By Steve Herschbach
This information started out as part of a comparison between the Equinox 600 and Equinox 800 but I wanted to make it a subject of it's own by expanding on it here.
The Equinox 600 and Equinox 800 are basically the same detector, but there are a few advanced options available on the Equinox 800 that are not available on the Equinox 600. This article explores the various tone options and what they are on each model. This image from the Minelab Equinox 600 / 800 Getting Started Guide highlights the audio setting options. The items marked with an asterisk denote features only available on the Equinox 800.
Tone Volume - A relatively new feature allows some detectors to set the volume of the ferrous (iron and steel) tones to be lower than the volume of non-ferrous tone responses. This can be much easier on the ears in locations full of ferrous trash where every swing of the coil produces many ferrous responses, with the non-ferrous responses being few and far between. Both the Equinox 600 and 800 can adjust the ferrous tone volume. Relic hunters in particular find being able to adjust the ferrous tone volume to be a very useful function. Again, this feature is available on both Equinox models.
The Equinox 800 goes a step farther in allowing the non-ferrous tone volumes to be adjusted. Maybe you have coins set to give a high tone, but you have a hearing loss in the high tone range. The Equinox 800 allows you to increase the volume of the high tone response in relation to the other tones, making it easier to hear. This is most useful in the five tone mode, which by default has one tone for ferrous, and four separate tones for different parts of the non-ferrous discrimination scale. Each of these four non-ferrous tones can have individual volume levels.
Threshold Pitch - Both the Equinox 600 and 800 allow you to set the threshold volume level, but the Equinox 800 also allows you to set the threshold pitch or tone. Again, this is good for people that have hearing loss issues in particular ranges.
Target Tone - Both Equinox models allow you to choose from several pre-set tone options. Single Tone (monotone), Two Tone (usually ferrous/non-ferrous), Five Tones, or Fifty Tones. The tones are preset but in conjunction with the Tone Volume above both the Equinox 600 and 800 let you adjust the ferrous volume to suit your ear.
Tone Pitch - As noted before, both the Equinox models allow you to adjust the ferrous volume. Both models also allow you to customize the ferrous tone pitch. Maybe the tone is too high and you would like it to be lower. Or perhaps higher. Both Equinox models allow you to set both the ferrous volume and ferrous pitch or tone.
The Equinox 800 also allows you to customize each non-ferrous pitch or tone to your preference. Again, good for those with hearing loss, but also very good for creating custom audio discrimination patterns. However, note that the 50 tone mode is exempt from tone and volume adjustments and is the same on both models.
For example, perhaps the owner of an Equinox 800 is most interested in gold responses. The Five Tone mode has a very low tone for ferrous targets. The non-ferrous portion of the scale is divided up into four segments, with each segment making a higher pitch tone. Large silver coins are set by default to be the highest tone. This imaginary gold hunter might decide to set the high silver range as a low tone because very few gold items read in the high silver range. The operator could then more easily focus on the new mid-range higher tones as being more likely gold responses.
Tone Break - The positions on the target id scale where one tone shifts to another is factory preset. Both the Equinox models let you adjust the point where ferrous tones shift to non-ferrous tones (the ferrous tone break) - a very important feature. Manufacturers try to set the zero point (or some other numeric reading) as being where ferrous tones shift to non-ferrous tone. The Equinox model discrimination scale is -9 through 0 as ferrous, and positive numbers 1 - 40 as non-ferrous
Unfortunately, that point is actually an overlapping range, especially for small gold items and ferrous. The factory does the best they can, but certain soil conditions may cause non-ferrous items to read in the ferrous range. Both the Equinox 600 and Equinox 800 allow you to shift the ferrous break point up or down as you see fit. For instance, the operator may want to set -1 and -2 as non-ferrous readings. This means they will dig more ferrous items, but also possibly valuable non-ferrous items missed by others.
With the Equinox 800 the other non-ferrous audio controls really come together knowing you can also adjust the break points between the non-ferrous tones. This means you can create totally custom audio discrimination modes on the Equinox 800. Again, the 50 tone mode is exempt, so this is most useful in five tone mode. You can move the break points around as you please with the Equinox 800, and even use this to create four tone and three tone modes. You can move a couple target id segments to both read in the ferrous range and assign them a similar tone for instance, so two of the tones will be ferrous, and the three remaining tones assigned to non-ferrous items as the operator pleases. This is an incredibly compelling feature for people like me that hunt almost entirely by ear with the target id numbers only coming into play after the fact. Still, more of an advanced user function for sure, which is why only the Equinox 800 has these options.
If someone in the know could verify this, I'd be more than grateful.
Went to and Outing in Morristown AZ, there was a Minelab rep there and she did a demo on the Equinox....Let me say, I had made up my mine that I did not need one....change of plans.
I saw it detect a wheatie placed on the door hinge of a Jeep , I saw it detect coins under a big iron bolt . I can not remember all the Great things that this machine did , but I just know I WANT ONE.....Guess it was cool due to the fact that there are only 13 working prototypes out right now and Debbie for Minelab Demoed this one for us at the outing, She also addressed the Gold Monster too.
Hi, how do you think it will preform when working in highly mineralized ground? The Gold fields here in FNQ (Australia ) sorts out most coin and relic detectors , mostly for the worst. They just can't handle it good enough. What I want to do is to be able to detect in high trashy areas on the gold fields ( old camps and townships ) that are littered with all sorts of junk. A lot of these detectors, although advertised to be able to work well in these conditions , in reality are pretty much a waste of time and money. I use a GPX500 and a SDC 2300 ,perfect for noisy ground so all I need to have an all-round arsenal is hopefully the Equinox. Regards Malco.