This morning I held a lengthy Facetime meeting with Minelab’s chief engineer Mark Lawrie along with Joan Allen’s director Luke Mahoney, the chat was arranged so that he could answer the many questions surrounding the new Minelab Manticore and the Minelab Equinox 700 & 900.
There are already lots of videos surrounding both machines on social media, they all cover the usual points, but there were some questions that remained unanswered so I was keen to get the facts straight from the horse’s mouth! The questions were asked by me, Tom Dempster, and answered by Minelab’s Mark Lawrie.
Q- What frequency range is the new Multi IQ+ running and what can it process at any given point in time?
A- Obviously Minelab’s pioneering Multi IQ is a secret that they keep close to their chest. It is running a wider frequency range but more importantly, the all-new software is processing the frequencies much faster than the Equinox 800 was able to, thus allowing it to run through the range must faster.
Q- The recovery speed has a broader range, is it now faster or have you allowed for a slower setting?
A- The recovery speed has been broadened to allow the machine to have an even slower setting, this setting isn’t for everyone as it requires heightened coil control and a steady swing, but the slower setting will allow an increase in depth.
Q- How accurately does the 2D screen reflect the tones being produced, is there a discrepancy between what is being displayed visually and audibly?
A- There is no variation between what is being displayed and what is being reported via the audio, the audio and the 2D display run in a synchronised manner.
Q- Drawing more power from a metal detector isn’t realistically a problem, but balancing a coil to cope with the extra demand is quite an engineering challenge, how does the Manticore cope with coil bump and falsing when brushed against the ground or stubble for example?
A- Designing a coil to cope with the extra power demand was indeed a challenge, but Minelab wanted to ensure that coil bump was eliminated through design and engineering and not through blanking the issue with software
Q- Can you elaborate on using software to blank coil bump?
A- Almost all manufacturers come up against the issue of coil bump, for them to get around the issue they simply use the software to blank out the falsing tone in whatever range it sits in. As a result, it means that the metal detector will not detect any signals in that range and therefore miss targets. We designed our coil to not have coil bump and as a result does not require software blanking.
Q- As we are on the topic of coils, are there any plans for the Manticore to have third party coils?
A- As you know we work closely with Coiltek so it is an option for the future.
Q- Are the factory pre-set detecting modes the optimal settings for the Manticore, ie, is the Manticore at it best on the pre-set modes?
A- No, we try to take what we have learned from other machines in our range to give the user the best all round settings, but the Manticore has even more user defined settings than any other Minelab machine. So, personal preference, experience, ground and environmental conditions will all come into play, the pre-sets are a starting point from which the user can use the settings to extract more performance.
Q- Polyphonic tones, I understand what it means in respect to hearing more than one tone at once, but how does this translate into real time use?
A- The Polyphonic tones means that multiple tones can be played at once, so it allows for a tone overlap, other machines without this feature must finish playing one tone before starting to play the next. The result of this is that signals will be missed due to lack of overlap, non-Polyphonic machines have a delay between playing each tone in turn and therefore as the coil is swung a signal can be missed. So in short polyphonic tones allows the user to hear multiple tones simultaneously avoiding possible blanking of targets.
Q- Like the Equinox, the Manticore has pre-set single frequency selection, why not have the frequency selection on a sliding scale instead of only being able to select 4-5-15 and so on?
A- We could absolutely do that, but we can’t see why it is needed, the older Equinox machines were only given that option for those that were switching from signal frequency machines to allow them to adjust. There are very few occasions when signal frequency would be beneficial over Multi, for example if EMI was a problem, we carried it over from the Equinox more to please the user than for any potential performance gain.
Q- Firstly, let’s get the big one out of the way, is the 700 and 900 just the old machines packaged in a new chassis?
A- No, the 700 & 900 both carry the same features as their older counterparts, but the motherboard, processors and chips are all new, Minelab tend not to reuse old tech, we prefer to re-engineer all new components.
Q- Does the 900 perform to a better standard than the old 800, will we see a difference between the two?
A- Yes, the 900 and 700 have new added features that make them perform faster and more accurately than their predecessors, the enhanced discrimination has more segments meaning they can recover faster, they also have enhanced iron bias and faster processing power.
Q- Are the ML85 headphones the same as the ML80?
A- Yes, they are the same headphones.
Q- Can we uses the ML105 Manticore headphones with the 700 and 900?
A- Yes, you can pair the ML105 to the new Equinox.
Q- Will Minelab continue with updates for the 600 & 800?
A- I don’t think they will, it’s been some time since we last had to send out an update for the older machines and most of the niggles have been ironed out. We will now concentrate on the new machines and offer updates if or when we need to.
Q- So, the enhanced iron bias, tone breaks, ID range and discrimination along with new processors all combine to make the new machines superior to the older machines, would that be fair?
A- Yes, they are newer machines with new features and additions that all come together to make their performance better.
Mark Lawrie will be appearing on the Joan Allen Talk show soon, so feel free to post your questions on the Joan Allen Instagram page and I will make sure I put them to him.