Is there any basis for "Vint Browns" reputation?

On occasion, a manufacturer likes to present itself as creating something akin to “Vintage Browns.”

However, it’s not clear what this really means.

If you ask people, the “Vintage” Browns were smoother [better molds], they may have had a more clearly-defined tactility [less nebulous bump], and the bump or spring weight may have been slightly greater. Hence, a more ‘poppy’ switch.

I think that those are the assumed characteristics. Is there any basis? Is there a such thing as a “vintage Brown” that is distinct from, say, a 2015 “pre-tooled” Brown? Or is it just a category in the collective imagination?


Honestly I was referring to the MX browns in the G80-11800 as “vint browns” purely on their age. Since the model I got is the WKL PS2 model it was most likely made before 2000. Like I mentioned in the post about getting it, the browns in it are textbook broken in Cherry feel. However I wouldn’t say they feel significantly different from modern HG browns, especially if both are broken in. It’s still a light tactile with fairly nebulous tactile event. There seems to be a difference in the springs though. The browns in the 11800 do feel snappier than the retool era loose MX browns I have & snappier than I remember the MX browns in my first mech (Rosewill Apollo, very late “pretooled” era I would) feeling. I don’t have any other reference points for that though, so take it with a grain of salt.

Overall I’d say “vint browns” is mostly just a date of manufacture thing & gets the extra hype from people finding the boards that have switches that were made in the early life of the molds &/or very well broken in switches. Which is really what even vint blacks are to me also. Whether we are talking vintage switches or the latest offerings from the newest manufacturers I think the single most important thing is getting switches from the earliest runs of the molds. Which unfortunately comes down to a crapshoot since I do not think any switch manufacturers keep track of where in the life cycle of the molds a certain switch is made. Plus I’d imagine they mix together the switches from a good number of runs when making the switches.


Thanks, Rob. I didn’t mean to single you out!

I was actually thinking about certain manufacturers coming out with switches inspired by “Vint Browns,” even now. Your Compaq just reminded me.

“Vint Browns” defined by age certainly encompass the 1990s, and maybe up to 2010 or so if we are being generous to Cherry tooling.

One could probably identify at least 3 “eras” of MX Browns, although I didn’t want to get into it here.

Your account supports what others have been saying, in that the first era of MX Browns seems to be a little poppier. Less ‘watery’ than the pre-tool era & maybe a little tighter.

It’s likely that they key thing, as you mention, is just to get ahold of switches when the molds are new. I think what people desire with the affection for “Vint Browns” are MX Browns that come from fresh molds. Esp. once broken-in, as you say.

Sometimes I feel as if KTT Mallo is almost what people are looking for in “Vint Browns.” It’s basically an MX Brown, but from a very smooth mold. However, the 55 G springs are a little soft, so maybe people should buy those, lube them, and put snappier 60-63.5 G springs in them. The leaves on the Mallos ping a little, so you have to lube those in particular. Still one of the closest things to an ideal “Vint Brown” that I have experienced, although they aren’t very “poppy.”


LOL, no problem man! I figured I’d give my take on it since my post kinda kicked this off. I would like to hear some other opinions on this to though, so glad you started the thread!

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I really like Mallos but had always wished the metallic sounds were a bit more quiet. I believe KTT also makes Akko’s POM Brown which feels very similar to me, just minus the ping (but also the fixing pins, unfortunately). They might even use the same stem - probably my favorite “brown” at the moment.

I have a review here that compares its force curve graph to some other notable browns, including both pre and post retool MX Browns. (Not sure how worn-in the older one is, but there’s definitely a difference either way.)

On the note of modern switches that might be in the same universe as some worn-in MX Browns, BSUN has also been making some solid light tactiles lately, like the Fleeting Gold sold by NuPhy.


Thanks, Deadeye. I didn’t know about the Fleeting Gold, so I’ll check them out.

I actually have 90 POM Brown from an AliExpress sale. They just need some 3204 for sound, it seems to me. But I don’t like that they’re long-pole. Mallo was fine without long-pole. Your review is excellent, and I had already sent it out to people weeks ago.

[Your reviews are the most accurate I’ve seen.]

Hmm. I wonder about putting Mallo stems in Boba linear housings. I already have 85 leftover Mallos…

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Also, I agree that POM Browns have a more clacky sound that maybe doesn’t need lube - it’s just a matter of preference.

I suppose I could run some stock POM Browns vs. Silent Bluish White vs. prospective Blueberry Bobas to see which are more pleasant to use. I didn’t like the sound of stock POM Browns on my bare NCR-80 PCB.

But they sounded alright with DCX on your keyboard. Maybe that’s what I should have put on one of my NCR-80s that has TX stabilizers.

I am going to try and get some samples of Gateron Pro Brown 3.0. I haven’t liked any Gateron Brown except handpicked, worn-in examples, but maybe this time will be the charm.

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One could also ask if there are any basis for them to be bad.

Thanks! I often forget the long-pole factor when making recommendations; the Fleeting Golds are also long-pole, just to know before buying.

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Hmm, looking at the force curves it seems Cherry has changed something to affect the tactile event on hyperglide browns. That notch in the graph definitely is not present on pre & retooled browns. I haven’t tried HG browns yet (I may have tried a few loose, but can’t remember TBH) so my statement further up that vint browns shouldn’t feel too different from current HG browns might be pretty inaccurate. That is something that technically could draw a line between what we would call modern & vint browns… :thinking:


Time to pull out all those calipers and scales…

I’m surprised nobody’s done this already!


I’ve needed an excuse to grab a new caliper, guess popping one of these switches open to get the stem measurements is reason enough. Amazon here I come :upside_down_face: Seriously though I do need to get a new caliper so I’ll probably order one this week. Will report back with the measurements.

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I think I hear about three distinct phases of MX Browns [looks like we’re getting into this now]:

  1. Vintage [1990s - 2010?]

Supposedly, these are the platonic ideal of MX Browns. Smoother, more defined bump, maybe ‘poppier’ some how. This may all be malarkey, but some of them would have come from fresh molds.

  1. Pre-tooled [2010 - 2017]

This was the nadir of Cherry. Responsible for a lot of it’s bad reputation among some, especially MX Browns.

Tooling said to be worn-out, not refreshed enough.

Browns said to be scratchy, sandy, weak and undefined tactility. In reality, a lot of these would have been produced from older molds and probably suffered looser-than-usual housings.

Once broken-in, a lot of these were pretty fine.

  1. Hyperglide / Retooled [2017 - present]

The retooled Browns started arriving around 2017, and are identified by distinctive markings.

There were fresh molds involved with the earlier batches, garnering them a good reputation.

Some factory keyboards came with early batches of retooled. Batches were used for custom builds.

We also see the emergence of the “Hyperglide” label, which brings further changes. My samples were pretty scratchy-sounding, but felt okay. Better bumps than many pre-tooled.

If memory serves, Ducky may have used some fresh batches in the Ducky One Two boards. I read multiple accounts from different places of those models having good MX Browns, labelled as “Hyperglide.”

Anyway, I suppose these assumptions can be tested. There have been minor tooling changes over the years, so I would not expect “vintage” Browns to be identical to today’s.


Correction: Ducky One / One 2 may have had some of the early retooled Browns. Received positive word-of-mouth.

Ducky Shine 7 had early Hyperglide Browns, and were labelled as such.

Some reports that Hyperglide Browns have a more noticeable bump than pre-tooled. [It seemed possible to me when I tested them.]

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Datapoint: Akko POM Brown stem (and top housing) fits U4T bottom housing.

Result: U4T sound + subtly improved POM Brown tactility.


As to spring, I liked 60g TX L spring CK 58g 2-stage spring.

Another tasty datapoint: Baby Blue Geon slider in Cherry MX Brown HG housing sounds and feels good. I don’t know if Vint Brown thing is real or not but I doubt it can beat this $10 improvement.


I’ve been looking for a catch-all of alternatives to cherry browns, and I’m pleased to see numerous potential options for me to experiment with!


@Goguma I’ve got you covered!

In addition to what’s already been mentioned:

-SP Star Meteor Orange [they’re kind of like ‘Ergo Browns’]
-Blueberry Chiffon V2 [nearly Brown-sized bump mounted closer to top]
-Naevy 1.5 [a light Ergo Clear]
-Gateron CAP Brown V2 [halfway to an Ergo Clear]
-TTC Gold Brown V3 and TTC Watermelon Milkshake [TTC’s take on a heavier ‘Brown’]
-Everglide Jade Green [like a smaller Durock Medium Tactile that needs lube]
-Kailh Pro Purple [an early top-mounted Brown that is easy to lube and re-spring]
-Zealio V1 [a smooth factory Ergo Clear that can be highly-tuned. Wait for sales.]
-Corsas [a popular Brown alternative]
-Pewter [the “better Brown” Durock Light Tactile that isn’t really a Brown.
-Cotton Candy [above, but with a nylon housing]
-Huano / Ajazz Banana [bigger bump than a Brown, but not a greater force]

But for real, just read Deadeye’s review on POM Browns and any similar switches, and you will learn a lot. And not just about POM Browns.

@donpark , I’ve already heard reports about Baby Blue in MX Brown housings. It’s interesting, although not everyone takes a liking to it. I’m definitely going to try it.

May I ask which spring you used?


I’m using 58g Slow Spring from CannonKeys.

IMO this combo is good IMO but not great for two reasons:

  • Cherry housing sound vary a lot depending on case and plate.
  • Bump location relative to contact leaf is inconsistent, resulting in some switches with a bit of pre-bump travel which some may not like.

Best housing for Baby Blue stem I’ve tried so far has to be Boba LT housing. Boba U4T is not ideal housing bc, while it sounds just as good, I didn’t like its thicker leaf. Much of tactile switch modding to me is about fine-tuning and extra-thick leaf made that difficult.

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Thanks for this! Along with the switches you listed and the ones before, do you have an outlier that you can recommend me?

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I prefer the Meteor Orange. In stock form, they are okay. I would give them a ‘B.’

But modded properly, they can have the strengths of the Cherry, and fewer of its weaknesses.

I posted instructions here:

Basically, Meteor Orange needs a Cherry top-housing if you don’t want its brighter, ‘meteoric’ sound. It definitely needs lube, strategically. And it benefits from film.

It types like “thinner” Browns. In that the bump is about the same size, but more well-defined. You can type very precisely with improved Meteor Orange switches.

I would say the Durock Medium Tactile is also worth trying, because it is cheap and is similar to Everglide Jade Green and Zealio V1. It isn’t much more than a ‘Brown’ in intensity. You can build them light and smooth. Just give them the film + lube that they need, there are many options.

Ajazz Banana are just crazy. They are poppy, but sound loud and plasticy in stock form. You can buy them 45 at a time in these fruit jars:

Wait for sales.

The Bananas have a larger bump than MX Browns, but the spring is not similarly outsized. If you press an MX Brown against a Banana, I think the Brown will push it down. So it’s a very alternate kind of light-tactile.

I didn’t mention it, but another lighter tactile is the Gateron Kangaroo, but I don’t know if it really qualifies as it’s built more like a medium. And a strange one is the MODE Tomorrow. It has a very modern and sturdy housing, and is pretty factory-smooth. But the bump is very … subdued. It’s unusual.