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I authorized Minelab to publish an edited version of a couple forum posts I made that may not make other manufacturers very happy. In a nutshell I say that with the Equinox 600 feature list and $649 price tag, why would anyone pay more than $600 for any run of the mill single frequency detector, no matter how good? Assuming the Equinox performs of course, which I am extremely sure is not an issue :wink:

Some people may take issue with that but it is honestly how I feel about it, so check it out at https://www.minelab.com/go-minelabbing/treasure-talk/minelab-equinox-unprecedented-anticipation

And got a plug in for the new forum!!

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Steve, you did the right thing. You told it like it is! Has any other manufacturer listened? In an earlier post, I mentioned exactly what I wanted in a new detector. I don't know if Minelab was listening, but the got it correct and you said it for all of us. Thanks again Steve.

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Steve’s conclusion is logical.  If your needs are completely served by a $650 Detector - why pay more?

If the Equinox 600 performs as advertised, spending more than $650 for ANY Detector has to be justified on the basis of what job the buyer has to do that the EQ 600 can’t do satisfactorily.  That applies not only to singlefreakers but multifreakers as well.  Heck, it even applies to the EQ 800, not to mention the CTX.

So what do the other makers do?  First of all, they have to deliver value for money.  I think this process began before the Equinox was announced. For the past year, First Texas has been offering special pricing on Detectors, notably by introducing their AmeriTek line of machines which were agressively re-priced units from each of FT’s three product lines. Now they have pre-announced the T2+ and F75+.  We will see soon enough what “value proposition” these products offer - price, features, packages, etc. Offering proven existing technology at agressively lower prices or in true value-added packages will become more common.

The rules of the game in the high end of the detector business have clearly changed.  The Equinox at it’s agressive price point wasn’t necessarily the cause of this.  It is quite possible that a general slow-down in sales at the top end - especially in North America along with the increasing competition from “fast followers” like Nokta/Makro and some East European companies have created a marketplace where  $2000 general purpose detectors are pretty much over, even $1200 detectors are a tough sell.

All of this is also a reflection of the underlying problem which Steve has pointed out elsewhere - that no manufacturer is offering us truly new technology which changes how we locate and identify targets.  VLF IB Detectors - single frequency, multifrequency or a combination thereof, are not new - and none of them represent any sort of breakthrough in performance. Minelab is clearly saying that the Eq detectors are not “better” than the CTX. 

Here are my thoughts on how a manufacturer can break the $650 barrier which the EQ 600 might be imposing on the marketplace.

One way to sell detectors for >$1000 would be by offering new breakthrough technology that gives:

Solid ferrous/nonferrous ID on coin sized targets at depts beyond 12” in even the most mineralized soils, including black sand and Culpepper VA.  

Unmasking abilities not available today like the old 100 kHz machines ability to see through nails etc, but do so to full depth not as couple of inches like the old Compass machines. 

‘Learning” software which incorporates USER feedback to “tune” the machine to the current context of the hunt - by this I mean the ability of the user after digging the last of - let’s say three -  zinc pennies - to “tell” the Detector that the last three signals were zinc pennies and so, until the ground conditions change and make the conclusion invalid, ignore targets whose data matches the data you have for the last two targets matching this one - a sort of super adaptive “notch” ability.

Advanced user feedback via better visual and especially audio operator interfaces - go read Keith /Southern’s posts on Dankowski about “blendy/bleedy” audio.

Coil/detector communication allowing the coil’s performance to be tuned to the site - one optimum sized standard coil which could perform broad “sweep” coverage or narrowly focused trashy site selectivity.  No coil changes needed unless physical access demanded a physically smaller coil.

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I certainly did not say there is no market for more expensive detectors that have features that justify the price. My point is made purely in reference to the huge number of single frequency VLF detectors, and that would certainly include most of the First Texas stable of detectors. With the ever increasing number of models from companies, especially flooding the 13 - 19 kHz segment, it was only a matter of time before a shakeout occurred. I think Nokta/Makro was more the start of it than anyone.

There has been a parity for years where a 14 kHz White’s MXT at $799 set a performance / price point. For what seemed like ages I described $799 as a bang for the buck “sweet spot” because every company has a great mid-frequency do-it-all machine near that price. You could price almost any detector by comparing it to the $799 models and seeing how it fit into the equation. Lower price and higher price models came along, but that $799 price point was very resistant to change for a long time.

I would now say that $499 is shaping up as the new “bang for the buck” single frequency VLF price point with $599 for more deluxe models.

15 kHz Garrett AT Pro $552

19kHz Fisher F19 $449

14 kHz Makro Standard Racer $499

18.75 kHz Minelab X-Terra 705 $499

13 kHz Teknetics T2 Classic $499

14 kHz White’s MX7 $549

The whole mid-frequency (teens) VLF segment has been so flooded with models that for the last two years all I could think about each new introduction has been "just another mid-frequency detector". They are good detectors, no disputing that, but single frequency really is old tech at this point and any decent engineer can make a very good single frequency VLF detector.

The Chinese have been remarkably slow to get up to speed with metal detectors compared to other consumer products. They have cornered the market in counterfeits but have yet to make a serious impact with legitimate detector models. That also is changing and I will not be surprised to see very good, very low cost detectors from China also putting pressure on the low end.

Another trend just showing the tip of its nose is the decision by Teknetics to emphasize factory direct sales over dealer sales. The Teknetics website has been refashioned as TekneticsDirect.com "Factory Direct Sales Of Metal Detecting Equipment". I floated the idea of somebody doing the factory direct thing for years - in fact I suggested it to Troy Galloway a long time ago. It would have helped the Troy detector problem of too many fingers in the pie and resulting uncompetitive pricing. Tesoro was another brand that could have gone that way as they lost dealer shelf space. Just cut out the dealer and sell online for dealer cost, bring prices down dramatically. This looks to be the new Teknetics model going forward and it can also act to pull prices down if it catches on.

It is ironic that the company that for so long did nothing but push prices higher that Minelab has made such a dramatic turn around and has in fact now become the outfit pushing prices lower. I guess they saw the writing on the wall and instead of fighting the industry shakeout decided to trigger it.

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At times the truth can be very painful.:biggrin:

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If the IQ technology is truly  awesome, I would not be surprised to see Minelab roll out + $1000 detectors using this technology.

A replacement Etrac & CTx if you will.   

Lytle makes some interesting hints of what could be coming down the pipe as far as technological advances. Will we see that stuff incorporated into some type of Pulse unit, that would be interesting.

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