The first time out, I decided to detect on familiar grounds. The site I chose was an older park's section of grass lawn approximately 20 by-60 feet. Through prior experience with other detectors, I knew that the area had a greater than average amount of trash. I decided to detect the area in one direction using the Auto Notch.
The XP-PRO's Auto Notch is set up to knock out most of the common trash encountered including iron, foil, teardrop beaver tail tabs, ring pull tabs, and the now common lift tabs. Accepted are the nickel, screw cap, Indian head penny, zinc and copper penny, clad and silver coins.
The sensitivity was set at about' 8.5. As I began searching, I noticed immediately the smooth operation of the XP-PRO. The XP-PRO suddenly responded with a solid repeatable beep. The new IC-backed target ID meter locked-on at nickel/20. I then depressed the pinpoint pad with my right thumb, which placed the XP-PRO in the all-metal depth reading mode, which revealed the target to be approximately 4 1/2 deep.
I then released and pressed the pinpoint pad while almost directly over the target area thus shrinking or detuning the target response area down to a small bulls eye blip. Using my Hole Hog, recovery of the target was done within seconds to reveal a 1950's vintage nickel.
The next targets were surface, clad coins, several of which were nickels missed by the competition. My first piece of silver was a nice lock-on response set about #22 on the high nickel range. The depth was approximately five inches, and my Hole Hog located a 1940's war nickel.
I covered the entire area in about 1 1/2 hours searching in the north/south direction. I then turned off the Auto Notch and searched with the XP-PRO at the pre-set level of discrimination or Trash Out. My arm Was not tired but I was anxious to hunt with the XP-PRO in the hip-mount configuration so, with a quick tug of the control box, off it came and onto my belt it went.
The XP-PRO in the standard polemount configuration is so well balanced and comfortable that one is tempted to leave it alone when compared to other makes and models, but in the hip-mount configuration, it feels like you're swinging half the weight. The trade off is that the meter is no longer clearly visible out in front to you.
On the belt, you have to glance down. At one point I received a popcorn-like response that was inconsistent. The meter was not locking on and bouncing around between the foil and tab range.
The target was about five inches down. It turned out to be a small gold clump of foil about three inches down.
A desirable target at an actual depth of five inches will have a definite lock on along with a solid repeatable signal response. This particular piece of foil didn't exhibit any of these desirable characteristics but the fact that the XP-PRO signaled something down there was too much for my curiosity to ignore. My rule of thumb, especially with a new detector, is when in doubt, dig it! This is part of learning your detector's language.
What I learned to appreciate right away about the X1?-PRO is you can sweep at your own comfortable sweep speed without fear of going too fast or too slow and missing the target. I could see why Ron Mack, president of Compass, was so excited about this new high-speed, variable ground-filter chip.
My deep coins of the day were a 1941 wheat penny at seven inches which read #64 between a dime and quarter, and a 1950 silver rosey dime, which read about #70 - lower range of the quarter. The target response on both was again solid and repeatable and with lock on. In the pinpoint, All-Metal mode, both targets sound smooth and deep.
My total for the day were one silver dime, two silver nickels, three wheat pennies, five dimes, nine nickels and 10 memorial pennies.
My second time out I went to one Of my favorite beaches which-contains a lot of iron and rust, traces of black sand and hot rocks. Those factors combined with the saltwater content bring out the weaknesses or strong points of most detectors.
The optimum setting in this tougher environment for the XP-PRO was about Preset on the power control while higher up and away from the water's edge. At the water's edge, the XP-PRO's sensitivity control was reduced to minimum to ensure stable, false-free operation.
Several targets were found at the water's edge including a man I s high school class ring which came up in the first scoop. It appeared to have a gold plate which had worn away to reveal a silver-gray metal content. It sported a nice blue stone.
Several minutes later I got another nice response and up came a fine yellow gold chain with an anchor and red stone. Several clad coins were. located down at about six inches. The deepest target was an old toy car grill, about six inches across in width, which I recovered at about 18 inches.
The next time out at the beach, I was accompanied by three other treasure hunting buddies: James Litz, Greg Baldwin and Bill Metropulos. This beach has been described by such treasure-hunting notables as Jimmy Sierra Normandi and Ralph Hadley as having some of the worst black sand concentrations in northern California.
Right away Baldwin's detector started chattering over the tough mineral conditions and after about 15 frustrating minutes, he threw in the towel. Bill followed suit complaining he could not get his machine to settle down to allow him to hunt. After taking a few suggestions, he stayed away from the concentrations of black sand and was able to hunt with little or no problem nearer the water.
As for my XP-PRO, I decided to hunt with the six-inch super light concentric coil. Although the beach had in past days seen tougher concentrations of black sand, the challenge was there and the XP-PRO came through like gang busters. The loop gave the XP-PRO a much lighter feel and was almost fatigue free.
I pulled up several targets, tabs and coins from five to seven inches deep. The deepest target of the day was a discarded aluminum can at just over 12 inches. Again, the XP-PRO seemed to work best at its pre-set points (Trash/ Power Level).
I decided to make one more return to this particular beach with Compass' optional mineral loop. An eight-inch 2D loop, Compass recommends it for prospecting and hunting in extreme adverse ground conditions. Allan Cannon, factory representative, makes this particular loop his number one choice for parks and beach when using his X-100 and XP-PRO.
I can see why Allan prefers the 2D configuration. It enabled me to increase the sensitivity almost to maximum, yet the XP-PRO, remained very stable over the black sand and wet sand. Over the surf, I lowered the power level to pre-set to achieve best results.
While using the XP-PRO at a second beach which contains a lot of hot rocks, I did not encounter one hot rock response during a three-hour search period. This particular beach did have an unusually high concentration of iron junk and the XP-PRO, with the high mineral coil, would occasionally give repeatable, broken responses on it, but a quick glance at the meter found the needle to be buried down to the left in the iron zone.
During this time out, one particular signal was loud and repeatable. The meter revealed a lock-on way below nickel. An inch below the surface, I located a tiny, old-copper religious pendant that had turned green over the long exposure to the saltwater environment.
After concluding my actual field testing of the XP-PRO, I found the battery life to be very good. I only had to change the batteries once. In a subsequent conversation with Compass, I learned that of the three nine-volt batteries, the one on the right as you face the battery compartment will drain slower; if you rotate them every three hours you can extend the life of the batteries another 15 to 20 percent.
The design of the battery compartment is excellent. Two thumb screws secure the battery compartment door. The batteries themselves drop easily into the compartment without the need for any pigtail snaps. This system, and that on the newer Fisher units, are the best I've seen for ease of battery replacement.
What's most impressive about the XP-PRO is that its optimum sweep speed is about as slow or fast as you want it, without risking loss of target response on the deeper ones, thanks to the new patent-pending, high-speed, vari-filter ground chip. This same ground chip will be offered throughout the entire scanner line down through the Liberty 50 (audio-only discrimination is $149.95). 1 would like to see the maximum volume response extended for the fringe targets (where it tapers off a bit).
The overall configuration and comfort level of the XP-PRO gets an "A" rating. The new L-frame convertible mount is the best design I have seen in the 1987 metal detectors. The meter is positioned right out in front of the operator and is easy to follow.
The standard eight-inch search head, although actually lighter than it looks, is a bit on the thick side. The optional six-inch search head on the other hand, is right up with the competition as far as its lightweight, low-profile design and can be ordered in place of the eight-inch STD.
The optional eight-inch mineral search head is a must for prospectors and beachcombers and improves an already stable electronic design in adverse, highly mineralized ground environments. (Note: Those who already own the Gold Star Series and X Series detectors should also consider purchase of this loop).
What I missed in the XP-PRO, though available on the X- 100 1 tested earlier in the year, was the night light kit. Since my hunting often takes place after sundown, I sorely missed this feature. A tone identification system would have also been a welcome addition and would have eased not having a night light. One can, however, easily adapt a number of mini-lights on the hood of the detector box. A weather cover wouldn't be a bad idea either.
The all-metal mode has a built-in, ultra-slow auto tune which is similar in speed to the Tesoro Deep Search VI. It is ideal for primary mode of operation in a park setting, or up high on the less mineralized beach, as it won't tune out the deep targets, but it is just fast enough to compensate for gradual changes in ground conditions.
What Compass has done in the Scanner Series is to bring out detectors with Compass performance found in the X70, X-80, X-90 and X-100, without the need for an array of knobs requiring adjustments. I actually preferred the meter ID characteristics of the XP-PRO over that of the X- 100.
The XP-PRO seemed to be more consistent at identifying the deeper targets. My detector of choice between the X- 100 and the XP-PRO for coin and ring hunting would be the latter mainly because of ease in use, comfort, and target lock-on characteristics.
What I would like to see improved the meter itself is more resolution on the lower end of the scale for identifying lower conductive rings and iron. In general though, the meter is first class with very good reference points to complement this high performance protector.
Compass is currently developing a water unit as well as a prospecting unit based upon the new scanner ground chip system to round out the entire scanner line.
Following is a short description of some of the XP-PRO's features:
Marked from OFF/1 through 9, MAX. This control turns the XP-PRO on and sets the level of sensitivity in the Trash Out (Discrimination Mode)/ Present is set at V. TIP: "Set sensitivity as high as possible. Lay the loop on the ground, and in the Trash Out mode, adjust the Power Level all the way up. If at a particular level, the XP-PRO starts to chatter or emit quick audio responses, back the Power Level down one increment as there is probably electrical interference.
"Secondly, as you sweep the loop back and forth and it seems to be chattering over the ground with an absence of targets, your Power Level is probably again too high due to the ground mineral content. Deal with it the same way you would deal with electrical interference, turn it down."
Trash Out Knob
This control is incremented from 0 (All metal motion) through 9, Screw Cap. The Preset mark is at #6. The #7 position is actually marked Foil, #8 position is marked TAB and # 10 position is marked "S". TIP: "Unless you are hunting for relics, I found the Preset mark to be an ideal setting in all my hunting."
Even though the Preset mark is positioned under Foil, it allows the unit to accept lower conductive rings, like l0kt white gold bands and diamond rings plus finer gold chains. The desirable non-ferrous (containing no iron) targets have a distinct lock on. Most types of foil and other junk tend to be of irregular size and will not lock on. There are, of course, exceptions to this and, like with any detector, the more experience you have with the XP-PRO the more you Will develop your ability to tell trash from treasure.
This control is marked Auto along with Preset, 1 through 10. Foil is at the #2 position with Nickels at 6, Tabs at 7, and Screw Caps at 8. The Notch Level works in conjunction with a three position switch, below and just to the right, marked Accept to the left, Off (Preset) center, and Reject to the right.
Field application: In the Auto Notch mode, lower conductive rings, foil, tear drop/beaver tail tabs, ring pull tabs, medium gold rings and most lift tabs are rejected. Accepted are nickels and similar conductive gold rings, Indian head/ zinc pennies, lager gold rings, clad and silver coins/rings. TIP: 'This mode would be used in the park/field setting where trash abounds, and you are limited in your hunting time. Another excellent application would be in the organized treasure hunts where most of the targets buried are nickels, dimes, quarters, halves and large tokens (usually brass or aluminum)."
Most places in the United States are plagued with the tabs that are supposed to stay on the soda pop cans, namely the lift tabs or flat tabs. In talking with Compass I learned that in certain parts of the Southern United States, the soda pop cans are still manufactured with the older style ring tabs which are designed to pull from the can. Apparently the cost of retooling was too great to warrant the change.
This is unfortunate because I have located far too many gold wedding bands in that ring tab range. At any rate, by moving the Notch level control from the Auto Preset, you have now switched to the variable Notch level window. This window is much narrower than the Auto Notch., thus enabling you to be far more selective in the type of targets you want to accept.
By positioning the Notch Toggle Switch to the right or Reject, you have now made your Notch window a band of rejection. By lacing the XP-Pro exactly at the #7 or Tabs position, I was able to reject all the lift tabs common to the bay area. The older extinct ring tabs were, of course, still accepted, along with approximately 40 percent of the gold rings. If you want to knock out everything the Auto Notch does and also the zinc penny and screw cap (at the risk of losing some of the larger gold rings), you would adjust the Notch toggle control to the left position or Accept.
The next thing to do would be to set your Trash -Out control to maximum. The last thing you do is to decide where to position your Notch window of acceptance. Two viable options would be to set it to accept the nickel and lower conductivity rings (approximately 5 1/2), or accept the nickel and ring tabs along with the medium gold rings. I prefer the latter. At the beach it's best to hunt with no notch because of the ease of target recovery and the higher probability of lost jewelry, so set the control off of Auto, and the Notch toggle in the center, or Off position.
Trash Out Touch Pad
One soft touch places the XP-PRO in the discrimination mode. Your level of discrimination is determined by the Trash Out control.
Pinpoint Touch Pad
One soft touch places the XP-PRO in the All Metal mode. By depressing and holding this Touch Pad you place the XP-PRO in the coin depth mode which will read the depth of a coin size target accurately down to 12 inches.
Greg Moscini is the owner of Trans Bay Metal Detectors, a multi-line dealer located at 321 Sea Horse Ct., Foster City, CA 94404; phone (415) 574-2012. Any questions regarding this test report can be directed to Greg along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.