Nokta Makro Legend Thoughts at 50 Hours

I have more to say about the Legend now that I’m over 100 hours, but just trying to archive some of my bigger posts here from the other forum. Cut and Paste:

Big edit to the below: So, I’ve been having fun with the D2 and still don’t have much more than 50 hours on it, but I did load up the beach update and head down to the neighborhood beach to test in the wet salt. I ran a couple gold rings by it from thin tiny to large, a gold chain, and a gold post earring (not sure what it’s called, one of those simple earrings with just a gold ball at the end). It was like I wasn’t even swinging the same detector, was running sensitivity at 28, salt sens at 2, and in all metal mode and the Legend was running quiet in the choppy water and smashing all of the above targets as deep as my Equinox ever did. I was pretty blown away, enough so that I decided to pull it down from sale and just list my DeepTech Vista X for sale since the D2 has extreme depth covered now.

So, I’ve hit about 50 hours in with the Legend, and thought I’d document my thoughts on the detector. I haven’t detected before getting the Legend since May of 2021 due to my heart exploding and surgery, so I’ll try to separate the romance of having a detector in my hand again from the reality of the machine’s performance. For context, I’ve used most new machines the past 10 years for at least 50 hours except for the Nokta Makro line, and dedicated gold PI machines. I had a Simplex that my brother bought me for some odd reason right after it was released that I didn’t like at all, used once and sold it. I’ve got about an hour to two on a brackish water beach with the Legend, so I’ll talk about that briefly but don’t feel like I have enough time to make an educated opinion on beach performance. I went into this Legend purchase thinking I wouldn’t like it, as I had some mental block against Nokta Makro since the Red Racer drop seemed to change the Friendly Forums into a not so fun place at times, and I guess I just had some negative cloud in my mind when it came to Nokta Makro products.

Purchasing: I’ll start off by talking about purchasing, sometime after heart surgery the dealer I’ve used since forever, Craig at Show Me Treasure, stopped selling. He was an amazing dealer, I knew I could just ask him to send me an invoice without any back and forth and I was getting a good price. It felt like I was cheating on my wife trying to find another dealer, but after reading multiple reviews and sending some requests for quotes out I settled on Jeff with Quality Metal Detectors. Since purchasing from Jeff, he has done some above and beyond stuff that has locked him in as my dealer in perpetuity, and just put my name on the list for a 9” Deus 2, and will be picking up an MI6 pointer today. Just want to close this portion by saying that Jeff did something so unique for me, so above and beyond regular customer service, that I’m going to be his new overly attached crazy girlfriend of a customer, and make sure I push as many people looking to buy in his direction as I can.

Unboxing: Packaging was great, arrived intact even though the shipper looked like they played street hockey with the shipment. Always nice to have swag in the box, so was nice to see the hat. I also appreciated the large well laid out manual. I know updatable metal detectors will often find the initial manual out of date, but still a nice gesture.

Legend Hardware: Initial impression was that the Legend is very well built, solid, and just instills confidence. For contrast, when I unboxed and assembled my Equinox, I remember thinking “What the hell Bobby?” as it creaked and groaned and noodled around swinging it. The Legend had none of that except when I extended everything out since I’m 6’4”. At that point, it had a tiny bit of popping feeling in the middle shaft area, but I’ve since got a long middle rod that fixed that and let me through the coil way out there. Overall, I was surprised about how well it felt swinging it. I recall that I didn’t like swinging the Simplex, it felt heavier than its weight and the balance point felt wonky for me, but I had none of that with the Legend. Overall, it feels great in the hand, the build feels great, and I’m just very impressed overall with the fit and finish at the price point. I do hate that the buttons don’t have any visual indicators of what they are that you can see from a distance, but I’ll be fixing that this weekend. I’m going to paint the lines on each button, and then seal them with some UV resin. I only used the stock headphones once, they were nice but I’m an earbud guy and have a couple different pairs of APTX-LL earbuds. I switched over to them, they paired no problem.

Legend Software: I figured I’d have a section about the software. Even at 50 hours it still hasn’t become second nature for me. One thing I encounter every time out is that when you change settings, it doesn’t time out back to the main detecting screen, and I’m a hard head I guess in that I always forget to manually back out of the settings screen. I wish and suggested to Dilek that they make some kind of time-out, where after 5-10 seconds of not touching anything it goes back to the detecting menu. Other than that no real issues beyond learning a new layout, everything seems to be logically laid out. Beyond the time out feature, I wish they’d add a feature where audio would pump out both the detectors speaker and the headphones. I film every single hunt and every single dig as a live dig, sometimes to post videos and mostly to go back and look at my own digs and take notes on how the detector responded, track VDIs of targets into spreadsheets, etc. So it would be nice to have that feature if they could do it. I do like that you don’t have to put the detector in bluetooth pairing mode to grab a headset, which I’m not sure how they’re doing it and none of my other devices can do it. It even instantly connected to a pair of APTX-LL earbuds that I could never get the Equinox to pair to, so that was nice. Updating to firmware 1.05 was easy, the only issue I ran into was I initially couldn’t get the detector to update. Turns out, after installing the update utility, even though it doesn’t prompt you like some software you have to restart your computer. After the restart it was easy.

Test Garden: Some background on the test garden. Over the past 8 years since buying my house in 2014, my test garden has grown to take over my ¾ acre back yard. I’m up to 43 different tests that try to replicate either things I’ve seen in the wild, or from live digs I’ve seen on video on YouTube. I had to print and laminate a Google Earth printout of my backyard to keep track of them all, and so I can use white board markers to easily mark when I drop a new one. If you’re in Maryland and have a new detector you want to run through the paces, please stop by and have at it.

I ran the Legend through the garden, basically comparing it to the Equinox which is my highest performing detector in the garden with a VDI. The Legend was able to hit every target the Equinox could hit but 2, and these were silver dimes next to square nails. After watching some videos, I decided to drop the iron break point to 7, and the Legend was hitting both of the two it initially missed, so it’s severely down averaging those small silvers next to iron. In the depth department it did great, matched the Equinox target for target. It also missed all the deep targets that the Equinox also missed, and so far only one detector has hit. I have some really deep silver dive and silver quarter targets that only the DeepTech Vista X can hit, but that machine can hit a BB down 10”, it’s freakishly deep. The F75+ in boost mode can just barely hit my super deep silver quarter, but it’s flaky and I never use boost mode in the wild and don’t really count it.

One area where the Legend excelled in over the Equinox was ID’ing junk and not falsing. I have the right corner of my backyard set up with a ton of square nails, and I use that to run detectors through to check falsing. With the Equinox in F2, I could adjust most of the falsing out at the expense of sacrificing some really hard 3d iron test targets. The Legend in its current state cruises through that section with nothing but iron grunts. A large portion of my detecting time in some of the sites I’ve hunted is spent investigating false signals, so I appreciated that.

Another area the Legend impressed me was with the ferrous/non-ferrous meter thingy, so far in my tests if that thing even registers a bar toward ferrous it’s junk. Both in the garden and it real hunts, that has proven itself over and over. I made it a point to dig everything until at least 50 hours, but now I’m pretty confident in skipping anything that at least throws a bar towards the ferrous. Who knows though, I’m always tempted to dig solid repeatable signals that don’t feel big, so I’ll probably keep digging anything solid and repeatable. More exercise to keep my butt looking sexy for the Mrs. ChrisMD.

I did have one issue I’ll point out, which is I found sometimes changing through modes that when I came back a target that was ringing up as a certain VDI was now ringing up as a totally different VDI. The only way I found to fix it was to restart the detector. I’m guessing it’s a bug, I haven’t seen anyone else talking about it so maybe it was some user error or menu screw up I did without realizing it, but it happened to me a couple times. Now I keep a silver quarter in my pouch to check when out in the field, so that I can check and if it happens to reset. I’ll keep an eye on this one, and will probably go back to the garden and catch it on video to send to Nokta Makro to see what they think.

Real World Detecting: OK, the BLUF is I really enjoy using the detector, and I’ve been pulling up some great finds in most of my hardest hit sites. These are very iron heavy sites, and I think the reason I’m pulling them up and I didn’t with the Equinox is either flat out missed them, or I called them as junk and didn’t dig it. I’ve noticed with the Legend that I’ve gotten some really bad targets so far as how they sound, surrounded by iron and the audio and VDI jumping was pretty gross, but I made the decision to dig because the Ferrous meter thingy was pegged solidly to the right. My second dig with the Legend was a pickers token, audio was terrible, VDI all over the place, but the signal was small enough and the meter was pegged to the non-ferrous side and I dug it. This was in a spot that I can positively attest that I have put many many detectors coils over, and not just me buy my neighbors that detect. It’s a very small piece of grass that gave up numerous civil war buttons, 1800’s silver, and so many Indian Heads that we coined it Indian row since it’s a strip of grass with a concrete walkway on one side and a large hill on the other. It’s one of the first places I take detectors, and haven’t had a target come out of there in quite a while. I’ve gridded it several times with survey flags with multiple detectors, 6” coils, etc. Anyhoo, I’m calling that a win for the ferrous meter. I have that target on a live dig, I’ve been lazy as heck about putting up YouTube videos, probably sitting on a couple hundred hunts full of all live digs, but maybe someday I’ll work through the backlog. I will post that dig though, you can definitely see my surprise that I pulled a good target in that spot.

Overall after a dozen or more outings with it, I really like the detector. For those that know me or have detected with me, I’m kind of weird about detectors. I can recognize a detector’s outstanding performance and still decide not to use it, like the Equinox. I’ve bought and sold the Equinox 3 times, and I just didn’t enjoy using it even while recognizing that I should be using it. I actually enjoyed the Vanquish more than the Equinox, and who knows why, it’s subjective mostly. I’d just rather swing a detector that I subjectively enjoy swinging, as I’ll stay out longer and not come away feeling like a chore. I loved the Etrac and CTX 3030, and really hope Minelab comes out with a replacement that gives me that same feeling. Anyhoo, back to the Legend, the Legend gives me that feeling. I love swinging it, I’m digging a lot less trash than usual, still no silver, but the thing definitely loves old copper. I’ve dug more Indian Heads, flat buttons, dandy buttons, and other weird copper relics than I have in a long time. That may also be because the weird 60 digit VDI scale has me digging things I otherwise wouldn’t, or because I still get a lot of targets in iron and trash that sound bad, but the non-ferrous meter pegged to the right makes me dig it. But something is going on, and I like it.

Beaches: OK, so talking about the Legend on the beach already got me kicked out of two Nokta Macro Legend themed Facebook groups. Up until this point I was pretty ignorant that Nokta Makro had such a vapid brand loyal following, but you absolutely cannot suggest areas of improvement without NM fans trying to tear your insides out and feed them to you. But hey, my experiences are my experiences. I don’t know why people can’t take constructive feedback, it only helps improve the detector, but it was interesting being called Calabash’s lackey.

I don’t pretend to be a beach expert at all, especially east coast beaches. Before moving to Maryland I detected Hawaii beaches for 4 years with an Excal that I bought from the Oahu Lord of the Rings Joe Au-Franz. He’s like the OBN of Hawaii, great guy and really started me off right with the Excal. But there all I needed was a weight belt and googles/snorkel, if I hit a good target just drop down and fan the white sand until you see the target, easy peasy. This beeping/scooping in ugly east coast water is something else, I think I need a 20 inch scoop to get the targets first try. There is definitely a technique to it that I’m not ashamed to admit I’m not good at, still feels like I’m fighting with my detector, scoop, and float in the water.

Anyhoo, back to the legend. I took the Legend to my neighborhood’s private beach, which is brackish, and it struggled a little. Performance wise, I’d say once I quieted it down it performed maybe a little better than an Apex but clearly not up to the Equinox’s wet salt sand capabilities. The iron falsing in the wet salt sand, even with salt sensitivity maxed out, was fierce for me, and I had to drop sensitivity way down and run out of all metal to quiet her up. I had the manual with me, and tried everything to get her stable and quiet and enough sensitivity to get close to the Equinox, but it just wasn’t happening for me. Granted, I’m not a beach guy, and I’m definitely not a beach guy with a detector with a VDI….I only ran the Equinox and CTX 3030 on beaches, probably a total of 50 hours at that. I almost bought another Excal since that was the machine I knew best, or a CZ21 since I put a couple hundred hours on one of those in Hawaii. Anyhoo, since I’m not primarily a beach guy, I’m not bothered over the current state, but hope the update they are working on improves things. I’m not so concerned also because I’ll have a D2 coming shortly, and reports are looking really good for that on the beach. I got my neighbor into detecting right before heart surgery, and he took to detecting like a mad man, and also has a boat, so I predict we’ll be boating into a lot of beaches in the bay this year, bring OBN along so we can keep an eye on him and become his beach padawan.

Conclusion: I like the detector, I enjoy using it, and right now it’s moved up as my daily driver while my F75+ and DeepTech Vista X cry in the corner. I’m looking forward to the iron bias update and the beach update. The most important part for me is that I’m having a blast using it, when I stop thinking about the detector and only thinking about the signals and digs, it’s usually a great sign, and that is where I’m at with the Legend. I do think at the price that I paid that it’s the best performing detector for the price at the moment.