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f2f4 Sunday, April 24th, 2005
Period of
Product Use:
1 year192 of 196 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
More than 5 years
Similar
Products Used:
Shocker, older Matrixes, newer Matrixes, Quests, and just about every other spool-valve out there.
Marker Setup: If you REALLY wanna see my setups... and some cheesy vids, go to:
http://www.freewebs.com/f2f4
Recommended
Upgrades:
- ASA (none included)
- A very nice barrel kit, later on
- New feedneck (CCM No-Pro reccomended)
- New trigger, if you'd like
Strengths: - Speed, lack of kick, included ABS on stock board, looks... hell, just read the review
Weaknesses: - Be carefull with the stock wiring when taking apart. It's known to be fragile.
Review: Since this review, I have sold the Proto. NOT because I have had any issues with it, in fact just the opposite. The truth is that I am a 'gun whore, and must move up the ladder even more. I will still continue to update this review as I think of anything else that would be helpful, as well as answer anyone's questions.

So, after playing for a couple years, I decided to save up my pennies and get something nice. I wanted something with good performance, good looks, reliability, and a price that wouldn't kill my bank account. So after reading tons of articles, surfing forums, oogling at pro-shops, and even shooting many at several of my local fields, I decided on the Proto Matrix. I called Rob, forked over my hard-earned money, and proceeded to camp out by the mailbox…

Let's just say it was a good decision.

First impressions –
This thing is insane; I hardly know where to start. It looks amazing – really, the pictures don’t do it any justice – but the first thing one notices when ripping on this (or any Matrix, for that matter) is the kick, or complete lack thereof. I can empty hopper after hopper, with the tip of my barrel showing no signs of rising. And the speed… don’t get me started on that. I am confident that this thing will keep up with the fastest fingers in the world, as every high-end will. Setup itself was easy enough; I just pulled it out of the box, slapped on my ASA and hopper of choice (you had better use a force-fed!), gassed it up, and headed out for the chrono. Out of box, without the reg even being broken in, I was chronoing in at 279 FPS, +/- 4. The noise level was very low, as most spool-valves are. More of a “Pfffffffffffft” than a “Pak”. No trace of shoot-down or FSDO either, thanks to the integrated ABS system. As of now, after shooting many many cases through this beast, I get +/- 2… that’s just freaking insane. The LPR, out of the box, is set a little high (5 turns out, give or take ½ a turn). This explains why some people complain of a kick slightly more than that of the older ‘Trixes out there. The “problem” can be remedied easily enough, all one has to do is turn the LPR down a tad to 4 turns out. You’ll still cycle just as fast, but without any trace of extra annoying cyclic inertia. In addition, some Protos were shipped with a dwell of 14 ms from the factory, as opposed to the recommended 18 ms. So be sure to check for that, too.

Feel –
The Sticky grips that are now included with the Proto are just like all other Stickies… damn comfy. They almost “mold” to your hand, and make it close to impossible to set down the thing. If you're using gloves, they work very well with them too. The reg is right up against the trigger frame, ala the Shocker. I don’t mind this, but some people with larger hands might find it hard to get a grip on the front reg. If it were up to me the reg would be another couple centimeters further foward... but it works. And as for the trigger, it’s the exact same one as on the DM4, so it’s very easy to rip on. Personally, I replaced it, but that’s just because I’m picky.

Maintenance –
After a day’s play I lube up the spool. Everything is integrated, so all I have to do is unscrew the rear bolt guide 2 turns, and pull out the entire assembly. From there, it unscrews into four separate sections. After that, I simply wipe off the old lube and apply a decent amount of fresh lube to all the O-rings using the included Slick Lube. (Just don't put way to much lube in... the ABS system helps prevent FSDO, but it's still possible to sludge up the bolt if you lay it on too thick.) To this day, I have not had to replace a single O-ring; although Dye kindly includes a rebuild kit should you ever need to. Other than lubing the spool/bolt assembly every couple cases, the only thing one needs to do is replace their battery when the board says it’s running low, and rebuild and re-lube the LPR and HPR every 3-6 months, depending on how much paint you run through it (I use a LOT. ^_^). Oh yeah, every 20,000 shots or so, be sure to check on the condition of the dual detents, just to make sure they’re working properly and are in good shape.

JUST BE SURE TO READ THE MANUAL!
I see too many idiots using high-ends, yet know nothing about them. When something breaks, they blame the marker… know your ‘gun and maintain it well, and you will be a very happy 'baller. This applies to all markers.

Performance – Hehe, my favorite part of the review!
Well, I think I have already gotten the point across, but this thing has very little kick when tuned. Add to that the incredible speed (with the DB set at 1 ms, just for kicks of course since it will get quite a bit of electrical bounce once you get going; the hopper will empty in about… 7 seconds, I think it was) and the lack of noise, and you’ve got yourself a true high-end. If you are willing to look around, there are a plethora of videos out there that show just how nice this thing performs. Oh yeah, while I’m at it… I have not chopped a single ball since I’ve first used it. I used everything from old Revvies, to my Halo (and everything in between), and the eye logic proved flawless every time. Got the occasional barrel break, but that was towards the end of the bore anyways, and I'm willing to blame that on my bad habit of buying the cheapest paint possible at any given time, haha.

Downsides –
That’s right, there are a few small ones. First off, while the efficiency is about 100 shots more than the DM4’s (due to the smaller dump chamber, and re-worked bolt), it still isn’t that great. Now I’m not saying it’s nearly as bad as a stock non-HE Shocker, but it’s definitely not any Viking either. I’ve found that off a cool 68/4.5k fill, I can get ~1,200 shots, which good enough for my purposes. One other small gripe I have is how crappy the stock feedneck is; it just looks out of place and is completely horrid. Replacement of the feedneck is easy enough, so no biggie. The last thing I don’t like is you cannot simply drop in another chip to reprogram the board, you must either send it in to have it re-flashed or buy a new board oughtright. Not too big of a hassle, but one nonetheless.

Upgrades –
While for the most part, this marker does not need any kind of upgrading, there are a few one should consider right after getting their Proto:

- ASA (since one isn’t included); I’d recommend getting some kind of Unimount. Personally, I use the Hybrid push-button on/off, since it’s the smallest, most convenient, and very good looking. Nevertheless, practically anything out there will fit on the Proto.

- Feedneck; get a CCM Proto No-Pro. End of story. About half the height of the stock one, looks very good with the Proto, and has a very strong clamping system. If you’d like, there are plenty of other good ones out there… but for what I do, there is no other real choice.

- Trigger; while the stock (DM4) one is nice, I just didn’t like it that much. I replaced it with a CP roller trigger, which has integrated roller bearings (read: no side play!). It is raked forward slightly, which combined with the Proto’s larger trigger guard… makes for walking bliss. Very snappy feel to it, which some like, and others do not.

- Barrel Kit; the stock Proto barrel is okay… but just that, “okay.” Sometime after buying a Proto, you would do well to get a very nice barrel, such as an Ultralite or an Empire kit. I won’t go too in-depth, as the choices are practically endless. But a new barrel would really take advantage of the Proto’s little kick, allowing you to rip some of the straightest ropes you’ve ever seen.


Over time, this marker has become one of the best deals out there. You can find them going for as little as $500, and that's a VERY good deal on an upper-midrange marker such as this.
Conclusion: Frankly, one of the best deals around. For those looking to make their foray into the upper-range paintball market, this is a very nice choice.
Any questions, feel free to post in the comments section. I will answer!
Get one.
Rating:
8 out of 10Last edited on Sunday, April 30th, 2006 at 7:34 pm PST
 

Review Comments
                            
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blank98 Sunday, April 24th, 2005 | 5:05 pm PST
Awesome review, im thinking of getting a new gun and this might be the one.
   

SpyderOWNAGE Sunday, April 24th, 2005 | 5:08 pm PST
<3 eff
   

fusion_05 Sunday, April 24th, 2005 | 6:01 pm PST
Great, Through review.
   

Everlight389 Sunday, April 24th, 2005 | 6:14 pm PST
Nice Chris, great review
   

wordf0o Sunday, April 24th, 2005 | 7:34 pm PST
quote:
Originally posted by SpyderOWNAGE
<3 eff

QTF...Great Review
   

bunkerking420 Monday, May 2nd, 2005 | 5:11 pm PST
Excellent review! I am in the process of selling my E2'd Orracle and my Omen to buy one of these beasts. I've been going between the Shocker, Proto Trix, Freestyle, and Nerve as a new toy. Your review has more or less convinced me that I should buy one.

I do have a quick question: How does the Proto Matrix differ from the DM4 and the DM5? Thanks.
   

f2f4 Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005 | 12:19 pm PST
Well, there are a few key differences. The first one, mainly, is both the weight and size. The Proto is the lightest of them all (even lighter than the DMC!), and is shorter. Both the height and width are the same as on a DM5, although the pics do give them the illusion of being "fat". That's just because they're so much shorter, 'tis all. Between the Proto and the Shocker, the length is the same between the two, but the Shocker is about 1 CM less tall.

As for the performance differences, the Proto wins. Since the bolt/stem is smaller, it actually cycles a little faster. This means a slight increase in ROF, assuming you could walk fast enough to tell the difference. And also, since the dump chamber is smaller (along with the slightly redesigned inside fo the bolt), you will get an extra 100-200 shots off a fill than the DM4. As a rough figure, I get ~1,300 (on colder days, only about 1,200) shots off a cool 68/4.5k fill, which is more than enough for me. As for "smoothness" and feel, all the 'Trixes are about equal. Some people believe that the Proto/DM5 give off "slightly more kick" then the DM4, but this is only an illusion since both are lighter, and the only "kick" to be found is the sheer kinetic energy of paintballs leaving the barrel at an insane rate. Obviously, nothing can be done about that... but yeah, during play, you wouldn't notice the difference.

Now there are a few negative things, one being that the Proto must be sent in to have the software updated/re-flashed. But really... the stock software KICKS ARSE, no questions asked. The only reason I'm sending my board to have Virtue put on it is because we will be doing some PSP... however, if you buy from AdvantagePB.com it will come to your doorstep with Virtue software already on it. The one other "bad" thing is that the Proto does not come stock with all the nice upgrades, such as an ASA and clamping feedneck... but honestly, I would replace these parts anyway, regardless. So it just means more money saved for me.

As for quality and customer service, both are THE BEST out there. Neither are built "cheaply", and both completely mow muppets down.

Your choice, and hope I helped. I'm sure there may be a couple things I forgot, so if you have anything to add, post here!
Last edited on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005 at 12:24 pm PST
   

bunkerking420 Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005 | 4:58 pm PST
quote:
Originally posted by f2f4
Well, there are a few key differences. The first one, mainly, is both the weight and size. The Proto is the lightest of them all (even lighter than the DMC!), and is shorter. Both the height and width are the same as on a DM5, although the pics do give them the illusion of being "fat". That's just because they're so much shorter, 'tis all. Between the Proto and the Shocker, the length is the same between the two, but the Shocker is about 1 CM less tall.

As for the performance differences, the Proto wins. Since the bolt/stem is smaller, it actually cycles a little faster. This means a slight increase in ROF, assuming you could walk fast enough to tell the difference. And also, since the dump chamber is smaller (along with the slightly redesigned inside fo the bolt), you will get an extra 100-200 shots off a fill than the DM4. As a rough figure, I get ~1,300 (on colder days, only about 1,200) shots off a cool 68/4.5k fill, which is more than enough for me. As for "smoothness" and feel, all the 'Trixes are about equal. Some people believe that the Proto/DM5 give off "slightly more kick" then the DM4, but this is only an illusion since both are lighter, and the only "kick" to be found is the sheer kinetic energy of paintballs leaving the barrel at an insane rate. Obviously, nothing can be done about that... but yeah, during play, you wouldn't notice the difference.

Now there are a few negative things, one being that the Proto must be sent in to have the software updated/re-flashed. But really... the stock software KICKS ARSE, no questions asked. The only reason I'm sending my board to have Virtue put on it is because we will be doing some PSP... however, if you buy from AdvantagePB.com it will come to your doorstep with Virtue software already on it. The one other "bad" thing is that the Proto does not come stock with all the nice upgrades, such as an ASA and clamping feedneck... but honestly, I would replace these parts anyway, regardless. So it just means more money saved for me.

As for quality and customer service, both are THE BEST out there. Neither are built "cheaply", and both completely mow muppets down.

Your choice, and hope I helped. I'm sure there may be a couple things I forgot, so if you have anything to add, post here!


Thank you so muck f2f4 for taking the time to write this whole thing out for me! I think you're the only honest person who would actually tell me these things. Now I am absolutely convinced that I NEED a Proto 'Trix ASAP! All I need to do is sell my Omen and Orracle and I'll be mowing muppets off the field with one of these bad boys. Once again a huge thank you for giving me all of the info you did!

GOOD LUCK AT PSP!!!

-Kenny
   

drexelshafter Wednesday, May 4th, 2005 | 9:38 am PST
Eff, will you have my babies?

Please respond soon, as I am dying to procreate with you.
   

f2f4 Wednesday, May 4th, 2005 | 11:56 am PST
Sure. Assuming you're female. :wink2:

Kenny - Nice to know you found the info useful. All I can say is that you won't regret getting a Matrix! :tup:

Edit: Arrgh, the smileys don't work here. Oh well, lol.

Anything else, feel free to ask. I don't bite too badly.
   

BKO-9407 Saturday, May 7th, 2005 | 6:40 pm PST
A Blue Proto or A Black to Blue Fade?
   

f2f4 Sunday, May 8th, 2005 | 8:10 am PST
Black-to-blue is what I'd get. One of the better looking colors for the Proto.
   

bunkerking420 Monday, May 9th, 2005 | 4:32 pm PST
Hey f2f4,

Its me again. So, you like the black to blue fade? What do you think of the Olive Drab or the black to red fade? I do have another question, how many shots could I get off of a Crossfire 70/4500 tank on the Proto Matrix? Thank you for your time and I hope you can help me out!
Last edited on Monday, May 9th, 2005 at 4:37 pm PST
   

f2f4 Monday, May 9th, 2005 | 6:51 pm PST
Olive drab, and ninja (all-black) have got to be the two hottest colors for a Proto out there. If you're looking into a fade, then yes, I would agree that the black-red one is much more secks then the blue-black. Makes it stand out more! But I I had to choose between Olive and black-red, I'd get the olive. You'd have one of the few olive Protos ever made.

As for your tank question, you'd probably get around 1,300 shots off on that size tank. With the new Hybrid bolt guide and top-hat insert coming out soon, I wouldn't be surprised if that number increased to 1,500! Either way, you'll have plenty of shots.

And no problem. If you have ANY other questions, feel free to ask.
   

bunkerking420 Friday, May 13th, 2005 | 4:57 pm PST
f2f4: When I buy my Proto Matrix (as soon as the Orracle is sold) should I buy an Empire Halo and ditch my Evo w/z-board, or just stick with my Evo? And, what barrel kit would recommend for the Proto? I've been looking at the CP, CCM, and the Kaner kit. Thanks for all of your help!
   

mooseknuckle Saturday, May 14th, 2005 | 10:27 am PST
Buy the Reloader B (Empire's sound activated Halo B). It has a much faster response time than the evo, and can feed a sustained 28 bps. An evo with z-board can only feed a sustained 20. IMO, your money is much better spent elsewhere than a barrel kit. I'd suggest buying a .692 ultralight and put the extra money saved towards some upgrades.
   

f2f4 Monday, May 16th, 2005 | 2:43 pm PST
Yup, agreed. :)

You could get a kit if you're picky like me, but just getting one nice barrel (Ultralite) would be fine too. And Reloader > Evo2.
   

bunkerking420 Monday, May 16th, 2005 | 4:35 pm PST
f2f4- Does the Vision Shocker compare with the Proto Matrix, if at all? By that I mean, speed, accuracy, air efficiency, reliability, etc.

Thanks.
   

f2f4 Tuesday, May 17th, 2005 | 12:31 pm PST
I'd say Proto > Shocka.

*Sigh*, time to re-post mah little rant. Brb, post will be edited once I get it.

Kk, here it is ( I added some stuff, too, just for ya):

Other then the maintenance/reliability thing (Shockers are a little finicky, to put it nicely, whereas I've found the Proto to be a breeze to maintain... and yes, this is from personal experience, since I'm our team's gun-tech), there are a few other downsides to getting a Shocker. The first one is the fact that the Shocker comes with a not-so-great reg, which is known to blow O-rings on the piston (which could send full pressure into the marker .... which can do a lot of damage. Or, just drain your tank and take up 20 minutes of your time while you fix the damned thing...) The second is that it uses a bounce-beam type eye, which makes it sometimes not "see" darker matte paint (with the stock board)... or worse, occasionally see it when it's not there, causing chops. And the only way to fix that would be a new board, with better eye logic. The third thing I dislike about them is their use of an "SFT" O-ring, which is rough on brittle paint, and can cause a lot of breaks. The Proto has the SAME SFT system, but with the O-ring located on the bolt tip, and not the breech. This does the exact same thing, but without being rough on paint. The fourth thing I don't like about the Shocker is the FSDO, which is pretty apparent. The Proto has NO FSDO, since it comes stock with an ABS system (which works by automatically compensating dwell). Once again, the only way to get ABS installed on a Shocker is with a new board. The fifth thing I don't like about the Shocker is the fact that the trigger guard is so small. Sixth is, of course, the fact that the Shocker has horrible efficiency with the stock bolt (< 1,000 shots), whereas the Proto's stock bolt kit is good enough (1,200-1,400, from my experiences). And the last thing I don't like is the simple fact that the anno will tend to fade over time... which with some colors, looks cool. About the only things the Shocker has over the Proto, would be size. It's about the same width, but is slightly less tall. The length is exactly the same, and the weights are very close.

If you do get a Shocker, there are a few things I would do:
1) Get a new reg, I would suggest a CP.
2) Upgrade the board to the Dynasty Tadao one, or a Virtue if you want.
3) If you start breaking paint for no reason, even with single-shots, you'll have to either replace the SFT O-ring with something smaller diameter/softer, or have the breech milled towards the end.
4) As for the anno fading, there's nothing you can do. But some people (including me) think that it looks kinda cool, with that worn look.
5) MAINTAIN IT! If you get lazy, and don't lube it / maintain it regularly, you WILL have problems. For further info on maintenance, on a Shocker, look here: http://www.zdspb.com/tech/index.html
6) If you don't like a small trigger area, get either a PL Shocker, or a USF frame.
7) HE-bolt, or something. Shocker's efficiency SUCKS outta the box.

If you get a Proto, this is what I would do:
1) New feedneck, preferably a CCM No-Pro
2) ASA, since one isn't included. I'd take a Unimount...
3) New trigger/barrel, if you don't like the stock ones, although they're very nice.
4) If you plan to plan to play PSP, order from AdvantagePB.com. You'll get Virtue software FREE with your Proto!
5) Maintain it, of course. All high-ends need this.
6) Get a lot of paint, and a fast hopper. For obvious reasons.


That all being said, between the two, I would personally get the Proto, since that kind of maintenance is very easy for me, and comes naturally. Some others out there are too lazy to properly take care of it, and blame THEIR problems on whomever they buy from.

Proto 'Trix = all the benefits of the Shocker (and then some), with almost none of the pitfalls.
Last edited on Tuesday, May 17th, 2005 at 12:32 pm PST
   

Studmuffin Friday, May 27th, 2005 | 12:14 am PST
lol good lord man, everyone here seems to love you! anyway i am going to probably get a blue proto matirx as a back up for my 5peed and was wondering was kind of aftermarket bolts will the proto accept? 1200 off a 68/45 is a lot better then i though it would be(i get about 1500 out of my 5peed). so playing front it wouldn't be too big a problem. i just want to get the most out of my matrix when i get it. thanks!

-Kyle
   
                            
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