What is the difference between the Garrett AT Pro and Garrett AT Gold?
I had a customer ask me this question via website submission…he came to the right place. Not only do we sell a LOT of these metal detectors, but I happen to hunt with the Garrett AT Pro and Scrap Iron hunts with an AT Gold. So, I get to experience both machines side by side. Another factor which helps answer this question is that scrap iron used to use the Garrett AT Pro and recently switched to his AT Gold. When we use a new machine we like to check the signals in the ground with the new machine and the one we are used to. This helps us learn the metal detector’s signals much faster. I wanted to make this posting very brief because the answers are rather simple. Simply put the AT Gold is more suited towards gold prospecting and the AT Pro is more suited towards relic and coin hunting. However, both machines are very effective in doing both tasks. Below are the specifications of each machine side-by-side directly from the manufacturer. If you have any further questions on functionality, Contact Us or call the office toll free 888-236-6580.
They walk alike. They talk alike. They’re cousin’s. But they are not two of a kind. The Garrett AT Pro and AT Gold. Look similar, but they have many differences in terms of performance. Below are side by side specifications from Garrett on both. See for yourself.
Target ID Segments - These are the little digital squares on the display screen along the top. You can “notch” or remove certain ones whereas on the AT Gold only provides notching for the lower segments (basically iron) as well as you have three distinct modes. The AT Gold does not allow notching or “accept/reject discrimination).
Iron Discrimination Segments - Each machine has a total of 99 Digital Target IDs. This is the large number on the screen that shows conductivity. You will notice your Target ID Segments along the top are broken down to segments of 5 each. This gives you a more general idea of what the target may be. On the AT Gold you can discriminate out iron up to 44 whereas on the AT Pro you are limited to 40. This basically means the gold is able to discriminate out larger iron objects. However, since you can “notch” on the AT Pro, you are able to discriminate out larger iron objects.
Frequency - The AT Gold offers a little higher operating frequency. This helps the user detect smaller targets such as small gold nuggets, earrings, etc.
Search Modes - The AT Gold offers more “one touch” search modes and the AT Gold keeps it simple. However one thing that the AT Pro offers is several different pre set modes (i.e. jewelry, relic, coin, etc.) The Gold only has three settings. The Pro’s standard modes are much like the ACE series but you get more punch with the higher frequency and still have iron audio.
Standard Search Coil - The AT Pro comes standard with the larger 8.5″ x 11″ and the Gold comes standard with the 5″ x 8″ coil. In the graph above, we show the comparison with the same coil on the detectors. However, the smaller coil is roughly a quarter of a pound lighter than what is shown. The smaller coil helps get into tight spots better and it is lighter. The larger coil may help penetrate deeper but with the added extra power the AT Gold delivers more than compensate for this.
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Adjustable Audio Threshold: The AT Gold has an Adjustable Threshold (constant background sound) that allows the user to manually adjust the audio threshold to better hear targets. A threshold is better defined in this Wikipedia article about Dynamic Range Compression where it defines it as, “Dynamic range compression, also called DRC (often seen in DVD and car CD player settings) or simply compression reduces the volume of loud sounds or amplifies quiet sounds by narrowing or “compressing” an audio signal‘s dynamic range….Downward compression reduces loud sounds over a certain threshold while quiet sounds remain unaffected. Upward compression increases the loudness of sounds below a threshold while leaving louder passages unchanged. Both downward and upward compression reduce the dynamic range of an audio signal.” The AT Pro does not allow this and the threshold is set at a constant level.
Both detectors have the really useful Iron Audio mode which can be switched on and off with a single button. This signal is a low hum that signals the presence of iron regardless of the level of iron discrimination. Both offer manual and auto ground balance, and you can interchange coils and headphones between the two detectors (which comes standard with both).
So which one is better? I think that depends on the user and what they are using it for. The AT Pro offers more modes through its Standard and Pro Mode options. Standard mode makes the machine sound more like the famound ACE series. This is a feature that is extremely useful for someone switching from a lesser metal detector. The AT Gold, much like the AT Gold in “Zero Mode” with the Iron Audio on, puts out a lot of audio and can confuse a beginner. This allows a transition period when moving up to a professional machine.
Other considerations are the use of the machine. If you are going to go prospecting, looking for small objects like earrings, or if you are a bit more advanced, you may be better of with a “hotter” machine like the AT Gold. One that can detect smaller pieces and be adjusted more acutely for mineralized soil. If you are looking for flexibility and a little more ease of use, the AT Pro is the machine for you.