Ive been treasure hunting for just over 37 years and, to really date myself, the first real metal detector I used, other than the $50 BFOs you could order from the back of a Popular Mechanics magazine, was an early White's Coinmaster bought used at a neighborhood garage sale in 1967. It lacked the bells-and-whistles we take for granted today, such as discrimination and ground balance, but my brother and I found literally 1000's of coins with that old detector. Over the years I have used other Whites detectors; however, I have not had much experience with some of the newer models other than the Spectrum XLT.
When Alan Holcombe contacted me from the factory and discussed a new model they were sending me to test, I was intrigued by the performance enhancements he described and looked forward to giving it a workout.
My 11-year-old son, Paul, whos been an avid treasure hunter and my partner since the age of two, helped me unpack and assemble the Classic IDX Pro. The first comment he made was Wow, this detector is really light." Considering the IDX Pro is built with the time-proven rugged metal control housing Whites is famous for, it is an extremely lightweight and well-balanced detector.
The Classic IDX Pro is a dual filter turn-on-and-go detector that uses Whites patented technology called Flash Phase which results in rapid target identification and short shutdown between targets, allowing it to be effective even in high-trash areas.
The IDX Pro has two search modes (motion discrimination and non-motion all-metal) along with a non-motion pinpoint mode. A valuable feature on the IDX Pro is that the target ID meter operates in both the motion discriminate and the non-motion All-Metal modes. The ability to identify targets in the All-Metal mode is extremely useful when searching for deeply buried targets in close quarters, where sweeping the coil is difficult or when relic hunting, and you may want to recover some iron artifacts. It is a feature not found on many target ID detectors on the market today.
There are three knobs and a toggle switch on the control housing and a three-position trigger in front of the handgrip that control the IDX Pros operation. The SENS knob serves a dual function in that it controls the sensitivity level as well as turns the detector on and off. The other two knobs are DISCRIMINATION and FREQUENCY. The FREQUENCY knob allows you to change the operating frequency within a range of 6.35 kHz to 6.55 kHz in order to eliminate crosstalk from other detectors or electrical interference in the area you are hunting in. The toggle switch provides the ability to select a BLACK SAND or NORMAL mode which can be used to eliminate the adverse effects of extremely mineralized ground or wet saltwater beaches. If ground conditions exist that cannot be addressed through the use of the NORMAL / BLACK SAND toggle switch, your local dealer can adjust the ground balance setting through the use of an internal potentiometer. All of the knobs have preset marks that are ideal for most conditions and allow the unit to be used effectively as soon as it is unpacked and assembled.
The trigger switch has three positions. In the normal search position (center) the detector is set to operate in the discrimination mode. Pulling and holding the trigger forward will switch the IDX Pro to an All-Metal, non-motion-pinpointing mode. Releasing the switch automatically returns it to the position. The switch can also be pushed forward which places the IDX Pro in the All-Metal, non-motion search mode.
The meter on the IDX Pro features eight LCD segments that provide an indication of the targets probable ID. The segments are IRON, FOIL/SMALL RINGS, SMALL PULL-TABS/MEDIUM RINGS, LARGE PULL-TABS/MEDIUM RINGS, LARGE RINGS/SCREW CAPS/ZINC 1, COPPER 1/10, 25 and 50/$1. The meter is extremely accurate even on deeper targets; however, it is important to realize that the Sensitivity control affects not only detection depth, but meter sensitivity as well. If the Sensitivity control is set too high, false audio signals and erratic meter indications will result. If you experience these conditions, reduce the sensitivity control slightly for optimal performance.
The IDX Pro is powered by eight AA batteries that will provide 65 plus hours of detecting time. The drop-in battery pack is designed to eliminate any problem from damaged battery wires. The rechargeable pack found on the Spectrum XLT, as well as some other models in the Whites line, can be used with no loss of performance and provides approximately 50 hours on a charge. (NOTE: The nicad battery and charger are available from any Whites dealer).
The first spot my son and I took the IDX Pro to was the site of an old amusement park built along the shore of the Susquehanna River. Built in the late 1800's by a local trolley company, it had been a popular site for more than 70 years. While the buildings and attractions were long gone, it was still a popular park and has produced coins and other artifacts for many years to local detectorists. While no site is ever really hunted out, the decent finds were few and far between from the park, but I was hoping that the frequent thawing and freezing we had experienced throughout the winter might have moved a few coins around. My son grabbed the detector from the truck and started hunting near the bandshell. He received a number of signals from trash such as tabs, screw caps and foil, so rather than trying to recover a possible nickel from amongst them, he turned up the discrimination to the COIN RANGE preset mark and continued hunting in virtual silence.
The first good signal he received fluctuated between the 25 & 50/$1 LCD segments. Of course I was tasked with digging and I immediately struck a large river rock as I started to recover the target. The combination of the tightly-packed rocks and semi-frozen ground made recovery quite difficult and I was almost ready to give up and close the hole when I dislodged a large rock and saw a silver coin on edge wedged between two other rocks still in the hole. We were both astonished to see that it was a 1944 Walking Liberty half in decent condition (OK other than the scratch I put on one side prying it free).
After admiring the coin for a few minutes, we started off again towards the remains of the old swimming pool which had been made by damming up a section of the original barge canal that ran along the river. Over the next hour, we recovered several coins including a 1947 wheat cent at depths up to 6 inches. With the discrimination knob set at the second preset mark, only coins appeared to produce a signal despite the amount of trash that was present, which made it easy for Paul to hunt an area that might have otherwise been frustrating at best to search. On the way back to the truck, Paul received a solid, repeatable signal which locked on the 50/$1 LCD segment. As I came over to recover the target, I wondered what the target would be, since I couldnt imagine it could be what the meter indicated. Well, after removing a partially frozen plug and a few rocks, another Walking Liberty half came to light this time a 1945!
A few days later I had the opportunity to try the Classic IDX Pro out at a foundation that dated back to the early 1800's. Not wanting to miss any artifacts or iron relics from that time period, I opted to hunt in the All-Metal mode and use the LCD target ID meter to determine if targets were worth recovering.
Signals were plentiful; however, most were quickly identifiable as being nails, based on their meter reading and relative size. The first good signal registered in the Copper 1/ 10 region and my hopes were high as I started to recover the target. It turned out to be a copper button probably from the late 1800's from a depth of just over 7 inches. A short distance away I received a signal that registered as IRON, but appeared to be larger than the nails I had been detecting. Sure enough, an iron horseshoe came to light from nearly 9 inches down. Over the next two hours I recovered several items including three more horseshoes, two plow points, part of a kerosene lamp, five buttons and several unidentifiable items that appeared to be brass or copper.
Only one coin was found an 1892 Indian Head penny. Unfortunately older foundations typically hold more in the way of artifacts than coins, but the IDX Pro had proven itself by detecting and identifying targets at above-average depths and doing so with a minimal amount of adjustment.
The Classic IDX Pro provided my son and I with above-average performance in a number of sites we had the opportunity to try it in. Not only was it simple enough for my son to adjust without even reading the manual, but it was light enough for him to use for extended periods without tiring. The discrimination and target ID were accurate even on some of the deeper targets, which is something many detectors with preset ground balance have difficulty with.
The ability to search in the All-Metal mode for added detection depth, while still having a functional target ID meter, is another feature that shows the engineers at Whites listened to what users wanted and the resulting in-field performance is greater than what one might expect from a detector at this price point.
The standard 950 coil provides excellent ground coverage and detection depth and is ideal for most applications. However, if you find yourself in trashy sites or near metal objects, such as playground equipment, chain-link fences or bleachers, you should consider investing in one of the smaller coils available. Whites offers a 4-inch, 5.3-inch and 8-inch loop for this, as well as a 15-inch coil if you want even more detection depth for deeply buried objects.
The Classic IDX Pro carries a suggested retail price of $549.95 including a two year parts and labor warranty, which makes this detector one that deserves serious consideration when shopping for a new metal detector.
For additional information on the new Classic IDX Pro, any of the other models in the Whites lineup, or the name of your nearest dealer, contact the factory at Whites Electronics, 1011 Pleasant Valley Road, Sweet Home, OR 97386; 800-547-6911 / 541-367-6121, or visit their website at www.whiteselec tronics.com.