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Steve Herschbach

Things Metal Detector Manufacturers Could Do Better

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The  S-shaft is fine as long as the detector is 3lbs or less. The Teknetics Omega and F75 had a great pistol grip rod setup.   Once you start getting over 3lbs the S-rod setup becomes increasingly unergonomic and heavy.  Balance it all you want, but it's still heavy.  Any detector that comes with a pistol grip/straight shaft design should have the ability to tilt the handle back/forward to suit the users ergonomics (I like the posters comment that said they should make optional custom grips like they do for guns and bows, tap tap tap, is this thing on...great niche business opp for someone....have 3D printer, will travel).  What works for one person, may suck for another (Impact comes to mind). 

I think one of the biggest things manufacturers could change is transparency and customer communications.  I used to be brand loyal, but after shoddy customer service, lack of transparency, and apparent lack of innovation, combined with almost zero communications, I moved on and haven't looked back. 

I'll never buy a detector that doesn't offer wireless zero-lag headphones again. After using them on the Racer, Impact and now Multi Kruzer, it would be akin to going back to a rotary telephone.   Oh and detector manufacturers please provide a website with usable content, and modern utilization of available web technologies that doesn't look like a teenager made it on MS Frontpage 95.... I won't mention any names, you know who you are...just sayin'

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15 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

Agree on all points Mike and smart of you to just stick with the engineering side. That’s where all the real fun is anyway. You know it can be very frustrating, but if just one thing ends up better as a result it’s worth it.

It has shifted now I think from command of the written word being important to command of a YouTube channel being paramount for who is chosen to be early recipients of machines for marketing purposes. The big emphasis now is social media. These are the new faces and names of metal detecting....

Aquachigger, Relic Recoverist and Nugget Noggin


I enjoy Youtube vids from regular forum posters but seldom if ever watch these types of promo vids ^  Hoover boys is about the only exception and that's mainly because I can appreciate the excitement they feel making finds.  I think I did own a Garret once. LOL

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8 hours ago, Jackpine said:

I enjoy Youtube vids from regular forum posters but seldom if ever watch these types of promo vids ^  Hoover boys is about the only exception and that's mainly because I can appreciate the excitement they feel making finds.  I think I did own a Garret once. LOL

Nugget got religion and uses his vids as a platform for such, no problem, but I now longer watch his stuff.  Relic Recoverist I watched for a few episodes, but got tired of watching her dig up hot wheels and squealing at everything. Aquachigger had great vids in the beginning (likely before he was sponsored by Garrett), I mean come on, that early silver cache he found at the river crossing, that's epic, I dream of hunts like that, but I kind of feel his sites have played out, so we get a ton of filler material to keep the sponsorship going.  Hooverboys I do enjoy, although it's a bummer that Brad dumped his F75 and went to that lowly ATM... and he used to kick their butts regularly with the F75 too. 

I agree, I'd rather watch regular joes out there on a good site, making some cool finds, it feels less staged (not sure that's quite the right descriptor).  

BTW who would want an autograph from these guys, seriously?

If Garrett put as much effort into designing a new flagship detector as they did their marketing machine,  I bet they'd take the V3i to an entirely new level!!

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Steve, I for one appreciate your early information. I trust it more than others. That's one of the main reasons I come here. You're always going to deal with mistrust from people who are brand loyal and do not want to hear good things about other machines or bad things about a manufacturer they like. It has little or nothing to do with you. The people who are hardcore and just want the truth or the more technical aspects come here and to the Dankowski forum. Even some people who are brand loyal or buy USA types like me, still are willing to acknowledge that other companies are doing a better job these days. I wouldn't stop based on some people who are never going to be happy if it isn't their machine or brand that is getting the attention etc. It wasn't long ago I was having it out with Makro tester about those machines being a little late on the scene at their particular price points now that the Equinox is coming. I tied him up in knots to where he went back and erased the whole thing out of embarrassment. I was able to do that partly based on info I got here about the Equinox and just invoking your name when I was asked how I would know anything about a machine I haven't touched evoked an acknowledgment that you're one of few that can be trusted. I continue to believe that at least where you are concerned, more people here than not appreciate and trust what you do. 

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On 9/26/2015 at 4:10 PM, Steve Herschbach said:

Just to get you going here are some new metal detector bumper stickers for you....

First Texas - Even we don't know how many we make or what they're for!

Garrett - We already made a flagship detector so quit asking for one.

Minelab - The most hated name in detecting!

Tesoro - Search for the past with detectors from the past.

White's - Anything happen while we were sleeping?

These are definitely funny and accurate still to this day. As far as First Texas goes, they do continue to market way too many machines, and I believe that is partly what killed the reputation of Bounty Hunter brand. How do you take Bounty Hunter seriously with a ridiculous number of machines with often whimsical names. Don't take me wrong, I disagree with the common notion that they're all toys, but I see where that comes from. Other than that, I think they've focused on single frequency VLF too long. I'm thankful for the F75 LTD. what a machine. But it's time to make a more current version of machines like the CZ-21 etc. At this point, I trust that they realize this and now have the talent and facility to pull off an upset a lot of people in this hobby won't see coming. I believe that in the future of this hobby it will be First Texas, more than XP or Minelab we will be talking about. Time will tell if my intuition is correct. 

Garret and Tesoro to me seem to be the companies that are the most in trouble of fading into obscurity and irrelevance. Garrett too has focused on single frequency VLF for too long. Their saving grace has been new comers with the Ace 250, and satisfying the appetite for waterproof machines. They now face a dilemma where more waterproof options are surfacing rapidly now and they are machines that offer more at the same price point. Loyalty only goes so far when the gap keeps widening. The GTI 2500 seems to be a great machine. I like the idea of being able to use it as a two box or an upright. It's a great concept if they would take it and develop it with more modern options and abilities in a lighter package. 

I have had good luck in my efforts to communicate with Whites. They always read my messages or respond to my questions, listen to my ideas. But I do worry about their future. They do seem stuck in some of their ways, believing there's still a future developing single frequency VLF. They are banking too much on brand loyalty and rallying Made in the USA patriotism, something FT has recently exploited in their Ameritek rebranding. In any event, I don't get the feeling they are interested in developing any further Multifrequency units and want to jump from the single frequency machines they've been developing to messing with PI. That would be fine if they are ready to put something on the market that works, but I think the PI game is First Texas' to lose. 

What can I say about Minelab. They are on top of their game. The Equinox and the ProFind 35 are hits. The Equinox was a rock star before it ever hit the market, and the CTX-3030 has been considered king of the hill since it came out. 

Going forward these companies need to think outside the box. Take Whites, why not take a setup like the VX3 and make it a VX3/MXT hybrid. They can use the same coils etc, why not house them in the same control box with the ability to switch back and forth, and waterproof it. That would be a huge hit! I'd buy it in a second. It would wet some appetites while they develop their version of a new PI. Still would love to see a BT pinpointer that can adapt the machines discrimination ability. I'd like to see further development of "target trace" type features. I'd like to see a dual concentric coil where you could select the inner loops for trashy sites and outer loops for depth in fields etc. I'd like to see more custom parts like arm rests and shafts etc to personalize machines. People love to customize their cell phones with different cases and accessories, wallpapers etc. And I'm sure people would love to personalize a machine they feel passionate about. Someone should make nicer arm rests and shafts of all different shapes and designs. I'd actually like to see more cell phone integration as well. Minelab began exploring that with the go-find series, and there may be some ways to take advantage of the state of the art hardware these cell phones are running these days. 

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I agree with your assessment Steve about the companies. As you stated Nokta/Makro do an outstanding job communicating with their customers light years ahead of the rest. I've tried top end detectors from most current manufactors and I'm left with the Etrac and Deus. I'm no fan of Garrett. I tried to like the At pro and at max... but they lacked depth and didn't perform well in iron.... and the At Max iron audio?? Wholly Molly it will drive you crazy!

So I'm left longing to use the equinox, and my hopes are high for it!

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Steve, there are very few people with your knowledge, experience, capacity for diligent testing and ability to articulately give evaluations and insights into new and existing detectors. Please continue to do what you love. Most  of us on the forum hold your opinions and inputs in high regard. Your posts help us make better decisions and help us become better at detecting. Thank you!

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On 2/8/2018 at 9:01 AM, Steve Herschbach said:

Don’t worry Mike.... Equinox is the last time you will hear anything in advance from this “factory team member”. So that’s one less at least.

I fell into the trap of thinking people liked and appreciated getting early information about things from the only people who have access to such things. However, comments like yours are very common these days, and have convinced me that is no longer the case. When the day comes that I am seen as part of some kind of hype machine, it’s time for me to stop. It will free up lots of time! :smile:

I apologize to you and others that I offended. I should have elaborated on this a bit. First I would like to say I have nothing but respect for you and this is the only forum I visit. I actually haven't been to any forums for some time, came across yours and love what you're doing.

Second - I am sure you know what I mean Steve. There are some great people out there like you who are giving great feedback and putting good information out there but there are others who are not. Being part of the "manufacturer team" they will say and do whatever the manufacturer wants. In the last year alone I have had the opportunity to have conversations with a few testers and was shocked to find out what they really thought about detectors they had tested.

 Just like reviews, so many people doing them will tell you each new detector is the best ever. Some have been doing this for years and for many it is about making sure they get more detectors to review, not about giving real reviews to their readers. For this reason, after roughly 10 years of submitting articles to metal detecting magazines and having over 40 (every one I submitted) published, I decided to start my own blog and do REAL reviews. It hasn't been easy! Often I am asked to sign contracts stating I won't say anything negative which I refuse to do and therefore do not get to test their product but in the end, I sleep good at night knowing what I have reviewed is my honest opinion.

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I have another suggestion.  Good quality performing detectors designed and engineered.

Imo I think it smart to have at least one button on detector's control, reachable while holding detector when using.  This button (could be 2) should offer an accepting of what I call a hot setting.  Be able to be programmed with many of the detectors settings.

For example disc level, frequency, speed setting- anything really where a detectorist using in the field  may find helpful as far as direct application when detecting.  Manufacturers should be relying on actual detector use by individuals to come up with these settings to be made " hot application" through programming.  There are a few detectors that come close here but still don't do what I am recommending here.


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Hi Mike,

My take on all this is that I am a little burned out and being a whiner, which I detest. So I apologize in turn.

I have been offered many opportunities to “test” and “report” on various detectors and other items over the years, and if I can’t get behind the product I simply decline to get involved. I have never in my life signed anything that required me to be anything other than honest about what I say, and to the manufacturers credit I am surprised at times what I get away with.

The whole issue of detector testing and reporting has however weighed heavily on my mind as of late and so my response had far less to do with your post than my overall feeling that I have no desire to be part of or come across as somebody hyping anything. My real interest is in helping advance the technology somehow, and so I do enjoy working with the engineers to act as best I can as a user advocate. Due to the way non-disclosure agreements work I will never reveal what tiny parts I have played, but I am proud that I have helped make something perhaps a little better than it might have been without my help.

I do know I really have little interest anymore in run of the mill metal detectors and it really is that more than anything else that has me thinking it would take something pretty special going forward to get me interested enough to bother with.

Anyway, no more whining from me. Thanks for the comeback response!

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