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Here's What Cherry’s MX Silent Switches Sound Like

Perhaps it’s somewhat ludicrous to offer to let people hear what something “silent” sounds like, but here we are. Of course, Cherry’s MX Silent Red and Black switches aren't literally silent, but they are pretty quiet.

We had a chance to chat with Cherry representatives at CES 2017, and they explained how the bumper system works on the Cherry MX Silent switches to reduce noise at two points on the full switch travel.

After an exclusivity deal with Corsair expired, other keyboard makers are free to bring the Silent switches to their own devices. Cherry has one of its own--a version of its G80-3000 keyboard. Yes, it looks like something out of the 1980s, but it comes bearing brand new switches. 

You can hear a comparison between Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Silent Red in the video, as well as one (in a more quiet setting than the CES show floor) showing the audible difference between MX Silent Black switches and standard MX Red switches.

Technically, this is an apples to oranges comparison, but in this case it’s apt. Red and Black are both linear switches and have essentially identical specs, save for the force required to actuate them. Therefore, they make roughly the same sound.

But you can judge for yourself when you check out the video.

  • dstarr3
    I finally just made the jump to mechanical keyboards, as well. Went with Browns. And honestly, it's no louder than my previous membrane keyboard, once you train yourself to not bottom out on each keystroke. And that's the whole point of mechanical keyboards (with switches not designed specifically to make a noise). The actuation point is in the middle of the key travel, not at the bottom, so you shouldn't be bottoming out on your keypresses anymore. It takes some getting used to, but by the end of it, I'm typing as fast as ever but with much less effort, and no more noise.

    Except the space bar. The space bar on my keyboard sounds like God slamming his car door.
    Reply
  • A_6___
    My biggest problem with the new switch is that it uses rubber. So far Cherry switches were really, really durable. A good mechanical keyboard lasted long years even with very heavy use. Now I guess this will change. Rubber ages.

    Though, a Blue switch keyboard will also get much "weaker". My original Blackwidow lasted me about 3 years before the keys became mushy. It used the original Blue Cherry switches.

    @DSTARR3: On Brown, most people don't bottom out, because the click helps you not to. But on the Red, you have no feedback. So most of the time you just bottom out. And this is why Red becomes so loud - sometimes even louder than Blue. Of course you can just "not bottom out" but it is very hard to do, and well, it's a pain.

    I tried O-Rings, but they changed the feel of keys totally. So my comfortable Red switches became totally membrane like. So I don't think they are a good solution.

    tl;dr: I am skeptic about these new Silent switches.
    Reply
  • innocent bystander
    That's why I have a Logitech K800. May not be a mechanical keyboard but it does the job admirably and barely makes a whisper in the process.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    19171806 said:
    My biggest problem with the new switch is that it uses rubber. So far Cherry switches were really, really durable. A good mechanical keyboard lasted long years even with very heavy use. Now I guess this will change. Rubber ages.

    Though, a Blue switch keyboard will also get much "weaker". My original Blackwidow lasted me about 3 years before the keys became mushy. It used the original Blue Cherry switches.

    @DSTARR3: On Brown, most people don't bottom out, because the click helps you not to. But on the Red, you have no feedback. So most of the time you just bottom out. And this is why Red becomes so loud - sometimes even louder than Blue. Of course you can just "not bottom out" but it is very hard to do, and well, it's a pain.

    I tried O-Rings, but they changed the feel of keys totally. So my comfortable Red switches became totally membrane like. So I don't think they are a good solution.

    tl;dr: I am skeptic about these new Silent switches.

    On its face, these are a better solution to o-rings. The Silent switches are designed to quiet the noise without affecting the performance, whereas o-rings, Cherry says, do affect the performance.

    But like you, I'm a little skeptical about the rubber. I mean, plastic wears out. So does metal. But rubber seems like it's less durable. I think that Cherry thinks that, indeed, the rubber will wear down faster, so the noise will gradually return. But the company seems to think that it will last long enough.
    Reply
  • Ticho
    What is this site's obsession with keyboards? A bit over represented don't you think?
    Reply
  • Pompompaihn
    I think it has more to do with the absence of other good things to talk about. Intel hasn't effectively released a new product since Haswell, you can only review so many variations of the same video cards with slightly different fans, and there's only so many new things released in the cases/cooling department. Face it, the PC building market is a little stagnant...hence the excitement around Ryzen/Vega.
    Reply
  • alidan
    @A_6___
    Not sometimes, bottoming out keys is several times louder than the plastic click of a blue, its why I o-ringed my, sure its a blue and it makes noise, i like the noise of the click, I don't like the noise of a bottom out though, just taking the o right off my right arrow and pressing the down arrow and the right i can't hear the plastic click at all on the right, but i do hear the bottoming out, and the clicking never really gets louder, but depending on how mad or tired I am, the bottoming out gets several times louder then a plastic click too.

    but that's just what I observe. If you never bottom out, then its a non issue.
    Reply
  • Doge Amaze
    What keyboard was that at the end with the Silent Black switches?
    Reply