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Metal Detecting
To ID or not to ID, THAT is the question
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There are two types of land use VLF machines on the market today and you have to ask yourself which type is right for you. Answering this question will cut the choices in half and greatly narrow your search. The two types are those with a target identification system (target ID) and those that work on sound alone. 

Target ID machines give you a visual and/or audio indication of what the target could be. Some of them will have arrows that point to a probable target on an LCD display or meter, while others may give a numeric value for the target which can give you more individual control of the identification of the target before you dig.

Machines with target ID systems are easier for most people to use simply because they take some of the guesswork out of deciding whether or not to dig. They can be better for coin hunting because your days of digging pull-tabs are almost over.

The downside of the target ID machine is that people can become to reliant on the ID and stop digging targets that ID as a pull tab. Most gold jewelry falls right into the pull tab target range (see my pages concerning discrimination) and consequently when we see that the machine indicates a pull tab, we walk by ignoring it thinking we know better. I don't know of a target ID machine yet that can accurately tell the difference between a pull-tab and a 10K gold ring 100% of the time. If you want to be the person with gold to show off, you need to keep your discrimination turned down low enough to find it and you also have to dig pull-tab signals.

The other type of VLF machine that I mentioned is one that uses sound alone. These machines rely on your discrimination settings because the sound a target makes will change as the discrimination control is turned up. Your ability to understand the sounds it makes when passed over different types of targets is the only 'ID' this type of machine has. In general, the sound from a "good target" will be a cleaner, softer sound with a clear tone that begins and ends with ease. Most junk targets will produce a tone that can have a 'raspier' sound that starts and ends abruptly. The real beauty of the sound based detector is that in many cases, it will give you that sweet sound over gold.

I believe people who use a sound based machine will find more gold simply because a target ID system is not telling them that its a pull-tab. The downside of the sound based machine is learning the subtle sounds. It takes longer to understand what the machine is saying. Constantly adjusting the discrimination can wreak havoc on your learning curve. Set it low enough to find lead fishing sinkers and pull tabs and leave it alone. If you are getting signals from lead and pull tabs, you will get the gold if it's there. You will dig more pull-tabs with a sound based system, but the success rate on jewelry is usually higher.

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What machine is right for me?