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Steve Herschbach

Minelab Equinox Tones & Advanced Tone Options

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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.

minelab-equinox-audio-tones-settings-adjustments-volume.jpg

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.

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. 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. Start with the five tone mode. 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.

The Equinox 800 also allows for adjustments to the 50 Tone mode that are lacking in the Equinox 600, but the details of this feature are still being finalized.

Tone volume, pitch, and break adjustments are 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.

minelab-equinox-600-800-specifications.jpg

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Great information.  Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to put this together in such a coherent manner.

There has been a lot of talk lately that the 600 is the much better bargain, especially once Minelab said that multi freq will operate exactly the same on both units.  But imho the adjustability on the 800 is well worth the price difference, especially once you throw in the wireless headphones and WM08 module.  Sort of like the clipped wings of the VX3 vs the full-featured V3i.  

Besides the 20 and 40 kHz single freq modes, the only big differences between the 600 and 800 are the tone adjustments.  Your explanation ought to really help out anyone trying to decide between the 600 or go all-out and order the 800.  

I think you just sold a bunch more 800's.  :smile:

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At the price break between the two, I would be very surprised if the pre-sales for the 600 are anywhere near the 800... but for those that may be waiting for the 800 to become available after the backlog of pre-orders... the 600 sitting on the shelf might be very appealing. 

So Steve, reading through your description of the adjustable tone breaks... it sounds similar in concept to the CTX tone bins (5 bins... 4 non ferrous and one ferrous) for the 800... am I thinking about that correctly, or should I read through your post again..  I know that one criticism of the CTX was the need for an additional (or a few additional) tone bins... so interesting that Minelab has stayed with the 5 or 50 stance.  But I may be way off base in that comment... Tim.

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I don't know. Lower price detectors far, far outsell top end models. It only seems otherwise because on the forums everyone talks about top end detectors. Considering what a new detectorist could get previously for $649 the Equinox 600 is like an automatic upgrade to a top tier model without the top tier price.

But yeah, baby, 800 all the way for this kid! :smile: For most forum denizens used to paying over a grand for a flagship detector $899 sure will not be a problem.

The Equinox actually exceeds the CTX on tone options in one way. There are four non-ferrous tones on the CTX can be moved around, but the ferrous tone can't be split in combined mode. Many people have requested the ability to split the ferrous into two zones. That can be done easily on the Equinox 800 by going to Five Tone mode. Assign two segments to the ferrous region as you wish, and distribute the remaining three non-ferrous segments. You would have only three tones non-ferrous but in return you would have the ferrous split into small ferrous and large ferrous. This is something relic hunters will appreciate.

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Ah, I see. That's very cool! I understand what you're saying about the lower price model appealing to a lot of people. The apparent functionality and technology that you can get in the 600 seems to be unparalleled at that price point. My only comment is the difference in price between the mid-level, and the flagship model have never been so close. And yes, 800 for this guy all the way too :-)

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Steve thanks for posting the 600 vs 800 info.  I've been following the Equinox since it was announced, and dissecting the info as Minelab releases it.  Although I think the 600 is a great deal for the price, for the paltry difference the 800 is where it's at.  Aside from the Prospecting mode, and 20 & 40kHz frequencies, there are enough other features the advanced user will find useful that it's money well spent at the end of the day (not to mention wireless headphones and wireless headphone module).  

I've never been a prospector, but the 800 with it's 40kHz prospecting option is appealing.  I'm interested in how it will do, and hoping to try it at Rye Patch, which I know has been pounded to death, but would be an interesting place to test it out.  

HH,
Brian

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

The Equinox actually exceeds the CTX on tone options in one way. There are four non-ferrous tones on the CTX can be moved around, but the ferrous tone can't be split in combined mode. Many people have requested the ability to split the ferrous into two zones. That can be done easily on the Equinox 800 by going to Five Tone mode. Assign two segments to the ferrous region as you wish, and distribute the remaining three non-ferrous segments. You would have only three tones non-ferrous but in return you would have the ferrous split into small ferrous and large ferrous. This is something relic hunters will appreciate.

The other thing that occurred to me when reading through your post again, is that I need to stop thinking in tems of the minelab grid, a la Explorer, Etrac and CTX..  this is more linear in its target id.. or a meter.  So the adjustable tones are divided by sections of the linear (albeit portrayed in an arch) meter, as opposed to bins.  Boy am I looking forward to this machine!

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I have modified the original post. I had noted the Equinox 600 and Equinox 800 Fifty Tone options as being identical when that is no longer the case. The Equinox 800 will have the ability to customize the 50 Tone option, something I have not seen in previous “Full Tone”, “Multitone”, or “Delta Pitch” options on past detectors. Usually when you go full tones a detector just assigns a progressively higher preset tone to each target id number. The Equinox 800 will offer the ability to modify the 50 Tone option in ways I have not seen before. More on that later.

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Thanks for sharing Steve.

Can't wait to get the 800 model unit.

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On 11/20/2017 at 6:24 PM, Tiftaaft said:

Ah, I see. That's very cool! I understand what you're saying about the lower price model appealing to a lot of people. The apparent functionality and technology that you can get in the 600 seems to be unparalleled at that price point. My only comment is the difference in price between the mid-level, and the flagship model have never been so close. And yes, 800 for this guy all the way too :-)

I totally agree, The more I read and hear about the 800 the more I want it and this waiting is killing me!!! Lol, but that's how it is, I'll just back and patiently wait like everyone else... Plus that gives me time to look for my DD214....

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