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Detector Headphones - which are suitable for detectors??

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I would like to discuss the mysterious subject of metal detector headphones.

So far I have owned a Garret Infinium, and SD2000, a GP extreme, and an SD2100v2.

Because I have bought them second hand, I always got a set of included headphones, and they had been ok or so I thought.

I remember the instructions on the Garrett Infinium warning that Mono Headphones should be used at all times, as opposed to mono because they could operate properly within detector range

But then with the SD2100v2, they came with a set of Koss UR30's, which I later found out are supplied new with the GPX5000's. When I tried them on my GP extreme, I was surprised at how clear the sound was.....

I guess my question is, now that I still own the GP extreme, the SD2000, and the SD2100v2, what type of headphones or specific brands/models will work best with these?

Yes I like the Koss UR30's so far, but the misses is using them, and I need a set myself. Do I look for mono or is stereo ok. If I do go for stereo, what do i need to look out for. They seem to operate in different frequencies with different ohm settings.

There are the Koss UR20s but I dont know if they are suitable for detecting. Funny enough they are found on the Koss website but not the UR30's.

The other trouble with the UR30's is that the cord is on the left side (marked L on the earphones), and now that I have a cordless setup on my extreme, the headphone cord is too short to plug in on my right side.....

Does it matter if you use the UR30's by wearing the right side on your left ear

You go to all this trouble to get your detector and coil just right, Id hate to think Im stuffing it all up with crappy headphones

any advice will be appreciated


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The reason I wear good headphones are for thier noise cancelling ability. You see, I dont want to be bothered with noisy bee`s, wasps, flies, rattlesnakes, javalina, people talking, wind, birds, airplanes, helicopters, thunder, quads , and other OHV`s...... All I want to hear is the ground.

Many people use UR30`s and are quite happy with them, I even know one guy that likes to use only one side of the headphones because he wants to hear all of the aforementioned. Anyway its all about preference, but if you want to upgrade to some more expensive headphones with noise cancelling abilities, they try the Sunray Pro Gold`s , Detector Pro`s Black Widows, or maybe some others if people will mention them on this thread.

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I am going to offer a generic answer rather than offer a particular brand or model as the ideal ones to buy.

Koss UR-30's work well but knowing why and more about the brand helps. So, first of all, Koss is a great brand for nugget hunting, but knowing more about Koss headphones in general helps because not all models even of Koss work that great.

The Koss UR-30's are 100 ohm impedance headphones. The Koss UR-29's are cheaper are also 100 ohm headphones with a volume control. On the down side, the the UR-29's do not come with a coiled cord and the coiled cord is generally preferred, especially when hunting in brushy country.

One of the big factors on which headphone's should be based is the person's hearing. Many older people have very poor hearing while a lot of other including some older people have quite sensitive ears. So, the ultimate selection can vary from person to person. For some, one model may not be loud enough while for others, a more popular type might be too loud.

As a general rule the higher the impedance the louder a set of headphones might be. The impedance of a set of headphones has to do with the windings and wire size in the speakers themselves. Higher impedance usually means higher resistance if one simply measures the headphones with a VOM type meter.

Unfortunately, there are exceptions to this higher impedance rule, so one does have to be careful. For some people the Koss 60 ohm units might work well, but, for others they may not be quite loud enough. What is worse is different brands having the same impedance may not sound or work the same. So, when in doubt, it helps to try them first to make sure they will work for you.

Still, yet, people with great hearing can most likely use headphones in the 32 ohm range, which are one of the more common ones made today for detectors.

Some of the more expensive headphones are custom made using Shooting protection style ear muffs normally used for hearing protection and installing the speakers and wiring. On these units, again a higher impedance speaker is generally used.

Personally, I feel one should have some form of volume control on headphones since a person might use those same headphones on different detectors. On the plus side if you find a set of headphones that seem to work for you but they don't have a volume control, external controls are available and are not that expensive. Koss makes one that often sells for about $10 but usually a person will need adapters to go from the standard 3.5mm size stereo connector to the more standard 1/4 inch size found on most detectors.

Now, the detector design does make a difference so some detectors work better than others when it comes to the lower impedance headphones. Even as the same detector brand evolves, quite often what works well may change, so there is no set rule.

If you are a do-it yourself type of guy/gal, you can do what I do and buy cheap headphones with volume controls and a coiled cord and then change the speakers if the headphones are not lound enough. I may buy a used set of koss UR-29's cheap of Ebay and simply remove the speakers and install them in one of the cheaper set of headphones or I might simply change the cord on the UR-29's to a coiled type. BTW, quite often the volume control on the Koss UR-29's becomes erratic. Fortunately, an occassional spraying with WD 40 helps minimize that problem.

One of the reasons I like some types of the cheaper type of headphones because they they are quite often made to withstand greater abuse. As an example, I have broken a couple pair of all plastic Koss units, but I still have some of my very old cheaper units that still work fine after over 40 years of use.

For a person like me who has a detector for every occassion, then having a lot of headphones makes sense, especially because I prefer to have a protection bag for all my better detectors. To assure that all I have to do is grab a bag and go, I try to have extra batteries and headphones in the bag with each detector.

Just to let you know what I am talking about, here is a list of the different detectors I own and quite often use. The TDI, and the TDI SL, the MXT, the GM 4, the GMT, are Whites models. Then I have the Tesoro LST and a modified orignal Lobo that really kicks butt. Of course, I have Fisher's also and that list includes the GB 2 and the new GB SE as well as a F75 LTD camo version. Yes, I have a couple of ML's including the XT-18000 and a SD-2200.

I also have a couple of home made low power PI's that have some really unique features. Along with the just mentioned list I have a few dozen other detectors primarily made for coin or relic hunting. Last, I have some older Eric Foster PI units that can work for gold such as a couple of GS 5's, two GS 4's and a modified Beachscan PI I built up for my late signficant other who wanted something super light. That little detector weighed less than 3lbs total including coil, battery and control box.

So, as you can tell, I have enough detectors to let me know not all are the same or recommend when trying to decide what headphones to use.


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Great info from both posts.

I'll throw this in the firs also; if you are going to be mainly hunting for nuggets I would suggest the Blackwidows for the cooler months of the year and a set of Nuggetbusters for the summer time.

Both are well made and with reasonable care will last many years if bought new they have a lifetime warranty. Both will work exceptionally well with your Minelabs.

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Hi guys thanks for your responses so far.

I checked out the nugget busters and one review I read, this guy was using them with a gpx 3500, and said it wasnt responding to the deeper faint targets.

Now I checked as best as i could the specs for the Koss UR30's and it seems they are in the range of 18-20000khz, but the nugget busters are 200-3200khz

Because the Koss's go down to 18 khz, is this why perhaps the nugget busters are not in range of the lower frequency?

The other thing I havent been able to determine, which is probably more important is the frequency range of the GP Extreme

the nugget busters certainly look great and sturdy, I just hope they can capture all the output from my detector

Has anyone used the nugget busters with minelab PI's?

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I have been using them (Nuggetbusters) with the 3500 for quite a few months. When it gets hot out they are cooler to wear than my Blackwidows.

DEEP FAINT TARGETS, ????? the only way you'll miss them with either of these headphones is if you don't have your detector set up right or you don't recognize what your detector is telling you.

I have dug four foot deep holes in the earth with these headphones that were barley a break in the threashold to begin with.

I can't believe anyone would be having trouble using either of these types. I have gone thru about 6 or 7 different types of headphones thruout the years and the best I have found are these.

I have limited hearing at all times and I just won't leave home without them.

My Koss UR-30's are my triple backup if both the widows and busters crap out on me.

You just have to bite the bullet and decide what you want to purchase and after using whichever make your own choices from there.

Hands on field experience is the key factor which will govern your decisions.

Good Luck an Hapy Huntn an don't forget the water this time of year :hahaha:

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Back in the old days folks told you what Inpedence the out put was set up for.

Now Day's you have a pile.

8,16,32,130 some . In the old days 600 Ohms was the standard.

Then you have to contend with mono or stereo.

All of my detectors work just fine with 32 Ohm ear buds.

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When yer out in the field hunting nuggets its not a question of "what works"

Theres gazillions of earphones that "work"

It comes down with some field time to what does the "best job" of conveying the sounds to each of us.

Lets face it if yer using a 10 dollar set of earbuds and the wind is runnin 10-20 mph yer gonna lose somethin in the translation right ??

And if ya got a 20 dollar pair of earphones and a hundred dollar pair also it doesn't matter . What matters is if the signal tones are getting to yer brain with clarity and appropriate volume.

Each and every 1 of us is a bit different in comparing what and how we hear so try em all an see what works best for ya.

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I think the biggest issue for me is the sheer variety of manufacturers, models. I brought a pair of Black Widows recently and was kind of disappointed with them. There may be a better pair suitable for me but I don't have money to burn trying to find the right pair so I'm stuck with these. All I can do is hope for the best.


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So sore I can't touch it with a powder puff! But getting better, I tend to lose my temper really quick, but the DR. said it was very commond after this open heart surgery with everyone. Something to do with being dead for an hour or so, and having your brain catch up. I don't understand it, but its getting better. Grubstake

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  • 2 months later...

Is there a set of headphones out there designed to go behind your head instead of over. I wear a hat to for shade and regular headphones worn around neck tend to not stay put. Thanks for any input

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You should have 100 ohm impedance or better for a Minelab detector and most others as well. Higher impedance means less distortion and clearer signals and this is more important than brand to be sure. I think many of the aftermarket brands are around 150 ohm impedance.....

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Hmm. I was asking about the QZ99s because I picked up a pair (tested that they do work) for $25

They are 60 Ohm, nominal, though. But with a volume pot in one cup and Stereo/Mono switch in line.

From my recollection on amplified electronics-

Higher impedance means the internal circuitry of the detector is working harder to drive the speakers. It can affect total distortion at higher volumes (more amplification). And reach the point of distortion sooner.

I said Nominal Impedance above because a driver's impedance changes throughout its cycle of movement around the magnetic core. Add in a volume control (potentiometer or rheostat) and you're changing the game as that volume control will induce impedance as you turn down the volume.

Since I have Doc's amp, I should be able to run the headphones' volume knob lower to avoid distortion

For fun and giggles, I just did a little test with ny headphones and Fluke 179 DVOM-

Headphone volume at max =60.5 Ohms

6 clicks off max (40 clicks for 3/4 turn, total)= ~106 Ohms

Headphone volume all the way down = ~1000 Ohms (1.065 K Ohms)

So, the headphones have a 1K potentiometer in them and should do just fine for a ML's preferred 100 Ohms, nominal. I just won't turn the knob all the way up :)

These are of the "passive noise cancelling" variety. They are over the ear, shooter-style cups and they do deaden ambient noise like my air conditioner. Yet, I can still hear my dog being noisy with his toys (barking), just quieter.

I'll still save up and get another pair from ya, Bill. I just couldn't pass these up.

So, there's a little bench testing and tech information for what should be a decent pair of passive noise cancelling, over the ear headphones.

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Is there a set of headphones out there designed to go behind your head instead of over. I wear a hat to for shade and regular headphones worn around neck tend to not stay put. Thanks for any input

FERGUS, Koss makes a pair of mini headphones with great tonal quality that have a thin plastic housing that goes across the back of your neck very lightweight they also have an in line volume control/You will find them at Radio Shack on a blister card hanging on the wall.Inexpensive I think I paid 12 or 15 dollars.

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Minelab detectors are made to work with 100 ohm headphones and that is what is recommended is all I know and I am not a wiz at how headphones work, but it was explained to me that if the output is designed for 100 ohm headphones lower can distort the signal and matching impedance headphones or a bit higher will give better clearer sound....

Any will work if the jack fits and you like the sound I guess......

I'll still stick with my trusty UR-30 Koss :D

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