What determines switch pitch? (Linear switches)

Hey there,

In my efforts to understand why I like some switches (eg Black Sesame, Aflion Blue Sky) better than others, I thought I’d try to learn about one aspect of the sound - the pitch. Apparently I like low pitch (deep) sounding linear switches, so I wondered what, apart from the keyboard…, makes one switch deeper sounding than another (without modding).

So far I’ve come up with:

  • materials (stem, housings)
  • long/short pole
  • holes in bottom housing

Uncertain about:

  • spring (kind and length and material)
  • housing construction (they all look the same to me, ahem)
  • stem construction (see above)

Sample question. Keybored has a video explaining why some plates sound deeper than others, for example because of material density, and POM has the lowest pitch. Stands to reason to me that an all-POM switch then should in theory be a pretty deep sounding switch. Is this logical or am I ignoring all sorts of complexities?

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all of what you have mentioned has effects on a switch’s sound. some often overlooked ones are

-housing construction (thinner side/bottom walls vs. thicker side/bottom walls
-additionally also thickness of the pole well (the bottom but also the sides, you can blow out the bottom of some of them when using longpole stems)
-3 pin vs 5 pin
-distance between PCB and the bottom of the housing.
-shape of the stem pole (flat vs rounded, thick vs thin, etc)

I personally wouldn’t put too much trust or thought into keybored’s pseudo science, but softer materials like U(hmw)PE will probably have a deeper and/or more muted sound. POM isn’t really that deep, i’d say it’s even the opposite. NK creams, MMD creams, EMT V1 and such come to mind. I would assume that something like an ABS or U(hmw)PE bottom housing would sound quite a lot deeper than POM on thee down stroke. PC seems to be more muted but higher in pitch and nylon seems to be on the louder side and a more neutral/medium pitched sound. At least from my experience.
I would still say that MX-style switches aren’t really that good for lower pitched sound because of how small the pole, or overall contact area, is. Maybe CAP switches are better for that, but i haven’t tried those yet.

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The Gateron Yellow Golden Cap v2 set I have are quite high pitched when stock when compared to Cherry or standard JWK switches.

I don’t think the CAP switches are any different in terms of sound, afaik they still bottom out on the rails like standard switches.

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I was more thinking that they would sound different if they are both long pole and bottom out on the poles. Not sure if there are any long pole CAP switches yet, though.
Taiwan jet Axis could also fall into that category, i guess, since they have a different stem design with 2 poles.

Film is another factor to consider. I found that adding film tend to raise pitch so started using film only if it’s wobbly.

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finally catching up…! Thanks for the explanation, it’s very helpful. I’m not sure I trust the science there either, but it got me thinking at least :wink:

I’ll keep a lookout for ABS and U(hmw)PE bottom housings - I have some full POM switches on the way, so am curious to see what they sound like.

It’s all relative anyway, I guess, but I am intrigued to see the many variables coming into play - possibly too many to get my head around, or experiment with :stuck_out_tongue: I hadn’t even heard of CAP switches…! they don’t seem to have gained much traction since 2020?

@donpark

Interesting! I think once the modding starts, all sorts of things could happen :slight_smile: I’m trying to resist the urge to open that Pandora’s box

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