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The CTX 3030 was the first detector Minelab made that used wireless audio and it does a nice job of things, so nice that at times it felt difficult going back to my GPX 5000 when I wanted to look for gold.
Then came the GPZ 7000 with no speaker built into the unit so operators had to either plug headphones in direct via the audio socket above the battery pack or use the supplied WM 12 wireless Audio Module. The WM 12 is a pretty neat system on the GPZ and allows for operators to pair up two WM12s for either dual speaker use or to provide an audio source for a partner walking along with you whilst detecting. I use this feature a lot during training sessions and find it very useful.
However up until now, owners of the GPX and SDC detectors have had no well-designed options to go completely wireless. There are some Bluetooth options out there but Bluetooth is notorious for having a delay, which means when you hear the signal the coil has already gone past the point where the target was, making it hard to visualise correctly. Visualising plays an important role in detecting as it helps with maintaining a rhythm between eyes, hand and ears to help get over the sweet spot of a target. There are Wi-Fi options out but they are clunky and not incorporated like this latest offering from Minelab.
A perfect candidate for a good Wi-Fi audio system is the SDC 2300 and thankfully with the new PRO-SONIC system Minelab have kept SDC users in mind by supplying as standard a patch lead with the proprietary waterproof audio adapter so users can tap into the SDC right out of the box. I did most of my initial testing of the PRO-SONIC on the SDC 2300 but also used it with the GPX-4500 and 5000 as well as a few stints on the GPZ 7000, out of curiosity I also tried the PRO-SONIC on my X-TERRA 705 as well as a Fisher Gold Bug II. Pleasingly, it worked brilliantly on all detectors.
One of the big stand outs of the PRO-SONIC is the ability to increase or decrease the volume via the right-hand side speaker control on the receiver unit, short press increases volume and long press decreases the volume, this is especially handy on detectors with no volume control like the SDC and allows the Sensitivity to be pulled back. The SDC’s volume control is tied in with the Sensitivity control, as you decrease Sensitivity, the Volume decreases also. Using the PRO-SONIC, you can run lower Sensitivity on the SDC around difficult areas like power lines, but at the same time increase the unit’s target volume via the receiver unit’s volume control, this makes for a very smooth detecting experience whilst still maintaining good target signal response.
When comparing the inbuilt speaker of the WM 12 to the PRO-SONIC, the PRO-SONIC seems to have a crisper response compared to the WM 12, this could be down to the Volume control. I found with the SDC the receiver speaker unit worked well when mounted on the arm strap with the speaker facing up, because it was mounted right beside the transmitter there were no drop outs.
On both wireless systems, operators must be careful where they mount the receiver, too much of your body in-between the sender and the receiver units and you will experience dropouts. Wi-Fi sends its information in packets, on the CTX the receiver unit recognises dropped packets and infills the information with previous packets to make for a smooth detecting experience, this is not ideal in a gold detector as the operator needs real time information, not interpreted information. So, a dropped packet on the WM 12 or PRO-SONIC is heralded as a break or stutter in the audio.
I prefer the way the WM 12 behaves when it drops audio, it is smoother and less intrusive to the ear when compared to the PRO-SONIC. To minimise the chance of the PRO-SONIC dropping audio, make sure the receiver unit has direct line of sight to the transmitter. In the PRO-SONIC’s favour, operators can mount the sender unit in a variety of locations to help cut back on packet loss.
Excerpt from the PRO-SONIC Getting Started Guide.
The supplied charger for the PRO-SONIC is USB with a dual adapter micro USB’s on one end, this means it’s easy to charge both units simultaneously out of your vehicle at the end of a detecting session. I could use the units all day with no sign of running out of power, but would advise users to charge every day. The transmitter unit can run for 10 hours and the receiver unit up to 16 hours, more than enough for a long day detecting. I was also able to charge my units via a smart phone power brick which could easily be carried in a back pack if required.
I loved using the PRO-SONIC, the audio was clean and crisp both via the speaker and the headphone socket. It worked well with the B&Z dual speaker unit I have permanently mounted on my Camel Back so I could easily go from one detector to another without having to change anything, I simply attached my curly cord for the booster into the headphone socket of the receiver then placed the receiver in my right trouser pocket closest to the transmitter. For a completely wireless arrangement on a GPX detector I coupled it with the new smaller Minelab GPX battery with pouch, this arrangement freed me up immensely.
The PRO-SONIC is a high-quality audio system that is going to free up a lot of operators who’ve been waiting a long time for a reliable wireless audio solution. For SDC users who have struggled with the inbuilt speaker this system will be a boon. I highly recommend the new PRO-SONIC from Minelab.
© Jonathan Porter 2017
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To be completely wireless I would recommend using the smaller Minelab battery with supplied control box cover that holds the battery in a special pouch on the side of the control box. I then recommend mounting the Pro-Sonic transmitter where it has clear line of site to the receiver unit on your detecting arm shoulder side.
Hope this helps