Minelab Explorer SE metal detector review and field test
I have started to write this review without even seeing the new
Minelab Explorer SE, my thoughts are based simply on what I have
read and whispers within metal detecting circles.
For some reason I have a really good feeling about this machine, lets just hope it is worth
Who cares what it's called Explorer 3 or X terra 90, the fact is
Minelab are the only company constantly offering us new products on
a regular basis, and for that fact alone I must raise my hat to
Some have said it is more like the Sovereign to use...well great I love
the Sovereign, it would be nice to have an honest signal.
It has a faster processor...perhaps this will give the Explorer a faster
recovery speed, if so then it may be possible to use this machine on Roman
Now I have the machine it's time to see if the speculations are true
First of all I conducted 3 simple tests to determine if
the Explorer SE has the performance I need, if so I would expect it to match or better the
machines which I already own and use.
Have Minelab made the ultimate metal detector !!
Will the Explorer SE be the one to have ?
Compared against my current machines
Using the stock coil
Locate a coin next to Iron with a clean audio response =
Locate a small Roman coin through my test tub of badly
mineralised soil = YES
Locate a deep coin with a Precise audio response on my test bed =
I would not expect the Explorer se to have more depth than earlier
models as the coil size is still the same, Minelab and other manufacturers simply can not change the laws of
It gave me a
chuckle when the words "serious detecting" appeared on the start up screen
"good luck" or "please remember to fill your holes in" would
have been a nice touch.
One new function that interested me was the audio, no longer audio 1,
audio 2 audio 3, it has been replaced with long , smooth and pitch hold. The
"normal" setting is still on the menu.
This feature gives a lovely short target response, and holds that exact
pitch within the threshold until the next target is located, a simlar
principle to the Sovereign but it's not the same, pitch hold
very sounds good when bench testing but a little over active when searching in nail
reject, I found the constant threshold change a little tiring.
Perhaps this feature will be more like the Sovereign when searching cleaner
sites or beaches using no discrimination.
The smooth audio enhances the signal size making it much broader, small
targets easier to identify.
I never felt happy using the longer audio settings on the earlier
Explorers, trying to pin point drove me mad and was very time consuming, the
new VCO pin point is very fast and reliable.
I managed to get a quick hours search Friday night on a local field which
has been freshly rolled, the Explorer SE was very easy to operate still
of the original Explorer characteristics.I very quickly found 2 Roman minims and half of a grot. The SE
was very sensitive to small targets...pin pointing with the new VCO is a
breath of fresh air.
As with the Quattro I found using conductive audio worked well if you are
looking to find small targets, the low grumble on small coins easily stood
out from the other tones.
Settings : Smooth audio, fast on, disc nail reject, sensitivity set
at 14 man, conductive.
So far...no complaints...no moans, I am really happy with the new Minelab
Wanderers dig at Crondall
This was a hard day and a real test of patience, searching in the baking
sun, the soil was dry and really hard to dig. I only managed to find 1 Roman
grot and some buttons, it was nice to meet up with Tony Hunt and Michiel Bil
from Holland, both experts on the Explorers they gave me some helpful
advice. I chatted with Michiel while Tony took my machine and spent some
time setting it up making it much easier on the ears...Cheers Tony.
Some nice finds came up but sadly it was not the day for me and my new
machine, although the Roman grot came up from the hot spot where everyone
had trampled most of the day .
I found the site to be quite badly Iron contaminated
Settings : normal audio, iron mask all metal, sensitivity of set at 14
Local pasture field
Just down the road is a pasture field where I tested the Quattro
last year, it stood out from other fields because I could turn the power
full up without even a false signal. The Explorer SE was no different I
managed a stable 28 manual and all metal in Iron mask. The Explorer was so
settled I could use the "smooth" audio feature allowing me to snag some very tiny deep signals, small buttons came up from
well over 8" and large lead 10"-12". The meter jumped around on the deep
targets, I found a quick and easy way to confirm was to use pin point, it
then locks the cross hairs on the probable target, this tip is very good when
trying to identify deep Iron.
Settings : Smooth audio, Deep on, iron mask all metal, sensitivity
set at 28 man, ferrous.
Notes so Far
I am finding the Explorer SE enjoyable to use, as like all other
machines it performs well when the search head can get close to the soil
especially pasture and smooth plough. The only field the Explorer lacked
performance on so far was fresh stubble, possibly the air gap between the
search head and soil affected the circuitry.
As with earlier Explorers they will have their good days and bad days
depending on site conditions, so far I am very happy with it's overall
performance and features, what I am not happy about is the weight, since
using the Explorer I have upset an old arm injury, so I am on the pain
killers again. I dont think this injury will settle down if I continue using
heavy machines, so I will pass this reveiw on to Jerry who is a dedicated
Minelab user and has had some great finds with his Explorer's.
Hi Gary Nice to see you the other
day,,, you asked me for my thoughts on the SE.
it as you wish
Well I have been an Explorer user from day one
first the XS then the MKII ands here we are with the Special
First of all it feels good to hold with the
grip improvement using a soft but thicker sleeve.
I must admit that I prefer it being black but
that just cosmetic but pleasing to my eye.
It is a pleasure to swing which may be due to
the slightly lighter but different slimline coil design where
the bottom shaft is attached to the coil bracket area.
It is much easier to set up programme choice
than the previous model and very user friendly.
That being the case it is possible to keep
things simple which suits many folks.
Pin pointing is much improved and fun to use
in fact my uniprobe which cost a lot of bucks had a bit of a
holiday on this outing.
I personally like to detect with normal
sounds but I did like the Pitch Hold response which changed the
tone of the threshold which was pleasing on the ear.
I have yet to see exactly how much longer the
battery will last between charges but if its only 2 hours that's
an improvement on the past.
On the minus side its still a heavy detector
but if that the price that I have to pay so be it.
The screen is easier to read which to many
folk with sight problems has go to be a big help.
It may well be a bit deeper but I will need
more time to be absolutely sure as the previous models were
one of the deepest machines around.
Perhaps it was the programmes that I used or
the fields that I was detecting but I
had it running without all the bells and whistles that we have
been used to.
The coil that is fitted gives the appearance
of been lighter which it is and also looks a little streamlined
compared with the previous style.
There are some numerical changes to Iron
mask, sensitivity,and threshold but the are changed in much the
same way as on the MKII.
I have tried to keep this as I have found it
from a amateur detectorist point of view.
We all have our personal likes and dislikes
but Minelab have listened to our gripes and endeavoured to make
a number improvements to keep us happy.
I think that they are on to a winner with
this SE apart from the weight factor.
Whatever detector you guys use may your finds