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  #1  
Old 09-06-2021, 01:39 PM
arisk arisk is offline
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Default Occassional use detector advice

Hi everyone,

Apologies in advance for this "nightmare" type question, and my bad case of analysis paralysis.
I wasn't even sure how to title this.

I'm looking for advice on a first metal detector purchase.
I know that is a very common question, but I fit a category that isn't well addressed in the usual advice threads.
I'm in between cheap "big box" purchaser and hobbyist.
I don't fall into the category where I want a detector because I have illusions of getting rich off treasure.

For a long time, I've wanted a detector as another tool in my toolbox.
I've borrowed a couple for minimal use that shouldn't even really be counted as any level of experience.
For too many years I've not owned my own and am at a stage where I'm telling myself to just buy it.
It's the slowest impulse purchase imaginable.
If something is lost, it is a nice tool to have.
I'll dabble a bit, exploring a couple of friend's properties, but I know I won't be making it a dedicated hobby. I have too many already.
I'm a technical person, and do learn and educate myself on features of my devices.
That probably is to my detriment though, because I over analyze.
I'm well aware that a big factor is experience/practice, and not equipment.
I'll never become real proficient, simply because I lack the passion to dedicate the time as a hobbyist.
It will generally be a tool, but I typically shop more for value, than lowest price.

Everyone's first thought now is to say just get an Ace 250 or something similar.
I get that and it really would probably suit my needs.
Although my requirements are minimal for detecting, my budget can allow going up a bit.
Just like a car, anything gets you A to B, but you buy the "comfort package" because you can.
I might regret buying minimally, more for niceties, ergonomics, value, etc.
Within that category would be things like:
- backlight (using it in the evening after dark is a plus)
- waterproof, or at least weather resistant would be nice. (not being concerned about rain is a plus, even if it can't be submerged)
- form factor, compactness for transport, build quality, etc.
- battery type. I would favor AA over 9V. Rechargeable may even be a disadvantage.
- ease of use.
- type of ground balance.
- pinpoint, or lack of.

I've done a lot of reading of this forum and others, and watched a lot of videos.
I think I have a grasp of a lot of the key differences, and the technical background to understand.
Of course, nothing replaces real world experience from knowledgeable people, which is why I'm here.

I won't be using it near salt water.
IF waterproof, I might take it in shallow fresh water because I can. It isn't a deal breaker.
Soil would be typical southern Ontario, Canada farmland (or former), probably the same as any of the lower Great Lake states.

I'll be buying in Canada, so in Canadian dollars I'm willing to spend $500 or so, but flexible.
In the range, $350-$550, price is little concern.
I'd rather pay a little more, and be happy vs. being tight with the budget.
There are limits though, and I acknowledge just the complexity and learning curve of higher models isn't close to warranted, even if I could justify the price.
For example, something like an Equinox looks great for the features, but I know that is above my requirements and what I'd put into learning it.
My question might be best summed up by, "where is the (newbie) bottom" when there is willingness to pay for more than bottom?

For the price I'm anticipating, a Simplex or Vanguish 440/540 are in competition and one or the other checks a few of the "nicety" boxes mentioned above.
I honestly like the Vanquish better, as far as interface, tones, ergonomics, etc.
The Simplex has a lot going for it though, and waterproof is top of the list.
Waterproof is not essential, but nice to have. It might tip the scale.
As stated in many forum discussions, it is a hard choice and typically the advice is to get the Simplex if waterproof is required.
If the Vanguish were waterproof, I'd probably pick it and that isn't even factoring in multi-frequency.

Everything is a compromise, but things that I don't really like about what I see with the Simplex are:
- swing speed for a newbie
- tone sound
- tough to press buttons
- rechargeable battery
- proprietary headphones (really only a negative if compared to actual bluetooth on the 540)

The key differences are well known, so I'll just highlight the ones that are causing me concern and that I can't find simple answers to.

1. Opinions seem to be that the user interface of the Vanguish is a bit more newbie friendly than the Simplex.
I expect to use it infrequently, so is a that a big factor?
Assuming as the owner I can become proficient enough, is the Simplex too overwhelming as a loaner?

2. It seems the Simplex likes a faster swing speed.
Swings seem quite fast in videos.
I'll be new, awkward and slow.
That intimidates me a bit.
How much of a factor would that be?

3. Like I said, I'm not really going to be searching parks, etc. looking for coins.
Everybody likes to find it though, and nobody wants to leave it in the ground.
The Vanguish seem to have a reputation for disliking Canadian clad, even beyond typical.
Canadian coin seekers would not choose it, but that isn't me.
I may be using All Metal mode a lot, so is that even really relevant?

4. I actually prefer non-rechargeable batteries.
Since it may sit idle for extended periods, if the batteries need recharging before use it is a disadvantage to me.
Sitting idle may be a foreign concept on this forum, but has anybody found this to be an issue?
There is also the long term consideration of replacing the built in battery.

I think for the feature set, in my price range, the Vanquish and Simplex are hard to beat.
If waterproof is required, the Simplex is the only choice.
However, given the knowledge of users here, are there reasons they should not be considered?
For my purposes, do other factors outweigh the features of the Simplex?
If I were to give up waterproof, are there others that would be better suited in my situation than the Vanguish?

Some others considered:

Teknetics EuroTek Pro or BH Land Ranger Pro(preferred)
- Looks suitable for my purposes, and easy to use.
For not much more money though, I can get more.

F44
- Similar to above, but weather resistant, backlight, AA
It had been a front runner when I went down this path a couple of years ago (pre Vanguish/Simplex)

ACE
- Various models, but it seems without spending much more, I can get more.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2021, 02:14 PM
mh9162013 mh9162013 is offline
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1. I've never used the Simplex. but I have used the Vanquish 340 and 540, and their interfaces are simple and straightforward.

2. No experience with the Simplex, but my gut tells me it has a faster recovery speed than the Vanquish machines. I could be wrong, though.

3. All metal mode for hunting most land areas (outside of beaches) will probably give you more grief than you anticipate. I use all metal mode as a way of helping determine whether a potential target found in a custom or discrimination mode is worth digging. But I mostly hunt for coins and silver, so I imagine relic hunters might use all metal mode more often. You do get a little bit more depth in all metal mode, though. Oh, and don't confuse all metal mode with a mode using zero discrimination.

4. I prefer machines that use AA batteries. However, built in batteries should be fine or easily replaced. The best advice I'd give you is to store any rechargeable lithium battery about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Lithium batteries should NOT be charged full depleted for fully charged for extended periods of time. But you still want your machine to be ready to go when needed, right? So yeah, it's a trade off. I personally use Eneloop AAA and AA cells in my pinpointers and metal detectors. Not only can they be stored fully charged for extended periods with little to no self-discharge, but they can also be topped off, removed, swapped out, etc. very easily since they're not built-in. I hate built-in batteries, but I understand my hatred makes me an outlier.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Vanquish machines have no adjustable ground balance. If you're in highly mineralized soil, that'll be an issue. But if you want to hunt saltwater beaches, the Vanquish will have an edge over the Simplex.

Another model to consider is the Apex. They're a bit overpriced new if you ask me, but you may be able to find a used, but in great condition with warranty Apex for at least $100 less than retail price.

The F44, based on my research is another great option. But it's a bit overpriced for what you get, kind of like the Apex, AT Pro and AT Max. Very ROUGHLY speaking, the F44, Simplex, AT Pro and AT Max are comparable machines with comparable capabilities. Their biggest differences will be battery, ergonomics, price and wireless capabilities.

Also, what will you use as a pinpointer?

As for the Ace models...no, just no...unless you can get a killer deal. For example, if you can get the 400/400i for $150 Canadian, I think you go for that!

Finally, what kind of ground will you be hunting? Assuming saltwater beaches aren't likely, I think you give the nod to the Simplex. It's built-in battery, while not ideal, shouldn't be a deal breaker.
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  #3  
Old 09-06-2021, 03:45 PM
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Valley Hunter Valley Hunter is offline
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I would be looking at the Garrett AT's
Waterproof
AA batteries holder
Simple everything in front of you Modes .. settings .. ground balance
AT Max you can go wireless headphone and wireless Pinpointer
Pro and gold you could get the z-lynk wireless adapter to go with HP/PP
Ace Apex is not waterproof but could do WH/PP
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  #4  
Old 09-06-2021, 03:50 PM
mh9162013 mh9162013 is offline
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Originally Posted by Valley Hunter View post
I would be looking at the Garrett AT's
Waterproof
AA batteries holder
Simple everything in front of you Modes .. settings .. ground balance
AT Max you can go wireless headphone and wireless Pinpointer
Pro and gold you could get the z-lynk wireless adapter to go with HP/PP
Ace Apex is not waterproof but could do WH/PP
But what can the AT Max do that the Simplex can't? The only things I know of are use AA batteries and have an S-shaft design.

Those things matter, to people like me and the OP, sure. But do they matter enough to pay an extra $200-$300 (USD)? I guess only the OP can answer that question, but by reading his/her post, I get the feeling the answer to that question is "no."
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  #5  
Old 09-06-2021, 04:41 PM
MuddyMo MuddyMo is offline
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I'm sure this isn't going to be the popular choice but I would recommend the Minelab Xterras, 305, 505, 705. Good to very good performance. All the important features. Simple to use. Programmable programs (and it remembers them after battery changes). Well balanced. Runs on AAs. But most of all a pleasure to use.
https://youtu.be/EGwhI-0o-YU

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  #6  
Old 09-06-2021, 07:43 PM
jmaclen jmaclen is online now
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The Simplex is the most versatile of the Vanquish, Apex, Simplex trio and has the fastest recovery speed, best target separation and of course is waterproof. It can be very sparky, has audio that some people dislike and can sometimes have jumpy target ID numbers. On some of your clad……OMG. The Vanquish has by far (it isn’t close) the most accurate target IDs except for some of your steel core modern coins…….and is easily the deepest. The Apex is just a really nice detector for the first 6” or so of depth. After that it can lose target ID number and tone stability and accuracy.

For relics and hunting in iron trash……..the Simplex with the Apex a close second. For aluminum trash or normal coins or even Canadian 5 cent, $1, $2 and jewelry hunting, the Vanquish would be my first choice.

The Simplex in Field, Park 1 and Park 2 is going to sound great on 5 cent, 1 dollar and 2 dollar modern Canadian coins. The 10 cent and 25 cent coins sound awful if they give an audio response. The Simplex in those modes even with the entire target ID range accepted and iron audio turn off will still detect those two coins with very fractured, static filled audio or just silence. Canadian pennys are not a problem. Beach mode sounds very good on all modern Canadian coinage.

The Vanquish 540 will not detect 10 cent and 25 cent modern Canadian coins well unless the All Metals button is engaged or a Custom program is setup with part of the iron range accepted. The other modern Canadian coins sound okay.

The Apex in Zero mode or with part of the iron range accepted and Iron Audio OFF, sounds fine on the same modern Canadian coins: 1 cent, 5 cent, $1 and $2. It sounds okay but with some iron tones and distortion on the 10 and 25 cent coins. Using any other Apex search mode may partially or totally discriminate out modern 10 cent and 25 cent coins.

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  #7  
Old 09-06-2021, 09:20 PM
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woodbutcher woodbutcher is offline
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Originally Posted by MuddyMo View post
I'm sure this isn't going to be the popular choice but I would recommend the Minelab Xterras, 305, 505, 705. Good to very good performance. All the important features. Simple to use. Programmable programs (and it remembers them after battery changes). Well balanced. Runs on AAs. But most of all a pleasure to use.
https://youtu.be/EGwhI-0o-YU
The Xterra 705 is a excellent choice. That is one great machine
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2021, 08:59 AM
arisk arisk is offline
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Thanks everyone for your input.
Understandably, on a forum such as this, people are at a level beyond me.
It's a double edged sword, where everyone is knowledgeable, but therefore have expectations that might exceed the needs of some consumers.
It's all good info though, and appreciated.
I'm trying to balance my "needs" vs. "wants" and be honest to myself.
That's a universal concept, but my "needs" are going to be lower than many here.
I could spend quite a bit more, but my conscience says that isn't justified.

I'd be curious what people might pick, in the sub $550Cdn range, if they had to.
Let's eliminate the Simplex from those options, so it doesn't skew things.

I'll look over the suggestions.
Maybe I need to reconsider some.
For reference, so non-Canadians can relate, here is a list of ballpark [advertised] retail prices available here.
Some of the higher priced ones just can't be justified in my scenario.
Used is always a possibility, but harder to find.

Equinox 600 $860
AT Pro $700
Vanguish 540 Pro pack $660
Apex/viper $540
Vanquish 540 $490
F44 $460/(490 w DD)
Simplex WHP $455
ACE 400 $400
Vanguish 440 $370
Land Ranger Pro $350
Simplex $340
Eurotek Pro $290(390 w DD)
X-terra discontinued

Originally Posted by mh9162013 View post

3. All metal mode for hunting most land areas (outside of beaches) will probably give you more grief than you anticipate. I use all metal mode as a way of helping determine whether a potential target found in a custom or discrimination mode is worth digging. But I mostly hunt for coins and silver, so I imagine relic hunters might use all metal mode more often. You do get a little bit more depth in all metal mode, though. Oh, and don't confuse all metal mode with a mode using zero discrimination.
I apparently need to educate myself more on this mode.
Thanks.
Originally Posted by mh9162013 View post
4. I prefer machines that use AA batteries. However, built in batteries should be fine or easily replaced. The best advice I'd give you is to store any rechargeable lithium battery about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Lithium batteries should NOT be charged full depleted for fully charged for extended periods of time. But you still want your machine to be ready to go when needed, right? So yeah, it's a trade off. I personally use Eneloop AAA and AA cells in my pinpointers and metal detectors. Not only can they be stored fully charged for extended periods with little to no self-discharge, but they can also be topped off, removed, swapped out, etc. very easily since they're not built-in. I hate built-in batteries, but I understand my hatred makes me an outlier.
You're not an "outlier" to me.
We agree, and I'm not as onboard with the built-in rechargeable trend in a multitude of devices made now.
I have several that require replacement, where if they were not built in, it would be a non-issue.
Going back a decade now, I specifically purchased a point & shoot camera that took AA, because the no matter where you are, it's a cheap easy swap.
Originally Posted by mh9162013 View post
One thing to keep in mind is that the Vanquish machines have no adjustable ground balance. If you're in highly mineralized soil, that'll be an issue. But if you want to hunt saltwater beaches, the Vanquish will have an edge over the Simplex.
Maybe an area I need more education on, but I was of the impression the multi-IQ dealt with that to a great extent.
Regardless, I won't be using it in either circumstance.
Originally Posted by mh9162013 View post
Also, what will you use as a pinpointer?
I'll deal with that as a secondary issue.
For my purposes, it isn't a first priority and I'll watch for deals or used.
Originally Posted by mh9162013 View post
Finally, what kind of ground will you be hunting? Assuming saltwater beaches aren't likely, I think you give the nod to the Simplex. It's built-in battery, while not ideal, shouldn't be a deal breaker.
Pretty mild ground is my understanding.

Originally Posted by mh9162013 View post
Those things matter, to people like me and the OP, sure. But do they matter enough to pay an extra $200-$300 (USD)? I guess only the OP can answer that question, but by reading his/her post, I get the feeling the answer to that question is "no."
It's preferred, but you are correct it isn't $200-$300 preferred.

Originally Posted by MuddyMo View post
I'm sure this isn't going to be the popular choice but I would recommend the Minelab Xterras, 305, 505, 705. Good to very good performance. All the important features. Simple to use. Programmable programs (and it remembers them after battery changes). Well balanced. Runs on AAs. But most of all a pleasure to use.
Discontinued.
However, there is always a chance something turns up used.

Originally Posted by jmaclen View post
Regarding simplex: It can be very sparky, has audio that some people dislike and can sometimes have jumpy target ID numbers.
This is the sort of thing I'm concerned about. As a newbie, are the negatives of the Simplex going to be frustrating.
Originally Posted by jmaclen View post
The Apex is just a really nice detector for the first 6” or so of depth. After that it can lose target ID number and tone stability and accuracy.

For relics and hunting in iron trash……..the Simplex with the Apex a close second. For aluminum trash or normal coins or even Canadian 5 cent, $1, $2 and jewelry hunting, the Vanquish would be my first choice.
Thanks, and also for the detailed stuff I didn't quote.
Maybe I should look more at the Apex.
I had seen some info that people were disappointed in performance, but maybe that has to be put more in perspective with expectations of serious hobbyist vs. me.
Based on that, and that it is at the higher end of my price range, I had discounted it.
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2021, 10:03 AM
jmaclen jmaclen is online now
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The Vanquish 540 Pro Pack includes a set of Bluetooth APTX Low Latency headphones. They are fine for some and muffled sounding for others. Are they worth the extra money......not for me. The 8" coil is worth the extra money however. I went with the Vanquish 540 with just the 12" coil and used my own Bluetooth APTX LL headphones and earbuds when I owned the 540. One of my grown kids has it now. The aftermarket BT headphones and earbuds pair just fine and sound very lively.

I really wish the Vanquish 440 had Bluetooth since for me it has the best coil (10") included. I use a $75 Quest 2.4 gHz external transmitter with Quest's excellent over the ear headphones with my 440. In my opinion, for a newbie/very occasional user, the Vanquish 440 is the best deal out there. It has all the features one needs, only three tones which are nice for simplicity and with the 10" coil, it has great ergonomic balance. It has the same accurate target IDs and depth as the 540.

The Garrett Apex and the Simplex use built-in proprietary 2.4 gHz wireless audio transmitters/receivers and are not compatible with after market wireless headphones.

The Simplex audio is just different from the more musical tones of the Apex and Vanquish models. I did get used to it after a few hunts. The Simplex does not have to been swung faster than any other detector. As long as the coil is in motion it will detect quite well.

If you will not be using this detector for long periods of time, having removable batteries (Vanquish and the following FTP models) might be important.

The F44 and the Land Ranger Pro are very similar detectors along with the Teknetics Liberator. They are more "old school" in design but have plenty of features, detect very well in mild soil conditions and have a good reputation. The Land Ranger Pro and the Liberator had chronic issues with their pinpoint button. Knowing First Texas Products fairly well, I doubt that has been upgraded. The F44 has a different pinpoint button assembly and has not had those problems.

The FTP Eurotek Pro/Teknetics Minuteman (9V I think) is a great beginner detector which is super simple to use and is very effective. It will get the job done on most surface to 8" deep coin sized objects just as well as the more expensive FTP detectors mentioned in the previous paragraph.

For ease of use among all the ones I mentioned, the Vanquish 440/540, Eurotek Pro and the Apex would get my vote over the Simplex (not so simple) and the other First Texas detectors.

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Last edited by jmaclen; 09-07-2021 at 02:07 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2021, 01:12 PM
mh9162013 mh9162013 is offline
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OP,

Multi-IQ (MIQ) can deal with ground mineralization...but only to an extent. Us civilians don't know for sure exactly how the MIQ process works, but based on what I've read online, MIQ has some inherent processes that can handle ground balancing issues. But it can only go so far. Remember, the Equinox detectors have a special ground balancing option/setting, so it's clear that MIQ can't do everything on its own to handle hot ground.

Make getting a pinpointer as important as getting a detector. It will save you so much time and frustration.

If your ground is fairly mild, I'd recommend the Vanquish 440. The Apex is a great machine, but many people don't feel it's worth the extra money compared to getting a Vanquish or Simplex. If the Apex were the same cost as the Vanquish 540 or Simplex, I think MANY MORE PEOPLE, including me, would be recommending the Apex to almost anyone in the market for a new metal detector.

Put another way, is the Apex better than the Vanquish 440? I think so. But is it $170 CAD better? I don't think so.
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  #11  
Old 09-12-2021, 06:01 PM
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The Lama The Lama is offline
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I do think the apex is worth the extra 170 especially if any thing ever goes wrong garrett is so easy to deal with not to mention the reliability and resale value
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  #12  
Old 09-12-2021, 11:56 PM
mh9162013 mh9162013 is offline
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Originally Posted by The Lama View post
I do think the apex is worth the extra 170 especially if any thing ever goes wrong garrett is so easy to deal with not to mention the reliability and resale value
I wouldn't be so sure about that, at least if trying to sell to fellow detectorists who regularly frequent message boards like this one.
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