This question has been around for a long time and I remember when I first started metal detecting I didn’t understand the need for headphones. But let me ask you this, have you ever been driving home from work and your favorite song comes on the radio? When that happens most of us start rolling up car windows, turning up the music, adjusting your car stereo because we want to hear it as best we can with the least amount of background noise. How hard is it to get into your favorite song when there are sirens, people honking and tons of background noise going on? Not a great listening experience!
The same goes for when you’re out metal detecting. The more background noise you can block out the more you can concentrate on what you’re metal detector is telling you and you will soon find yourself not able to detect without headphones. I HATE metal detecting without a pin pointer but I can do it, I can’t hunt without my headphones though! I find that the slightest breeze, traffic even off in a distance takes me out of my element and I can’t concentrate on what my detector is telling me. I also find myself going slower and constantly worrying that I am missing the fainter signals.
When I first started wearing headphones I hated it. My head would get hot and I couldn’t stand being tethered to my metal detector. It didn’t take long though and I quickly realized the importance of headphones. Being tuned into my detector instead of being interrupted by background noise and being able to hear those faint signals actually increased my finds.
Another thing to think about when asking yourself if you need headphones or not. It is not a good idea to be in a public place or even someone yard where your metal detector can be heard by others. No one, even fellow detectorists want to hear your metal detector. If you’re in a park, it’s a must. Even in parks where metal detecting is allowed you will find some people who aren’t happy you’re there. The last thing you want to do is annoy these people with your beeping metal detector and draw attention to yourself.
Get yourself a pair of headphones and make yourself wear them, I promise in a short time you won’t be able to do without. Blocking the outside noise alone you will find yourself more on your game, being able to concentrate on what your detector is telling you and it will allow you to hear those fainter, deeper signals.
Not all headphones are created equally
When I first got into metal detecting I was all about cheap headphones. I just couldn’t see spending the money on these headphones that were designed for metal detecting and in my mind I just couldn’t imagine them being worth so much. I eventually had to break down and find out for myself though and it was the best thing I ever did!
There is a huge difference between headphones designed to plug into your stereo system and headphones designed for your metal detector, usually. There are a lot of detectors that come with stock headphones and even some aftermarket headphones that just don’t have good speakers that will work great with detectors. Some of them are ok but most are bad. I tell people a good rule of thumb is this. If you can listen to music with your headphones and they sound decent or great, they will not sound great on your metal detector. They might sound ok and you might even think they sound great but you’re truly missing out.
Most of the aftermarket, metal detecting head phones will come equipped with speaker elements that will sound amazing with your detector.
Common headphone features
Dual or single volume – For me this is pretty simple. If you want to be able to turn one side down or due to hearing issues you need to have adjustment for each side then you want dual volume control. If not an issue a single volume control will work fine.
Compatibility switch – often times you will find a switch on headphones. Many people believe that is for turning the headphones off and many people use it for just that while they are digging. Although it can be used for that, in reality it serves a more important purpose. Some metal detectors require headphones to be wired stereo while other mono. The compatibility switch will make the headphones compatible with both types.
Limiter switch – often times you will find another toggle switch on headphones. That is a limiter switch limiting the output of the speaker on super loud tones.
If you’re not using headphones you’re really missing out. For me, they are almost as important as the metal detector itself and a must for me. Get yourself a pair of headphones, wear them for a few days metal detecting and I’m sure you will agree!