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Analog Vs Digital


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This is probably one of the dumbest questions I'll ever ask.

Is there any advantage of an old Analog detector like the original Gold Bug over a newer Digital model?

Thanks!

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Depends on what you mean by advantage, as in, is there something special about digital per se? Not particularly. The main advantage is that you can stuff way more functionality in a light package. Hard wired analog circuits are heavy and expensive. It's impossible to get really versatile with analog as far as all the options one can do with digital, where you are changing a program, not an entire hardwired circuit.

It's kind of like asking is a digital phone any better than an old rotary phone. If all you are doing is making a phone call, not really. But how many of us still use rotary phones?

Some people talk about how the audio is better in old analog machines, or whatever. You can certainly use them and go find stuff, and so more power to anyone who loves and wants to stay with their old analog detector. For me, I have gone down the nostalgia road a few times, but going back to an older model has always disappointed. They were good when I had them, but they are not as good as what I have now. I finally learned my lesson there, and no more looking back for me when it comes to the older models.

Some vacuum tube people probably thought things were going downhill with those new-fangled transistor devices. It happens with every shift in technology.

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4 minutes ago, Steve Herschbach said:

Depends on what you mean by advantage, as in, is there something special about digital per se? Not particularly. The main advantage is that you can stuff way more functionality in a light package. Hard wired analog circuits are heavy and expensive. It's impossible to get really versatile with analog as far as all the options one can do with digital, where you are changing a program, not an entire hardwired circuit.

It's kind of like asking is a digital phone any better than an old rotary phone. If all you are doing is making a phone call, not really. But how many of us still use rotary phones?

Some people talk about how the audio is better in old analog machines, or whatever. You can certainly use them and go find stuff, and so more power to anyone who loves and wants to stay with their old analog detector. For me, I have gone down the nostalgia road a few times, but going back to an older model has always disappointed. They were good when I had them, but they are not as good as what I have now. I finally learned my lesson there, and no more looking back for me when it comes to the older models.

Unless you want to hang it on the wall, and reminisce about the good old days, as the song says 'these are the good old days', gee I miss Carly Simon and Neil Young and Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd and I wonder what happened to........... ? Oh and Joy Division and...

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Great to reminisce but the newer detectors outperform the old.  One caveat here is audio quality - I think some of the newer detectors lack really great audio quality to go along with the increased performance.  Just the opinion of a retired telco tech that has tested a few too many circuits.  

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Out of interest, what causes these modern VLF's to be bump sensitive with their coils? Especially the higher frequency gold prospecting VLF's, it seems to be a common trait on them.  The analog Gold Bug 2 being the most sensitive of the lot is rock solid, no bump sensitivity which can be a huge advantage in certain situations.

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First, not all new VLFs are coil bump sensitive. Just the opposite. The ones that are tend to be the ones jacking the gain to the max i.e. nugget detecting. And when it happens, it often is related to where the ground balance setting is.

So more knock at overdriven high gain settings (Minelab Gold Monster best example) and varies depending on the ground balance setting, which means it may be better in some locations, and worse in others.

Or it’s just a bad coil. :smile:

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22 hours ago, Bohemia Miner said:

This is probably one of the dumbest questions I'll ever ask.

Is there any advantage of an old Analog detector like the original Gold Bug over a newer Digital model?

Thanks!

 

19 hours ago, UtahRich said:

Great to reminisce but the newer detectors outperform the old.  One caveat here is audio quality - I think some of the newer detectors lack really great audio quality to go along with the increased performance.  Just the opinion of a retired telco tech that has tested a few too many circuits.  

First off there is no such thing as a dumb question, And UtahRich mentions audio quality, that's a coincidence because Steve compares tubes and transistors, but not, I think in a negative light just comparing old and new. In fact many audiophiles make a case for tube amplifiers and records. So at times what we think has been superseded, sometimes still has a niche. I was looking at Jennifer's topic, 'Don't Be Throwing Those 4500's into The Tip Yet Kids' and was interested to read that some said that the older P.I. machines had advantages over the newer ones. For those that have owned both I would like to hear your thoughts.

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I would not call any of the GPX models old yet. The simple answer is they were far more complex due to the vast number of settings, something Minelab moved away from completely with the GPX 6000. The older models can excel if you get the magic setting for your ground, but generally for a specific range of gold size, demanding more than one go at the ground, with different settings, and probably a different coil. Still, you could tackle about anything with enough time and expertise.

The main problem is many people lacked the expertise, not knowing what setting to use and when to set it, and how to manage the complex interplay between settings. People relied on canned settings, not really knowing if they were appropriate or not. Long story short “better” is all in the ye of the beholder. Just as an example, here is the simplified tuning guide for the earlier GPX models. More at the link.

The general goal with the newer models is to capture more gold in fewer passes, with fewer settings.

https://www.detectorprospector.com/magazine/steves-guides/minelab-gpx-4000-4500-5000-manuals-timing-charts/

minelab-gpx-choosing-correct-timing-large.jpg
 

The GPX 6000 was a direct repudiation of this creeping in of settings over successive generations of Minelab PI detectors. It starred with the SD2000 and almost no controls. Then every model for twenty years just added another control or setting, until we woke up one day with the GPX 5000, and more settings than any normal person can understand or manage. The 6000 went 180 degrees, and basically asked the question “how few controls can we gave and still have it work?” They pared it down to almost nothing by comparison, but ended up with a machine that actually works better for the average person.

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For me, the main advantage to the older analog detectors is the lack of a meter. It is much easier to be more disciplined to dig all nonferous items when you do not have the option to cherry pick or to pass up "obvious" pull tab or foil signals, especially when tired. I have found more gold rings with analog machines than with digital.

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18 hours ago, BigSkyGuy said:

For me, the main advantage to the older analog detectors is the lack of a meter. It is much easier to be more disciplined to dig all nonferous items when you do not have the option to cherry pick or to pass up "obvious" pull tab or foil signals, especially when tired. I have found more gold rings with analog machines than with digital.

Duct tape? :smile:

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