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Southern California Detector - Gold, Or Maybe...?

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Hey all! I’m super-new but wanted to say thanks to everyone because I’ve read soooo many excellent posts on this forum before joining and have learned a ton!

I’m an obsessive newbie in the Los Angeles area who’s recently picked up a Garrett Ace 250 to kick around with my Dad when he visits (we used to detect parks and schools in Maryland when I was a kid with his old Compass). The Ace is fun and great in parks - I’m fond of it - but I’m really more interested in wet sand detecting on the beaches and in gold prospecting. And it just doesn’t handle salty wet black sand well... or find tiny gold.... So of course I’m looking at getting a second detector.

My Dad is thrilled. My Mom is horrified  ?

I was trying to decide between the Goldmaster 24k and Gold Monster 1000, but then the idea of the Equinox 800 snuck in and I was thinking maybe it would be a good beach AND gold detector. But then I really like the Goldmaster 24k in the few videos I could find. But the Gold Monster 1000 is blue and has that lovely little whoop whoop sound....

I know there’s no “best” detector, and from what I can tell those are all great detectors. But I’m hoping someone can nudge me off the fence. Does anyone have any thoughts about these or other models for use in Southern California? So many beaches, so many reports of gold...  SO MUCH BLACK SAND!

Thanks in advance for any advice! I know this was long but I wanted to provide enough details of where I am and what I’m looking for to be useful. Also, I’m chatty. ?


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I would definitely choose the Equinox 800 over the Gold Monster.  The Equinox will handle finding small gold if you end up prospecting but it will also handle the parks and beach much better than a Monster.   The audio information and VID's on the Equinox are also winners.

I have never used the 24K but being a 48khz single frequency VLF it will have similar characteristics to the Gold Monster and be lacking VID's. 

The Equinox also has the advantage of being completely waterproof. 

Best of luck with your choice  ?

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If you want a machine that can do it all--parks, beaches, fields and gold prospecting--really no choice: get the Equinox 800.  With its multi-frequency modes and selection of single frequencies, it's the closest to a do-everything machine that has come along.  In gold modes, I believe it also approximates the behavior of the gold machines (I have the 600, which doesn't have the gold modes, so maybe someone else can chime in on this).

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The 800 is a truly light and versatile machine.  I've used it in all the areas of Southern California that you have mentioned.  I've found some small gold with it using the standard coil and I've found many gold and silver pieces of jewelry on the beaches.  It works!

What have your results been with the Garrett Ace 250?


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Thank you all very much for your thoughts so far!

@Northeast, the waterproof feature is a DEFINITE plus because I’m clumsy. ? I wasn’t sure if I’d care much about the visual display since I don’t use the one on the Garrett as much as I should, but the audio is really nice on the videos of the Equinox I’ve watched. I think it’s got some way to customize the tones for different ranges of conductivity?

@Dubious, I was looking for a gold-specific machine (and maybe also a separate beach-specific one!) because it seems usually general purpose machines are jack of all trades, masters of none - and from what I can tell of the soil and sand out here, that won’t do. ? But the Equinox seems to be the exception to the rule on that - seems like people have good success with it wherever they take it. Does seem to have a bit of a learning curve though.

@mn90403, thanks for confirming that the Equinox works well in my area - that’s a major concern for me!

I like the Ace 250 pretty well compared to the last 1980-ish machine I used! ? I sometimes find the pinpointing frustrating and I hate the headphones I got with it - cord is too short and the things slip off my head every time I bend down to dig. Could be my head’s fault I guess, maybe it’s shaped funny. So light and easy to get started with. Seems to find very tiny pieces of junk in all metal or jewelry mode - in trashy areas I end up switching to coin mode which works well but I worry I’m missing my gold necklaces then. Hasn’t found me any gold in the dry creek beds but I wouldn’t expect it to - but I figure no sense in not trying if I have it with me. ?


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46 minutes ago, jinmon said:

I think it’s got some way to customize the tones for different ranges of conductivity?

Tones are very customizable  ?

47 minutes ago, jinmon said:

Does seem to have a bit of a learning curve though.

Yes and no. Read the manual and leave it in factory defaults for the first few hunts and you should get the hang of it. If at the beach you could also dig everything for the first few hunts to give you some real feedback about tones/VIDs Versus actual target. 

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I also recommend the Equinox 800 for what you’d like to accomplish. I do not think the learning curve would be too much for you. I found it easy to navigate the buttons and menu and the UI is well thought out.

I think you will really like the wireless headphones that come with the 800 as well. Although the wireless hp are not waterproof, in the field or dry sand hunting they’re perfect. Minelab, as you are probably aware of, has a set of waterproof hp available.

Best of Luck!



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Thanks @phrunt! I admit to some serious coveting of those VDI numbers when watching YouTube videos of machines that have them! ?

Love the pix of your gold finds with the Equinox! Thanks for sharing! And yeah, I was thinking about that 6” coil - have you found it makes a big difference?

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Thanks! I like the smaller coils anyway. At least in theory! ? They just LOOK ado much more navigable around rocks etc. And the the larger coil would work well on the beach from what I’ve seen.... hmmmm. ?

Does anyone think I should NOT get the Equinox 800? Lol!!! 

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