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Minelab E-TRAC Audio Tones

May 04, 2010 10:21am

Phil Beck
Phil metal detecting

Hi, my name is Philip and I work in R&D at Minelab in Adelaide, Australia. This means that I have probably helped to test or implement some of the features in the metal detector that you are currently using. I’m sure that you love, hate or are completely indifferent to these. In this forum I would like to talk about some of my experiences in creating these features or my perspective on the feedback that I hear from customers. This is my chance to talk with the world of metal detecting rather than those few that I get to meet personally. Please join in and leave a topical comment or ask a question.

My first topic will be on the E-TRAC audio for new users. I have talked to customers that have found it difficult to come to grips with the audio when first beginning to use an E-TRAC. A typical comment is that ‘...the detector sounds like a computer game’. Listen to this clip to hear an example of this audio.

This sound can come about when there are several different metallic objects close together. The E-TRAC is configured from the factory to continuously vary the tone according to the conductivity of the target. This setting will allow an operator simply by listening to the audio to detect the difference between targets with different conductivities. Using audio only an operator could distinguish between a US 1990 penny and a US 1980 penny, or an Australian one and two dollar coin. As an operator, when you are familiar with this, it can make identifying targets very quick, allowing you to make a fast identification with audio and then look more closely at the screen to exactly identify the target using the cross-hairs on the screen or the Ferrous, Conductivity values.

While this feature is very powerful, it can be confusing and disconcerting when first learning to use the E-TRAC as the audio can sound very different to that of other metal detectors. To make the learning curve a little less steep you can change the way that the detector produces these variable tones until you further understand the detector.

Go to the audio menu by pressing the menu button E-TRAC menu button and then using the arrow keys, move to the audio menu E-TRAC menu graphic. Select the ‘Tone ID’ sub-menu, hiding off the bottom of this screen. These options control the way that the detector creates audio. Once you have made a change, simply press the Detect button E-TRAC detect button to return to normal detecting.

No. Of Tones tells the detector how many different tones to produce across the range of targets. Setting this to 1, 2, 4 or Multi will cause the detector to create that number of tones. A setting of 1 will generate a monotone that will indicate the presence of a target with no identification information.
The same signal from before, with a monotone can be heard in this audio clip.

Go back and compare this to the earlier audio clip to hear the difference.

If the E-TRAC audio is too different from your current detector and is getting in the way of you learning the new machine, then give this setting a run to try and ease the transition. When you are more confident with the detector please change the setting back to the factory default as this is a valuable feature on the E-TRAC.

If you have just got an E-TRAC and are wondering why your detector sounds like it does, please give this a try and leave a note in the comments. If you have had similar experiences with the E-TRAC audio, good or bad please respond in the comments below.



If you want better technology to detect with, you have to spend the time to adapt to it. I nearly went mad when i updated from a Sovereign Elite to an Explorer SE, i was going to smash it up a pole every day. Then one day it just clicked, and a light went on and i was off. I just had a 6th sense with it, it was magic. Then i traded it in on an E-TRAC,Not as bad an ordeal as before, but still frustrating. After about 3 months I was once again in harmony with the Beast. I still think that the tones on the SE were nicer than the E-TRAC, but i would never go back, this E-TRAC is unbelievable in its ability to sort coins from rubbish.
The Tesorro brand of detectors has a coil that is 450mm long X 75mm wide, it doesn't have real good depth, but is magic for the beaches and footy fields, can we expect a coil like this for the E-TRAC. There's a lot of ground to cover out there.
I use a coiltek 15" coil now, all the time, and it's still not big enough. Hence my Username
Posted By: hungry on May 20, 2010 04:41pm
Quick question.

I hunt with a friend who also has an E-TRAC. We can be operating on the exact same settings, both using the standard coil. He will find a deep target say 9 inches down. We both take the headphones off so we can hear each others audio. First difference is that his high pitch sound is at least an octive higher than mine. We are both using multiple and variability set at 30.
The second difference is that he has a very repeatable sound and mine is broken if any sound at all. My first machine was made in Ireland as his was. Since I thought maybe it was a machine problem, I bought a new one. Unfortunately, I had the same response. I was at a hunt with others and another E-TRAC user came over and discovered his machine had a lower pitch also. The machine with the higher pitch seems to be a hotter machine. Not sure if it is because of the audio, but he is pulling up targets that some of us can't even hear.

Is there a way that the audio pitch can be changed and should that make a difference?

Posted By: olderactor on May 20, 2010 11:54pm
hungry - It can take a while to learn a new machine, but it's worth the effort. We try be consistent between successive models but sometimes we think that the improvements are worth the trouble that they may cause people. Hopefully, in Treasure Talk we now have a channel available to us where we can better communicate these improvements and how they can be best used. The Videos section should also make it easier to demonstrate new features in an meaningful way.

We're not about to make any announcements on new coils but it is great to be in a situation where you have available a wide variety of coils from different manufacturers.

olderactor - This is an age old issue. Testing is hard! There are so many factors that contribute to a target detection that it is difficult to ensure that you have two systems in identical states. One method is to start by performing a Factory Preset to ensure that ALL settings are identical.

The pitch of the Threshold Tone can be adjusted in the Audio Menu. The "Threshold Pitch" menu item is off the bottom of the screen when you open the menu. The down-arrow at the bottom of the screen shows you that the menu continues off the screen. Good Luck.
Posted By: Phil on May 26, 2010 10:45am
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