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The DYE Matrix is an electropneumatic paintball marker manufactured by DYE Precision. The first DYE Matrix, the Matrix LCD, was based on the E Matrix, the rights to which DYE purchased in 2003. Subsequent models featured completely different bodies and milling, though internally, they function essentially the same. The DYE Matrix line is often abbreviated “DMx,” with x being a number corresponding to that year’s model (e.g. the 2007 model is abbreviated DM7, the 2006 model is the DM6, etc.). To date, there have been eleven versions of the DYE Matrix, starting with the Matrix LCD, and the newest version released in 2014, the DM14.
While annual release paintball markers were commonplace for most of the 2000s, the Dye Matrix line is the only paintball gun that continues to release annual revisions. Its biggest competitor, the Planet Eclipse Ego, ended annual releases with the 2011 model.
All Matrixes dating back to the E Matrix have been designed around a balanced spool valve design. Rather than utilize a hammer that strikes a poppet valve, the bolt functions simultaneously as the valve, alternately opening and closing based on air flow from the solenoid. The solenoid is controlled through electronics, activated by a trigger microswitch.
For the past 3 years, DYE has released a new model every year at the Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP) World Cup.
DYE produces several less-expensive variations of the Matrix under the Proto Paintball brand. Although the quality of the Dye Matrix markers are still present. The main difference between the Proto variation and the Dye is that the Dye has a longer bolt, which makes it operate at lower pressure and therefore less kick, a slightly varied low-pressure regulator, as well as cosmetic milling differences.
Proto Matrix (PM)
The Proto Matrix line began with the 2005 model (the PM5). It uses the same balanced spool-valve design and the same FUSE style bolt system. Though when compared with the higher-end DM model, the PM lacks an Ultralite (UL) frame and Dye Ultralite barrel. When the PM5 was first released, it came with a standard Proto frame and a one-piece Proto barrel. However, with the release of the PM6, a Proto two-piece barrel was introduced and is now standard with PMs, though the same style of Proto frame remained until the 2008 Proto Matrix. The PM8 the latest Matrix released under the Proto label, now comes standard with the Dye Ultralite frame installed, as opposed to being a separate drop-in upgrade.
Proto Matrix Rail (PMR)
Unlike the DM and PM, the PMR operates using an "unbalanced" spool-valve design, however, the PMR is a Matrix. This design cuts down on the cost of the marker, but also results in lower gas efficiency. This marker was made as a low cost mid-level matrix, similar to Planet Eclipse's Etek Ego. This marker was made to compete with Planet Eclipse's Etek Ego as well. The PMR does not have a low-pressure regulator (LPR) but instead has a new technology called "Boost Forward Technology" incorporated into the FUSE bolt system (not exactly the same design as the other FUSE bolt systems, due to the "B.F.T."). Other cost-saving features as compared to its siblings include a composite (rather than aluminum) trigger and trigger frame, composite plastic feedneck, plastic back cap, one-piece (rather than two-piece) barrel. Although the Proto Matrix Rail SE comes with an aluminum back cap, aluminum eyplates, aluminum EDGE trigger, aluminum EDGE trigger guard, aluminum clamping feedneck and an aluminum two-piece barrel. The Proto Matrix Rail does have the same rate of fire as the Proto Matrix PM7 at up to 30 balls per second and comes with Semi-auto, PSP three-shot, Millennium mode, and NXL full-auto (hidden mode). The PMR only weighs about 2 lbs.
For the 2009 season, Proto released a new, revamped PMR (often referred to as the PMR 09) which includes all metal construction (including eye covers and back cap), a Dye Ultralite frame and a two-piece Proto barrel.
In 2010, Proto made small changes to the PMR by new milling and a new solenoid allowing the marker to run at 145 psi rather than 150.
For 2011, Proto ended the Proto Matrix Rail series and made the Reflex Rail and the Rail to take over. The Reflex Rail is the higher quality of the two and functions similar to the other PMRs, but had a minor overhauling changing the milling, adding a rubber "contact" pad in front of the gun, simplifying the bolt system, adding a lever locking feedneck, and replacing the eye covers with an eye pipe. The Rail is the cheaper of the two and is similar to a Smart Parts Ion in terms of operation, but has an almost identical bolt to the Reflex Rail. The Rail also has an eye pipe, but does not have a lever locking feedneck, on off airport, and has a composite ultralite frame as opposed to the aluminum ultralite frame on the Reflex.
Proto Super Light Gun (SLG)
Unlike the line of Dye and Proto matrix, the SLG is not a Matrix although it does share some characteristics and says Matrix on the top of the box. It is a sear tripper that uses the "unbalanced" spool-valve design and has a mechanical solenoid unlike pneumatic solenoids used in electropneumatic markers. The SLG's bolt is not a FUSE bolt system either. The bolt is held back by a sear which is tripped by the solenoid when the user pulls the trigger. After firing, when the air in the dump chamber has fired the ball, a small forward face on the bolt which is constantly pressurized with air (at operating pressure from the regulator) provides the rearward force to reset the bolt. This is in contrast to unbalanced electropneumatic spools where this face is drained of pressure by the solenoid to fire. This face has less surface area than rearward faces in contact with dump chamber air, creating an imbalance of force which pushes the bolt closed.
The SLG was made to compete with the Ion/Vibe/Epiphany/EOS markers which is a common misconception that the PMR has. The first SLG had an MSRP of around $150, and the 09 SLG has an MSRP of $200. The SLG does not have an ultralite frame but it comes with the ultralite trigger, the only way to get it is by getting the SLG UL which has an MSRP of $300, although the 09 SLG does, along with a Hyper 3 regulator. The standard SLG comes with a hyper3 regulator and composite grip frame, eye covers, and backcap. The stock barrel is 11" and single piece. The stock board is able to 30(08 SLG) and 33(09 SLG) balls per second and comes with Semi-auto, PSP 3-shot, Millennium mode, and NXL full-auto. It weighs 2.2 lbs. Dye discontinued the SLG for 2010 letting the standard rail take its spot.