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Steve Herschbach

Comparing Some Detectors In Trash & Hot Rocks

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Another great idea for a review and a fun read. You are doing work that most of us cannot, or would not, do even if we had the machines you have acquired, so a big thank you for that. This tendency of yours to write up details about detecting that almost no-one comes up with is one of the many reasons this forum is the best one going.

(I was sort of hoping you'd be unhappy with the 3030 and want to sell it (joke))

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Thanks for the review Steve

The ghosting you refer to in the GM I have always believed to be the overload response to large , close to the coil ferrous items or foil aluminium cigarette packet liners or similar and I usually ignore them as they are most commonly in the leaf litter on the surface , most other vlf machines normally just keep emitting an annoying over response but the GM cuts it down to a recognisable response that is unlike  anything I can recall in other detectors Iv,e used . It's a shame our soil is so difficult as I would like to own some of the other detectors like the GB however I think I would simply spend most of my time adjusting ground balance and sensitivity to keep up with conditions , however if it,s true that the one who dies with the most toys wins you have the completion beat hands down. 

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The most frustrating thing for me when doing stuff like this is I keep wanting some detector to really blow me away. Ignore the ferrous stuff and find the good stuff. What gets hammered home instead is how easy it is for a coin on the surface to be rendered invisible by trash or hot rocks in close proximity. At best often all you get is a one way squeak from a certain direction, then nothing from other angles. The good news is that it does mean there are many good finds out the still, but well hidden by surrounding trash. The Deus may be the current pinnacle of the technology or close to it when it comes to finding things in the dense trash, but it is far from perfect and there are plenty of targets it misses also. What edge the Deus does have can be largely negated with other detectors by simply using smaller coils.

For a different perspective on the Deus HF elliptical coil from a hard core relic hunter see Keith Southern's review.

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Great information Steve!

Hopefully individuals that are serious in being successful in detecting various types of sites will use this information and decide if the detector of their choice is the right one to use. Instead of saying this is the best detector to use, consider all these factors and use the best detector that will find what you are looking for.

I believe you created the ultimate Monte's Nail Board test.:biggrin:


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Hopefully nobody makes no serious decisions based on my casual and sloppy testing! My preference would be that people do their own tests and come to their own conclusions for their purposes. This does highlight a few things for people to examine on their own however. As far as I am concerned the exercise mainly confirms three things that I already thought I knew:

1. Minelab BBS and FBS detectors are renowned for their ability to accurately discriminate high conductive coins (silver) at depth while quieting nearly all ferrous targets. They are also well known to be weak at target separation and prone to target masking. This test confirms that but does not take away from the fact that these are some of the best park and beach detectors made. Just not good in dense ferrous trash.

2. Dedicated nugget detectors like the Gold Monster beat the general purpose detectors if the only goal is detecting small gold nuggets. Yet that same edge on small gold nuggets tends to make them less useful for other types of detecting.

3. When comparing top "do-it-all" VLF machines they are all very close, and getting one to display any real clear edge is often an exercise in hair splitting. In the end I can make good finds with any of them. I therefore often fall back on ergonomics (weight, balance, audio, battery type, controls, display, etc.) as deciding factors when making my personal decisions.

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Always good to hear objective opinions, and find that every detector out there has a few warts.

Your sidebar lists the White's V3i.  Why didn't you include that in this overview?

15 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

...general purpose tackle anything I might run into while wandering the hills machine.

I understand why no Gold Bug 2, but thought the V3i would fit this description.

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I am sorting things out for myself. The V3i is a keeper so there is nothing in my mind to sort out.

I do not consider the V3i as a wandering the hills type machine personally. Again, people are going way off track if they think this is about anything but me working out what works best for me and how. The V3i is my detector that runs my Bigfoot coil for park and sports field jewelry detecting. The ground balance system is weak compared to many detectors and the target separation is only good at best. Besides, it just strikes me as a machine I prefer to keep as pristine as possible and rolling it down dirt hills and getting tossed in the back of my truck, etc. is not something that it will be doing. The main thing though is the V3i fails the simplicity test. The MXT would fit the bill better.

Machines like the MXT and in this case Impact and CTX also get nicked for being bulky and hard to stuff in a rucksack.

The winners here as far as I am concerned are the Teknetics G2, Makro Gold Racer, and Minelab Gold Monster 1000. All other things being equal I prefer machines that are fairly simple and to the point. I also prefer they not be too expensive and not something I would hate to roll around in the dust and mud. If you set everything else aside my preferred detectors share a certain commonality that is apparent by just looking at them.

The Makro Impact, XP Deus, and yes, even the CTX 3030 are in my questionable column. The CTX is magic in groomed parks and on salt water beaches, but that is another area where my dreams exceed reality. If I was going saltwater beach detecting tomorrow I would be more likely to grab the Garrett ATX as the CTX and when park detecting I prefer to hunt jewelry and would be more likely to grab my V3i or Gold Racer for those purposes.

Right now my core list is:

Minelab GPZ 7000 - Main gold nugget detector
Garrett ATX - Saltwater detecting, backup for GPZ
White's V3i / Bigfoot- Jewelry detecting
Minelab Gold Monster 1000 - Gold nugget detecting
Makro Gold Racer - General purpose detector / jewelry detecting
Teknetics G2 - General purpose exploration detector

Less certain futures:

Minelab CTX 3030
Fisher Gold Bug 2
Nokta Impact
XP Deus

The Gold Bug 2 at the moment I intend on hanging on to just because I have owned one longer than any other detector and it is a classic. Right now I am more inclined to grab the Gold Monster however.

Even the core has weaker and stronger members. At the moment left to my own devices the GPZ, ATX, and GM1000 would account for the vast majority of my detecting hours at this point in time. If I had to shave it to the bone right now the GPZ, ATX, GM1000, and Makro Gold Racer would get me by very well. Ultimately for me it's all about the gold, with coin and relic detecting just something I dabble in if not hunting for gold. My detector choices reflect that. Other people should consider their own priorities when it comes to making detector choices.


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I've been on a mission myself over the last year trying out an embarrassing number of detectors in the search for the perfect few to keep..  I learned like you Steve that most of them are pretty close in performance..  I also learned that someone across the country from me detecting in their "highly minerized ground" was much different then what I experienced in my ground..  Most of my detecting is for old coins in parks and older homes..  The stand out detector for this type of hunting where I live is hands down the Minelab E-Trac or CTX. They have no real competition except maybe the V3i where I live and for the type of hunting I do.  After that you can flip a coin and choose any one of the mid frequency detectors from any of the major brands and and do about the same.   They all fall on their face in my soil after 6" ... I'm sitting on at least 10 detectors right now and desperately want to get down to around 4 or 5 at the most.. Right now my Etrac, Gold Racer and now Monster are the detectors I have no desire to sell. I think I'm going to keep my Macro Racer 2 also because it does well in heavy iron   and is a good nugget shooter too.  It also does slightly better in my ground then the other major brands. What I really need to ad is a PI machine but until I can spend more time nugget hunting I can't justify it yet. My VLFs are finding me gold when I do get the chance to go.

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The BIG advantage I see in the CTX (E-Trac, Explorer, etc.) is that nearly all these hot single frequency detectors love to call deep modern aluminum as coins. You get this sweet high tone / high VDI number in my ground with most of these machines and up comes a rolled up aluminum beaver tail. It is very hard to beat a Minelab BBS/FBS machine for pure target id accuracy. This can be very important for certain parks, school grounds, etc. where every dig matters and keeping them to a minimum is important.

I pay no attention to results from people back east. Unfortunately the depths seen in white Florida sand or rich loamy far dirt does not translate into results at west coast magnetite laden soils. Except that you can take a lot of east coast results and basically cut the depth in half and be in the ballpark for what I see.

The V3i does do very well also for me at least. I should do more coin hunting with it. But then I always am saying I should coin hunt more and then the gold beckons. I dig tons of coins but it is nearly all accidental by-product to jewelry detecting.

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