Muted feel of a Racquet

DaylightBlue

New User
I see a lot of people on TTW and also IRL talk about a racquet being muted or not getting much feedback from the ball. A lot of times they fail to mention if a dampener is used in conjunction. Folks IRL tell me they feel like the racquet is too muted but I also see them using a dampener, and asked why don't they remove it to get more feel. They always give me a vague answer (e.g. prevents tennis elbow, I need it to play, blah blah, their favourite pro uses dampeners) but none of them actually remove the dampener and try to play with it. How bout you folks here?

I personally don't use dampeners because I use racquets that are pretty dampened already and adding a dampeners makes me lose track of where the ball is being hit on the stringbed (whether that really matters, not sure but my preference) but I think people who don't use dampeners are a minority and most people will put a dampener on racquet no matter what.
 

Joe Garfield

Semi-Pro
I like to feel what's really going on so I prefer to play without them, and only use them for experimenting with weight. If I put 2 dampers for experimentation I hate the feel at impact, it feels like syrup. I guess the one exception might be with Tecnifibre HDMX strings - I hate the sound so prefer a damper with that string, but I won't use that string again.
 

joah310

Professional
I find muted feel from a racket and what a dampener does are separate things. I use a really good dampener that takes a lot of loud vibrations from the string bed but I still feel what I'm doing with the ball and what the ball is doing. Yes compared to without the dampener you can argue that what I'm doing mutes the frame if you consider string bed ping feel. For me it's a little different, because a muted frame can have ping but you won't feel anything from it.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
I also don’t know what people mean when they say they feel that a racquet is too muted. I always feel the contact with the ball the same way with the only variance being whether the racquet transmits a lot of vibrations or not depending on its stiffness.

I prefer 12 oz, SW 330-340 thin-beam racquets that are about mid-sixties RA in stiffness or with vibration frequency spec of 130-140 Hz - stiffer causes discomfort and more flexible has too little power for my serves in particular. But, I would consider a more flexible racquet to be plush-feeling and more comfortable with more control/less power and not necessarily would call it as having a muted feel.

I play with a Pure Strike Tour Gen 3 and I switched from a Gen 1 Pure Strike Tour mainly because it is more comfortable to me than the earlier version while playing very similarly otherwise. I notice the change in comfort, but not necessarily any change in feel. Others say that the Gen 3 Pure Strike series in general has a more muted feel - I don’t know what they mean.

It is the same with strings when some people say a string like HyperG is muted compared to others like ALU Power or Tour Bite - I notice other differences like control, spin, launch angle variances, comfort after a few hours etc. but not necessarily this muted vs crisp feel. Since I like HyperG, HyperG Soft and the PST G3, maybe I like what others call a muted feel.

I do play with a dampener at all times irrespective of what racquet or string I play with, but it only changes the sound of the ball contact in my opinion and doesn’t seem to do anything to the ‘feel’ or ‘comfort’ of the racquet or strings as it damps only very high-frequency vibrations from the string. I play with a dampener because I like the muted sound which is different from the higher pitched noise I hear during ball contact otherwise.

‘Feel‘ seems to be the most subjective parameter when players talk about racquets or strings and I have given up trying to understand what each of them mean.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
i use a dampener bc i like the drip it adds to the look. it really has to be the right type though bc i dont like the ones that dampen too much.

ive read all the back and forth on the threads about them ... i feel like i lose ball feel and control when the string bed is overly dampened. fully prepared to admit its all in my head
 

McGradey

Semi-Pro
I also don’t know what people mean when they say they feel that a racquet is too muted. I always feel the contact with the ball the same way with the only variance being whether the racquet transmits a lot of vibrations or not depending on its stiffness.

I prefer 12 oz, SW 330-340 thin-beam racquets that are about mid-sixties RA in stiffness or with vibration frequency spec of 130-140 Hz - stiffer causes discomfort and more flexible has too little power for my serves in particular. But, I would consider a more flexible racquet to be plush-feeling and more comfortable with more control/less power and not necessarily would call it as having a muted feel.

I play with a Pure Strike Tour Gen 3 and I switched from a Gen 1 Pure Strike Tour mainly because it is more comfortable to me than the earlier version while playing very similarly otherwise. I notice the change in comfort, but not necessarily any change in feel. Others say that the Gen 3 Pure Strike series in general has a more muted feel - I don’t know what they mean.

It is the same with strings when some people say a string like HyperG is muted compared to others like ALU Power or Tour Bite - I notice other differences like control, spin, launch angle variances, comfort after a few hours etc. but not necessarily this muted vs crisp feel. Since I like HyperG, HyperG Soft and the PST G3, maybe I like what others call a muted feel.

I do play with a dampener at all times irrespective of what racquet or string I play with, but it only changes the sound of the ball contact in my opinion and doesn’t seem to do anything to the ‘feel’ or ‘comfort’ of the racquet or strings as it damps only very high-frequency vibrations from the string. I play with a dampener because I like the muted sound which is different from the higher pitched noise I hear during ball contact otherwise.

‘Feel‘ seems to be the most subjective parameter when players talk about racquets or strings and I have given up trying to understand what each of them mean.
I haven’t encountered a great description for what muted means either. It’s another one of those nebulous terms like feel, which means different things to different people.

Muted to me means that the racquet/string filters out some of the vibrations. This translates to a lower frequency thud versus a raw impact. Sort of like if you put a piece of leather or some other material over the head of a nail before hitting it with a hammer. It would mute the feeling and sound of the impact.
 
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aussie

Professional
I use Prince Tour frames with o-ports as well as a Phantom Pro and most folks would consider those frames muted. I use a worm dampener filled with gel in all my frames primarily because I hate the ping sound of the ball hitting the strings. I have no trouble feeling the ball on the strings and those frames are known for their incredible control characteristics. I really have difficulty in playing with any racquets that don't have a gel dampener.
 
I used the Pro Kennex 5g, then the ki5, and then a ki10 PSE, all of which would be considered "muted" frames. I used a Gamma Shockbuster worm type dampener. I still had good feel as to what the ball was doing when I made contact.
 
I also don’t know what people mean when they say they feel that a racquet is too muted. I always feel the contact with the ball the same way with the only variance being whether the racquet transmits a lot of vibrations or not depending on its stiffness.

I prefer 12 oz, SW 330-340 thin-beam racquets that are about mid-sixties RA in stiffness or with vibration frequency spec of 130-140 Hz - stiffer causes discomfort and more flexible has too little power for my serves in particular. But, I would consider a more flexible racquet to be plush-feeling and more comfortable with more control/less power and not necessarily would call it as having a muted feel.

I play with a Pure Strike Tour Gen 3 and I switched from a Gen 1 Pure Strike Tour mainly because it is more comfortable to me than the earlier version while playing very similarly otherwise. I notice the change in comfort, but not necessarily any change in feel. Others say that the Gen 3 Pure Strike series in general has a more muted feel - I don’t know what they mean.

It is the same with strings when some people say a string like HyperG is muted compared to others like ALU Power or Tour Bite - I notice other differences like control, spin, launch angle variances, comfort after a few hours etc. but not necessarily this muted vs crisp feel. Since I like HyperG, HyperG Soft and the PST G3, maybe I like what others call a muted feel.

I do play with a dampener at all times irrespective of what racquet or string I play with, but it only changes the sound of the ball contact in my opinion and doesn’t seem to do anything to the ‘feel’ or ‘comfort’ of the racquet or strings as it damps only very high-frequency vibrations from the string. I play with a dampener because I like the muted sound which is different from the higher pitched noise I hear during ball contact otherwise.

‘Feel‘ seems to be the most subjective parameter when players talk about racquets or strings and I have given up trying to understand what each of them mean.
So you have your answer right there. A mid-sixties RA can delivery a comfortable feeling whilst at the same time you feel the shot too. Also if the racquet isn't too headlight.

One of my tennis partners has a heavy but very headlight racquet with low RA and I hit with it a few times. That was the first time I thought of a racquet as muted. I wasn't hearing the usual string music and I couldn't get a handle for how the racquet was responding to my strokes. What happens with a really plush racquet is the difference in feel of contact between an off center hit and one off the sweet spot diminishes. Whereas the shot itself shows a much more pronounced difference when you don't time it well. On a stiffer racquet -mid 60s RA - I could at least get an off center hit over the net but with that racquet, it was really hard to get it over unless I made a really good shot each time.

I do agree that it is very subjective. The partner I mentioned is a counterpuncher and a human wall who keeps returning shots with amazing depth and infuriating consistency. And he does all that with this racquet. Wonder how! Albeit he chose a very flex racquet because he had had a brush with TE and became wary of even the slightest vibrations in a racquet.
 
I see a lot of people on TTW and also IRL talk about a racquet being muted or not getting much feedback from the ball. A lot of times they fail to mention if a dampener is used in conjunction. Folks IRL tell me they feel like the racquet is too muted but I also see them using a dampener, and asked why don't they remove it to get more feel. They always give me a vague answer (e.g. prevents tennis elbow, I need it to play, blah blah, their favourite pro uses dampeners) but none of them actually remove the dampener and try to play with it. How bout you folks here?

I personally don't use dampeners because I use racquets that are pretty dampened already and adding a dampeners makes me lose track of where the ball is being hit on the stringbed (whether that really matters, not sure but my preference) but I think people who don't use dampeners are a minority and most people will put a dampener on racquet no matter what.
Hi Day Light Blue. What is IRL? Is it another forum? Cheers, Paul
 
Hi Day Light Blue. What is IRL? Is it another forum? Cheers, Paul
Kind of, in the Roman sense.

I stopped using a dampener. Nothing happened. I actually prefer the feel wihtout in some ways, but I don't really find it increases my sense of feedback / control. Most of that for me comes from seeing my ball flying off in a wildly different direction to the one I intended. Good players may have different experiences...
 
Kind of, in the Roman sense.

I stopped using a dampener. Nothing happened. I actually prefer the feel wihtout in some ways, but I don't really find it increases my sense of feedback / control. Most of that for me comes from seeing my ball flying off in a wildly different direction to the one I intended. Good players may have different experiences...
I never play with a dampener. (a) If your Pure Drive is too uncomfortable to play with, the dampener won't make that go away. (b) for a flex racquet, you don't NEED a dampener. I need the sound off the strings to judge how I am striking the ball. If every shot sounds like a dull thud, it just doesn't feel right for me. Yes, it's 100% about feelings, nothing objective at work here.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Dampeners are 90% a sound thing and not a feel thing. I can tell exactly where on a string bed I’ve struck the ball and I’ve used dampeners for ages.

By the original Phantom 100 and you’ll get an idea of a muted racket. Any racket that more rapidly disperses the ball energy is going to have that feel. But I don’t need harsh vibrations running up and down my arm to feel the ball. So feel and muted are different phenomena to me.
 

drc1911

New User
I can’t stand the PING! sound the string bed makes without a dampener. So I’ve always played with one. (I’ve tried countless times without, no go).

Regardless, I have no problem discerning a muted racquet from a crisp one.
I really relate to this, for me it's mostly a sound thing. I think it's also because I started playing with a dampener so that became my "base normal". Some racquets don't bother me as much, and I think the string makes a big difference too. I have noticed a different comfort level depending on the string and racquet and whether or not I use a dampener. I'm hoping to try natural gut pretty soon and I don't plan on needing a dampener for that.
 

Crashbaby

Rookie
Depends on the racquet, string and tension combination. Some combinations vibrate and you can feel it, even just bouncing the ball on the strings. So I use a dampener when I need to. It is not a sound issue for me. It’s always a ball bounce on the racquet to see if a need one on the new combo type scenario.
 

ngoster

New User
I played with the PS85 for the longest time and have heard that it's a muted racquet. I never understood what that meant as I was always able to tell when the ball doesn't strike the sweet spot like the end or bottom of the head.

I also use the Pete Sampras O dampener on everything that I've played with, more so, because I don't like the string ping. I distracts the heck out of me when it flies off the racquet and I have to finish out a point haha.
 

joah310

Professional
I played with the PS85 for the longest time and have heard that it's a muted racquet. I never understood what that meant as I was always able to tell when the ball doesn't strike the sweet spot like the end or bottom of the head.

I also use the Pete Sampras O dampener on everything that I've played with, more so, because I don't like the string ping. I distracts the heck out of me when it flies off the racquet and I have to finish out a point haha.
I think people think of softer feeling rackets as muted. Ive never used the ps85 but based on the ps6.095, the kevlar does help take away harshness that can often be found in different rackets, but imo, it only enhances the feel by giving it a more raw feeling without excess harshness that some may consider feel. Might also be the reason that more flexible rackets can often be interpreted as muted my others. As said above though, the 03 ports are one of the more muted rackets Ive felt, the stringbed just kinda felt uniform.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I used the Sampras dampener for years and it absolutely changed the feel of frames. I finally have weaned myself off dampeners and frames like the V7 Blade that were super muted before opened up quite nicely and feel much better. So have my old school Head frames that I bring out for a hit now and then.

No dampener can result in some pingy sounds, but I found that goes away after 5-10 minutes and I don't notice it anymore.
 

DaylightBlue

New User
FWIW, personally touch shots become tough for me when there is too much dampening. It’s not just a sound thing for me when you use a dampener, the vibrations become a lower frequency and everything just kind of feels the same but with different volume depending on the shot and power.
I played with a friend’s ps85 before but it never really felt like vibrations were dampened, he always had a dampener on it and I also liked it with the dampener. Without the dampener it felt like an “explosion of feel” on groundstrokes.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I played with the PS85 for the longest time and have heard that it's a muted racquet. I never understood what that meant as I was always able to tell when the ball doesn't strike the sweet spot like the end or bottom of the head.

I also use the Pete Sampras O dampener on everything that I've played with, more so, because I don't like the string ping. I distracts the heck out of me when it flies off the racquet and I have to finish out a point haha.
That was my first adult sized racquet. My coach at the time insisted on it, rather than a lighter, wide body type racquet which were rapidly gaining popularity at the time. Personally, I don’t find the PS85 muted. I’d describe it as “firm.”

Edit: To be clear, although these Kevlar braided pro staff racquets are generally fairly firm in terms of flex...I’m not just talking about flex when I describe it as “firm.” What I mean is that there is substantial feedback from the racquet when hitting, which to me results in a very “bright” feel...which to some, could even border upon or feel “stiff.” The result is I know immediately upon hitting a ball with a PS85 whether or not I hit a good shot. With a muted racquet, that response, or lack thereof, clouds the feel such that I don’t always know whether or not I hit a good shot.
 
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ngoster

New User
I used the Sampras dampener for years and it absolutely changed the feel of frames. I finally have weaned myself off dampeners and frames like the V7 Blade that were super muted before opened up quite nicely and feel much better. So have my old school Head frames that I bring out for a hit now and then.

No dampener can result in some pingy sounds, but I found that goes away after 5-10 minutes and I don't notice it anymore.
I've thought about weaning myself off dampeners with the thought that some racquets already have dampeners built into them. The CX 200 Tour 16x19 that I'm playing with now is a perfect example, however, I had the dampener fly off on a mishit this past weekend and it nearly drove me nuts. I know most, if not all, of it is in my head but cocaine is a hell of a drug haha.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I've thought about weaning myself off dampeners with the thought that some racquets already have dampeners built into them. The CX 200 Tour 16x19 that I'm playing with now is a perfect example, however, I had the dampener fly off on a mishit this past weekend and it nearly drove me nuts. I know most, if not all, of it is in my head but cocaine is a hell of a drug haha.
yeah i was the same way for years. Lost a dampener and needed one back on asap. I just made myself play without them for a while and now im glad i did. Opens up way more feel in the frame. Power babolats still need a dampener to me but thats about it.
 

ngoster

New User
For those of you who have kicked the dampener habit, have you noticed any ill affects on the arm or wrist?
 
For those of you who have kicked the dampener habit, have you noticed any ill affects on the arm or wrist?
None. I mean, the Bab gave me elbow pain so I got rid of it. I played with a Tour G 310 for three years or more after that before switching to a 6.1 95 L (the lighter version essentially). Even with the RA putting it in the moderately stiff bracket, I don't feel anything. The feel is quite comfortable. With the Bab, I had to absolutely find the sweet spot each and every time to avoid that ugly shock going up the elbow. No dampener could fix that. The dampener only killed the sound, didn't change how stiff the racquet played (obviously).
 

Tennissee

Rookie
I use Prokennex 5G (and any of the derivatives from it like 7G, Ki5, Type R, Q+, etc.) with a rubber band. I also use Ashaway Kevlar 18g in the mains at 40 lbs. These racquets play even better after they have been in a hot car for several weeks. That’s my setup. I don’t know if it’s muted, but it feels plush. The feel I want is the same when you “pure” the driver off the tee. You feel, nothing.
 

Folsom_Stringer_Musa

Professional
I can’t stand the PING! sound the string bed makes without a dampener. So I’ve always played with one. (I’ve tried countless times without, no go).

Regardless, I have no problem discerning a muted racquet from a crisp one.
Dampener dampens\removes that PING from the string bed.
I can't play with that sound either.

How a racket will feel will depend on multiple factors - material, beam spec, flex etc.
 

Keizer

Professional
Again, a piece of nomenclature I’ve never gotten a consistent response on. Does plush necessarily imply muted? For example, when I play with a PT280, I get the the nice ball pocketing you associate with a such a flexy frame but I can also tell where on the stringbed I am making contact. When I think muted, I think of sticks where it is difficult to get the stringbed feedback I described above.
 
Again, a piece of nomenclature I’ve never gotten a consistent response on. Does plush necessarily imply muted? For example, when I play with a PT280, I get the the nice ball pocketing you associate with a such a flexy frame but I can also tell where on the stringbed I am making contact. When I think muted, I think of sticks where it is difficult to get the stringbed feedback I described above.
It doesn't. Extremely headlight racquets might be muted. That too, modern plush racquets. My partner's racquet was a Prince Textreme Tour 95 with a lot of weight added in the handle (and this racquet is already 8 pts HL to begin with). No wonder it was extremely muted and as I said above, I couldn't tell whether I was hitting the ball well or not. I had to rely on maintaining perfect form all the time, that was the only way to ensure.

I think racquets with a classic construction do give lot better feedback without hurting the arm in the slightest. The LM Radical has a super low RA rating in the high 50s and you know exactly where in the stringbed you are making contact. The sound off the strings is also crisp and beautiful.
 

joah310

Professional
It doesn't. Extremely headlight racquets might be muted. That too, modern plush racquets. My partner's racquet was a Prince Textreme Tour 95 with a lot of weight added in the handle (and this racquet is already 8 pts HL to begin with). No wonder it was extremely muted and as I said above, I couldn't tell whether I was hitting the ball well or not. I had to rely on maintaining perfect form all the time, that was the only way to ensure.

I think racquets with a classic construction do give lot better feedback without hurting the arm in the slightest. The LM Radical has a super low RA rating in the high 50s and you know exactly where in the stringbed you are making contact. The sound off the strings is also crisp and beautiful.
I thought the lm rad was a 65
 
my bad, I thought you were talking about the mp. Yeah the OS has been in the 50s. I stand corrected as the RA of the mp is a 64 instead of a 65.
You know, it's so long back from when I played with that LM Rad that I wouldn't be able to tell you for sure if it was a MP or an OS but I THINK it was an OS.
 

joah310

Professional
You know, it's so long back from when I played with that LM Rad that I wouldn't be able to tell you for sure if it was a MP or an OS but I THINK it was an OS.
i haven't used the lm rad os, but I got a mp, its a whippy stick, and a bit light for my taste, but a great stick with great feel. I like my sticks not noodly and a little firm so the 63-67 range is perfect for me, and the lm rad is right in the middle of that area. the only rad OS I've used are the 2000 rerelease of the bumblebee and the ti rad, and those are definitely on the softer side, but I do notice that the lighter the racket, the less you notice the flex. probably just not enough plow to make it that noticeable. The OS are beasts of their own and are great sticks. Sometimes I think I prefer them to the mp just because of the often higher swingweight and the easier access to spin compared to the mps. both are absolute fabulous rackets with a pretty much complete package of comfort and feel, though I would slap a leather on all of em.
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
I use a dampener on;y when the strings make a weird noise and distracts me while I'm playing.
Exactly. Though a dampener does limit vibrations, it's mostly effective at removing that terrible pinging noise some stringbeds will have.
I grew up with gut and synthetic, perhaps because of this the long ringing noise some polys make annoys me.

Having said it, I have two Yonex's(Yoni?) with completely different stringbeds I am testing out for this tennis season. One has RPM in the mains, the other HyperG. The RPM main one is quite muted by comparison.
 

cha cha

Rookie
Exactly. Though a dampener does limit vibrations, it's mostly effective at removing that terrible pinging noise some stringbeds will have.
I grew up with gut and synthetic, perhaps because of this the long ringing noise some polys make annoys me.

Having said it, I have two Yonex's(Yoni?) with completely different stringbeds I am testing out for this tennis season. One has RPM in the mains, the other HyperG. The RPM main one is quite muted by comparison.
Hyper G is one the most terribly sounding strings I have tried, second to only the entirety of the PRO'S PRO strings.
I am curious as to how the soft version will sound. I like the feel of the Hyper G, but the sound is a deal breaker.
 
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