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☠ Cipher

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☠ Cipher last won the day on September 29 2018

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  1. I think that too often U.S. companies exploit patriotism, and they've gotten away with it to a large extent. There is also the reality that there are soils where any advantages of muli or selectable is very minimal to non-existent. A machine like the F-75 is a persistent thorn in the side of those who place more emphasis on the technology itself rather than what it does. There are many circumstances where it does better than a CTX-3030, for example. Enter the Equinox, and now the arguments for an F75 become all the more limited because the Equinox balanced the FBS bias toward silver and against small gold, while negating complaints that FBS was too slow to perform in dense iron. These are complaints that drove people away from FBS to an F75 or T2. The depth difference in mild soils was more pronounced between the F75 and FBS machines. In ideal conditions the F75 and T2 represented the pinnacle of VLF depth. It has been more within the last several years that it has been obvious First Texas and others have hit a brick wall. The Equinox demands a response from the industry in a way that the Deus and CTX-3030 didn't. For all their glory those machines didn't do too much to hamper the success of the AT lineup in the United States. Now you see those machines being sold left and right. And not so oddly, at the same time as you're seeing more F75s and AT Pros up for sale, Im seeing an increase in interest or a kind of second look at the Spectra series on the second hand market. It's the kind of sweet spot I find myself in. I'm extremely happy with my V3i and Equinox duo. I know that if I didn't have a V3i I would still have an E-trac or a CTX-3030. There's a complimentary relationship there that cannot be denied. In mild to moderate soil I've found no particular advantage in using FBS over Spectra. When the conditions become more severe the Equinox picks up where Spectra leaves off. I find that a V3i and Equinox pairing maintains sensitivity to small gold and micro jewelry. Whites overestimated the number of people who would be interested in a very technical platform. They weren't wrong about the advantages we could gain from it if we were. As younger, more tech oriented people enter into the hobby the V3i is getting another look not only as a compliment to the Equinox, but as an either or. Whites ate itself by not developing the platform further, for inhibiting and second guessing its talent. A lot of their patents were sold off to make XP products, which could've been their success. The Mi6 was made with an abandoned whites patent which was supposed to be for the TRX. I still believe that if any US company has the talent to get back into the upper echelons of the industry it is First Texas. What we see Whites doing is rebuilding their brand from the bottom up and probably because that's where their talents are at right now. First Texas has done that already and their guys know quite a bit about the technology they need to put out there, although they did waste more time than they should've denying that waterproofing was important. Garrett I think will fade into either obscurity or specialty markets without a complete change in paradigm about multi and single selectable.
  2. I honestly feel that this Is the most underrated machine in its class. It is hard to write about this machine with any brevity because there's so much that needs to be touched on. What were intended to be its strengths actually became its drawbacks in the mainstream of detecting. I believe the intent was to create a kind of ultimate do it all machine that would outclass anything on the market in terms of target information and user access to customizing operating parameters. To me, it accomplished that. But that is not your average metal detector consumer's preference or how the average joe is accustomed to detecting as we saw with the success of competitors with machines that work in a more automated or simplified fashion. Most guys would rather just get on about the business of detecting. I say all that to say this...if you're not committed to learning each feature that makes a (multifrequency) metal detector tick, and if you're not willing to invest significant time on the academic aspects of this machine, it's not for you and you will not get the most out of it. You'll jump into a rabbit hole or quicksand to be quickly overwhelmed with each change. When it comes to the more technical aspects of the hobby this machine is a lesson in humility. From the beginning I decided I would try where others have failed and that is in resisting the temptation to blame the machine rather than my own ignorance of complex interactions and lack of patience or discipline. Resisting the temptation to settle for the easier, automatic, good enough of other platforms. To me it was important to put that out there because I often see user shortcomings being projected onto what is almost a blank slate with a powerful set of tools. In the world of general detecting (relics, coins, jewelry) in most conditions this machine is what you make of it and will parrot your technical skill, knowledge level or lack thereof back at you in its performance, whereas other machines are more forgiving and supplement more for that. Don't get me wrong, there's a persuasive argument to be made to reject the V3i for not being user friendly and not doing more on its own. I continue to believe that it provides an edge in conditions ranging from mild to moderate, that there is especially no better machine on isolated targets in those conditions if you want to use a machine like this for what it was intended, and that is finding valuable targets while digging the lowest ratio of trash to treasure to get to such targets. No machine has more data points and tells to learn from. There are features on this machine that can be used in ways probably never intended, to gather information on target composition and the presence of an adjacent target that tone and VDI are not able to capture alone. In this last season particularly I had a paradigm shift about how approaching this machine with the dogma of traditional methods of detecting can limit you. In any case, in terms of its ability, The Pros: it is well balanced across the spectrum of metals. It can hit anything from deep silver down to fine gold thanks to its true simultaneous, broad 3-frequency approach to multifrequency with single frequency options. No other machine to this day that I'm aware of shows you in color how each of its frequencies are actually reacting to a target and in so many ways. I've found more jewelry with it than I know what to do with. Contrary to some opinions, it can be a deep machine. The ability is there, but does seem limited by stock or in house coils to a bit above average. Detech coils, particularly the ultimate 13 turns it into a depth monster even out of proportion of what you'd expect a 13" coil to do for it. That coil brings it into F75 LTD depth territory albeit with a bit larger coil, but with far more target information and disc ability. The wireless headphones are a plus and bring added features to the platform as well, like mixed stereo for disc in one ear and all metal in the other. This machine is durable. The membrane buttons on the machines I have, some of them near 10 years old are still responsive and springy for lack of a better word. Pinpoint trigger has never failed and LCD shows no signs of going anything soon. The V3i is no exception to Whites legendary durability. For now, my summary is this. This machine is the very best I have used in the specific set of conditions I described. But you must earn it. If you're not willing to invest time in academics and experimentation you will be better off with a machine that makes more decisions for you. Stock programs on this machine will perform at an average baseline level with above average target information. The strength of this machine is to be able to dial in the parameters with more latitude than has ever been given to users. It operates on a philosophy of trusting you with all the fine tuning normally left to blanket algorithms hoping that a bit of knowledge combined with human senses will know better what adjustments to make to give it an edge. You have the ability to create or even copy a virtually unlimited number of programs because of the storage space available. Even the VDI system can be altered and tailored by the user. Do not be put off by the age of the platform. This machine was ahead of its time and still has what it needs to be a top shelf metal detector. Metal detectors are not very hardware intense to start with compared to phones, tablets and computers. I would argue most advances have come in the form of software and programming, and integrating more compact, energy efficient circuitry. The cons: it is heavy by today's standards. It is not waterproof. That is a shame because of its potential in freshwater lakes and rivers. It is not the fastest machine on the block even when recovery is maxed out, but being a hub of target information and analysis, you wouldn't expect it to be. That is not its greatest strength. This is one issue that can be overcome in time as you acquire small coils, and learn to integrate alternate methods of adjacent target interrogation that take advantage of a visual on frequency reaction in manipulating the pinpoint trigger, and even some temporal analysis in some configurations. The ground balance system on this machine is the biggest disappointment and limits what this machine could've been in more circumstances. Getting a good ground balance on this machine in rapidly changing terrains can be challenging. Autotrac does not keep up as well as you'd like, so you must locktrac with offsets, which works, but is not optimal on a machine that is all about optimization. In other words it will do well enough on a salt beach, but that's not where it shines. It is important to make a point about this though. I have 2 V3s and 1 V3i that I compare and contrast and run experiments on. I've been able to confirm prior reports that the V3 is able to ground balance and track harsher and rapidly changing conditions better than the V3i. Software changes when the V3 became the V3i shined a light on its ground balance system in such conditions. It was reported that Whites reduced tracking parameter in order to get a better target ID. So there are some advantages to owning a V3 and not upgrading it. Including the ability to communicate wirelessly with other V3 users to exchange programs and settings on the spot. But there are some things you give up when it comes to target analysis. It's a trade off. As an aside, In 2018 these machines have some untapped potential and capability as well as yet to be discovered hidden menus that would be interesting to access and explore, maybe even more tracking access. Although this platform has its weaknesses and limitations, I'm giving it 5 stars because there is nothing like it on the market that can satisfy the geeks and egg heads of the hobby to experiment and push boundaries like this one can. There is a reason even guys like Steve H, who would likely describe themselves as more of a prospector, keep coming back to it. It is hard to get the general potential of this machine out of your head once you've had it and have the level of information that tells you there ought to be some pretty wicked combos that could be assembled if provided enough time. There's still a lot of room for user development and contributions. V3i is both an instructor and a powerful tool in all things metal detecting if you have time to dedicate to it. It is unbeatable as an inland relic, jewelry, coin, and cache machine. Even the things it's not the best at it can do competently. Combine it with a machine like an Equinox whose strengths and weaknesses are like a lock and key, and you'll have the deadliest duo around. In presenting the V3i as I have I'm not necessarily saying that it is the "best" at more things than any other machine. Just that there are fundamental things it can do best in the hands of a learned user. I'm an arsenal detectorist and appreciate all our technology. But I feel comfortable saying because of its complexity many of the best detectorists in the world have not realized it's potential and it's rightful place among the very best general application machines. As a result it has suffered a lack of the level of professional user development that other major platforms have gotten. Whites may have been wrong about how many people would be interested in a machine like the V3i, but they weren't wrong about what it could do if they were. (I have somehow managed to end up with different font sizes. I wrote this up on my iPhone and not sure how to correct that with its limited tools, but I will correct this {I'm too OCD to accept it} and continue to edit for the sake of brevity and being as concise as possible on my MacBook where I'm more familiar)
  3. The Good: The Land Ranger Pro is definitely not your father's Bounty Hunter. Bounty Hunter has gotten a bit of a bad rep in the world of serious metal detecting over the years, often overlooked as "toys" because of their presence in big box stores and a long list of models with often whimsical names. The Land Ranger Pro appears to be a step in the direction of rebuilding the brand. It continues to be one of the best deals on the market for all that offers. Above average depth and a very precise discrimination system you don't find on machines at this price level. You are able to notch items out by single VDI rather than by VDI segments. This machine, like most First Texas machines is great in iron and dense trash. Super fast recovery. The ergonomics are great and it is aesthetically well crafted. The bad: there's not much negative to say about this machine. It would mostly involve features it doesn't have, but I believe what it offers as far as price to performance and feature set, that would not be fair. The one weakness I found with this machine is that the pinpoint button is prone to wear or wearing out and that it is not an isolated issue. I don't know it to be a particularly wide spread issue either, but it is something to be aware of.
  4. No doubt. By the time the truth comes out and is passed down through forums etc, the marketing tactics have already done their job. It usually only has a small effect later on down the road after the initial sales boom, and on the second hand market. I am noticing a rise in the number of people discussing and questioning multifrequency platforms though. Here and everywhere. There are so many choices now that consumers are very confused coming into the hobby. There was enough confusion in single frequency choices. Now we have Pulse, multifrequency and single selectable becoming more dominant; multifrequency with single options, companies calling single selectable multifrequency, a company calling pulse multifrequency, talk of hybrids, half-sine and more coming down the pike. Some of us here are the lucky ones. Many of us have gotten into a kind of sweet spot where we understand enough to be attuned and conversant, where we know what methods do what and where, when to be skeptical, and what the limits of our own knowledge are. We have a certain level of competency as consumers that most do not. On the topic at hand, I don't know if all single frequency detectors are behind us. I remember reading a Dave Johnson essay where more than a couple decades ago when he and Fisher produced the CZs and Minelab with BBS (I don't remember who was first as I sit here), he was fairly sure that Multi would take over the industry from there. But single frequency technology began to grow and get better at a faster rate than multi, which had its weaknesses against a single dedicated frequency. Now multi and single selectable technology seems to be growing and gaining ground again. I believe the Simplex as a very low cost waterproof model could have the same effect on the low end as Equinox has had on the mid-upper range. It's very possible that machines like Simplex and Equinox could rule the industry very soon, but if there's anywhere that a dedicated single frequency machine can outperform those, you'll continue to see arsenal hunters buy them until the day that single selectable or multi with single options can outdo them all at each task. We might not fully understand the compromises that may be made to make such machines rather than a dedicated machine. If I had to guess I'd say that single frequency machines that claim to do it all are probably seeing their own end times against multi and single selectable that claim to do it all. There may come a day soon where Multi and single selectable are reduced to the same status against some other technology, whether it be an advanced form of discriminating pulse, half-sine, or something else. U.S. Companies need to shift focus away from single frequency now I would think. If you can't do better than multi or single selectable currently on the market, or develop something new I don't see where you can go from here. I like to think about the kinds of things that can be done with a base machine that can communicate with wireless accessories like Equinox. Imagine the kind of add ons that could be innovated. You could really build off of a machine like that if you utilized cell phone apps, VR imaging etc. Why make one big, heavy expensive machine when you could distribute the weight and cost among other components. That kind of thing could leave others in the dust.
  5. I've had the V3i for a few years now, and just recently acquired the Ultimate 13. Prior to that I was experimenting with all the in house coils. I didn't want to run coils larger than those in its menu selection. More of a neurosis of mine. But people were praising it. I suspected hyperbole until I actually got my hands on one. I was impressed enough before. This coil has completely transformed my V3i. I don't want to take it off. I doubt I ever will.
  6. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss First Texas with Carl and Dave Johnson et. al. On board. Carl did help bring the V3i, a 3 frequency machine, to market, and while I do not find it to be as stable across multiple environments as my Equinox, it is still my go to for most inland hunting. There are tasks the V3i is better at too. It is the best discriminator I've ever used in mild to moderate soil because of its tools and it's 3 frequencies. I find it's VDI to be unusually accurate. Of course I've dedicated a lot of time to that machine, but it's been worth it. And that 13" ultimate Detech brings the V3i to life in a way that no stock coils do, remarkably so. Dave did bring the CZs to market, which have stood the test of time. The F75 is a single frequency machine that operates like a multi in many ways. Still one of the very best machines out there. Additionally, It is not common knowledge that Whites would be a lot further in the game if they hadn't stifled their engineers to a point where they felt the need to exit and/or go elsewhere. I have no doubt that the day is coming when First Texas is sitting in the catbird seat because of people like Carl. The things they were working on over there at Whites when everyone left, the world may never see from Whites now. The company gave away more than many companies accomplish. I agree with Carl in some respects and I agree with Steve in some. Though it is the performance that makes the machine, and I'm a happy Equinox owner, I don't care for the marketing tactics. They are disingenuous, as are many others,' and many units are sold based on marketing alone. I have spent a lot of time on social media and various forums to see people say they picked a particular machine solely on the basis of the number of frequencies it claims to run. In fact, this even affects Minelab purchase decisions as many people who own FBS products will not buy an Equinox saying things like "there's no way a 5 frequency machine can do better than a 28 frequency machine." If they understood the technical truth of the matter sooner they'd find that neither of them are either of that, and that the Equinox does actually have strengths that the even the CTX lacks. So my position would be that, yes most, if not all marketing departments use hyperbole, mislead, etc., it is important for there to be a rebuttal of those tactics by competitors when it comes to specific claims or implied claims that are being used for purchase decisions. A little bit of knowledge is dangerous and that's what the vast majority of us have. Enough to be mislead, until we arrive at a point Steve has, where you say there's more to this than meets the eye without a full time career in it. I'll just stick to informed purchase decisions and what works. Learning not only are some machines not running as many as we've been misled to believe, but that it's also not a frequency numbers game to begin with is part of an informed purchase decision. Don't look at the numbers, but how people are saying it works. I do however think that going forward it's important for consumers understand that. If something better than the Equinox comes along running less than 5 frequencies or less than 28 in the case of marketing of FBS, many people will be cheating themselves going by specs that aren't easily understood until the real world checks in. Often unless there's a revolutionary difference it never does for some people until they read a thread like this and begin to question what they thought they knew. I've done a lot of research not only on metal detector technology, but the history behind companies and engineers. I've always found Carl himself to want to be accurate, honest and helpful. I don't think he's motivated solely by self promotion or promotion of FTP.
  7. Is that what NASA Tom is talking about here? http://www.dankowskidetectors.com/discussions/read.php?2,152652,page=1
  8. The decision makers at Whites really finally need to jump into the 21st century and give us a machine that can be updated, waterproof as a matter of course, wireless headphones as a matter of course, create wireless coils with a wired option (like others do with headphones, because wired is still the only solution in and under water, but with wireless coils you can upgrade hardware via coil change with coils that are tuned to their specific applications), create an app so that people can choose to use either a remote or phone to control their coil. Create a V4 or V5 that addresses the V3i shortcomings. It's still my favorite machine, but it needs improving to stay competitive. Keep the spectrograph, Polar Plot, etc., but also add an imaging program like Target Trace. Integrating with cell phone applications would be awesome. Open a metal detecting app market for developers. This worked wonders for cell phones. Look at all that's available now as people were given a platform to display their coding talents. This could work for metal detectors with optional cell phone control. Create a pinpointer that communicates with the host machines and adapts their disc settings. Add a small LCD to pinpointer. Do these things, or others will, or already are working on it.
  9. Whether Tesoro or any other brand, I've always found objective air tests, test gardens and nail boards to be instructive and predictive. It is no accident that the machines that do the best in this regard also tend to be the best in the field. There are exceptions. I won't get into those here because they don't include Tesoro's. I've always found testing of Tesoro's to be predictive and instructive in general hunting. The key is you have to either conduct them yourself and/or follow someone who wants to and knows how to conduct them objectively. They have gotten a bad name from people who get the results they want or don't know how to conduct them. You'll find that a lot on YouTube, so it's easy to write them off and throw everyone into a testing basket of deplorables. Personally, I like the performance of Tesoros. They will do as well as anything else out there in mild to moderate mineralization and in heavy trash. I no longer own Tesoro for the same reason I don't own any First Texas Machines (other than Carl's new pinpointer). They aren't multifrequency, and in Tesoro's case they don't have the kind of disc tools that you can only get from digital machines.
  10. In the forums/social media shakeup, those that stay in the forum game will reap the rewards. Forums that stay focused on organizing information, and filtering trolls without becoming draconian about their rules will survive and grow. This is one of those. Forums like Findmall, TreasureNet, etc will die out with the old timers due to their own silliness, draconian style, and focus on the bottom line rather than the hobby itself. I like the combo myself. I like coming here for serious business (research, fruitful, engaging,conversation) and organization, and I like the freedom of social media. The endless scrolling of social media is the reason good forums will continue to exist in the short term, until social media learns to provide methods to organize. Serious troll free engagement is the reason some will always survive.
  11. I'm curious how AI will come into play in metal detector technology if you have any insight. I've seen some evidence that Minelab is playing around with it, was unaware First Texas is. Find it fascinating as I love electronic technology period. As an aside on this overall thread it is true that US companies are having a hard time keeping up in part due to companies outsourcing labor overseas, and State funding/subsidies. Companies with state funding have a distinct advantage in many ways. This has been partly what has propelled Nokta/Makro this far, and enabled them to bring concepts like the Simplex to market. It is going to effect the low end market like the Equinox has the mid-range and outward. At some point one machine offers so much more than others it can no longer be overlooked. The Simplex will force others to offer more or get out of the game. That's not as good for US business as it is for innovation. US companies have had to cope in ways they find embarrassing and won't readily admit, like having some of their boards made overseas. I just hope they get a handle on it all and produce. So far foreign companies have benefitted more from free trade than the United States has. Forced technology transfers in China many of which are then sold to other companies in other nations have irreparably harmed US innovators.
  12. I agree with Steve. I look at metal detecting as a thinking person's hobby and this a thinking person's forum. There's something about name calling that subtracts from that. I can't say that I've always been beyond a tit for tat when someone gets belligerent in an exchange of ideas in other forums, but I try to avoid going there as a matter of course. Most guys who have stuck with this hobby are pretty sharp and so I generally trust them to pick up on whether an individual or their post is credible. I've gotten into some pretty lively debates on the Equinox. Particularly Equinox vs Deus. Most recently I joined a club. Something I've resisted for many years because this particular club is run by an individual who uses the club as a platform to sell the Deus to members, especially new members. Those who don't own one are hounded until they do. On the FB page a new member and I were discussing his new Equinox and sure enough the president (who doesn't read forums) jumped in telling us we shoulda bought Deus', and trying to diminish the Equinox. Now, I'm new to a club, not new to detecting. Because of my interest in metal detector technology in general, the time I've spent in its study and use of most machines of note I came off as quite a bit more knowledgeable on both machines than he did. I made the case that I have the right machine for me quite well and he realized he stepped in it, and publicly, this time. Because of his ego and how he perceives debate, and himself, when all was said and done I had him screaming at me in private messages and erasing what other members agreed was perfectly clean, respectful intellectual analysis from the page to look as though he called me out and I had no answers. I was very tempted to lash out publicly using much stronger language than we are talking about here. I even entertained intimidation and humiliation at the next club meeting. It got my goat. In the end, such tactics are a short term bandaid for frustration in a long game hobby. Acting as he did I'm sure it wasn't an isolated incident and that his reputation precedes him. Sure enough it does, and not in many good ways. People in the club know who he is by now. In time they will know me for who I am too. It won't be for crudeness and treating people poorly. These things have a way of sorting themselves out without the labels. In the end facts, ideas and results will win.
  13. I ran into this issue at a seeded hunt with a few other Equinox users. Noise cancel worked until another Equinox came within range. Then I'd have to do it again. As I sit here I do now know if the equinox has a frequency shift separate from noise cancel, but this did prove to be a problem that cost me very valuable time. I still did extremely well for my first seeded hunt (over $250 in silver and prizes for a $70 hunt), and the issue hasn't come up again since. I'm sure it will so I'll be looking into it with you as I would like to continue to use the Equinox for seeded hunts, and partner/group hunting, but wouldn't be able to if there's not a better working solution.
  14. I live in upstate NY unfortunately, so no alligators for me haha. I live in the Schoharie Valley, which is absolutely stunning landscape with plenty of Native American, Colonial, and Revolutionary War history. I'm about a 20 minute walk or 5-10 minute bike ride from an awesome kayak trail. It's a blessing and a curse. All of that is a blessing, but the curse is that we have very harsh winters, so the water is either frozen or close to it from as soon as November to as late as April. I might have a good month or two at most to get in the water and mess around. Then I'll spend the winter preparing for next year. I'll be doing as much tank/hookah diving and kayaking for treasure as I can and I'll be pretty new to both forms. This winter can't pass fast enough with all the gear I'm assembling
  15. This idea for added boyancy in the rear was submitted to me. Looks like one idea. Under the kayak is also a space where a mount could be connected via PVC and built out into an optional stabilizer system, so I think a neater version of this could be created and mounted without drilling a single hole. Could also be removed when I'm not using the outboard.
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