How do I make my keyboard sound different?

Computer keyboards can produce a wide variety of sounds based on factors like the keyboard’s mechanical design, materials used, and customizations made by the user. While some prefer the quiet typing experience of a standard keyboard, others enjoy customizing their keyboard’s sound with clicky switches, specialized keycaps, and more. With the rise in popularity of mechanical keyboards, there are now many ways keyboard enthusiasts can tailor the auditory experience to their personal taste.

This guide will explore the various options for modifying how a keyboard sounds. We’ll cover topics like switch types, o-rings, lubricants, keyboard case and keycap materials, keyboard sizes, software customizations, and accessories. Whether you want a loud, clicky keyboard or a silent, stealthy typing experience, there are many ways to make your keyboard sound just the way you want it.

Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical keyboards use physical switches underneath each keycap to register key presses, unlike membrane keyboards which use pressure pads under a sheet of rubber or silicone. This gives mechanical keyboards improved tactile feedback, durability, and the ability to customize the sound and feel. There are three main types of mechanical keyboard switches:

Clicky – These switches make an audible click sound when actuated. The click comes from a plastic jacket inside the switch popping back up after being pressed down. Popular clicky switches include Cherry MX Blues and Kailh Box Whites.

Tactile – Tactile switches provide tactile feedback in the form of a noticeable bump you can feel when the key actuates. They do not make a click sound. Popular tactile switches include Cherry MX Browns and Zealios.

Linear – Linear switches have a smooth key press without any bump or click. They are preferred by some for gaming due to their fast, unobstructed key press. Common linear switches include Cherry MX Reds, Blacks, and Gateron Yellows.

The type of mechanical switch largely determines the sound profile and feel of a keyboard. Most gaming keyboards use linear red switches for their fast response, while typists often prefer tactile brown switches. Clicky blue switches provide audible feedback but can be noisy for shared workspaces. Overall, mechanical keyboards provide more customization options for sound and feel compared to typical membrane keyboards.

O-Ring Dampeners

O-rings are small rubber rings that can be installed on mechanical keyboard switches to soften the sound and feel when pressing the keys. When a key is pressed, the o-ring cushions the impact of the keycap hitting the switch housing, reducing the clackiness and harshness of the keypress.

O-rings essentially shorten the downward travel distance of the keypress. This can result in a softer, quieter keyboard typing experience. The o-rings absorb some of the impact when bottoming out, rather than the keycap directly clacking on the switch housing.

Adding o-rings will reduce the noise produced when pressing keys, making the keyboard quieter overall – especially for clicky style switches like Cherry MX Blues. However, some users feel o-rings reduce tactile feedback and change the typing feel too much. There is also a small chance o-rings can affect typing speed for some users, as the shortened key travel may take getting used to.

Overall, o-ring dampeners are inexpensive and easy to install. They provide an effective way to reduce mechanical keyboard noise without permanently modifying the keyboard. Users can experiment with different o-ring sizes and materials to find the desired blend of sound dampening versus keypress feel.


One way to alter the sound of your mechanical keyboard is by using lubricants like grease or oil. Lubricating the switches and stabilizers can help reduce friction and noise. Here’s an overview of how lubricants affect keyboard acoustics:

Lubricating the sliders inside the switches with a thin layer of grease or oil can reduce the harsh metallic pinging sound on the upstroke. It smooths out the keypress, making each stroke quieter and more muted without compromising responsiveness. Thicker lubes like Tribosys or Krytox are popular for this.

Lubricating the springs with a lightweight oil can eliminate spring crunch and vibration noise. It also helps the springs compress and return more smoothly. Avoid thicker greases here, as they may bind the spring.

Lubricating the stabilizer wire and housings makes the stabilizers rattle less. It removes friction noise from poorly fitted stabilizers. Dielectric grease is commonly used here.

Overall, proper lubrication can give your keyboard a more muted, thocky, refined sound signature. Just take care not to over-lube, as too much grease and oil can deaden the keyboard feel.

Keyboard Case Materials

The material used for the keyboard case can have a significant impact on the acoustics and noise levels. Some common case materials include plastic, aluminum, acrylic, carbon fiber, wood, and polycarbonate.

Plastic cases are very common and often the most cost-effective option. However, cheaper thin plastic can echo and amplify key presses. High-quality thick plastic or polycarbonate cases can minimize echo while remaining reasonably affordable.

Aluminum cases have a solid, premium feel and industrial aesthetic. The dense metal material absorbs acoustic energy and can result in a deeper, more muted sound profile. The downside is aluminum tends to be more expensive and prone to pinging noises.

Acrylic cases allow per key RGB lighting to shine through for maximum illumination. Acrylic produces a unique high-pitched sound signature. While attractive, acrylic and glass materials tend to amplify keystroke acoustics.

Exotic case materials like carbon fiber and wood offer unique aesthetics, texture, and sound. Carbon fiber cases have a textured appearance and dampen vibrations well. Wood cases absorb acoustic energy resulting in a warm, organic sound.

According to discussion forums, polycarbonate is regarded as one of the quietest case materials due to excellent noise dampening properties[1]. However, polycarbonate cases tend to be expensive and not commonly available.

Keycap Materials

The most common keycap materials are ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate). The material used can affect the sound and feel of your keyboard.

ABS keycaps tend to produce a higher-pitched, more “pingy” sound compared to PBT keycaps. ABS is also more prone to developing a shine from finger oils over time. However, ABS allows for more intricate and colorful designs like doubleshot keycaps.

PBT keycaps produce a deeper, “thockier” sound signature. They are more durable, resistant to shine, and have a textured feel. But PBT color options are more limited. According to some enthusiasts, PBT better accentuates the innate sound profile of a mechanical keyboard switch compared to ABS (source).

Ultimately personal preference plays a role, but many enthusiasts prefer PBT over ABS keycaps for both the sound and feel. Mixing PBT and ABS keycaps on the same keyboard is not recommended, as the height and sound discrepancies can be noticeable.

Keyboard Size/Layout

The overall size and layout of a mechanical keyboard can significantly impact its sound profile. Smaller keyboards like 60% and 65% boards tend to produce a more consistent and uniform sound across all keys since the compact design leads to less keyboard flex. On the other hand, full-size and TKL (tenkeyless) keyboards have more flex in their larger cases, leading to inconsistencies in sound between keys based on their position (source).

Additionally, the presence or lack of a number pad changes acoustics. TKL keyboards without a numbpad tend to have more consistent sounds since there is less empty space underneath keys. Full-size boards with dedicated numpads have more hollow echoes in that region, making the main alpha keys sound sharper in comparison.

In terms of mounting style, tray mount keyboards often have uneven acoustics because the distance between each switch and the mounting points varies. Top mount keyboards with a single mounting point have the most consistent sounds. Overall, more compact sizes like 60% and uniform mounting styles promote more consistent, uniform acoustics across the whole keyboard.

Software Customization

One of the easiest ways to customize your keyboard sound is by using keyboard customization software. These programs allow you to completely remap your keyboard keys, create macros, customize RGB lighting effects, and most importantly – change the sound effects that play when you type.

Some popular keyboard customization software options include:

  • Mechvibes – This free program developed by the mechanical keyboard community allows you to assign custom audio files to play for each key press. There is a huge selection of built-in soundpacks, or you can add your own audio clips. Mechvibes makes it simple to customize keyboard sounds.
  • Razer Synapse – For Razer branded keyboards, this software unlocks powerful customization features like chroma lighting, macro programming, and key remapping. It also includes some basic built-in keyboard sound effects.
  • Corsair iCUE – Similar to Razer Synapse, iCUE offers deep integration with Corsair keyboards for lighting, macros, and remaps. There are a few keyboard sound effects available.

Most keyboard software includes at least basic options for changing the keypress sound effect. But for the most control over custom sounds, specialized software like Mechvibes is recommended.


There are various accessories that can enhance and change the sound of your mechanical keyboard. Adding sound dampening materials is a popular modification. Thick neoprene or sorbothane pads placed under the PCB can absorb vibrations and reduce the “ping” or resonant noise that occurs when typing (1). Some common materials used are shelf liner, craft foam, and yoga mats. You can also add o-rings to soften the sound of bottoming out on each keypress.

Wrist rests, whether attached to the keyboard or separate, affect the acoustics. Rests made of firm materials like wood or hard plastic will amplify the sound more than softer rubber or padded wrist rests. Keyboard stands and tilt kits that raise the angle of the keyboard can also enhance or muffle the sound depending on the material (2).

Other accessories like switch openers, lube brushes, and keycap pullers allow you to modify individual components to produce specific keyboard sounds you want to achieve (3). With the right tools and accessories, you can customize a mechanical keyboard’s sound profile in many ways.





There are several ways to customize the sound of your mechanical keyboard to match your preferences. The main factors that affect keyboard sound include:

  • Mechanical switch type – Different switch types like linear, tactile, and clicky produce unique sound signatures.
  • Keycaps – Materials like PBT and ABS, as well as custom keycap profiles, can alter the sound.
  • Case and plate materials – Metals like aluminum and brass will produce a deeper sound compared to plastics.
  • Lubricants – Applying lube to the switches and stabilizers can reduce any pinging or rattling sounds.
  • O-rings – Adding o-rings dampens the sound when bottoming out on each keystroke.
  • Keyboard size/layout – Compact keyboards tend to have a higher pitch compared to full-sizes.
  • Accessories – Items like deskmats can slightly alter the acoustics.
  • Software effects – Some keyboards have customizable audio software to add effects.

By combining various keyboard parts and modifications, you can fine-tune the sound profile to create a unique typing experience suited to your taste.

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