After a return to pool after 25 yr layoff, I’ve been investigating exactly this issue for a while now.
i agree with most of what Hu wrote above, but not all. I grew up on Joss SP cues and developed a superstition about Dan Jane’s piloted 5/16-14 joints, phenolic collars with linen fiber shaft inserts - for me those and very basic wood-to-wood pure sneakies -were always a distinctly intimate, snugger fit that provided a stiff hit yet plenty of touch. Never found any cue with a metal collar, brass inserts, or any metal-to-metal joint architecture to be anywhere close - all always felt “tingy & zingy” to me... (and ugly to my eye).
Then I tried a Tascarella with their classic “compression fit” version of the piloted 5/16-14 & ivory collar. Wow. Similar to my Joss cues, but way better. Major upgrade (and non trivial bump in $$
Then I got my hands on a used Eddie Cohen with 3/8-10 modified joint with wood-wood flat-face & Juma collar. Wow & wow again. Very similar hit/feel to the Tascarella but slightly better & less proprietary (3/8-10/modified butts/shafts can go on many more vendor combinations)
Since old dogs CAN learn new tricks, I’ve gone totally new school & now prefer a custom CF shaft - in 3/8-10 modified. In general my original & 3rd party after market shafts in 3/8-10 modified - thread on to my EC & Dzuricky butts in an orgasmically satisfying super snug fit - there is zero play even when the shaft is first connected by a only few turns.
I should note these cue butts & shafts are all very close in weight, dimensions, balance and same brand tip.
I find other big pins play very nice also; I’ve tried std 3/8-10 (not modified flat pin) & radial. I’m curious about other big pins such as 3/8-8 & 3/8-11 etc, but I’ve found my personal nirvana and ended the explorations...
Obviously all very subjective, but I’m definitely a big pin convert, and an intimate, piloted joint, with no metal to metal - is absolutely a super critical element of a cue’s hit/feel. There are different ways to get there, but in my view flat face 3/8-10 modified pin architecture - is the best approach & seems to be the most “inter operable” among makers.
I’m an over analytical engineer and could go into some convoluted rationale on WHY I think the above is true, but in summary its all about resonant harmonics as energy waves transmit through the media. However, all that horse shit on “feel of the hit” is POST cue ball contact, so its all really just a benefit in the psychological realm, if we’re all totally honest about it. But pool is a hugely mental game, and it seems most serious players are pretty nutty, so who can really say
I wish I had this info when I first started playing again last year... hope this little diatribe is useful to someone...
Ironically I love to try to take the bar down playing off the rack, and believe real pool players can play with any old house cue, but hey we all have our secret fetishes & preferences...