A Look Into the Legacy

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Recently I purchased an Explorer SE, while I still had my Explorer II I decided to look at the differences since I was not really content with my new SE. Well after a few months of hunting I decided that the SE was not for me even though it is an awesome machine.

Here are my notes and ideas from a brief time with the SE, XS and II.

The Explorer SE, II and XS...

A Look Into the Legacy.

Did a bit of investigating and found out some very interesting things regarding this particular machine's reaction to iffy silver dime signals. The testing was done in a controlled environment and although I know this isn't real world hunting, the tones and iffy sounds I was listening to were as close as I can tell to real thing with 2 solid years of hunting deep iffy coins at tough spots.

This isn't a comparison of the two machines as much is it is an attempt to deepen the overall understanding of hunting deep targets with the Explorer line of detectors. There are some gripes, sure no machine is perfect but mostly this is the text of results from some testing that anyone can do to enhance their ability to find deep stuff and expand the functionality of their machine.

So here it is in no particular order, for new users and old users looking to find more or use and compare different settings. The other idea of this is so we don't have to dig clad all day, not that there is anything wrong with collecting quarters and such, it does add up and I can't complain about free cash. It is the satisfaction of digging something older than myself or interesting, or just old even if it isn't a silver coin and even more so knowing that it was deep and iffy and not junk! :-)


The swing speed on deep dimes is pretty darn swift with the new SE compared to the Ex2... I have been wondering why my arm is more sore now, with a "lighter" machine? Funny how everyone says to slow down... Problem is the deep signals won't ID correctly (no 'bounce') at a slower sweep speed, I think it is about the same speed as my XLPro(probably not), but I could be wrong on this(probably).

Just to verify I did the tests with my Explorer 2, I would even venture say (I have owned and used one and Mike Simon has confirmed) that the XS has a slower to ID swing speed as well, but I didn't have it to do the side by side testing. Someday...

The SE did need a faster sweep speed over the Ex2, not much, but it was there. This of course effects the ol' Explorer wiggle, making it more of a quick side to side jerking motion... ;-P This is good since it narrows the ability of the machine to hit a keeper next to junk as well as making it easier to focus in on a particular target.

For a machine teetering on the edge of being too heavy with the Sunray probe on board of course, I have a difficult time hunting for more than a few hours before my arm is beginning to feel the 'burn', I can go for 6-10 hours on the Explorer 2 before needing a rest. Not a big deal.

OK, on to the real stuff.


Everyone talks about it but I don't have any idea what it sounds like... If you feel this way I have a quick way for you to get 'the bounce'. I would love to record video and audio of all the different nuances for deep target shooting with the Explorers but I just don't have the time or resources to do such a thing.

Here is an easy and cheap way to air test the rough swing speed of a deep target and get a feel for the 'bounce' and edge of detection limit coin sounds under as many different setting conditions as you want to set up or have time to play with.

The main reason for this 'perfect world' test is so that swing height to target could be controlled/fixed and repeatable as well as allowing the swing height to be raised incrementally while still having sweep/swing control. I figured this would be crucial for the testing of depth between DEEP and FAST as well as swing speed testing and deep iffy sound approximations.

I also used it to determine the difference in depth between PP and motion mode by adding thicknesses of plywood until the signal was gone. I did my best to get rid of guesstimations and eyecrometer measurements that can skew results and comparisons. I found that many assumptions I had about various settings and features were incorrect, in fact it was like having a different machine in some situations... ;-)

The test....I tried this out in the middle of a field without any interference with the sensitivity cranked and in my home with the sensitivity lowered and got the same results. Except nobody looked at me like I was nuts when I was in my home...

Put two plastic boxes (maybe 6"-8" tall) on either side of a silver dime.

Find a piece of wood about 24"-30" long and about 8" wide and metal free, you'll want to be able to make some decent swings back and forth across the length without falling off the sides.

Place the wood across the boxes over the dime. You may want to have more than one piece of wood ready.

Turn on your machine and tune the sensitivity up and down until the machine just sees the dime and the 'bounce' begins to happen here and there.

Depending on the particular interference around your test location, you may have to adjust the height to the target. Do this by adding or subtracting wood or changing the boxes. Be sure there is no other metal around at the dime level, you can simulate a trashy hunting environment with collocated targets like this as well.

Now go through the menu, try different channels, fast on, off, deep, both, ferrous, conduct, etc... Swing fast, slow and see when the dime no longer makes the deep silver sound...

You can add pieces of wood to uniformly change depths to test depths at different settings and still make good swings with the coil, scrubbing, the wiggle, etc, to make sure there is no approximating or guess work to throw the numbers. I suggest taking notes, the information adds up in a hurry and it is easy to forget which setting was just changed.

At some sites I have found enough interference to override all channels and make hunting at sensitivity at 16 tough but "relatively" deep (at the edge of detection) coins will still do the 'bounce' at lower sensitivity levels. Try it, raise the sensitivity and add wood over the target until your at the edge of detection, the cursor should do the 'bounce'...

At this point, edge of detection and deep coins can be considered the same sounds. The bounce happens at the edge of the detectors range per the sensitivity level and target distance to coil relationship. Or as you lower the sensitivity and bring the coin closer to the coil, while staying just at the edge of detection, the tones or response should remain nearly the same from sensitivity 32 down to 2.


All the terms below apply when the machine is set to ferrous tones. When the machine is set to conductive tones the terms below apply for deep coins and conductive targets. For deep iron in conductive tones the sounds are different from ferrous tones, see below in CONDUCTIVE vs. FERROUS.

The 'BOUNCE' sound: Charles in NY made a great graphic for this, I think it was gleaned from the target responses of the XS but still applies to the Exp2 and some but not as much to the SE. I found the SE was beginning to do a different bounce from time to time (with FAST on it was having a difficult time doing the classic bounce), not sure if I will test this further but I think it is a set pattern, let's call it a modified pattern from the XS/2.

I have found that gold rings will to the bounce but lower on the screen and with the lower volume sound when pinpointed (on the XS/2) this applies when these objects are deep, pull tabs PP differently than gold... One of the more distinct sounds other than that of the deep silver coins is the deep gold ring bounce, very nice to hear if you know many old rings were lost at a particular site.

The 'DEEP COIN or TINK' sound: Deep/edge of detection silver quarters like to make this wonderful sound. It is slightly different than the deep iron pink sound because it has a softer or less harsh sound. Like saying 'shuh' instead of saying 'puh', pay attention to the first part of the sound, the difference between them is subtle but distinct. The TINK sound has the cursor doing the deep coin bounce and the PINK sound does the deep/pointy iron bounce to the far upper right corner. Try the experiment in the section below to hear the difference between the TINK & the PINK.

A 2 cent piece at 8" did this sound perfectly on the SE, I thought deep clad quarter at worst...

My SE has the annoying tendency to turn the 'pink' sound into a slight 'ptink' sound, just enough like silver to get me to dig lots of iron trash. There is a way around this and it can be accomplished in edit mode, i'm not going to spell it out so just be sure to test the stuff your looking for that hits in a similar place.

The 'DEEP IRON or PINK' sound: This is the sound that will drive one crazy, I know this one the best and it is my least favorite. My stock SE coil makes this sound far more than the Exp2 coil on the same machine... We could almost call this one the hot rock sound as well.

A trip to gold country and running over some high ferrous content rock will produce this sound, so will deep pointy iron objects. Many deep iron objects have some low iron sounds (in ferrous tones) with a PINK as well, some will have no low iron sound but just the PINK. These objects are the enemy, dig them all...... So I don't have to! :-P

The 'EDGE' sound: You will not hear the typical good deep coin tones, maybe a tiny bit of deep coin tone but more iron like tones, the tip-off is the way the sound seems to get caught on the edges of the coin. Deep pointy iron that has blobbed into a ferrous tumor will tend to have a softer or smoother entry into the target audio response.

You can test this by lowering the sensitivity past the bouncing cursor point on deep coins, to the edge of detection without any real tone ID, you will begin to hear the 'edge of the coin' sound. You will hear very little actual coin tones and maybe just coin tones from one direction and low iron-ish tones from the other, the give away is the pause at the beginning of the audio response, like the field is reacting on the flat edge of the coin.

This is one of the best out of range indicators for a coin without any typical deep coin sounds.


It isn't really a competition but I thought the title was catchy... ;-) All I can say from this test is-WOW! Not a typical user of conductive tones, this one sure did get my attention and really impressed me with some of the machine's iron elimination capabilities.

I tested some deeply recovered pointy iron targets from BigRec in conductive tones.

Conduct is a double edged sword, deep pointy iron that almost does the 'bounce' in ferrous doesn't even change the threshold when in conductive tones. I had no idea a machine could do this, I though I was imagining things for a minute or two... But, bring that pointy iron closer and it rings up tone wise like silver but id's as iron, switch to ferrous tones and the pointy iron sounds low like iron and not silver, still id'ing as iron.

Put the pointy iron next to the dime, within 1"-2" and in conductive tones all you hear and id is the dime, in ferrous the pointy iron begins to pull away the signal and the cursor begins to sit mid upper screen (mixed coin/iron target)... Wow! I had no idea that in certain situations iron is passed up and won't even affect the threshold tone (blanking).

One thing needs to be clarified here, the pointy iron was of a relatively small size compared to some iron blobs out there. Larger iron objects at the limit of detection may react like a bouncing silver dime in conductive sounds mode tricking you into thinking they are deep coins. Based on some recent field testing in CONDUCT mode, I dug a few deep bouncing iron objects that came up as iron once I switched to FERROUS mode, I dug them to be sure...

I found myself looking at the screen and cursor more in conductive sounds than when I was hunting in ferrous sounds to determine if the high tone was silver or iron. I'm torn between the two, I have seen the 'magic' that the conductive sounds have in certain situations. But I really like the ferrous sounds and the whole spectrum of tones from high to low.

I still find myself hunting in conductive sounds and even going back and forth to get 'all' the info the machine has to give... Hey, it can't hurt!


Normal hunting = motion ID mode, digital/smart.

PP = pinpoint mode = non-motion mode, ID is motion speed only.

The main difference from the XS/2 to the SE, apart from the sound in the PP mode and the amount of volume the target produces is the cursor will now work in pinpoint mode, yes, target ID and the depth gauge work in PP mode! On the XS and the Ex2 the PP mode detecting depth is less than the depth in motion ID mode (digital) at high sensitivity levels.

One thing some people may have noticed is that the level or sensitivity of the PP mode is fixed, try turning down the SENS to 1 and detecting a target, nothing. Hit the PP button and suddenly you can find things again... The SE's PP sensitivity is set higher than the Ex2 and the XS. This accounts for the increased depth when switching from motion mode to PP mode.

Part of this new feature I found tough to deal with at first. On shallow targets or shallow and deep targets close together, the audio signal was confusing and objects seemed to disappear until I realized that the VCO needs time to recover from shallow targets in order to find the deeper ones.

Users of the XS and the Ex2 know the sound of a deep coin in PP mode compared to other composition and sized targets, its the 'BLIP BLIP BLIP' sound, where if it was a medium depth folded beaver tail with tab or larger iron item at depth the PP sound would do the 'WA WA WA' sound. An aluminum screw cap at 4" does the 'WAAAAAA' sound.

The SE is very similar to this but the volume and tonal changes have increased. Instead of a WAAAAAA there is almost a scream WEEEE or Hendrix style feedback and for the deep coins the blip blip blip has become a steady and hum and a tight target reaction.

The VCO tone variation makes it easier to determine the location of the target in the hole compared to the Ex2 and XS's hum like pinpoint sound. The result is a more defined target size and a more audible PP volume for deep coins when compared to the Ex2 and XS where the pinpoint audio would be nearly nonexistent. Once I became familiar with the increased volume of the PP mode it became second nature, no more not being able to pinpoint a super deep target!

Target ID in PP mode. Because of the extra recovery time needed, there is no way to hunt in PP mode. There is another reason as well, which is going to be tough to explain... The SE's PP target ID system only works to a set depth which as it turns out is less than that of the overall detecting depth in motion mode with the sensitivity turned up.

At first I though the PP target ID system was deeper in all conditions and at each sensitivity level by 1.5" to 2". Then I figured out that the PP sensitivity level is fixed. The next thing I though was that the target ID in PP mode worked at a slow sweep speed which was also incorrect, the target ID only works at motion speeds in PP mode. My next assumption was that since the PP mode was deeper (which turned out to be incorrect) then it would ID targets deeper than in regular hunting modes.

What I found out was that the target ID only goes to a set depth since the level of the PP sensitivity is fixed. As tested I found that when the coil was roughly 8" above the target the PP target ID could no longer detect it, when I went back to normal hunting mode I could get a more positive target ID. Try it with the height rig I described in the beginning, keep raising the coil until the PP no longer IDs it. Now switch to a normal hunting mode and see if you can ID it... Switch back to PP and try to ID it again.. Try turning the sensitivity level up and down and see if that will help the ID system in PP mode...

It would be nice to know from Minelab where the target ID ends in PP mode and if it is or is not based on the sens level even though the sensitivity level doesn't affect the level of the PP sensitivity... Is it set through the SENS level and is the same depth as motion mode.

I think where the new VCO PP shines the most is with the in-line probe. I occasionally found the Ex2's pinpoint audio with the probe misleading while trying to recover the target in the hole. The new PP audio makes recovery a snap on the tough to find items.

New users to the XS/2/SE may find the PP tough to use, but if you stick with it both versions are worth the time in the long run. Having an inline probe is essential for this machine, it makes learning the PP x-ing technique a lot easier.


This may come as a shock to some I found no noticeable difference in depth capability between FAST and DEEP but the 'bounce' is best with DEEP on and FAST off, however with FAST on and DEEP off the audio response occasionally rings a more silver like tone than without, but it is not without some stutter and chatter like noise... Both set at off was the worst of the three, both set to on was a bit of a mess and not really hunt-able it seemed, well lets just say Minelab says don't do it...

I would venture a theory here, DEEP on the XS is the slowest swing and ID speed Explorer made.



SE on FAST= The fastest Explorer made.

With increased recovery speed comes increased swing speed (to produce a trusty target ID) at the cost of target volume/response width(in normal hunting/ motion mode). To clarify, target volume width is the size of the targets response depending on target size and depth. Mike Simon noted from his use of the XS that the deep iffy coin signals were wider than the deep iffy targets he was hearing with his Explorer 2... Does this make it easier to get deep iffys, sure, but if they are not collocated with something your not wanting to dig or detect. Each one is different and excels in different areas.


This is by far the most inconclusive and furthest from any type of live hunting experience test, since in reality the user would compensate for any erratic behavior by adjusting the settings to optimize hunting capability. I may begin to bring a silver coin back out in the filed as I did before just to confirm I get the bounce, the way many gold hunters test their settings on an expected size nugget for the relative patch. I used to bring it out to tough spots to occasionally remind myself of that fluty silver tone.

Channels being changed only, no other adjustments to machine. Target coin doing 'the bounce' under test conditions set forth above.

1,2,6,10,11 typical deep silver dime cursor bounce.

4,7,8 non typical cursor bounce.

3,5,9 effected by external interference.

I also found that some of the channels pinpointed better than others and it didn't match the channels that detected the best, arrrrgh!.... I will have to mess with some settings and do a more thorough test of these conditions to confirm these results... Still, I think this test yielded by far the least expected results.

I was aware that the channels were different and sound different in different soils and of course they navigate around interference, but I was unaware of the fact that some would not see the dime as well as or the same as others.

Now, I wasn't moving the sensitivity up or down which would, possibly, in effect nullify this when hunting at max power but if your at max power and can't cancel out the interference, then the machine may not be getting the deep iffys... So many factors that doing a fixed settings test was the only option, until I have several more hours to test instead of hunt-these results should be taken with a 'few' grains of salt. ;-)


Doing some testing can only help to find you more silver under live hunting conditions, it will also help you recognize coin and other target signals that don't identify exactly where they should. For me it has helped add many coins and rings to my collection that I would have never normally dug. Plus, it opens up previously hunted-out territory by other machines and those with Explorers who hunt by numbers or positive target identification only.

One detector can never hunt out an area, switching detectors and hunting styles will net you more finds at the same location. Changing directions and passing over the same area from a different angle will net more finds as well. Even digging trash is another way to potentially uncover more good finds at a pounded location.


I dug probably 12-15 nights worth of deep, deep iron junk without a single silver or even really any deep goodies worth mentioning. I had a tough time with the SE from the start and after this testing I switched back to my Exp2 for deep turf hunting. The feel and the reaction of the SE is 'hotter' than that of the Ex2.

I felt like I was being faked into thinking the target was silver, maybe I just was too familiar with the sounds of my Exp2, while using the SE I felt the line between silver and deep iron had been blurred significantly... Many awesome finds with the SE by old Ex2 users say otherwise...

The SE has its virtues and it does advance the Explorer line forward for target speed recovery, pinpoint depth and weight, these were also the main customer complaints related to the earlier Explorers. It has been mentioned to me that these advancements may have persuaded many 'on the fence' to purchase the SE and hit many spots they had not hunted with an Explorer previously.

It is also true that spots which had undergone rampant Explorer pillaging previously, produced some amazing silver in collocated conditions. Who is to say that someone may or may not have hit them from that exact angle, with the same settings/ conditions/ enthusiasm, etc... but the SE is doing quite well out there in the hands of many first time Explorer users as well as seasoned Explorer diehards.

White's users will like the speed of the newest Explorer, the response time is closer to what these users are familiar with and the signal on deep targets will seem more clear compared to deep coin shooting on the DFX.


I'm writing this to try and express my observations and impressions with my particular machines and coils, not to say a detector is better than another. The best detector can operate like the worst in the hands of the unacquainted and often many simple yet effective detectors can produce surprising results in the hands of capable operators.

Since machines and coils vary, headphones, soil composition, interference and other conditions distort the sound. And then factor in the perceived sound variations within ones ears and brain, tonal recognition ability and other random stuff. What I hear may not be what you hear, so I highly recommend trying some of the tests above and recording your observations and then give it a shot in a place where there should be some deep coins.


When hunting at a higher sensitivity level it is not unusual with the Explorer to dig 10"-14" or more to a bent nail in a blob or a silver dollar sized round of lead, sometimes even deep keepers and relics. Dig shallow easy clear targets or different, difficult, iffy targets that are super deep but always equip yourself to leave no trace.

Pluggers are another excellent compliment to this machine once proficiency with pinpointing has been attained...


Pray for the worms and if there was ever a doubt, one can never own too many metal detectors or coils.

Have fun and find cool stuff!!!


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I've used Whites all the time I have been coin hunting. I got Whites Eagle 11 back in 1991 and used the same detector all these years. I must say it's been good to me!

I'd like to try other detectors but I hunt alone and don't have the opportunity to compare others. I don't like putting out money to find out that's not what I wanted.

I know I found more rings with my old BFO and then 66TR but had to dig alot.

Your test was very good and I wish I could run a test with different detectors. I know that the new detectors will go deeper than my Eagle but I'm not sure if I want to sink a well to get to that coin.

Chuck Anders

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