Pewter switch overview / FAQ

Light tactile switches Vintage MX Browns

Pewter light tactile switch overview

 

Switch specifications:

  • Manufacturer: JWK
  • Tactile bump: subtle, like a smoothed MX Brown
  • Stem material: POM in a metallic pewter color
  • Housing material: UHMWPE in a smokey cool gray color
  • Spring: 58.5g weight and gold-plated
  • Factory mod: light JWK lube on the stems/legs
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm
  • Mount: 5-pin PCB mount

 

Motivations:

If you survey today’s mech keyboard enthusiast on switches they’ve tried, you might hear a breakdown like “hmm I've used some 12 linears, 6 beefy tactiles, and one light tactile, the MX Brown." 

Nicely-tuned Browns can sound and feel great, but the stock experience and “scratchiness” many of us remember from our first or second mech has understandably pushed us towards newer, flashier linear and heavy tactile alternatives. In tandem with DaleSnail’s drive for his hopefully upcoming Oxbloods, I’m not really sure why light tactiles got skipped in the “premium switch” wave. There’s a lot to like about light tactiles.

One thing a few typemasters like ActualGlacier have shared with me is that they like MX Browns because they can touch type faster. Glacier and others attribute some of this boon to the fact that a Browns’ subtle bump in the middle of key travel is just the right amount of signal one needs to let up and “glide” to the next switch, often before bottoming out at all. Some linears are so good, you bottom right out with lighter springs (or, sooner fatigue with heavier ones). And some big-bump tactiles more naturally bottom out after passing the peak, as a decent amount of forcementum was built in getting over it.

51 percent of my motivation to make a "new Brown" was from this comment thread in the above Glacier video.

Another thing I like about light tactiles is the “rumble” sound. When cruising, you can find this soft flowy bump sound I just call the rumble. These vintage Browns videos capture this effect pretty well.

 

I’m not saying this sort of switch sounds better or worse than purely thocky or clacky ones, but the purr or rumble is a unique characteristic I found native to Browns. And since there hasn't been much of a progression in the world of light tactiles since Browns, the hope is that we see more switches like Pewters and Oxbloods emerge that bring out the best in the little stem bumps.

 

 

 

FAQ:

 

Are Pewters tactile or are they linear?

  • Yes.

 

Where does the name come from?

  • I think of pewter as an often brownish, silverish alloy. The hope is that Pewters can follow in the spiritual footsteps of MX Browns but with a modern appeal.

 

Will there be reviews and streams of the switch?

  • For sure. A number of reviewers, keyboard streamers, and YouTubers will be giving the switch a thorough look. If you create keyboard content, we haven’t chatted yet, and you want to check these out, just get in touch.

 

What will Glarses think?

  • Wish me the best.

 

Are these in stock? How many do you have?

  • Yes, these are now in-stock and pre-counted in bags of 70 and 90. I have about 350 keyboard’s-worth in total of the switch to sell. My plan is to ship all orders out same day if placed before 3:30pm PDT, and next day if not.

 

Why 58.5g springs?

  • A spring in the neighborhood of 55g is to appease Browns purists. The thought is that slightly heavier springs balance out the smoother plastics. Though if there’s ever another future run, it'd be nice to also offer a heavier switch option.

 

Extra: What’s next for you / Parallel?

  • Parallel won’t have the volume of products or bandwidth to be a bigger player in the keyboard world like some of the vendors we love, but running this shop independently can help me stay nimble and get items out faster without being in a queue behind other great product ideas.

    For example, I’m wanting to run a small-MOQ GMK set using stock GMK colors and featuring no novelties. Doing the GB here means I can start and close the buy on a tighter timeline, and ultimately get the keycaps out to folks faster. With keyboards, I might release 1-2 boards this year of very limited (50 or below) quantity. Having this shop live means I can be agile with product previews, buying windows, and fulfilment updates. I may also like to do another switch run, hopefully with a lower price point if we can get a higher order amount. So be on the lookout for a dash of this and that this year.

    Thanks for reading all of this. Like you, I think input devices are cool and important to helping us enjoy our spaces for work and play. Parallel is a shop and brand to sell other products I’ve wanted to get into the world, starting with a good light tactile switch.

 

All the best, and hope you can try some of these things out.

Cheers – Brad


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