In this post, we want to compare SA vs DSA vs OEM vs Cherry vs XDA Profiles. About choosing the right keycap profile to maximize modifications to your keyboard so you can get the best typing or gaming experience.
You have a lot of customization options in the mechanical keyboard industry to suit your preferences.
Let’s examine the differences between some of the most well-liked keycap profiles in order to better understand how changing the keycap profile might improve the way the keyboard feels and sounds for you.
Here is a list of the various keycap profiles:
We’ll go into further detail regarding the variations in each keycap and offer some advice on usage and application.
SA vs DSA vs OEM vs Cherry vs XDA
Five of the most prominent keycap profiles in the mechanical keyboard hobby are SA, DSA, OEM, Cherry, and XDA, and there are numerous distinctions between them.
Here is a brief explanation:
- SA: A keycap with a tall, sculpted profile that makes a thock sound.
- DSA: A uniformly very short keycap profile that resembles a low-profile style
- OEM: The typical dimensions and design of most keycaps.
- Cherry: A keycap profile that is short and aggressively angled to make typing simple.
- XDA: Short uniform keycap profile, slightly taller than DSA, called XDA.
Each profile has a unique height, sound, and feel.
Some have stronger bass, like the lower profiles, while others, like SA, have a pleasant “thocc” sound.
The most popular alternatives for an intermediate height are cherry and OEM.
Even while OEM profile keycaps and Cherry occasionally appear on keyboards for sale, these five options are all fairly common when seeking for custom keycaps.
One of the most widely used profiles for aftermarket keycaps is this one. These keycaps are contoured, which makes them different between rows but also more pleasant than uniform keycaps.
They are a little bit shorter than OEM profiles, but they are typically also more expensive, unless you purchase from a business that does not use genuine tooling.
It should only take a few weeks to become used to them if you are used to mechanical keyboards; nevertheless, even if you are fresh and coming from something with a lower profile, it may take a little longer.
Because there is less space inside the keycap for sound to bounce, the keycaps of this profile sound bassier. In our experience, cherry has been one of the greatest profiles for both gaming and typing, if not the best.
One of the tallest profiles and the tallest of these alternatives is the SA profile, which is sculpted.
If you are coming from a low profile keyboard, it may be challenging to adjust to these keycaps. For some people, it is impossible for them to adapt.
The “thocc” sound that this profile produces is well-known and adored by many aficionados. Many people like SA’s more retro appearance, which is well known.
Even if other profiles in this article might enable you to type more quickly, this profile might not be the greatest one for gaming. However, it is a good choice for typing.
Low-profile keycaps are a feature of one of the most widely used uniform profiles, called DSA.
Unless you are coming from a high profile keyboard, it is rather simple to get used to, albeit the fact that they are not contoured may be challenging for you.
Many people adore the appearance of these because of the uniform height and appearance between rows, and many also enjoy the sound, which has the lowest pitch on this list because there isn’t much space inside the caps.
Although contoured keycaps are typically favored, these are fairly excellent for gaming. The consistent profile may need some time to modify for typing.
Like DSA, XDA keycaps are low profile and consistent, thus aficionados favor this profile for its attractive appearance.
If you are coming from a high profile like SA, it will be simpler for you to use this profile than DSA. You’ll probably have the most trouble if you’re not used to the regularity of the profile.
Just slightly lower in pitch than the Cherry profile, XDA has a comparable sound.
Overall, this profile is a good choice for speedy or regular typing as well as gaming. The uniformity of XDA may be a problem for players because it makes it more difficult for them to locate the keycap.
The most common keycap profile is definitely this one.
The majority of pre-built keyboards have it, and it is moderately popular for aftermarket keycaps.
The keycaps are contoured, which means they have various heights for various rows and adapt to your fingertips for improved comfort while typing and playing video games.
They are ideal for both applications because of their molded character.
Unless you are coming from a low profile board, in which case it may take you a few weeks to adjust, the OEM profile is typically the least expensive option here and is rather easy to get used to.
The sound is somewhat bassy and sounds very similar to the Cherry profile, although you will hear more of a change in sound with different materials.
The sound is somewhat bassy and fairly similar to the Cherry profile, although the differences in materials, thickness, and the keyboard will be more audible.
Sculpted vs Uniform Keycap Profiles
The keycaps’ sculptedness or uniformity is one of these keycap profiles’ greatest variances.
The surface of uniform keycaps is flat and not at all angled.
Sculpted keycaps are slightly angular in design to enhance typing comfort. Every row has a distinct angle of its own.
More people favor Sculpted because it makes typing feel more natural. Others might discover that generic profiles like XDA and DSA suit their interests.
On some enthusiast keycap sets with distinctive designs, the consistent profile is typically present.
Best Place to Find Keycaps With Unique Profiles
You can buy keycaps that are always in stock or via group buys, where several individuals can buy a product in advance and it will then be created and supplied to them in one run, usually.
It’s quick and simple to purchase keycaps from a website that has them in stock, but group buys may take up to 9 months to complete, but you can get keycaps with more intriguing designs that better suit your tastes.
These are a few wonderful locations where you may go to get keycaps of many unique profiles, including SA, DSA, and more:
- Amazon: Amazon is a fantastic resource for fast obtaining in-stock keycaps and they do sell certain uncommon profiles like SA, DSA, XDA, and other profiles not previously listed like MT3, supplied by Drop on Amazon. Although Amazon won’t have the cheapest prices or the widest choices in this area, it does offer reliable shipping and rarely has stock shortages.
- Banggood: Banggood is very comparable to Amazon. They offer many more affordable selections and a somewhat better selection than Amazon, but the shipping isn’t as good.
- KDBfans: KDBfans is one of the greatest locations to start with affordable prices and respectable shipping times for unique keycaps. They have all the profiles that we have compared today, but their profiles aren’t particularly distinctive.
- Drop: Drop is a wonderful website for in-stock keycaps and group purchases. Drop frequently works with organizations like GMK and people like Mito or Tomb3ry. In addition to the ones we’ve highlighted today, they have a ton of other pretty unusual profiles, such MT3, which is a more sculpted version of SA and resembles the old IBM keyboards.
- Mechanicalkeyboards.com: They offers a sizable assortment of moderate alternatives for profiles including DSA, XDA, and SA at a sizable price point.
- /r/mechmarket is a terrific location to buy keycaps that have been used or are being sold again. It frequently has excellent alternatives for profiles and designs of various kinds, however the cost is frequently higher. You may frequently avoid having to wait a long time for group buy products by purchasing them directly from this site once delivery begins. You could even have your entire set within a few days.
SA vs DSA vs OEM vs Cherry vs XDA Profiles: Which Should You Use?
Preference underlies your choice of profile.
Finding the ideal height and sound for typing or playing games all comes down to personal preference.
The keyboard’s surface, the material of the case and plate, the thickness of the keycap, the lubrication of the switches, the modification of the stabilizers, and other factors can all have a significant impact on aspects like sound.
Because of the sculpted design, OEM or Cherry keycap profiles may be the best choice for you if you play video games primarily because you won’t need to extend your fingers as far.
If you type a lot, Cherry and OEM are both excellent possibilities, but you can be quick on any profile that suits your preferences.
Keyboard mappings like COLEMAK or DVORAK and contoured keycaps, which make it easier to find keys, could also increase your speed.
The pastime of using a mechanical keyboard includes selecting the appropriate keycaps for you.
Be sure to read some other articles if you’re interested in learning more about mechanical keyboards.