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Here are three detectors that offer three different ways to do multi-frequency.

First up, the detector on the right, the XP DEUS. This detector allows you to choose from one of four different frequencies, and run any single one at a time. You can choose from 4, 8, 12, or 18 kHz.

Second, we have the detector on the far left, the Minelab CTX 3030. This detector looks at a range of frequencies and analyzes several at once. Transmitted frequencies is a bit of marketing magic; all that matters is what a detector processes. The CTX 3030 processes two or three frequencies simultaneously, comparing the results with advanced algorithms to deliver target information. There is no option to process single frequencies.

Finally, the detector in the middle, the White's V3i. This detector employs three frequencies, and is unique in that it can process and compare results from all three simultaneously, or run any one single frequency. The choices are 2.5, 7.5, and 22.5 kHz.

In a nutshell low frequencies are less reactive to ground minerals and produce cleaner signals on coin size high conductive targets. Low frequencies also better discern ferrous from non-ferrous items. High frequencies are more reactive to ground mineralization and have more issues identifying ferrous trash, but respond better to small low conductive items. Frequencies under 10 kHz tend to be "coin frequencies", 10 kHz to 15 kHz is a good "all around frequency range", and over 15 kHz tends to be the realm of prospecting detectors, though higher frequencies are seeing more use now with others attempting to pull small non-ferrous items out of ferrous trash. European hunters looking for small coins and relic hunters looking for bullets and other items are leaning higher frequency these days.

Usually choosing a single frequency will deliver the most power and depth. That is why you do not see multi-frequency nugget detectors, and why out of the three detectors discussed here the Deus with its 18 kHz mode and V3i with its 22.5 kHz mode offer better potential as prospecting units than the CTX 3030. Detectors that process multiple frequencies have a clear edge when running on mineralized salt water beaches. A single frequency can handle the mineralization, or the salt effect, but not both at once. Multi-frequency detectors are the preferred solution for salt water beach applications (not counting PI detectors), and so the CTX 3030 and V3i have a clear edge over the Deus in this regard.

Multiple frequency analysis can offer superb discrimination capabilities. When people talk about depth on multi-frequency detectors what they are really talking about is accurate target identification at depth. Many detectors will detect deeper than the multi-frequency units, but not while delivering accurate target id results. The Minelab Explorers and CTX are generally acknowledged as being on the forefront in this regard, no doubt due to the highly secret algorithms they employ to deliver target id results.

Anyway, the three detectors here have three different ways of handling the options. In theory the V3i offers the best of both worlds - the ability to run any one frequency or three at once. In practice the V3i is so complex few people ever fully master its capabilities but I do think they have the right idea. A much requested idea for the XP Deus, which is updateable via software, is the ability to run multiple frequencies. On salt water beaches at least this offers an indisputable advantage. Presumably an update to the CTX could offer the ability to run a single frequency, but so far Minelab has shown no interest in such options. It does appear that is where we are heading though - detectors that through proper design and software can become most anything the operator desires.

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XP Deus coils are fully warranteed as waterproof. But due to communication issues between the coil and control box when submerged it is about the last detector I would suggest a person buy for underwater use. Fine up on the dry beach though.

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