I recently purchased a new bow and I have to say it was both a humbling and very informative experience. I went in with the expectation of getting the quietest, fastest shooting bow (over 300 FPS), that felt dead in the hand and would essentially be the answer to all my problems. After trying out several bows I settled on the Z7. Admittedly, I fell to the Mathews spell and marketing hype and had high expectations.
I say it was a humbling experience because after getting the bow and shooting it for a a few weeks I was disappointed...not so much in the bow, but myself for not fully understanding what I was getting myself into in the first place. A little more perspective on my setup is probably warranted to gain a full appreciation for what I'm saying. For starters most bows (I think Hoyt is the exception they use ATA stanadards) utilize IBO standards when measuring the speed of a bow...a 30" DL, 70# DW, arrows that are 5 grains per inch for every pound of DW. I'm a 27" DL, so something I was not aware of as new bow purchaser that was not matter what bow I buy or what arrows and DW I use, I'm never going to achieve a speed at or over 300 FPS, at least not one that will tune accurately and be as forgiving. Speaking of forgiving, Shorter ATA (Axle to Axle) and Parallel or below Parallel limb bows , as well as bows with shorter BH (brace heights) are not very forgiving...their compactness and lightness (as was the case with the Z7) make them very unforgiving..meaning every little imperfection in your form is going to translate to accuracy and tuning issues down range. Case in point I've spent the last 3 months trying to get my Z7 to papertune...and finally after 3 dealers and several hundred dollars more later I've finally got it to paper tune correctly and am shooting bullet holes. But getting there took a lot of patience, time, and $$$ not to mention the help of a very knowledgeable Dealer who took the time to explain these things..and if the dealer you purchased your bow from did not set it up correctly to begin with your already behind the eight ball. Lastly the shafts you select and shoot for your setup are critical. Today's high energy cams deliver a lot of energy, and unfortunately most arrow selection charts from the leading manufacturers do not reflect this. Case in point, I started off w/ Beman ICS hunter 400 shafts..this is what according to my DW (70#) and DL (27") is recommended. I get them fletched with 2" blazers and 100 gr FP's and I got to papertune and from day one I'm nock left tears consistently. My dealer told me it was me torquing the bow (again goes back to the forgiveness of shorter ATA bows). I work on my form, get coaching and still nock left tears. It was not until i researched the Mathews forums and talked to a few other dealers that I discovered I was either over or underspined. In my case I was actually over spined (too stiff) and that was causing the nock to kick left...once I experimented with different length and spined shafts I finally found the right setup that got me to papertune bullet holes AND maximized the efficiency and speed of my bow.
The end result of my experience was a better appreciation for the mechanics behind a bows efficiency and inner workings...something I'd wished I had a better appreciation for before I went on my new bow purchasing spree. At least that would have leveled the playing field because I would not have been fixated on speed, knowing fully well no matter what bow I looked at (Maxis, Destroyer, Omen, Z7, etc) none of these bows that had anywhere form 330-360 FPS, would allow me to realize over 300 FPS due to my DL limitation. Then I could have focused on other essential elements such as fit, smoothness, draw cycle, and quietness...all of which translate to better form and accuracy downrange. In the end I think i still made the right choice. The Z7 while not as forgiving as I would have liked, is comfortable to shoot, has an extremely smooth draw cycle, and is ultra quiet. But she is finicky when it comes to grip....you'll have to shoot one to appreciate what I'm saying.
One last parting thought, I've talked a lot about paper tuning and now a days a lot of people don't put as much emphasis on it as they used to, preferring instead to walk back tune (which should be done as well). The thought is why should i care how the arrows fly out of the bow so long as I'm accurate and hitting my mark downrange? However, there is no better way to understand the dynamics of your bow setup and optimize its efficiency without doing so. Sure, your arrow will correct itself after the first 10 yards, that's what fletchings are designed to do...but in the process think of this...how much speed and KE (kinetic energy) are you losing down range, not to mention the consistency of your groups? I've known folks who have shot great groups with great accuracy all their life only to realize they were getting fletching contact with their rests or risers and were none the wiser until the paper tuned.