Comparing PI Metal Detectors Side-By-Side


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  • Admin

Hello All,

Over the years I've gotten a number of phone calls, emails and PM through the forum asking this question. They always want to know what detectors will find the most gold. That's a hard questions to answer, but what I tell them is to research what most are using successfully at this time (present day). The answer is pretty obvious if you search on the forums and visit most of the major goldfields throughout the US and Australia.

I have tested many of the PI's side by side and found the Minelab PI's to be superior on the places I hunt and the type of gold I'm targeting. I'm not looking for nuggets under a grain in size or small, invisible gold nuggets that have no weight or mass to them.

I believe there is no one metal detector, PI or VLF that will find every piece of gold. However, you have to decide what you need by researching the type of gold in the area, mineralization and depths of the potential gold.

I firmly believe for the type of gold I hunt, I'm getting over 90%, if not better of the gold nuggets I pass over. I know for a fact if I was using another PI or VLF I would not be able to achieve this type of percentage.

With the Minelab PI's (In my opinion), you have the best mineral immunity, depth and options (aftermarket accessories such as coils, mods, amps, speakers, headphones ... and more).

Would love to hear about your thoughts or comments about this.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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I've used the Tesoro LST, and its great, I've used whites there also great, as far as depth and getting the larger stuff at depth, Minelab has them beat hands down, no, like you said: Minelabs won't fine the invisable gold, birdsnest type and gold widely dissperst through quartz, but it will get better depth, and has a wider range of coils, Ignors most hot rocks, and out of all the detectors I've owned, minelab has found me the biggest and most gold. From the 2200sd to the 4000 was a giant leap for minelab, While the 2200 is good, I feel the 4000 was more stable ,more versitle. I've only listened to a 4500, so I can't say on them. But everyone that has them seem very happy with there ability. Grubstake

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Success with a detector takes confidence, perseverance and the key, hearing the target.

There is nothing on the market today or in the foreseeable future that comes close to the GPX's depth and sensitivity.

I would not hesitate recommending the Whites TDI to anyone wanting a "new" entry level PI.

But my first recommendation would be any used GP then the SD series.

nvchris

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  • Admin

Hey Guys,

Grubstake - Yep, I agree with you on the VLF's. I found hundreds of nuggets, most of them small with the VLF's. My biggest was around 1/2 ounce and it was practically laying on the surface within an old ancient river channel. There are pro's to having a high freq. VLF in your arsensal. I have the Eureka Gold at the current time as my VLF gold nugget detector. I prefer the Eureka or GB2 for mine dump hunting. However, after using a Minelab PI you become spoiled.

NVChris - I have to agree with you on nothing coming close. The GPX-4500 is an amazing detector. You can set the GPX-4500 to target different types of gold. If you're searching for very small gold you can use a certain timing and setting combinations to find the smallest pieces of gold. If you're looking for very deep gold you can use certain timings (such as Normal) along with Audio, Swing Speed and Volume settings to maximize depth! I couldn't tell you how many setting combinations there are on the GPX-4500.

Despite what the "Minelab Hater" has to say on another forum, I have used and tested the other PI's against the Minelab's. Personally, I think they are great entry level PI's, but I would take a used SD or GP over any of them anyday.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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As a prospective future Minelab owner and as a person who won't be able to drop $4000+ on a new detector it seems more economical to purchase and older model and have it modded to try and bridge the performance gap. However, I have zero experience with any minelab detectors and can only go off the advice and experience of others.

What is your take on the performance of modded detectors in comparison to the stock models? Some individuals like woody claim that by modding older models like the 3500 you can achieve performance that equals and possibly exceeds the newer 4500.

The GP Extreme in particular is closer to my price range and, according to some, makes a pretty killer detector with mods.

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The GP Extreme in particular is closer to my price range and, according to some, makes a pretty killer detector with mods.

The GP Extreme is a killer detector without mods. The last thing you need to do is spend more money on "mods" . All the (not modded) minelab PI`s find gold. You will have to learn how to get over the gold before the machine will find it for you. This can take a long, long, long time...

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Hey Sean,

I would try to find a used Minelab such as a used SD2100 or GP series metal detector. Many of the used SD2100's can range from $800 - $1,200 for the original version. Some of the newer V2 version can run a few hundred dollars more. I've seen GP series detectors as low as $1,600 over the years. Most of the GP series will probably range from $1,500 - $2,500 depending on model, condition and extra accessories.

I've personally never had any of my Minelab PI detectors modded, but I have seen modded units in action. I can't say modded unit will be better than the most current model, I find that hard to believe.

Adam - I have to agree with you. I done very well with the GP Extreme for the couple of years I used one. I found many pounds of gold with it and some of my biggest overall finds to date. I believe a lot of the reasons were due to the fact it was the first GP series after the SD's.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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I've personally never had any of my Minelab PI detectors modded, but I have seen modded units in action. I can't say modded unit will be better than the most current model, I find that hard to believe.

What modded machines have you seen in action and what did you think of their performance?

-Joe

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Hey Joe,

I've seen several modded SD2000's, they were much more sensitive to small gold nuggets than stock SD2000's. With the stock SD2000 with a small mono coil I would be luck to find a 4-5 grain nugget on the surface. The modded ones I seen could find gold much smaller.

The SD2100's I've seen were modded, others had the Ismael battery systems. Both ones seemed to be much more better on smaller and deeper gold. Ismael does some good mods if anyone is interested.

I also seen a GP series modded. I didn't get to play with it much, but the owner said it was just as good or better than a GPX-4000 at that time.

As far as mods, the only person I trust doing Minelab mods is Ismael. Seen enough of his mods on other Minelab detectors and all the users were very happy. Can't vouch for the other mods, they might be just as good.

Hope this helps,

Rob Allison

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Guest goldstudmuffin

Hi Rob,

As far as PI's go... I've had a gold scam, :spank: infinium, :spank: played with a TDI, :spank: SD 2100,

modded SD 2100, SD 2200, GP 3000, GPX 4000. The only thing better than owning a Minelab... is owning 2 Minelabs!!!

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Hey Russ,

That is funny.

On another note, why don't you tell everyone about that time we were testing the Infinium down in Greaterville! Remember that great "Reverse Discrimation" it had ..... :lol: Hey, I'm just going off what the dealers were saying about it before it every hit the market. I remember one dealer in New Mexico claiming it was going to outshoot the latest and great Minelab during that time. Heck, whatever happened to that dealer .... I think he moved out of the country after those claims.

I wish I could tell you more ...

Take care,

Rob Allison

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Guest goldstudmuffin

Rob and I were in Greaterville testing the infinium, I don't remember who found the target, I think it was Rob. He called me over with my infinium just to see how well the "Reverse Discrimation" worked. The infinium discrimator said it was a good target, so we kept digging and checking it with the infinium several times until we were around 2 ft deep, and then suddenly we hit pay dirt!!! A dadgum water pipe!!! :spank:

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Guest Mike C...
Hey Joe,

I've seen several modded SD2000's, they were much more sensitive to small gold nuggets than stock SD2000's. With the stock SD2000 with a small mono coil I would be luck to find a 4-5 grain nugget on the surface. The modded ones I seen could find gold much smaller.

The SD2100's I've seen were modded, others had the Ismael battery systems. Both ones seemed to be much more better on smaller and deeper gold. Ismael does some good mods if anyone is interested.

I also seen a GP series modded. I didn't get to play with it much, but the owner said it was just as good or better than a GPX-4000 at that time.

As far as mods, the only person I trust doing Minelab mods is Ismael. Seen enough of his mods on other Minelab detectors and all the users were very happy. Can't vouch for the other mods, they might be just as good.

Hope this helps,

Rob Allison

Hey Rob you remember that time at RH when you Bill and I were out there and some one with a finders modded SD 2000 kicked ass on a couple of GP's :spank: -but modds are just a waist of money ;) --Mike C... :ph34r:

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Hey Mike,

I believe I remember that time. We were over near the Octave Mine, right? I do remember you finding a couple of small ones and Bill and I got the skunkaroo. I was amazed on the small gold you were able to find with the SD2000 mod. Was that one of the Finders mod for your SD2000? I know that was a long time ago.

I never said mods are a waist, but I don't think they are going to give you the same potential as a GPX-4500 either.

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

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Ismaels mods work well, His GPM SD2000 with the VCO mod is on par with the GP series of detectors. Mods let you optimize the detector parameters to suit the type of ground and the type of Gold that is being hunted. The GPX-4500 is just like a modded GP to a degree. Obviously the GPX has more refinements but the modded detectors do work much better than the standard detectors. I Think that Andrew (Pennyweight) is going to carry out some in depth tests and make a video of the results. I have shipped an upgraded Extreme to him last week and i think he will be using this to do the testing.

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Ismaels mods work well, His GPM SD2000 with the VCO mod is on par with the GP series of detectors. Mods let you optimize the detector parameters to suit the type of ground and the type of Gold that is being hunted. The GPX-4500 is just like a modded GP to a degree. Obviously the GPX has more refinements but the modded detectors do work much better than the standard detectors. I Think that Andrew (Pennyweight) is going to carry out some in depth tests and make a video of the results. I have shipped an upgraded Extreme to him last week and i think he will be using this to do the testing.

Hello Woody,

I was out this weekend prospecting with your modified SD2100V2 in the large gold setting. Then I switched to go over the same ground with the GPX-4500 in Enhance.

(This was on a patch that I have hit hard in the past with the GPX-4500.)

I didn't find any gold with either machine but both handled the high mineralization & hot rocks very well.

There was a small shredded 22 caliber slug I missed with the SD2100V2. It was an audible signal on the SD2100V2 but the signal to noise ratio is better on the GPX-4500 so this

is the machine I found it with. The SD2100V2 takes some getting used to with its noisier threshold...the GPX-4500 is more refined.

You have to pay attention more on the SD2100V2 while the GPX-4500 you can relax and feel less fatigue in long detecting sessions.

Best Regards,

Don

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Guest Mike C...
Hey Mike you still swingin that 4000? you may want to get a 2100 and get it tuned up for back up. I was surprised you sold your old modded 2000. :spank: Take care :ph34r: AzNuggetBob

Hey Bob ya I still have my old 4000 :D ---although its a good beeper---I do miss my modded 2000---it could go through the iron rocks with no problems and it ran really smooth with big monos--- ;) ---Mike C... :ph34r:

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Hey Mike,

How would you compare the two against each other (SD2000 modded vs. GPX-4000)? I never used the modded SD2000, just had a few friends that had them modded like yourself.

If I remember correctly, the SD's and GP's had much more trouble with EMI and didn't have any type of manual tune to even help.

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

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Guest Mike C...
Hey Mike,

How would you compare the two against each other (SD2000 modded vs. GPX-4000)? I never used the modded SD2000, just had a few friends that had them modded like yourself.

If I remember correctly, the SD's and GP's had much more trouble with EMI and didn't have any type of manual tune to even help.

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

Hi Rob with out a doubt the 4000 is the better of the 2 but there is a few areas where I think the sd2000m will out gun it do to the many iron stones in the area and thats where I would use it :blush: -Mike C... :ph34r:

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Hey Mike,

Yep, I know exactly what you mean. There were a bunch of spots where I couldn't detect with a monoloop coil. That is one of the major advantages of the GPX-4500 in the "Enhance" timing mode. I'm able to go back to all those spots where the GPX-4000 made noise and hunt it with the Enhance timing on the GPX-4500. In about half of the spots I missed smaller gold at depth due to the moaning and groaning of the ground.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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  • Admin

Hey Doug,

When I had the GPX-4000 for several years, the Senstive/Smooth mode was best for mineralization. However, there were a handful of spots here in Arizona and Northern California where I couldn't run a mono (regarldess of size) without getting a bunch of moaning and groaning ground noise. I normally would hunt these spots with a DD, mostly the Coiltek Wallaby DD Pro.

I'm able to work all the same spots with a Mono on the GPX-4500. I haven't found many spots where I can't run a mono without ground noise. I can only think of one or maybe two spots that are in wash bottoms.

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

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So the 4000 could not handle this ground in sensitive/smooth with a mono?

cheers,

doug

Marshall,

Have you ever found any ground that a 4500 moans and groans on in, both enhance and smooth timings, as well as Normal timings in tracking mode with a larger mono coil, but yet is workable in Normal timing using Fixed using the same coil if the operator is prepared to make continual adjustments? Why is it so? Why do later Minelabs have so many options? :ph34r:

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