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Found 31 results

  1. People may be wondering, with machines shipping, will I be shooting any of the super popular “this versus that” videos. I think my doing that sort of stuff with me involved in Equinox as closely as I have been would be in poor taste. I am not trying to show anyone up or prove anything, so I will leave all that to people who are. Anything I do would be blown off as biased anyway so really just not worth my time. They will be shot and posted by others however. I don’t really care if somebody posts videos showing anything one way or the other about any detectors. All I ask is they get posted where appropriate. As a general rule, if a video is this versus that, with the express goal of showing one machine as better than another, then the Metal Detector Advice & Comparisons Forum is really the most appropriate location. Expect such videos to be moved there if posted anywhere else. The videos most welcome here will be the ones helping people get the best performance out of the Equinox or fun live dig videos, etc. It certainly need not be all sunshine and roses. If somebody finds a glitch in Equinox and can document it with a video, great. The main thing is to stay focused on facts and leave the tirades that seem to accompany such things aside. Good critical feedback done well results in better product going forward. Thanks!
  2. Since this is a fan club, people may assume it is supposed to be all sunshine and roses. The truth is I love well written critical commentary. The problem with most negative posts about detectors is they come down to "I saw a video somebody posted and that machine sucks". Personally, I see minimal value in that sort of thing. What I want to see here is posts and reviews from people who A. have actually run the detector and B. can offer straight up critique without the extraneous "boy, how dumb can they be" commentary. What do you like, what did you not like. What worked well, what does not work well, and why. Things to do, things to avoid. Whatever. It's not that you have to heap praise - if you don't like something for some reason then simply explain why. Here is the first review I did on a Nokta product. Notice I mentioned several things about the machine I was not wild about. I did not beat the company up for it - just stated the facts as seen from my perspective. Notice I went back later and also commended the company for later addressing those very issues. Where is my similar review as regards Equinox? Can't do it until I have an actual production unit in my hands or assurance that what I have would match a production unit in every way. When the time comes I will do my thing, though it will not need quite the detail of the Nokta review just because so much of that stuff has been covered already here on the forum. Just wanted to get that out there. It is probably premature so I will bump this up again when units start shipping. All we want to know, all of us, is what people around the world think about various aspects. Some things will be great, some ok, and a few not ok. That's real, and real is all I ask for. Thanks!
  3. I am a little overdue but just finished my latest update to Steve's Guide To Gold Nugget Detectors. The main changes: The 15 kHz Nokta FORS Gold was discontinued in January and replaced in the Nokta product lineup by the 19 kHz FORS Gold+. Dealer shelves should be empty by now so the model has been deleted from the listing. The Garrett AT Gold dropped from $679 to $639 changing its relative position on the list to a better position (best bang for buck are lower price units). At this price it is a real alternative to the Gold Bug Pro, especially for those wanting the detector to be waterproof. I fleshed out my "opinion" of the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 based on the latest information. White's discontinued the old basic White's MXT in favor of the MXT All Pro. The problem is this boosted the internet price from $729 to $823 and shifted the unit quite a bit higher in the listing. There is nothing about the added features for the extra $100 that makes the Pro a better nugget detector than the old version (though the ground grab is nice), so this ends up hurting the relative rating. At this point there are better options at lower prices and so for those looking to White's for a prospecting detector I would now lean much more heavily in favor of the $699 GMT. In theory the MX Sport at $749 is the better option than the MXT Pro but as far as I can tell the MX Sport has had no acceptance in the prospecting world, being marketing much more to the coin, jewelry and relic world. The latest ad in the ICMJ shows that White's now considers the GMT and TDI SL to be their two prospecting models. The Minelab Equinox 800 having a dedicated Prospecting Mode running at up to 40 kHz has been added to the list. Too early to know how that will shake out. I somewhat upgraded my opinion of the DEUS based on the prospecting capability added by the new HF coils, but in the end this still is a VLF detector selling for well over a thousand dollars that can find gold nuggets no better than much less expensive detectors. The main reason to own a DEUS is because you want the overall capability and like the way it is configured, not solely for its prospecting capability. I hope a HF coil as stock version is sold in the future at a much lower price. The White's TDI Pro was discontinued some time ago but I left it on the listing due to dealer stock still being available. They appear to be gone now, so this is another model retired from the list. I somewhat downgraded my opinion of the Garrett ATX based mostly on the Minelab GPX 4500 now only being a few hundred dollars more in the U.S., and actually less expensive than the ATX in Australia ($3999 ATX vs $3550 GPX 4500) Finally, my three Steve's Picks remain the same this year as the Fisher Gold Bug 2 (specialized tiny gold sniper), Fisher Gold Bug Pro (general purpose detector hot on gold), and Minelab GPX 5000 (versatile PI performance for all conditions).
  4. I have too many detectors and am slowly making my way to a "thinning of the herd" this winter. This is a very informal little test I set up today for no purpose other than to see if I can sharpen my opinions about which ones stay and which ones go away. The goal is a general purpose tackle anything I might run into while wandering the hills machine. Above we have, from left to right, the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 w/10: x 5" DD, Nokta Impact w/11" x 7" DD, Teknetics G2 w/11" x 7" DD, Minelab CTX 3030 with 10" x 5" DD, Makro Gold Racer w/10" x 5" DD, Makro Gold Racer w/10" x 5" concentric, XP Deus HF 10" x 5" DD, XP Deus 11" DD And below we have a bunch of common ferrous trash on right, including some problematic items like sheet steel, bolts, etc. plus a scattering of hot rocks. There are a couple nickels, couple copper pennies, and a dime placed in the mess, one of the five in the open as a comparison. The stuff is rather randomly scattered with the coins placed so as to be hard to detect but not impossible. I am as much interested in how the hot rocks and trash responds as I am in how the coins respond. My testing is non-scientific and only intended to help me sort things out for myself, but I can offer a few observations. My criteria are my own, but do include how the detector feels on my arm and how it sounds to my ear. This session is without headphones as I often detect in quiet locations and want a detector with good, loud, clear audio as provided by an external speaker. The Gold Monster and CTX 3030 are not on the chopping block, but just for more information. The rest are all VLF type detectors and I am trying to sort out which I may be happiest swinging away in locations where I may run into hot rocks or lots of trash, while seeking non-ferrous targets. Here are some random observations, few of which are new by any means. 1. The Gold Monster excels at pulling non-ferrous items out of the hot rocks. It balances the rocks fairly well in all metal mode but this mix of intense hot rocks can be a little noisy (still way better than most machines). The iron disc setting however just shut the rocks right down and still popped on the coins. Very good. The machine fails however as a detector in dense trash. I can attest that the GM1000 does very well with scattered trash. The dense stuff however is more than the machine can handle. The high frequency helps enhance signals on flat steel in particular plus you get peculiar ghosting effects, weak signals that sound like echos of the stronger signals. So while the Gold Monster is a good nugget detector, even in scattered trash, it is not, in my opinion, a machine for pulling non-ferrous items out of classic "carpet of nails" scenarios, like old burned down cabins. 2. The Nokta Impact does extremely well overall, though the number of settings options are a plus as well as a negative. Lots of possible options to fiddle with. My main gripes are the weight/non-compact design and the odd overload signal. It is tied directly to the volume control. As you advance the volume everything gets louder, including the overload signal, until you hit 8/10ths volume. From there on up the target volume increases but the overload signal volume decreases, until at full target volume you have next to no overload signal. People who go to full volume at all times probably wonder why their detector makes no overload signal. This gets mentioned in the manual but I am sure people miss it. Even at its loudest the overload signal is very faint to my ear. Why do I care? An overload is a quick hint that you have a flat steel item like a can lid or large bolt under the coil. The Impact like other Nokta/Makro machines likes to overload on shallow targets so running sensitivity low in dense trash (39 or lower) can be advisable, and you are not going to lose depth because no machine gets any depth to speak of in dense trash. I do like the ability to adjust the ferrous volume as a separate item in the dense trash. 3. The Teknetics G2, a Gold Bug Pro variant, continues to impress me by being really simple and effective. Best speaker volume of them all, it really bangs out. However, there is no volume control at all so it can be quite the noisy machine in dense trash. 4. The CTX 3030 is amazing in its ability to just shut the trash up. If flat steel is your problem, the CTX is the answer. Almost quiet as a mouse in the trash. Unfortunately and no surprise, the CTX also suffers the worst from target masking. The CTX is superb if it has room to maneuver, but it goes almost blind in dense trash like this, and is only so-so at best when it comes to finding the targets in the hot rocks. 5. A couple Gold Racers, one early prototype and one late prototype (more or less production). At 56 kHz the Gold Racer handles the ferrous better than I would expect, but it does tend to "light up" flat steel and such and is very prone to overloading in dense trash. Again, sensitivity 39 and lower can really help. Overall however the Gold Racer holds its own with the Impact and G2, especially at picking low conductive items out of the trash. The concentric does seem to help a little with ferrous trash and hot rocks, but not so much as I hoped. No real need for most people to have the concentric coil from what I have seen. 6. The Deus is a wizard in the trash but not by the margin I expect given how popular the machine is. The 11" coil seemed on par with the other machines (the 9" is no doubt better) and the elliptical overall has the edge over all the other options. But only by a little, not a lot. Flat steel and bolts that bother other machines bother the Deus also. I tried small coils on most of the machines also. They do help getting between the trash but obviously ground coverage suffers also. That being the case I was more interested in what the stock type coils did. If I was headed for the Sierra Mountains tomorrow and wanted something light to prospect for gold with, and some ability to deal with the ever present ferrous trash left by logging operations, I would grab the Gold Monster. It bangs on gold, handles hot rocks, and can deal with normal random ferrous trash. If I thought I might bump into an old cabin or camp I wanted to hunt however, it gets to be a hair splitter. For just shutting trash up the CTX is unbeatable, but it also suffers the most from target masking. If you just want a machine that shuts up unless a good target is under the coil, hard to beat, but a lot will get missed also. Good for low to moderate trash levels but in dense trash it is going to suffer, even with a small coil. I will generally stick to parks and beach work with the CTX. I have and continue to have a hard time loving the Deus, although it is the winner in the densest trash. The external speaker volume is very poor but for me the main problem is simplicity and priorities. I dream a lot about hunting old sites with lots of trash chasing a gold coin, but the fact is it is probably the type of detecting I do least. With apologies to the relic hunters, the stuff most people show on forums like the Dankowski forum would just go in the trash at my house. Gold, silver, and platinum in all forms (nuggets, coins, jewelry), plus coins made of anything else, sums up what I detect for. If hunting dense trash was something I did constantly the Deus would be a no-brainer, but as rare as it is for me to engage in relic hunting, something like a G2 does nearly as well from what I am seeing, or at least well enough to suit me. I like the idea that if my battery goes dead I just put another battery in the G2 and back in business. No separate charging of coil, controller, and headphone. As much as I like playing with complex detectors when it gets down to my detecting I do prefer simplicity. The bottom line for the Deus is I was hoping the 14/28/74 kHz elliptical might be as good as a 19 kHz G2 and 45 kHz Gold Monster combined. The Deus has the edge in the dense trash but the Gold Monster has an even bigger edge on the gold nuggets, so having my cake and eating it also all in one detector still involves compromises in real life. For a different perspective on the Deus HF elliptical coil from a hard core relic hunter see Keith Southern's review. The GM1000 and CTX 3030 are keepers for different reasons. I have not given up on the Impact and Gold Racer by any means though between those two I still get along best with the Gold Racer for my particular purposes. The Deus is really good at what it does best. The machine that impressed me the most does so by being so simple. The two knob G2 combination of lightweight, excellent ergonomics, loud audio, and simple but effective operation make it very hard for me not to like the machine. It is not "the best" per se but the G2/Gold Bug Pro still hits a certain sweet spot for me personally. For a trip into the hills to prospect for gold but to also hunt a cabin site or old camp, it is a toss up for me at the moment as to which I would grab, the Gold Racer or the G2. Gun to head right this moment, I guess it's G2. Tough call though. Anyway, that narrowed it down a bit and gives me more directions to pursue going forward as far as what to test and how. I will finish up again by pointing out I am not trying to prove anything to anybody but some of the observations may be helpful to some people - so there you go.
  5. Racin' The Racer

    A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be offered the use of a Macro Gold Racer with an 8x4 inch coil by a prominent local metal detecting personality. His name is Julian and has the blog at www.marlboroughmetaldetecting.com where he keeps track of all his finds and such. My first outing was with the racer was a lazy Sunday trip to a spot on a local river that you can literally drive right into the river. I was with 4 other guys, one intended to snipe and the others had three different detectors between them. We spent a few hours here which saw me locate quite a number of very small lead shot targets in bedrock crevices but gold eluded me right to the end of the day when I found a tiny 0.12g flake. Initial thoughts about the detector after this outing was that it was quite hot at finding tiny targets and it was the only detector that found gold on this day. My next trip was to a somewhat more remote area that turned out a little trick to get to. I had suspicions that there might be gold in this particular waterway based on local geology and nearby discoveries. As soon as we go to the river it became apparent that the VLF detectors we had with us were not going to handle the local levels of ground mineralisation. Bedrock was a mixture of igneous rock that in some cases overloaded the detector completely. Despite the racers variety of settings to enable detecting in tougher ground I found it impossible to get it to function here. I could get it to run reasonably quiet but then I was only able to detect a half grammer at a couple of cm and the signal was far from crisp. And lucky last trip. I took the detector to a mates’ claim for a run. This spot is also in quite a public spot and myself and others have hammered it in the past. At an estimate I have taken a couple of oz’s from it in the past in the form of predominantly <0.5g nuggets. The racer ran very nicely here with sensitivity at 80 and isat at about mid-way. It didn’t take long before I started pulling tiny lead shot soon followed by a crevice that gave a weak signal. With a bit of chipping I recovered about 20 small flakes and colours to for a total of maybe 0.1g from the crevice (not in picture). The gold was all located in an area the size of a 10c coin. I was impressed at having found such small gold despite it being shallow as normally an aggregation of targets seems to be quieter than one large target of similar weigh. Or so I have found. I carried on for a couple of hours and got 6 further pieces of gold for a total of 0.2g as well as a bunch of lead. In fact, 5 of the pieces together weigh just 0.1g! So, it seems the racer is ridiculously sensitive to small gold and has plenty of scope to be manually adapted to different ground. Personally, I found the detector a bit on the “manual” side with the option of setting a lot of search parameters yourself. I know this is preferred by some and less so by others, just like manual and automatic cars I guess. I’d like to say thanks to Julian for the opportunity to let me use his Racer, especially as he didn’t know me at all. It’s always fun trying a new bit of kit.
  6. Hi all, I am looking for a simple and effective beach detector. If it wasn't too expensive that would be nice too. I used to use a Garrett Master Hunter so you know how long it's been since I hunted on a beach. I own two top of the line PI's but all the trappings required make it hard to just jump out of the car and detect. Any recommendations and why are appreciated. Feel free to move me if this is in the wrong forum Steve. Thank you
  7. I am curious as to which machine you prefer for inland gold jewelry hunting and why. Always like learning about other peoples machines and methods. Thank you.
  8. What follows are "scribblings" based on my time with the White's MX Sport detector. It's lengthy, and I hope it might cast some light on this particular detector that has seen it's share of negative comment. Steve has given me permission to reproduce it here. Thank you Steve. White’s MX Sport Review A new MX Sport was received for tests but it soon transpired there was a problem/s with it and it was subsequently returned to the Factory. As soon as I heard about the MX Sport, I knew it was one detector that I really wanted to see the ‘who, why and what’ about what promised to be a gorgeous detector. This ‘report’ is based on those few days of tests before the unit was returned. In the box The MX Sport (MXS) ships in a solid and very colorful carton. It is tied in by way of clever use of ordinary cardboard. The “brains” of the unit, the control box is given special attention and is well cocooned in it’s own piece of cardboard and it’s doubtful that any damage could come to it in transit it is so well protected. The shafts are inside as well as another box containing their own branded headphones. White’s Ultralight Headphones Tucked away in a corner of the shipping container is another box containing White’s own ‘Ultralight’ headphones. The ear cups are square rather than round and I thought that rather odd but in use they proved to be comfortable and remained firmly on the head unlike the very poor Garrett Clear Sound phones that didn’t remain on the head at all even while wearing a ‘rag wool’ hat. The Ultralight’s come with a standard quarter inch jack plug and are partly curly coiled and straight cabled. Inside a separate package is a supplied headphone adaptor that enables the use of any headphone of your choosing. What you end up with is more cable than desired and you will have to find a way of keeping it from dangling all over the place. Some users have fixed the length inside the arm rest velcro strap. An optional waterproof headphone plugs straight into the MXS without the need for the adaptor. I didn’t get to test one. When plugged in the volume is set at 0 so make sure you turn this up to suit your hearing. The thing I liked about the Ultralight’s was I was able to hear signals very clearly but was also able to hear enough of what was going on around me preventing any nasty surprises. Build It’s easy to assemble and the build of the entire detector is top class and the control box is of a solid plastic and the screen is of hard transparent plastic and not the flimsy flexible membranes evident on other detectors. It’s more like one of their infamous ‘yellow’ beach PI’s than anything else as to it’s build. Compared to a CTX it has to be the bargain of the year and you could buy three MX Sport’s for what it would cost to buy a single CTX. Not every one is looking for a heavy machine with GPS functions but would still like a waterproof machine. In this regard, White’s are offering a very good package at a very reasonable asking price. I for one just can’t understand how they did it! The hand grip is solid and good to hold but there is a ‘creaking’ noise from underneath the control box area when swung but this isn’t enough to cause any problem and it becomes almost reassuring after a while as it signifies your progress. At the rear of the machine the battery pod unscrews and insert the 8 AA cells (supplied) and tighten to the purposely designated marks that align between the holder and the main body of the machine to maintain a waterproof seal. The arm rest is adjustable by way of an ordinary screwdriver. It’s supplied with the necessary arm strap because the detector is very solid and it’s more comfortable to use strapped in. The stand for the detector is small and unusually at the front of the arrangement and barely sits off the surface but as it’s waterproof is hardly an issue. Coil The coil is a 10” DD open round type and is supplied with a coil cover. On arrival I inspected the coil pour and was disheartened to see what appeared to be a poor job as the levels on the outer perimeter were uneven: too full and swollen on one half and a shallow sink on the other. The rear of the coil looked like it had received 2 to 3 separate pours and looked ugly and uneven. The coil cover is a thin one and barely clung on due to the uneven epoxy. On it’s first beach search it filled up with sand and I removed the cover and washed it all away in the bath tub. There was a lot of sand! While assembling the coil to the control box be extra careful because the pins are very thin and if aligned incorrectly they might bend and you’re then out of business if one breaks off. But once connected properly the waterproof connector is top notch. The coil cable is heavy duty, thick and pliable. It is held in place by three supplied plastic clips. One day I re located one of these and it flew off the shaft and I haven’t seen it since but it is in the car somewhere? A softer velcro material would be better here. Comfort Once assembled and in use it is very comfortable even for long detecting sessions. It is a heavy detector due to it’s bulk being made from solid plastics. The surprising thing to me was I found it suited both a long and a short configuration. It cannot be hip-mounted and this might be a drawback because the device likes to be swept quickly and that will result in wrist fatigue. User’s Guide This is where it’s a bit unusual because the manual reads like a mix of amateur and experienced opinion. It’s 28 pages and in all it’s descriptions of the various features and functions it’s blatantly missing a Ground Balance section explanation. It’s nowhere to be seen. No special mention of ground balancing at all. There is mention of the TRACK control on Pages 7 and 14 and mention of a ‘Ground Grab’ But if you were looking for a section about ground balancing not having specific mention is a bit of a mystery and a glaring error. The “Makro Racer 2” Instruction Manual has several pages explaining the various methods of ground balancing and the “where and why’s”. However, it does mention the detector “self adjusts to the ground mineralization and ground compensation and tracking to ground minerals is fully automatic” So you could be forgiven for thinking the machine does not have to be ground cancelled. The remainder of the manual is very good but the omission of a GB section should be corrected and written into the User’s Guide as soon as possible to avoid end user confusion as I’m sure some will return their detector needlessly. Display & Controls The display is unusual to say the least, like an old fashioned ‘speedometer’ on a car. But having said that it is innovative and fairly easy to understand and always visible in bright sunlight. (I did have a problem filming the screen in low and bright light due to a shine on it) There’s a lot going on in the display area and some with poor eye sight might have to rely on looking at it with glasses relating to observing the flashing cursor when a target is hit, the depth on the left and the Sens adjust on the right - both are small. Your sensitivity level can be seen displayed all the time as a digital ‘eyelash’ curve but not as a number. BOOST comes in at Sensitivity 10 and could allow you to check feint signals but at that level ground noise might take over and make this procedure a difficult one for an amateur hunter who, might be inclined to ‘max out’ the machine in ignorance. Some of the words are abbreviations of two words and when seen first can take a second or two to figure out what is meant by the descriptions shown e.g. ZPENNY, CPENNY, GNDADJUST, OVERLD etc.. Again, the User’s Guide does not show a list of what the display is capable of showing. This should be included. I think I saw the word ‘BUCKLE’ flash up once? There are probably many other words in here that never displayed? At times I found the displayed words distracting and I would prefer to be able to turn them off and work without them. For example, working in Relic or Prospecting Modes the likelihood of displaying the correct word for the actual target is unlikely. When developing the Minelab Quattro this was incorporated and no icons showed in the Ferrous Tone modes. During beach use I saw MISC displayed quite a lot of the time when the MX Sport couldn’t determine the exact target under the coil? The target ID’s are in the middle of the screen display area and are large enough to be seen even without the need for spectacles. So there’s a lot of information to be seen in the display which can also be back lit for dull circumstances. The button controls are very well laid out and have decent space between them even for large fingers. “Options” on the left with the up and down arrows and TRACK on the right also with up and down arrows. Centrally located is the pin point button that doubles as the accept / reject functions. On button is located extreme right. Programs The MXS is a feature packed machine and one could in theory use this single detector in about as many scenarios as you are ever likely to meet. Coin & Jewelry Beach All Metal Relic High Trash Prospecting In this regard it isn’t too unlike some of their other very popular detectors and names such as the MXT, M6, V3, VX come to mind but none of these can be used safely around water and underneath the water of rivers lakes streams and the oceans. It is this that makes the MXS a highly desirable machine. You can get it wet, and not have to worry about that. The most logical aspect of the Programs is the Options are either On or Off. For example, Audio Modulation is either Off (0) or On (1) Similarly, Salt Track can be added to most Programs. It is On by default in Beach Mode and you won’t see it in Options. Quick iron identification is offered in the IRON GRUNT feature applicable in the All Metal, Relic & Prospecting Program’s. Again it’s either On or Off. What happens in these programs is when Off iron can sound both positive and negative while switched ON iron will produce the classic grunt as per the GMT. One of the nicest things about switching from Program to Program is the detector gives you up to 10 seconds or so to see what things are like in each one and to make your decision as to which one to engage. During that time all the other functions are valid. Features The forums debated the “new features” for weeks and I was eager to see just how they panned out in real world use? I’d have to say that the “REJECT VOLUME” is one of the best aspects of operating the MXS. I loved it. I hadn’t encountered it before in this new guise because not only does it enable one to hear the rejected ferrous, it also allows one hear the rejected non ferrous as well if one is using a heavier discrimination setting. I found my best use of the function set at 20% allowed a very comfortable background sound that sounded like the bass section of a jazz band playing very softly while the other instruments were louder with more oomph. It was really cool while working the beach as one could hear the ‘full band music’ and it inspired confidence if a coin was there it would alert with the full volume you’d expect a coin to sound. So in essence you have TWO separate audios going on: those of what you don’t want to dig in the way of iron and those you do in the ‘loud as expected’ signals you are really chasing. The Tone ID Settings only highlighted the ‘audio problems’ that has sadly brought all the wrong kind of attention to the MX Sport. There were just ‘too many’ sounds in the 20 Tone Option. On grass and on sites with a heavy iron content some of the sounds that were heard were sounds I had never heard before coming from any metal detector. It was like a crazed accordion player was pulling apart the accordion and squeezing it within an inch of it’s life. It just made for an ‘easier life’ to work in 4 Tone and if conditions improved then the 8 Tone option could be engaged. In 4 and 8 Tone Options then ‘normal business’ was mostly manageable. The pin point button is a 2 push one to engage with a quick press or held in to keep the detector in pin point. I did find this a very smooth operation and one of the best and easiest over many other detectors. However, I did find at times there was no pin point report at all and experimenting showed it was best not to leave the actual centre of the suspected target but to engage PP right above it. Later on others user’s reports showed the pin pointing to have a flaw which would corroborate my earlier findings i.e. no signal return when engaged. In Use Working irony patches it was best used in Coin & Jewelry Mode with it’s higher level of rejection. It handled these with some skill and wasn’t at all an ear bashing like you got when working in other Programs. One of the noisiest for me was the HI TRASH Program but that wasn’t a surprise because I had also found it to be the case with the older “Spectra V3” detector. Prospecting was similar to HI Trash and had to be used carefully and selectively. Relic was also prone to making too much of a racket in iron. Thankfully, the MXS was quietly behaved in woodland but it was the complete opposite on open farmland pasture with deep iron. The detector then produced wild sounds and as I said, some sounds I had never ever heard a detector emit previously? When working your way across open ground containing iron the 10” round DD coil might be the wrong choice and it would have helped dramatically if the ‘standard coil’ was an elliptical one that would by shape ‘ignore ‘ some of the iron to it’s sides which regrettably the round coil was prone to reacting to. Remember, the coil looks down, forwards, sideways and back! The less bulk the less noise. Surprisingly most of the Programs worked over salt wet sand but it did help matters no end if one simply used BEACH Mode at the beach. In salt water the Sensitivity level couldn’t be comfortably raised above 4. At 7 it was inclined to be noisy and when waves broke over the coil it went crazy. Not so at 4 where it was docile enough. A redeeming facet of the User’s Guide is it tells you this: Quote: “When searching at the wave line, one may hear the incoming and outgoing waves respond to some degree” True It goes onto say: “It is best to search fully in the water or fully on the beach” Working the wet sand it was decent and it helped to do a couple of ‘Ground Grab’ balances to quieten it and to sweep the coil slower than on land and, try to keep the coil perfectly flat to the sand. Don’t touch the sand with the coil as at anything beyond Sens 6 it will respond with a signal tone. At higher sensitivity levels the detector did become unsettled somewhat and was producing spurious sounds like it still wasn’t comfortable despite being balanced to the surroundings. Several coin finds identified as ‘zinc penny, ‘copper penny’ and MISC. Larger coins and other irregularly shaped items showed “Dime and/or Quarter” including a long piece of copper pipe which produced a perfect single tone with ‘DIME’ At no time was the detector fully submerged as it was very early in the testing and I didn’t want to risk doing some damage. However, in the long run that didn’t matter because the detector was returned anyway due to performance irregularities. During that time I wasn’t sure if the unit was indeed faulty or not but I heavily suspected the coil was leaking due to the bad epoxy pour described earlier on. I invited responses from other testers but no information was offered. The net result was I contacted the factory and advised them of some operational difficulties and I was asked to return the device. This brings us to today when the issue hasn’t been yet fully resolved with new reports of faulty coils and various firmware upgrades that haven’t appeared to settle things down. Final thoughts When news broke about the MX Sport I was chomping at the bit to try one. I’m glad I did. Getting to test one answered a lot of questions that otherwise would still remain a mystery as there really hasn’t been a definitive published Review of the MX Sport as a whole yet. It’s such a pity that a machine offering so much and costing so little to buy is plagued with problems and as a result might never really get the opportunity to shine. I hope it hasn’t become tainted because the MX Sport is really an easy machine to use, it’s intuitive, can multi-task and is easy to understand because you don’t have to drill down thru countless Menu choices and get lost as a result. That’s what scuppered the “Spectra Series” Endless Menu choices and the ability to be able to adjust “things” we obviously don’t need. What the Spectra’s did have was a glorious color screen and a vision that was in some ways too much. The opposite now applies and what the MX Sport offers now is just enough and should find a home in many detectorists arsenals. It does have a learning curve and it will take some time to fully discover just how and where to set the Self Adjusting Threshold SAT, VCO, Reject Volume, Tone ID, and Discrimination. This function couldn’t be simpler - just notch in and notch out: simple. I really want the MX Sport to ‘be fixed’ and I’d have no hesitation whatsoever at giving it another go. © Desi Dunne
  9. Hi everyone , I'm new to prospecting and already addicted after 2 months . I was lucky enough to meet an old timer who has been prospecting for most of his life but is to old to go out these days , so instead refurbishes old detectors . I picked up a sovereign gt and an old a2b gold hunter . To cut a long story short mike (old timer) had his whole yard set up for detecting in highly mineralised soils to trashy beach conditions . I learnt a lot in the several occasions I have been there as mike has pumped as much knowledge as he could into me. I've learnt how to use both machines well and found some great treasures with both machines . As with any hobby I purchased an sdc2300 , good machine in mineral soils and hard hit areas . Problem: looking for an all purpose machine , I got pulled into the hype surrounding whites mx sport and sold my sdc2300 ( In addition I sold the sdc as my wife found out the price and threatened divorce) and put my a2b in my mancave in a glass cabinet next to my sporting memorabilia. So down to the sovereign gt , I have ordered a nel attack coil for it , which will slightly improve performance I'm told . So I need a gold detector and an all rounder to complement the sovereign get : anyone with advice - I'm thinking between the deus, gpx5000( price is so high though) garrett at pro and whites mxt.
  10. Hello all OK. firstly not talking about dedicated beach machines like EXCAL II, CZ21, AND THE TIGER SHARK. What would be the best top 3 (decending order ) normal, single freq, prospecting, vlf machines that would be good on wet salt water beaches. I know they wont be as good or as ideal as a dedicated beach machine, but having this capability on a general purpose or prospecting machine would be nice. I'm assuming 14-15 kHz maximum freq, ruling out the AT GOLD, FORS RELIC & GOLD+.? I'm thinking:- MAKRO RACER 2, WHITES MXT & MX SPORT, GARRETT AT PRO, FISHER GOLD BUG/F19/T2, etc,etc. How much are they giving away to the EXCAL II or the CZ21? 20-30% in depth? Looking ahead, is this where the new multi frequency NOKTA IMPACT & FISHER CZX/MOSCA machines might be even better all rounders? thanks jim
  11. I have been trying to consolidate my detector collection the last couple years to conform to my new reality of life in Reno. Lots of detectors have gone away, but new ones keep sneaking in as I fine tune the mix. I am making progress though. 1. The GPZ 7000 - this detector got the most detecting time last year and found nearly all the gold that matters. Lots of people have issues with the GPZ 7000 but I get along really well with mine. It works and works well and for me it is a joy to use. I have no doubt most of my detecting hours this year will be with the GPZ. It will not go away until Minelab pulls the next rabbit out of their hat. My main nugget hunting unit. 2. Garrett ATX - if I am in the water with a mask and snorkel it will most likely be with the ATX. It performs well at places with intense mineralization like Hawaii or Lake Tahoe. It is bullet proof and folds up nicely for travel. I also can cherry pick coins fairly well with it and so it gets a bit of park use. In theory it can handle hot rocks that would trouble my GPZ but so far I have not found a place where I have had to resort to that. Even if Garrett came out with a light dry land version I would keep this machine as my primary water hunting unit. 3. Makro Gold Racer - Goes where my GPZ goes. It can find tiny gold my GPZ can't find and so is a good specimen hunter and bedrock sniper. If the ferrous trash gets too thick for the GPZ, I am getting out the GR. I have only done it once so far but I was thoroughly impressed with the 15" x 13" DD coil on this machine and it would be my choice for hunting big cobble piles or other tailing piles where large deep junk is lurking. It is rapidly becoming a favorite for hunting jewelry. The Gold Racer is the highest frequency machine sporting adjustable discrimination and a target VDI and I have yet to fully explore its potential. My main VLF nugget detector and a sleeper for jewelry detecting. 4. White's DFX / Bigfoot Combo - this is more about the coil than the detector. The Bigfoot is unique in its ability to skim large areas like sports fields for shallow targets. I use a pinpointer and screwdriver only; the name of the game here is quick recovery of lots of targets. I run the DFX in 15 kHz un-normalized mode which expands the low conductive VDI range and run in full tones. All this combined with the DFX Signagraph display is a superb jewelry hunting combo. I have used the MXT with this Bigfoot and gave the V3i several tries but the DFX finally won out. The V3i is appealing but ultimately overkill. I thought the MX Sport might have a shot with its 20 tones at replacing the DFX with the bonus of my getting a VLF water hunter, but I am pretty doubtful of that now. Regardless, the Bigfoot goes nowhere, only the detector attached to it might change. My main dry land jewelry unit but the Gold Racer is challenging it lately. That is the core units and they account for most of my detecting needs. What is missing there is a good deep silver machine for parks and yards, a good machine for extremely trashy old camp or cabin sites, and a waterproof machine with discrimination. One machine might do all that but I may settle for two, putting the full collection at no more than six units. I expect to be there by the end of the year. Current units in play... 1. Latest version Minelab CTX 3030. I sold my last one when the warranty expired. I honestly was thinking that since it has been over three years that a CTX 4040 might appear this year. I would like a better display, faster processor, and one more programmable target bin (split the ferrous). What we got instead was a minor 3030 update with better battery seal and locking armrest. I have one ordered and expect it soon. This machine can hunt the deep silver, hunt the old sites, and is waterproof. There is a high probability it takes position five in my permanent collection and there may be no need for a sixth. 2. XP Deus waiting on V4 update. Pretty much the top iron hunter at this time, and the ability to run 40 kHz intrigues me. The idea there for me was nugget hunting but I have a hard time thinking it can knock out the Gold Racer. I doubt there is a better iron unlocker, but truth is I do not do a lot of that. And the Deus fans will never convince me that buying a $500 smart coil is great when all I need is a cheap wired dumb coil. Fabulous machine though and very fun to use so who knows. It has a shot at the optional position six, which may just be for machines that come and go. 3. Makro Racer 2 - a really great all around detector. The main problem I am seeing is it overlaps so much with various specialty machines I also have. On the plus side it gives the Deus a serious run for the money and right this second if I had to keep one it would be the R2 due to my personal preference for the way it goes about doing things. That is not really fair though and I have lots of time yet to put on both units. The Deus V4 update with smaller coil could be a game changer. 4. MX Sport - this machine had a shot at being a waterproof VLF that could hunt deep silver and thick ferrous trash plus maybe replace the DFX. Multiple possibilities. First impression did not go well but I am trying to put that aside and see how round two goes. Now that I have a CTX coming things just got tougher for the MXS. 5. Nokta Impact - I am liking the thought of a selectable frequency machine that could replace at least two other machines. The Impact has just been revealed as having planned but not set in stone selectable frequencies of 4, 14, and 21 kHz. Given that it will no doubt borrow much from what is learned with the Racer 2 and my preference for wired coils this machine could replace both the Racer 2 and Deus in this shootout. All three should be playing together before the end of the year. I am drifting towards the idea of machine number 5 being a true multi frequency unit (CTX) and machine number 6 being a selectable frequency unit (Deus or Impact or ?). Selectable frequency is an underserved detector category at this time that I see as providing a marketing edge against the huge number of single frequency machines on the market so I expect we will see more of them going forward. 6. Fisher CZX? White's Half Sine or Constant Current? Possible wild cards are coming but I do not make plans around stuff like that. We will see them when we see them and other than rumors nothing appears imminent. Anyway, just a ramble, nothing more. Kind of gelling my own thoughts about where I am heading I guess. Everyone has to make their own choices for their own budgets and detecting needs. In my case it may seem like a lot of bucks wrapped up in detectors but people that know me know that I am otherwise quite the frugal freddy. Detecting is my passion and I forgo other things to spoil myself there. And the fact is they do pay for themselves - not many big boy toys have that possibility. Swinging a golf club is a money pit - I would rather swing a detector!
  12. My New Years Resolution

    I am pretty happy with 2015 looking back so not a whole lot different I plan on doing for 2016. Hopefully more detecting days. The main resolution for the new year however is a rule to keep a lid on my detector collection. So in 2016 I am only allowed one model from each of the manufacturers at any one time. And before I can get a replacement the existing one has to get sold first. I worked on getting there this year and ended the year where I need to be. The CTX sale (thanks Rob!) at the last second got me to my goal. Fisher F75 Ltd2 Garrett ATX Makro Gold Racer Minelab GPZ 7000 Nokta FORS Gold+ White's V3i XP DEUS Out of those I am going to sell the Nokta FORS Gold+ soon as being extraneous to my needs and will wait for the Nokta Impact instead. The F75 I may replace with the F19 or maybe just wait for whatever it is new that Fisher has cooking right now. So my core units starting out for 2016 are the ATX, Gold Racer, GPZ 7000, V3i, and Deus. I can't honestly say I NEED even this many detectors, but part of the game for me is checking out what new stuff comes along. This rule lets me keep doing that but will prevent me going crazy and loading up with stuff I really do not need. After all, I can only use one at a time, and there is only so much time in every year to go detecting. In any given year just two or three of my detectors see any serious hours of use. I would be happy to do as well on jewelry and gold nuggets in 2016 as I did in 2015 so the only area I want to focus on a bit more is putting myself on sites where gold coins might be found. Another reason why I got another Deus - for hunting old camps and other habitations from days of old.
  13. The Makro Gold Racer has been one of my most anticipated new VLF metal detectors in years. This completely new model represents something I have wanted for a very long time – a high frequency VLF metal detector that does not skimp for features, in particular as regards discrimination options. A little background. First, I have been testing prototypes of the Makro Gold Racer, and this review is based on those prototypes. The final version due soon has a completely new LCD display layout, audio boost, refinements to other settings, and physical refinements like a change in the handle angle, etc. That being the case this review should be considered preliminary and final specifications are subject to change, as well as details you may see in my photos regarding the physical design of the detector. Second, what is the intended market for the Makro Gold Racer? The machine looks deceptively like many other detectors aimed at general purpose metal detecting. I want to emphasize that first and foremost this is a gold prospecting detector. There are only a few other detectors that directly compare to the Gold Racer which is running at a very high frequency of 56 kHz. Comparable detectors would be the White’s GMT at 48 kHz, the Minelab Eureka Gold running in its 60 kHz setting, and the Fisher Gold Bug 2 at 71 kHz. The intent with very high frequency detectors is to sharpen the response on extremely small metal targets. High frequency detectors are in a niche all their own when it comes to finding the tiniest of gold nuggets. This sensitivity does come at a cost however, in that the detectors are also responsive to ground mineralization and hot rocks that less sensitive, lower frequency detectors might ignore completely. There is no free lunch in detecting, and I want to caution anyone thinking that the Makro Gold Racer is going to be a magical solution to all their detecting desires to be realistic about things. Inevitably when new detectors come out people fall victim to wishful thinking, and I would like to try and avoid that here. When it comes to reviewing detectors I do the best I can to describe detectors to help people decide if they might be interested in them or not. Do realize again however that this review is based on preliminary information. Also, I honestly do not want people buying new metal detectors based solely on my reviews. There will be some of who want the latest and greatest right now, and I appreciate that, but being a first adopter does have its risks. My normal advice to people is to never buy anything based on a single review, but to wait for more of a consensus opinion to emerge. I have used the Gold Racer in the field, and I have found gold with it. Right now though if it is just a matter of you wanting to know if the Makro Gold Racer can find gold then I refer you to the excellent field review with photos posted by Ray Mills at the Detector Prospector Forum. In outward appearance the Makro Gold Racer resembles its immediate predecessor, the Makro Racer, but this really is a new detector, not just a Racer running at a higher frequency. Feedback on the original Racer has been incorporated as well as extensive testing and commentary from prospectors around the world. Besides the obvious color difference, major physical changes include completely redesigning the layout of the LCD display to better differentiate what are all metal functions and what are discrimination functions. All metal functions are on the left, and discrimination functions are on the right. I think the new display is more intuitive and better accommodates the extra functions implemented on the Gold Racer. The angle of the bend in the S rod handle grip has been relaxed based on feedback from Racer owners. The vibration mode was eliminated, shaving a tiny amount of weight and freeing up room on the display menu. The Gold Racer with stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil and NiMH batteries installed weighs in on my postal scales at exactly three pounds. Coils available at launch are the 10” x 5.5” DD that is stock on the detector. Optional coils include a 10” x 5.5” concentric coil, 5” round DD coil, and a light weight 15.5” x 13” DD coil. Let’s take a look at the functions. Under All Metal on the left side of the meter are the functions that apply only to the All Metal mode. On the right are the functions for the two Discrimination modes. The settings are independent in each mode, and once set can be saved when the detector is powered down. This simple and intuitive setup is also part of the power of the Makro Gold Racer. It is incredibly easy once each mode has been customized to flip quickly between the three modes, cross checking target responses to make a dig/no-dig decision. All Metal is the heart and soul of nugget detecting, and the Makro Gold Racer has an extremely powerful, smooth, and sensitive threshold based all metal mode. The Sensitivity setting is familiar to anyone who has used a metal detector, except that there are three base levels of sensitivity or gain. Significant boosts occur between 39 - 40 and again between 69 - 70. Most detectors max out at what is a setting of 69 on the Gold Racer. Settings of 70 and above are a type of hyper gain setting that takes the machine above and beyond, but in extreme ground overload signals may occur. Overload signals are indicated by a “warning siren” audio and the machine is telling you that there is either a large metal object under the coil, or that you are encountering extreme mineralization. In the case of mineralization, either raise the coil slightly while scanning, lower the sensitivity setting, or both. Overloads occurring at 70 will almost always be eliminated by dropping to 69. Rest assured very little is lost by lowering sensitivity to 69 or below, again, because many detectors cannot be set as hot as the Gold Racer even at their maximum setting. Do you ever run detectors and have the distinct feeling some performance has been left on the table, because the detector can always be run at maximum settings? Makro has given you that extra power for where it can be used, but in doing so they expect you will lower settings in places where that extra power works against you. Luckily, the audio alert makes it easy to know when this is. Most people do not know it but many detectors simply shut down and quit working under similar conditions with no indication at all to the operator, a situation referred to as “silent masking”. The threshold setting is the normal control that sets the volume of the slight audio tone that is key to any experienced nugget hunter finding the tiniest or deepest gold nuggets. The most minute variations in the threshold tone can indicate a gold nugget, and the ability to read the threshold is what sets most really good nugget hunters apart from everyone else. Makro has added a feature to the Gold Racer called iSAT, for “Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold”. This setting consists of several levels of adjustment that vary the rate at which the threshold tone steadies itself. Higher levels of iSAT smooth the threshold more aggressively which aids in maintaining a smooth threshold in rapidly varying ground. Lower levels allow for faint variations to be heard more clearly in milder ground for extra depth and sensitivity. The Gold Racer can be ground balanced three ways. Holding the trigger switch under the control pod in the forward position activates an instant automatic ground balance. Just pump the coil over the ground a couple times, release the trigger, and you are done. There is a short delay when you release the trigger, and during this delay you may manually adjust the ground balance setting. The instant ground balance is neutral to slightly negative. Those that like a slightly positive ground balance need only perform the instant balance, then tap the right hand control button three of four times. The Tracking function on the control panel engages and disengages automatic ground tracking. This is most useful where the ground conditions vary wildly, a perfect example being mixed cobble piles or river bars. The tracking is very quick yet resists tracking out genuine gold signals as much as possible. This can also be an aid to anyone new to ground balancing detectors as it makes the process entirely automatic. The Backlight setting adjusts the illumination level of the backlit screen. The FD/Save setting allows adjustments to be saved when the detector is powered off, while the FD function resets Factory Defaults. There is also a Frequency Shift setting to help eliminate outside electrical interference from power lines, or another Gold Racer being operated nearby. This is set through a combination of control buttons but not visible on the menu. Finally, although this is a true threshold based all metal mode, the meter acts independently in discrimination mode at all times and indicates target id information when the signal strength is sufficient to do so. Under the Discrimination menu are settings that are completely separate from the All Metal settings and also saved or reset separately. Disc 1 is a standard two tone mode with low tone ferrous and higher tone non-ferrous. Disc 2 is a similar but deeper, more powerful mode. Quick switching between these two modes, each with fully independent settings, creates a many layered and subtle approach to target discrimination. Both discrimination modes are silent search, no threshold based systems. However, new to Makro models is the ability to set the point at which low tones flip, or “break” over into being higher tones. Typically 39 and lower target id will cause a low tone, and 40 and above a higher tone. This ability somewhat replaces the three tone mode on the original Racer because by increasing the Tone Break setting it is possible to create various coin detecting scenarios. For instance, all targets with an id number below copper penny could register low tone, and therefore copper pennies, dimes, quarters, and dollar coins a higher tone. Conversely, lowering the Tone Break setting would create a more conservative approach for nugget detecting by accepting a little more ferrous digging in return for possibly finding another nugget or two. The Sensitivity control on the Disc menu is the same as but independent of the All Metal setting of the same name. ID Filter is a variable discrimination control, with higher settings eliminating or blanking out id numbers lower than the current setting. This setting is independent for each Disc mode, and again flipping back and forth can create some interesting scenarios for comparing targets at completely different sensitivity and ID Filter levels. This quick mode switching between All Metal, Disc1, and Disc2, all with independent settings, is a very powerful tool once you get used to it. Also new with the Gold Racer is the iMask setting. I noted at the start of this review that all metal detector designs involve making trades of some sort. Extreme high frequency sensitivity to small metal targets does increase chatty false responses in extreme ground when in the discrimination modes. iMask attenuates or suppresses weaker target responses in the discrimination modes and provides a secondary level of adjustment separate from and in addition to the Sensitivity and ID Filter settings. If the detector is producing lots of quick, spurious signals in the discrimination modes, reducing sensitivity or increasing ID Filter settings or both is the first line of attack. If this does not work, go back to the original settings on those functions, and try increasing the iMask setting. If this does not work, again lower sensitivity or increase the ID Filter or both on top of the current iMask setting. iMask acts as a pre-filter giving an extra level of control to help deal with extremely bad ground conditions. Finally, Disc1 is a less aggressive mode than Disc2, so using Disc1 offers even another level of possible options when dealing with bad ground in the discrimination modes. The Backlight setting is independent for the discrimination modes, as is the Factory Default/Save Settings function. I think it goes without saying that there has never been a high frequency metal detector ever produced with this level of options and control. There are a lot of variables to play with here, and I would not be truthful at all if I said I have this machine all figured out. In fact, I think part of the fun with the Makro Gold Racer is we are entering uncharted territory. Until the final version of the machine is released, and until quite a few people get their hands on it and experiment, it is very difficult to say just what applications creative detectorists may find for the Gold Racer. It is a very powerful VLF gold prospecting detector, I can vouch for that. Applications also may be found for jewelry detecting and relic hunting in particular, and even coin detecting, due to the unique combination of features the Makro Gold Racer offers. OK, finally – some notes on real world use! Again, this is all based on prototype models and so I can only speak in generalities for this report. However, there is no doubt in my mind that even the prototype detectors rival anything currently available in a VLF detector for finding tiny gold nuggets. I can easily locate flakes of gold weighing under one tenth grain with the Gold Racer and the stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil. In fact, the machine is so hot with the stock coil I thought using a smaller coil offered minimal if any benefit, mostly because of lost ground coverage and possibly lost depth on larger nuggets. I would only use the smaller coil myself for nooks and crannies where the stock coil can’t fit, but otherwise the stock coil really is the way to go in my opinion. Keep in mind I did say grain not gram. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce and in my opinion I can find flakes all day long with the Gold Racer that weigh less than 1/10th grain, or less than 1/4800th ounce. Smallest nugget unweighable, largest 2.4 grams In trashy locations I generally preferred running in all metal and just checking the meter for ferrous targets, which tend to lock in hard at 21 or 22 on the numbers. In theory anything under 40 is ferrous, but to be safe I might investigate items as low as 35 or even 30 depending on the situation and amount of trash. However, as I noted most ferrous locks in hard around 20 leaving no doubt what the target is. In All Metal mode very tiny or very deep targets beyond discrimination range give no target id at all, automatically meaning they need investigation. The main reason I prefer to always hunt in All metal is the extra depth and sensitivity it affords, and checking targets visually is very quick and more efficient than toggling back and forth to a Disc mode under normal circumstances. For areas with too much trash where meter watching might get to be a bit too much, I jnormally use one of the disc modes set for two tone ferrous/non-ferrous. Iron targets just burp away, while non-ferrous target pop out with a beep. If even that got to be too much for some people, increasing the ID Filter to eliminate most ferrous responses completely can make for a quieter experience in really trashy locations. As always, I must include the warning that the more discrimination applied, the more risk of missing a good target. Use no more discrimination than needed to preserve your sanity! I used the Gold Racer to hunt a couple trashy areas where I just could not go with my big dollar all metal machine, and easily located nuggets in the midst of trash. For me personally the Makro Gold Racer fills in two areas where the high price big gun detectors come up short. The ability to find the tiniest, most dispersed gold possible, both in flake form or enclosed in specimen rock. And the ability to deal with really trashy areas where good discrimination is needed. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was when I decided to give the 15.5” x 13” DD coil a try. Honestly, I did not expect much from it. You normally do not see a coil this large for high frequency machines because the ground feedback usually overwhelms them, negating any gains that can be had regarding depth. Instead, the Gold Racer seemed to be even better behaved with the larger coil than with the smaller coils. I hunted some cobble piles with it and it ran smooth as can be at higher sensitivity levels. I then wandered into some moderately hot ground with it, still with no problems, and was actually surprised when I came up with a couple small gold nuggets with it. The first was only 0.8 grams which I thought was pretty fantastic. So I put a little more effort into it, and found a 0.3 gram nugget. With a 15.5” x 13” DD coil on a VLF? That is really kind of unheard of, and I was thoroughly impressed. I am not sure what is going on there but I do know the Makro detectors can sense what coil is on the detector. Something different going on with that big coil? I don’t know, but the results and performance surprised me. Also surprising was that for such a large coil it actually was not bad swinging it for half a day. That could be from my using large, heavy detectors all summer however. Still, it was an eye opener all around and changed how I think my Gold Racer might get used in the future. It looks to have more use for covering very large areas blue sky prospecting than I would have imagined. I would be remiss if I did not include at least a note on the versatility possible with the Gold Racer. I recently took it to a local park. Now, my ground in Reno is screaming hot, full of magnetite. The mineral percentage graph on the Gold Racer and similar machines all come up one bar short of maxed, and ground balance numbers run around 88-90. A magnet dropped in this stuff comes up with a lump of magnetite. As a result getting accurate target id numbers with even the best coin detectors past 5” is a chore. I know that sounds crazy but it is the truth. I ran the 5” DD coil and even then had to back the sensitivity down to 69 to prevent overloads in the worst areas. One thing about the Racer detectors that I have heard people complain about, and that is that they tend to up average target numbers in bad soil. For me this is a good thing. Many detectors will see target id number average lower in bad ground, and so fringe targets are more likely to get identified as ferrous when they are in reality non-ferrous. This is obviously not a good thing for nugget detecting. The Racer and the Gold Racer both tend to up average, and so targets like lead sinkers or aluminum that you would expect to give lower numbers often give coin like responses with the Racers. It is odd to see in practice. I got a good high signal reading near 80 at about 5” that when dug up turned out to be a common round lead fishing sinker. Out of the hole the target id promptly dropped to about 45. This effect whether by design or by accident is common with European detectors. I think it is by design because first and foremost these machines are made to pull non-ferrous targets out of ferrous trash. Improperly identifying a non-ferrous item as ferrous is the worst possible result, and so up averaging helps insure that non-ferrous items will not be missed. However, it also means these types of detectors are not as efficient at cherry picking coins as common coin detectors are. You get the coins for sure, but you dig more trash doing it. Still, I experimented a few hours and if you are content to live with the limitation I just described you can actually make some good finds with the Gold Racer under almost any conditions. The ID Filter works very well, and by just running it all the way to 79 it was easy for me to cherry pick a few coins though larger aluminum items like screw caps or big pull tabs often came up in the 80s also. I do think this is a result dependent on ground conditions to some degree, but really the Gold Racer is best suited for people like me who want to recover all non-ferrous targets. I prefer to hunt jewelry rather than coins myself, as one gold ring makes up for a pile of coins. And to hunt jewelry you have to dig aluminum, no two ways about that. The Gold Racer will suit me well hunting jewelry, especially micro jewelry like ear rings and fine chains. This report is very long, and yet I really am just skimming over the features and possibilities inherent in the Makro Gold Racer. I will close by once again noting that while everything regarding the Gold Racer is pretty much set in stone at this point, last second changes are possible. Look for more soon when the factory production models hit the street. I also get frustrated when people want information on new units, but then turn right around and characterize reports trying to provide that information as hype or a sales pitch. I have tried my best here to just present what facts I can without leading anyone to think that the Gold Racer is anything other than what it is. And that, in my opinion, is a very interesting, unique, and capable metal detector. I look forward to hearing for myself in the future what people think about it and the applications and tricks they come up with, because you pretty much need to toss anything you think you know out the door when approaching this machine. Many thanks to the folks at Makro and in particular Dilek Gonulay for providing me with the opportunity to be one of the first to use the Gold Racer. I admit that VLF detectors were beginning to bore me, and the Gold Racer has reignited my interest in seeing what they can do for me. Specifications and details on the Makro Gold Racer Disclosure Statement
  14. Hello all, here are some pictures of the Makro Gold Racer in the field. The Racer was used in areas previously detected with other VLF's. My detecting partner Chris was using the Racer and I as following up with another VLF going over the same targets. Many of the same targets could be heard easily by both units, however there were a bit less than a quarter of the targets that only the Racer heard very well. The targets that were in some of the deeper and grittier soil gave a weaker response. Both VLF's read the target but the as I said the Racer sound was much more distinct and in fact heard some an inch or two deeper. The ICMJ featured an article that I wrote titled "Piles of Gold'' just a few issues back. If you look very closely at the first picture you will see the Makro Gold Racer in action. That particular pay pile that we were working had been gone over with other VLF's and a few pieces were heard in the highly mineralized material of the heap. We assumed that was all we were going to get until we went back another day with the Gold Racer. Once we found other pieces we started taking the pile apart. We pulled a bit over an ounce of gold off that pile and have since found other piles. The video shows how many targets we were hearing sweeping the Gold Racer over the ground. As mentioned earlier, some of the targets could have been heard by other VLF's but the Gold Racer was ultimately what made us decide to tear into the pile. Chris did have a bit of luck with the Racer one day along a creek where the alluvial gravels had been worked. That piece was 14.8 pennyweight. One thing that really impressed me about the Gold Racer was its ability to give a better target response to some nice pieces that were on edge in the bedrock. Most of you know that flatter pieces of gold, especially lying flat, will give a better target response than round, marble type gold targets. The Racer showed me no difference in discerning round to flat and I like that. The unit is very light and maneuverable and I like that. Anyone who has detected with me knows my favorite saying "what brush?" and "that's not thick". It can be short shafted or long shafted so it works in the brush for me very well. As mentioned in an earlier post, I will let Steve do the technical assessment as he is much better at that than I am. I know that the unit is well built and many changes were put into the final product. I will be using it quite a bit. A few videos can be seen on TRINITYAU.COM I will have them posted by end of day 11/23/2015 Thanks, TRINITYAU/RAYMILLS Take it away Steve... Steve, I did my pictures the way I normally do but they came out large, reduce them if you need to, Ray
  15. A week ago I started an informal survey on seven US metal detecting oriented prospecting forums including this one. The survey here is at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/1244-if-you-found-a-gold-nugget-in-the-last-year-what-detectors-did-you-find-it-with/ This is what got posted on all the forums. I have been compiling results all evening and it is after midnight so I am calling it a night. However, I will release additional details on this forum, probably tomorrow morning. I would like to post a screenshot of the entire spreadsheet if I can figure out how to get it all on screen at once. Or I may just post a copy of the spreadsheet in the download area for forum members to access. I am proud to say that fully half the responses were on this forum alone, with the other six making up the remainder. There are a lot of active nugget hunters on this forum. The survey was not meant to prove anything per se. I was basically just curious to see what the detectors were that were employed to actually find gold nuggets in the last year. The survey has many shortcomings. It only polls people who were on the US forums in the last week who cared to respond. The forums have tended as a whole to be Minelab oriented and so it is not surprising results might skew in that direction. Still, I got a large number of responses and so some conclusions can be drawn. I eliminated duplicate and joke responses. I eliminated a couple borrowed units. It was winnowed down to just detectors that found gold for their owners in the last year. Everything else was pretty straight forward. The only thing of note is I put a couple Gold Bug SE responses under the Gold Bug Pro because they are basically the same detector. The SE was just a precursor model. Everything was compiled on a spreadsheet and totaled. 114 people responded as having used 220 detectors to find gold nuggets. That is an average of a couple detectors per person but the reality is a lot of people owned three detectors, and then quite a few just one detector. In general you could say many nugget hunters own a couple PI detectors (or a PI and a GPZ) plus a good VLF detector. If you really want to generalize things your could say people own a couple Minelab PI type detectors and a Fisher VLF. The Gold Bug 2 and the Gold Bug Pro were the runaway favorites in the VLF category. Tesoro is conspicuous in their absence. Only one Lobo ST listed. I was a bit surprised to see not one Garrett AT Gold listed. Except for a few ATX units Garrett is pretty much a no-show. White's does a little bit better but still only just over a dozen units out of 220. The TDI PI models are the most popular alternative to the Minelabs with 8 listed. As I noted Fisher totally dominates the VLF detectors with the Gold Bug 2 and Gold Bug Pro. And I was surprised at the very large numbers for both the SDC2300 and GPZ7000. The GPZ in particular due to it being very expensive and out for only the last 6 months. The adoption rate is phenomenal in my opinion. Here are two sets of results. The first is simplified for easy digestion. I have lumped similar models together and not listed onesies and twosies. The second list is the full per model breakdown. Make of it what you will, and thank you for participating! Simplified Results: 51 GPX5000/4500/4000 33 GPZ7000 33 SDC2300 32 Gold Bug 2 15 Gold Bug Pro 13 GP3500/3000/GPExtreme 8 White's TDI/TDIPro/TDISL/SPP 5 White's GMT/GM3/VSAT 5 Nokta FORS Gold 4 Makro Racer 4 X-Terra 705 3 Garrett ATX 3 XP DEUS Full Results: 33 GPZ7000 33 SDC 2300 32 Gold Bug 2 31 GPX5000 15 Gold Bug Pro 11 GPX4500 9 GPX4000 6 GP3000 5 GPExtreme 5 FORS Gold 4 Makro Racer 4 X-Terra 705 3 Garrett ATX 3 White's GMT 3 White's TDI 3 TDI Pro 3 XP DEUS 2 GP3500 2 Fisher F19 2 CTX3030 1 TDI SL 1 White's SPP 1 Troy X5 1 XT17000 1 SD2200V2 1 SD2100V2 1 Tesoro Lobo ST 1 White's GM3 1 White's V/SAT 1 Minelab F1A4 1 Garrett Scorpion
  16. My main plan this year is to put as many hours as possible on the GPZ 7000. That is definitely job one starting in April. I also will be using the Garrett ATX for in water beach detecting. The ATX will also be used with the 20" coil as an alternative to the GPZ in areas where I want more ground coverage than the GPZ 14 coil provides. For hunting gold nuggets or coins in trashy locations I will be leaning on the Nokta FORS Gold and for in town jewelry detecting my White's V3i/Big Foot combo. For 2015 however it does look like the GPZ and ATX will be doing the heavy lifting. What about you? What detector or detectors will you be counting on most for 2015?
  17. I was out hunting some dredge tailings yesterday and did some testing with the SDC 2300 and the Gold Bug Pro on some specimens. I tested a variety of pieces but the one that is most interesting is in the pic below. I previous tested this with the GPX 5000 with standard 11” mono and it registered only very slightly when touching it to the coil. The GB pro with the 6x9 coil in all metal mode will easily pick this up at 8”-9” in an air test. The SDC in an air test was slightly less at 7”-8”. I then put this at the bottom of an 8” hole without covering it up and retested. No change on the SDC but the GB was now barely able to pick it up. After filling the hole the SDC still had no problem but I couldn’t pick it up at all with the GB. Further testing determined that the GB would pick this up at only about 4”-5” when buried. I actually found this specimen about 4” below the bottom of an 8”-10” hole where I dug out a large square nail. Other observations were that on the buried test the GB was only slightly deeper in all metal than in disc. mode but the target response area is far greater in all metal. In all metal I tested with the machine ground balanced neutral and with ground balance at + 10 and – 10 on the GB screen. Also if I put one of the numerous hot rocks from the tailings over the specimen it almost completely masked it. After this test I carefully covered over a 15’x20’ area with both detectors from 2 directions and marked all targets. I got 7 targets with the GB and 9 with the SDC. The 7 with the GB were all seen by the SDC but the GB could not see the other 2 SDC targets. 6 were square nails and one was a small piece of tin. The 2 the SDC saw that the GB did not were a small (about ½”) tip of a rusty square nail at 4” and the item in pic 2 below at a about 6 1/2 inches. Not certain what this item is. Looks like some kind of melted metal possibly solder. It reads on the GB screen about the same as gold or lead but too hard to be lead. This screamed on the SDC and once out of the ground hits very hard on the GB also. I reburied it at about the same depth and the GB hit it fine. It seems that there are certain situations or rocks that mask targets from the GB. Last observations are that the GB seems much more sensitive to iron targets than the SDC. The deeper nails were stronger signals on the GB but on the specimen in the pic and some heavier gold specimens I tested the SDC clearly had significantly more depth in the ground (at least 25% - 30%). Bottom line the SDC will clearly potentially find more specimens than the GB in tailings if you have the patience to dig every target but with the amount of trash in the area I was hunting it would be difficult to have the discipline to dig all targets. I have gone out many times with the intention of digging everything but after 3-4 hours of digging junk ever couple of feet I usually fall back to using the Disc. to try to determine if its trash. Given the random distribution of specimens in the tailings this is most likely gives the best overall odds but that being said I have found a couple of nice pieces that in ground read and sound just like nails on the GB pro (Target id only in the high 20’s in disc. and 3 or more bars on the iron indicator in all metal. Once out of the ground or reburied they read in the normal 48 to high 50’s range in disc and 0-1 bar on the iron scale in all metal.) I am trying to video as many digs as possible to try to catch one of these to post showing the sounds and readings. It would be great to get some of the groups opinions on the reason for this.
  18. ATX - SDC2300 - Fors Gold - revised F-75 - Deus ---- it's raining new detectors in the goldfields and Steve is getting SOAKED! LOL. Looking forward to your take on the Deus.
  19. I am primarily a prospector but have also been coin and jewelry detecting since 1972. Like most people when in parks I use discrimination to pick targets but when prospecting I usually dig it all. Not always though, sometimes I am tired or an area is just too trashy so I crank in a little VLF discrimination to sort things out. The problem is when prospecting I have seen some pretty scary things. It is one thing to walk away from a dime because your detector called it a nail. Think about walking away from a solid multi ounce chunk of gold because your detector called it a nail. Not likely, you say? Far too likely, I am afraid. I and others dig big nuggets other people leave behind on a regular basis, and I know I have missed some very big ones myself in the past. It gets your attention to realize you may have walked away from $40,000.00. I have this pile of detectors headed my way to check out. One, the Nokta Fors Gold, showed up yesterday. Good first impression out of the box, but that is another story. The main thing is today I got it out along with a Gold Bug 2, Gold Bug Pro, F75, White's GMT, and CTX 3030. I rounded up a 1 gram gold nugget and a collection of nails and hot rocks and did a little playing around this afternoon. I am still waiting for the XP Deus to show up and a V3i so this was more about coming up with some methodology more than anything. My interests run more towards hot rocks and magnetite sand than would be the case with most people. So the particulars do not matter at the moment, except this. Discrimination sucks! You fire these babies up in all metal and they are all powerful detectors that do the job, with some amazing depth for VLF units (not counting the CTX which lacks a true all metal mode). It is pretty easy to compare units as it really just boils down to depth and how well they handle hot rocks, which is mostly a function of frequency and ground balance. EMI is a big factor in urban areas also but much less so when prospecting. So then I put the detectors in disc mode and I just cut the legs out from under them. Bam, instant lost depth. Also, target masking or so-called reactivity is usually a non-issue in pure all metal modes. Not so at all in disc modes, and disc modes that lack true zero discrimination settings mask targets immediately even when set to zero. Anyway, all I can say is playing around for awhile with these units and my pile of hot rocks and little nails was rather disheartening. It was just so darn easy to get that little nugget to bang out loud in all metal, then disappear entirely in disc modes. Or get detected but called ferrous. Or get masked by a nearby hot rock or nail. It just hammered home with me once again the huge difference in raw power between something like a GPX 5000 and even the best VLF detectors in all metal mode, and how that huge difference becomes an almost impossibly large gulf once you turn to disc modes. When you just go detecting in a park you do not see what you are missing. But in my case it was all to visible and really kind of bummed me out seeing just how far we have to go when it comes to metal detector discrimination. The only icing on this cake is that there is a huge amount of fantastic stuff in the ground, and not deep at all. It is there, quite shallow, just under or near that thing you discriminated out. If we could see through discriminated items rather than be blocked by them an amazing amount of stuff would come to light. Beneath The Mask by Thomas Dankowski The Painful Truth by Thomas Dankowski
  20. I find myself in the position of having a large number of metal detectors recently acquired or headed my way. I plan to review these detectors soon on various forums and have published my thoughts on various detectors for many years. Many people may be familiar with who I am but many are not and so I decided it was a good time to do a full disclosure statement. I do think it is important for people to know why I publish detector reviews and what my motivations are. I got my first metal detector in 1972 and have been detecting ever since. I got into prospecting for gold around the same time, and the two activities have provided focal points in my life. So much so that a partner and I founded a company in 1976 to sell prospecting equipment, including metal detectors. That company, Alaska Mining & Diving Supply of Anchorage, Alaska, went on to become one of the largest retailers of its type in the country. That means that for most of my life not a single day has gone by without me thinking about metal detectors and prospecting equipment. I continued to use the gear myself not only prospecting but coin and jewelry detecting. One of my main work responsibilities was deciding what equipment to stock and because of this I had the perfect excuse to try and and use hundreds of metal detectors over the years. I could simply borrow them and use them for free, or buy them at dealer cost. I have not paid retail for a detector since 1976. The only limitation on my ability to try a detector was my own interest in it. It is not unusual for me to grab six or eight detectors and take them all out and test and compare. My excuse often was business but the truth has always been it is because I am interested in metal detectors to the point of obsession. I like using different detectors and learning about them. I like figuring out how to best apply one to a given situation. Always, I am on the lookout for better machines for myself. Everything else is just happy side effect or excuses for doing what I do. Metal detecting is my thing. I am also a computer nerd and was the IT guy at AMDS. I built the company website and ran the network. I think the Internet is one of the best things to ever happen to metal detecting. I joined various forums and found I could trade information with like minded people from all over the globe. I have come to know people I would never have met prior to the Internet. I read all I could find and shared what I knew. I learned who to pay attention to and who to ignore. I made a key decision early on. I wanted people to know who I was. I was not interested in hiding my name or my motives and so I went the other direction. I have always used my name and never post under a pseudonym or nickname. I always wanted people to know where I was coming from and that I was in business. The truth however is that I never let business get in the way of my integrity in reporting my personal opinions about metal detectors. I had the benefit of being a multiline dealer and so could talk about all brands because in our business, we did not care what brand you bought. My goal was always just to promote metal detecting and metal detectors. The particular brands never mattered. The main thing though is for me it never was this versus that or any particular desire to find the perfect metal detector. I simply do not believe there is such a thing. It is like wanting to declare one car the best and all others worthless. The goal is to get from point A to point B. Every car can get you from here to there. But they look different, they sound different, they act different, they cost different amounts. People own various models for various reasons. Metal detectors are no different and that is why they all sell and they all have their fan clubs and followers. With that being the case, who am I to say my detector is better than your detector? In my opinion, if your $49 made in China detector truly serves your purpose and makes you happy then it is every bit as good as any detector I own. As a retailer, if there really was such a thing as a perfect detector I could just hang one on the wall, and sell every person that one detector. My goal was always to try and figure out what my customer wanted and what detector, at the lowest cost, could do everything they wanted. Honestly, I got very, very good at it. I became a walking talking metal detector catalog stuffed full of facts and figures and if I ever got stumped by a question, it did not happen twice in a row. I have over 20 years of posts on the internet that by and large is just me trying to help answer prople's questions. My partner and I engineered a sale of our company to our employees in 2010. I also due to some great success with a mining property at Moore Creek, Alaska was able to purchase a new home in Reno, Nevada. I sold everything in Alaska and moved to Reno, and a major goal in doing so was to be able to continue prospecting and metal detecting while I am still physically fit enough to really get out and do it to the max. Reno is centrally located in the western US and makes a perfect base for heading in just about any direction looking not only for gold, but for coins, jewelry, and meteorites. About the only type of detecting I do not actively pursue is relic hunting, as all the laws pertaining to that put a damper on my desire to get involved much in it. I did not retire so much as just focus my life around my prospecting and metal detecting more fully. I finally was able to devote more time to another interest, writing, to help supplement my income. Another retirement income strategy is my website at www.detectorprospector.com where I derive some income from Google ads. I always enjoyed building websites and my goal is to over time make it a fabulous resource on prospecting and metal detecting, and hopefully make a little money doing so. I also have numerous books in my head that will finally see the light of day. I have always got along well with people at the various metal detector companies and over the years I sometimes was sent a detector to try out and keep for my own use. I found that being a known, visible person on the Internet made companies sometimes desire to put a detector in my hands. Frankly, I can find about anything with any detector made so it makes sense. I have found that my officially no longer being attached to a company has removed any last feeling that maybe I am trying to sell people something, or maybe it is just coincidence, but in the last couple years it seems like everyone wants to send a detector my way. In the last two years I have received free detectors from Fisher, Garrett, Minelab, and White's. I just received one from a newer company, Nokta. Now, I do not always get stuff for free and I do not count on it. If I am interested in it, I get it one way or the other. I still have my company contacts and can get new stuff at dealer cost if I want it. That means I can get it, use it, and generally sell it for what I have in it. I have a pot of money wrapped up in detecting gear that just kind of rotates. I buy some and then I get too many so I sell some. The key thing is I am not actually spending household money, so my wife does not care. I just rotate the funds. I even buy a used detector now and then. The bad news for the manufacturers is they cannot escape me even if they wanted to. If they do not send me a detector, I will get it anyway. Big hint guys - you do not actually have to give them to me. Well, maybe some you do! This may seem whiny but it does get to be a bit of work. I am getting jaded and so I am getting less kick from trying new detectors out than I used to get just because they all are so capable these days. They all do the trick one way or the other and so it all can get to be a bit ho-hum at times. When I get sent a detector for free I do have a certain responsibility to go use it and report on it that does get to seem a bit too much like work at times so I need to be careful about that. I have found it never pays to make fun too much like work. Sorry if I am boring you with all this but I plan on this being a sort of definitive statement I can point to in the future should people ask. Or accuse. Or whatever. I just want to lay it all out so you know where I am coming from. And this is it. There is no perfect detector. There is no ability to put them all in a pile and declare one a winner. Metal detecting involves looking for nearly infinite different types of targets in almost infinite different types of ground conditions. There are other variables like electrical interference, and proximity of one type of target to another. The key thing as others have pointed out is you never know what it is you did not find. What is in the ground your detector missed? So you detect a 20 foot by 20 foot area, and your detector finally cannot find anything else. Then you try another detector, and you find some things the first detector missed. Does that mean the second detector is better? No, because if you did it in reverse, the same thing would almost always happen. Whenever you use a detector you chose a frequency or combination of frequencies, a coil, and various settings, all that combine to work on a certain set of targets that are in the ground. Changing nearly any of those parameters results in a few targets previously detected now getting missed, and other targets previously missed now being detected. The biggest offender is discrimination of any sort. Rejecting any undesired target can cause other desirable targets to be missed through what we refer to as target masking. Target masking is when a rejected target hides or "masks" another target near or under the rejected target. Nugget detecting is a particularly pure form of metal detecting, in that the goal is to find all metal in the ground. Or so you would think. Due to the huge volumes of junk out there people do still rely on discrimination to eliminate trash items and find gold nuggets, and so target masking still is an issue. But in many cases prospectors really do want one detector that will suck every metal item out of the ground. Even that is much harder than it appears. The ground itself represents a target that must be dealt with, and worse yet are the so-called hot rocks that go off like a good target on a metal detector. Dealing with ground effects and hot rocks introduces its own type of target masking. If you reject a certain type of ground, there are nuggets that will be missed because the ground rejection method employed also rejects this nuggets. You only need to air test a detector on a nugget then bury the nugget in the ground and test again to see this in action. Only in the rarest of circumstances can detectors find targets as far in the ground as in the air due to the effects of ground minerals. Size matters a lot, as a detector made to find large nuggets at absolute best depths tends to not do as well on tiny nuggets and vice versa. It is all about trade offs. The detector engineers have an end goal they are trying to achieve, and almost always seeking to do one thing perfectly means giving something else up in the way of performance. This means the only way to truly detect any given plot of ground is to dig absolutely all targets, and to use multiple detectors with differing characteristics to find things with one the other will miss. In nugget detecting this can be practical at times. It may even be practical for beach or relic hunters. It will almost never work for urban detectorists or people who look for non-ferrous targets in the midst of undesired ferrous stuff as the sheer volume of junk targets makes digging everything impractical. So here it is, my full disclosure. First and foremost, I do not care what detector anyone purchases or if they purchase one at all. My goal is to simply share what I know and to offer what advice I can best offer. My only motivation from a monetary aspect is in promoting my website where I derive some revenue from Google ads, and hopefully to entice people into reading my magazine articles and purchasing any books I may write. I do appreciate and thank the metal detector manufacturers for any free detectors I receive, but all it buys them is a guarantee I will use the detector and report on it. It does not buy my opinions or my integrity in reporting what I think. However, my mother did raise me well and so I do strive to be polite. Like most people I tend to find magazine reviews a bit bland. They are useful and informative, but they take being polite too far. I think I do nobody, most of all a detector manufacturers, a service by not pointing out places where improvement can be found. I also cannot stand it when people criticize without offering solutions, and so I practice constructive criticism. I want the manufacturers to know where they can do better and I wish always they would be more responsive. The truth is I and nearly anyone who is given a detector to test rarely influences the main design of the detector, which is 99% set in stone by the time any of us see it. Seriously, don't you all wonder why detectors are the way they are and why silly design things happen? It is because when I get a detector to test all they really want to know is if it basically just works. But if I point out that a certain design feature is weak or needs improvement, especially from a physical standpoint, it almost always is ignored. The basic design in done already. Now, you would think then that perhaps the asked for improvement or commentary might get taken into consideration on the next go round, but that never really seems to happen either. It is why after all these years there is still room for new manufacturers to jump in and give people what they want. Which I believe simply is light weight powerful detectors able to tackle multiple tasks that can be updated and modified via software. The idea should be that perfect detector that really can do it all just by pushing a button or flipping a switch. I digress. Since I wholeheartedly believe that all detectors have strong points and serve certain purposes well, my goal in testing and comparing detectors is not to declare one a winner and one a loser. My goal is to figure out when I should use one over the other for certain tasks based on the particular strengths of the detector. And then share that with people by trying to best help them get the best out of their detector. I will pick on Garrett and Minelab since I have a Garrett ATX and Minelab SDC 2300, both courtesy of those respective manufacturers. Thank you guys and gals at Garrett and Minelab! Now, these detectors are similar, but in my mind they are also totally different. My reports on the ATX are very enthusiastic as are my reports on the SDC 2300. Is that because I am fawning over the detectors to please the manufacturers? Sorry, but in my world it would never occur to me. I find life to be easier when I just say what I think. I really, really like both of these metal detectors. I am a big fan of pulse induction detectors and have been lucky enough to see ground balancing pulse induction detectors slowly grow into a force in the industry. They are rude and crude in some ways but very powerful, and getting more refined all the time. The Garrett ATX and Minelab SDC 2300 are both good detectors. One is not better than the other. Both detectors have strengths and weaknesses and can very well serve individuals with slightly different goals and pocketbooks. If I am to do what I see as my job properly it is for me to try and explain where they each excel and to help anyone that owns one or the other get the best out of it. But do I care if you buy one or the other or something else entirely? Nope, not at all. Am I afraid if I say the wrong thing Garrett or Minelab might get mad at me and never send me a free detector again? There are things I worry about in life, but that is not one of them. I have no problem telling Garrett publicly I think the ATX weighs too much or Minelab that the SDC 2300 is priced beyond the reach of many people. It just is what it is folks, and trying to pretend otherwise is a game I am not interested in playing. What I really am attempting is to influence the manufacturers in some small way to make the detectors that I want personally. If that benefits anyone else that is nice but ultimately I am being pretty selfish about the whole thing. I am trying to tell the manufacturers what I want and I am trying to get them to listen to me. Being in a position to sway public opinion gives me a stronger hand to play in that regard. The bottom line is if I irritate somebody by saying what I think and they decline to send me a detector I want to check out I will just get the silly thing anyway and report on it anyway so in the end it will make no difference at all. In that regard I finally worked myself up an interest in the XP DEUS and since they never saw fit to just send me one (and believe it or not I am too shy to ask) I went ahead and bought one at a price few will ever see and have it on the way. The whole thing with several detectors got my interest up on the White's V3i again and so I just bought one on eBay that only has a few hours use and transferable warranty. I suppose I could have tried to wheedle one out of White's but they have been so generous to me over the years that would have been a bit embarrassing for me. Kind of like going out with my hat in hand and asking for a buck, if you know what I mean. So I just got one for what I can sell it for at some point, same difference to me. I am not trying to set myself up as some kind of final say in all things metal detecting. I am only one guy with one opinion. I have my own built in bias as to what works best for me doing what I do, and all detectors I look at get seen though that filter. My best advice is to seek out and read multiple reviews of any machine you are interested in on the internet and kind of average them out. Beware the new posters who pop out of nowhere when new machines come out. You can always use forum searches and Google to find out which posters have been around the longest and by reading some of their posts find out if their interests mirror your own. It is kind of like seeking out a movie reviewer who likes the same movies you like. Well, again, I apologize for the length of this but I just wanted to get it out there and said so you all know exactly where I am coming from and why I have all these detectors and where I get them and what is in it for me. The bottom line is I love metal detecting in all its aspects and enjoy not only doing it but using the detectors and yakking it up with any and all that are similarly interested. I am very fortunate to have found a passion in life and a little niche where I am happy as the proverbial clam. I can only wish that each and every one of you are half so fortunate as I in that regard. If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and happy hunting! If anyone has any questions about any of this that I have not made clear, please just ask. I have nothing to hide and will answer any and all questions as honestly and as clearly as I can. Thanks.
  21. Here is a list of nugget detectors sorted by weight with my own somewhat arbitrary categories. Weight is not everything as balance is also very important, as is the handle design. Obviously the ability to hip mount counts for a lot. Properly designed bungee systems can render even heavy detectors weightless on the arm. ULTRA LIGHT XP DEUS - 2 lbs with built in batteries, one ounce less with control box dismounted from rod. Fisher Gold Bug / Gold Bug Pro - 2.5 lbs. with 5" coil and one 9v battery (2.7 lbs with 10" coil) Teknetics G2 - 2.8 lbs. with 11" coil and one 9v battery Fisher Gold Bug 2 - 2.9 lbs. with two 9v batteries (may be hip mounted) Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold - 2.9 lbs. with four AA batteries VERY LIGHT Garrett AT Gold - 3 lbs. with four AA batteries Garrett Gold Stinger - 3.2 lbs. with three 9v batteries (may be hip mounted) White's GMZ - 3.4 lbs. with eight AA batteries LIGHT Tesoro Lobo Super TRAQ - 3.5 lbs. with eight AA batteries (may be hip mounted) Fisher F75 - 3.5 lbs. with four AA batteries Teknetics T2 - 3.5 lbs. with four AA batteries White's TDI SL - 3.5 lbs. with eight AA batteries White’s GMT - 3.9 lbs. with eight AA batteries MEDIUM Nokta FORS Gold - 4.3 lbs. with four AA batteries White’s MXT - 4.3 lbs. with eight AA batteries HEAVY Minelab Eureka Gold - 5.3 lbs. including rechargeable battery pack or optional eight AA batteries (may be hip mounted) Minelab GPX 5000 - The GPX weighs 5.3 lbs. not including the harness mounted proprietary rechargeable battery, which weighs another 1.7 lbs. Detector weight normally supported by bungee. Garrett Infinium LS - 5.6 lbs. including rechargeable battery pack or eight AA batteries (may be hip mounted) White's TDI and TDI Pro - 5.6 lbs. including proprietary rechargeable battery (may be hip mounted) Minelab SDC 2300 - 5.7 lbs. including four C batteries VERY HEAVY Garrett ATX - 6.9 lbs. including eight AA batteries Minelab GPZ 7000 - 7.2 lbs. with standard rechargeable battery
  22. Which metal detectors have the most reliable target ID numbers? Target ID is a function of depth - the deeper the target, the more difficult it is to get a clean target ID as the ground signal interferes. Other items directly adjacent to the desired target can also cause inaccurate numbers. The more conductive the item, the higher the resulting ID number, but also the larger the item the higher the number. Silver is more conductive than gold, so a gold item will give a lower number than the same size silver item. But a very large gold item can give a higher number than a small silver item, so numbers do not identify types of metal. Gold and aluminum read the same and vary in size so to dig one you dig the other. Only mass produced items like coins produce numbers that are more or less the same over the years but a zinc penny will read lower than a copper penny due to the change in composition. In general iron or ferrous targets produce negative numbers or low numbers. Aluminum, gold, and US nickels produce mid-range numbers. And most other US coins produce high numbers. Other countries coins, like Canadian coins with ferrous content, can read all over the place. The scale applied varies according to manufacturer so the number produced by each detector will vary according to the scale used. The 0-100 range for non-ferrous targets is most common but there are others. Minelab employs a dual number system on a 2D scale with thousands of possible numbers, but they are now normalizing the results produced to conform more closely to the linear scale used by other manufacturers. Increasing ground mineralization has a huge effect on the ability to get a good target ID. Ground mineralization is nearly always from iron mineralization, and this tends to make weak targets, whether very small targets or very deep targets, misidentify. The target numbers get dragged lower, and many non-ferrous targets will eventually be identified as iron if buried deep enough. Small non-ferrous readings and iron readings actually overlap. That is why any discrimination at all is particularly risky for gold nugget hunters. If you want target ID numbers to settle down, lower sensitivity and practice consistent coil control. The target number will often vary depending on how well the target is centered and how fast the coil moves. Higher sensitivity settings lead to jumpier numbers as the detectors become less stable at higher levels. The interference from the ground signal increases and interference from outside electrical sources also increases, leading to less stable numbers. Higher frequency detectors are inherently more sensitive and are jumpier. So lean lower frequency for more solid results. Multi frequency detectors act like low frequency detectors and tend to have more solid target numbers due to the ability to analyze a target with different frequencies. Another issue is the number of target categories, or ID segments, or VDIs, or notches, or bins (all names for the same thing) that a detector offers. For instance here are the number of possible target id categories or segments each detector below offers: Fisher CZ-3D = 7 Garrett Ace 250 = 12 Minelab X-Terra 305 = 12 Minelab X-Terra 505 = 19 Minelab X-Terra 705 = 28 Fisher Gold Bug Pro = 99 White's MXT and many other models = 190 Minelab CTX 3030 = 1750 Fewer target categories means more possible items get lumped together under a single reading, but that the reading is more stable. Many detectors will tell you the difference between a dime and a quarter. The Fisher CZ assumes you want to dig both so puts them under one segment along with most other coins. People who use detectors with many target numbers usually just watch the numbers jump around and mentally average the results. Some high end detectors can actually do this averaging for you! But I think there is something to be said for owning a detector that simplifies things and offers less possible numbers to start with. The old Fisher CZ method still appeals to me, especially for coin detecting. So do detectors like the Garrett Ace 250 or Minelab X-Terra 505 for the same reason. The problem is that as people strive to dig deeper targets or smaller targets the numbers will always get less reliable. But if you want to have a quiet performing metal detecting with solid, reliable target numbers look more for coin type detectors running at lower frequencies under 10 kHz or at multiple frequencies and possibly consider getting a detector with fewer possible target segments. And with any detector no matter what just back that sensitivity setting off and you will get more reliable target numbers. Detectors often use tones to identify targets and often use far fewer tones than indicated by the possible visual target id numbers. The X-Terra 705 for instance can use 28 tones, one for each segment. However, most people find this too busy, and so simple tone schemes of two, three, or four tones may be selected. I think it is instructive that many people often end up ignoring screen readings and hunting by ear, using just a few tones. This ends up just being an ultra simple target id system much like the simpler units offer. Reality is that most people do not need or care about huge numbers of target numbers. For many just three ranges suffice, low tone for iron, mid tone for most gold items, and high tone for most US coins. The meter could do the same thing, but for marketing purposes more is better and so we get sold on detectors with hundreds of possible target ID numbers. Perhaps that represents a digital representation of an old analog meter with its nearly infinite range of response but the reality is we do not need that level of differentiation to make a simple dig or no dig decision. Finally, a picture often says it all. Below we have a shot of the White's M6 meter. I like it because the decal below illustrates a lot. You see the possible numerical range of -95 to 95 laid out in the middle. Over it is the simplified iron/gold/silver range. Note the slants where they overlap to indicate the readings really do overlap. Then you get the probable target icons. -95 is noted as "hot rock" because many do read there. The M6 can generate 7 tones depending on the target category. I have added red lines to the image to show where these tones sit in relation to the scale. It breaks down as follows: -95 = 57 Hz (Very Low) Hot Rock -94 to -6 = 128 Hz (Low) Iron Junk -5 to 7 = 145 Hz (Med Low) Gold Earrings, Chains - Foil 8 to 26 = 182 Hz (Medium) Women's Gold Rings/Nickel - Small Pull Tabs 27 to 49 = 259 Hz (Med Hi) Men's Gold Rings - Large Pull Tabs 50 to 70 = 411 Hz (High) Zinc Penny/Indian Head Penny - Screw Caps 71 to 95 = 900 Hz (Very High) Copper Penny/Dime/Quarter/Dollar Note that the screen reading of +14 is noted as being a nickel or ring but it can also be the "beaver tail" part of an aluminum pull tab or the aluminum ring that holds an eraser on a pencil, among other things. The best book ever written on the subject of discrimination is "Taking A Closer Look At Metal Detector Discrimination" by Robert C. Brockett. It is out of print but if you find a copy grab it, assuming the topic interests you. Always remember - when in doubt, dig it out! Your eyes are the best target ID method available.
  23. My apologies in advance for asking so many questions in one post. Two of us in Alabama are planning to drive west in October or November to go prospecting / nugget shooting for the first time. We plan to devote a solid 2 to 4 weeks to learning to find nuggets and placer deposits. Priority will be on shooting nuggets with metal detectors and experimenting with ground penetrating radar. What locations or regions should we hit? Northern Nevada seems favored by various blogs and the BLM claim data. Which two or three detectors should we buy given about $3000 to put towards detectors? Would it be better to get three detectors (one as a spare) or put more money into two better detectors? Steve's guides are the best resource I've seen and suggest the following detectors: Fischer Gold Bug Pro White's MXT or GMT Minelab X-Terra 705 Used Minelab GP 3000/3500 or GPX 4000/4500 Is interference a concern because two of us will be operating simultaneously? Or should we plan to operate some distance away from each other? Thank you!!