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Durock Pianovs. Kailh Plum

An in-depth look at the Durock Piano and the Kailh Plum switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard switch, two options that often come up in discussions are the Durock Piano, a linear switch, and the Kailh Plum, a tactile switch. The Durock Piano switches are known for their proprietary material blend, which provides a pleasant typing experience with a gliding, frictionless feel and a deep, creamy sound signature. On the other hand, the Kailh Plum switches stand out for their unique combination of weightiness and a subtle tactile bump. Unlike many other tactile switches, the Plum switches offer a hefty feel without an overly pronounced bump, resulting in a neutral and enjoyable sound profile. Both switches have their own distinct characteristics that may appeal to different individuals. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the most suitable switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Piano
Plum
BrandDurock
CategoryLinear
BrandKailh
CategoryTactile

$6.70

$5.57 per 10 switches

$6.25 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

N/A

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

70g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.70 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

No

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

Mystery material

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary POM blend

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Proprietary POM blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The Durock Piano and the Kailh Plum have distinct differences in their housing materials. The Piano features a proprietary POM blend in both the top and bottom housings, which offers a uniquely satisfying and deep sound profile. On the other hand, the Plum utilizes polycarbonate for its top housing, resulting in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The translucency of the polycarbonate top housing also makes it advantageous for those planning to use RGB lighting.

In terms of the bottom housing, the Piano's proprietary POM blend and the Plum's nylon material provide different sound profiles. The POM blend in the Piano offers a deeper and fuller sound experience, while the nylon housing in the Plum elicits a relatively softer sound, absorbing more sound and creating a duller and rounder profile.

While the materials used in the top and bottom housings differ between the Piano and the Plum, their impact on the overall sound of the switch is divided. When pressing down on the switch, the qualities of the bottom housing are more prominent, affecting the bottom-out sound and feel. On the other hand, the top housing plays a more significant role in the sound when releasing a key.

In conclusion, the Durock Piano and Kailh Plum exhibit contrasting characteristics in their housing materials. The Piano's POM blend offers a unique and deep sound profile, while the Plum's polycarbonate provides a sharper and crisper sound. The bottom housing of the Piano creates a fuller sound, while the nylon housing of the Plum absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller profile. Understanding the impact of both top and bottom housings is essential in determining the desired sound experience when using these switches.

Weight

When comparing the Durock Piano linear switch and the Kailh Plum tactile switch, we can observe some similarities and differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. Unfortunately, the exact actuation force for both switches is unavailable, but their bottom out forces can provide some insight. The Durock Piano has a bottom out force of 63.5 grams, which can be considered medium-heavy. On the other hand, the Kailh Plum has a slightly heavier bottom out force of 70 grams, also falling into the medium-heavy range. Although we don't have the exact actuation force, we can assume that it might be similar for both switches, given that they both have a comparable overall weight.

Considering weight, it is worth noting that some users prefer a lighter actuation force, as it allows for longer typing sessions without fatigue. This feature is particularly desirable for those using keyboards at work or engaging in long gaming sessions. However, for users who seek a more substantial and tactile typing experience, a heavier actuation force is preferred. They may find satisfaction in the increased feedback and resistance provided by switches with heavier forces.

In conclusion, while the Durock Piano and Kailh Plum switches have differences in their bottom out forces, with the Plum being slightly heavier, it is likely that their actuation forces are similar due to their comparable overall weights. The decision between the two will depend on personal preference and whether the user desires a slightly lighter or a slightly heavier typing experience.

Travel distance

When it comes to travel distance, the Durock Piano linear switch and the Kailh Plum tactile switch have noticeable differences. The Piano has a travel distance of 4.0mm, which is the most traditional length, while the Plum has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.6mm. The Piano offers a bit more depth to the key press, providing a smoother and more deliberate feeling when typing or gaming. On the other hand, the Plum's shorter travel distance caters to those who prioritize faster response times, especially for gaming. The shorter distance allows for quicker actuation, giving gamers an advantage in terms of speed and reaction. So, if you lean towards a more responsive experience, the Plum would be a suitable choice, while the Piano suits those who prefer a deeper keypress.

Sound tests

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Durock Piano has an MSRP of $6.70 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Piano for $5.57.

The Kailh Plum comes in at $6.25 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.

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Typing experience

When it comes to sound, the Durock Piano linear switch offers a deep and creamy sound signature. The lower frequency range creates a bassy sound profile, which adds to the richness and depth of each key press. On the other hand, the Kailh Plum tactile switch has a more neutral sound profile that is enjoyable and satisfying. It doesn't have a distinct bass or treble emphasis, making it suitable for various purposes. It's important to note that the sound of the switch can also be influenced by the keyboard and keycaps chosen.

In terms of feel, the Durock Piano linear switch provides a frictionless and silky typing experience. The switch is designed to minimize any resistance or friction during key presses, resulting in a smooth and effortless feel. The Plum tactile switch, on the other hand, offers a mild and stepped typing experience. With a gentle tactile bump, the switch strikes a balance between responsiveness and comfort. It provides a sense of pre-travel and/or post-travel, giving a more controlled and approachable typing feel.

Considering all the available information, the Durock Piano linear switch stands out for its pleasant linear typing experience with a gliding push feel and deep, creamy sound signature. It offers a frictionless and silky smooth feel, enhancing the overall typing experience. On the other hand, the Kailh Plum tactile switch offers a unique combination of weightiness and moderate tactile feedback. It has a neutral sound profile that is suitable for a wide range of users and purposes. Both switches provide enjoyable typing experiences, but with slightly different characteristics. Depending on your personal preferences and typing style, either of these switches can offer a satisfying typing experience.

Try switches before you buy them

We understand that finding the perfect keyboard switches can be a challenging and time-consuming process. This led us to design Milktooth's try at-home program that allows you to sample and test different switches in the comfort of your own home, ensuring you make the right choice for your typing preferences.

You can try 10 switches at home for 5 days, and your switches come pre-installed on switch testers. Of course, you’re more than free to install them into your own board to try as well for the most representative typing experience.

Gone are the days of going through countless forums and reviews to find the ideal switches. Now, you can experience the tactile feedback, actuation points, and sound profiles firsthand, empowering you to make an informed decision without any pressure or time constraints.

We understand the importance of finding the perfect typing experience, and our try at-home program eliminates the risk of making a costly mistake. Experiment with different switch variants, test them in various typing scenarios, and fine-tune your keyboard to match your individual preferences.

The try at-home program costs only $15, which includes shipping both ways. By trying before you buy, you can make the most informed purchasing decision possible. Simply click the "try at home" button on any given switch webpage to get started.

Conclusion

In closing, if you prioritize a smooth and effortless typing experience, the Durock Piano linear switch would be a great choice for you. With its frictionless and silky feel, these switches offer an extremely smooth keypress and minimize any sense of resistance or friction. Additionally, the deep and creamy sound signature adds to the pleasant typing experience. On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a moderate actuation force requirement and a neutral sound profile, the Kailh Plum tactile switch would suit your needs. Despite not having a strong tactile bump, the Plum switches feel quite hefty and have a neutral sound profile that is enjoyable. Ultimately, both switches offer unique characteristics but excel in different areas, so consider what factors are most important to you when making your decision.

Mentioned in this article

Piano

Piano

BrandDurock
CategoryLinear

$6.70

$5.57 per 10 switches

Try the Piano switches
Plum

Plum

BrandKailh
CategoryTactile

$6.25 per 10 switches

Try the Plum switches