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View Full Version : Headphone Suggestions

03-14-2012, 10:26 AM
Thanks Doug, what headphones would you suggest? AKMD gave me a pair of Whites headphones with the GMT, my hearing is bad, not bad enough that I have to wear a hearing aid yet. I was going to research about the Grey Ghost ones. I'm still organizing my prospecting backpack.
Fortunately for me I have tons of scrap aluminum and a wirefeed MIG set up for same. I can make my own scoops and diggers.

Whats funny is that I have been wearing my trademark steel toed Redwing boots for years, its been said that will interfere with the MD.

03-14-2012, 10:44 AM
I'll answer my own post, the Nugget Buster NDT will be on my shopping list next time I head into Anchorage, seems like Steve and I have a similar problem, my right hearing is much less than the left, dual controls will help.

Steve Herschbach
03-14-2012, 01:22 PM
I am a NDT guy myself. You get the spare curly cord also with them - NDT = No Down Time. Boots are only an issue with the Minelab PI units and then generally only when running large coils.

Jim Hemmingway
03-14-2012, 01:47 PM
Hi Steve...gosh...you beat me to it. :) I was about to say the same things to Silverado6x6.

Silverada6x6...congratulations on a very good choice indeed. Steve has always said good things about the GMT and Steve would certainly know. I also use the the Nugget Buster NDT headphones because they are excellent quality and for the adjustable volume controls. Of course as Steve noted, the spare cord is another plus! I have a habit of finding a nice piece and whooping it up. Sometimes I forget I'm still plugged-in to the detector...so those NDT's are mighty handy for fools like me...good luck and HH...


silver dog doug
03-14-2012, 04:59 PM
I have Nugget busters also, and my hearing is bad. Having said that, I find a lot of small nuggets. Get a good plastic scoop, and a good pick with/magnet. I am sure that Steve has everything that you need.. Good Luck, and let us know when you find the big one. Doug P.S. I have two artificial Knees, and my 4500 goes off all the time when I get tired and swing to close.

03-14-2012, 05:00 PM
Here is a splitting hairs thing I see. I want the best of the best in the headphone department. I see that the Nugget Busters are a polymer muff design, they are 150 ohm, independent volume controls but does NOT have a sound limiting feature.

The Sunray Pro Gold Pro does have the sound limiter, the muffs are also leather.

I wear earmuffs all the time at work especially when I use chipping guns on our concrete mixers, my ears are actually overly sensitive to loud noises and if I don't protect my hearing at work for hours after I am nearly deaf, even if I keep my trucks stereo too loud when I get out I can barely hear. Your salesman Steve probably saw that right away as I had to ask him to repeat things often. The Sunrays look like a superior product, if you stock them I'll pick up a pair.

silver dog doug
03-14-2012, 05:10 PM
I have a volume control on mine, and no problem. Now the earmuff, thats a problem for me. My ears ache at the end of a hard day.

03-14-2012, 05:22 PM
Tell me about it, I have a fleet of concrete mixers I supervise all the maintenance on out here in the valley, I only buy the very best protectors from AIH and after an hour they hurt like heck, what helps is to spread them out a bit wider so there isn't too much tension on the clamping. If they are spring steel no problem but if a plastic then they won't relax as much. I had a nice pair of aviation muffs years ago when I was taking flying lessons out at Merrill Field, can't say they would work but they sure were comfortable.

Steve Herschbach
03-15-2012, 08:19 AM
Here is a splitting hairs thing I see. I want the best of the best in the headphone department. I see that the Nugget Busters are a polymer muff design, they are 150 ohm, independent volume controls but does NOT have a sound limiting feature.

The Sunray Pro Gold Pro does have the sound limiter, the muffs are also leather.

I do like the leather muffs. Never needed a sound limiter though, it is in how you set the volume

music miner
03-22-2012, 06:20 PM
I have a GMT and use in ear monitors made by Shure. The Shure SE215-CL sound isolating earphones are the most inexpensive. The in ear monitor drops all ambient sound levels by up to 37db. This allows you to use a lower volume, thus protecting your hearing and still hear very subtle sounds. Also you do not feel like your head is being squeezed by the headphones after hours of use or have the excess weight.

03-23-2012, 05:00 PM
My son will be using the GMT it seems, its so easy to just turn on and go. Now I need one for me, just me. I am looking at a PI and one that will work quite good. So far I am partial to the Whites brand so I am researching all I can about the Whites TDI Pro.
My other consideration is the Garret Infinium LS. I'll take into consideration which one handles water, salt beach better.

03-30-2012, 09:47 PM
I have a GMT and use in ear monitors made by Shure. The Shure SE215-CL sound isolating earphones are the most inexpensive. The in ear monitor drops all ambient sound levels by up to 37db. This allows you to use a lower volume, thus protecting your hearing and still hear very subtle sounds. Also you do not feel like your head is being squeezed by the headphones after hours of use or have the excess weight.


Steve Herschbach
03-31-2012, 04:37 AM
Perhaps the most important feature of metal detecting headphones are the sound exclusion features, which means that large ear muff. Ear buds are fine for quiet places but for being next to a creek or when the wind is in the trees you need to deaden noise that competes for your attention.

Reno Chris
03-31-2012, 10:14 AM
Perhaps the most important feature of metal detecting headphones are the sound exclusion features

I agree and to that end I purchased some Sony noise cancelling headphones. I've yet to try them nugget detecting, but I think they may help a lot in situations with significant background noise from wind or creeks, etc. I've tried them on a jet airplane and they are amazing at eliminating the background jet noise. Its an experiment and I'll let you know what I think once I've given them a through testing.

music miner
04-01-2012, 12:57 PM
I agree with Steve also but the Shure SE215-CL in ear monitors are not earbuds. Earbuds do not insert into the ear and block ambient sound by 37db. Earbuds are used with consumer music playback devices and just sit in the ear, and do not get inserted into the ear canal like in ear monitors. The Shure earphones are professional in ear monitors used by musicians to block out the stage sound (which is louder then a creek or the wind) and provide the musician with a mix they can hear. Most headphones can not compete with -37db reduction of ambient sound. I had custom molds made for my monitors that make them fit even tighter and provide more comfort for long periods of use.

Here are the figures:
Shure SE215-CL in ear monitors: -37db ambient sound reduction
Sun Ray Pro Gold headphones: -26db
Nugget Busters NDT® headphones: -24db
Original Gray Ghost headphones: -24db
Sony MDR-NC60 noise canceling headphones: -12db at 200hz

Remember the sound db scale is logarithmic as well as the scale of perceived volume in relation to db. Thus a -10db in greater reduction will equate to it being twice as quiet, which is a lot.

mxt sniper
04-03-2012, 07:57 PM
I see in the specs the Shure SE215-CL, they are rated at 20 ohms, and most better headphones made specifically for detectors are 150 ohms, would this matter either way. I have a friend that uses a gold bug 2 that is interested in the Shure in ear moniters. He doesn't like the heavy muffs covering his ears.

music miner
04-04-2012, 12:14 AM
Ohms are the unit used to measure the resistance of an electrical circuit. 150 ohms is more resistance than 20 ohms. The headphone amplifier will not be as loud at maximum volume with the 150 ohm headphones as it would be with the 20 ohm headphones. When the headphone amplifier is loaded with more resistance, it can not produce as much power. Amplifers are built to handle a minimum ohm load. The cautious approach would be to find out the minimum ohm load of the headphone amplifier in the detector of your choice and make sure the ohm rating of the headphones of your choice is higher.

04-04-2012, 08:04 AM
Do not confuse resistance with impedance.
Headphones are rated by impedance NOT resistance.
Impedance is the resistance to AC while resistance affects AC and DC.
Both impedance (Z) and resistance (R) are measured in ohms.

In AC amplifiers, maximum energy (volt x amp) is transferred when there is an impedance match between the circuits. If the final audio amplifier is rated for an impedance output of 150 ohms, that is what the amplifier wants for maximum energy transfer.

Modern headphones are magnetic (called dynamic) but the emphasis is on magnetic transfer of the electrical energy into mechanical energy that moves air. As the magnetic field is dependent upon ampere turns, more wire means higher resistance, but also because it is a coil of wire and being driven by an AC current, there is more impedance with more turns of wire.

A quick and dirty way to test this impedance effect is the old crystal radio. Whip up one on your kitchen table with a pair of modern low impedance headphones (typically 8Ω) and some old 2000Ω headphones. Then test each for audio output strength on the crystal radio. You will find out that the audio output is much higher with the old 2000Ω headphones. If you can find some old crystal earphones (impedance typically 20K-50KΩ), the output will be even higher. I have to admit that part of this is due to higher impedance loads affect the circuit output by not being such a high load which pulls down the output voltage.

This is the reason why old volt-ohm meters (VOM) never gave accurate voltage readings. A 20KΩ VOM would always read the voltage lower compared to the Vacuum Tube Volt Ohm Meter (VTVM) and the newer models have input impedance's of several mega-ohms which means although there is some circuit loading, it is so slight that the read-out is so close to exact that the difference is negligible.

Modern electronics uses integrated circuits (IC) or transistors in the audio output stage. The ICs are just transistor circuits embedded in a tiny chunk of plastic and follow the same rules as transistors. Lower power output stages tend to have higher output impedances than high power output stages. This is why speakers tend to be 4 or 8Ω. This same impedance output means the headphones should be the same impedance rating.

In the old tube days, tubes had a high impedance output (a few 1000Ω) and the circuit always had an output transformer to reduce that high impedance into low impedance out to the 4-8Ω speaker. High impedance speakers and headphones require much more wire and higher strength magnets to pre-load the diaphragm (the metal plate that moves the air). This costs more money.

If the manual suggests 150Ω headphones it is because that is the impedance that the audio output section wants to feed for maximum energy transfer. Lower impedance phones will have lower audio output.

I tried not to get too technical, so some of the preceding is over-simplified. As an example, impedance is frequency dependent. The headphones have a different impedance at 200Hz that at 12,000Hz. Audio components are usually rated at 1000Hz.

Stick with what is recommended or go a bit higher; avoid lower whenever possible. It isn't good economy to start with an electronic device costing $600-$700 or much, much more and then run it into el-cheapo headphones. Would you snatch a speaker out of a '63 Buick car radio (probably 3.2Ω) and attach it to a high-end stereo system?

eric NL7ZW formerly WN7LHF, WB7OIH 40+ years as a trained electronics technician/hobbyist

Steve Herschbach
04-04-2012, 10:09 AM
So music miner, what are you doing for volume control?

04-04-2012, 04:47 PM
Well I can agree with all that about lower ohms will give more volume, this last saturday I was playing a video game with my son and we wanted to keep the noise down so I thought about using our stereo "Y" splitter and two headphones at once, my Sunrays were much quieter than the regular all music 20 ohm headphones, and they were also more tinny sounding, crisp but almost no bass, kind of what you would hear from a two way radio. His Aiwas or whatever brand they were had full spectrum sound, bass, mid and hi range, the Sunrays would be terrible at listening to any music obviously and thus I might think are designed to have a crisp break of tone ability, of which is whats desired.

music miner
04-04-2012, 11:07 PM
I use a cheap Radio Shack in line volume switch. The Shure earphones are not frequency enhanced, but I really enjoy the comfort. These type of earphones are used by Nascar racers as well as musicians. I thought the mining industry might enjoy them too.

mxt sniper
04-05-2012, 08:10 AM
Well, my buddy ordered a pair of the Shure moniters yesterday, he will be using them in a couple wks with a Gold Bug 2, I am sure they will be what he is looking for, he has been using ear buds which are pretty low quality and don't block outside noise at all.

05-17-2012, 07:50 PM
Music Miner,
You seem pretty knowledgeable about headphones, etc. I just purchased a Fisher F75 and was thinking of some active noise cancelling ear phones. Like this
Do you think those would work outdoors? I like the fact you can turn the cancelling off and on.


music miner
05-19-2012, 07:50 AM
Kelvin, the ear buds you are considering have up to a -20db reduction of ambient noise via noise reduction circuitry. The way this type of circuit works is they analyze the background noise and then try to generate a waveform of equal and opposite amplitude identical in frequency, to cancel out the noise. They work best if the background noise is consistant in frequency content, like a droning jet engine; however, when the content is variable in frequency, they fail to reduce the ambient noise. The noise reduction associated with an in ear monitor is accomplished by sealing the ear canal to keep out ambient noise (up to -37db with the Shure SE215). The headphones that Steve sells are some of the best in the mining industry for their purpose, but are only able to reduce ambient noise by fitting firmly to your head. For some people this can lead to discomfort after hours of use. On the other hand, some people are not comfortable with sticking something in their ear canal for hours either. Volume control is an issue, as Steve brought up, as well. My personal opinion would be to stick with the industry standard equipment designed for the job, unless comfort becomes an issue, and then alternatives should be considered. It is better to be prospecting with non industry standard listening devices, than to not be prospecting at all.

05-19-2012, 09:23 AM
Music Miner,
Thanks for your insights. I wear ear muffs at work for hearing protection. My main complaint is the sealing surface collects sweat, just plain annoying.

One reason I thought noise cancelling had advantages over noise barriers was to hear those sounds that weren’t a constant frequency. I’ve been in Alaska since 1980 and really have enjoyed wandering about these outdoors. Twice now, I’ve been in brush and have had a bear “woofing” at me. For the life of me I couldn’t see it. Nevertheless I respected its wishes and left the area. Thinking about it, I wouldn’t be using a detector in areas that thick with brush so it’s probably not an issue.

I’ve always been suspicious of cheaper noise cancelling circuits and I don’t want to spend the hundreds high end stuff costs. I think your original suggestion is a smart way to go.

Thanks again

05-19-2012, 07:25 PM
I detect in Arizona year round. Right now it's HOT and the earmuffs get soaked with sweat. Has anyone found a product that would replace the plastic earmuff, maybe leather, will stay dry, can be cleaned yet is comfortable. Dave

Steve in Idaho
05-19-2012, 08:31 PM
I use a plastic foam that can be cut into donuts and hot glued on to the plastic ear piece. I cut them about 3/4 inch thick and the same shape as the ear piece that comes with the head phones. This plastic foam is used to protect electronic parts for shipping. This foam will let the air breath on your ears and you can also hear some sound around you.

05-20-2012, 07:02 AM
Great idea, but I have Black Widows and they stick out a lot already,if I add another 3/4 inch it will be really thick. Dave

Steve in Idaho
05-20-2012, 07:17 AM
You are supposed to take the old earmuff material off first, then glue on the new. The old muff will peal off by starting at the edge and pealing it off.

05-20-2012, 12:05 PM
I don't understand this trend of buying an expensive pair of isolating headphones and then modifying them so that they don't isolate as well. I guess some people don't understand that some of the best gold tones are a soft whisper of a tone and their modification to their headphones just about assures that they won't hear that soft whisper. If you don't like the isolation, don't use headphones. If they make you sweaty, you are probably already sweating from the heat where you are prospecting. On second thought, go ahead and modify your headphones so that you will miss those soft whispers. That way you will be saving some gold for me to find.