One of the reasons I love the mechanical keyboards is the number of customizations you can do on them. There are various things you do with mechanical keyboards, like changing their keycaps, layout, and mounting styles, but there is a lot more you can do with them. We are discussing the topic of brass vs aluminum plate keyboard in 2022. What are their key differences, and which one will be better?
Brass vs Aluminum Plate Keyboard Comparison
One of the hottest discussions in the custom mechanical keyboards community is the effect of various materials of the plate on the typing experience. Aluminum is the most commonly used plate material used in custom mechanical keyboards, while brass plates are used in more expensive keyboards. Now, let us have a look at the details between the Aluminum plate and the Brass plates in detail.
Density of Plate
First of all, brass is a lot denser than aluminum, which is why brass is commonly used for weights at the bottom in custom mechanical keyboards. The higher density of brass is one of the reasons for its chirping musical sound signature when used as a mounting plate on a keyboard.
Although you might think that the denser the plate is, the better it might feel, it is not true. As a matter of fact, very few people like to use stainless steel mounting plates in their custom mechanical keyboards. The reason is that steel is much denser than brass, and this brings a lot of rigidity and stiffness to the typing experience.
Brass, unlike steel, provides a sweet spot between stiffness and sound quality, which is why most enthusiasts prefer brass mounting plate instead of aluminum.
Pinging in Aluminum Plate
A great difference between aluminum and brass plates is that the sound signature of the aluminum plate is quite brighter than the brass plate. The brass plate provides rich lows, while there is a lot of pinging in the aluminum plate. Of course, there are many other materials in plates such as carbon, acrylic, polycarbonate, etc. they are quite rare and usually not available for common keyboard kits. As far as the metallic mounting plates are concerned, brass plates provide the best sound signature, especially to those who are bothered with high-frequency sound signatures.
Keyboard Plate Material Differences
Now, coming to keyboard choices, you will find that most mechanical keyboards in the market come with aluminum mounting plates and such keyboards are usually much cheaper than some of the expensive custom mechanical keyboard kits that can easily go beyond four hundred bucks. Such kits provide lots of options, and you can go for the brass plate if you don’t care about the budget at all. As long as you like a particular keyboard, you can care less about all the other keyboard choices, as a high-end mechanical keyboard puts cheaper mechanical keyboards to shame.
Maintenance of Plate
There is a slight issue with the brass plate keyboards. Brass is a metal that gets tarnished, i.e. the oxidation of the material takes a toll on the material. This creates a layer of tarnish on the plate, which is to be cleaned if you want the plate to be in its real color. There is no such thing going on with aluminum plate keyboards, and that is why we can say that brass plate keyboards require a little more maintenance compared to aluminum plate keyboards.
Which One Is Expensive?
As mentioned earlier, brass is more expensive than aluminum, and that is why brass plate keyboards are more expensive than aluminum plate keyboards. Normally, you would not even see most mechanical keyboards with any other plate material than aluminum but nowadays some companies are turning to brass plates due to their unique characteristics. Overall, if you are not affected by the prices at all, we would suggest you at least check the brass plate keyboards to see if you lean towards them instead of an aluminum plate keyboard.
Brass vs Aluminum plate keyboard both have their own characteristics but most people tend to go for brass plate keyboards due to their bassy sound signature. The price of brass plate keyboards is more than aluminum plate keyboards, which makes them out of the reach of budget users. Since brass is prone to oxidation, it requires more maintenance, and you will have to clean a brass plate keyboard more often compared to an aluminum plate keyboard. Overall, as long as you enjoy one of these more than the other, there is no need to buy the other just for the sake of others.