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Big Five Now The Big Four - First Texas No Longer A Player?


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Over here in my part of Germany, the "serious" detectorists seem to use Minelab / XP exclusively, with Nokta strongly catching up.

I sometimes see beginners with a blend of entry-level Garrett / Teknetics / Fisher / Quest machines - but even those seem to fade in favour of Nokta / Minelab / XP lower priced models.

Imho, the Nox opened up a whole new era in many ways - not only MF / SMF-wise.

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I’d certainly agree all the buzz on the forum for some time has boiled down to Minelab, XP, and Nokta. It’s really become a Big Three instead of a Big Five or even the Big Four. As you note serious VLF users are most often swinging an Equinox or Deus, with Manticore and Legend now in the mix. On the PI side Minelab long ago crushed the competition. Fisher has not had a serious release in over a decade, and if Garrett wants to get serious attention again they need to move much faster than they have been. Anyone without a top tier SMF is essentially no longer part of any conversation. People here give lip service to buying American, but fact is that performance is all that matters, and U.S. manufacturers if anything engender anger and scorn when brought up in conversation amongst serious users. The main takeaway for me from this thread is that it is time to retire the concept of a Big Five and recognize that there has been a consolidation take place. What we really have now are the Big Three making all the waves.

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You make a very valid point, Steve, about the Big 5 being reduced to the Big 3.  Despite all of us wishing something different, First Texas is no longer a player.  Garrett continues to be mystifying.  The Apex seemed like a first step into multi-frequency but whatever momentum was generated by it is long gone.  They clearly have the R & D muscle since they developed the Axiom to come up with something innovative.  Hard to anticipate what is next for them.

Nokta is another company that puzzles me.  Yes, the Legend is a good detector.  But it was designed to match/exceed the Equinox 800.  Since the Legend all i see from them is a continuing release of low-to-mid level detectors, so many i don't even know what makes each one different.  For me, Nokta has to take a shot at something new to move the needle, like XP did.  Otherwise i think they may be seen as just a copycat company, only trying to release models that compete with older detectors.  That would be a shame since I admire their tenacity and customer service.

That leaves us with Minelab and XP.  The current crop of Minelab detectors (900 and Manticore) feel like filler detectors to me.  By this I mean that they have tweaked their current platform while finalizing their next technology release.  Historically this has been their pattern.

XP is the company that really intrigues me.  The Deus II was such a surprise that one has to wonder if XP has a similar big bang to release sometime next year.

Then again, what do I know?  I've been hunting with a Tesore Sidewinder for the last two months!

Bill 

 

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1 hour ago, Bill (S. CA) said:

You make a very valid point, Steve, about the Big 5 being reduced to the Big 3.  Despite all of us wishing something different, First Texas is no longer a player.  Garrett continues to be mystifying.  The Apex seemed like a first step into multi-frequency but whatever momentum was generated by it is long gone.  They clearly have the R & D muscle since they developed the Axiom to come up with something innovative.  Hard to anticipate what is next for them.

Nokta is another company that puzzles me.  Yes, the Legend is a good detector.  But it was designed to match/exceed the Equinox 800.  Since the Legend all i see from them is a continuing release of low-to-mid level detectors, so many i don't even know what makes each one different.  For me, Nokta has to take a shot at something new to move the needle, like XP did.  Otherwise i think they may be seen as just a copycat company, only trying to release models that compete with older detectors.  That would be a shame since I admire their tenacity and customer service.

That leaves us with Minelab and XP.  The current crop of Minelab detectors (900 and Manticore) feel like filler detectors to me.  By this I mean that they have tweaked their current platform while finalizing their next technology release.  Historically this has been their pattern.

XP is the company that really intrigues me.  The Deus II was such a surprise that one has to wonder if XP has a similar big bang to release sometime next year.

Then again, what do I know?  I've been hunting with a Tesore Sidewinder for the last two months!

Bill 

 

I still have and will keep my 3 Tesoro’s due to their simplicity and no nonsense  operation. (Lobo ST, El Dorado, and Silver uMax). They’re also great to have around for other family members to use on occasion.

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I hope in the coming years some of the more outside European and other brands can make it into the big (place number here) group, Rutus, Quest, and others.  They're gradually getting there and both have multi frequency machines that were not long ago considered a massive deal to have available, Garrett appears to get more recognition for its lacklustre Apex than the Europeans get for their multi freakers that appear to be very competitive with existing high-end options.  They just need to crack into the worldwide market, as long as patents aren't getting in their way I guess which could well be the reason they've stayed away.

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I think that the situation is a little different in America, and a little different in Europe.... while detectorists in America used almost all American-made detectors for many years... and possibly the Australian manufacturer minelab... detectorists in Europe used a significantly wider selection of detectors not only American and Australian, but to a large extent also European manufacturers of detectors l..which really have very good noise-separation detection parameters./detection efficiency/..but they were also competitive in price..
in order to appreciate these detectors, you have to use them or see them in the field where you are detecting...

After all, Minelab was the first to understand this and came up with the very competitive Minelab Equinox 600/800 multi-frequency detectors.. which was also available at a reasonable price... equinox also brought one new thing... accurate very deep ID on targets in many types of terrain. ..

It was a direct response primarily to the European manufacturer XP.. with their Deus/ORX model..
  This eventually forced the XP company to enter the market with the Deus 2 multi-frequency detector.

I would like to mention Turkey Nokta, which was largely inspired by the Equinox 800 model and produced a very similar detector.

Other European manufacturers such as Rutus, Golden Mask are also not sleeping and are innovating their detectors... and don't forget the Russian company AKA model INTRONIK.. which is a powerful detector..

I myself took part as a tester in testing the first multi-frequency detector from the company Rutus.. model ATREX .. and, now I am one of the testers of the multi-frequency and Rutus VERSA, which fulfills the attributes of a compact, waterproof and powerful metal detector... which I think will surprise you with its performance. .even on mineralized terrains..

This makes us think...that the future of detection technology is open and it is worth making innovations in detection technology. for every detector manufacturer...

 

...something from the main part of my detectors, American, European and Australian detectors...

 

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I would also suggest that there really IS only a 'Big 3' currently..... Minelab, Garrett and Nokta. XP has a popular detector with the Deus II but is does not have any sort of a 'Line-up' and basing a manufacturer's credibility on 1 machine (although they still produce another 4 'nobody wants' detectors) somehow doesn't present itself as a credible player. I'm sure their turnover is only 10% of what the actual 'Big 3' achieve.

If a detector company doesn't have a line-up of an entry level budget unit, a mid range unit, an SMF serious unit, a beach/underwater unit, a HF VLF prospecting unit and a serious PI prospecting unit...then it somehow doesn't seem like a serious company that actually wants to compete.

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On 11/9/2023 at 8:22 AM, TampaBayBrad said:

I belt mounted mine which made it VERY light. 😁

I can't imagine anyone using a CZ20/21 out of the water with the unit mounted on the handle. That would be extremely difficult to swing. I've always used mine belt mounted. There is also a chest mount option available if you search online. The control box is still way heavier and bigger than it needs to be for beach use. They could have easily made an ultralight beach version of the CZ21 that would not require belt mounting but they chose not to. 

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I would like to see Garrett borrow the script from Nokta and XP by lowering MAP for the Axiom to $2,099. At that price point I believe they would open a whole new market for salt water beach and relic hunters. It would also provide Garrett a clear advantage over other gold prospecting PI detectors currently on the market.

When the White’s TDI Pro/SL were no longer available it left a gap in that segment of the market that still exists today. IMHO, Garrett needs to grow market share and a lot of consumers will simply not pull the trigger at the $3,995 price point.

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On 11/16/2023 at 9:09 AM, Bill (S. CA) said:

You make a very valid point, Steve, about the Big 5 being reduced to the Big 3.  Despite all of us wishing something different, First Texas is no longer a player.  Garrett continues to be mystifying.  The Apex seemed like a first step into multi-frequency but whatever momentum was generated by it is long gone.  They clearly have the R & D muscle since they developed the Axiom to come up with something innovative.  Hard to anticipate what is next for them.

Nokta is another company that puzzles me.  Yes, the Legend is a good detector.  But it was designed to match/exceed the Equinox 800.  Since the Legend all i see from them is a continuing release of low-to-mid level detectors, so many i don't even know what makes each one different.  For me, Nokta has to take a shot at something new to move the needle, like XP did.  Otherwise i think they may be seen as just a copycat company, only trying to release models that compete with older detectors.  That would be a shame since I admire their tenacity and customer service.

That leaves us with Minelab and XP.  The current crop of Minelab detectors (900 and Manticore) feel like filler detectors to me.  By this I mean that they have tweaked their current platform while finalizing their next technology release.  Historically this has been their pattern.

XP is the company that really intrigues me.  The Deus II was such a surprise that one has to wonder if XP has a similar big bang to release sometime next year.

Then again, what do I know?  I've been hunting with a Tesore Sidewinder for the last two months!

Bill 

 

Garrett in the US at least is still a Big member in my opinion so I will stay with the Big Four here in the USA for awhile longer. I hope they can release a flagship worthy AT series SMF soon. They certainly have two industry competitive gold prospecting detectors with the 24K and the Axiom.

Judging from all of the freaking out on some of the Nokta Legend Facebook pages, Nokta can't release a simplified Legend soon enough. Then again, maybe the Score and Double score won't need to be updated online very often (not at all would be nice) or have too many ways to screw up the settings.

As far as I'm concerned, the Legend as it is right now running V1.11 or V1.13 is an astounding detector, that I would pick over an Equinox 800 or Equinox 900 anytime. If the Score models really are watered down Legend's, Nokta might have a real winner for the people that don't need more detector than they can handle at an incredible price.

I have no clue what Minelab is doing, speaking of releasing seemingly backward looking single frequency and selectable single frequency VLFs. Maybe they got enough bad Facebook press with some Equinox users that had no clue and needed something a lot more idiot proof, but I thought the Vanquish models were really good for just about anyone that can hold a detector aside from not being waterproof. All of the single frequency is obsolete stuff that fueled the internet talk for months when they released Multi IQ must not apply to them. Or the Equinox sold so well, they are producing their own copycat models with less features and a low price to fool the unsuspecting newbies.........

XP are a different company all together with seemingly no desire to produce a "full line" of metal detectors for users of all levels. I'm heading out with Deus 2 and the 13X11" coil for one last deep coin hunt today before the fast approaching cold weather in Denver causes the ground to freeze for the next three months.

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