How Loud is your Paddle?

I know, and all of you know, that some pickleball paddles seem to be louder than others. I decided to test a few of my paddles to see which was the loudest and which is the quietest. The results were pretty amazing.

So, I have to start with a definition of sound. The three components of sound are intensity, pitch, and tone.

Sound is a wave and waves have amplitude, or height. Amplitude is a measure of energy. The more energy a wave has, the higher its amplitude. As amplitude increases, intensity also increases. Intensity is the amount of energy a sound has over an area. This can be measured in decibels and is generally referred to as loudness.

Pitch depends on the frequency of a sound wave. Frequency is the number of wavelengths that fit into one unit of time. High sounds have high frequencies and low sounds have low frequencies. Thunder has a frequency of only 50 hertz, while a whistle can have a frequency of 1,000 hertz. So, thunder can be loud, but have low pitch.

Tone is the quality of a sound. A violin and flute sound different at the same pitch because their because they have a different tone. To say more would hurt my brain. Let me just say that tone has no impact (in my opinion) on the loudness of a pickleball paddle.

I started my experiment using two decibel measuring tools. The results are shown in the picture below.

All of the paddles had a decibel level of between 40 and 50. From the above, it would seem that the Prodrive was the quietest. In reality, it had the same decibel level as the others, but its pitch was lower (the wave was shorter).

Note also that I applied dampeners to the Master Athletics P2 paddle (I will blog about that paddle later after a lot of study) and the dampeners lowered the pitch. The sound wave was shorter, so therefore, was the pitch.

I also blew up the waves and saw that every paddle created a wave in the shape of a sine wave.

The waves were compressed, so the amplitude was reduced over time. My guess is that the paddle faces vibrate, thus creating the sine wave.

So, what does this prove: a paddle is as basically as loud as you think it to be. They all had pretty much the same decibel level, but varying degrees of pitch and tone.

I have to take some aspirin now.