Jonathan Porter On Mastering The Minelab Gold Monster 1000!
12 posts in this topic
By Steve Herschbach
New Treasure Talk entry...
What the Automatic Signal Processing is actually doing (advanced description)
Another performance advantage of the two Auto settings (hidden from the user) is that both the sensitivity resolution and adjustment range actually go way beyond what can be displayed via the LCD segments:
Where there are ten Manual settings to choose from, the GOLD MONSTER signal processing will automatically make the optimum choice from well over 10,000 incremental steps. Where Manual 10 is the maximum level that can be user selected, the auto level selected may range above 10 if the ambient and ground conditions allow, giving a greater sensitivity than manual will ever be able to achieve.
I recently had the very fortunate opportunity to use the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 for 30 days. During that time, I was able to discover the nuances of the machine that, like any metal detector, can only be fully realized by logging lots of hours behind the control box and investigating lots of targets.
In Steve's excellent review, he has covered most of what the GM 1000 is capable of doing, as well as the features and functions of the machine, so I will not rehash those here. Instead, I will relate my experiences with the detector and its unadvertised abilities that have come to light during my sojourn with it in hand.
I first powered up the Monster at Rye Patch, Nevada, and after a very brief automatic frequency scan, the unit emitted two short beeps, signaling that it was ready to start swinging with no pumping of the coil or ground balancing necessary...nice! The first thing I did was to bury a small 3 or 4 grain test nugget a couple of inches into the damp alkali soil, so as to fiddle with the manual and automatic sensitivity settings in order to find the most distinct target response. Right off the bat I noticed there was no audible threshold...a little unnerving, but I decided to just roll with it and trust that the engineers at Minelab know what they are doing. In all-metal search mode at low sensitivity settings there was no response from the conductive damp alkali ground, and very little to no response from the tiny test nugget. Increasing the sensitivity to 6 or 7 made the nugget start popping much better, but some slight feedback from the ground was also noticeable. At a manual sensitivity setting of 10, the conductive alkali response was overwhelming, but as soon as I increased it to 11 - which is the first automatic sensitivity setting - the screaming ground response completely disappeared and in it's place was a crisp, clear target response from the test nugget...very impressive. Advancing the automatic sensitivity to 12 (auto+), the signal response from the test nugget was even louder and more intense, but there was also some ground response as well. I decided why listen to ground noise when the test nugget is plenty audible at a setting of 11, and went with that.
With any new detector, I dig every target, even if reads 100% ferrous, just to familiarize myself with how the machine responds to various different targets. The few hot rocks that signaled on the Monster, both positive and negative, completely pegged the gold chance indicator all the way left into the ferrous zone. Soon I was finding extremely small bits of foil, lead and iron. Then I started to notice something quite amazing to me; the iron targets - even the tiniest ones - were making a subtle "boing" type of a response like a negative hot rock, whereas the nonferrous targets were more zippy and lacked that subtle boing quality. After a while, I found that I no longer needed to look at the gold chance indicator to determine whether a target was ferrous or not, just by relying on the sounds; I was really starting to like this detector. Then it happened: a fairly strong response that was pegging the gold chance indicator all the way right, into the non-ferrous zone. After digging a couple of inches, out popped a beautiful little crystalline nugget weighing a mere 2.4 grains - the first Monster nugget!
With the northern Nevada weather being uncooperative and still quite wintery, I headed for the sunny warm deserts of Arizona. First stop...the Yucca Dense Collection Area north of Lake Havasu City, formerly known as the Franconia meteorite strewn field. VLF machines make the best meteorite hunters, and the Gold Monster 1000 did not disappoint. I took it to an area that is carpeted with basalt hot rocks that make it extremely difficult to operate a VLF while retaining any shred of sanity. The Monster was incredibly noisy in auto sensitivity, but adjusting it manually to a setting of 4 mellowed it right out and within 5 minutes the detector nailed its first space rock!
and then another a while later...
Although finding meteorites is fun, the GM 1000 is a gold nugget detector after all, so it was on to the famed gold fields of Quartzsite, Arizona to see what the Monster could do in beat up old patches that have litterally been detected by hundreds, if not thousands of detector operators. Well, suffice it to say it didn't take long to find the first sub-grain speck of gold.
The ground in Quartzsite is much milder than the alkali rich soils of Rye Patch, but has lots more hot rocks including magnetite, which is super hot and very magnetic. As I was detecting an old nugget patch littered with these super strong magnetite hot rocks, I decided to see how the Monster responded to them; waving the coil over one resulted in a very sharp and intense zip-zip. Slowing my sweep speed to see if the signal would broaden, I slowly raised the coil an inch or two above the magnetite to see if the signal would drastically decrease in strength (an old VLF hot rock identification trick). Slowly lowering the coil back down above the rock, I was suddenly incredulous at what I was now hearing...absolutely nothing! The Gold Monster had completely tracked out a magnetite hot rock! I placed my test nugget right up against the magnetite and was stunned to hear the nugget respond loud and clear, with absolutely no interference from the hot rock. Even this guy couldn't hear that hot rock:
I also found more meteorites in Quartzsite with the Gold Monster...the full story here:
In my limited time swinging the new Minelab Gold Monster 1000, I can definitely say that it is unique and can do things that I haven't seen from any other single frequency VLF gold nugget detector, all in a light weight simple to operate and competitively priced package...kudos to Minelab!
By Steve Herschbach
"I am fortunate to have been involved in the testing of the new Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000 prior to its release. One benefit is that I have seen the questions that others have posed about the detector, and now I can answer a few of them.
When I use new detectors I always have a goal in mind. I am not trying to pick the detector apart for what it cannot do. Instead, I believe most well designed detectors have something they excel at. My goal is to determine how to use a new detector for maximum benefit. The best way to make that happen is to use the detector in the way it was intended to be used, instead of trying to force it to be something it is not. The key is to be realistic. The GOLD MONSTER 1000 is sold as an entry level single frequency metal detector. Expecting it to outperform detectors costing many times its price is unrealistic.
Engineers face a very important choice when designing a single frequency metal detector, especially as regards gold prospecting. What frequency should the detector run at? That choice determines nearly everything else about the detector. In general, low frequencies below 20 kHz handle mineralized ground better, and offer good performance on larger gold nuggets. Higher frequencies over 20 kHz enhance the sensitivity to small gold nuggets, but unfortunately ground handling suffers.
The number one question I see asked on the internet is how the GOLD MONSTER stacks up as compared to this detector or that detector."
Read the rest of the report on Minelab's Treasure Talk
Minelab Gold Monster 1000 in Nevada
Eleven small nuggets found by Steve with GM1000 - Click for larger version
14.9 grains total, largest 4.4 grains Smallest at bottom 0.6 grain and 0.3 grain
By Steve Herschbach
I received this question via email, edited to remove any tips as to the source:
"Steve- been reading your reviews of detectors from way, way back. Now I'm looking for a bit of advice. I've got a claim where I've pulled nice gold, but the biggest single nugget has been just about a gram, pretty small stuff (but it's pretty plentiful). My GB-2 has really shined in this environment - shallow bedrock, low mineralization, and plenty of small gold. The issue is that my son doesn't want to let me use the GB-2, as he wants to use it all the time. That puts me in the market for another VLF machine. I've tried the GB-Pro, and didn't really care for it. Your review of the Nokta AU Gold Finder, and the Makro Gold Racer, both look pretty good. Other than the display and control box itself, are these machines really the same, or would one do better (coil size being equal) than another on small gold with low mineralization? The reason why I just don't go get another GB-2 is that it would be a nice bonus to use the new detector close by my son, while still hopefully having it excel and finding small gold. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. If there really isn't anything else that comes close, then I'll certainly go for another GB-2, even at it being as old as it is, but if there is another one that would excel in the above environment, I'd certainly appreciate your opinion on it."
Well, in my opinion the 71 kHz Gold Bug 2 with 6" coil has been and continues to be the top of the heap when it comes to finding the tiniest bits of gold. So the real question is whether you feel like giving up that little edge the unit has over all the rest in order to run a machine right next to your son without the two machines interfering. You also have the advantage of being very well versed in the use of the Bug.
Let's assume you do want to get something else however. You have mentioned the 56 kHz AU Gold Finder and Gold Racer, and they are indeed the same circuit in two very different packages. Coils from one will work just as well on the other. Other current new model alternatives would be the 48 khz White's GMT and probably the very soon to be available 45 kHz Minelab GM1000. Finally, I should mention the XP Deus V4 high frequency coil options hitting the market now in case you might consider a more exotic option. There also have been hints of a dedicated gold machine from XP this year.
I would assume a small coil as being a must have, and an advantage with the Gold Bug 2 is you can get it with the small coil as a stock variation. So let's compare internet prices.
Fisher Gold Bug 2 with 3.25" x 6.5" coil = $764
Makro Gold Racer with 5.5" x 10" coil $699 plus 4" x 7.5" coil $119 = $818 or Pro Pack $899
Nokta AU Gold Finder with 5.5" x 10" and 5.5" round coils = $999
White's GMT with 6" x 10" coil $729 plus 4" x 6" coil $127 = $856
Minelab GM1000 with 6" x 10" coil and 5" round coil = $799
A Deus runs $1250 plus the 4.7" x 9.5" elliptical HF coil at $425 = $1675 so not a good fit here for price and no smaller coil option than the elliptical. The only hope of that improving is if the dedicated gold machine shows up with the HF coil as stock.
I have to admit that the reports of warranty issues with early Gold Racer models have me concerned. This despite the fact I have what must be the oldest Gold Racer and AU Gold Finder units in the country, and both are going strong. I have to assume the issues, whatever they were, have been ironed out. I don't know that for a fact however. If you got one and still had a problem, Nokta/Makro is famous for resolving issues with customer satisfaction. The units carry a two year transferable warranty.
The GMT is the safe tried and true made in the U.S. option, and as far as performance the 56 kHz Gold Racers and 48 kHz GMT run neck and neck.
The big unknown at an attractive price is the 45 kHz Minelab Gold Monster 1000.
My best advice - wait! The flood gates are just now opening as regards reports on the GM1000 and at $799 with two coils it looks on paper at least to be an option worth waiting to find out more about. If you have to do something this minute, the GMT is the safe option if the reports of problems with the Gold Racers worry you. Personally, I have been very happy with my Gold Racer and would not trade it for a GMT. I have to note I finally did get another Gold Bug 2 with 6" coil however. If you are the sort of person who can't live without having that last small edge of performance, it is still the machine to beat for tiny gold performance in milder ground like you are describing.
Click picture for larger version.