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Is There A " Good " Upgrade From Equinox 800 Without Paying Thousands Of Dollars?

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Hi all.

I've been detecting for two years, this actually being the start of my third season.  Started with (and still have) a Fisher F44.  I liked it just fine, but mere weeks later I started seeing and reading the hype around the Equinox 800, so I ordered one (took three months to get it because they were still scarce at the time).  Since I got the Nox the F44 hasn't left home.  I have probably 150 hours in on the Nox and I am getting to know it more and more every time out, and I am impressed with its capabilities compared to my only other experience, the F44.  Due to life circumstances and annoying loved ones, I didn't get to hunt as much last summer as I'd have liked, but I am hitting it much harder this year and intend that to continue.

My problem is, I'm always in favor of having more options.  I have about 20 fishing rods when three or four would do (and since I started metal detecting, fishing has gone by the wayside).  I have two chain saws when one would do.  I have about 15 crescent wrenches when three would be plenty.  (Some of them are dramatic black in color, some of them have a rubber hand grip - ooooh!)  That's just how I'm wired.

My mind keeps wandering to the idea of upgrading from the Nox and getting another detector, for variety in my detecting experience and expanding my experience in the hobby if nothing else, and I want anything I buy to be an upgrade, not a lateral move.  More depth, better target ID, more bells and whistles (I love tech and "tinkering and tweaking"), a 3-D color rendering of the object being detected, a blonde in a neon pink bikini included with purchase to hold my "digging tool".  You know, an upgrade.  🙂

I've done lots of reading and everything leads me to the idea that I can't really do better than the Nox unless I get into the $4-5000 range, which is too rich for my blood.  I have the budget for a CTX 3030 and have almost pulled the trigger on one a couple of times, but that doesn't seem like that much of an upgrade.  Possibly better or more precise target ID in most conditions, and a wider array of settings and things to play with.  The Deus sounds like a nice machine, but comparisons say the Nox is pretty much its equal and it seems like a Deus would be a lateral move.

I detect in parks, woods, yards, old home sites, playgrounds, fields that show old building sites on maps, and I'm not really interested in getting wet at all.  I live in Wisconsin, so salt water isn't a concern.  I'm hunting for pretty much anything I find that's interesting to me.  Coins (I'm still new enough to detecting that a half-dozen clad pennies is a good day to me), relics, jewelry, an old Coca-cola can, or anything that 'trips my trigger' when it comes out of the ground.  Can tabs don't trip my trigger, even if they are 45 years old and still shiny.

You guys on this forum have so much experience and knowledge that it makes my jaw drop quite often, so I'm asking for advice.  I'm not worthy of shining most of your shoes, so I throw myself on your mercy and wisdom.  Should I just stay with my Nox, put a few hundred more hours on it and be satisfied with my first-world problems?  Maybe wait a year or two or five and see what earth-shattering new stuff may come out?  Or is there a machine out there now that would satisfy my wanderlust for a few years and be an upgrade to the Nox, but not go much beyond that CTX price tag?  If I do buy something as pricey as a CTX, that would be the last investment I would want to make for at least five or so years, so might it be better to hold off for now due to any new, awesome technology on the near horizon?

Thanks for reading and thanks for any advice you can give, I really appreciate your time.

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I've had a number of detectors over the years. Got out of detecting a few times and back into again for the last year or so. On this last re-run (getting back into detecting after a very long time away) I did try an Equinox 600. For whatever reason it simply did not agree with me. I despised the audio and flutey tones. Maybe it just was not time. At any rate, I tried a couple other detectors after getting rid of the EQ 600- notably the XP ORX and Teknetics T2Ltd. The multiple frequencies available on ORX fascinated me. What I found was that it was a very sensitive detector, very light, but sort of limited when it came to tones and you can't adjust them. If you ever hit a target deeper than around 6" on the ORX it more than likely won't show a Target ID at all. I ditched it.

I decided to give the Equinox 800 a go. And ya know what? It really has worked out nice for me. I adjusted the tones like I want them and set up break points for how I like to hunt. I've began to understand the flute wavering tones mean "hey this is a piece of can slaw or a pull tab" vs. a nice solid round sound. Still learning it , but must say I took the 800 over places detected by the EQ 600, XP ORX, and the T2 with a couple different coils and STILL found things they missed. In particular the 800 has the ability to sniff out masked targets the others could not do.  I'm perfectly happy with the Equinox 800, so much that I even use the WM08 module and gray ghost headphones instead of the included wireless headphones. To me they just sound better.

The only thing "up" would be the CTX but from all reports they are heavy beasts. And honestly I feel they are overpriced, so a CTX is not in my future. Laying all jokes aside and being the particular a-hole I am about anything I buy can truthfully tell you it would be really hard to beat the Equinox 800 at any price range.  And THAT is coming from an Equinox "hater" once upon a time.

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46 minutes ago, phrunt said:

We sound very similar.  I've got great interest in a CTX 3030 as I like digging silver, there is a lot of silver around here and from all reports I've seen the CTX is very good on silver in areas of minimal trash, exactly my environment.  Second hand would likely be my option for buying a CTX, much cheaper second hand, unfortunately I missed the rush when people were offloading them quite cheap to buy an Equinox, usually they were being sold for the price of an Equinox 800.  Now the sales have dried up and I haven't seen a used one go for sale here for a while. 

What concerns me about buying something like a CTX now is Minelab have indicated they are releasing five new products early next year, could one of these be a CTX replacement? possibly, it is getting long in the tooth.  Minelab don't tend to release machines as a new model that are only slightly better than the previous model like some other manufacturers from what I've seen (a new paint job). Their new models are normally significantly better than the previous model.   For that reason alone I think I will hold off and see what's on the horizon. 

In the mean time I'm just going to enjoy using what I've currently got like the Equinox 800, and maybe the next generation of detector will help me find the deeper silvers I've missed this time around. 


Second hand would likely be my option for buying a CTX, much cheaper second hand

I don't like buying things second hand.  Except for vehicles, those I buy second hand.  Anything else, you don't know if it's been dropped down a mountainside by the previous owner, or in the case of a metal detector, left to bake in the trunk of a car for an entire summer and never quite worked right after that.  And there's no warranty.  But, I guess the money saved on the initial purchase would cover a lot of repair if there was a problem.

Five new products early next year?  Hmmm.  I think I'll hold off for now, enjoy my Equinox for the summer and see what comes out next year.  This is one of the problems with buying any technology, you never know if something better will come out the day after you buy.

This is what's great about the internet.  Ask for advice on a topic, and get an answer from someone on the other side of the planet before the ink is dry on your post.

Thanks for the advice!

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44 minutes ago, RobNC said:

The only thing "up" would be the CTX but from all reports they are heavy beasts. And honestly I feel they are overpriced, so a CTX is not in my future. Laying all jokes aside and being the particular a-hole I am about anything I buy can truthfully tell you it would be really hard to beat the Equinox 800 at any price range.  And THAT is coming from an Equinox "hater" once upon a time.

That's what scares me.  I've read so much good about the Equinox 800 that I feel I may have boxed myself in and will have trouble finding a better option for the detecting I do.  That's probably a good problem to have though.  People really like and are impressed with the Nox.  I am too.

Based on what phrunt said, I'm excited for the future, and many times, the anticipation is better than the reality.  So for now I'll swing the 800 and see what happens next year.  Who knows, I may just settle in and still be using it five or even ten years from now.  Who knows what kind of wondrous stuff may be available by then?

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Don't stop your research and searching waiting for better detectors.  Go to the best spots you can think of and then go back if you get a 'better' detector.  Just think of all the golden hoards that have been found in England without the benefit of the 5 new releases coming up!  I'm even glad I found a few things and I didn't wait for a better detector.

Blast on!  Go back.

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10 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

If you can wait for the upcoming Minelab release cycle to play out.

"5 key products" is interesting.  Does Minelab normally put out predictions like that?

And I assume "key products" doesn't mean coil covers, t-shirts, or belt pouches.

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Minelab is a publicly traded company and this info is from forward guidance offered to investors. The stockholders do not care about tshirts. GPZ 7000, Equinox, etc were all foreshadowed in corporate forward guidance.

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13 hours ago, CmonNow said:

I have probably 150 hours in on the Nox....


13 hours ago, CmonNow said:

More depth, better target ID, more bells and whistles...


13 hours ago, CmonNow said:

If I do buy something as pricey as a CTX, that would be the last investment I would want to make for at least five or so years,....

I snipped three quotes from your post, all of which I consider warnning flags.

1) 150 hours doesn't sound like much.  It took me 3x that long before I felt like I was really communicating with my Eqx800, and there's a lot more room for improvement.

2) You can always find a detector that does one or two things better, but often you lose something in the trade.  Only way to get much more depth is to go with a pulse induction (PI) detector, and then you lose TID and much of the discriminating power of an IB/VLF.

3) If your five year budget is equal to one CTX-3030 (~$2500) then for sure you don't want to blow it right now.

Get more hours on the Equinox and let it teach you what it has to say.  If/when an affordable breakthrough detector comes along you'll be in better position, especially if you read this forum on a regular basis.


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  • Steve Herschbach changed the title to Is There A " Good " Upgrade From Equinox 800 Without Paying Thousands Of Dollars?

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