Having been a metal detectorist for over 40 years and having owned or used just about every metal detector that has come out over that period in time - I can honestly say that the Golden Mask 1 is the best machine that I have used for find rates on heavily mineralised sites of previous habitation.
Now not everything is good about the machine. The construction is basic and heavy and the knobs especially the volume knob is badly positioned and easily knocked. The on/off knob has malfunctioned on two of the Golden Mask 1 machines that I own and although turned off after a detecting session - the batteries have drained down to having no charge when used the next time. This turned out to be malfunctioning switches which although easily rectified - was a pain. I hate the battery compartment which houses the rechargeables as this compartment cannot be easily opened without a crosshead screwdriver so for an emergency battery change it becomes difficult. OK negatives over - what do I like?
I tend to detect on arable ground either on the stubble or on newly harrowed ground and like many of us I am always looking out for areas of iron infestation which indicates previous building activity. This machine is extraordinary in it's performance - I have never known a machine that works so well on an iron infested site. I pulled 21 hammered coins with other copper coins and various small artefacts from one site in Northern France in 6 hours when my pal who was using a Rapier and another pal who was using a Minelab just could not work the same area with ease - they did make finds but their machines blanked out in heavy iron infestation.
I really do not know what Vlad and his team have done to get this machine to work in the way it does - but in truth there have been few breakthroughs over the past 30 years in metal detecting functionality. Yes things have changed and technology has improved with electronic circuitry getting smaller and more compact - thus enabling machines to become more lightweight. Multi frequency machines have been thoroughly tested - and now the XP Deus with it's cordless earphones and wireless head is pushing the boundaries of design and compactness - but unless you are technically competent - such machines can be a challenge although clearly are rated by many.
The Golden Mask 1 clearly is a breakthrough machine - nothing about the design is clever other than the way it works - it reminds me of the early machines created by Vic in Peckham who eventually brought out the Red Heat which was great in it's performance but not reliable - RIP Vic whom I knew for many years.
Two days ago I used the Golden Mask 1 on dry long stubble down here in S W France and was detecting alongside a competent pal who uses the XP Deus. My find rate exceeded his by double and that was not on larger targets as we both had the same amount of larger finds - my machine hit the smaller targets and more surprisingly this was in scorched dry soil with not a drop of moisture in the ground which is far from ideal detecting conditions. I am still trying to identify the silver Gaul coin with a disjointed horse on one side that I found.
All in all - the Golden Mask 1 is a joy to use - I tend to pump up the sensitivity as I love to hear the 'click' and the 'pops' through a decent set of earphones - also I wind the discrimination right back to well below the red iron setting - I have no difficulty in identifying the difference between and iron target 'click' and a non ferrous 'beep' - but I have been detecting for 40 years so this comes as second nature to me.
I hope this review assists - I used to have three Golden Mask 1 machines but now only have two as I've had to rob pieces from the third machine to replace the failing bits on the other two machines - so do be aware of this. Nothing worse than driving a distance only to find your machine fails.
I look forward to the day when the Golden Mask 1 becomes lightweight with the problems that I have identified being ironed out - always a problem with a new machine from a new manufacturer so not unduly concerned as the machine retails at just shy of £300.
As a final point - if you like a machine that you need a degree in technology and computer science to understand plus you like a visual display - this is certainly not the machine for you. However if like myself you like a 'switch on and go' machine that will perform as well as many other top of the range detectors at a fraction of the cost - I really think you will struggle to do better.
I always rely on my hearing rather than any visual display and with practice and fine tuning one's ears to the difference between ferrous spitting/clicking and a non ferrous beep - this machine is a gem. Also being a dinosaur in detecting circles having been around for 40 plus years - I like a machine with automatic ground balance leaving me to only worry about sensitivity and discrimination. I know to my cost with many other machines over the years that a careless brush of my jacket cuff or the earphone lead can result in the settings being changed - so a quick tip that I use - a thick elastic band wrapped around the base of the knobs tends to make them difficult to move accidentally.
I'm going to detect on a number of medieval sites and a few Gallo/Romano sites in France over the next few weeks using the Golden Mask 1 and will let you know how I get on - this machine will really winkle out those small targets in an iron contaminated site - quite a remarkable recovery speed and I've no idea how such a big head sees those tiny silver quarter and half cut hammered pennies through serious iron infestation - but it does...
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:02 pm