Observations on Minelab CTX – Courtesy of Ron (CA)

Some of my observations on the CTX.

Here are a few “type as they come to mind” observations regarding the Minelab CTX3030. I bought one when they were released and have been using it pretty regularly since the release date.

The CTX seems to be very quick and if you can hear the initial hit (high tone) in the junk you can investigate that and find some good targets that other machines have missed. I actually think the CTX is better on initial hit vs the E-Trac but not as smooth as the Explorers. That is one reason I did not keep the E-Trac. Initial hit on deep coins was better with the Explorers vs E-Trac and CTX. (just my opinion) The CTX is a very close second to the Explorers and the hit is good enough to cause on to investigate further.

The CTX does have a feature called Target Trace that will show you two targets on the screen. I cannot say that it is 100%. There have been a couple of times that it showed two targets and there was in fact iron and a coin the hole. Maybe just coincidence. Maybe a little gimmicky and I’m not really sold on the Target Trace feature of this machine. For me, in mineralized ground, it tells me there is a coin under my coil at all times. Maybe in less mineralized ground it would work better. I have had this situation a few times with the CTX but I have also dug coins with the E2 that had other junk in the hole so hard to say fi the machine was 100% accurate.

The jump form Explorers/E-Tracs to the CTX, in my opinion, is not a huge jump like the Sov BBS to the Explorer FBS was back in 99.

In my opinion, the tones on the CTX sound forced and more “digitized” vs the Fluty sounds of the Explorers. The CTX is more like an electric keyboard: quick, abrupt a bit choppy and the Explorer is like a flute: smooth and fluid.

I am also biased to the Explorers as I have been listening to them for 13 years, so my ears are accustomed to that tone and sound. Once my ears adjust I am sure I will have no real issues. –update: I have adjusted but still prefer the Explorer tones.

I remember when the E-Trac came out. Everyone screamed “it is not an EXPLORER” Even though it looked like, sounded kind of like an Explorer, used the same technology of an Explorer, used the same coils BUT “It was NOT an Explorer”. And after using one, I agree it was not.

Now they are all saying all saying “It (CTX) is not an E-Trac”, and again it is not. It’s Waterproof!! 🙂 And some added speed and recovery benefits.

It is a bit chirpy in the iron when running manual sensitivity. It quiets down a bit with Auto. But also found that in the mineralized ground where I hunt the Auto will force the sens down below 15 in some cases, so I rarely use Auto. In the parks Auto will hold in the low 20’s so that may be fine. But I still prefer manual with a lower sensitivity setting. When hunting in the iron, a full blast sensitivity is not really needed as separation is the key. Hunting in the iron is like driving in the fog: why blast the bright lights when the dims will work better.

I use the CTX almost exclusively now and the 6 inch coil is proving to be a great little coil in the heavy iron. I have compared targets with a buddy using a CTX with the 11″ coil and in heavy iron I was finding items that he could not hear. So the 6″ will find targets that the 11″ simply will not register on.

The balance of the CTX vs the Explorers/E-Trac is night and day. Even though the CTX is heavier, it feels lighter since all the weight is under you elbow. That alone is a huge plus. Waterproof so you don’t need two different machines.

I do not think it is much deeper (if any vs the Explorers) but recovery speed is the real benefit. Co-Located targets is it’s strength.

It is a great machine but I think Minelab missed the boat a little bit here. I still hate how Minelab forces good targets to the Ferrous12 line -just like the E-Trac.

Odd that they gave you a bigger screen but then narrowed down the ID locations of targets. If they would have left it like an explorer, there would have been even better ID and differentiation capabilities.

I personally like the wireless aspect of the CTX. At first I thought it was hokey, but have since learned to love it and use it on every hunt. Nice to be untethered to the machine.

Minelab needs a 8″ coil.

Hate that you can not use a Sunray inline probe with the machine. I love the X1 probe with the E2. I used the Garret pro pointer and have tried the Minelab probe . Garrett is better. I ended up creating my own probe that seems to work for me.

Since I have been doing more relic hunting, the tones issue is not as big of a deal as I dig all conductive targets in these situations. Bit it does a fine job in the parks and turf and will dig deep silver. You just have to watch the screen a bit more. On the Explorers, I knew if it was silver with out looking at the screen. On the CTX I know it is a copper penny/dime or higher but have to look at the VDI a lot more.

I set my gain low (15-16 so I can hear the depth) which has always helped me helps in the parks. It allows the audio to tell you if it is deep or not.

I have found that High Trash setting is best for parks but relic hunting sites tend to be more mineralize so I switch to Ground /Coin setting and it helps quiet the machine down.

I also run a manual ground balance with the machine vs the auto ground balance. I find that in the mineralized soil I get better results with manual ground balance. In a park or yard, auto ground balance would be just fine.

Just a few of my observations. I’m sure I will think of more but for now that its it. Please feel free to ask any questions. I am by no means an expert with the CTX but have logged a few hours and these are my impressions. I am sure other will disagree and I hope I can learn something from their finding.

Ron (CA)
Ron Swenson

3 Responses

  1. deathray
    deathray June 15, 2013 at 12:12 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the review bud. Have you ever used the gps on it yet? At first I thought that was hokey, but you know how it is in our area, lot of rugged terrain, can see it come in handy..espevially one huge area I’ve been hitting. Ray

  2. Ron (CA)
    Ron (CA) June 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm | | Reply

    The tones are ‘different”, but you can go into the setting a tweak the tones a bit. Even on the E-Trac, I was able to get close to the high silver tone of the Explorers. The CTX is a little bit more limited but You can still get a high tone on silver cons. Just not a sweet as the Explorers.

    I find I have to watch the screen more and at first I dug more clad but I was adjusting and still tweaking my settings.. I can now cherry pick pretty good with the CTX when in a park but the Gain Setting and the Screen are more important now. With the Explorers, I was usually down digging a plug purely based on the tone. With the E2, I rarely checked the screen for ID or depth.

    I miss the sweet tones of the Explorer and the Sunray Probe, but feel that not missing good targets is also a good thing! 🙂 They key is that the hobby is still fun with the CTX and if I can get a few more goodies, then what the heck!! And if I have to dig a few more clad coins, it only helps pay for this crazy $2K machine!

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