Cherry MX Black vs. Durock T1

An in-depth look at the Cherry MX Black and the Durock T1 switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, there are a plethora of options to choose from. Two popular choices include the Cherry MX Black and the Durock T1. The Cherry MX Black is a linear switch, offering a smooth and textured typing experience with a deep sound profile. On the other hand, the Durock T1 is a tactile switch, providing a super comfortable typing experience with a medium bump and a sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. Both switches offer unique characteristics that cater to different preferences and typing styles. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the perfect switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

80g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Cherry MX Black and the Durock T1 switches differ in terms of their composition and resulting sound profile. The MX Black utilizes a nylon top housing, which is known for creating a deeper and fuller sound. The softer nature of nylon allows it to absorb more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound profile. In contrast, the T1 features a polycarbonate top housing, which produces a sharper and higher-pitched sound. The stiffness of polycarbonate contributes to a clearer and more resonant sound profile. While the materials differ, both switches offer distinct sound characteristics based on their respective top housings.

Moving on to the bottom housings, both the MX Black and the T1 switches utilize nylon. This common material choice creates a similar sound profile for both switches. The relatively soft nature of nylon helps in absorbing sound, leading to a deeper and fuller sound experience. As a result, the bottom-out sound and feel of the switches are notably impacted by the nylon bottom housing. Despite the difference in their top housings, the switches share similarities in terms of their bottom housing material, which contributes to a comparable sound quality.

It is important to note that when a switch has different materials for its top and bottom housings, the qualities of each housing material are divided in their respective functions. When you press down on a key, you will feel the impact of the bottom housing, and the bottom-out sound will be influenced by its material. Conversely, the top housing material will have a more significant effect on the sound produced when you release the key. This division of housing material allows for a more nuanced and varied sound experience depending on the different stages of key press and release.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, there are noticeable similarities and differences. In terms of actuation force, the Cherry MX Black requires 60 grams of force to trigger a keystroke. Unfortunately, the exact actuation force for the Durock T1 is unknown. However, it is worth noting that both switches have a relatively heavy actuation force, which provides a satisfying push feel for those who prefer a substantial typing experience.

Moving on to the bottom out force, the Cherry MX Black surpasses the Durock T1 in terms of heaviness. The MX Black requires 80 grams of force to fully press down the key, providing a significant and solid bottoming out experience. On the other hand, the Durock T1 has a bottom out force of 67 grams, which is slightly lighter but still falls within the medium-heavy range.

Weight is an important factor to consider when choosing between these switches. For individuals who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Durock T1 may be the more suitable option. Its slightly lower bottom out force allows for more extended typing sessions without causing excessive fatigue. Alternatively, those who enjoy a more substantial feel when typing or gaming may lean towards the Cherry MX Black with its heavier actuation and bottom out forces.

In conclusion, while the actuation force of the Cherry MX Black is known to be heavier than that of the Durock T1, the exact numbers for the latter remain unavailable. However, both switches offer satisfying tactile experiences for different preferences. Ultimately, the decision between these switches will depend on individual preferences for typing weight and the desired level of keypress feedback.

Travel distance

The Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch have the same travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key with either switch, you will feel a consistent 4 mm distance of travel. Both switches offer a satisfying tactile experience and allow for precise input. Whether you choose the Cherry MX Black or the Durock T1, you can expect similar results in terms of travel distance.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Durock T1 has an MSRP of $5.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the T1 for $4.90.

The Cherry MX Black comes in at $4.00 per 10 switches.

Here at Milktooth, we offer the best prices on switches (on average, 27% lower the competition). In addition, we offer free shipping on orders over $49.00. We also offer free returns and exchanges, so you can shop with guaranteed satisfaction.

That said, while price is an important piece of the puzzle, our opinion is that you should ultimately pick the option that most suits your unique preferences since you’ll be using these switches for years to come. In other words, finding something perfect for you is, in our view, the most important criteria.

Typing experience

When it comes to sound, both the Cherry MX Black and the Durock T1 switches are described as having a low-pitched sound profile. This means that they produce a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the choice of keyboard and keycaps. So while the MX Black and T1 switches may have similar low-pitched sound profiles, the overall sound experience can vary depending on the setup.

In terms of feel, the Cherry MX Black switches are described as having a textured and stiff feel. The textured characteristic refers to the noticeable friction when pressing the switches, which can be preferred by some users. However, others may prefer a smoother, friction-free typing experience. The stiffness of the MX Black switches means that they require a higher amount of force to actuate and bottom out. This can result in a more physically demanding typing experience.

On the other hand, the Durock T1 switches have a stepped, accented, and polished feel. Stepped switches have a two-stage tactile feedback, providing some pre-travel and/or post-travel. Accented switches, in the case of the T1, offer a medium amount of tactility that is prominent but not overwhelming or subtle. Additionally, the polished characteristic of the T1 switches indicates a smooth and refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

Overall, the Cherry MX Black and Durock T1 switches offer different subjective qualities. While the MX Black switches provide a textured and stiff feel with a deep sound profile, the T1 switches offer a stepped, accented, and polished feel with a sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. It ultimately comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two. It's important to consider other factors such as typing style, typing speed, and desired typing experience. Remember, the specific sound and feel experienced will also depend on the keyboard and keycaps used.

Conclusion

To summarize, if you're looking for a heavy switch with a classic smoothness and deep sound profile, the Cherry MX Black would be a great choice. The MX Black is best known for its textured feel and stiff actuation force, providing a friction-free typing experience that requires more force to press the keys. Additionally, the low-pitched sound profile adds to the overall typing experience.

On the other hand, if you prefer a medium-heavy switch with a comfortable typing experience and a rain-like sound, the Durock T1 would be a better fit. The T1 is best known for its stepped feel, providing a mild tactile sensation with noticeable pre-travel and/or post-travel. The accented tactility adds a prominent amount of feedback without being overwhelming. Additionally, the T1's polished finish ensures a smooth and refined typing experience, reducing friction and allowing for smooth key travel.

Ultimately, the choice between the Cherry MX Black and Durock T1 depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer heavier switches with a smooth feel and deep sound profile, go for the MX Black. If you prefer medium-heavy switches with a comfortable tactile experience and a rain-like sound, the T1 would be a great option. Consider your typing style, sound preferences, and desired typing experience when making your decision.

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