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My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro

Posted by marcomo 
My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 09, 2011 10:33PM
My early impression of the AT Pro after about 12 hours of hunting is that I'm pleased, and I'm finding it very intuitive to use.

I know there have been some problems and defects with some of the ATs, and of course the initial falsing issue which Tom, Jim (synthnut) and Keith Southern contributed to correcting with their posts here. My money is still with Tom's hypothesis about the coil paint shielding being the problem as opposed to the official company line but regardless the issue has been resolved.

My AT Pro has functioned fine so far. I have one with the 511 serial number. A number of people have had problems with leakage when they put the AT underwater. I haven't submerged mine, nor do I plan to with my type of detecting. But the ability to use it in light rain, drizzle and snow without any type of environmental cover is a big plus to me so I'll be finding out down the road how well it does in that respect.

The way it unmasks non-ferrous among ferrous is THE strong point of this detector and its unmasking ability is superior to any detector I've used so far. I've got an old site I've hunted with only moderate success that is a carpet of square nails. I'm looking forward to taking it there.

Garrett has appropriated from FT and other manufacturers a number of good features that Garrett never had before like modulated audio, 99 digital points of resolution, 40 of iron, large DD coil, etc. On a purely cosmetic note I'll add the color black as a good feature to my mind as well. I don't buy a detector based on looks but still I'm glad they didn't make it bright yellow...

Seems to have good depth although not as deep as the F75. I've found a good 10 coins at 6"+ so far with the deepest being a 1936 Buff at a measured 8".

But the F75's edge in raw depth is more than offset to me by the AT's ability to get good depth at slow, fast or anywhere in-between sweep speeds. With the AT you can swing at a faster speed when you want to cover ground or you can crawl over a target when you want to really investigate it.

I like the AT audio, but I wish it had that fourth tone that my Fishers have. I most often detect listening to everything under the coil, and to my ears the AT iron audio is not fatiguing to me on longer hunts like the F75 was.

I can say that I've gotten significantly less high tone iron falsing with the AT Pro than with either of my F series Fishers.

From my few hours of usage so far, the AT appears more stable and less EMI prone than my First Texas units.

Ergonomically, this unit is reasonably comfortable with a forearm cuff extension (like the Garrett Gizmo) attached. Without the extension, this detector is ergonomically lousy unless maybe you have the forearms of a midget.

My initial impression is that the ID on the high conductors is not as tight as with the F5 or F75. Depth reading is not as accurate as with my F5, a lot of that can probably be attributed to the fact that the AT gives depth in 2 inch increments instead of 1. My F75 TID always "lied" by an average of 2" deeper than actual depth on coins, but subtracting 2" it was reasonably accurate on depth.

As far as a low-high-low sound IDing bottle caps with the iron audio, I sure ain't seeing that. This detector seems to have the same trouble IDing caps that other detectors with DD coils do. I've hunted in a couple high bottle cap yards and it doesn't matter - shallow and new or inches deep and rusty - I'm not getting any low-high-low report. Not on bottle caps. Zinc pennies are another story, I get the low-high-low on most of the zincers I've found.

This is a small point, because there's nothing wrong with the AT's foam grip. But I wish Garrett would have given it the rubber grip that a lot of their older detectors have. I liked that grip when I had a GTP 1350.

A thing that really is a negative to me about the AT Pro is the "proprietary" headphone connection. There is no way to use your own non-Garrett headphones without an adapter which Garrett hasn't made available yet. And plugging and unplugging the headphones where you have to line up the pins and screw on the connector is more inconvenient and time-consuming than the usual plug-in, pull-out. Not to mention that the stock Garrett headphones are of mediocre quality and fit. As I write this, I just read that Garrett is going to finally start shipping adapters very soon so that should solve this issue.

I'm thinking that this detector is a keeper and is definitely going to be my go to machine in the nail pits.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 09, 2011 10:53PM
Very nice report. I have one and basically agree with everything you reported. It is a fun unit to use. And I think Garrett set a new standard with detector pricing. If a company releases a new model the price and performance will be compared to the AT Pro. We always talk depth depth depth. But as you pointed out the unmasking ability of the At Pro will get you some new targets in old hunted grounds. The AT Pro is constantly compared to detectors that cost twice as much. That alone says some very positive things about it. For the record I did put a rubber pistol grip on mine. And I also made my own headphone adapter. And of course I added the Gizmo. I always end up doing a little customization to my detectors. Even the expensive ones.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 02:05AM
Excellent, unbiased report. Thanks!!!
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 03:41AM
Thank you, TerraDigger.

Your customizations sound like they did the trick, goodmore. To a more mod apprehensive user like me, it will be nice when that headphone adapter is available. And a good point about the price of the AT Pro.

It didn't even occur to me to mention what a good value this detector is. Price is a definite consideration for me, if it would have been priced like the F75 or E-Trac I wouldn't have bought it.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 07:40AM
Marcomo I'd say your assessment of the AT Pro is spot on to my own experiences. I would also add that it's very hot on silver. Kind of reminds me of how well the Omega hits on silver, but the amazing part is it's (more or less) double the frequency of the O8. I also like the fact that it has both the "binary" and "modulated" audio, great that the manufacturer gives US the choice to decide what best suits our hunting needs.

It may not be perfect (what detector is?), but if Garrett resolves it's shortcomings (most are easy fixes - longer headphone cord, headphone adapter to use aftermarket phones, arm cuff extension, larger display, and add more depth it'll be a home run!). If they just added a boost mode type of feature in the next version of this machine, Fisher will definitely be dropped down a few notches in the detector world. I think this is good, because competition benefits the consumer, and raising the bar creates innovation.

I was planning to buy an Etrac, but I think I'm going to see what else comes out this year smiling smiley
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 03:13PM
Hi, Hey thanks for taking the time to write the good report.. I would however like to correct a few things to my satisfaction....

Garrett has appropriated from FT and other
manufacturers a number of good features that
Garrett never had before like modulated audio (Garrett has had modulated audio for years) large DD
coil (Garrett has had DD's for years)

Seems to have good depth although not as deep as
the F75. (The AT Pro has a more stable usable depth Vs. the 75)


I can say that I've gotten significantly less high
tone iron falsing with the AT Pro than with either
of my F series Fishers.(I agree but if you start getting a lot of falsing check your ground balance)


My initial impression is that the ID on the high
conductors is not as tight as with the F5 or F75. (The AT Pro is the best I have ever witnessed especially in trash )


As far as a low-high-low sound IDing bottle caps
with the iron audio, I sure ain't seeing that.
This detector seems to have the same trouble IDing
caps that other detectors with DD coils do. I've
hunted in a couple high bottle cap yards and it
doesn't matter - shallow and new or inches deep
and rusty - I'm not getting any low-high-low
report. Not on bottle caps. Zinc pennies are
another story, I get the low-high-low on most of
the zincers I've found. (Regardless of your mode bottle caps are very easy to ID, listen very closely the audio is way different)


I'm just voicing my opinion and not trying to discount your report in any way..I can hardly wait,because Garrett will be resolving a lot of their recent problems very,very shortly.....JJ
.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 04:22PM
jimmyjiver Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> .I can hardly wait,because Garrett will be resolving a lot of their recent problems very,very shortly.....JJ

Can you share a bit more? smiling smiley
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 11:07PM
Jimmy - Thanks for your thoughts and corrections.

I try hard, but I don't have the experience or the skills yet that so many on this forum do. And one of the problems of giving impressions on a machine with only a few hours is that impressions so often change as more time is accrued on the unit...

I thought all the other Garretts besides the AT Pro had binary audio like the AT Pro has in standard mode. If you say it's otherwise, I stand corrected.

Of course you are right about the DD coils, Garrett has offered DD accessory coils for their detectors for some time. What I meant to say, and should have been clearer about, is that the AT Pro is the first Garrett to be made for use with a DD coil as opposed to being made for and coming with a stock concentric coil. To the best of my knowledge, Garrett only offers the AT Pro and the Ace 350 with DD coils as the stock coils.

Exact depth in the field is hard to quantify because there are so many variables. I'll still argue that the F75 has more raw depth than the AT, but I wouldn't argue if you say that there are many times when various conditions will give the AT the edge in depth.

As far as the F5 goes, checking the GB is easy and natural because the display gives you a running phase readout so if you glance at it periodically when there is nothing under the coil you can see if the GB needs to be adjusted.

When it comes to ID on higher conductors, I'll defer to your longer experience with the AT. I think of silver when I say high conductors, and so far my silver finds have been five rosies and a ring. Of the five rosies, only one hit in a tight range (85-86) while the others jumped among several numbers. A couple of the dimes were at 6", but the others were at 3-5". With my F5, a good 80% of silver coins at 5" or less will hit in a tight 2 or 3 number range and I'll have a good inkling that I'm going to pull silver. My initial impression was that the AT doesn't hit silver as tight as the F5, but five silver coins isn't enough to make anything more than an initial impression.

I'll assume you are right about the bottle caps, I'll try again to listen very carefully. I like to think my hearing is fairly nuanced, but those bottle caps sounded like a coin high tone coin to me. I hope to make it to a site over the weekend that is loaded with caps and tabs and I'll pay close attention.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 10, 2011 11:14PM
Brian, glad to see you are doing well with the AT. I know you always struggled with deep silver dimes (but not quarters as I recall) in your soil with the F75.

Most of those fixes that you mentioned are easy fixes that would be smart for Garrett to address - until you mentioned "add more depth." My impression is that even if AT depth isn't the best, it's pretty darn good. I think addressing that issue would be called a new detector!
Nice report Marcomo
June 11, 2011 01:29AM
Glad you are enjoying the AT it is a lot of bang for the buck......

I would of been happier if they would of left off the waterproof design and offered that as an option.......

I believe they will work off this platform and there may well be some sort of land unit later with the less cumbersome coil connector's and headphone connector's

I have heard of a relic machine in the works so maybe there is greater thing's to come....

and yes the AT-Pro is fairly deep ...actually it's deeper in bad dirt than the Fishnetic's is here in N/Ga...while running extremely smooth....

Tom made a comment awhile back on the AT and I have to agree... the AT act's more like a lower freq machine than a 15KHz machine....In my ground I dig far more high conductor's at depth than I do Lower conductor's....


One thing that I like about the AT is the ability to meander with it almost to a crawl and it retains depth...perfect for poking through iron and trash.....A smaller Blunt nose DD coil with a tight center would be awesome and maybe even untouchable in iron laced bad ground.....



one thing I have noticed is in PRO mode iron audio on once learned will achieve more depth not alot but it will...I will leave it at that......some will disagree but it 's a learned fact...wont give a high tone but it will be a faint low tone with unique nuance that would otherwise be muted with iron audio left off....I have experimented a lot with in-ground target's on this and the target would disappear without the iron audio on...there good deep non-ferrous target's once dug...

glad you are having fun...

Keith
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 11, 2011 03:27AM
I've enjoyed and learned a lot about the AT Pro from your posts, Keith, so thank you for all the knowledge you've shared.

Very interesting about the add'l depth with the iron audio, if you say it's a learned fact I believe it and I'll try to pick up on that unique nuance. I have been hunting in Pro mode with the iron audio on.

Yep, we sure are having fun...what a great hobby!
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 12, 2011 11:34PM
marcomo, I've been running one since March 1, and it took about two weeks to learn some of the new features that I never used on my other detectors, one was manual GB, on the beach you have to GB a lot , or I do because the salt changes every few feet, horizontal to the beach, on the land I can run the sens at full, on the beach it 3 to 4 notches and it still get deep targets, give it time and learn all the noises, I run it with the iron on so I know when I approach iron I can slow down and go at it from all angles, the only thing I don't like about is the length of the head phone cord and the VDI# didn't match with the Whites, cause I have a XLT too and I get the # mixed up, I like mine a lot
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 13, 2011 10:41PM
marcomo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
I think addressing that issue would be called a new detector!

Exactly my point smiling smiley

I think the next iteration of the AT Pro will be one sweet machine if they simply do the simple changes I mentioned and add a boost mode or such. A larger display would be great to, as the AT Pro display gives you a LOT of information, but most of it is very small to read. The depth readout is good, leave that alone smiling smiley If they only added larger TID numbers and left the rest alone that would be an improvement. Oh, wait a minute, might as well add a trigger and a backlight to while I'm dreaming..... that would be called the AT Pro Ultimate, and would retail for $899 instead of $699, but that would be a bargain IMHO.

One other note - I'm personally very happy that the unit is waterproof, as far as how waterproof it is, remains to be seen as I've already seen a report or two of water hunters having to RMA their units due to faulty water seals.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2011 10:51PM by Cal_cobra.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 13, 2011 11:09PM
Not to be mean spirited but if Garrett make the above changes, it will be reversed engineered First Texas technologysmiling smiley As is obvious with the current AT Pro.
Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 14, 2011 03:53PM
TerraDigger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Not to be mean spirited but if Garrett make the
> above changes, it will be reversed engineered
> First Texas technologysmiling smiley As is obvious with the
> current AT Pro.

I don't think I'd call it reverse engineered, there's a lot of features FT doesn't have. It might be more accurate to call it improved upon FT technology smiling smiley
Cal.......Re: My early thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
June 14, 2011 07:13PM
I will go with your 'improvement' statement. Let me re-phrase, and say Garrett used alot of First Texas 'concepts'............
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