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► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

June 22, 2020 05:18AM avatar
First, a quick overview of the DeepTech Vista 'X':

Basically, the 'X' is somewhat comparable with a Tesoro Bandido II microMAX (µMAX) or in a way like the Tesoro Euro Sabre in that it is in an 'S' rod configuration, and relies on a non-display, multi-knob, manually-adjustable design. Instead of using a snap-lock button in holes and a plastic rod-lock tensioner, the lower and middle rod design allows for a fully-variable rod-length adjustment, with both fiber-type / non-metal rods, and a lever-clamp that rigidly holds the rods in alignment with whatever length the user adjusts them.

The power source is a slide-in 8-AA battery holder positioned in the rear under the arm-cuff. A plus for the 'X', in my opinion over the Tesoro design, is that the ¼" headphone jack is located at the rear of the battery / circuitry box where it should be instead of on the side or forward-facing part of the control unit above your hand-grip.

The standard search coil is a bit 'odd-looking' as it is an octagonal shape and measures about 9½X11 in a Double-D design. The rod-mount is almost dead center, and the search coil is reasonably light-weight yet with a solid feel. I seldom us a 'standard' coil on anything because 95% of the time I am hunting in very brushy and especially metal-contaminated sites with a lot of that being ferrous debris such as nails, rusty tin, cut wire, etc. Thus, I favor a smaller-size search coil and have since 1968.

With both Vista 'X' units I had to evaluate I was fortunate to also get to use their smaller-size round DD coil they call a 5.7" and it also has a rod-mount point that is also about dead-center. This is a solid-body coil that is not a fatty design, but instead is a nice, thin-profile coil that is solid feeling yet light weight. Even better, the coil and 'X' work quite well together.thumbs up

Beginner / Novice / Lay-back user alert:

The Vista 'X' is NOT an entry-level, "turn-on-and-go" type model. Like the Tesoro Bandido series or Euro Sabre models, the Vista 'X' has multiple knobs which include a Threshold control, manual Ground Balance (1-turn), Gain, Volume, Iron Volume, and both a primary Disc. control and Alternate Disc. controls. An Avid Detectorist who understands the importance and need for manual control should appreciate what the 'X' has to offer. Those who are 'average' Hobbyists used to using a simple, preset type 'entry-level" detector starting out with such a device as the Vista 'X' will need to devote the time to learning and understanding the controls and how the 'X' functions. However, once learned and understood, I believe an avid, active metal detecting enthusiast will find the 'X' to be a very good performer, especially if they spend a bulk of their search time in Relic Hunting type sites where they want to hear the nails and other iron debris and be able to work in dense concentrations to unmask those elusive 'keepers'. The 'X' with small coil is very capable.

Now, let's look at the easy-to-understand part of the Vista 'X' controls and operation:

In addition to the 7 control knobs, the 'X' also has a rocker-switch located at the rear of the battery housing opposite the headphone jack. It is the 'On' / 'Off' switch. Then there are two 3-position toggle switches, both on the under-side of the control housing and one on the left the other on the right of the centered rod. Both do exactly the same thing and the DeepTech folks thought that would be a useful way to serve both left-handers and right-handers. Well, it works, but personally I wish they would have just used one trigger-toggle and located it in the center, ahead of the foam hand-grip. That's my preference, but what they designed is workable.

The toggles are spring-loaded with a momentary position when pushed forward to activate the Alternate Disc. circuitry. When released, they spring back to the main-use center position which is for the primary Discriminate search mode. The toggle can be pulled to the rear which locks them in an All Metal mode and requires the operator to push them back forward to the center primary Disc. search position.

Most of the knobs are properly labeled and simple to understand ... depending on what detectors you have used and are used to, and how you interpret 'Discrimination.' More in a minute.

The GAIN control doesn't have a factory preset mark and the operator can adjust as they desire. It is a 1-turn control from end-stop to end-stop. Personally, I have and use all my detectors, any brand, at or very near the maximum Gain or Sensitivity setting, and reduce it only if there is EMI. Then I slowly reduce the setting until I am just at the point where you could call it a 'fringe area' or just barely handling the instability. Fortunately for me, most of the places I hunt, be them rural or in an urban environment, are pretty much EMI-free so my maximum settings work just fine. Just adjust to your own comfort level.

GROUND BALANCE is also a 1-turn control from end-stop to end-stop rather than a multi-turn control. A few of the locations I worked the 'X' it was quite mineralized and called for a GB setting with the control pointed close to a 2 o'clock position but it was a comfortable setting and not too squirrely as the coil was raised or lowered from the ground. This control has a white color bad to the left of center and a red colored band to the right of center. It is the only control knob that does not have little lines and periodic numbers to reference a setting.

The THRESHOLD control knob doesn't adjust across a wide-range like many brands where you end up with a very loud audio and have to adjust downward. Instead, I used a setting between '40' and the '45 line' and the 'X' functioned just fine with either the speaker audio or using either the ¼" plug White's Pro Star or Killer B 'Hornet' headphones.

The VOLUME control is also self explanatory, even though most detectors today are designed so the audio response is already at a preset or pre-determined full-audio Volume. This is the Volume control for all targets that respond above the Disc. or Alt. Disc. settings. Me? I kept it at or near the maximum Volume setting.

Finally, the last three controls and understanding their term of 'Discrimination':

From the earliest days of BFO and TR Discriminators, we had a Discriminate control used to increase the Discrimination or Rejection level from Iron through lower-conductive Foil and up to the US 5¢ coin range, then the early Pull-Tabs, and as we progressed even up to reject aluminum Screw Caps and the modern US Zinc 1¢. If you used Discrimination, you would Reject or cancel-out and not hear the lesser-conductive targets below the Disc. setting. It was the same way when we moved to ground cancelling VLF/TR-Disc. models and then to the motion-based VLF-Disc. detectors. In other words, the term 'Discrimination' meant Rejection or Elimination of hearing unwanted lower-conductive trash.

Let's move to a few newer models to also understand a Low-Tone Iron Audio combined with Discrimination. Let's consider the original Makro Racer, the Nokta FORS CoRe and Teknetics T2 to pick on three designs. With these models, they all happen to have a Ferrous / Non-Ferrous break-point at the VDI reference of '40' on a scale of '1' to '99'. Thus ALL targets that have a numeric read-out under '40' will produce a Low-Tone or what we refer to as an Iron Audio Tone for most ferrous targets such as Iron Nails. Let's presume you are using a Disc. setting of '0' and a 2-Tone search mode. ALL targets with a read-out of '40 or more will produce a High-Tone.

With these models, if you increase the Disc. level to a setting of '10' you have now Rejected or no longer hear the lower-conductive targets with a VDI of '10' or lower. You will hear targets wish a VDI between '10' and '40' as a Low-Tone Iron Audio, and any targets with a read-out greater than '40' as a High-Tone. On these models I always use a Disc. setting of '10' so that I still hear most Iron Nails and other Iron /Ferrous debris that is more conductive than Nails and falls in the '10' to '40' VDI range as a Low-Tone.

Now, let's say you want to hear some offending Iron trash to know you're in such an area, but too many Nails which then became annoying. With these three models you can simply increase the Discrimination level (also known as a Rejection level) to a setting of '21' and now most Iron Nails are just Discriminated out or no longer heard. But any ferrous trash that still produces a VDI read-out of '22' to '40' will produce a Low-Tone / Iron Audio response.

If the Discrimination setting is increased to '40' then you will only hear a High-Tone audio response because all lower-conductive targets, 'below '40', have been Discriminated or Rejected.

Are you following me? Good, ... now lets look at a few other newer models such as the Nokta FORS Relic, Makro Racer 2, Nokta Impact or Nokta / Makro Multi-Kruzer or Anfibio Multi. For now, let's just use a 2-Tone search mode because that's what the Vista 'X' offers, with the right settings. All of the mentioned Nokta, Makro or Nokta / Makro models still provide a variable Discriminate control, and they also offer a Tone Break setting as well as Iron Audio Volume adjustment. Actually, the Anfibio Multi uses a different term than Iron Audio Volume and that's good.

Let's say you adjust your Tone Break right at the Ferrous / Non-Ferrous break-point which is '20' on the Relic, '10' on the Racer 2, and '15' in some modes with the Impact, Multi-Kruzer and Anfibio Multi. If the Discriminate level is set to '0' you will hear ALL metal targets. With the settings described, most of the common Iron targets below that Ferrous / Non-Ferrous break-point will produce a Low-Tone / Iron Audio beep, and all targets greater than that setting will produce the High-Tone beep.

Again, let's say you do not want to hear a response at all from common Iron nails. You simply increase the Discriminate level to the point where Iron nails are rejected and now you do not hear them. They've been Discriminated or Rejected. But more conductive Iron will still produce a beep and a Low-Tone Iron Audio if below the Ferrous / Non-Ferrous break-point and to where the Nails were knocked-out.

Make sense? That has been the most common approach to the use of Discrimination for decades.... until recent years when some engineers re-thunk how to do things. confused smiley

So what's different about the Vista 'X' design? Well, it is more like a couple of models I'll refer to here, the XP ORX and White's MX-7. The MX-Sport would also be the same as the MX-7. Let's just consider each of these then we'll look at the 'X' again and the Tesoro Euro Sabre as well.

The XP ORX has a control adjustment labeled: Discrimination. It also has another that is Iron Volume with a simple 'On' or 'Off' setting. By design, the ORX is a default 3-Tone Coin mode detector and not selectable. I keep my Discrimination setting at '7' and Iron Volume turned 'ON' and that produces a Low-Tone Iron Audio on nails and screws and most other lower-conductive ferrous targets, then Mid-Tone and High-Tone as target conductivity increases.

But not really, because the Discriminate control should have been relabeled as a Tone Break control because that's actually what it does. If you have Iron Volume 'ON' then All targets that have a read-out less than the Disc. setting will produce a Low-Tone / Iron Audio response. For example, a US 5¢ coin has a read-out of about '62' to '64' and a modern US Zinc 1¢ coin about '86' in an air test. If I increase the Discrimination setting to '66', ALL targets with a numeric VDI read-out less than that will produce a Low-Tone / Iron Audio response, and that includes the 5¢ coin and all lesser conductive targets. If I run the Disc. level to '85' the 1¢ coin produces a High-Tone beep. At a setting '86' it is a broken Low Iron Tone or High-Tone, and if increased to '87' the 1¢ coin and all lesser-conductive targets produce a Low-Tone / Iron Audio response.

I have one option and that is to turn Iron Volume 'OFF' which then silences ALL targets with a lower VDI that would have produced the Low-Tone / Iron Audio response .... even with the very high Disc. setting. So the Disc. control is really a Tone Break control.

Let's look at the White's MX-7 and their approach. They do NOT have a control labeled Iron Audio or Iron Volume. They DO have a control that is better labeled Reject Volume, and to me that makes more sense. The Reject Volume setting runs from '0' to '10', '20', '30', '40', '50', '60' and '70' and those would be % values of 100% which is full volume. These Reject Volume levels apply to ALL Discriminate segments or notches that have been Rejected.

Let's say I change the Coin & Jewelry Disc. settings to ACCEPT two notch segments below the '0' display setting. That means some lower segments below a Non-Ferrous range would be accepted, but ALL of the Discriminated or Rejected segments I kept set with a Reject Volume of '10%' so they were not loud, but were barely hearable so I knew Iron was in the area. With the MX-7, if I did not want to hear the Discriminated or Rejected targets, I simply changed the Reject Volume to '0' and they were quiet.

Okay, now to the Vista 'X' and the three important adjustment controls. First, after using the old Fisher 1260 to 1266-X series that used two Discriminate controls, and the Tesoro Tejón that also has a Primary Disc. and Alternate Disc. control, I never had a practical use for that concept. I either want to find something or I don't. One Discriminate adjustment to reject what I'm not interested in is all that is practically or functionally needed. Nobody has ever explained a really practical use for the Dual Disc. concept, but for whatever reason, the DeepTech engineers went that route.

Let's first look at the DISC. control which does have a default indicator mark at '20.' This is the newer Discrimination concept that, doesn't reject anything if you're using a 2-Tone audio search mode and, to me, that is the beauty of what the Vista 'X' offers a savvy operator. The ability to hear any Iron that is present so they can slowly and methodically work around it to unmask potential keepers. I grabbed a couple of Iron Nails in my test samples and noted that with the Disc. control set at the preset or default setting of '20', or just slightly higher at about '22' to '24' depending on the particular unit in-hand, the Nails produced a Low-Tone / Iron Audio response in the Disc. mode (the center toggle-trigger position). All targets that are more conductive than the Disc. setting produced a High-Tone audio response. That's fine.thumbs up

Let's take a look at the center Iron Volume control. It is a 1-turn control that allows the user to hear a full-volume response from the Low-Tone / Iron Audio targets, or reduce the Volume or Loudness to a very low and just audible level the user likes, allowing all the High-Tone targets to be nice and loud as determined by the main Volume control on the bottom-center.

With that setting you still haven't Rejected or silenced the Discriminated Iron trash, but you can. Simply turn the Iron Volume control fully counter-clockwise to turn 'Off' and silence the Low-Tone / Iron Audio which is everything below the Discrimination setting. Now, you can increase the Disc. level to the point where a US 5¢ coin or a higher-conductive target like a Zinc 1¢ would be Discriminated. So the Disc. control isn't really a normal function to reject a target like most detectors of the past or present have been, unless you also turn the Iron Volume 'Off'.

Thus, the Discriminate control should actually be considered a variable Tone Break control instead. If you think of it that way, then you know you are simply adjusting the Break-Point for the 2-Tone operation of the Vista 'X' and have the ability to adjust the Iron Volume, which is no longer Iron targets only but is simply a Low-Tone Target Volume control that can be set at any loudness level the operator desires, or turned 'Off' to silence ALL of the Low-Tone targets, regardless of their alloy make-up just based on their conductivity.

The last control? Alternate Disc. and the momentary-position of the twin trigger-toggles. This works the same as the Disc. control and is also governed by the Iron Volume (Low-Tone Volume, really) control. If the Primary Disc. is at the default to produce a Low-Tone on Iron nails, and the Alternate Disc. is set higher where a US 5¢ coin is 'Discriminated' and also produces a Low-Tone when the toggle is pressed forward. Just keep in mind that BOTH of these Disc. functions are also governed by the Iron Volume control ( which should be Low-Tone Volume control) so once that is set for any desired Volume or at '0' to silence the lower-conductive targets, that setting affects both Disc. and Alt. Disc. functions.

A quick comparison with a couple of Tesoro models:

My all-time favorite general purpose Tesoro is the Bandido II microMAX w/6" Concentric coil. It works well in a lot of iron littered sites. That said, it has the ED-120 Disc. circuitry and at the minimum Disc. setting it is rejecting nails and most ferrous trash. My wooden deck boards are screwed in place with iron screws, and they are in rows and positioned about 1¾ to 2¼ inches apart. If I place a 1¢ coin in one row between two screws, and a 5¢ coin in another row between two screws, I can get a good hit on the coins when I sweep the 6" Concentric coil lengthwise with the row of screws. At minimum Disc., which is where I always keep it, the screws are Discriminated (not heard) and the coins will respond.

However, if I turn 90° and sweep the coil left-to-right and right-to-left crosswise or with the row of screws and coin in a front-to-rear orientation, I don't get a beep on either coin. There is too much bold rejection of all the iron screws and too many of them are overpowering the circuitry to try and give me a good response on the coin.

The Tesoro Euro Sabre uses their ED-180 Disc. which means at the minimum setting ALL metal targets will respond ... just like the Vista 'X' does. But the Euro Sabre has a fixed ferrous break-point, and if Disc. is increased it can also effect the overall performance in that test scenario. The Vista 'X' was set to Disc. the Iron nails and screws, the Volume was set very low to just barely hear the Iron, and the 5.7" DD coil worked well and gave me good responses on the coins when swept in either direction. I could not get that same result using the Euro Sabre set to reject Iron nails. Also, I noted, when compared with a Euro Sabre I had used, that the Vista 'X' w/5¾" DD coil provided me with better depth-of-detection that the Tesoro Euro Sabre and several modern competitor models as well.

My closing thoughts and opinions about the Vista 'X':

We all have our likes and dislikes about detector designs, in both physical packaging and adjustment features from minimal to excessive. I like a detector to be well balanced, lightweight and comfortable, and in all cases to have a smaller-size coil available for it to provide the best performance in locations where I will use it the most. For my urban playground and tot-lot hunting as well as being a very handy detector for a lot of renovation site work, I like and keep my Tesoro Bandido II µMAX and Silver Sabre µMAX in my Outfit.

My two preferred models, that also feature visual TID even though I seldom use it, for 'get-serious' Relic Hunting in very tough Iron contaminated sites, I prefer my Nokta FORS CoRe w/'OOR' DD and FORS Relic w/5" DD.

For some challenging Relic Hunting needs as well as handling the 'fringe areas' of old-use sites or for 'scouting' purposes, I like my mid-size coil equipped MInelab Vanquish 540 w/5X8 DD and XP ORX w/5X9½ DD.

One of my daily-carry units that is also waterproof and a handy unit for days it might rain, or for beach hunting or other needs, I like my Nokta / Makro Simplex + w/11" DD and my other is awaiting a good smaller-coil release.

Unfortunately, for me, age and health issues limit what I can do and how long I can get out hunting, and as you can see I am well covered in my Detector Outfit as I have re-considered what I own and what I like to use for where I go. The performance of the Vista 'X' with the smaller coil is very good for anyone who likes to get into densely Iron contaminated sites .... and I do.

If you rely heavily on visual Target ID ... the Vista 'X' is not for you.

If you are accustomed to using multiple tones (more than 2) then you're likely not going to like the Vista 'X'.

If you do not like to hear any Iron or a Low-Tone for Iron trash, you have no need for what the Vista 'X' offers.

Should you not like needing to adjust a proper Ground Balance or fine-tune your Discrimination and other controls, you might want to pass on a Vista 'X'.

If you've developed a bad habit of sweeping a search coil too fast and haven't mastered the art of hunting slowly-and-methodically to get the best performance out of a detector, you might want to just keep using whatever you have. The 'X' is a slow-motion, quick-response and fast-recovery design.

If you are comfortable with making proper manual adjustments to a detector, realize the value of adjusting a proper Ground Balance, are able to be patient and remain in control of a detector's operation for peak performance by hunting slowly and covering an area well. and you can get along just fine without any needle meters, LCD displays, blinking lights or fancy display graphs, then you're in my group and just might come to like what the Vista 'X' has to offer.thumbs up

It would be a new-to-you detector and you'd have to learn its strengths and weaknesses ... which all detectors have ... and put in a good twenty or thirty hours of serious hunt-time to get to know and like this detector. It operates at 16 kHz, which is right in my favorite frequency range. Does require 8-AA batteries, but their run-time ought to be sufficient, especially if using quality headphones.

I've been trimming my detector outfit and have simply doubled-up on a couple of models I favor. I have also used some extra $$$ from selling off some units and I bought a new Vista 'X' of my own, and naturally with the small 5¾" DD coil that will be used just about all-the-time for my chosen sites. And why did I buy the Vista 'X'? Simply because I have a place for one. With the 5.7" DD coil, it will make a nice 'fit' in my Team of Detectors to confront a world of ferrous trash.


"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells Trading Post
Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
Detectors: Vanquish 540 / CoRe, Relic & Simplex + / Bandido II µMAX & Silver Sabre µMAX / XLT
Pinpointers: Pulse-Dive & ProPointer AT .. Headphones: Killer B's 'Hornet' & 'Wasp' ... Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk
Note: Detectors are listed alphabetically by Brand. Models are chosen based on search site conditions.
*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2020 03:14PM by Monte.
Subject Author Views Posted

Vista X

D&P-OR 96 June 20, 2020 01:25PM

► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

Monte 96 June 22, 2020 05:18AM

Re: ► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

WM6 66 June 24, 2020 01:29AM

The Vista 'X'. Attachments

UtahRich 64 June 22, 2020 10:59PM

I agree with both you and Sven.

Monte 49 June 23, 2020 05:20AM

Re: The Vista 'X'.

SvenS 43 June 23, 2020 02:58AM

Kind of like adjusting to the Simplex + pinpoint button over on the left. N/T

Monte 30 June 23, 2020 07:54AM

Re: ► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

D&P-OR 46 June 22, 2020 10:52PM

I wasn't terribly interested either ... until I tried it.

Monte 52 June 23, 2020 05:09AM

Re: ► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

Druid 57 June 22, 2020 10:50AM

Re: ► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

SvenS 44 June 22, 2020 06:09PM

'Thank You,' and yes, it can be a useful tool in the nasty iron environments ... w/5.7 DD. N/T

Monte 34 June 23, 2020 05:32AM

Re: ► ► Time for a quick evaluation report on the Vista 'X'.

Druid 34 June 22, 2020 06:20PM

Drew, SS arrives Wed. --- Ghost Town Hunt Thursday.thumbs up N/T

Monte 38 June 22, 2020 12:23PM

Re: Drew, SS arrives Wed. --- Ghost Town Hunt Thursday.thumbs up

Druid 49 June 22, 2020 03:00PM

Del, I had two to use for evalauation. I'll post later today.

Monte 72 June 21, 2020 05:09AM

Re: Del, I had two to use for evalauation. I'll post later today.

D&P-OR 50 June 21, 2020 12:37PM

Re: Del, I had two to use for evalauation. I'll post later today.

D&P-OR 50 June 21, 2020 11:11AM

Re: Del, I had two to use for evalauation. I'll post later today.

Kickindirt 55 June 21, 2020 11:26AM

Re: Del, I had two to use for evalauation. I'll post later today.

SvenS 54 June 21, 2020 09:00AM

Re: Del, I had two to use for evalauation. I'll post later today.

Druid 47 June 21, 2020 09:57AM

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