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If I could only have one machine, at this point, of the ones that are out I would easily go with the Whites V3i. This is not a machine choice for the average joe, but it offers the most opportunity by far to grow in knowledge and capability. The combinations of adjustments are endless. There are Turn on and go programs and default settings as well, but to me it's strength lies in the ability to be a Metal Detecting University. I see mostly etrac choices, and that is a great machine as well. When I faced the dilemma of what top tier machine to go with last year it was the FBS bias toward silver that kept me from going that route, and sure enough I found the V3i to be a bit more consistent across the spectrum of metals. I think at this point the only two things I envy are the more accurate discrimination and target prediction of FBS (however, once you thoroughly understand the V3i you can create new programs rearranging the entire VDI system, assigning or even creating different predictions to different numbers and number ranges.) The other feature would be target trace on the CTX-3030, which can come in very handy in certain situations. 

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Personally I like the E-trac over the CTX. The VDI is more stable on the E-trac especially in the coin range. With an e-trac I can tell the difference 99% of the time between a penny and dime. %40 percent of the time on a CTX.

 With that said I think personally I would choose a Nokta Impact..The only thing I have seen that I like better about the E-trac is FBS technology (explorers, e-trac, ctx) have the best, most stable VDI's. Where the Nokta isn't quite as stable with my little bit of experience it is very close and it's a much better balanced detector, more affordable, DEEP, even deeper than the E-trac/CTX and I love the Iron volume setting

 

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8 hours ago, ☠ Cipher said:

If I could only have one machine, at this point, of the ones that are out I would easily go with the Whites V3i. 

I checked it out, and it's a good looking machine for sure. As a newbie though, my mind is toward the release of the Equinox 800. HOWEVER, what you are saying about this V3i, and the fact that it allows for "growing into it" does interest me. It looks like I still have a little time to research before the 800 hits the market. For my purposes, it would be nice to be into my first machine by the time the snow melts here in Minnesota... Usually around first of April. Thanks for the tip.

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8 hours ago, Mike Haer said:

Personally I like the E-trac over the CTX. The VDI is more stable on the E-trac especially in the coin range. With an e-trac I can tell the difference 99% of the time between a penny and dime. %40 percent of the time on a CTX.

Before I found the Equinox 800 (Still waiting), I was set towards the E-trac, which was competing with the 3030 in my mind. So question: Being you seem to have experience with both, which of these two as a coin detector, would be best to easily jump to a hard core gold finder? The 3030, or the E-trac? Then as a follow up, any first impressions on how the 800 is going to fare as a gold finder?

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10 hours ago, Vez said:

I have had both the Etrac and the 3030 and they are both great machines,

First off, thanks for taking a minute with me. Secondly, VERY COOL map. That looks like it was a lot of fun to put together.

So here is where my mind is at: With regards to frequencies and coils and such, being a newbie that has never owned a machine before, I am starting to catch on a little from the conversations I've been having, but still a little lost. I won't know for sure until I actually buy my first machine and just start detecting. That said though, before I plunk down $1K-$4K on a set up, I want to be sure my first machine fits my ultimate goals.

The ultimate goal is to own 2 main machines, understanding that there may be a few specialized machines in between. My first main machine, I want to be a Hi-Tech coin finder, that can also be very sufficient in finding Gold. My second main machine I want to be used as a monster gold finder ONLY. All arrows seem to point to Minelab to accommodate those goals, with them having a wide range of Hi-Tech machines used by professionals. Obviously the monster gold finder is going to be either the 5000, but more likely the 7000. Which leaves me back at pulling the trigger on my first machine.

At first I went back and forth between the 3030, and the E-trac, with the E-Trac winning the race for no other reason than it was the most recommended. Again, I'm a newbie that is still learning how it all works. But then I found that Minelab was coming out with the Equinox 800.

So understanding all of this, what are your thoughts now?

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If this is your first machine, but you're thinking about putting down considerable cash I'd try to scoop up an Equinox by the sounds of it. Sounds easy to use, yet powerful, accurate, and versatile. 

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If you are not in a terrible rush I would go with the 800.  It will be a great coin machine and have good saltwater gold capability if you go beach hunting.  The 3030 does good with gold in saltwater as well, but I doubt it is finding nuggets as small as what I am seeing in 800 pictures.  Minelab has always produced top notch coin shooters.

Minelab is having a sale for military folks for 15% off, if you have DD214 or active duty ID, but the line to get an 800 is looooong.  I signed up for one today after finding out that the Equinox had a feature that I have enjoyed as far back as the Explorer.  I am number 60 in line with the dealer I chose to do business with.

Yes the map is way cool, but it seems like the community has dubbed that option moot.  Alternatively one could use a phone or GPS to do geo cache. 

Cant wait to hear what you go with and how much fun you have!  Maybe get your gold machine first while waiting for the 800!!!!

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2 hours ago, NuggetBuddy said:

Before I found the Equinox 800 (Still waiting), I was set towards the E-trac, which was competing with the 3030 in my mind. So question: Being you seem to have experience with both, which of these two as a coin detector, would be best to easily jump to a hard core gold finder? The 3030, or the E-trac? Then as a follow up, any first impressions on how the 800 is going to fare as a gold finder?

I  can not answer the first question. I have never been a gold hunter although someday I would like the opportunity. I would guess like anything else it will take a little time to learn a new detector and I'm sure there are things you will need to learn doing a whole different form of detecting.

Without the 800 being released and we are only seeing feedback from people under contract, I personally would wait a bit and see what the general public thinks about it but being able to run at 20 and 40 khz it should do well.

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1 hour ago, NuggetBuddy said:

 My first main machine, I want to be a Hi-Tech coin finder, that can also be very sufficient in finding Gold.

So understanding all of this, what are your thoughts now?

Your 1st post you wanted a coin shooter....now you want that machine to double as a gold machine?  I'll withdraw my recommendation of the etrac then......it's primarily a COIN machine, that is where it excels.........

 

good luck

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15 hours ago, Vez said:

I have had both the Etrac and the 3030 and they are both great machines, but the 5 tone mode where you have 4 tones for conductivity and 1 tone for high Fe content has mad a huge difference in how I find coins and relics in parks.  I hunt with a wide open screen on the 3030 and I had to discriminate with the Etrac.  There is a huge cost difference in them, but in the last 4 years of 3030 ownership I have seen the value.  I like being able to go snorkeling with it and the ability to map your hunts and mark where you found a keeper has been valuable to me too.

As for the different sized coils they allow you to go deeper on smaller targets with a bigger coil, or get better desperation of targets with a smaller coil.  The minelabs use a DD coil that basically send out a D shaped blade of RF into the ground and when you change the size of the coil you change the size of the "blade" being broadcast from your coil.  If you are in a trashy area, too many targets can get under the big coil and it will be like driving at night in the fog with your high beams on, so you can go with a smaller coil to avoid this.  The smaller comes at the cost of depth and ground cover.  Ground cover is important because you need to overlap your swings so you dont miss targets.  I am guilty of getting sloppy and not overlapping well and my son or hunting buddy will find something I missed.  It wasnt the machines fault, because I go and swing over it and the machine rings out.

Good luck with your new machine and happy hunting!!!!

4 years of tracking targets at a local farm, all relics, buttons, or coins:

 

image.png.09e19a9c34fe64da58c3834f570d74f7.png

That's a picture suitable for framing.

No site is ever hunted out. :cool:

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