23 posts in this topic
Speaking of the mx sport and coils, it looks like Whites is working on making a 5.3! There is a thread on another forum and tboykin is asking for testers. I would try an take him up on the offer only I don't know the first thing about being a tester and have my plate full with work for a couple weeks. I've tried the big coils before but usually find myself using the smaller ones 90% of myself. As soon as the 5.3 is ready for prime time I'll be picking one up!
By Steve Herschbach
This is the most difficult review I have ever written. I am not even sure I can call it a review.
The first metal detector I ever got was a White's Coinmaster IV in 1972. As the years have gone by I have gotten very brand agnostic, but if I ever had a soft spot for a company it has been White's and the people that work there.
However, after being at or near the top of the heap for a long time, things slipped once the the TDI and V3i were introduced in 2008 - 2009. Since then there have been new model introductions but nearly all have been derivative versions of earlier machines. Now, everyone does this, but in the last few years it has come to seem a very long time since anything really new came out of Sweet Home. The old machines continued to be great machines, but at some point you need to keep evolving as a company or just rest on your laurels. With machines becoming ever lighter and more compact it seemed to me only a matter of time before White's would have to make a break from its past rooted in huge circuit boards housed in even larger boxes.
The wild card in all this has been a lot of changes in management and personnel at White's in the last few years. I admit to wondering what the heck was going on, but I continued to hope this old favorite would once again make a swing for the fences and score a home run.
So when the first rumor of the MX Sport broke, I was all over it and then some. The first MX Sport thread on this forum set records for views and replies by a giant margin. Obviously I am not the only one who was really interested in a new White's offering and looking to find out all I could about it. I used the thread as a personal exploration tool as I delved into every aspect of this new machine, wanting to know everything about it. The new design seemed to me to represent a possible new future for White's and the feature list hinted at a machine that would not only match but improve on the MXT for overall features. It only made sense to me that this machine if done right could possibly replace the MXT as part of a totally new lineup of detectors going forward. I speculated on this a lot on the thread but also made the case that this would not be an MXT stuffed in a waterproof housing, but instead a fully unleashed version of the MX5. The MX5 has a small fan club insisting it is a very good detector, so I did not see this as a bad thing.
White's supported this idea with a video posted on the forum comparing the MX Sport to MX5 and MXT and making the case for the MX Sport being the better machine of the three. A member of the forum, auminesweeper, took immediate and very strong exception to the video, saying that in his opinion White's was purposefully downplaying the MXT and at the same time playing up the MX Sport. I focused less on the video itself, since I think video tests pretty much show whatever you want to show, and just trusted the message White's was sending. It seemed a very strong statement by White's that the MX Sport was really going to be something special. More than ever I was thinking this was a major release from White's that would make people sit up and take notice. My faith in White's was such that I insisted auminesweeper was perhaps being unfair for laying into White's so strongly over the video.
Then came some early reports with me being a bit slow to round up an MX Sport on release. But something funny started happening. Posts and threads on other forums started drying up, some with just a short note from somebody saying they gave the MX Sport a go and sold it quickly. People then piled on those folks for not giving the machine a fair chance. Which then really shut people up. I made a comment on Findmall about waterproof headphones not being on White's website and was promptly told I was bashing White's. The defenders of the faith are guarding the portals it would seem.
Of more concern was Paul(CA) posting this on the Dankowski Forum "To be honest, I'm not pleased with the MX Sport. It's terrible, tones are too long and the coil foot print is too big and recovery speed is terrible as well." However, Paul also was able to find two modes that not only worked well for him but so well it made the machine all he wanted and then some "To be honest, My opinion White's only got two modes right (Prospecting & All Metal). These two modes are great especially Prospecting mode and can be tweaked to operate like a hot MXT" and "turns out the prospecting mode when turning off VCO turns the unit into an MXT only a tad hotter."
So now I am thinking "hmmmm, maybe not all it could be but maybe a good niche unit at certain settings". All along I was counting on the MX Sport to be not only waterproof but lighter than an MXT. It then was revealed White's was quoting the weight without batteries and the machine basically weighs same as the MXT and if anything was a bit nose heavy. The shine was starting to wear off, but I continued to have faith that if I could get my hands on one I would see a gem in the rough.
I finally did get one, a unit purchased and pulled from random stock, so what everyone else should be seeing at this point. I did a basic just out of box review recently on the forum. My goal when I wrote that was to wait 30 days before saying more, both to deal with other stuff I have going on in my life, but also to get more time on the machine under varied conditions.
Well, I have had the MX Sport out and I ran into a problem. The same problem Paul had mentioned about the tones and recovery speed. Honestly, I thought that surely it can't be that bad, maybe Paul was just not used to the old fashioned White's boombox sound or had forgotten how it was?
Having been responsible for generating a lot of discussion about the MX Sport prior to release and as a side effect in doing so creating what people these days call "hype" I think I put myself in a corner. In generating all that interest I think I have a certain responsibility now to raise a red flag if I run into one, perhaps earlier than I intended. What I am seeing is such that I feel I have no choice but to jump the gun on my plans and post early about the MX Sport.
Long story short - after few hours with the MX Sport at a local park, bad soil, lots of targets, I have to say something now and not wait. Either the MX Sport has design goals and decisions made that are totally eluding me, or this thing has some issues. What, exactly, is this machine supposed to do? From the White's website:
"This general purpose waterproof metal detector can do it all! Beach hunting, relics, coins and jewelry, and even prospecting. With it's roots in the MX lineup, MX Sport builds on the legendary MXT, with new features and the latest technology."
What I am expecting here is a machine that hits on all cylinders, one that across the board works and works well.
What I got in the park - fruit salad. That is the only thing I can think of to describe the audio on this detector when on the ground with real targets. It is not the tones per se - they are pleasant enough to listen to. It is like Paul has said. The tones grab and hold on too long, and for a machine where a selling point has been quick recovery it seems anything but. Worse, there are transient false signals. VDI numbers do not like to lock on, so if using multiple tones it is just tones all over the place and targets that come and go. The DD coil generates complex responses on close targets. A shallow single target can sound like two or more. All the time tones hanging on for a second or even two, and changing constantly. Basically, a real mess. The machine just never seems sure of itself.
Now, I can hunt through just about anything but with all this going on it rapidly becomes apparent that trying to use the tones is a waste of time. The solution is to do what Paul did and just get rid of it all. By going to prospecting mode and turning VCO off you do end up with a powerful machine for digging non-ferrous targets. The problem is, if the way to get the machine to run well is to shut off all those neat features then what is the point exactly?
It was bad enough I tracked down and borrowed an MXT just to make sure I was not nuts. Boom, the MXT proved again why so many people like it. Clean solid hits on targets, and after using the MX Sport like leaving night and going back to day. Relic mode, clean, simple, and effective. Relic mode on the MX Sport? Weird nulling overshoots, tones, all metal VCO buzzing - fruit salad.
Either I am really, really missing something, or somehow the MX Sport got out the door doing things I just can't comprehend as being right. Did the people testing the machine see what I am seeing and think it is ok? Did it work differently for them, and some last second change resulted in side effects that got missed? Is my machine just defective? Based on Pauls comments I do not think so - I think he saw what I am seeing and I just could not believe it without hearing it myself. I confirmed what I am seeing privately with several other people before deciding to make this post. I am certain mine is not an isolated case.
Well folks, the big problem I faced is I have a bunch of family visiting and I am going to be unable to follow up or do any more regarding this after tomorrow. I had two choices. One, just say nothing for that 30 days until I got more time and hopefully figure things out better. However, my conscience just won't let me do it. Despite what people may think it does not take forever to figure a metal detector out when it comes to certain basic things. What I am seeing now any expert would see in minutes. Worse, a novice may see it and think it normal. I sure don't want people to think I am giving up on the MX Sport by any means as it does have great possibilities in some regards. But based on all the speculation and hope that this machine would be an unquestioned across the board do it all and do it well type machine I just had to say something right now.
I always tell people to not rely on my word alone when it comes to judging metal detectors. Usually that is to damp down overly excited expectations. The same must hold true here - do not decide the MX Sport is bad just based on my mentioning an issue with my particular unit. Time and more reports will tell just how much of a problem this is and how White's will respond to it.
Tom, one of my requirements for a fresh water detector is the ability to see targets under cold rocks. I'm in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan where they are abundant in a few lakes and beaches around here. DD coils usually take care of this but I need to be sure.