Mode Sonnet Review

my thoughts

keyboard by: Mode Designs
Photos taken in House by alex

Intro

Quite frankly, the Sonnet is my favourite keyboard from Mode Designs. The Sonnet, Mode’s latest 75% keyboard, goes beyond the simple designs of the Mode Eighty and SixtyFive and opts for a top accent piece and what turns out to be a gorgeous side profile.

Despite moving away from the simple designs of the past, Mode did not steer away from the amount of customizability offered on the Sonnet.

What's New

There are several design aspects new to the Sonnet. The biggest, and what I feel is most important, is the addition of weight. Weight is a big deal for me because an added weight helps break up the resonate sound of a solid chassis. It also adds mass, so if heft is something that matters to you, you’ll find it here. I was pleasantly surprised at the options of weights, too. There really is something for everyone here.

A close up of the copper weight on the Mode Sonnet.

A close up of the copper weight on the Mode Sonnet.

Taking a design cue from the SixtyFive, Mode has included accent pieces. This time, however, the accents screw into the case rather than the SixtyFive magnet system. While this isn’t an elegant solution compared to magnets, the magnets definitely have a bit of rattling in some cases. In this situation, a more conventional approach beats elegance.

 

The other big difference of Sonnet over the SixtyFive and Eighty is the side profile. It is beautiful and I am simply in love with it.

Build Experience

As someone who builds keyboards daily (check out my stream), the build experience is paramount. If the keyboard is beautiful to look at but impossible to build, I can’t recommend it. Don’t get me wrong, difficult isn’t bad, but if the board is over engineered just for the sake of it, it makes the build not as fun. And that’s the whole point of this hobby, right?

There are no worries in this regard when it comes to the Sonnet. It’s just as easy to build as the rest of the Mode family. Like the new Mode Eighty and SixtyFive, the Sonnet boasts a few mounting styles, all of which work really well with this board. And, with just a few screws, you can swap back and forth to find the one you like best. Or, you know, if you just want to change it up for fun.

The Sonnet offers the following mounting styles: top, stacked, and top with corner sleeves. I built the Sonnet two ways: stack and top-mounted. I was surprised I liked the stack mount in the Sonnet since I was not a fan of this style in the SixtyFive. In the SixtyFive I felt it hurt the softness, but this wasn’t the case in the Sonnet. And, as I often mention, this is pure preference. You simply have to try different methods to find what you like best. Remember, it’s what you like best, not someone else. This is exactly why I love this hobby: you can tweak every board to fit your personal style.

What changes would I make? There are some and, good news, they are already being addressed by Mode. The polycarbonate bottom is beautiful, but a lot of the weights have their finished part hiding face up into case. For example, the multicolor weight only has the finish inside and not pointing where we could see it. Talk about no fun. But, get this: this issue is being addressed in the final variant of the board. How fun.

The reset button is no longer accessible on the top of the PCB. That’s right, you have to disassemble the keyboard to access it. Also, there are no openings on the stabs like we had in the original Eighty. I loved being able to swap out a stabilizer without a complete tear down of the board and it’s one of the aspects I liked so much about the Eighty.

The last item is a request to Mode: Consider adding a gasket mount system. Now, I liked the top mount and didn’t even mind the stack mount, but you all are really missing out on how great a gasket system, if implemented correctly, can be.

Side profile of the Sonnet

Things I loved.

There’s a lot to be loved about the Sonnet: Its great and consistent sound profile and its near-endless configuration options. Seriously, you can spend hours in the configurator. My favorite plate right now is aluminum and I’m glad Mode didn’t stray away from it in favor of the current popular flavors of FR4 and PC. As I will say until the end of time, it’s all preference, but I’m glad the option of aluminum was available.

The quality of the case is typical Mode and I use that not to be dismissive, but as a compliment. Mode has consistently delivered high-quality cases and Mode’s attention to detail on the Sonnet is no different. In fact, once you see the beautiful side profile, you’re likely to say Mode is upping its game. If that’s going to be how Mode operates from now on, I’m all for it!

If you want to pick up a Sonnet and also support my content, please consider using my Mode affiliate link when purchasing. It helps me to up my content game, continue to create video reviews, and post articles like this one. 

While Mode Designs paid me to build the keyboard, this review was not paid for and Mode Designs had no input into the review.

The bottom of the Sonnet in PC.