Vibration Dampeners -- My experience with this dozen +

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by corbind, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Vibration dampeners are so inexpensive making it easy to buy a ton and have some fun with 'em. I've had play time figuring out which were a waste of money, average, or even fantastic. Although I'm pretty meticulous in my testing, your mileage may vary since what works for me may not suit your taste.
    • The "ping" you hear from the strings when not using a dampener is high frequency vibration
    • High frequency vibration is suppressed significantly when using a dampener
    • Vibration dampeners do very little to lessen the low frequency frame shock that travels up the arm
    • Dampeners don’t really help your game per se but may keep your mind off the agitating ping and more on your game
    Below I've listed dampeners in alphabetical order within each category. Traditional dampeners cover just 2 main strings. Worm damps are long "strings" that usually cover 6-12 main strings. Just click on the damp name (in blue letters) to view vendor description & price.

    TRADITIONAL (covers 2 strings)

    Babolat Custom II - square
    It is an improvement over the circular ones they used to sell as this square one stays in better. It’s soft rubber, medium weight, expensive but good.

    Babolat Custom - circle
    One of my favorites. Made of soft rubber, medium weight, only downfall is it costs double most others.

    Dunlop - square
    Looks cool and the rubber is soft but still harder than most other damps I’ve tested so not recommended.

    Dunlop Biomimetic
    Interesting having six sides. A nice damp for medium weight and made of soft rubber.

    McMaster-Carr ½” Grommet - item 9600K22 (My pick -- best traditional damp)
    A buddy gave me some to try and I was hooked. They’re taller, fatter, and weight more than other “O” ring damps and remarkably flexible. That squishiness coupled with being gummy (not sticky though) grips the strings so well. I don’t understand why this one works so well but it’s on all my racquets.

    Menard's Grommets - 1/2" ID (4 pack)
    At under 30 cents each it’s extremely cheap. It’s soft, flexy, has thin walls and a low weight. It's for those who want a light to medium damp feel for very little added weight and perfect for those on a shoestring budget.

    Pacific Vibra
    Made of a plastic and harder than all other damps. Not recommended.

    Pete Sampras Tourna
    I bought this from two different vendors and had mixed results. In the first package, the black was soft flexy rubber while the red was stiffer and like more a mix of rubber and plastic. In the second purchase from another vendor, both red and black damps were quite hard so had to toss 'em.

    Prince Tour
    Very small and shaped like a multivitamin. I was skeptical at first at such a small damp with almost no weight. It’s made of soft rubber and is perfect for those who want low damp and very low weight. This is certainly a step up for the rubber band users and more elegant to boot.

    Tecnifibre Vibra Clip
    Very small and shaped like a multivitamin. Very similar to the Prince Tour but not as flexy. Like a rubber / plastic mix and has almost no weight. Interesting hard clip built in under the soft rubber. Good for those who want low damp and very low weight but I still like the Prince Tour ones slightly better. Get rid of the rubber band and try them both.

    Tourna Shock Off
    Good luck on getting it installed! Once you get this thing on you won't be taking it off to try new ones quickly. It’s like a giant rubber band with a fat brass dumbbell in it which makes it heavier than most damps. I love the design and works well.

    Yonex Vibration Stopper
    My favorite for the traditional category. It's soft rubber, flexy, and heavy weight because it is big. I’ve even customized these so the bottom “V” slides down slightly into the port of my frames.

    WORM STYLE (covers 6-12 strings)

    Babolat Racquet Vibration System (1.75")
    Even though I didn't notice a big change in low frequency frame shock, it's good to try out. It does damp a little and may help, albeit ever so slightly, those who have tennis elbow.

    Forten Spectra Worm
    Covers 6 to 8 strings and made of soft rubber. It has tiny "fins" that grab the strings so it has a little more string contact than tube worm damps. Other damps are better.

    Gamma Shockbuster (4")
    Covers 8 strings and made of soft rubber. If a ball hits a plastic clips on the end it will come off and flap around. But the whole damp will never fly off. Although it works very well, eventually it'll rupture and the gel will leak all over your strings so not recommended.

    Gamma TNT Core (2.5")
    Only seeing it online I was prejudiced against this from the start figuring the name is a joke. When I got it in on the strings I liked its soft rubber as it is the softest of all I’ve ever tested. It applies to the racquet nicely and looks good. Yea Gamma.

    Head Smartsorb (4.25")
    I swap back and forth with this and the generic TW damp. The Head is flatter, shorter and has very short “fingers” to grip the strings. This one compares much to the TW generic damp and, between the two, I still like the TW damp slightly better.

    Prince / Ektelon Silencer (4.5")
    Nice damp across 10 strings. Its has fairly low weight, great damp-to-weight ratio, and a very clever way to adhere to the racquet so will never fall off. Have a friend push/pull the a main/cross apart, slide the O end between, he lets go, done. If you do it alone take your time or you may cut the end open like I did only on my first try. Illegal to use in USTA.

    Serpent Dampener (My pick -- best worm damp)
    Essentially a super fat black rubberband that has an intelligent way of attaching. It’s extremely soft which is good and it seems to do a nice job dampening. Still it is the heaviest of all worms at 3.1g but it's really quite nice (and also my favorite for the category). Comes in a pack of two for just $2 so icing on the cake.

    Tennis Warehouse Worm (3.75")
    Soft rubber has tiny "fins" to grab the strings, fatter in middle and tapers near the end which is a smart touch having more damp near the middle. As with all conventional worm damps, the rubber connecting the end plastic clips will ultimately weaken and tear even if it takes a couple of years. Hey, but for only a buck you can’t go wrong.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
    #1
  2. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    WHICH STAY PUT?

    It is nearly impossible to knock a worm type off since most have two plastic clips that attach in an area where you should never hit a ball. The "O" shaped damps can get knocked out perhaps if you're lunging for a net shot. An easy fix for that is to tie a piece of sewing thread through the hole and around a string. May come out when hit but still hang from the thread saving your from ceaselessly roaming the court trying to find an untied one.

    WEIGHT

    Grams
    1.4 - Pete Sampras Tourna
    1.6 - Menard's Grommets, 1/2" ID
    1.7 - Babolat Custom Damp (no barbell)
    1.7 - Tecnifibre Vibra Clip
    1.8 - Prince/Ektelon Silencer
    1.9 - Babolat Custom Damp II (no barbell)
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    2.0 - Pacific Vibra
    2.2 - Prince Tour
    2.3 - Head Smartsorb
    2.6 - Dunlop Biomimetic
    2.6 - Forten Spectra Worm
    2.6 - McMaster-Carr Grommets, 1/2" ID
    2.8 - Tennis Warehouse Worm
    2.8 - Babolat Custom Damp II (with barbell)
    2.9 - Gamma Shockbuster
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    3.1 - Serpent
    3.3 - Babolat Custom Damp (with barbell)
    3.4 - Tourna Shock Off
    3.5 - Dunlop (square)
    3.9 - Yonex Vibration Stopper Dampener
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    4.6 - Gamma TNT Core
    ?.? - Babolat Racquet Vibration System (loaned out but never got back so can't weigh)

    SUMMARY

    • Best TRADITIONAL is McMaster Carr 1/2" Grommet
    • Best WORM is Serpent Dampener

    Normally I prefer worm dampeners that cover lots of strings to get the greatest total damp. Yet lately I've even been using three McMaster grommets that dampen well and add weight right where I want it. Reality is any style, shape or weight will work to varying degrees in deadening the sound. You spend hundreds a year on balls, overgrips, sticks, and shoes so try a few dampeners and have some fun! :)


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
    #2
  3. Seth

    Seth Hall of Fame

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    This is cool. Thanks!
     
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  4. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Great post - thanks for taking the time to do the comparisons and report your results. For the traditional any comments on which ones stay in the racquet the best? I find a lot of people I play with have a problem with theirs flying off.

    Any chance you tried a 64 size rubber band?

    TripleB
     
    #4
  5. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    I think he did as he compared several items to #64.
     
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  6. Jules

    Jules Rookie

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    Thanks a lot for the review. :)
     
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  7. GS

    GS Professional

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    I have a dozen of various ones in my bag that I found on the courts over the years.
    My favorite was an old Dunlop one---it was a black, square-ish thing that folded in half after you installed it around the bottom string, then was held by a clasp. It never came off, but the little top hinge fell apart over time.
    So I tried the 3 cent #64 rubber band, and never looked back.
     
    #7
  8. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Money question - How does the Sampras Dampener compare to Menard's grommets? I am a believer in the SampDamp, and love the feel of it.
     
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  9. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    corbind gets his hardware store grommets for less than 30 cents. The two-pack of Sampras dampeners is priced at $3....so it's like a 5 for 1 situation.

    The rubber grommets dampen more being all rubber (and contacting a little more string) and not a plasticy silicone material of the Sampras dampener.

    Again, it's a preference thing.
     
    #9
  10. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Ahh..yeah what I love about the Sampras is that they don't dampen too much. That is the secret for me. I'll pay the 3 bucks since I usually don't lose them too much.
     
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  11. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    I still have Unique Sampras dampeners from several years ago. I'm not sure but it's going on 10+ years.

    The original Sampras dampener is the rubber cable grommet. I'm sure that's what he was using when he was younger. Then Unique started to market their version with his name on them. I've got both and don't mind too much switching between them depending on the frame.

    I still have some in their package from when they came two black ones per pack. I bought them for 50 cents a pack on discount at a K-mart once.

    On my current playing frames, I use a "black tennis ball" circle dampener that came with Wilson Ultra Wrap overgrip a few years ago. Black ones were packaged with pink and orange overgrip, yellow dampeners came with the black overgrip. The Wal-marts near me carried these packages. They dampen to the same level as the black Sampras dampener. I didn't care much for the yellow ones and figured they'd get dingy looking after at while.

    When those were starting to disappear from the shelves, I bought a bunch of them to stock up. I like them because I haven't seen them anywhere else and they're less poseur-ey than the Sampras dampener when you use a PS85, kPS88, or black Wilson mid.
     
    #11
  12. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I have 3 prince silencer/dampners and I'm done. They're the best and all you'll ever need, although they are somewhat weighty. It's basically like attaching 3 small dampners across your mains.
     
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  13. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    I am never on court without a smiley, sad or surprised face dampener. Tried the flame, shamrock and a Prince Wimbledon dampener but they just make me feel all odd and stuff. Knocked me right off kilter.
     
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  14. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I edited my post to answer which don't fly off

    I have not tried a 64 rubberband in a long time. Yet I was at the office store today and they sell 1 pound bags of them for $7. Rubber bands dry up and you replace them as needed. I just don't like them much because I'd have to use about 10 of them to get the damp I want. Much easier to just use the Prince Silencer to cover 10 mains and be done with it. Further, I don't like how the ends of the rubber bands flap around. Seems sloppy.


    The Sampras walls are thicker and it weighs more but the Menard's grommet flexes more so pushes more on the strings so about a wash. So same damp but Menard's weighs less.


    Well I wish Prince would hurry up and send that $100k since I'm endorsing their Silencer as the best of the 14 I listed in my review. Somehow I have not seen the check in my mail box yet....but I'll keep checking. ;)

    And I did not take into account regional differences (some places don't have Menard's). Home Depot has essentially the same neoprene 1/2" grommets,

    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
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  15. nimailni

    nimailni New User

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    thanks corbind for taking the time to review dampeners. I wish there were guides like yours for everything else. Great job!
     
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  16. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    Thorough well written reviews and clear presentation of the findings. A+ work here.
     
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  17. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Awesome job with the review. I am glad you had time to try all of these out. I will give the Prince Silence dampener a shot as I do like cushy feeling racquets. I currently have the Prince Exo3 Tour which I think is pretty good for a such a small dampener. It is also easy to take on and off compared to the Sampras O damepner.
     
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  18. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I use the Sampras style little O-rings from the hardware store. I have had a problem with small dampeners flying off (mostly when my strings are about to break). I discovered that if I move the dampener to the bottom of the string bed so it is touching the bottom of the frame, it never comes off.
     
    #18
  19. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Your damp won't fall off but you'll get much less damp:

     
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  20. SJSA

    SJSA Semi-Pro

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    This is a great post.
    I tried 80% of dampeners on the list and ended up with Yonex. It doesn't come off easily compared to other ones.
    Prince Silencer Vibration Dampener is hard to install. It was ripped off.
     
    #20
  21. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    How the heck did you rip your dampener off? :???: As you can see from my reviews, I liked both the Yonex and the Prince but the Prince dampens more.

    Take the time to do something right and you'll be rewarded. A good analogy is painting an interior room. Very little time is needed to do the actual painting. 80-90% of your time is spent moving furniture, putting down the tarp, cleaning and taping the walls.

    The same holds true for the Prince Silencer. It is hard to install because you have to move two strings to slide each end it. So have a buddy press down on one string while you pull one string up. Take you all of a couple of min and you won't have to do it again. :grin:
     
    #21
  22. Marcus2137

    Marcus2137 Rookie

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    I use 1 TINY rubberband on each of my prestige rackets and it's perfect.

    The rubberband measures 2mm thick unstretched. It's made from latex, so I haven't had one dry out yet. Weighs somewhere around .5g.

    Here are some lessons I've learned recently:

    -The rubberband only works well on my Prestiges. On my tweener racket, it isn't enough and it still pings a lot, I use a Gamma Shockbuster on that racket and it's perfect. The shockbuster on my Prestiges is too much and I loose some feel.

    -If I install the rubberband too tight, my Prestiges start pinging again. The trick I found is to tie them just tight enough to hold themselves from sliding down the string, but no tighter or else they aren't effective anymore.

    -On my friend's Prestige Mid, the rubberband and button dampener don't work, it takes a Shockbuster to stop the pinging.

    -The Djokovic orange button dampener is perfect for the IG Speed racket it came with, but if I put it on the Prestige, it still pings some. But with the small rubberband on the IG Speed, it also pings; so they can't be switched.

    Every racket is different and needs a different dampener. My theory now is that I want just enough dampener to stop the pinging on whatever racket I'm using, but no more dampening than that. I hate pinging/vibration, but now I will find the dampener that is just barely good enough to stop the pinging, but no more.
     
    #22
  23. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    I agree...one can actually use too much dampening in my opinion...

    The best vibration dampeners ive ever used, was Prince vibracap. The only thing is that they would loose too often and they would cost too much. Probably off the market now...

    http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.j.../00345758/img56717808.jpg?_ex=300x300&s=2&r=1
     
    #23
  24. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I just installed the Wilson Shock Trap. It covers 8 strings. I compared it to the Gamma Shockbuster, and the Shock Trap seemed to do more dampening. It probably has a similar effect to installing 4 single traditional dampeners.
     
    #24
  25. latershow

    latershow New User

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    Anybody know where I can get these Prince Silencer dampeners, and have them shipped internationally, since TW doesnt seem to have them?
     
    #25
  26. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    this was a great review. i have to try out the yonex one
     
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  27. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Edit: well do your own search "prince silencer dampener" and you'll get a lot of possibilities.

    Edit #2 here ya go: http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/vlarge.html?pcode=EKTDAMP
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
    #27
  28. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    TW now sells one of my favorite damps and I went crazy when I saw this -- http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/vlarge.html?pcode=EKTDAMP

    because it is EXACTLY like the Prince Silencer damp I reviewed in my article. How can this Ektelon damp be exactly like the Prince? How do they not get sued? A quick net search reveals Ektelon is a subsidiary of Prince. So Prince just slaps the different name brand on it and markets it to rackeball players since the Ektelon brand is known much better there.

    Nevertheless, at least TW now sells my favorite damp! :) It shows in the damp section here on TW but the link goes straight to RW.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  29. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Update: I bought a fantastic scale the measures down to 1/10 of a gram. So took out all my dampeners and weighed them and added that info to my OP for the all the weight geeks. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
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  30. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Out of curiosity how do you attach the ends to the stringbed?

    http://www.princetennis.com/pc/catalog/1/thesilencer_zoom.jpg
     
    #30
  31. ArliHawk

    ArliHawk Hall of Fame

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    I'm really liking the US Open Dampeners by Wilson. They are small like the Tecnifibre ones, and work real well.
     
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  32. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Notice the picture I have here has 4 tiny O-rings on my old racquet. I just used this picture as an example of what it would be like when the Prince Silencer is installed. It sits with two strings crossing in its middle O.

    Okay, to install the Prince Silencer start by getting a friend to help you (trust me on this). Have him push down on the string where the red arrows are. Two thumbs on each side of the cross string works best.

    While he's pushing down on that string, you'll pull up on the cross string where the blue arrows are while sliding one of the Silencer dampener's ends between the strings. There is not much room between strings so hard to do alone but I've managed it many times. But SO much easier with a friend's help.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
    #32
  33. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    Does vibration dampeners actually do anything, i heard that they reduce feel.
     
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  34. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Brilliant thread corbind. I'm very fussy re dampeners - though I do find it depends on the frame.
     
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  35. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Definitely one of the best (if not the best) thread I've seen on dampeners. Drives me nuts when I see guys posting things like "it healed my TE" or "after installing a dampener I had much better control and power!" lol

    You can install them without the assistance of another pair of hands, but it's no fun. Corbind, I respect the fact that this particular dampener is your favorite, but I hate 'em lol. In my opinion, for what little extra muting they provide when compared some others, the process of installing them just isn't worth it to me. When someone hands me a racquet to restring with one of those bad boys in it, I hand it back and ask them to remove it. If you're installing it by yourself, you run the risk of tearing the ends, especially if it's an older dampener that's dry-rotted a little.

    For racquetball racquets they're easy to get in and out because typically the highest tension you'll see is around 35lbs.
     
    #35
  36. ArliHawk

    ArliHawk Hall of Fame

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    I have a couple of Babolat Loony Damps that seem to be quite similar to the Wilson VibraFun. Very solid dampers with a bit of personality.
     
    #36
  37. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Yes, the Prince Silencer is a PITA to install but I look at it this way. Spend a couple of minutes now to put it on and it will never come off during play...EVER! So only when you restring do you need to get your fingers and thumbs ready again for some pain. But I like this one so much the pain is easily worth it.

    The first one I tried to install myself. I struggled for a bit and decided to go for it. Yea, dumb move. slid the thing in but pushed so hard ripped the end in half so $3 down the drain.

    The next time I tried to install one (waited until the next day) I got help and it was very easy with 4 hands. If I were smart I'd build a little tool to help me do them easily. But I'd spend 4 hours making one when I could just have a friend help most any time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
    #37
  38. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Well hey, that's all that matters. :) I use a Volkl V1 Classic Midplus, and they come with these dampeners. The Volkl DNX Vibrastops are a pain to install as well because they have an extremely snug fit. I've never had one come off (so far), but I also understand that the chances of it coming off are infinitely greater than the Silencer.

    Anyway, I admire your committent to that particular product (you're a better man than I am lol), and again, great thread, bud! ;-)
     
    #38
  39. msalamon

    msalamon Rookie

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    Can someone post a picture of teh Prince Silencer installed--I'm still a little bit confused on how to install it.
    Thanks
     
    #39
  40. msalamon

    msalamon Rookie

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    Can this be installed before I string my last cross? Might be easier to install this way???
     
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  41. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    There are three of them in the picture. Only the bottom clear one is attached while the other two are just to show you the "before" look.

    [​IMG]
     
    #41
  42. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    From what I recall, unfortunately, the Prince Silencer is actually illegal for use in competitive/regulated play. Not that anyone ACTUALLY cares or checks, but I thought i'd point that out.

    Additionally, installing these isn't really that bad. You don't have to press down on the strings, or anything. weave the dampener, and on the final loop, bring the eyelet of the dampener ABOVE the bottom cross string, and lay it flat on top of the last main string. With one hand, hold the top of the eyelet in place, and yank on the other end of the dampener downwards. It'll slip into place. (This is difficult to describe in text, but I don't have a silencer on hand, or else i'd make a video).

    Finally, did you press the Babolat RVS dampener down so it was touching your frame? This is where the dampening happens, IMO. It's not a great dampener of string buzz, but when it's pushed up against the frame, it does a pretty reasonable job of muting buzz.
     
    #42
  43. corbind

    corbind Professional

    Joined:
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    Oh, and in the picture I provided (my last post bottom of page 1) You can see I have a Prince Silencer (bottom clear one) and a Yonex installed but cut/modified a bit to slide down into my frame port.

    Why two dampeners? Until something better comes out, the Silencer will always be on all my sticks. It does a fantastic job of dampening while covering 10 of my 16 mains.

    The black, V-shaped damp you see at the bottom of he picture is actually not a Babolat Racquet Vibration System damp. It's a Yonex (in my review) and adds almost 4 grams of weight. I'd like to believe that helps ever so slightly to suck up a little low-frequency vibration. If not, then the Yonex is just in lieu of lead weight.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
    #43
  44. msalamon

    msalamon Rookie

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    Thanks for posting--this helps quite a bit
     
    #44
  45. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    The beauty of the Sampras Dampener is that it rarely comes out....IF your racquet spacing is right for the size. The Wilson Blx - no problem..has never come out.

    Other racquets, it would fly out pretty often. So it matters the string pattern and the spacing.
     
    #45
  46. PigPen

    PigPen Rookie

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    Nov 15, 2006
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    Corbind,

    Have you review soe of the newer dampeners like the Babolat custom damp II?
     
    #46
  47. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^^

    I can assure you it is goat tastic

    Very soft and never comes out. Has little clamps that lock around the first cross when you slide it over.

    Has replaced the Sampras as the goat.
     
    #47
  48. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    those old Dunlops were Great !
     
    #48
  49. G34

    G34 New User

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    #64

    #64 rubberband works for me, tied to the two centered mains.
     
    #49
  50. ArliHawk

    ArliHawk Hall of Fame

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    Wilson Vibra fun skull and crossbones is my favorite.
     
    #50

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