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Cherry MX Black (Re-Tooled) - Really Gold Standard?

sowon

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The Cherry MX Black is arguably one of if the best modern Cherry switch to ever be created, the vintage kind of which is one of the most sought-after linear switches ever for its unbeatable smoothness, and ironically is labelled Cherry's best switch despite being made a few decades ago. There is a lot of debate online about what year would qualify a Cherry Black to be vintage, but generally from what I've read online, any Cherry Black switch found inside a board that was manufactured from before 1990 is considered a board with vintage Cherry Blacks inside of it.

 

Today though, I have non-vintage, re-tooled Cherry MX Blacks with me. I have used these Cherry Blacks for around two weeks now and here are my opinions and experiences with my time using the Cherry MX Black. For reference, my daily keyboard uses 67g Tealios V2s lubed with Tribosys 3204 resting on a brass plate. The board I used with the Cherry Blacks in uses the Cherry Blacks lubed with Krytox 205g0 and a carbon fiber plate, so my experiences with the Cherry Black might differ from others due to the plate material, lubing, and even keycaps difference.

 

When I first got my Cherry Blacks, I was curious as to how they would feel, as I've been advised online that re-tooled, modern Cherry Blacks feel vastly scratchier and much more inconsistent than vintage Cherry Blacks due to how much re-molding the Cherry Black has gone through.

Unfortunately, this was the case with me, as immediately as a loose switch, when I pressed down on the switch, it was really scratchy. It had about the same scratchiness as YOK Pandas, which are notoriously scratchy switches in my experience. Even stock Gateron Yellows beat these in smoothness.

 

I opened up the switch and the material wasn't actually that bad, but it was clear how rough and unpolished the material was compared to Gateron housings.

 

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Prior to purchasing the Cherry MX Black, I knew it was going to be a heavy switch from reading the force curve. At a perceived 60g operating point, and an 80g bottom-out, it was going to be a workout for my fingers which were used to switches that bottom-out in the 60g region.

 

Image result for cherry black force curve"

 

After opening up the switch, I took a look at the  stem, as I always do. Its material is fairly decent, with some minor roughness. It's a pretty standard linear stem with defined stem legs, as with all other MX linears on the market which use the same stem design. The material of the stem doesn't compare to the smoothness of other switches such as Gateron Ink Blacks or Zeal's high-end Tealios V2 switches, but it's decently smooth, and I'm sure people would not complain about it if they were obliged to use a Cherry Black.

 

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I believe what contributes more to the abundant scratchiness of the Cherry Blacks - even after lubing - is the housing. The housings are definitely rough and course, especially when compared to something like Gateron housings. The bog standard stem combined with the 'eh'-quality housing is in my experience what makes the re-tooled Cherry Black a scratchy switch.

 

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Typing on the Cherry Blacks was in all honesty, a pretty shameful experience. I lubed my Cherry Blacks with Krytox 205g0 - with a single Cherry Black lubed with thinner Tribosys 3204 lube to go into the Escape key - and every time I wanted to use them, the prominent scratchiness and sheer resistance of the spring was something I could not bond with. While it was a nice novelty to be able to daily run lubed Cherry Blacks, I did not find the typing experience throughout the two weeks I spent with them fun, and always found myself going back to my main board with Tealios inside them as I found the Tealios better-weighted and tenfold smoother.

 

Do I recommend the re-tooled Cherry Black? No, I don't. It's far too scratchy for what it is, and the weight is a mountain to overcome. I would much rather purchase another alternative linear such as Gateron Yellows or even Gateron Ink Blacks, as those two switches are noticeably smoother than the Cherry Black even as a stock switch, and lubing both of those options will lead to an even greater smoothness that the re-tooled Cherry Black can never achieve.

 

Sorry Cherry, but your gold standard is just a scratchy linear.



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When I first got my Cherry Blacks, I was curious as to how they would feel, as I've been advised online that re-tooled, modern Cherry Blacks feel vastly scratchier and much more inconsistent than vintage Cherry Blacks due to how much re-molding the Cherry Black has gone through.

1. Where did you get them from? There are lots of different retools, the early ones in 2018 were super smooth, the latter ones are a bit inconsistent, I have some 500 MX1A-11NW Retools from arrow and they're pretty smooth. 
2. Vints are much much much much more inconsistent 
3. They didn't go through much remolding... the pre-retool non vints are scratchy due to old and worn out tooling and the newer retools are scratchy due to a change in plastic composition...

Cherry switches can be very good if you know where and how to find good ones. 

Your comment about the springs is a bit irrelevant, most people will spring swap (unless it's a gat yellow) Cherry and Zeal springs are very awful. Most people choose to use Sprit (scammer), TX, CWW, Punchy, Kmac or korean springs, which are much much better than stock zeal or cherry springs. 

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1 hour ago, b emoji said:

1. Where did you get them from? There are lots of different retools, the early ones in 2018 were super smooth, the latter ones are a bit inconsistent, I have some 500 MX1A-11NW Retools from arrow and they're pretty smooth. 

Mainly Reddit, read a lot about how buying Blacks nowadays is a gamble as like you said, different manufacture years can results in swayed results.

 

1 hour ago, b emoji said:

Your comment about the springs is a bit irrelevant, most people will spring swap (unless it's a gat yellow) Cherry and Zeal springs are very awful. Most people choose to use Sprit (scammer), TX, CWW, Punchy, Kmac or korean springs, which are much much better than stock zeal or cherry springs. 

I wanted to use them as stock since that's the way they ship. While I find my particular set scratchy, I have been discussing with others about buying 68g TX springs for the Blacks as I find them far too heavy.

As for my Tealios, I have no intention to replace those springs as  they work fine for now.

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