By Chase Goldman
I am not really looking for a new detector to add to my arsenal. I think my Deus, Equinox, and GPX cover the bases pretty well. I keep an MXT and F75 DST around mainly for nostalgic reasons (like a guitarist collects guitars) and because they were classic designs in their day with solid performance, features, design, and ergonomics bar none in the case of the F75. I laso keep my Tek Delta around because it was the detector with which I really learned how to detect and helped me form a passion for the hobby. Plus they all support concentric coils which are advantageous under certain conditions.
So why was I still drawn to the two new low cost offerings by Makro and Minelab? There is always something refreshing about a stripped down, back to basics detector design that incorporates the latest tech and capabilities (e.g., Multi IQ for Vanquish, straight forward single frequency detecting with decent all metal capability, and a waterproof package for the Simplex).
Why get another detector, when my main arsenal seemingly consists of detectors that should easily outperform either Vanquish or Simplex?
The answer is simple, performance diversity. Hitting a site with a different detectors of diverse capabilities, features, performance usually pays of if you have the luxury of time and access. Last week, at several different types of CW relic sites in Virginia I was able to use the diverse capabilities of the three detectors I mentioned in the second sentence of my post and each delivered with keeper finds under the conditions to which they typically excel. The GPX penetrated deep into highly mineralized soils of those Virginia fields to snag a number of deep non-ferrous brass and lead targets including my first US Cavalry bit boss - a "bucket lister" for me. The Equinox with its Multi IQ capabilities and diverse modes (including gold mode) was able to ID and lock onto shallower no-ferrous targets in the mineralized muck of multiple non-ferrous and ferrous targets which enabled me to ultimately pull several non-ferrous keepers out of a single hole. And the Deus gave my tired arm a break while deftly navigating between huge chunks of big iron in pitch mode that enabled me to literally visualize the large target footprint of these big iron targets and as a result snagged some actual ferrous CW relics including stove leg and some antique door hinges and other unique ferrous keepers.
So what does this have to do with Vanquish and Simplex?
The Vanquish is a very capable entry level detector with some high-end features (Multi IQ) and a cool coil selection and neat stem design but, not surprisingly, very limited setting customization options and missing features that appropriately put in a couple of notches below the even the Equinox 600. Some of the missing features are quite frankly head scratching as far as I am concerned (e.g., not fully waterproof housing, lack of user firmware update capability, no single frequency mode option, and while the coil selection is compelling, those coils are not also compatible with Equinox - a missed opportunity IMO - confirmed with me in person by Debbie S of Minelab at last week's dig). Sometimes manufacturers tease higher end features into their new lower-end offerings that are otherwise not available in their mid or high level offerings. Other than the decent coil selection, there is no such situation here. The Equinox envelopes the Vanquish completely. Bottom line, the Vanquish is solid and provides "multifrequency for the masses" but brings nothing to the table for Equinox users. That is not slam, it is a fact and frankly is not unexpected. If the coils were cross compatible with Equinox, I might seriously consider picking up a Vanquish solely for the opportunity to use the coils on Equinox while getting a fairly decent emergency backup or grab n go machine in the process. But with the coils solely married to the less capable Vanquish and without the capability to wring the most out of them, it is a pass for me.
The Simplex on the other hand is limited to single frequency and the emphasis is on solid basic performance and ease of use. Yet Nokta has packed it with some high end features such as fully waterproof, wireless ready (and cheaper than the wireless variant of the Vanquish), firmware updates (updates and bug fixes have already been released), and the promise of some decent accessory coils consistent with the Nokta track record on their other recent detector designs. So there are slight feature advantages that in the Simplex design that provide something a little more compelling in the "basics" than Vanquish, though Vanquish does have Multi IQ going for it.
Since I do not own a Nokta or Makro detector, the Simplex provides the performance diversity that the Vanquish does not, IN MY CASE. This would not necessarily be true of those who might own a Kruzer, Anfibio or Impact. For those folks, the Simplex probably looks to them the same way the Vanquish looks to me or the typical Equinox owner. At this price point, the performance diversity is worth it. I get Nokta's signal processing which is lacking in my arsenal, a decent VCO all metal mode (which I prefer over the processed discrete tones of the Equinox in the non-gold modes) and the prospect of decent accessory coil choices with user upgrade-able firmware in a waterproof package. It is still entry level and fairly basic, but compelling to me from a performance diversity standpoint, nevertheless.
Remember, this is only my opinion and is applicable to my particular situation based on the detectors I already own and the type of detecting I like to do (primarily CW and Colonial relic hunting). It should not be misconstrued as Simplex is better than Vanquish or that these detectors can outperform their more expensive and capable cousins.
So do you find either the Simplex and/or Vanquish compelling even if you do own higher end detectors already? Discuss your thoughts below.
By Steve Herschbach
I think Minelab may have pulled the extra early intro trick one time too often. The machine is not supposed to actually be available until sometime next year. In the meantime the Nokta/Makro Simplex+ is actually shipping, stealing the thunder. The gap between announcement and actual shipping dates on Vanquish is so large that people will have almost forgotten about it by the time it's available, or at least it will just be old news. It seems to me Minelab is squandering a certain amount of excitement that results in people making quick impulse buy type decisions. Given too much time people calm down and find reasons not to buy.
I can't say I am a big fan of machines being announcement way before they are available. Hopefully the trend reverses. It may be Vanquish proves to be the time it went to far and we we go back to manufacturers keeping a better lid on things until we can actually buy them.
Minelab Vanquish 340 Data & Specifications
Minelab Vanquish 440 Data & Specifications
Minelab Vanquish 540 Data & Specifications
Minelab Vanquish 540 metal detector
By Steve Herschbach
I have been lobbying for a mid-range elliptical coil for the Equinox for two years now, since it is the kind of coil lots of gold prospectors like to use. Minelab throws my suggestions in the trash bin when it comes to coils unfortunately.
Then the light bulb went off. The stock 11" coil for the Equinox sells for $229. I can get a 7" x 10" Multi-IQ coil for only $199 and a free metal detector to run it! It's called the Vanquish 340.
No, Vanquish coils will not work on the Equinox. That would make too much sense. But still, $199 for a coil with a free detector included is a pretty hard deal to beat, don't you think? I was kind of blowing Vanquish off but now I'm actually thinking a 340 might be a fun little machine to have around. It has to be sweet on the arm at 2.6 lbs with an S rod.
Just a thought.
Minelab Vanquish 340 metal detector
Search Modes - Coin, Jewelry, All Metal
Custom User Search Profile - No
Operating Frequencies (kHz) - Multi-IQ
Noise Cancel - Auto (19 Channels)
Bluetooth Audio - No
Iron Bias - High
Sensitivity - 4 levels
Volume - 3 levels
Target Tones - 3 tones (Low, Mid, High)
Discrimination Segments - 5 segments
Target ID's - -9 to 40
Depth Indicator - 4 levels
Length - Extended: 1450 mm (57") Collapsed: 760 mm (30")
Weight (incl. batteries) - 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)
Standard Coil - V10 10" x 7" Double-D
Audio Output - In-built loudspeaker, 3.5 mm (1/8") jack
Supplied Headphones - None
Display - Monochrome LCD
Supplied Batteries - 4 x AA Alkaline replaceable
Waterproof - Coil to 1 meter/3 feet
Operating Temperature Range - -10°C to +40°C (+14°F to +104°F)
Storage Temperature Range - -20°C to +70°C (-4°F to +158°F)
Key Technologies - Multi-IQ
Forum threads with "vanquish" tag
Minelab Vanquish 340 display and controls