Minelab CTX 3030 Review
The Minelab CTX 3030 is not the kind of detector that’s bought every day, the price is far too high for that.
But, when someone pulls the trigger on it, the CTX performs as advertised.
It’s feature-loaded to the max, so there will be a lot to learn, but if you’re willing to spend two grand on it, then you’re likely patient enough to learn the ins and outs to maximize its potential. The CTX is a long-time favorite for many, so here’s a rundown on the features that stand out.
The CTX is definitely not the get-out-and-go type of detector upon box opening. The manual may not help beginners much either even though it’s 75 pages long. There’s a lot left wanting in the user manual, but it does provide a starting point to learn the many features and advantages the CTX provides.
How Does the Minelab CTX 3030 Perform?
The CTX 3030 is believed to be the best metal detector on the planet according to many loyal users. You can bet these users have spent plenty of time out in the field and have an intricate understanding of the CTX and its many functions. Once you learn how it functions, you’ll see that the concurrent multi-frequency technology is unlike and is superior to single and selectable frequency technologies. It’s an extremely accurate and high-precision detector that has features from its Wi-Stream, FBS 2, and Smartfind 2 tech to its GPSi, FindPoint, Target Trace, and so much more.
FBS 2 Technology
FBS 2 (Full Band Spectrum 2) is a patented technology owned by the brand. It’s as is its name suggests – a full band spectrum of multiple frequency technology. Now, this is true multi-frequency technology with 28 available frequencies from 1.5-100 kHz. Interestingly, the frequencies travel in a rectangular wave which apparently improves coil-to-detector communication.
The new electronics and smart coils provide greater depth perception, even 10% more than Minelab’s E-Trac. FBS 2 also provides auto sensitivity and ground compensation, multi-channel signal conversion for enhancing target separation, and Smartfind 2D discrimination.
Because the CTX is a multi-frequency concurrent machine, it seems there isn’t the ability to use only a single frequency at a time. But, then again, there’s no need to when all frequencies are covering the entire spectrum allowing you detect all-sized objects in one sweep.
There’s no need to switch between frequencies to make multiple sweeps over the same ground to ensure you don’t miss a target.
Smartfind 2D Discrimination
This technology is one of the provided advantages of having FBS tech. This advanced feature is a game changer. Much in the same way that 28 frequencies are in simultaneous operation, the Smartfind 2 also analyzes both ferrous and non-ferrous objects simultaneously.
This data is presented to the user in three ways: in Fe (ferrous) and Co (conductive) tones, numerically with a Target ID, and graphically on 2D display scale. This not only aids and improves on target separation, but it also provides extreme detail about whether an item is a good or trash.
This feature is a direct benefit of the Smartfind 2 tech. Target Trace provides a real time graphic in full-color the detections that are sent out to determine the Target ID of an object. This is extremely beneficial for target separation. Where inferior detectors would only pick up on the larger objects and where ferrous objects would slow down detection speed, the CTX is able to go much further.
It can virtually provide an image to show ferrous and conductive objects, even if they’re next to each other, regardless of size. No longer will small and valuable finds be lost, masked, or missed by trash items.
Sensitivity & Volume Gain
You have both auto and manual sensitivity modes. In Auto, the range is -3 to 3. In Manual, the range is 1-30. Automatic Sensitivity allows the detector to use the best sensitivity level for the ground phase to minimize ground signals. The detector is continuously measuring the response. In Manual mode, you can set sensitivity yourself. Two numbers will appear on the screen, one in white and one in green.
The green number is the recommended sensitivity level and the white number is the current sensitivity level that is set and the detector is working with. When in auto mode, you may see these numbers change as it’s continuously measuring the ground. It will be best to reset sensitivity if these numbers become significantly different.
The Volume Gain feature amplifies the audio the audio response, so you can hear weaker signals louder. Its adjustable range is from 0-30. At level 30, it will be difficult to differentiate between medium and strong signals as the volume is turned all the way up. On the bright side, weaker signals will be louder. It’s important to note that adjusting volume gain will not increase or decrease sensitivity – it’s just the target audio response volume that you’re adjusting.
Steep Learning Curve
The user interface is not very friendly as there are multiple screens to access, and of course, buttons to push to get there. But, what would you expect with a machine that’s packed to the max with expert-level features? It’s fair to say that it’s not a beginner-friendly detector. Many starters to detecting want a flip and go-ready detector out of the box – this isn’t that kind of unit.
There will be a learning curve to figure out how to use the detector and access all the features it has through the display. It will take some time, but when you’ve got a good grip on its functions, you’ll find the CTX to work as advertised – exceptional.
Is the CTX 3030 Metal Detector Waterproof?
The CTX is waterproof up to 10 feet. It can be used in both fresh and saltwater areas. The battery pack is waterproof only when it’s connected to the detector, but the ¼” headphone module found at the very top of the control box, the WM 10 wireless module, and the headphones are not waterproof. The standard package includes a CTX 11” DD searchcoil. However, other CTX searchcoil sizes include a 6” and 17”.
Is the CTX 3030 Worth it?
If you need high-precision, multiple simultaneous frequencies, and are searching for targets of all sizes from tiny to large, the CTX may prove to be worth it.
Hunting in high-mineralized conditions or revisiting old hunting sites and very trodden down areas can be searched again as it will sweep through the ground at greater depths like a long-pronged, fine-tooth comb. If you plan on hunting in various terrains, around the world, and underwater, the CTX could be your go-to, universal, and professional detector.
Is there any detector that can do it all? The Minelab CTX 3030 comes pretty darn close to it. Of course, price will be a major factor in determining if it’s the right detector for you.
Even though the learning curve will require more than what’s needed for other detectors, the rewards will be great when you finally understand how to use it. There’s no need to own multiple detectors when you can have one, solid, high-performing machine that does it all.
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