What the thock is clack? - A Discussion on Switch Sound

Hey all,

As promised I am back with a second week in a row of full length content! However, given that I’ve not done one in almost five months’ time now, I figured I would write up another non-review article. Thus, I hope you enjoy an audio free, several thousand word discussion on sound in switches, and all of the ways that its more complex than just ‘thock’ and ‘clack’.

Website Link: https://www.theremingoat.com/
Article Link: What the thock is clack? - A Discussion on Switch Sound — ThereminGoat's Switches
Scorecard Repository: ThereminGoat (ThereminGoat) / Repositories · GitHub
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/theremingoat

As always, a big thank you goes out to all of you read and consumed my content in 2021 (and especially to those of you who donated on my Patreon over the last year as well)! Without that ever growing support, I don’t think it would be nearly as easy to sit down week in and out and continue to strive for the quality of content I shoot for. As promised, I will be back next week with another full-length review rounding off a three week frenzy of content before the next semester begins. In the meantime, hope you all enjoy since this wasn’t an easy one to write! :heart:

Goat :goat:


I remember the times when I thought thocc was the only way in keyboard sounds… :joy:

It’s a jungle for shure.

I’m curious what you think the Box Pink Ink/Yellow Ink qualify for?

Personally I define them as a clean clacky switch, but it might just be the combination for my build.

At some point thock and clack turned into snake oil instead of straightforward onomatopoeias. It seems like for newcomers that it doesn’t register that these are categorical shorthand for an entire range of sounds. People may as well ask “how do I get a keyboard that goes pow and splat?”

I think a large part of the issue is that creators are in on the joke but reinforce the cycle by making content about it. Same as the MX brown memes, we have this dichotomy where veterans are laughing while newcomers take it as fact. Both get engagement and view metrics up.

This is a common occurrence in literally…anything in life. Inexperienced people need time and education to create nuanced opinions. Then they become the experienced people. I put a lot of blame on the most popular platforms encouraging short lived information (reddit, tiktok, twitch, youtube comments, Instagram comments, discord…you name it) and tons of this population growth being from actual children. Wikis and traditional forums like keebtalk are the few places that form living repositories of knowledge where threads can continue for literally years.


Duke Ellington, and later Louis Armstrong said of music, “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.”

And that’s about how I approach what a particular keyboard sounds like. I can certainly be influenced by others’ opinions, but the sound I hear, that I perceive, that I feel, and whether I like it or not is entirely in my head.

Your article was quite an enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing it.


This, 100%. I was thinking about the downsides of ephemeral (and non-crawlable) communications platforms earlier today. They’re fine for day-to-day social trivia, but they’re also being used for technical discussion, help and troubleshooting the way web forums used to be. Those forums’ operators probably never set out to contribute to the construction of a global knowledgebase, but nonetheless that’s exactly what happened - it was extremely valuable, and in some spheres it’s simply not happening any more.

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And then realize that we still have no better idea, right? It’s like the wize man who knows himself to be a fool.

I’ve spent years messing with keyboards and switches and mods. I’m still dumbfounded when I realize that I don’t mind typing on a 20 dollar keyboard.

What I take away from it is that I truly enjoy being surrounded by switches and plates and kits and soldering equipment. I like to mess around with builds constantly. Maybe that makes me a hoarder. I’m okay with that.


I love this topic, and I’m looking forward to soaking-in this essay from one of my favorite community writers.

This also seemed like an appropriately topical place to share this cheeky sticker I got recently:


Wh-where’d ya get it? I totally need one of those on my deskmat.

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As somebody who doesn’t pay much attention to keyboard sound, this is quite an eye-opening discussion point. Given how much attention has been given to sound/acoustics - from switch modding to keyboard mounts :slight_smile:

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Found it on Redbubble, the design is called “Thockiest Keyboard”; here’s a link: