What Is Recovery Speed in Metal Detecting?

by Michael Bernzweig

Recovery speed refers to how quickly a metal detector displays the visual and audio target identification to the detectorist. A faster recovery speed may increase the number of targets you can locate simultaneously. Faster recovery speed can help you greatly in searches for jewelry and other targets. In some cases it can also produce a loss of depth detection. These are all important concepts whether you are a seasoned detectorist or just getting started with the hobby.

Recovery rate, also known as reactivity, is a term used to explain how metal detectors separate out or isolate closely spaced objects. The  recovery speed provides a measurement of how quickly a device lets the user know about the existence of buried items that are close in proximity. Generally speaking, the recovery rate or reactivity of a hobby metal detector refers to how well it is able to separate objects that are close together. This performance is sometimes referred to as the recovery speed of the detector. Therefore, recovery speed is a measure of how quickly your machine informs you of the presence of several items that are nearby. Detectorists have significantly increased their finds since the advent of metal detectors that allow the user to adjust the speed of the metal detector. XP Metal Detectors in France were the first to produce metal detectors with this technology, which has greatly advanced metal detecting.

Shorter tones are directly correlated with faster recovery speeds in most detectors. In contrast, a very fast recovery speed reduces the target signal further, so much so that it can no longer be clearly heard, or it may not even be heard at all. Relic and treasure hunters searching for treasure caches and hordes have seen the biggest benefit from being able to use this adjustment on the latest generation of metal detectors. Additionally, this concept minimizes target masking by separating adjacent targets. Think of it this way, if you are metal detecting on a site with an old home foundation, you are likely to find good targets buried next to or on top of old iron nails and other junk. When the reactivity is slow, the good targets will be masked by the junk targets. Regardless of whether or not a detectorist is experienced or novice, a good target can easily be found by simply increasing the speed. When the depth of the target is deeper, however, lower recovery speeds will produce more complete signal, and therefore the signal will be easier to hear.

Why Recovery Speed Matters

When metal detecting places with a lot of trash, detectorists would typically move to cleaner ground due to the trash or heavy mineralization in the ground. Recovery speed helps detectorists in these areas and makes it easier to use a metal detector in these places.

Recovery speed is important because it may be the difference between finding an old coin laying on in a patch of dirt containing iron nails that block out good targets. Older metal detectors are not capable of hunting in areas such as these. Areas such as these may yield treasures that they never would have before thanks to recovery speed.

By searching ground littered with trash, you open up the chances for finding interesting treasures. You may not think that finding treasure on non-virgin land is possible, but recovery speed makes it possible. 

Target separation is important for metal detectors. A metal detector with excellent target separation is better suited to distinguishing valuable objects. Target separation is great at distinguishing between coins and jewelry from trash and iron.

If you are searching for coins in a trash filled area, you'll want to use a metal detector known for having high-quality target separation capabilities. In addition, you will want to adjust your sensitivity for maximum performance in the field. Entry-level and mid-range devices do not possess a setting that allows for target separation to be improved. You must reduce swing speed and search detect trash filled areas in a grid-like pattern to increase the odds of moving over a desirable target

Benefits to Increase Speed

  • Faster recovery rates improve the ability to detect multiple targets.
  • Faster recovery rates decrease the chance of target masking. 

Recovery Speed vs. Detection Depth

You will find that there is a lack of detection depth when using a higher recovery speed. You will lose detection depth when using a higher recovery speed when doing searches. The good news for detectorists is that the loss of detection depth is minimal.

You will likely lose just an inch of a little more using a higher recovery speed. A majority of metal detectorists will have a loss of depth that usually begins occurring somewhere above a recovery speed of 6. Meanwhile, on some devices, users will experience a loss of depth at a recovery speed of 3. Loss of depth really depends on the metal detector device you use.  

Despite the fact that they are similar in size and made of similar materials, multiple targets in an area will never react to a search coil as one because of their position and depth. Therefore, the detector must still be able to distinguish between a number of different responses from the target. This fact makes it difficult for older and slower detectors to locate good targets buried on top of junk. 

Unless the metal detector has enough time to read the response from each target, it cannot detect targets. As a result, if they have enough time, they can read the responses of multiple targets rather than just one. In areas with multiple targets, you must factor in the time it takes for a machine to process each signal before responding to the next one.

High Recovery Speed

A higher recovery speed means that you will have a slight loss of detection depth. As previously stated, the higher the recovery speed the less depth detection you will have on the device. In many metal detectors, you will have shorter audio tones. A really fast recovery speed may take a minimal target signal and lower it even more. It can be lowered to the point where it is not clearly audible. On some occasions,  it could be completely inaudible. 

Low Recovery Speed

Higher recovery speed typically means the device has less detection depth when searching for objects. It's the exact opposite when using a lower recovery speed on your search. Some detectorists claim that using a recovery speed between 2 and 6 provides the ideal depth detection. Recovery speeds of 2 and 6 allow you to maintain exceptional target separation on a treasure hunt. Depending on the device, you may choose a recovery speed of 1 or 2  to obtain the optimal depth while having the best target separation. 

How to Select Recovery Speed

As metal detectors get faster, they are better at searching in areas where the target density is higher. They are worse at finding deeper targets.

Having a slower recovery speed does not work very well in areas with a lot of trash. Even though it will be harder to find objects, you will receive better signals for deeper targets like relics and treasures. You can hear signals more clearly with a slower recovery speed. 

You will need to locate a custom setting to suit your preferences on the metal detector. In addition, you will need to take the conditions of the search into mind when setting the device's recovery speed. Each metal detector is different. Therefore, you will need to find the recovery speed that is best suited for your device. 

When metal detecting, your detectors recovery speed should be set to be faster when metal targets are located closer together. The reason for this is that the detector is able to reset or recover more quickly to find targets which are located very closely or on top of one another. If your targets are far apart, you should choose a slower recovery speed on your metal detector. As a result, you will be able to detect deeper targets more easily and clearly. In a situation where targets are not very close together, you will still be able to find them. Generally, you shouldn't use a high recovery speed if you don't have to. 

The XP Deus, for example, has a reactivity that goes from 0 to 5. From 0 to 2.0, you will receive long sounds when searching for hidden objects. You will receive short sounds from 2.5 to 5.0. The higher the recovery speed on the XP Deus metal detector, the better it is at detecting artifacts in difficult or trashy soils. The latest version of this metal detector, the XP Deus 2 provides Fast Multi Frequency capability. Even some industrial pipe and cable locating metal detectors operate at multiple frequencies.

In Conclusion, recovery speed matters because it gives you the opportunity to locate artifacts in highly contaminated areas. The higher the recovery speed, the more likely you will be able to find objects. However, you shouldn't use a fast recovery speed at all times. The signal sound is weaker the faster the recovery speed. A slower recovery speed, the deeper the depth the device will search for artifacts.

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