Switch Analysis; What Matters to You?


#1

Howdy y’all

This week I’m planning on reviving the old series I once had on Top Clack called “Which Switch” which was a series of short videos on different switches and going over their physical specs, force curve graphs, and my own analysis/opinion on them. This has made me wonder;

When you try out a new switch, what matters the most to you? Right off the bat, is your judgement most swayed by the sound? the feel? an even balance? Are there other factors that you consider in a switch if you were to subjectively say it was ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

I’m hoping to start off the series this week with the new Gateron Ink switches and then move my way through newer switches and other existing switches I never had a chance to cover.

Extra:
Would you like to see analysis on springs as well? Progressive and otherwise?
Not sure if I’d want to tackle lubes in the series, but it’s a possibility.

The revived series will be on my channel: link
Let me know what you think, thanks for the feedback :slight_smile:


#2

Feel>Sound>Appearance


#3

For me it would be :
1.Smoothness
2. Wobble towards 0
3. Discrete big round bump
Thocky full sound … pretty much something towards topre :))


#4
  1. Feel - must be smooth, not scratchy
  2. Sound is big for me
  3. Wobble
  4. Spring noise, but this can be fixed by lubing

#5

On a down to earth note, I enjoy stickered lubed zealios v1 - R11? with 62g springs.

I’d love to try the progressive springs. I’m thinking to go towards typing without bottom out and I think that would improve the chances to do that :slight_smile:

I felt like mx clears were something like that, but they were too scratchy for me, and somehow I was only able to do that no-bottom-out typing only with DSA keycaps :slight_smile:


#6

I’d say the sound and feel are both equally important but it depends what I want the switch for. If I want a really quiet switch then the noise becomes more important than feel and vice versa.

I would also judge a switch on how much modification is required to get it to an acceptable level. Spring swap, lube, stickering, etc.

Lastly it depends on whether it’s tactile, clicky, or linear as to what I’m looking for. Does it have a sharp bump or a smooth bump (neither inherently bad but maybe not what I want in certain cases) and if it’s linear is it smooth, and quiet.


#7

I’m in almost complete agreement with @cijanzen. I’d probably rank feel just above sound in all cases, although both are important - primarily because I think there’s less I can do to modify feel, and the thing I can do (lube) has a predictable outcome. Sound is much more variable, with case, plate, dampening materials, and desk materials all playing a role - knowing how a switch sounds in one situation seems less predictive of how it will sound in another. But that’s all just spitballing. I reserve the right to change my mind.


#8

That’s a good point! I would amend my statement to say sound is maybe equally important if not more important only when that is the primary purpose for the switch. But hey, if it can feel and sound good then win win!


#9

So many things can go into this question when applying it to any specific build this actually can be kinda a loaded question. Although I think generalizations would be best here. Rather than focusing on what anyone prefers in certain case & plate material/types, it would be best to focus on what you prefer in just the different switch types themselves.

That said my preferences would tend towards good feel & sound predominantly, but one can superseded the other depending on switch type. Like for tactile switches I’ll put the feel slightly above the sound, for linear switches feel & sound are equally important to me, then for clicky switches I’ll put sound slightly above feel.

With MX tactiles I prefer them to be very smooth ( very smooth after lube is fine with me since I lube all tactiles) & have a solid decent deep thock if they are undampened. I really like the rain drop like sound Holy variants provide with Halo’s extra long stems, but am more than happy with a nice thock similar to what lubed Zealios provide. I think the switches with bigger rounded bumps like V2 Zeals & Holy variants produce that sound the best. Switches with light bumps or sharp medium to large bumps seem to produce a harsher & sometimes rattly sound IME which is a turn off to me.

Complicated ALPS tactiles are a whole different animal to MX tactiles IME. I honestly haven’t came across one I don’t like the feel or sound of as long as they are clean & not heavily used. Browns & Oranges would easily top my list as those two have a an almost special feel & sound to me, but even clean lightly used Blacks are a great tactile switch IMO. I should say I have never had the pleasure of trying Neon Green or Undamped Creams, but those seem to be in the special category from what those who have say about them.

With linears they have to be super smooth & decently quiet on the upstroke if undamped for me to want to use them, since I can keep from bottoming out with them. Really Tealios & Gateron linears are the only ones I’ve ever really enjoyed using. I got lucky with a really nice batch of retooled MX blacks I have in my acrylic Clueboard, but realize the exception, not the rule. I believe they were from one of the earlier runs after Cherry retooled.

Clicky switches are a tough one for me since they are my least preferred of the three major switch classes. Although as I said before I prefer the sound over feel with them as the sound is really the point of clicky switches to me. With MX clickies Kaihl BOX with their click bars are the only ones I really like & use regularly. IME they all give awesome sound, awesome tactility, & good smoothness. Can’t really beat them in the MX areana, BOX Navies would be my favorites. Complicated ALPS clickies are very nice as well, clean lightly used Whites share the same positives of BOX clickies & clean lightly used Blues take that to the next level. Good luck finding a batch of clean lightly used Blues without losing a kidney though, LOL! Buckling Spring/Capacitive BS switches are another clicky I like, but I’ve experienced a pretty wide range of feel between different Model M & Fs (less so with the Fs TBH though) from great to horrible.

Ultimately that is just my personal preferences though. I’m sure there are many out there who are more & less forgiving with theirs so I look forward to hear more of other people’s opinions. Also look forward to the new series of videos @Manofinterests! :metal:


#10

Feel & sound are all that matter to me. I couldn’t care less about the color(s) and/or appearance of the switch.

I wouldn’t say the springs or lubes belong in a Which Switch episode per se, but force graphs and impressions would be nice for comparisons.


#11

Consistency and no wobble


#12

I like switches that are extreme. I don’t like in-between switches. Either very tactile switches or linears. I don’t like stock orange alps or ergo clears. I like holy pandas and brown alps. Holy pandas aren’t very smooth, and I generally have to sacrifice other aspects of my tactiles for their large tactility. Box navies are really tactile but kinda scratchy. BOX Navies are really tactile and sharp but I don’t really like clickies or BOX switches. On the other hand, linears. I like creamy linears. My favorite so far are halo stems in retooled black housings with thick lube.


#13
  1. Feel (type and shape of tactility and smoothness)
  2. Sound (texture, clarity, pitch, and volume)
  3. Durability (Panda variants’ housing, for example, can break easily)

#15

The housings break from disassembly or use?


#16

From:

  1. Top housing can break from opening the top (for lubing, etc) too often. Legs on Panda variant’s top housing often gets bent and stays bent. They can be pushing it back but after a few iteration, they just break.
  2. Bottom housing can break from removing switches from PCB with tight hot-swap sockets or plate. Latches break or stays bent all the time and , one side of the bottom housing has very thin piece of plastic above the latch on that side breaks when squeezed too hard with switch puller.

Both problems stem from frequent switch modding so these are not problems for ‘normal use’ of these switches.


#17

I just want a tactile MX switch without the shuffle noise.