By Steve Herschbach
Nuggets found using Gold Mode, MF (multifrequency). Largest 9.8 grains, two smaller 0.6 grains each. Full report here.
OK, there has been a lot of speculation on Gold Mode, and with Equinox shipping out in the next couple weeks I can now offer the basics.
Gold Mode is designed to help optimise the finding of very small items. That normally means small gold to most people, so it has been called Gold Mode.
A question that has been asked a lot. Is Gold Mode a true threshold based all metal mode? Not as I would define it.
On many VLF detectors a true, raw, unfiltered response can be seen via some pinpoint modes. All metal non-motion response.
Next would be a motion based "first derivative" all metal mode, that basically adds motion filtering to the raw pinpoint signal in an attempt to keep an even threshold while in motion. This mode has no discrimination capability at all and just signals targets. This is the classic "true" all metal mode used on early induction balance prospecting detectors. Next would be "second derivative" filtering that is the classic motion based discrimination we see on most detectors today.
Then along came dual channel processing. Many detectors started layering a visual discrimination channel onto the all metal channel, creating detectors like the that have a visual target id while in audio all metal mode. The X-Terra also has what is called "Iron Mask" while in Prospect Mode, which apparently incorporates a ferrous reject into the channel or employs a layered parallel channel. I don't know the technicalities, just that the feature is there.
Are these "true" all metal modes? Not by old school definitions. And so to me at least Gold Mode does not fit that particular definition. The threshold, while it exists, responds more to items that are nulling on masked items (which may include ground and some hot rocks) than to ground variations in the classic sense as would be expected of a pure all metal mode. However, the extra capability offered sure does not have me pining for a true threshold based all metal mode.
Gold Mode can run at MF (multifrequency), or 20 kHz or 40 khz. It does fit the definition of being an all metal mode by not being able to employ target tone identifications as is available in all other modes. You have a single tone, but it is adjustable for pitch. You do however have full time on screen target id numbers displayed at all times so you do have visual discrimination ability, but Gold Mode goes one more step, and you can also block/mask/notch just like you can in other modes. This is particularly important for the very low numbers down around -9 and -8 as some ground and hot rock responses roll in around there. Blocking low end ground responses causes the threshold to null (assuming you have it set loud enough to hear it) and so the nulling effects can alert you to ground changes and a possible need to tweak the ground balance if you are running in manual.
However, what makes Gold Mode different in my mind is the processing, and in particular the audio, which employs a VCO based boosted audio that conveys the target in a way that gives a fuller picture of target intensity. The other modes have the standard Minelab modulated "beep" that simply gets weaker or stronger depending on the size and depth of target. The Gold Mode VCO based "rising/falling" response is more akin to what is seen in machines that produce that "zippy" response on tiny targets.
The bottom line is Gold Mode can provide stronger audio responses on tiny targets. The large coil is fighting this a bit as a smaller coil or an elliptical will provide even tighter, zippier responses.
The Gold Mode is not an automatic magical solution; it is simply a mode processed in a different way that can be advantageous in some situations and not in others. I expect given how some of us are very particular about how machines sound and act that this will be a mode some people really love and others might hate. VCO tends to have that effect on people.
To sum up, Gold Mode is optimized for tiny targets, the most obvious way being with a boosted VCO type response on tiny targets, but there may be more to it than that I am unaware of. It does have both volume and threshold controls and while it is monotone the pitch can be varied. There is full time on screen (LCD) target id information as will as the ability to individually mask responses, mostly intended for hot ground/hot rock/ferrous responses but it may be used on non-ferrous targets also.
Anyway, for those who think this is a key issue for them between Equinox 600 and Equinox 800 I wanted to try and clarify this a bit while people are still in pre-order mode in case people want to rethink things. To me the Equinox 800 is something I have to have based on the audio and other advanced tuning options, and Gold Mode is just an excellent bonus. in other words, I would still get the Equinox 800 even if Gold Mode did not exist. That's just me however and for others that lean differently hopefully this helps you out.
Second day in this site. It never got over 42 today, the wind was around 20-30 mph all day. I went out dressed like I was yesterday and had to go back for a heavy hoodie and heated socks. Got Reynauds in my hands and feet, unbelievable pain if they get too cold.
The reason I went right back is because the first coin I found is either an early American penny or a King George, or not... 🤔 It's 1 1/8 inches in diameter and weighs 9.7 grams. No really identifiable lettering, just the bust facing right. Big coin. The only way to "read" it is the good old flashlight trick.
Left to right: small crude button signaled a whopping 22. Might be silver. I didn't know it was a button until I cleaned it a bit. Small Great Seal button, backmark "New York Button", might be WW1. Second Marine button, this one in much better shape. 1860s. 1800s button marked Treble Gilt. Two wheat pennies, a 1919 and a 1937. Heart shaped locket, brass that may have been gold plated. I'm afraid to try and open it! Two aluminum geegaws marked HOLLY US PAT'S. At first I thought they were pull tabs. 😀 Next is a heavy silverplated handle, possibly razor or magnifying glass.
Honestly the bust on the coin looks like Lincoln, but they never made a penny or half penny that big with him on it! 🙂
Great day but windy, 20 with gusts to 30. I could hardly hear my headphones sometimes and the wind kept blowing my spade around.
Went to the site of an old farmhouse in my permission, at first I just scouted about but then switched to grid search using my flag sticks. It's not a huge area but will take a few days to search completely.
Gotta say I was surprised to find any military objects at all. If you read my other posts your know this area never really saw war except for 1812, and that was only a very short skirmish that occurred nearly in my backyard.
But find militaria I did! The site is as trashy as the other one I went to yesterday but just in the small area where the house stood.
Found a decorated cutlery handle, looks like it might be a small teaspoon. There are marks and decorations, but nothing legible. The oval plate has a coin like border around it but also has nothing stamped or engraved other than the border. Next is some sort of part maybe to a machine or gun. The broken circular object seems to be tin.
Large buckle is probably silverplated, it may be military. Two knurled knobs I found far apart that may be for holding a military device but I haven't found it yet! Some weird geegaw and a 1918 wheat penny. It was the last thing I found, It dates the finds somewhat.
Saved the best for last, a colonial era button, and two military buttons. The left one I cannot identify but the right one is possibly 1864 to 1866 Marines. I did reverse image search on Goog. Anyone with an id for the other?
Last is a shotgun shell , the UMC Union star primer is 1901-1912.
Having been in and out of detecting for the last 35 years, decided to get back into it after selling all my equipment 2 years ago. Bought an Equinox 600 and plan on trying it out next week on the coast, the only unfrozen ground in my area. Really looking forward to getting used to it since it is quite different than my prior Fisher CZ-21. My plan for this season is to hit dry sand beaches, water shallows(since I don’t have waterproof headphones yet), school yards, parks, and old house foundations. I don’t plan on detecting deeper water for now, but towards the end of our short season here in Maine, I’ll give my detector a few good dunkings to see if it leaks. After reading some of this forums posts, I’m concerned about putting my season in jeopardy if it does leak. I would be interested in hearing from those of you who have NOT had problems detecting in say 5’ or so of water, especially fresh water. All my water hunting in the past has been in fresh water, not salt. Also, has ML corrected the problem with the “ears” of the coil breaking? From some of my reading here it seems to have been a problem.
I guess we can’t add videos to our posts? Anyway, the default setting FE and F2 is 2. I set out a gold ring, old square I ron nail, and quarter. With FE or F2 set at defaults of 2, it seems to mask these targets. Set to zero all is good. (This is an EQ600). This seems to contradict the original videos that came out when the detector did. Beach2 program.