In the realm of mechanical keyboards, Cherry is renowned for quality and innovation. If you relish the sensation of a mechanical keyboard, but prefer it without the accompanying noise, you might be enticed by Cherry’s latest innovation, the MX Silent switches. But are they worth the investment? Let’s delve in.
A Sound Comparison
Let’s start by painting a picture of our two contenders. The Cherry MX Red switch, a firm favorite among gamers, is renowned for its speedy and smooth keypress action. However, it’s also known for its rather vocal personality. If you’ve ever gamed late into the night and had roommates (or disgruntled partners) complain about the click-clack of your keyboard, you’re familiar with the issue.
Enter the new kid on the block: the Cherry MX Silent switch. This switch, as its name implies, seeks to quiet the noise while still maintaining the feel of its louder sibling. It achieves this by reducing both the bottom out and top out noises. The sound it produces is not just quieter, but also lower pitched. For streamers who’d rather have their witty commentary shine through, or for anyone living in tight quarters, these silent switches could be a game-changer.
The Sound of Silence
The key selling point of the silent switches (pun intended), is their reduced noise level. As we’ve seen, this can be a huge advantage in various scenarios. It’s worth noting, though, that silence comes with a trade-off.
Some users find silent switches somewhat less satisfying compared to the original MX Red switches. The reduced noise appears to result in less tactile feedback, which can detract from the overall typing pleasure. It’s somewhat akin to eating a chocolate chip cookie with fewer chocolate chips – it’s still enjoyable, but the experience isn’t quite the same.
DIY Noise Reduction
Of course, if you’re handy with your tools, there are a couple of DIY methods you could use to reduce switch noise on your existing keyboard. This can include inserting felt or rubber o-rings, or even using liquid latex. If you’re interested in going this route, you might want to check out this guide on how to lube your keyboard switches.
For those of us seeking simplicity, silent switches could be a more straightforward solution.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Similar to choosing between a 60% and a TKL-sized keyboard, the suitability of silent switches largely depends on your personal preferences.
If you’re a streamer seeking to improve your stream’s audio quality, or if you share your typing space with a sleeping baby (or partner), then silent switches could be a godsend.
Conversely, if you’re someone who revels in the rhythmic clatter of the keys and finds the noise reduction a tad too…well, silent, you might prefer sticking with your regular switches.
The best way to know for sure? Give it a try! Like tasting a new flavor of ice cream, sometimes the best way to know if you like something is to try it out for yourself.
Muting the Music with Modifications
While Cherry MX Silent switches certainly have their appeal, they’re not the only option when it comes to reducing keyboard noise. For those interested in other options, consider the following alternatives:
Sound-dampening foam, when installed inside the case of a mechanical keyboard, can work wonders for noise reduction. This foam absorbs sound, making your keystrokes quieter and also changing the overall sound profile of the keyboard.
Alterations to the keyboard case can also go a long way in reducing keyboard noise. This could include adding rubber feet to prevent the keyboard from moving and making additional noise, or using a heavier, more solid keyboard case which naturally dampens sound.
Aftermarket Silencing Clips
For those willing to get under the hood of their keyboard, aftermarket silencing clips like QMX clips or Zealencio silencing clips can be a great choice. These small clips go onto the stems of your switches and act as silencers, reducing both the downstroke and upstroke noise of your keys. These clips can be highly effective, but keep in mind, installation can be a bit of a project.
You’ve Got Options
Whether you opt for a simple addition like sound-dampening foam or choose to go the full nine yards with silencing clips, remember: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your perfect quiet keyboard might require a little experimentation, and that’s okay. Remember, part of the fun in this hobby is in the journey, not just the destination.
Q: Are silent switches quieter than regular switches?
A: Yes, silent switches are designed to be quieter than regular switches. They achieve this by reducing the bottom out and top out noises.
Q: What alternatives are there to silent switches for noise reduction?
A: Sound-dampening foam, case modifications, and aftermarket silencing clips are all effective alternatives to reduce keyboard noise.
Q: Are silent switches as satisfying to use as regular switches?
A: This largely comes down to personal preference. Some users find silent switches less satisfying to use due to the reduced tactile feedback, while others don’t mind the difference.
Q: How can I determine if silent switches are right for me?
A: The most effective way is to test them yourself. If possible, try a keyboard equipped with silent switches before purchasing, or consider acquiring a switch tester that includes a silent switch.
Q: Can I make my existing keyboard quieter?
A: Yes, there are various DIY methods to reduce keyboard noise, including inserting felt or rubber o-rings, using liquid latex, or applying lube to your switches. Aftermarket modifications like sound-dampening foam or silencing clips can also make a significant difference.
So, are silent switches worth the hype? That’s a question only you can answer. For some, they’re a revelation; for others, not so much. Whether you’re team noisy or team silent, Cherry’s innovative approach has expanded our options for keyboard customization. After all, isn’t the joy of this hobby in personalizing our gear to our preferences?
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what this hobby is all about?