A medium to light condition go-to ball with a proven core from Hammer.
Won’t spend much time on drilling as this will vary and coverstock accounts 75% of the reaction. As usual, I suggest to work with your local pro to find what best works for you.
A lot of people really like the blue and black swirl color, the name is apropos. It is a very attractive piece on the rack or return. First impression was that this ball gets very easy length and has the very recognizable backend move of the Vibe core. The ball seemed very clean all the way to the breakpoint, almost too clean out of box. After a couple of games, the touchiness settled down. I could tell right away that this can be a go-to ball when the lanes have a couple of games on them.
This is an affordable ball. The Vibe series is no longer the entry level ball in Hammer’s lineup, with the Backlashes filling that spot. This is still a very inexpensive piece of performance equipment. The Vibe lineup has always been very versatile and this ball continues the trend.
The specs are an RG of 2.51 and diff of .042. This is a Symmetrical core. It is a relatively early revving core and a medium differential. This is a hard working core. It is a relatively flippy core which can be tamed by the cover and the drilling. It is an hour-glass shape, but the overall cylindrical shape of the core creates a very recognizable ball motion across all Vibes. It likes to flip hard and gets into a roll pretty quickly. This core sets up nicely to the pocket.
The Midnight Vibe has a “weaker” cover, allowing it to be very clean through the heads. It will provide pretty easy length. It is likely usable on varying conditions from medium to light volumes. Ultimately, it’s best reaction will appear when the pattern is a little broken in. Once a couple of games are on a pair, this ball will work well. If you have lots of traffic, it may only take a game or so for this ball to come out. When it comes out, it can be used for quite some time. Like most covers these days, you can play with the surface to get the desired reaction. I think this cover works very well once it has some games on it. In other words, with a little less polish than it comes out of box, it is less sensitive to over/under.
I am falling in love with the Vibe series. I think this is one of the best and most complete series of balls for a typical house shot ever made. I didn’t have Vibes very early when the series began, but I’ve thrown the Emerald and Cherry, in addition to this Midnight. The covers are complimentary and the overall shape of the reaction is very recognizable.
Much of this reaction is due to the core characteristics. Looking at the shape of the core, you would think there is a significant risk of it rolling out. Think about it. Envision a cylinder tumbling end over end. Once it reaches it preferred spin axis which will likely be the on it’s side, there is no more side to side dynamics. That will make it go into a roll. These cylindrical shapes can also transition from skid to hook to roll very quickly. In other words, the hook phase is pretty short. That may appear as a skid flip but that can be controlled by the cover and the drilling, as mentioned before. I just find the downlane motion one of the most predictable shapes and reactions I’ve seen from any ball/core.
What I also found is that set or roll really helps this ball carry well. It is rarely hooking while hitting the pins which is a good thing. You want the ball to be rolling at the pins for the proper deflection and carry.
I found this ball a little sensitive to the fresh shot in the out of box condition. If you take the surface down a little, it is much less sensitive. Right now, with the out of box surface, i.e., as the factory intended it, I think the best use is after some traffic has broken a pattern in a little. That will allow less sensitivity and a good amount of forgiveness.
This ball is a very good addition to the Hammer lineup. It compliments their other equipment for medium to drier lane conditions. It has a 10 hook rating on their scale. Although the Onyx Vibe has a 9 rating, I think the Midnight is a slightly weaker ball which has a longer and sharper hook shape than the smoother Onyx. I don’t believe the Onyx is as weak as they indicate. They’ve combined a cover that provides easy length with a very predictable core and it works very well. On drier conditions, this ball can hook a ton, while on medium conditions, it will cover less boards, but still have fantastic carry. The biggest strength is it’s core, no question. This core is a house shot monster. There is so much talk about balls being continuous through the pocket. Sometimes, this is construed as the ball still hooking in the pocket. This is not what you want! The ball needs to be rolling end over end when it hits the pocket. This allows the proper deflection for ideal carry. This core seems perfectly designed to ensure just that. This will be (or is already) one of the most popular cores of all time.
If you are looking for a medium to dry condition ball or have ever thrown a Vibe, this is a great ball. If you’ve never thrown a Vibe, here is one of your last chances to do so.
This is a very good second ball, when your fresh shot ball has lost its reaction or is simply too much ball.