As many know, there have been a few folks who have come up with foam inserts for inside their hoppers to deaden the sound the balls make when loading and shifting. While these "hopper silencers" are not needed, they can be a real asset if you find yourself being heard because of your hopper balls making noise.
One kit that will soon be on the market so that folks don't have to make it themselves is from a guy on the A5OOG and 98OG named Techie. I offered to purchase one of his kits for personal use (I have an A5 with R5 Hopper) , but he decided to offer free kits for testing purposes, and I was one of the ones to get the kit.
(photo provided by Techie)
Here is a full thread on the A5OG on the silencer kits:
Here is my review!
First of all I noticed that it had a lot of pieces. This is not really an issue because when you lay them out you can figure out where they go in the hopper pretty easily. I would however recommend a layout diagram anyways. It does not have to be to scale, but it should be numbered and the pieces label (example 1-R, 1-L) and shown where to place the piece in the hopper. Again, it is not needed for the kit to be installed, it just would make the kit a bit more finished and would add minimal work to the kit and virtually no extra money (only the cost to print each diagram and the paper).
From what I understand, Techie will be providing this diagram in the future though.
Along that line I would also recommend a placement order be provided. While people can put the pieces in using any order they choose, there are clearly some easier and more logical ways. This is not a real issue and more of a nit-pick thing.
The next thing I noticed is that the pieces do not have a perfect fit. I only point this out because some customers expect perfection no matter how little they pay for an item or if that perfection actually helps the product or not. In this case, any slight imperfections DO NOT hamper the use of the product. Again, the only reason I mention it is so that if fussy customers complain for some reason later in time the issue was already mentioned and deemed (by me at least) to be a NON-ISSUE. It is cosmetic only and since you don't see inside the hopper when using it.... enough said.
The time it took to install the kit was minimal at best and that was with me taking my time.
The number of balls I could fit before the kit was right around 280. I do not go into the exact numbers since ball size, weather, and other factors will change this number for each player anyways. And after the kit I saw roughly a 30 ball decrease in capacity. This is not an issue for me at all since I use 150rd Pods and I can't get two full ones in when playing anyways. So the only time I am fully topped off is when I first enter the field to play. I then only load up one pod at a time, giving me 150 more rounds to shoot (and whatever was left in the hopper.. I don't like to go down to empty).
The cover piece will prevent the player from looking into the hopper without opening the cover, but honestly in most cases I had to open it to see how low I was after a point anyways. So for me, this too is not an issue and the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
This brings me to the actual sound deadening. When I went to put a pod worth of balls into the hopper the lid opening did make noise. But honestly I think that was slightly reduced. The balls being dumped into the hopper was minimal at best and I would put money on that the noise of the hopper being opened and closed would be the only sounds other players not directly beside you would hear. The hopper did make noticeable noise when closed after the fill. But that was to be expected as well.
I then did the shake test. This kit truly does what it is intended to do. You could barely hear the balls inside the hopper when YOU were doing the shaking.... and I did some serious shaking. So if you are moving around a paintball field or just changing positions the noise YOU made while moving would be the real concern VS balls rattling inside a plastic hopper. It removes one more worry while on the field and may give players the advantage they are looking for.
Now will this make you a Ninja on the field? Um, no. You have other gear issues (the balls in your pods still make noise when you run, not so much when walking slow, but when you move fast they do.. as well as other gear issues) that contribute, or hamper true silence on the field. But like I said, if you are looking to take care of just one more thing that can eliminate one more pesty issue, this kit will definitely do that.
My recommendation is that this kit is worth buying and using. I believe that the cost is more than worth the benefits it provides. Plus you don't have to go out and buy the materials, make your own template, and cut it all up.
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Techie Hopper Silencer Kit Kit that reduces the noise paintballs make in a hopper.
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