The position of a silencer on the string matters and that is why you are here reading this article. First of all, let me tell you why the placement matters. The silencer has to be placed on the bowstring where the vibrations are high, so it can absorb them. I have kept the physics for the last part.
The placement of these string silencers is a bit different for traditional and compound bows. The best silencer placement for a compound bow in my opinion is at 3 or 4 inches from the cam. For a recurve bow, it might be the offset placement that stands out.
A piece of advice from me will be that do not just focus on these distances. It is not fixed so, be lenient with these measurements. Your main focus should be noise reduction. So you should try different distances from the cams or limbs to see what works best. I will guide you with the starting positions.
I am mainly a compound archer and I have placed silencers on my bows with approximations. I place a silencer on the bow by approximately about 3 inches from the cam and then take shots to fine-tune the position. You can use a scale if you are not good with approximations.
1 Inch From The Cam
After releasing the string, the vibrations at the ends of the string are much more than from the middle. Placing a string silencer near the cam about 1 inch from it works very well but, due to the excessive vibrations, the silencer can wear out more quickly.
To 4 Inches From The Cam (Best)
This has been the best placement for me so far. The silencers are placed at a good spot to absorb massive vibrations and disrupt the harmonic wave. Take a measuring tape and mark a point about 3 or 4 inches from the side of the cam facing the string (bottom of the cam). Install the silencer at this point.
For some bows with short risers unlike mine, Mathews phase 4, placing the silencers just below the lower limb pocket and just above the upper limb pocket is also a very popular option. This position is considered best by most of my buddy archers. If you have a bow like me then just go with the 2nd option.
Let’s discuss the placements for traditional bows like the recurve and longbow. Unlike the compound bows where we just position at some inches off the cam, traditional bows have some sort of a formula and measurements are somewhat important.
⅓ or ¼ Point
These are the most popular starting positions for setting string silencers. The majority of archers just tie their string silencers at a point ⅓ or ¼ length of the string. Here is how you will do this for 1/4th point.
- Measure the string’s total length from the contact points of limbs with the string.
- Multiply this length by ¼ and you get your desired position length.
- Take a measuring tape and mark a point at the obtained position distance from the contact point of the bowstring and limb.
- Install the silencer at this point.
To save you some time I have seen many archers preferring the 1/4th point so you should try that first. Keep in mind that this is not the optimal position because your bow might have some other highest frequency point due to the accessories’ weight on the string. So you might have to try them a bit above or below from these positions.
Offset placement means that silencers can be placed at different distances at the top and bottom of the bowstring. The most popular offset placement is a silencer placed at ⅓ of the string from the bottom and another at ¼ of the string from the top. The measurement has the same procedure as instructed above. Make sure to start measuring from the contact point of the string and limb.
This is another position for silencers, though very uncommon. For this measure the distance between the nock point and the point of contact of the limb and string. Place a point at the center of this distance and install the silencer in the middle. This will disrupt the second harmonic. Don’t worry if you can’t understand what is harmonic, I will explain the work in the last section. If the silencer is close to the center of the string, it can affect the speed of the bow more.
For cables, the common practice is to install the silencer just above and below the serving on one of the cables that is not next to the bowstring. Do this on top and bottom and both the cables will have silencers. If you have a bow with yokes then the best placement is at the yoke’s joint. By placing silencers on cables, you can effectively quieten your bow.
Let’s get into some physics and see why these points like ⅓ and ¼ work or a few inches from the cams work. When a bowstring vibrates, it produces multiple harmonics or waveforms of different frequencies. These harmonics add up and contribute to the overall noise generated by the bow.
String silencers are strategically placed on the string to interfere with these harmonic patterns. They absorb some vibration. By doing so, they create additional vibrations and motions that are out of phase with the original harmonics.
When these additional vibrations interact with the natural harmonics of the bowstring, they effectively cancel out some of the noise.
The 3rd and 5th harmonic are known as dominant harmonic frequencies so our goal is to disrupt these frequencies by interrupting them with silencers.
Now things will start clicking for you, look at the diagram above. You can see that the ⅓ and ¼ points of the string effectively cut through a huge part of the 5th and 3rd harmonic pattern respectively hence disturbing the vibration.
Now I want you to think that wouldn’t it be more effective if we use the offset placement? By placing one silencer at ⅓ and the other at ¼ we can disturb the vibration of both the 3rd and 5th harmonics.
Even though ⅓ and ¼ are not the best positions. To be more effective we can take ⅙, ⅚, 1/10, and 9/10 positions but the harmonics can alter in their position because of the weight added by accessories on the string. Therefore, ⅓ and ¼ are good approximations.
I kept this heading down below so you can easily answer this question yourself. Look at the diagram above and see where more silencers should be. You can place two silencers at ⅙ and the other at ⅚ then a third at 1/10 and the fourth at 9/10. I hope you got the point.
You can also do the same with compound bows, measure the part of the string that can vibrate, and get an approximation. For me, two silencers do the job so I am not a big fan of 4 silencer system.
Now that you have a good understanding of the positioning of string silencers, move on and install them on your bow. Every silencer has its own method of installation. I have written an article in which I have compiled the installation of different string silencers on compound bows. I can list some guidelines for you here.
1. Gather Your Materials
- String silencer(s)
- Serving thread (if needed)
2. Identify the Placement
Determine where you want to install the string silencer. You have learned the common starting placement points, pick one of them.
3. Prepare the Silencer
If your string silencer is not pre-made, you may need to prepare it by tying a knot or ensuring it’s in the desired shape.
4. Position the Silencer
Place the string silencer on the bowstring at the chosen location. Ensure that it is centered and evenly positioned. For multiple silencers, repeat this step for each one.
5. Secure the Silencer
Depending on the design of the string silencer, you may need to tie it onto the bowstring using serving thread. Make sure it’s snug and won’t move during the shot. If the silencer has integrated clips or bands, simply position them correctly on the string.
6. Test Your Bow
After installing the string silencer, it’s important to shoot your bow and assess the noise reduction. This will help you determine if further adjustments or additional silencers are needed.
7. Fine-Tune Silencer Placement
If you find that the noise reduction is not satisfactory, you may need to fine-tune the placement of the silencer. Experiment with different positions until you achieve the desired noise reduction and shot comfort.
I tried my level best to help you understand the importance of string silencer placement. I hope you will now easily find your optimum silencer spot and get the best out of your silencer. By strategically disrupting the harmonics of the bowstring, you can effectively dampen unwanted noise, enhancing the overall shooting experience.