The AKA Signum design and features
The AKA Signum has a large digital display which is clear and precise, all the push pads have a very positive feel, press once to access the settings, press again to exit the setting.
As you can see my controls are written in Russian, but the menu is in English, at first this was a little daunting but very easy to become familiar with in a short space of time.
The English version
Here is a very quick guide to the menu functions
ST is the discrimination channel
RT is the threshold channel
AM is the all metal channel
Coil image is the ground balance menu
Speaker icon is the volume adjustment
Disc is the discrimination adjustment
No is the 4 user programs
M is the user menu options
Arrow down > Lower setting or access the "T" Turbo feature
Arrow up> Raise setting or access the "S" different algorithm
Menu names and terminology
The Signum has it's own language for commonly used settings, the whole package is different to most other detectors, which I guess is what makes it so much fun to use.
Combined with new terminology the Signum has several different tone options, this all adds to the learning curve but again it's fun and not over difficult for the professional user.
For example RT is the all metal threshold channel, ST is called short tone which is the discrimination channel, AM is all metal which has no discrimination, targets are identified by an assigned tone, the low tone is always Iron, you can have up to 5 tones for non ferrous targets, personally I like to use 3 tone.
RT and ST run simultaneously, when a non ferrous signal is detected the magic starts working.
Other tone combinations are available in the menu, the factory pre sets are a very good starting point.
What I like about the Signum
The balance is very good, in fact I must say with the new straight stem configuration the balance is excellent , even with the stock 9 x 12 coil it feels like your swinging a little Tesoro.
The overall build quality is excellent. I particularly like the on screen information and the ability to mix and match audio tone's with tone timings, some timings you will like, others you won't. I really like the MM mode it is a short sound like a Submarine sonar....it can really speed up the machine and works well with the threshold turned off.
For pasture I like the Polyphonic short tone, this gives a flute like sound which is easy on the ears.
It may be worth noting that in the menu there is an option to make the sounds as long or as short as you wish.
So basically this machine is very different to what we have used before. The Russian engineers really know their detectors and as I have said before... in my opinion AKA is a company the rest of the world should be watching closely.
Build quality and appearance
The Signum is a well rounded machine, from the software all the way down to nuts and bolts. The plastics are all finished to a high standard, the Signum is powered by 6 AA batteries located at the rear of the stem in a nice housing that doubles up as a stand.
Once you have assigned your favourite features they will be stored in the memory, so the Signum becomes a switch on and go machine.
For more AKA information why not take a look at my AKA Sorex Pro reviews.
Testing the AKA Sorex Pro
Coin shooting with the AKA Sorex Pro
The arm cup and stem design
The space age looking arm cup is a nice fit and is very sturdy.
The aka Signum is a different metal detector
As mentioned earlier the machine runs in both channels, All metal and Discrimination at the same time, however the sound timings can be easily moulded for your soil type or preferred hearing. Another feature is the algorithms.
What are algorithms ?
There are 3 algorithms to choose from, algorithms are best described as 3 chips that control the detector in different ways based on recovery speed and desired targets.
All 3 algorithms named MSF, SSF and MM have their own parameters, for example MM algorithm is a high trash mode with a very fast recovery speed all your settings such as discrimination, sensitivity, audio tones , etc are all saved under that feature, so when using another algorithm such as SSF you can save a different range of settings to suit your search requirements.
SSF is primarily for use in areas with large flat iron or heavily rusted iron plates, these are usually detected with mixed signal and often confuse most detectors.
When using SSF algorithm these errors can be avoided as the machine clearly identifies that the detected signal is iron.
MSF is more of an all round setting, it has a medium recovery speed which rejects or identifies most iron with ease, this is best describes as a low to medium trash setting and will suit most people.
The Signum has an external speaker and 6.mm headphone jack so it will accommodate your favourite headphones, I found the Sennheiser HD202 sounded very nice and allowed the harmonics through.
The machine I tested ran at around 7Khz, however the Signum can run on different frequencies depending on what coil is fitted, optional coils range from 3Khz and 19 Khz.
The 13Khz coil made the machine very sparky and required considerable adjustments to the gain and sensitivity compared to the 7Khz coil's settings, but it certainly made the machine more dynamic on the cultivated field I was searching.
I have only touched on the very basics, the Signum has much more to offer, and in time I will cover more features.
Overall I would say this machine is up there with the top runners...for me I would place it as a deep pasture machine rather than a scratching site machine, although I am still in the learning stages so who knows what Signum secrets I will unlock in time to come.
OK so let's put some protective tape on the machine and run it through it's paces in the AkA Signum review part 2 coming soon