Minelab Manticore – The Equinox/CTX union

  • Time to read: 9 min.

The Minelab Manticore

Named from a mythical creature that had the head of a human and the body of a lion complete with a venomous tail, the Manticore is the latest top of the line offering from the Australian company Minelab.

The venomous tail and predatory nature of the mythical Manticore is a fitting description of Minelab’s new high performance, serious treasure seeking metal detector described as their most powerful yet!

After continued development, Minelab state that the Manticore finds targets faster, more accurately and at greater depths, even in the most challenging soils that would cause lesser detectors to fail.

The Minelab Manticore shares it’s DNA from two of Minelab’s previous top of line metal detectors, the Equinox and the CTX sharing their best features. It also boasts to be much more powerful than both.

The design and look of the Manticore seems to be moving towards having a military or “tactical” feel about it. It looks stealthy like it means business, is built to last and is greater than the sum of its parts.

I can confirm that because although I love my Minelab Equinox 800 which I’ve had since its launch, I have now been fortunate enough to be in a position to acquire a Minelab Manticore…I still have my 800!!

Minelab Manticore

Minelab Manticore shared features

The control box and main screen have been inherited from the Equinox however is slightly longer. This is because the Manticore has similarly inherited the 2D, target trace mapping system from the CTX.

The new screen now gives you much more information in the form of target ID numbers and also a target trace system. Additional target information presents as blotches or smears on a 2D axis.

With a little practice, this can help determine how clean or messy a signal is and give you extra target information. With time, the trace mapping system can be mastered and be a powerful aid.

I find that it gives me an extra dimension when trying to determine a good target when it’s next to iron. By carefully sweeping the target at different angles, the 2D trace changes to sometimes reveal a good target.

This helps decide to dig or not depending on the targets ferrous content and conductivity. The last time I had both ferrous and conductivity information was using my Minelab Etrac back in the day!

The Manticore also takes the Multi-IQ simultaneous multi VLF frequency technology from the Equinox and Vanquish range.

This is now Minelab’s latest core detecting technology moving away from FBS technology.

The Manticore however now introduces the boosted Multi-IQ+.

This is the next generation of this technology and through the use of a much larger battery is 50% more powerful than the original Multi-IQ.

This 50% power boost mustn’t be confused by thinking it’s 50% deeper. Although, depending on conditions, compared to the Equinox series, it will be 2-3 inches deeper seeking.

The significant improvement is its ability to detecting smaller, thinner targets at greater depths. Waterproofing has also been inherited from both the Equinox and CTX.

It’s been significantly improved however. The Equinox and CTX are submersible to 3m whereas the Manticore is now submersible to 5m.

This makes it one of the best underwater discriminating metal detectors you’ll find for treasure seeking in shallow waters. You can read more about underwater metal detecting in my article here.

Minelab Manticore key features

Next generation Multi-IQ+

The original Multi-IQ VLF technology pioneered by Minelab was hailed as the next breakthrough technology. It boasted that previously hunted out areas could be viewed as fresh hunting grounds.

The Multi-IQ technology could see targets that previous single frequency machines couldn’t. It was deeper and returned more accurate target information due to data being returned from 5 frequencies.

The Multi-IQ technology was a game changer at its launch.

Minelab Manticore

Multi-IQ has now superceeded the previous multi frequency technology from Minelab which was FBS (Full Band Spectrum). In fact it was a slightly improved FBS2.

This worked differently in that multiple frequencies in FBS (previously BBS – Broad Band Spectrum) were produced by a clever use of frequency harmonics. This was great at the time but did have short comings.

Multi-IQ+ utilises the same 5 frequencies (5, 10, 15, 20 & 40 KHz) but is 50% more powerful than the original Multi-IQ.

This has been achieved by using a more powerful battery to produce a bigger electromagnetic field around the search coil. The additional battery power is housed in the handle grip of the Manticore.

This deeper target detection and increased target identification at increasing depths makes the Minelab Manticore the most powerful multi frequency machine available at the moment.

You can read more about the advantages of multi frequency technology in my article here.

Target separation

Target separation is a key feature for serious detectorists who want to find great targets amongst unwanted trash. The closeness of targets to each other can at its worst make a target appear invisible.

The best example of this would be a coin or ring next to a piece of iron. A slower recovering machine or indeed a machine with incorrect settings could cause the iron to “mask” the coin or ring.

The newly updated processors in the Minelab Manticore have taken target separation that step further. Faster processing means multiple targets can be shown on the Manticore screen.

This can be shown in separate, repeatable target ID numbers and also the very clever 2D target trace mapping screen utilised from the successful CTX model.

The Minelab Manticore has also been treated to a software update after much testing and user feedback. One feature is that the larget target ID number can turn red if iron is detected.

This is really useful and how I have mine set. Because ferrous content and conductivity is detected, the target ID can show the targets conductivity but also show red because of its ferrous content!

Target tracing & 2D mapping

The Manticore has utilised the very clever 2D mapping system or “target tracing” technology from the CTX. The 2D part is due to it mapping a targets conductivity (Co) and its ferrous content (Fe).

A chosen discrimination pattern is indicated on the part of the screen by a slightly greyed out section. A central line running through the middle is where good targets appear.

Minelab Manticore 2D Target Trace Mapping

The vertical axis denotes ferrous (iron) content so a target that appears further above or below this line has an increased ferrous content. Similarly, the horizontal axis denotes a targets conductivity.

The upper part of the ferrous limits screen deals with iron like bolts, screws and nails. The lower limits of the ferrous screen tend to indicate iron that is flatter like a small sheet offcut for example.

Higher conductive targets like copper or silver appear more to the right hand side. Lower conductive targets like gold appear more to the left. A targets size can also have an effect on its conductivity don’t forget.

I have a useful article on metal detector discrimination and metal conductivity here.

For example, a tight small circle on the centre line to the left of the screen could be a small hammered silver coin. A larger, circular blob on the centre line to the right could be a larger silver or copper milled coin.

Conversely, as coins give a nice clean circle, irregular shaped or ferrous targets tend to “smear” the screen or be concentrated on the top or bottom of the screen.

Manticore Target Tracing

This gives the user an extra dimension when trying to identify a potential target. Another example would be a longer smear exactly on the centre line that could be a silver spoon!

The darkness of the blob or smear is also representative of the signal strength. The darker the smear, the stronger the signal.

A smear that stretches from the centre line into the ferrous limits or even two separate smears, one ferrous and one non ferrous can also represent two targets being detected simultaneously.

How cool is that!

Enhanced discrimination

The Minelab Manticore has had its conductivity scale massively increased. The original conductivity scale on the Equinox goes from 0 to 40. (Ferrous being -9 to 0 and non-ferrous being 1 to 40)

The Manticore now has been expanded from 0 to 99 giving it a much increased accuracy on target identification. This allows for much more accurate notching of unwanted trash items.

Increased Search Modes

Minelab have also increased the number of search modes on the Manticore. The whole ethos from Minelab was to try and simplify a very powerful and complicated machine.

It can be likened to a powerful sports car having ABS braking, traction control and computers to keep it on the road. The user can have the option to turn these on or off as their skills increase.

Straight out of the box, the Manticore has 10 search modes that Minelab have tested thoroughly for performance. These include 5 All terrain modes, 4 Beach modes and 1 Gold field mode.

The nuances between the All terrain modes really just fine tunes an algorithm within the Manticore’s brain to increase the detection capabilities on certain targets.

In most cases, the “All Terrain – General” selection will not miss many targets and is the one most detectorists use!

Increased Noise Cancellation

The Manticore also boasts even greater shielding from external electromagnetic interference that could upset detection.

Detecting around underground or overground powerlines or cables, mobile phone transmitters or storm clouds should be more straight forward.

As a consequence, the sensitivity levels have boosted higher because of the increased stability. Many of my permissions have huge electric pylons on them which render some detectors useless.

The Manticore seems uneffected by these and also has the ability for a “deep” noise cancel. By holding the noise cancel button down, it continues to find its quietest operating channel until it’s released.

Handgrip vibration

A feature which Minelab have most probably taken from the Nokta Makro Legend is the vibrating handgrip. This not only aids detectorists that are hard of hearing, it’s invaluable for underwater detecting.

Should you not choose to use underwater rated headphones, the handle will vibrate when you have detected a target. This can be turned on or off depending on your preference.

Collapsible design

The Manticore design means that it can reduce its transportable size dramatically. The lightweight carbon fibre shaft is telescopic so can reduce down to approximately 630 millimetres.

Minelab Manticore final thoughts

When it comes to metal detector design, research and development, Minelab never stand still. Being an Australian company, it has access to the most challenging gold producing environments on the planet.

Minelab engineers and scientists have never stopped trying to improve their technology and the Manticore is arguably the most powerful and sophisticated metal detector available currently.

I don’t think anyone could argue with that. Users of the initially delivered Manticores have been blown away with the target accuracy and shear depth of detection. The Manticore really is the future!

Boasting 50% more power than the already excellent multi frequency Equinox 800 is hard to actually comprehend as I have dug exceptionally deep targets with the 800!

(You can read my article on the Equinox 600 & 800 here)

So, increased depth, increased target separation, 2D target trace mapping, increased discrimination range, more search modes, submersible to 5 metres and increased EMI protection amongst more.

Does the Minelab Manticore justify the price tag of £1,800?….well, the people who have managed to get one seem to be blown away with its performance on land as well as on the wet beach.

This could probably be the only metal detector that you ever need to own! I was relunctant at first but was lucky enough to have my boss give a bonus. It was my opportunity to own a Manticore!

Again, there is no escaping the fact that the Minelab Manticore is an expensive metal detector but you have to appreciate the shear amount of technology, research and development and time gone into it.

I am absolutely blown away with my Minelab Manticore. I even found a hammered coin in a worked out old field where I though there was nothing left!

You can watch me using my Manticore for the first time out in my video here!

Find the lowest priced Minelab Manticore over on Amazon here.

If the price tag is too much, there are still powerful options available from Minelab that use the previous incarnation of the proven Multi-IQ system like the Equinox 800 and Vanquish range.

I have a useful article on the Minelab Vanquish range here.

The Minelab Equinox 800

The ultimate and original multi frequency machine that has opened up a whole new world in detecting technology.

Deep detection and constant stable target identification.