It’s interesting to read your post, as I can see that tactiles are new to you.
You are describing some core features of various tactile ‘archetypes.’
I don’t think you are necessarily trying out the latest and best tactiles, but they are well-known switches that serve as a good starting point.
First, let me say a few things about the switches you tried:
Kailh BOX Brown
These are interesting switches, no doubt. More tactile Browns in a ‘dustproof’ housing that is theoretically more stable.
However, in practice, these are a flawed and outdated design. The thick early stems destroyed some keycaps. More important, the tactile BOX switches eventually become ‘clicky,’ kind of negating the point of your endavour.
That being said, I received a good batch one time, and enjoy typing on it on occasion.
Gateron Silent Brown
These were an early attempt at a silent tactile. The tactility is not very memorable, but they do function. They are swishy or scratchy unless you lube them.
Similar to Gateron Silent Brown. These are actually pretty decent silent light-tactiles, but you need to replace the springs. 60 - 70 G 14mm TX springs should work well.
Zealios 62 G
Based upon your description, it seems as if those are V2. Zealio V1 is a light/medium-tactile that are fairly easy to press.
Zealio V2, on the other hand, is a beast of a tactile [by 2019 standards] that indeed is harder to press.
Now let me say a few things about where to go from here.
You find the Zealio (V2?) to be a satisfying tactile. If so, you may be interested in other heavy-tactiles. You are absolutely right that there is a large distance between the bump and the actuation-point. This is somewhat particular to the Zealio V2 switch itself, and less so for other heavy tactiles.
To overcome this problem, you may wish to consider some kind of T1-derivative. The T1 has a bump nearly as large as the Zealio V2, similar amount of pre-travel [low], a closer distance between the bump and actuation-point. Frankly, it is a more forgiving switch.
I can recommend all sorts of T1 switches, but you may wish to purchase a few samples of JWICK T1 as they are extremely cheap.
A more ‘satisfying’ switch are the Holy Pandas. Tactility near the top, big round bump. They are kind of like giant ‘Browns’ if you lube them heavily and use a moderate spring.
Try to pick up some “U4T” [“Thock Boba”] if you can. They are a kind of more refined Panda-like design.
Anyway, that’s enough about heavy-tactiles for now. Try to pick up the cheapest T1, Holy Panda (~62 G), and U4T samples you can. I can recommend some.
On to Medium Tactiles. The BOX Browns were kind of an early light/medium tactile. Unrefined, but more than MX Brown.
There’s so much out there now. There are several “Ergo Clear” style switches, like an Aliaz with a larger bump. [un-silenced.] Is that something you’d be interested in?
Because there are basically three main types of medium-tactile. The first is a traditional Cherry-like stem like in the Aliaz / Silent Browns. So there’s pre-travel, a bump, and then post-travel. Ergo Clears are like this.
The second type of medium-tactile is the P-shaped bump. Where there is a medium-bump at the top, very little or no pre-travel, and then it’s all post-travel.
The third type was less-common, more reserved for heavy-tactiles. It’s a D-shaped bump, where the bump takes up nearly all the travel.
Ok, so what for you?
Based on what you said, coming from MX Blue but wanting quieter, and MX Brown not tactile enough, there are options.
You probably want something crisp.
-TTC Bluish White is a true medium-tactile with a top-mounted tactility. More of a P or D-shaped bump. Crisp and authoritative. You can also get it dampened in the TTC Silent Bluish White.
-Another crisp, dampened switch is the Kailh Deep Sea Pro V3. It’s medium, reasonable, and not as mushy as true silent switches (it is dampened).
-The Kailh Midnight V2 is like the Deep Sea Pro V3, but just over MX Brown in tactility. Like a dampened Brown.
-Gateron Baby Kangaroo is a crisp, smooth and punchy medium-tactile. Almost like a non-clicky clicky.
However, you also like pretravel.
-The traditional solution for your goal is the Cherry Ergo Clear, which is now official. It is more tactile than MX Brown, but quieter than MX Blue. It has as much pre-travel as MX Brown. This is certainly a solution, although Cherry needs lube to reduce the scratch. Stock springs are noisy and too heavy - maybe go with something in the 63.5 - 65 G 14-15mm range.
-The Zealio V1 was a (successful) attempt to make a smoother Ergo-Clear like switch. They are back now, they have pre-travel, they are smooth, quieter than MX Blue, more tactile than MX Brown. They need a little lube for best results. 62 G is more like a Brown, 67 G is more like an Ergo Clear.
-Durock Medium Tactile is similar to Zealio V1 (and cheaper). I’m not sure it has as much pre-travel. But it is definitely a medium-tactile that can be made smooth, it’s non-clicky, and suitable for gaming and typing.
-SP Star Magic Girl (dark) is another attempt to create a switch to suit requirements like your own.
-I personally enjoy Naevy 1.5, a factory Ergo Clear solution. Smooth, even the stock lube is decent. But it’s only a little more tactile than MX Brown.
-Durock Light Tactile has a little pre-travel, and more tactility than a Brown.
If you don’t mind long-pole switches (the stem pole is oversized and collides with the housing), then there are lots of options, too:
-Blueberry Chiffon V2 is just above MX Brown in tactility, one of the more reasonable but light long-poles.
-MODE Tomorrow is a long-pole medium that kind of meets your requirements. But the long-pole makes it kinda loud.
-MMD Princess is medium-heavy, hilarously cheap, the cheapest way to try a long-pole, in fact.
-There are lots of heavy long-poles, but they may be a bit outrageous for your requirements.
I kind of dislike long-poles for a lot of applications. They are generally noisier, for one. And they have harsh stem collisions, which may mitigate against ergonomic typing and gaming.
For you, Gateron Baby Kangaroo might be an appropriate solution, but it is not a pre-travel switch. Zealio V1 sounds like it may meet requirements, but it is expensive. I wonder if the TTC Gold Brown V3 / V4 might work, being Cherry-shaped & slightly more tactile than MX Brown.
I think you would be well-served by ordering some cheap samples of the cheapest switches under discussion: JWICK T1, MMD Princess, OUTEMU Silent Yellow Jade and Silent Lime or Silent Tom.* Durock Medium Tactile aren’t that expensive. So maybe order those items right now, or during the next AliExpress sale.
(Zealio V1 is also on sale right now, but too expensive to order samples).
So I wrote a lot of text. But just buy the cheap stuff I mentioned in the above paragraph, it will give you a good idea. Plus Baby Kangaroos.
There are lots of choices, but the cheap stuff will help you narrow it down. I forgot to mention AKKO Cream Blue Pro V3, it is a D-shaped long-pole medium-tactile. But like the others, I don’t think it’s quieter than a clicky switch.
*I didn’t mention them above, but OUTEMU makes very affordable silent tactiles. The Silent Lemon/Lime and Tom are light-tactiles, just above MX Brown. The Silent Jade Yellow is a medium-tactile that you will probably enjoy. Relatively crisp tactility, decent factory lube. Cheap. It could be a versatile switch for you. If you like Aliaz and Silent Brown, these are like next-level.