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Steve Herschbach

Detailed Review Of White's New Goldmaster 24K

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Thanks Steve, a good review! Sounds like a decent machine, especially for the price.  I've never had a detector that can use a concentric coil but sounds great.

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Thank You Steve for "making" the time to do a quick evaluation on this newcomer.
I myself have been waiting "years" for Whites to upgrade the GMT line !
I used a GMT for quite a few seasons and did very well in nuggets and meteorites with it.
Truth being over 60 small nuggets from 1 patch alone.
Next thing will be getting my hands on one to try out.
Its also very satisfiying to me to see a new "Made in the U.S.A"  entry in the Gold Specific detector field.
Hope to see you somewhere in the field this season.
Hapy Huntn.

GOLD 003 (2014_12_19 01_20_22 UTC).jpg

gold 009.jpg

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Great Review Steve! Lot of detail information and honest evaluation on the new 24K,  White's should put you on the payroll!

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Informative write-up Steve.  Thank you.

Question.  Is there a noticable difference/enhancement in performance with the extra voltage put to the coil with the 24k, compared to the lesser voltage of ther GMT?  

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I did not have a GMT to compare directly, and so can’t answer that question with any degree of confidence. Things get real hair splitting when detecting 1/10th grain nuggets. I still know people who think the Goldmaster 3 is better than the GMT.

I have been getting lots of messages from people who seem to think I have secret private information regarding which over 30 kHz detector is best. The truth is not much has changed since the 50 kHz Goldmaster II came out around 1990. I can drag a half dozen of these “over 30 kHz” nugget detectors out and spend hours trying to figure out which one I like best. They basically all get the job done, and none so well as to make the others not worth consideration.

It very much does boil down to what feels best on my arm and sounds best to my ear. Most importantly, which machine is best depends a lot on the exact mix of ground, hot rocks, size and type of gold, the amount of trash, and level of operator expertise. This being true I might prefer one model at one location, and a different one someplace else. This is actually almost guaranteed.

I just don’t see how anyone can make decisions like this based on anything other than getting and using the detectors in question. Sure, I could pick one for you, but you might hate it for reasons that matter not at all to me.

I think the 24K is a fine machine but my gut feeling based on memory is no, it does not automatically blow the GMT away. It’s just different, that’s all, and I have no idea whether a die hard GMT user would consider this an upgrade or not. From my perspective going from one 48 kHz detector to another 48 kHz detector is a side step. To really add capability you need machines to be as different as possible, not the same as possible. Will switching from a GMT to a 24K make a giant difference in gold getting capability? Not really. Would adding a TDI SL to a GMT extend a prospectors capability in a significant way? Much more likely.

So if I was going nugget detecting tomorrow and had to pick one, the GMT or 24K, which would it be? I honestly do not have a preference. I tend to trust the GMT more as being the “old reliable” but I did like the concentric on the 24K. Yet I have never used that coil on the GMT and it might do just as well. Gun to head I would probably go with the 24K just because it’s new and I do like the new toys. But if a GMT owner gets a 24K and says they prefer the GMT I am not going to argue with them either. If I can barely decide which machine of four I like best when they are sitting in front of me then I have to really, really sympathize with those trying to make these decisions just based on reading reviews.

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Thanks for the reply Steve.

Most of the changes/upgrades on the 24k are pretty clear, or understood with your hands on explanation, e.g. the different threshold system.

I guess I'm trying to wrap my head around the end result, or performance enhancement caused by the increase in voltage to the coil, if any?   Whites has made a point to prominently mention it as an improvement over the GMT, yet with no explanation of any benefits to be derived.

Perhaps tboykin can chime in?

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Well, I have a partial answer. I just volunteered to help Tom at the Rye Patch event on Saturday. I am sure GMTs and 24K models will both be present and so inquiring minds will have the ability to find out more this weekend!

https://www.detectorprospector.com/forums/topic/7513-rye-patch-nugget-shoot-2018-come-see-the-elephant/?do=findComment&comment=76385

 

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I really appreciate your honesty in your reviews Steve.   A manufacturer has to be pretty confident in their product to pass one onto you to review so I guess Whites are feeling pretty happy and confident with the 24k, and it does seem a decent machine but it was just released in a time when there are many choices it makes it hard to any one machine to stand out.  I really hope Whites get a good amount of sales and we start seeing a good run of finds from users of it as I'm sure it's very capable and we need new detectors to be a success, we want more competition, not less...  I can't even consider owning one with White's no longer having an NZ dealer and importing makes it not viable price wise and I guess It would have to be significantly better than what I have already to suffer the importing costs.

I hope more info comes to hand about the boosted power to the coil as with time it could prove to be the feature that makes me want one even more! 

Upon looking at the Whites 24k I notice it has a feature I do like, it sits stable on the ground.  I get really annoyed with my detectors falling over all the time.

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20 hours ago, phrunt said:

Upon looking at the Whites 24k I notice it has a feature I do like, it sits stable on the ground.  I get really annoyed with my detectors falling over all the time.

You stole my thunder. I was going to say that. 👍

Steve: Great review. Unbiased, straight up & honest....as always. White's got there 10 cents worth. Even more so with you going to front up on Saturday :biggrin: Good on you. Enjoy the day. Only wish I could be there.

JW :smile: 

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  • Similar Content

    • By Steve Herschbach
      A quick specification comparison of the two detectors.

      White's Goldmaster Goldmaster 24K versus White's GMT
      White's GMT Instruction Manual
      GMT Information Page
      White's Goldmaster 24K Advanced Guide
      24K Information Page
      Despite similarities these two detectors have a different lineage. The GMT was part of the effort involving engineer Dave Johnson that resulted in both the GMT and MXT. The Goldmaster 24K however I am almost 100% certain is an offshoot of the MX5 project, variants of which also include the MX7 and MX Sport.
      Notes on the chart above. The GMT has the ability to directly manipulate the ground balance up and down via the plus and minus buttons on the pod face. The Goldmaster 24K (GMK) relies on either automatic ground tracking or the ground grab, features the GMT also shares. However, the GMK has a ground balance offset feature. Under the section titled "Ground Scan" on page 15 of the White's Goldmaster 24K Advanced Guide:
      "In Ground Scan you can also set a ground offset by using the UP and DOWN arrows. This selection will affect the ground offset in normal search mode whether using XGB or locked settings."
      Note that the offset, once set, is active in both ground tracking mode and when using the ground grab function. Normally a manual ground balance is used to just tweak the setting derived from tracking or ground grab up or down a small amount. This can be done with the 24K but in a different fashion than the GMT. The fact the offset is active while in ground tracking actually gives the GMK an ability the GMT lacks.
      The Goldmaster 24K has a volume control the GMT lacks.
      A real biggie in my opinion is that the GMK can completely block the audio from ferrous targets. The best you could get with the GMT is an audio "iron grunt" on ferrous, but no way to shut it up. This is even more an issue when you get into some bad hot rocks that signal as iron. The GMT can get pretty noisy, but the GMK allows those signals to be blocked. It can in fact also block ferrous "wrap around" signals where ferrous reads very high on the scale, almost like a silver target.
      Coils compatible? That very important note is to warn you that all past Goldmaster/GMT coils are not compatible with the new Goldmaster 24K. Just another tip that these really are different detectors under the hood.
       
    • By Steve Herschbach
      White's Goldmaster 24K Advanced Guide, 5.73 MB pdf file, 32 pages  
    • By Steve Herschbach
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    • By Steve Herschbach
      I find myself in the position of having a large number of metal detectors recently acquired or headed my way. I plan to review these detectors soon on various forums and have published my thoughts on various detectors for many years.

      Many people may be familiar with who I am but many are not and so I decided it was a good time to do a full disclosure statement. I do think it is important for people to know why I publish detector reviews and what my motivations are.

      I got my first metal detector in 1972 and have been detecting ever since. I got into prospecting for gold around the same time, and the two activities have provided focal points in my life. So much so that a partner and I founded a company in 1976 to sell prospecting equipment, including metal detectors. That company, Alaska Mining & Diving Supply of Anchorage, Alaska, went on to become one of the largest retailers of its type in the country.

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      I am also a computer nerd and was the IT guy at AMDS. I built the company website and ran the network. I think the Internet is one of the best things to ever happen to metal detecting. I joined various forums and found I could trade information with like minded people from all over the globe. I have come to know people I would never have met prior to the Internet. I read all I could find and shared what I knew. I learned who to pay attention to and who to ignore.

      I made a key decision early on. I wanted people to know who I was. I was not interested in hiding my name or my motives and so I went the other direction. I have always used my name and never post under a pseudonym or nickname. I always wanted people to know where I was coming from and that I was in business. The truth however is that I never let business get in the way of my integrity in reporting my personal opinions about metal detectors. I had the benefit of being a multiline dealer and so could talk about all brands because in our business, we did not care what brand you bought. My goal was always just to promote metal detecting and metal detectors. The particular brands never mattered.

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      My partner and I engineered a sale of our company to our employees in 2010. I also due to some great success with a mining property at Moore Creek, Alaska was able to purchase a new home in Reno, Nevada. I sold everything in Alaska and moved to Reno, and a major goal in doing so was to be able to continue prospecting and metal detecting while I am still physically fit enough to really get out and do it to the max. Reno is centrally located in the western US and makes a perfect base for heading in just about any direction looking not only for gold, but for coins, jewelry, and meteorites. About the only type of detecting I do not actively pursue is relic hunting, as all the laws pertaining to that put a damper on my desire to get involved much in it.

      I did not retire so much as just focus my life around my prospecting and metal detecting more fully. I finally was able to devote more time to another interest, writing, to help supplement my income. Another retirement income strategy is my website at www.detectorprospector.com where I derive some income from Google ads. I always enjoyed building websites and my goal is to over time make it a fabulous resource on prospecting and metal detecting, and hopefully make a little money doing so. I also have numerous books in my head that will finally see the light of day.

      I have always got along well with people at the various metal detector companies and over the years I sometimes was sent a detector to try out and keep for my own use. I found that being a known, visible person on the Internet made companies sometimes desire to put a detector in my hands. Frankly, I can find about anything with any detector made so it makes sense. I have found that my officially no longer being attached to a company has removed any last feeling that maybe I am trying to sell people something, or maybe it is just coincidence, but in the last couple years it seems like everyone wants to send a detector my way.

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      If anyone has any questions about any of this that I have not made clear, please just ask. I have nothing to hide and will answer any and all questions as honestly and as clearly as I can. Thanks.
      Update 2019 - It has been a lot of fun, but unfortunately the nature of the internet has changed. Industry experts and insiders are now looked on with suspicion and people seem to prefer YouTube video from "regular users". More to the point, people demand "proof" one detector is better than another. I have never really bought into that concept - to me detectors are just tools, and most tools have a purpose in the correct time and place. Anyway, I find all the drama off putting and so it's best I leave the detector wars to people more inclined to that sort of thing.
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    • By Steve Herschbach
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      The angle of the bend in the S rod handle grip has been relaxed based on feedback from Racer owners. The vibration mode was eliminated, shaving a tiny amount of weight and freeing up room on the display menu. The Gold Racer with stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil and NiMH batteries installed weighs in on my postal scales at exactly three pounds.

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      Makro Gold Racer with 5" round DD coil
      Let’s take a look at the functions. Under All Metal on the left side of the meter are the functions that apply only to the All Metal mode. On the right are the functions for the two Discrimination modes. The settings are independent in each mode, and once set can be saved when the detector is powered down. This simple and intuitive setup is also part of the power of the Makro Gold Racer. It is incredibly easy once each mode has been customized to flip quickly between the three modes, cross checking target responses to make a dig/no-dig decision.

      All Metal is the heart and soul of nugget detecting, and the Makro Gold Racer has an extremely powerful, smooth, and sensitive threshold based all metal mode. The Sensitivity setting is familiar to anyone who has used a metal detector, except that there are three base levels of sensitivity or gain. Significant boosts occur between 39 - 40 and again between 69 - 70. Most detectors max out at what is a setting of 69 on the Gold Racer. Settings of 70 and above are a type of hyper gain setting that takes the machine above and beyond, but in extreme ground overload signals may occur. Overload signals are indicated by a “warning siren” audio and the machine is telling you that there is either a large metal object under the coil, or that you are encountering extreme mineralization. In the case of mineralization, either raise the coil slightly while scanning, lower the sensitivity setting, or both. Overloads occurring at 70 will almost always be eliminated by dropping to 69.

      Rest assured very little is lost by lowering sensitivity to 69 or below, again, because many detectors cannot be set as hot as the Gold Racer even at their maximum setting. Do you ever run detectors and have the distinct feeling some performance has been left on the table, because the detector can always be run at maximum settings? Makro has given you that extra power for where it can be used, but in doing so they expect you will lower settings in places where that extra power works against you. Luckily, the audio alert makes it easy to know when this is. Most people do not know it but many detectors simply shut down and quit working under similar conditions with no indication at all to the operator, a situation referred to as “silent masking”.

      The threshold setting is the normal control that sets the volume of the slight audio tone that is key to any experienced nugget hunter finding the tiniest or deepest gold nuggets. The most minute variations in the threshold tone can indicate a gold nugget, and the ability to read the threshold is what sets most really good nugget hunters apart from everyone else. Makro has added a feature to the Gold Racer called iSAT, for “Intelligent Self Adjusting Threshold”. This setting consists of several levels of adjustment that vary the rate at which the threshold tone steadies itself. Higher levels of iSAT smooth the threshold more aggressively which aids in maintaining a smooth threshold in rapidly varying ground. Lower levels allow for faint variations to be heard more clearly in milder ground for extra depth and sensitivity.

      The Gold Racer can be ground balanced three ways. Holding the trigger switch under the control pod in the forward position activates an instant automatic ground balance. Just pump the coil over the ground a couple times, release the trigger, and you are done. There is a short delay when you release the trigger, and during this delay you may manually adjust the ground balance setting. The instant ground balance is neutral to slightly negative. Those that like a slightly positive ground balance need only perform the instant balance, then tap the right hand control button three of four times.

      The Tracking function on the control panel engages and disengages automatic ground tracking. This is most useful where the ground conditions vary wildly, a perfect example being mixed cobble piles or river bars. The tracking is very quick yet resists tracking out genuine gold signals as much as possible. This can also be an aid to anyone new to ground balancing detectors as it makes the process entirely automatic.

      The Backlight setting adjusts the illumination level of the backlit screen. The FD/Save setting allows adjustments to be saved when the detector is powered off, while the FD function resets Factory Defaults. There is also a Frequency Shift setting to help eliminate outside electrical interference from power lines, or another Gold Racer being operated nearby. This is set through a combination of control buttons but not visible on the menu. Finally, although this is a true threshold based all metal mode, the meter acts independently in discrimination mode at all times and indicates target id information when the signal strength is sufficient to do so.

      Makro Gold Racer - clear, bold display
      Under the Discrimination menu are settings that are completely separate from the All Metal settings and also saved or reset separately. Disc 1 is a standard two tone mode with low tone ferrous and higher tone non-ferrous. Disc 2 is a similar but deeper, more powerful mode. Quick switching between these two modes, each with fully independent settings, creates a many layered and subtle approach to target discrimination. Both discrimination modes are silent search, no threshold based systems. However, new to Makro models is the ability to set the point at which low tones flip, or “break” over into being higher tones. Typically 39 and lower target id will cause a low tone, and 40 and above a higher tone. This ability somewhat replaces the three tone mode on the original Racer because by increasing the Tone Break setting it is possible to create various coin detecting scenarios. For instance, all targets with an id number below copper penny could register low tone, and therefore copper pennies, dimes, quarters, and dollar coins a higher tone.

      Conversely, lowering the Tone Break setting would create a more conservative approach for nugget detecting by accepting a little more ferrous digging in return for possibly finding another nugget or two.

      The Sensitivity control on the Disc menu is the same as but independent of the All Metal setting of the same name. ID Filter is a variable discrimination control, with higher settings eliminating or blanking out id numbers lower than the current setting. This setting is independent for each Disc mode, and again flipping back and forth can create some interesting scenarios for comparing targets at completely different sensitivity and ID Filter levels. This quick mode switching between All Metal, Disc1, and Disc2, all with independent settings, is a very powerful tool once you get used to it.

      Also new with the Gold Racer is the iMask setting. I noted at the start of this review that all metal detector designs involve making trades of some sort. Extreme high frequency sensitivity to small metal targets does increase chatty false responses in extreme ground when in the discrimination modes. iMask attenuates or suppresses weaker target responses in the discrimination modes and provides a secondary level of adjustment separate from and in addition to the Sensitivity and ID Filter settings. If the detector is producing lots of quick, spurious signals in the discrimination modes, reducing sensitivity or increasing ID Filter settings or both is the first line of attack. If this does not work, go back to the original settings on those functions, and try increasing the iMask setting. If this does not work, again lower sensitivity or increase the ID Filter or both on top of the current iMask setting. iMask acts as a pre-filter giving an extra level of control to help deal with extremely bad ground conditions. Finally, Disc1 is a less aggressive mode than Disc2, so using Disc1 offers even another level of possible options when dealing with bad ground in the discrimination modes.

      The Backlight setting is independent for the discrimination modes, as is the Factory Default/Save Settings function. I think it goes without saying that there has never been a high frequency metal detector ever produced with this level of options and control. There are a lot of variables to play with here, and I would not be truthful at all if I said I have this machine all figured out. In fact, I think part of the fun with the Makro Gold Racer is we are entering uncharted territory. Until the final version of the machine is released, and until quite a few people get their hands on it and experiment, it is very difficult to say just what applications creative detectorists may find for the Gold Racer. It is a very powerful VLF gold prospecting detector, I can vouch for that. Applications also may be found for jewelry detecting and relic hunting in particular, and even coin detecting, due to the unique combination of features the Makro Gold Racer offers.

      OK, finally – some notes on real world use! Again, this is all based on prototype models and so I can only speak in generalities for this report. However, there is no doubt in my mind that even the prototype detectors rival anything currently available in a VLF detector for finding tiny gold nuggets. I can easily locate flakes of gold weighing under one tenth grain with the Gold Racer and the stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil. In fact, the machine is so hot with the stock coil I thought using a smaller coil offered minimal if any benefit, mostly because of lost ground coverage and possibly lost depth on larger nuggets. I would only use the smaller coil myself for nooks and crannies where the stock coil can’t fit, but otherwise the stock coil really is the way to go in my opinion. Keep in mind I did say grain not gram. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce and in my opinion I can find flakes all day long with the Gold Racer that weigh less than 1/10th grain, or less than 1/4800th ounce.

      Smallest nugget unweighable, largest 2.4 grams
      In trashy locations I generally preferred running in all metal and just checking the meter for ferrous targets, which tend to lock in hard at 21 or 22 on the numbers. In theory anything under 40 is ferrous, but to be safe I might investigate items as low as 35 or even 30 depending on the situation and amount of trash. However, as I noted most ferrous locks in hard around 20 leaving no doubt what the target is. In All Metal mode very tiny or very deep targets beyond discrimination range give no target id at all, automatically meaning they need investigation. The main reason I prefer to always hunt in All metal is the extra depth and sensitivity it affords, and checking targets visually is very quick and more efficient than toggling back and forth to a Disc mode under normal circumstances.

      For areas with too much trash where meter watching might get to be a bit too much, I normally use one of the disc modes set for two tone ferrous/non-ferrous. Iron targets just burp away, while non-ferrous target pop out with a beep. If even that got to be too much for some people, increasing the ID Filter to eliminate most ferrous responses completely can make for a quieter experience in really trashy locations. As always, I must include the warning that the more discrimination applied, the more risk of missing a good target. Use no more discrimination than needed to preserve your sanity!

      I used the Gold Racer to hunt a couple trashy areas where I just could not go with my big dollar all metal machine, and easily located nuggets in the midst of trash. For me personally the Makro Gold Racer fills in two areas where the high price big gun detectors come up short. The ability to find the tiniest, most dispersed gold possible, both in flake form or enclosed in specimen rock. And the ability to deal with really trashy areas where good discrimination is needed.

      Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was when I decided to give the 15.5” x 13” DD coil a try. Honestly, I did not expect much from it. You normally do not see a coil this large for high frequency machines because the ground feedback usually overwhelms them, negating any gains that can be had regarding depth. Instead, the Gold Racer seemed to be even better behaved with the larger coil than with the smaller coils. I hunted some cobble piles with it and it ran smooth as can be at higher sensitivity levels. I then wandered into some moderately hot ground with it, still with no problems, and was actually surprised when I came up with a couple small gold nuggets with it. The first was only 0.8 grams which I thought was pretty fantastic. So I put a little more effort into it, and found a 0.3 gram nugget. With a 15.5” x 13” DD coil on a VLF? That is really kind of unheard of, and I was thoroughly impressed. I am not sure what is going on there but I do know the Makro detectors can sense what coil is on the detector. Something different going on with that big coil? I don’t know, but the results and performance surprised me. Also surprising was that for such a large coil it actually was not bad swinging it for half a day. That could be from my using large, heavy detectors all summer however. Still, it was an eye opener all around and changed how I think my Gold Racer might get used in the future. It looks to have more use for covering very large areas blue sky prospecting than I would have imagined.

      Makro Gold Racer with 15.5" x 13" coil
      I would be remiss if I did not include at least a note on the versatility possible with the Gold Racer. I recently took it to a local park. Now, my ground in Reno is screaming hot, full of magnetite. The mineral percentage graph on the Gold Racer and similar machines all come up one bar short of maxed, and ground balance numbers run around 88-90. A magnet dropped in this stuff comes up with a lump of magnetite. As a result getting accurate target id numbers with even the best coin detectors past 5” is a chore. I know that sounds crazy but it is the truth. I ran the 5” DD coil and even then had to back the sensitivity down to 69 to prevent overloads in the worst areas.

      One thing about the Racer detectors that I have heard people complain about, and that is that they tend to up average target numbers in bad soil. For me this is a good thing. Many detectors will see target id number average lower in bad ground, and so fringe targets are more likely to get identified as ferrous when they are in reality non-ferrous. This is obviously not a good thing for nugget detecting. The Racer and the Gold Racer both tend to up average, and so targets like lead sinkers or aluminum that you would expect to give lower numbers often give coin like responses with the Racers. It is odd to see in practice. I got a good high signal reading near 80 at about 5” that when dug up turned out to be a common round lead fishing sinker. Out of the hole the target id promptly dropped to about 45. This effect whether by design or by accident is common with European detectors. I think it is by design because first and foremost these machines are made to pull non-ferrous targets out of ferrous trash. Improperly identifying a non-ferrous item as ferrous is the worst possible result, and so up averaging helps insure that non-ferrous items will not be missed. However, it also means these types of detectors are not as efficient at cherry picking coins as common coin detectors are. You get the coins for sure, but you dig more trash doing it.

      Still, I experimented a few hours and if you are content to live with the limitation I just described you can actually make some good finds with the Gold Racer under almost any conditions. The ID Filter works very well, and by just running it all the way to 79 it was easy for me to cherry pick a few coins though larger aluminum items like screw caps or big pull tabs often came up in the 80s also. I do think this is a result dependent on ground conditions to some degree, but really the Gold Racer is best suited for people like me who want to recover all non-ferrous targets. I prefer to hunt jewelry rather than coins myself, as one gold ring makes up for a pile of coins. And to hunt jewelry you have to dig aluminum, no two ways about that. The Gold Racer will suit me well hunting jewelry, especially micro jewelry like ear rings and fine chains.

      This report is very long, and yet I really am just skimming over the features and possibilities inherent in the Makro Gold Racer. I will close by once again noting that while everything regarding the Gold Racer is pretty much set in stone at this point, last second changes are possible. Look for more soon when the factory production models hit the street. I also get frustrated when people want information on new units, but then turn right around and characterize reports trying to provide that information as hype or a sales pitch. I have tried my best here to just present what facts I can without leading anyone to think that the Gold Racer is anything other than what it is. And that, in my opinion, is a very interesting, unique, and capable metal detector. I look forward to hearing for myself in the future what people think about it and the applications and tricks they come up with, because you pretty much need to toss anything you think you know out the door when approaching this machine.

      Many thanks to the folks at Makro and in particular Dilek Gonulay for providing me with the opportunity to be one of the first to use the Gold Racer. I admit that VLF detectors were beginning to bore me, and the Gold Racer has reignited my interest in seeing what they can do for me.

      Specifications and details on the Makro Gold Racer
      Disclosure Statement
    • By Steve Herschbach
      The following is a very detailed review of the new Makro Gold Kruzer... but first a little back story.
      I was asked to review a new gold detector in the fall of 2014 from a company I had never heard of before then – the FORS Gold by the Nokta company based in Istanbul, Turkey. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Nokta FORS Gold to be a very capable 15 kHz VLF detector that could serve well not just for nugget detecting, but almost any detecting tasks.
      The FORS Gold did have some odd design quirks, like the use of mechanical rocker switches instead of touch pads. I listed a few of these things, expecting that would just be the way it is. I was almost shocked when within a short period of time Nokta fixed or changed every item I had mentioned in my review as possibly needing improvement. This was unusual as normally once a machine has gone into production manufacturers are extremely resistant to design changes, especially changes in the physical design. It was a sign of what people have now found to be fact – that this company is serious about listening to their customers as a prime driver for product improvement.

      New Makro Gold Kruzer
      It was revealed that Nokta had a sister company called Makro, and the two officially combined forces shortly after I made my review. In other words, both Nokta and Makro now share the same ownership and management, but continue to be marketed separately under the two brand names. The detector models that each sell are unique, but there is an obvious sharing of the underlying technology between some models that the two brands sell.
      I had commented at the time that I would prefer a more standard configuration for a LCD based detector rather than the non-standard configuration as presented by the FORS Gold. By the fall of 2015 I was using the new Makro Gold Racer, which incorporated many ideas I had lobbied for over the years with detector manufacturers. I had been trying for some time to get somebody to create a metal detector that ran at nugget detecting type frequencies over 30 kHz but with a full target id system. It seems strange now but at that time nobody made such a detector.
      The Makro Gold Racer was quite unique in 2015 by offering a detector running at 56 kHz that also offered a full range LCD based target id system and dual tone based audio discrimination modes. This made it a detector useful not just for nugget detecting, but low conductor hunting in general for relics and jewelry. It is even a halfway decent coin detector for regular park type scenarios. The versatility and well thought out control scheme scored points with me, and I still have the Makro Gold Racer even after selling most of my other detectors.
      It seems that the moment the Makro Gold Racer hit the streets, that everyone else was working on similar ideas, as other detectors running over 30 kHz but with a full feature set started to appear on the market. High frequency detecting is suddenly in vogue for more than just gold nugget detecting.
      The one thing obvious now about the Makro / Nokta partnership is that they never sit still, but continue to work on and release new models at a pace that puts all the other manufacturers to shame. The companies are also big believers in seeking public feedback and then implementing the suggestions to create better products for their customers. This is readily apparent in the progression I have personally witnessed in going from that original Nokta FORS Gold to the new 61 kHz Makro Gold Kruzer just now hitting the market. In less than four years the company has gone from “catching up” to meeting or surpassing detectors made by other companies.
      The Makro Gold Kruzer has a full suite of functions, is fully waterproof, incorporates built in wireless headphone capability, and can be firmware updated over the internet. That short feature list alone puts the Makro Gold Racer in a very select group of detectors offering those same 21st century “basic features” that were lacking in almost all detectors made in the last century.
      The Makro Gold Kruzer obviously builds on the Gold Racer feature set with the following key differences. The Gold Racer runs at 56 kHz and the Gold Kruzer at 61 kHz, one of the highest frequencies available in consumer metal detectors. This continues the focus on detecting small low conductor targets. The Gold Kruzer is waterproof to 5 meters (16.4 feet) whereas the Gold Racer is not waterproof at all. Finally, the Gold Kruzer adds a three tone hunt mode, taking things up another step from the dual tone modes available on the Gold Racer.
      Now let’s look at the Makro Gold Kruzer in detail. Makro switched things up in that the Gold Kruzer comes with two coils, a 5.5” x 10” concentric coil, and a 4” x 7.5” DD coil; both include scuff covers. The 5.5” x 10” concentric coil, which was an option offered for the Gold Racer, has been redesigned and cut from 1” thick to ¾” thick and the weight reduced to 384 grams (13.5 oz). The coil is hollow and therefore slightly buoyant, so the 25% reduction in thickness is quite welcome in reducing that buoyancy to where it is basically unnoticeable underwater.
      The little 4” x 7.5” DD coil is a solid epoxy filled coil which works extremely well in smaller coils where epoxy filling does not result in too much weight. The small DD coil weighs 368 grams or 13.0 oz. There is one accessory coil available at this time, a 5” x 9.5” epoxy filled DD. This coil weighs 14.3 oz or 404 grams. It should be noted that because of the frequency change and with the Gold Kruzer using waterproof connectors, that Makro Gold Racer coils will not work on the Gold Kruzer.
      Makro has also learned lessons as regards coil ear durability. The coil ears on the Gold Kruzer are about twice the mass of those on my older Makro Gold Racer. Taller, wider, and thicker – these extra beefy coil ears should all but eliminate breakage issues.

      4” x 7.5” DD coil showing beefed up ears
      The Makro Gold Kruzer employs a fairly standard “detector pod on an S rod” design forgoing the underarm battery box used on the Gold Racer. This confers a large advantage when it comes to waterproofing the detector in that only the pod has to be sealed. The change from AA batteries to a built in sealed LiPO rechargeable battery also aids in eliminating battery doors, which are always at risk of leaking.
      The three piece S rod itself is quite stout with no flex or wiggle. The cross hatch carbon fiber lower rod is not only strong, but lends an air of high tech quality to the look of the detector. The Gold Kruzer does not have the separate underarm battery compartment and in handle vibration mechanism featured on the Makro Gold Racer. This means the pod is totally self contained and can be removed from the handle assembly. This in turn allows for other rod options and the ability to break the detector completely down fitting in a small backpack or carry on bag.
      When the stout rod is combined with the beefed up coil construction you have a design that should survive those spills a person can take when working in the surf and there the detector ends up acting like a walking stick for support.
      It has been interesting to watch the company experiment with different handle designs. It is a thankless task because you never can please everyone. For me at least the handle / rod may be the best yet from Makro, with a molded hard rubber grip that will serve very well for a detector that may see underwater use. I personally found the Nokta Impact handle to be large for my hands and the smaller Gold Kruzer handle near perfect. Others may feel just the opposite so there you go.
      The arm cuff is a little different. It is narrower than some – good for me but maybe not so much for somebody with huge forearms. The adjustment is non-standard, with the arm cup sliding up and down the upper rod over a set of threaded holes. A small screw inserted into the top of the armrest and into one of these threaded holes secures the armrest in place.

      Kruzer upper rod showing cuff adjust holes and hand grip (control box removed)
      A unique feature on the Gold Kruzer is an optional external AA battery pack that can provide extra operating time in the field should the internal rechargeable battery go dead. The pack is designed to be held into the bottom of the detector armrest / stand by a separate plastic cover bracket that is held in place with two screws. I found the holes these screws go into will fill with sand if this bracket is left off, so I advise installing the bracket even if the external battery pack is not in use. The external battery pack with bracket is an option and so dummy screws or plugs should be installed to keep the screw holes clean and free of debris by those who down not have the bracket.
      I don’t think most people will ever need the external battery pack as long as the detector is regularly charged after use. It is a very nice touch however, especially for off grid use, as all you need is the external AA battery pack and a box of AA batteries to off grid for as long as the batteries will last. Some people may want the optional battery pack for travel into the field just in case the battery runs short on power in the middle of a hunt.
      The port where you attach the external battery pack also acts as a port to attach a USB style charger cable. The detector is charged using this cable by employing the included USB wall charger. You may also use most USB charging adapters and newer computer USB ports.
      The USB cable also allows the Makro Gold Kruzer to be attached to a computer so that updates can be made in case any bugs are found in the future. This update feature is very nice insurance that should be standard on all new detectors.
      Another item that should be standard on all new detectors is built in wireless headphone capability. Makro uses a proprietary low latency system that exhibits no discernible lag at all. A really nice thing about being proprietary is there is no pairing process. All you have to do is enable the wireless feature on the control box, turn on the headphones, and boom, you are in business. The downside is you only have one choice of headphones – the included Makro wireless headphones. These are a nice, light set of phones but they are just a bit too small to fit over most people ears. I have fairly small ears and they still rest on instead of over my ear. The sound quality is good, but like most wireless headphones they seem less “bright” than wired headphones. All in all the wireless headphones are quite good however and a pleasure to use.

      Makro wireless headphones
      The Makro Gold Kruzer does have a waterproof speaker with decent volume that can be used instead of the wireless headphones. If you prefer other headphone options, be sure and get the optional waterproof port to ¼” headphone adapter cable. This cable attaches to the same port used for charging and software updates and allows any wired headphones to be adapted to the Gold Kruzer.
      The LCD display is well laid out with a very large target id number displayed. The other setting indicators might be a little harder for those with poor eyesight to make out, but should present no issues once the layout is learned. One big change from the Gold Racer is that the four large navigation buttons, trigger switch, and rotary dial power / volume switch have all been replaced by ten small buttons on the control panel. All the buttons can be reached and controlled by the operators thumb, but the small size and closeness of the buttons may make for some navigation errors early on, and especially when trying to change settings underwater or with gloves on.

      Makro Gold Kruzer display and controls
      The Makro Gold Kruzer User Manual is available for download so I will refer you there for all the little details. What you have in the Makro Gold Kruzer is a hot 61 kHz metal detector waterproof to 5 meters (16.4 feet). The Gen (General) mode is a fairly standard VCO audio all metal gold nugget detecting circuit. The Gold Kruzer in Gen mode is very reminiscent of other hot gold nugget detectors running in the all metal prospecting mode.
      The Gen mode acts exactly like one would expect a threshold based all metal mode to function. There is a nice smooth threshold that gives feedback about the ground and reacts to hot rocks with classic nulling signals and small nuggets with that classic “zip-zip” VCO audio. Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) audio increases both in volume and pitch when a target is detected, giving a distinct response very common on many gold detectors. The only thing different here is that since the Gold Kruzer has an LCD readout; you can get target id number results while running in all metal Gen mode. The audio is far more sensitive than the meter however, so do not be surprised if the deepest and smallest of targets give no target id information.
      In a break with the Gold Racer the Fast and Boost modes are not dual tone modes, but instead are silent search (no threshold) single tone modes. Items either signal audibly or not based on the current discrimination settings. The discrimination setting, like that of the Gold Racer, is a simple up and down control. Everything above the setting gives an audio signal of “beep”. Anything below the discrimination setting level is rejected or ignored with no sound at all. The Gold Kruzer has no notching capability i.e. the ability to pick and choose individual target id numbers for rejection.
      Fast mode is just what it sounds like – a fast setting for working in really dense trash. Target recovery speed has been increased at the expense of outright depth, but sheer depth is useless where target masking is the main problem. Boost mode is exactly the opposite. Boost is the deepest discrimination mode on the Gold Kruzer but due to the increased sensitivity is more suitable for less mineralized ground and sparser targets.
      It should be obvious that the Makro Gold Kruzer is all about gold. This explains the shift from dual tone to monotone audio in the Fast and Boost. Dual tones as employed in the Makro Gold Kruzer can be problematic when hunting the smallest gold targets, especially in highly mineralized ground. It is hard for a detector to get a clean separation of ferrous and non-ferrous targets when the targets are very small.
      This is because the actual dividing line between ferrous and non-ferrous is not a line at all, but a zone. The Makro Gold Kruzer uses a fairly standard discrimination scale that ranges from 0 – 99. The range from 0 – 40 is considered to be the ferrous range, and 41 and above non-ferrous.
      Yet the discrimination default for both the Fast and Boost modes is 25. This is because if you bury small gold in highly mineralized ground or large gold extra deep in mineralized ground, the ferrous ground signal can overwhelm the very weak non-ferrous signal. It really is not about the object size. A deep large nugget is a very weak signal just the same as a shallower small nugget, and either can end up reading as a ferrous target.
      The solution is to lower the discrimination setting into the ferrous range and accept that you have to dig some ferrous items to get all the gold items. This actually applies to any metal detecting. If you dig absolutely no ferrous trash, you are almost 100% guaranteed to be passing up some non-ferrous items reading incorrectly as ferrous. This can be acceptable of course depending on what you are doing, but passing on a deep six ounce gold nugget because it reads ferrous can be an expensive mistake. The Gold Kruzer default discrimination setting for Fast and Boost is 25 instead of 40 for this very reason.
      Dual tones have issues for this same reason, with decisive results on the weakest targets difficult if not impossible to obtain. The difference is quite small, but monotone is slightly more stable and proficient at working with the tiniest and faintest of signals right at the dividing line between ferrous and non-ferrous, wherever you have set the control to tell the Gold Kruzer where that line is for your particular situation. There is no pat answer as the where to set the discrimination control. It is a judgment call based on experience, but when in doubt, use less discrimination and dig more trash. Welcome to gold detecting!

      Makro chart showing gold occurring in 0 – 40 ferrous range
      The Makro Gold Kruzer has a new control that relates to this overlap between ferrous and non-ferrous readings. The Extra Underground Depth (E.U.D.) control acts to directly impact the tipping point between ferrous and non-ferrous readings. The E.U.D. control only works in one of the three discrimination modes and when used on a suspect target that is reading ferrous may reveal by a different tone that it is actually non-ferrous. It is noted in the manual that it can reveal some targets misidentified as ferrous, but it will also give more false positives on ferrous targets.
      I was unable in the time allowed to figure out just how efficient this control is. In theory you can just set the discrimination lower, digging more ferrous but getting those missed non-ferrous items. Or set the discrimination a little higher, and now examine suspect targets individually by engaging the E.U.D. control momentarily. Finally, you can run E.U.D. on at all times. Is higher disc with E.U.D. on at all times going to get better results than just using a lower discrimination setting? Sadly, I just do not know at this time. I do know it is no magic bullet so the efficiency of employing the E.U.D. control will have to be determined over time by users around the world
      What? You say you wanted tones? Well, the Makro Gold Kruzer has you covered. The new Micro mode is a three tone mode similar to that on other company models, but running at that hot 61 khz. The 0 – 40 target id range produces a low tone. The 41 – 66 range produces a medium tone, and 67 – 99 range a high tone.
      Micro mode allows the “ferrous break point” to be adjusted. This is that magic point where you decide what is going to read as ferrous and what reads as non-ferrous. Note that unlike the Fast and Boost modes, the default ferrous breakpoint is set at 40 instead of 25. This is good for coin type detecting but again may be too high for other types of detecting. While in Micro mode you may use the Tone Break control to vary this all important setting. You could mimic the other two modes by setting the Tone Break at 25. Now 0 – 25 will be a low tone, 26 – 66 a medium tone, and 67 – 99 a high tone.
      Tone Break can only be used to set the ferrous breakpoint. The upper high tone region of 67 – 99 is preset and fixed by the factory with no adjustment possible.
      You may use the Ferrous Volume setting to control how loud the low tone response is. The medium and high tone responses are set with the main volume control.
      The discrimination control still functions in Micro mode, with a default setting of ten. Hot rocks and ground responses occur this low on the scale, and so having at least some of the low end blocked or rejected with reduce the number of low tone responses generated by the ground itself. The control can be set as high as you want and will override the other settings, blocking all targets below the desired target id setting.
      The Makro Gold Kruzer does have a tone control, but it does not allow the tones to be changed in Micro mode. Those are factory preset, with the Tone Break between ferrous and non-ferrous plus Ferrous Volume as the two adjustments you can make. The Tone setting allows the tone of the audio response and threshold to be changed in Gen, Fast, and Boost modes only.
      Micro was designed first for hunting micro jewelry. Micro jewelry is a loose term that applies to all very small jewelry items, like very thin chains, single post earrings, tie tacks, etc. Micro is perfect for hunting tot lots and beaches and focusing on the “gold range” targets represented by the mid tone reading in Micro mode. Many jewelry hunters consider digging coins a waste of time, and so ignoring high tones can save digging pocket change when the real goal is a woman’s diamond and platinum ring.
      The Makro Gold Kruzer has a nominal non-ferrous range of 41 – 99 which is a 59 point spread. Normal U.S. coin responses are 63 for a nickel, 83 for a zinc penny, 84 for a copper penny, 86 for a clad dime, and 91 for a clad quarter. The high 61 kHz operating frequency acts to push target id numbers higher and most coins will respond at 83 and higher. I was surprised a zinc penny and copper penny for all intents read the same.
      The good news is the low conductor range is expanded, which offers the ability to help discern different pull tabs and other trash items over a wider range. This in turn may help eliminate at least a few pesky trash items while hunting gold, although ignoring gold range items of any sort can be risky. Still, with a U.S. nickel reading at 63 and most women’s rings reading under the nickel, you get the 40 – 63 zone as a 23 point range where much of the most valuable jewelry will turn up. The default high tone breakpoint of 66 – 67 is clearly focusing the Gold Kruzer mid-tone on this very important gold range. Do note that large men’s rings and nearly all larger silver jewelry will read above 66 and therefore give a high tone reading.
      The Gold Kruzer has some obvious applications but there are a couple catches. First, it is running at 61 kHz, which means it is very hot on low conductors, but that it will have just adequate performance on high conductors like silver coins. Second, its extreme sensitivity to low conductors means it will not work well if at all in saltwater or on wet salt sand. Saltwater is a low conductor and will respond quite strongly on the Gold Kruzer, and getting it to not respond to saltwater gives up all the sensitivity to small gold. The Gold Kruzer will work very well around freshwater or on dry sand, it is not intended as a detector for use in or near saltwater. I would suggest the new Makro Multi Kruzer as an alternative to those who want to hunt in and around saltwater on a regular basis.

      Makro Gold Kruzer with optional 5” x 9.5” DD coil
      There are many features I could delve into but at over six pages this report is getting long, so I will again refer people to the User Manual for the details. Suffice it to say that the Makro Gold Kruzer has a full set of features like frequency shift for reducing interference, temporary audio boost for the Gen all metal mode, adjustable backlight, and the ability to save settings when the detector is powered down, and more.
      I got the Gold Kruzer prototype during a period when I was quite busy and the weather was not helping. I did have time to do a few tot lot hunts plus make a trip to the goldfields to evaluate the machine. The Gold Kruzer is well behaved in urban locations, with only a little static from electrical interference sources. I found the new Micro mode to be just the ticket for quickly blasting through a tot lot recovering prime gold range targets. I dug everything as is my practice when learning a detector, and ended up with the usual pile of aluminum foil, junk jewelry, and coins. Nothing special found but no doubt in my mind that the Gold Kruzer acts as intended in this type of setting.
      There were no surprises in the goldfields. At 61 kHz and in Gen mode the Gold Kruzer is a real pleasure to run, with all the response and nuance one expects from a great threshold based all metal circuit. Boost Mode also works very well as an alternative for small nugget detecting. I had no problem at all finding a couple little bits of gold weighing under a grain (480 grains per Troy ounce) on my first and only nugget hunt so far with the Gold Kruzer.

      Two tiny gold nuggets found with Makro Gold Kruzer
      To sum up, the new Makro Gold Kruzer once again ups the ante at Makro. It comes standard with two coils and is fully waterproof for about the same price as the Makro Gold Racer so I would have to assume the Gold Racers days are numbered. The one thing I am not sure about at this time is that the Gold Racer has a 15” x 13” DD coil option. The Makro Multi Kruzer has the 15” coil option, but no such accessory has yet been announced for the Gold Kruzer. This is probably not a concern for very many people, but it bears mentioning.
      I have no problem at all recommending that anyone interested in a detector with a focus on gold take a very serious look at the new Makro Gold Kruzer. It’s performance on low conductors of any type means that the Gold Kruzer is not just for prospectors and jewelry hunters but may also see favor with some relic hunters who focus of low conductor targets like buttons and bullets. This is a solid detector with 21st century features at a very attractive price.
      Makro Gold Kruzer Information Page
      Makro Kruzer Color Brochure
      Download a pdf copy of this report
      Steve Herschbach
      DetectorProspector.com
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