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Finding a path to resurgence won't be easy ... or soon, if they make it.

July 09, 2019 08:18AM avatar
Monte - i do hope White's finds a path to resurgence.
In this modern era of metal detector design and promotion you need to see the clear path or direction the industry, as a whole, is headed. I'm not so certain they have figured out the right path to follow. And you also need to have a very savvy engineering group to get on top, and stay on top, of up-to-date design functions to be competitive in various aspects to rival the current major detector manufacturers. Overall, White's just isn't there, as a whole, and I have to wonder --- just WHO IS their lead engineer, or any engineer there with the experience and savvy to know metal detectors and metal detecting as well as have the smarts to design what avid detectorists and consumers need?

They clearly have several competitive models, ...
Several? I think more like only two models in their entire line-up that are really 'current' with the industry trend, suitable and priced so as to fit in the current retail price range that is demanding, and those are the MX Sport and their even better-valued, land-based MX-7.

The rest are poor designs, come with the wrong standard search coil, lack competitive performance, or they are over-priced (even thought they have proven performance and were ONCE more marketable such as the MXT All-Pro) on todays market, or fall into a more 'complicated' physical design. I guess you could say 'over-featured' or just have a lot of 'fluff' so-to-speak that might have been fine several years ago when the trend was to market a so-called 'high-tech' model for the more avid detectorist.

Well, I think it's fair to say I fall in the 'Avid Detectorist' category, but I wasn't one of the group who felt "the more you pay, the better you get" and dumped a lot of $$$ on the newest and most expensive and multi-featured models. Instead, and several bigger detector manufacturers saw what was coming long ago and started, or followed, a trend to produce more marketable products at more affordable lower (aka competitive) prices. That caught my attention.

The ONLY products from White's that I have seen and appreciated that have followed any sort of trend to produce more featured units at lower and competitive prices are the MX Sport and, once the bugs were worked out, the very decent MX-7 based on the MX Sport circuitry.

... and they need some additional advertising ...
Another problem we've noted in the USA detector industry has been the demise of the once popular magazines directed at the metal detecting market. Once upon a time, during the surge in this industry from the latter '60s and through the '70s and '80s, those magazines were frequently seen on many magazine racks in all types of stores and provided a very good marketing source. By the start of the '90s they were declining in sales and stores quit stocking them, many of the publicaions simply closed up shop, and the last two also dwindled away and were mainly available more as an 'On-Line' publication.

Mass marketing surged, local retail detector shops closed up, and the metal detecting industry followed up, for the most part, with manufacturers going out of business. Quite simply, many younger folks just never found an interest in the once very popular 'sport' of Coin Hunting, here in the USA, due to the increasing cost of detectors, and the diminished returns since far less is being carried and lost. Once popular sites just are not being used like they used to.

Horseshoe pitching and playing croquet were also once very popular sports or hobbies, but they also ran their course and very few people, by comparison, find much interest in those activities.

... and new multi-frequency models that compete price-wise with the foreign entrants.
Multi-Frequency, and I am referring to the Simultaneous or Sequential designs, are still a marketable product, but they have been around for decades now and while popular with some, they have been/are over-hyped in many ways. Do some work reasonably well? Yes, some do, and for certain applications, but to date I personally favor a single frequency detector design, or a selectable multi- frequency model. Why? They can work quite well and have proven their performance to me, in side-by-side evaluations, to the point that for me and the bulk of the sites I work, multi-frequency models haven't provided ample proof of enhanced performance.

And while White's does have some support out there for their V3i, it is going up against newer SMF detectors that are much lighter weight and have useful features and have eliminated the 'fluffy' stuff that isn't really needed or desired, such as some of the visual info it offers. White's, to stay competitive in that share of the market, needs to have new physical packaging, make use of the more popular design features, provide a good set of search coils, offer a newly-designed product with serious performance afield, and somehow pay the engineers and involved employees. Then, find a better way to market the product, and try to keep the MSRP down where it can rival the serious and popular manufacturers today. I don't see that happening, especially with the trend in this country to increase wages.

I'm sure that its troubling for them as this would undermine the V series price stack and would also knock the other single freq models down below $500 ...
Their lower-cost models are poor designs that do not offer performance to match some of the other offerings in that 'entry-level' category. They do not have anything in the under $599.95 category, the MSRP of the MX-7, that is of any value. I'll be bold here and just say 'junk'.

... and if they don't have products in the pipeline, this could hasn't an end.
To have anything "in the pipeline" they would need to have a very sharp, knowledgeable design engineer on-board, for a while now, in order to have been designing and developing and field testing a product to be in that 'pipeline' with any intent to offer something new and creative in the near ... and I mean very near ... future.

Who would that lead design engineer be? Where are any rumors of anything new and creative to be found? They have lost quite a few people in the last five years up to very recently due to retirement, passing away or just simply leaving for whatever reason, I kind of wonder who, or what, is holding things together in Sweet Home?

And if they don't have an in-house engineer to develop something new, are they going off-shore to try and find something to try and sell? Their lowest priced model, the Xventure, is just such a product that Whites even tried to market their self on the big e-bay market.

I do see that they are focused on gold machines now, which may not be a bad idea given my comments that follow.
Initially, the USA was the place to find much in the metal detecting industry when things really got started in the mid-to-late '60s. The big interest was just to find stuff, and coins were the most popular things to find. Coin Hunters brought about the surge in the metal detecting industry, especially here in the USA where parks and schools, beaches and sports fields, parking strips and any and all possible places where folks might search drew their attention.

During the '70s and the very-early '80s you could drive around any good sized city and spot individuals, buddies, or even families out metal detecting on any fair weather day/weekend. It was popular. There were some who specialized in Beach Hunting, and from that specialty grew an interest in waterproof detectors. Then in the late '70s, especially, and in through the '80s, there was a surge in metal detectors when Electronic Prospecting became popular, especially in Australia and here in the US.

Another 'specialty' market has continued world-wide for gold. It is also there for Beach Hunting. And a third specialty interest is for Relic Hunting, but even that has a broader scope than we used to think. Back in the '70s through '90s we, here in the US, mainly though of Relic Hunting as it relates to those searching Revolutionary War and Civil War era sites. that's fine, and it still fits that group, but those of us anywhere west of those long-ago battle activities also get out Relic Hunting.

Ghost towns, homesteads, pioneer encampments, military encampments and forts or battle sites. Stage stops and sites associated with the railroad growth. Mining camps and towns, logging camps, old dancehall locations or early recreation sites, and even the picnic groves that were popular in the latter 1800's and on through the Depression Era and a little after.

Those are places we might hunt here, but in foreign countries, Great Brittan for example, most didn't have the luxury of a lot of "urban Coin Hunting" like here, yet their focus has been of serious detecting of large, open, plowed fields and some associated overgrown places that also fit the Relic Hunting group. Target ID can be useful, but US Coin graphics means very little to them and that's been around, starting right here in Oregon, USA, since 1983.

Yes, we can still Coin Hunt, even though most urban areas have been well searched in most places, but the 'specialty' groups, Beach Hunting, Relic Hunting and Electronic Gold Prospecting are more of a world-wide area of interest. And yes, White's did use the really mice MX-7 physical package, and picked a nice earthy tan color, to bring out a new Gold Nugget Hunting model in the 24K. And I hear it works OK ... from the limited reports I have read. But once again, look at what features are on that new gold-oriented model and the MSRP, then compare it with models from the other detector makers and their features against the price. I think they were, once again, coming up short to stay competitive.

Seems Minelab figured out they would not make it with only a CTX3030 or eTrack. Much of the good stuff has been found or paved/built over, so the new detectorists largely will be urban coin/jewelry hunters....and with coins being used far less these days, that too is at risk of being a thing of the past. There will still be the hardcore hunters like some on this forum, but the average detectorist that may use the machine several times a year isn't going to drop $1000 on one. Nokta/Makro entered the market sub $1000 where they have a sweeter spot. It's classic disruptor model of entering in the low end or in a price/performance seam that is under served, and then building out after establishing an footprint. I would not be surprised to see them offer a higher end $1299 model in the future.
I agree about the direction the 'average' hobby-thinking' detector buyer is going to shop, and most manufacturers have followed the trend to redirect their product pricing to address the mid-priced market.

Looking at the products we have seen from Nokta-Makro Detection Technologies just since January of 2015 ... just 4 years ago ... some products have proven their worth yet got a reduction in retail price through the years, and new model introductions have been well engineered, fully-featured and very competitively priced. They also come with a wide range of available search coils. If and when they develop a simultaneous multi-frequency model, it might, I guess, retail around $1000 US, but I don't see it pushing the $1200 price point.

With the labor costs rising here, I just don't see White's being able to make anything in-house and priced in the current market to hang in their for long, at least on that upper end of full-featured design.

As long as my machine turn on, i'll be happily using them as i've found a real gem of a combo in the MX Sport with the 7" coil for many places i hunt, and that includes successful water hunts! When the going gets tough or items get deep, I am absolutely confident in the V3i.
And in the end, that is the right kind of thinking we should all take into consideration. Regardless of who makes the product, check out what's available and when we find a detector or two, or three or whatever, and if it is something we are comfortable with and it works fine for us and our needs for where we go, just make sure we have batteries on-hand (or a charger if necessary) and simply enjoy what works for us, then get out and put it/them to work as often as we can.

If it wasn't for you, and maybe a couple of others who work a White's now and then, this Forum would be close to dead. If White's had any extra change on-hand they ought to offer you a little for what you do to promote the use of, and performance of, White's products.

Oh, one more comment. I think you ought to use a 6½" Concentric on the MX Sport more than that foreign-made 7" DD from Detect as it can handle a lot of test I do much better than the 7" DD design. I can't figure out why they haven't taken the good 9" 'spider' coil they make and get one done for the MX Sport and MX-7 as it is a better balanced and better performing (and better looking) coil than the 10" DD or 950 Concentric. Instead, I see they added another Detech coil to their Accessory Search Coil list. If they can't make their own coils for their own detectors and instead go after more aftermarket products, then how are they going to engineer a better, newer detector when they can't make their own coils?

Nope, I don't see them finding the right path to staying in the game for long. Sad, but things are sure looking that way.

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Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
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Subject Author Views Posted

Silver, gold, and a bag of change! Attachments

zincoln 360 July 07, 2019 09:39PM

Congratulations, again, Brian. If it wasn't for your ...

Monte 260 July 08, 2019 07:28AM

Re: Congratulations, again, Brian. If it wasn't for your ...

jmaryt 202 July 08, 2019 03:49PM

Re: Congratulations, again, Brian. If it wasn't for your ...

zincoln 250 July 08, 2019 10:31AM

Finding a path to resurgence won't be easy ... or soon, if they make it.

Monte 238 July 09, 2019 08:18AM

Re: Finding a path to resurgence won't be easy ... or soon, if they make it.

jmaryt 214 July 09, 2019 08:48AM

Re: Silver, gold, and a bag of change!

OregonGregg 237 July 08, 2019 05:14AM

Re: Silver, gold, and a bag of change!

zincoln 213 July 08, 2019 10:57AM

Did you put Fresh Painters Tape on the Coil ?

UtahRich 263 July 07, 2019 10:18PM

Re: Did you put Fresh Painters Tape on the Coil ?

zincoln 245 July 08, 2019 11:00AM

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