The Minelab Manticore Vs Equinox Series. What’s the Difference?
The Minelab Manticore Vs Equinox Series. What’s the Difference?
One of the most common questions I get these days is: What is the difference between the Minelab Manticore and the Equinox series? Specifically, the Equinox 900, and 700.
The Obvious Differences Are
- The Manticore screen is Color LCD with excellent backlighting preferences. It is much easier on the eyes than the Equinox screens, which are Monochrome LCD (black and white) with a red backlight.
- The Manticore’s M11 coil is noticeably different, and not compatible with the Equinox series, which uses the (EQX11) coil.
- The Manticore comes with the ML-105 headphones, the Equinox series comes with the ML 85 headphones.
- The Manticore comes with a 2-D Target ID Trace Graph on the screen to help users better understand what a target actually might be before choosing whether to dig it or not. Targets that fall above and below the line are more likely ferrous (iron), while targets that fall directly on the line or cross it are more likely to be non-ferrous (not iron). If targets don’t appear concentrated in a dot, but spread out, spray out, or leak like running ink, they are suspect to be something ferrous, partly ferrous, or very misshapen metal (not round).
The Equinox series does not have this 2-D graph.
- Minelab claims the Manticore has “50% more power”, which does NOT equate to 50% more depth. Instead, Minelab claims the actual increase in depth over the Equinox is likely ½”--1”+ inches, depending on the soil conditions and mineralization content of the soil.
- In addition to 50% more power, Minelab has stated the Manticore has more accurate target ID than the Equinox series. This would be more obvious on targets at max depths.
- Manticore battery time is only around 10 hours, whereas the Equinox is more like 20+ hours.
- Flashlight feature has more settings than on the Equinox series.
If we dive a little deeper into the settings the differences become more apparent.
The Manticore comes with 1–35 sensitivity levels. Whereas the Equinox 700 has Sensitivity levels 1–25, and the Equinox 900 has sensitivity 1–28. It may seem that the Manticore has the advantage here. However, higher sensitivity is certainly not always advantageous, and doesn’t necessarily mean huge increases in depth. Sensitivity relates to how sensitive the machine is to smaller targets. Higher sensitivity levels can result in more ground noise (micro-mineralization) and small bits of metal rubbish sounding like better targets. Many detectorists are saying they get plenty of depth on the Manticore at Sensitivity levels of 20–26, and Minelab states that higher sensitivity levels are only for very remote locations and specific types of hunting.
Custom Search Profiles
- All Terrain- General, Fast, Low Conductors, High Conductors, Trash Reject.
- Beach- General, Low Conductors, Deep, Surf & Seawater.
- Goldfield- General
Equinox 900 Park (1,2) Field (1,2) Beach (1,2) Gold (1,2)
Equinox 700 Park (1,2) Field (1,2) Beach (1,2)
Manticore 1, 2, 5 - Tone | 1, 2, 5 - Region All Tones
Equinox 900 & 700 1,2, 5, All Tones (At), Depth (dP)
There are several critical important points here to note regarding tones.
- The Equinox 700 does not have customizable tones. Normally with the Equinox 800 & 900 I will go into the expert tones menu (hold down the settings button while in the tones menu), and I will make my 5-tone machine 4 tones by changing the pitch of tones 2 & 3 to be the same. Why do I do this? Because the tone break on 5-tones is completely unnecessary and creates two tones in your nickel/aluminum/gold range. I only need my nickel/aluminum/gold to be represented by one tone–-otherwise it’s too overwhelming for my ears and totally useless to me.
- DP is a Pitch Mode. Meaning tones that target responses vary in pitch and volume proportional to the target signal strength. However the Manticore has a Pitch Mode that is far superior. If the Depth Audio Theme is selected on the Manticore it cancels out the Tone selection. Unlike the Equinox DP mode, the Manticore Depth Audio Theme has NO volume modulation, it is strictly a true pitch mode. Not only that, but you can customize the spectrum of your pitch! For instance, you can make shallow targets have a low pitch, and deep targets have a high pitch. Just imagine how convenient that feature is if you are looking through a trashy area and you just want to hear deeper targets!
- I was never a fan of 50 tones on the CTX, or all tones on the Equinox, where each tone has a slightly different pitch according to its range. However I fell in love when I tried 2-region all tones on the Manticore. That is because Minelab made tone breaks AND gave each segment it’s own and each tone region has a graduated pitch. You can also control the pitch and volume of each Tone Region, which opens up incredible possibilities!
Manticore Audio Themes
Unlike the Equinox series, the Manticore has several Audio Themes which are extremely useful for different hunting situations:
Normal, Enhanced, Depth, and Prospecting
Manticore Audio Profiles
In a sub-menu of Audio Themes you will find Audio Profiles
Simple, Medium, Rich
The Audio Profiles are simply a way to add more or less depth modulation on your Manticore. Simple Audio Profile has very little depth modulation so shallow and deep targets will have less difference in volume. Rich Audio Profile on the other hand offers extreme depth modulation so deep signals sound very faint. I personally use Medium, it’s a good balance and I can still hear the difference without losing the really faint targets.
Equinox 900 1-8
Equinox 700 1-3
At first glance, it may seem that the Equinox 700 is at a disadvantage. But this is not true at all. In truth, you don’t need 8-levels of recovery speed, these machines are insanely fast already. The higher the recovery speed–the more depth loss you experience. Instead, what you need to do is run at a modest recovery speed (2-3) and slow your sweep speed down so your brain can process all of the signals. Most people miss deep targets because they are in a rush, they are not listening for subtle sounds but waiting for something to slap them in the face. I get the most good targets when I slow down and I am patient. For insane depth, I would use the 0 speed on the Manticore and go extremely slow, as long as the area I was hunting wasn’t too trashy.
Use a higher recovery speed (3 is FINE) when in super trashy areas, slow down, circle your targets, and grid.
I may have left out some more inconsequential differences, this article was to focus on what I see as key differences that clearly give one machine an advantage over the other. In my opinion the Manticore has far more customizability, and therefore more room to grow as a detectorist.