tune the amount of movement you feel beneath your fingers. Since aluminum is naturally pretty stiff, the amount of movement you feel is actually very small when typing normally, so it’s safe to leave out the case foams here.
My PC build had the deepest sound and was my second favorite for multiple reasons and was still on the clackier side overall. I think this just comes down to the design of the case but a standard switch instead of a long-pole, or a tactile, could add more depth. Still, I found it to be the enjoyable to type and game on. The softer plate translates to softer typing, and while clacky is pretty much all you’re going to get on the alu plate, the PC extends the lower range to provide more options as you’re tuning the sound and feel of the keyboard.
Using the PC plate did surprise me by introducing a bit of hollowness without any case foam. Using all of the foams definitely leads to a firmer typing experience but opting for a single case foam and no PCB foam works well to address this. Why it's more audible with the PC plate than even plateless, I'm not sure, but it's definitely something to consider.
It's all subjective, of course, and I think the range here is pretty good within that higher sound spectrum. Tuning the feel is very good. You can range from a firm typing experience with top mount to an exceptionally flexible one with plateless and everything in between with the plates and foams.
This is a board that I think benefits from PE foam, at least with long pole switches. It’s already poppy and using the foam doesn’t dramatically change the sound, but it does increase its volume and adds a bit of energy to the modifiers. It enhances the sound rather than defines it. It’s definitely worth experimenting with.
Overall, the Wind Studio Sin65 is another impressive kit from a proven company in this space. It provides plenty of options to the prospective builder without overcomplicating the build process. The final product has a level of refinement, from the sound and feel to the construction, build quality, and intricate, artistic weight, that you won’t find on the many entry-level keyboards flooding the market today. This probably isn’t the kit to go for if you want a super deep, thocky foamed-out sound, but if you want something lively and energetic with room to tune its acoustics within that scope, this is an excellent choice.
The Wind Studio Sin65 will be going into group buy on September 19th and will run until the 19th of October. It can be purchased from CannonKeys or Wind Studio within the United States or from a wide range of vendors internationally. Follow this link to find out more and place and order if you would like to pick up your own. Fulfillment is expected within 3-6 months of group buy conclusion.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.