Makro Gold racer First Look
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  1. #1

    Apr 2005
    1002 times
    Metal Detecting

    Makro Gold Racer First Look

    The Makro Gold Racer has been my most anticipated new VLF metal detectors in years. It is something I have wanted for a very long time — a high frequency VLF metal detector that does not skimp for features, in particular as regards discrimination options.

    I have been testing prototypes of the Makro Gold Racer, and this mini review is based on those prototypes. The final version due soon has a completely new LCD display layout, audio boost, refinements to other settings, and physical refinements like a change in the handle angle, etc. That being the case this review should be considered preliminary and final specifications are subject to change, as well as details you may see in my photos regarding the physical design of the detector.

    The Makro Gold Racer looks deceptively like many other detectors aimed at general purpose metal detecting. I want to emphasize that first and foremost this is a gold prospecting detector. There are only a few other detectors that directly compare to the Gold Racer which is running at a very high frequency of 56 kHz.

    The intent with very high frequency detectors is to sharpen the response on extremely small metal targets. This sensitivity does come at a cost however, in that the detectors are also responsive to ground mineralization and hot rocks that less sensitive, lower frequency detectors might ignore completely. There is no free lunch in detecting, and I want to caution anyone thinking that the Makro Gold Racer is going to be a magical solution to all their detecting desires to be realistic about things. Inevitably when new detectors come out people fall victim to wishful thinking, and I would like to try and avoid that here.

    In outward appearance the Makro Gold Racer resembles its immediate predecessor, the Makro Racer, but this really is a new detector, not just a Racer running at a higher frequency. Feedback on the original Racer has been incorporated as well as extensive testing and commentary from prospectors around the world. Besides the obvious color difference, major physical changes include completely redesigning the layout of the LCD display to better differentiate what are all metal functions and what are discrimination functions. All metal functions are on the left, and discrimination functions are on the right. I think the new display is more intuitive and better accommodates the extra functions implemented on the Gold Racer.

    The angle of the bend in the S rod handle grip has been relaxed based on feedback from Racer owners. The vibration mode was eliminated, shaving a tiny amount of weight and freeing up room on the display menu. The Gold Racer with stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil and NiMH batteries installed weighs in on my postal scales at exactly three pounds.

    Coils available at launch are the 10” x 5.5” DD that is stock on the detector. Optional coils include a 10” x 5.5” concentric coil, 5” round DD coil, and a light weight 15.5” x 13” DD coil.

    OK, some notes on real world use. Again, this is all based on prototype models and so I can only speak in generalities for this report. However, there is no doubt in my mind that even the prototype detectors rival anything currently available in a VLF detector for finding tiny gold nuggets. I can easily locate flakes of gold weighing under one tenth grain with the Gold Racer and the stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil. In fact, the machine is so hot with the stock coil I thought using a smaller coil offered minimal if any benefit, mostly because of lost ground coverage and possibly lost depth on larger nuggets. I would only use the smaller coil myself for nooks and crannies where the stock coil can’t fit, but otherwise the stock coil really is the way to go in my opinion. Keep in mind I did say grain not gram. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce and in my opinion I can find flakes all day long with the Gold Racer that weigh less than 1/10th grain, or less than 1/4800th ounce.

    Smallest nugget unweighable, largest 2.4 grams

    In trashy locations I generally preferred running in all metal and just checking the meter for ferrous targets, which tend to lock in hard at 21 or 22 on the numbers. In theory anything under 40 is ferrous, but to be safe I might investigate items as low as 35 or even 30 depending on the situation and amount of trash. However, as I noted most ferrous locks in hard around 20 leaving no doubt what the target is. In All Metal mode very tiny or very deep targets beyond discrimination range give no target id at all, automatically meaning they need investigation. The main reason I prefer to always hunt in All Metal is the extra depth and sensitivity it affords, and checking targets visually is very quick and more efficient than toggling back and forth to a Disc mode under normal circumstances.

    For areas with too much trash where meter watching might get to be a bit too much, I just normally used one of the disc modes set for two tone ferrous/non-ferrous. Iron targets just burp away, while non-ferrous target pop out with a beep. If even that got to be too much for some people, increasing the ID Filter to eliminate most ferrous responses completely can make for a quieter experience in really trashy locations. As always, I must include the warning that the more discrimination applied, the more risk of missing a good target. Use no more discrimination than needed to preserve your sanity!

    I used the Gold Racer to hunt trashy areas and easily located nuggets in the midst of trash. For me personally the Makro Gold Racer fills in two areas where the pulse induction detectors come up short. The ability to find the tiniest, most dispersed gold possible, both in flake form or enclosed in specimen rock. And the ability to deal with really trashy areas where good discrimination is needed.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was when I decided to give the 15.5” x 13” DD coil a try. Honestly, I did not expect much from it. You normally do not see a coil this large for high frequency machines because the ground feedback normally overwhelms them, negating any gains that can be had regarding depth. Instead, the Gold Racer seemed to be even better behaved with the larger coil than with the smaller coils. I hunted some cobble piles with it and it ran smooth as can be at higher sensitivity levels. I then wandered into some moderately hot ground with it, still with no problems, and was actually surprised when I came up with a couple small gold nuggets with it. The first was only 0.8 grams which I thought was pretty fantastic. So I put a little more effort into it, and found a 0.3 gram nugget. With a 15.5” x 13” DD coil on a VLF? That is really kind of unheard of, and I was thoroughly impressed. I am not sure what is going on there but I do know the Makro detectors can sense what coil is on the detector. Something different going on with that big coil? I don’t know, but the results and performance surprised me. Also surprising was that for such a large coil it actually was not half bad swinging for half a day. That could be from my using large, heavy detectors all summer however. Still, it was an eye opener all around and changed how I think my Gold Racer might get used in the future. It looks to have more use for covering very large areas blue sky prospecting than I would have imagined.

    I would be remiss if I did not include at least a note on the versatility possible with the Gold Racer. I recently took it to a local park. The ID Filter works very well, and by just running it all the way to 79 it was easy for me to cherry pick a few coins though larger aluminum items like screw caps or big pull tabs often came up in the 80s also. Like a lot of the Euro machines the Gold Racer tends to up average non-ferrous targets. I do think this is a result dependent on ground conditions to some degree, but really the Gold Racer is best suited for people like me who want to recover all non-ferrous targets. I prefer to hunt jewelry rather than coins myself, as one gold ring makes up for a pile of coins. And to hunt jewelry you have to dig aluminum, no two ways about that. The Gold Racer will suit me well hunting jewelry, especially micro jewelry like ear rings and fine chains. Relic hunters may also find applications for the Gold Racer since they are generally recovering all non-ferrous targets.

    New to the production version of the Gold Racer will be a tone break control. This will to some degree make up for the lack of the three tone mode that is present on the standard Racer, by allowing the point at which low tones shift to high tones to be adjusted. This should make the machine much more effective for cherry picking coins than cranking up the discrimination.

    I want to emphasize that I am in no way making a case that everyone should run out and get the Gold Racer for general purpose detecting. I just want to illustrate that unlike other high frequency dedicated nugget detectors the Gold Racer can be used for other types of detecting.

    The Makro Gold Racer is a very interesting, unique, and capable metal detector. I honestly look forward to hearing for myself in the future what people think about it and the applications and tricks they come up with, because you pretty much need to toss anything you think you know out the door when approaching this machine. There really is nothing quite like it on the market today.

    Many thanks to the folks at Makro and in particular Dilek Gonulay for providing me with the opportunity to be one of the first to use the Gold Racer. I admit that VLF detectors were beginning to bore me, and the Gold Racer has reignited my interest in seeing what they can do for me.

    Last edited by Steve Herschbach; Dec 11, 2015 at 11:16 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    May 2013
    Middle Tennessee
    Nokta/Macro Anfibio Multi / Nokta Fors Core /Ace 250 - w/ 9"x12" Coil / Whites TRX Bullseye
    471 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Good review Steve....
    Any idea on ballpark price for the Gold Racer?
    I have the Nokta Fors Core and was planning on using it in the gold fields.
    How would these two machines compare?
    I have read your reviews on the Nokta Fors Gold and I know that the Core and the Fors Gold are basically the same machine.
    I would like to get the best option though when I head to the Arizona area for nugget hunting.
    I was considering a PI machine....but if the Racer Gold is what you say it is....I would consider getting it.

  3. #3

    Apr 2005
    1002 times
    Metal Detecting
    Performance is similar to FORS models, just hotter on tiny gold. It does not replace a PI by any stretch of the imagination. Price will be announced second week of December.
    Last edited by Steve Herschbach; Dec 03, 2015 at 01:06 PM.
    goldkey likes this.

  4. #4
    Mar 2012
    So. Calif.
    Nokta Impact, Makro Racer, Tesoro Vaquero, Tesoro Sand Shark.
    55 times
    Metal Detecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Herschbach View Post
    .... Price will be announced second week of November.
    I assume you mean the second week of December, not November.

    Thanks for your fine reviews. I enjoy reading them greatly. You're a credit to your species!


  5. #5

    Apr 2005
    1002 times
    Metal Detecting
    Thanks, fixed that - I have November on my mind still. Second week December.

    Honestly the next best thing to detecting is thinking and talking about them, so the reviews help fill my "off time". Thanks again, I hope they help.
    Last edited by Steve Herschbach; Dec 03, 2015 at 01:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Formerly Mach 1 Pilot

    Jul 2008
    Bedford County, PA
    Minelab, Fisher, Teknetics and more!
    1170 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    It sure sounds like an interesting detector, Steve - a good prospecting machine at a good price. Should be a good one for a lot of folks not wanting to spend large sums of cash to get started prospecting, yet still produce very good results.

    Hope you do well with yours this winter!
    Steve Herschbach likes this.



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