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Another 50 tone vs. 5 tone question.

Ted S

Well-known member
I have been playing around with the 5 tone and 50 tone.. New version 3.0. It could be me but I need to field test this a bit. I really like the high tone I am getting now in 50 tone. Almost Explorer like! I also sorted a bunch of zinc and copper pennies using 50 tone...


Well-known member
Havent done the update yet. But I like Calabash" excitement and enthusiasm . Never really use 50 tones , but I'm willing to explore those options. I have a Safari , I think it is really close to the audio on the explorer.

Ted S

Well-known member
I hear ya Robert.. Just trying to gain a bit of an edge... Can't remember if Calabash used 50 tone or not...

CT Todd

Well-known member
50 tones to what benefit ?

I say this. No matter what frequency or coil size no matter what settings used. If the Equinox sees a target it will first assign a TID Number to the target detected then it will make a tone that is representative of that number. If it's in an accepted range. (not discriminated or notched out) The tone that the unit makes is determined by you setting tones in the TID range it falls in or full tones (50) assignment. I hunt a 5 tone, Tone Break set up that really only puts 3 tones to my headphones plus Threshold. I get an iron tone (Grunt) a Mid tone and a High tone. I still get all possible tone nuances and iron buzz's as you work a target but they are always based on one of the two non ferrous tones I use. With tones ranging from 1-40 positive in full tones you can not tell one from another unless several TIDs apart and even then you still don't know what you have based on that tone. So how is it any possible help to you ? You have a TID # and a tone. It really doesn't matter what the tone is. It matters that you have your unit set up correctly so that you heard the tone for sure. What I’m saying is yes you are hearing all those tones but how did it help you in any way? Remember you are still getting a tone from your machine WITH All Nuances but just a total of 3 different base tones in my case maybe up to 5 in yours. I'll stick with a nice bright tone that I hear every time for sure. Same amount of information. less unhelpful information with it.

Target sound


Target size

Depth of target

What site am I on

Dig targets

Get out there



Over the years, I've tried numerous ways through a combination of VDI and tones to better identify targets that were under my coil. It didn't take long for me to discover that trying to cut the tone and VDI distinction too fine in an attempt to accurately identify targets was unproductive. Through some trial and error, the obvious finally became clear.

VDI is not an exact science by any stretch. Target ID can be affected by numerous variables such as depth, soil composition, the metallurgical make up and orientation of the targets in the soil. Expecting a consistently exact value for each possible target was unrealistic. I finally concluded that what I wanted was only an indication of what might be under my coil rather than expecting or trying for a precise ID. Can VDI and Tones do that for me? Yes

After realizing what I wanted or needed from of a tone/VDI combination, I settled on a 3 tone option. Below are a few bullet points that summarize my case or reasoning for adopting that 3 tone solution.

~ My attempt at using 50 tones proved impossible for me...information overload! I then tried 5 tones and although much more understandable than 50, I felt that 5 tones was really unnecessary and might even be overkill. Why?

~ ALL targets fall within 3 categories/zones of conductivity of Low, Medium or High so it made more sense for me to focus on those 3 zones and then align the tones accordingly. The tones provided information on what zone I was dealing with while the VDI gave me some rough indication as to where that target fell within the range of that zone.

~ I also wanted a system that wasn't apt to cause me to ignore good targets because they were similar in make up to worthless targets. Example; gold and aluminum are both mid level conductors and generate similar VDI within that range, I therefore didn't want to exclude anything within the Mid or High level conductivity scale. Yes, I'll dig aluminum so as not to pass up potential gold and dig other high conductive targets so as not to pass up silver.

~ I tested quite a number common targets of varying size and metallurgical composition and came up with some common VDI ranges that I see on our beaches for each of the conductivity zones. I then modified the 5 tone option to 3 tones which suited me just fine for the beach hunting I do.

My results:

Low conductive targets ranged from -9 to 0 and I assigned it Tone level 1 (the old iron grunt)

Medium targets ranged from 1 to 18 so I chose Tone 12...a nice mid level tone

High conductors were 19+ so I gave them the highest Tone level of 25

To reduce five tones to three simply involves assigning the same tone for three zones of the five possible zones:
Zone 1 = Tone 1;
Zone 2 = Tone 12;
Zones 3, 4 and 5 = Tone 25

~ In my work with a local museum however, the 2 tone option could also be used. When digging museum quality artifacts, iron is a valued metal so I dig everything. I also dig it all when I detect along Florida's Treasure Coast as remnants of the ships fall within the iron or low conductive range and are often times found along our beaches.

Just the view from my foxhole...your view may vary.

CT Todd

Well-known member
Agreed Dan, that's what I said and exactly how I adjust the tones. Less useless information.

Ted S

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies fellas! Most of the time I use Park 1 or Field 1 depending on the area I am in. I will probably go back to 5 tone after reading this. Good luck and HH! Ted

Ted S

Well-known member
Thanks Mark! I will do that! If it rains,I hope to post a few finds. I mowed the lawn of a house built in 1906 yesterday and the owner said to go ahead and hunt it! How cool is that!


Well-known member
I use 2 tones almost 99% of the time. I use my tone break as my disc. I want to hear how much junk I'm in and when I'm over a good target, that's it. When I hunt I predetermine what I'm willing to dig on that hunt, if I get a repeatable tone, I dig it. I set my pitch on 1 for the area I'm not going to dig, turn the volume to 6 and set my other tone at 25 and full volume. Right now I'm water hunting so....I dig everything from -2 up :)


Active member
Guess..Im the only one who likes 50 tones....I hunt trashy parks and to me ..I like 50 is a lot..but ..I am used to the E-trac with high
Sens...... I like the way the tones blend...And it does sound like the old Explorer when the coins are DEEP....I said that when it first came out and people said ..I was nuts? It hits low conductors better than any other Minelab coin machine!


Active member
I can’t handle the 50 tones. It scrambles my mind too much. lol


Well-known member
I'm with you mascard1 -- you aren't the only one. I use 50 tones religiously, and most of the guys I hunt with do, as well. To me, if you want to understand the "language" of the machine, you may as well let it talk to you in all of the ways it possibly can, as there is a ton of nuance in there, when listening to all of the tones.

Just my 2 cents...



Well-known member
You are not alone. I guess I am nuts too! Lol
50 tones is extremely telling and personally, I couldn’t hunt with the Equinox any other way.
as a side note: I came from the Sovereign GT and loved the multi tones it provided.

Guess..Im the only one who likes 50 tones....I hunt trashy parks and to me ..I like 50 is a lot..but ..I am used to the E-trac with high
Sens...... I like the way the tones blend...And it does sound like the old Explorer when the coins are DEEP....I said that when it first came out and people said ..I was nuts? It hits low conductors better than any other Minelab coin machine!


Staff member
It's a personal preference, try both and see what works best for you. I have used all the digital minelabs so 50 is natural for me and others, I can switch back and forth no problem. When wide open field hunting like in the UK switching can break the monotony/fatigue of 8 to 10 hour hunts.
HH Jeff