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Opinions Wanted On The Future Of Detecting


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Not sure where this belongs on the forum, (or if it even belongs here), but this seemed to be the best category to discuss this. Ever since information on the GPX 6000 started to trickle out, I had this nagging feeling something in detecting has changed for those of us who like the thrill of getting to know a new detector. I never would have envisioned the GPX line morphing into a simplified detector. After having the GPX 5000 for a bunch of years now, and using it for relic and beach hunting, I could not imagine relying on a machine that adjust everything for you. I get it that money talks, and when you are a publicly traded company, you go for profit first, and then deny it 😄 And now that there market has switched to an area that probably has very little experience with detectors, the GPX 5000 must have been daunting for them.  So they cater to that market. But I was hoping that a new GPX would fix some of the issues that the 5000 had. I was naive. Minelab has never kept the good parts of their previous machines and just added the the things that needed improvements. On the E trac, the best part of it was the depth it had in finding deep silver,  in long tones, multi. Also the bouncy numbers helped ID deep Indians. When the CTX came out, it lost some of that fluety tone and they tried to straighten out the numbers to a number 12 line. So a two dimensional screen that worked well was transformed into a 2 dimensional screen that bunched most targets on one line. The The EQ comes out and squashes out the numbers even further. So why I thought the 6000 would not do the same is beyond me. I guess I'm disappointing that the "trend" is to make machines where the manufacturer decides on how your machine is going to be set. I hope someone in my area gets a 6000 and is willing to bring it to the beach to compare settings on deep silver. If it wins, then I will eat my words. I know I will get some slack with people saying it's a gold machine, not a relic or beach machine, but to them I would say.... you should be worried when a company controls your ability to fine tune your machine. Thoughts?

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I don't know what to tell you other than markets and technology move on.  I think the people at Minelab which have been there from the beginning and the new people that have been added make for a mix now that still produces quality detectors from a marketing and technological standpoint.  There are not too many people who would 'trade back' the latest detector for an old one if they have had a chance to use the new ones.  I still have all my old ones that I don't use any more ... or at least not much.  You enjoy a 'sweet spot' of using a powerful detector (the 5000) and most admit the number of adjustment on it are daunting.  I have one too.  (I also had one of the AQs like you have but sold it.  So I'm not only stuck on Minelab.)  When the 7000 came out (it was not a continuation number) I stopped using my 5000 but I'm also aware that the 7000 does not make a good relic detector.  I can't use it at the beach either.  Maybe this 6000 should have been named something else like Gold Demon then there would be 'less' expected of it as a continuation of a line of detectors.  I'm certain that the 6000 will find its fans and its gold or Minelab would not put out such a high end detector.  Their 'new' market has to be younger people than us with a few extra thousands to just take a couple of weekends a year and go out and find several ounces of gold.  It may happen.  Look at all the new finds in England this past year with the lockdowns.  The 'proof' in the 6000 will be its ability to ignore bad ground conditions.  If you can 'turn it on and go' as a high end machine like a Vanquish then they are one step closer to the holy grail.  This means it will ignore salt, mineralization, hot rocks and other impediments to gold prospectors.  I hope there is someone like you who will make it work for relics too and it can be made to ignore iron but I haven't read much about that.  Maybe with fewer adjustments it will just be a better detector for more than just gold.

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My opinion on detecting now or in the future is simple.

No mater how much technology changes there will always be someone out there detecting just for the fun of it.

Through out the years there have been many changes to the design of metal detectors and there will always be changes made to them. The best is yet to come from the factories who are smaller as they are the ones that are hungry for a bigger market share. I see items being found long after I am gone with detectors.

People want to find things with any type of tool that they can get, a pick, a shovel, and even a detector.

We love the challenge and that is what makes us unique.

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7 hours ago, mn90403 said:

I don't know what to tell you other than markets and technology move on.  I think the people at Minelab which have been there from the beginning and the new people that have been added make for a mix now that still produces quality detectors from a marketing and technological standpoint.  There are not too many people who would 'trade back' the latest detector for an old one if they have had a chance to use the new ones.  I still have all my old ones that I don't use any more ... or at least not much.  You enjoy a 'sweet spot' of using a powerful detector (the 5000) and most admit the number of adjustment on it are daunting.  I have one too.  (I also had one of the AQs like you have but sold it.  So I'm not only stuck on Minelab.)  When the 7000 came out (it was not a continuation number) I stopped using my 5000 but I'm also aware that the 7000 does not make a good relic detector.  I can't use it at the beach either.  Maybe this 6000 should have been named something else like Gold Demon then there would be 'less' expected of it as a continuation of a line of detectors.  I'm certain that the 6000 will find its fans and its gold or Minelab would not put out such a high end detector.  Their 'new' market has to be younger people than us with a few extra thousands to just take a couple of weekends a year and go out and find several ounces of gold.  It may happen.  Look at all the new finds in England this past year with the lockdowns.  The 'proof' in the 6000 will be its ability to ignore bad ground conditions.  If you can 'turn it on and go' as a high end machine like a Vanquish then they are one step closer to the holy grail.  This means it will ignore salt, mineralization, hot rocks and other impediments to gold prospectors.  I hope there is someone like you who will make it work for relics too and it can be made to ignore iron but I haven't read much about that.  Maybe with fewer adjustments it will just be a better detector for more than just gold.

Agreed. I too have moved up from the old machines, (hence trying the AQ) not just because they were new, but because they worked better. My fear is that the future will limit who decides what works better. I've noticed that when a manufacturer breaks into the market, they are very willing and eager to make the best machine possible. But after a while it seems they are more worried about market share and not as much about quality or what we are looking for.  So let me pose a question to anyone who has the 7000: Do you feel you could have gotten more out of the 7000 if it allowed you more control and more choices than it offered you. In other words, if it had some or most of the GPX controls and options, do you think it would have allowed you to gain more gold? How about if you were allowed after market coils?? I'm sure the 6000 is going to find many good homes and probably some that will not like it, but at the prices they are now going for, trying one out to see if it's good, is out of the question for most people.  Technology always moves on and that is a good thing, but limiting choices counteracts that technology in a way. I hope it is a great machine, but we can only wait and see as always. The proof comes out when some of the most experienced gold people get their hands on it. If they like the lack of adjustments, and it produces gold in worked out areas or trouble areas, then we know it's real and not just fancy advertising.

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Step back ~70 years and ask the same question about automobile transmissions (automatic vs. manual).  We still have both available although automatics dominate the market.  Auto racing experimented with automatics in the 1970's but AFAIK the current top-of-the-line racers still use manual trannies.  (Well, some of those have pushbutton shifters....)  So the new tech hasn't performed as well as the old at the very pinnacle of performance demand.

Or back ~30 years and the introduction of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI's) to replace command line processing (remember MS-DOS?).  LINUX/UNIX (with both options) is thriving, admittedly with a small market share.

One thing I've noticed from the sidelines (but it's been emphasized in other threads, by Gerry and others) is that for once we enthusiasts aren't the catered to buyers of the newest state-of-the-art detector.  ML might have been satisfied to just sell the GPX 6000 Africa -- its apparent primary market.

One big difference (of many) between autos and detectors -- automobiles have never been dominated (that is, monopolized) by a single company so competition prevented what you envision.  I guess we'll know eventually if your Orwellian nightmare becomes a widespread reality.

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I think in general companies strive for automation and simplicity to attract new customers rather than cater to the needs or wishes of existing seasoned customers where the sale is over. Seems like Nokta still tries to listen to customers wishes and wasn't too long ago Garrett had a questionnaire for a wish list of features. The rest of the companies, feature requests seem to fall on deaf ears and they just do their own thing.

You would think it would be wiser to listen to existing customers and put in the features they want as many new people to the hobby are attracted to the hobby from existing users and learn from them.

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36 minutes ago, GB_Amateur said:

Step back ~70 years and ask the same question about automobile transmissions (automatic vs. manual).  We still have both available although automatics dominate the market.  Auto racing experimented with automatics in the 1970's but AFAIK the current top-of-the-line racers still use manual trannies.  (Well, some of those have pushbutton shifters....)  So the new tech hasn't performed as well as the old at the very pinnacle of performance demand.

Or back ~30 years and the introduction of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI's) to replace command line processing (remember MS-DOS?).  LINUX/UNIX (with both options) is thriving, admittedly with a small market share.

One thing I've noticed from the sidelines (but it's been emphasized in other threads, by Gerry and others) is that for once we enthusiasts aren't the catered to buyers of the newest state-of-the-art detector.  ML might have been satisfied to just sell the GPX 6000 Africa -- its apparent primary market.

One big difference (of many) between autos and detectors -- automobiles have never been dominated (that is, monopolized) by a single company so competition prevented what you envision.  I guess we'll know eventually if your Orwellian nightmare becomes a widespread reality.

True. I guess if I were the manufacturer, I could cater to both sides and sell more machines. Why not upgrade the 5000 using the existing options, or redesigning of the original controls, but also put some really good presets in for those who just want to turn on and go detecting? They kind of did this with the Equinox, why not the 6000? Alienating any market is a bad idea in my book. They may not need us in this particular situation, but maybe they will need us in the future? IF Alexandre comes up with a land version of the AQ, I, for the first time in a long time, would consider it over Minelab. In the old days, I was a true White's guy. I did very well with them, until they left the door open for Minelab to enter. The only reason I bought an E trac was because their Vision (aka Spectra V3) was delayed and unavailable when I needed it. In a way Minelab disregarding sales in the US is kind of a slap in the face for all the loyalty we have shown them. Maybe it's a calculated risk or maybe they just don't care, but it's distasteful to some of us who have posted great finds with their machines.

35 minutes ago, kac said:

I think in general companies strive for automation and simplicity to attract new customers rather than cater to the needs or wishes of existing seasoned customers where the sale is over. Seems like Nokta still tries to listen to customers wishes and wasn't too long ago Garrett had a questionnaire for a wish list of features. The rest of the companies, feature requests seem to fall on deaf ears and they just do their own thing.

You would think it would be wiser to listen to existing customers and put in the features they want as many new people to the hobby are attracted to the hobby from existing users and learn from them.

If I were Nokta, Fisher or Garrett, I would be introducing something soon and take advantage of the opportunity to gain back some market share.

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18 minutes ago, schoolofhardNox said:

If I were Nokta, Fisher or Garrett, I would be introducing something soon and take advantage of the opportunity to gain back some market share.

They know this too and, as far as rumors go, all 3 are in the process of doing just that.

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Are controls for controls sake the desire? I thought we wanted performance? If performance can be had with fewer controls, why would you want more controls?

In my opinion the premise is flawed i.e. more controls equals better performance. If that were true that machines were being dumbed down and less effective, it would be a scary thought, but I do not accept that it is true. A machine can have fewer controls, be more powerful, and get better results, than a machine with tons of controls.

The 5000 is an excellent example of people getting poor performance due to complexity, because half the people running the detector are using various timings, with little or no understanding of what they are doing. They are using Fine Gold because they think it’s the best mode for fine gold (it’s not), or because somebody on the internet gave them canned settings. Using a machine that is not set properly is not a good thing, and few people could swear the settings they have with the 5000 are correct. In fact, they cannot be correct, as no one setting in the 5000 captures the gold in one pass, that takes multiple passes with multiple settings. I do not find that desirable, but a time waster. The GPZ was a big step in both reducing the number of controls, while vastly improving the number of targets found on the first pass.

Count me in for more power and performance, but I do not vote for more controls, but fewer. In other words, this photo below is not what I think I want, but if more controls are better, this is a real winner. Or how about a Whites V3i? It has way more controls than a GPX 5000, so it must be more powerful, right?

Long story short, as a guy involved in the development end.... no, we are not trying to figure out ways to add more controls, and make the detectors more complex. That would be going backwards, not forwards. But do not worry. You will be able to buy detectors with as many controls as you want for as long as you want them. No matter which way the wind blows, machines will get better at finding stuff, not worse.

Not the goal as far as I am concerned....

463A0790-09F4-460A-BFBF-0FB510B7C454.jpeg

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I agree with better performance with less manual controls. 

However, to the dedicated detectorists... the more manual adjustments, the easier it is to separate a seasoned and experienced detectorist from a "Newbie" or "Weekend Warrior" (with no offense intended to those just starting out or those that are only able to hunt occasionally).  Everybody wants to turn on the machine, swing twice and find a gold cache.  For those who have taken the time and extreme effort to learn the more complex machines (some mentioned above..  Blisstool, CTX, V3i, etc), finding the correct combination of settings, is almost as great a reward as finding that valuable target that nobody else has.  

The gateway is the question "what settings are you using", which in some is an attempt to make a manual control machine... more automatic (I am guilty of asking this question, though, I have tried to use that is information in my own research, rather than just plugging and going).  We all know, every region, every site, every target, is a little different... so a hunter really needs to understand the settings to tweak accordingly.  These tweaks are being made in the more automated machines, eliminating the need for a user control.  

I am guilty of both, so I guess I can be criticized from both sides.   I want an easy machine (at times), but I also enjoy learning a complex one (and really feel rewarded by finding a valued target at a hard hunted site with a more manual machine).  But the advancements in technology really should create "bigger,better,faster" with more automation.  

So, to the original question... the future of detecting is most assuredly more automation, less controls, and better performance.  

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