Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds for Equinox 800?

ScaredOfClowns

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
811
Location
Bucks County, PA
Lately I've found that wearing full headphones while hunting with my Equinox gets uncomfortable in the summer heat.

I've been thinking maybe I could use wireless Bluetooth earbuds instead - seems like they be more lightweight, plus they would allow me to wear a hat with a full brim for better sun protection.

However, I tried pairing my Equinox with a set of Bluetooth earbuds I happened to have already (Tozo NC2 earbuds) and despite repeated attempts I could not manage to get the Equinox to pair with them.

Has anyone successfully used wireless Bluetooth earbuds with the Equinox 800? If so, what brand/model have you used?

Thanks in advance!
 
Those are what I used when I had an 800.

A lot of guys liked them.

I was getting them for $19.95.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2206.jpeg
    IMG_2206.jpeg
    109.5 KB · Views: 25
I posted this response to ScaredOfClowns yesterday, but I’ll repost it here since it was in a spot that’s not likely to get seen by others who might be interested:

Hi - I noticed that you mentioned that you used third-party earbuds with your Equinox. I'm looking to replace the headphones on my Nox with something more lightweight, especially in the summer.

What brand/model of earbuds did you use? Were they wireless?

Thanks!

Hi SoC -

The headphones are Aukey brand, model EP-B80 earbuds. Yes, they are wireless, with ear hooks (I prefer ear hooks because they stay in place far better than the type that just pop into your ear which seem to be more prevalent/popular). They are definitely AptX LL compatible, and I used them not only with the Equinox, but also the Legend, and they connected easily and have excellent sound quality. I still use them with my current Manticore, but I do need to use a third party transmitter for the Manticore since Minelab made its Bluetooth proprietary on that machine.

All that said, the headphones are a pretty old model at this point, and I don’t think they are in production any longer. I bought mine back in 2019 and 2020 (3 pairs total, 2 are still going strong, and one pair died at the end of last year only because I accidentally put it through the washing machine…they’re sweat and weather resistant, but not waterproof!)

The trouble is, the AptX LL protocol is going away…it’s a proprietary protocol owned by Qualcomm - any company interested in using that codec in their devices must pay a licensing fee to Qualcomm. Latency is a very important issue for using Bluetooth headphones of any type with metal detectors - basically, too much latency means you don’t hear the beep in your headphones until after the coil is already past the target. The delay is only measured in milliseconds, but believe it or not, delays as little as 50 to 100ms are enough to seriously screw up your eye-ear coordination while detecting. Most headphone/earbud manufacturers have moved on from AptX LL - there are newer codecs they can use which are almost as good or better than AptX LL that don’t require paying a licensing fee to a third party like Qualcomm (Bluetooth LE is a good example). So the problem becomes compatibility - you can go to places like Amazon and find plenty of headphones or earbuds that advertise “low latency” capabilities, but unless your device (whether it’s an iPhone or a metal detector) is capable of using the same codec, it’ll revert to some basic codec such as AAC or SBC whose latency jumps up to 200-500ms. And keep in mind, AptX and AptX HD are definitely not the same as AptX LL - they are all different codecs with different latencies! This latency and compatibility problem is part of the reason why many new detectors are only compatible with proprietary wireless - the detector manufacturers have better control over the latency problem if they don’t allow their machines to connect to headphones with poor latency. Proprietary systems like Garrett’s ZLynk not only have far less latency than standard Bluetooth or even AptXLL, they are obviously money makers for the company rather than an expense to a third party like Qualcomm.

Anyways, I’m getting way off into the weeds on this. Back to earbuds that can work well with the Equinox - I haven’t tried them personally, but I’ve heard others recommend these headphones recently:

HomeSpot Neckband Wireless Earbuds aptX Low Latency Bluetooth 5.1 Headphones (Amazon link)
 
Last edited:
…However, I tried pairing my Equinox with a set of Bluetooth earbuds I happened to have already (Tozo NC2 earbuds) and despite repeated attempts I could not manage to get the Equinox to pair with them.

As I mentioned in my post above, codec compatibility is probably the issue with the Tozo earbuds. I don’t see the specific codec mentioned in their manual or in the Amazon listing for the Tozo NC2 earbuds, but since they are listed as Bluetooth 5.3, they are probably using the Bluetooth LE (low energy) LC3 codec, which the older Equinox can’t use…the codec is too new. Usually, newer Bluetooth devices have “backward compatibility” built in, meaning that if your device is older and/or isn’t Bluetooth LE compatible (most if not all iPhones aren’t, for example), the newer device can revert to one of the older, standard codecs such as AAC or SBC. The Equinox is prepared for that…it’s why you have the potential for two different Bluetooth connection indicators, one for AptX LL and one for standard Bluetooth (but remember, latency becomes a serious issue on standard Bluetooth). I’m no expert, so I can’t explain why the Tozo earbuds fail to connect despite the Minelab machine having standard Bluetooth capability, but it may be that some earbud/headphone manufacturers aren’t bothering with what they may consider “obsolete” codecs. I own a ton of non-AptX LL earbuds from various brands that connected fine to the Equinox on standard Bluetooth, so I can vouch that the Equinox will connect to standard Bluetooth just fine in most cases - I just never used those earbuds because of latency issues.

I’m going into the weeds again, I guess, but I’ve learned that Bluetooth compatibility is not as simple of a subject as most people probably think. I was the first to lambaste Minelab when they released the new Equinox 700, 900, and Manticore with proprietary Bluetooth, and they eliminated AptX LL as an option. But now I understand why. As you can see by what I’m describing above - as technology rapidly changes, manufacturers run up against an issue where they are chasing future tech. Paying a third party such as Qualcomm ceases to make sense when the software becomes obsolete to the point that users can’t find supported headphones, and the third party headphones that can still connect have horrible latencies…meanwhile, the users end up blaming the detector manufacturer for the bad latency (“their Bluetooth connection sucks!”). With propriety connections, the manufacturer has better control over the overall quality and speed of the connection, and just as importantly, how fast their wireless connection tech for a particular line of detectors goes obsolete…and yes, it creates a new income stream for them as well. Garrett’s ZLynk is an excellent example. As users, we get aggravated at the perceived greediness…”they’re forcing me to buy their crappy, overpriced, uncomfortable headphones with awful audio quality and bad external sound suppression”. And while there is merit to that argument (I was one of those who pounded on that pulpit), the whole story is more complex and nuanced - the manufacturer’s perspective is legit as well.

Here’s an interesting link that gives a pretty easy to understand run-down of various Bluetooth protocols and codecs…and I thought the brief history behind the name “Bluetooth” and it’s symbol was fascinating:

Audiophonics Bluetooth Codec Blog
 
Last edited:
Are the detector companies capable of changing the Bluetooth type with software upgrades?
 
Thanks very much for your detailed reply - really informative!

After getting frustrated with Bluetooth connection failures, I’m trying the Minelab WM08 unit connected to a single wired earbud. I like having one ear open for situational awareness, and using a wired earbud eliminates latency issues and is one less gizmo I need to keep charged.

Appreciate your reply in any case!
 
Are the detector companies capable of changing the Bluetooth type with software upgrades?

Great question, Jose. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the answer is complicated by the grey area between what’s considered an upgrade vs update. Bluetooth on any detector operates off of a Bluetooth hardware chip, so yes, I imagine detector companies could conceivably update the software for that chip as part of any detector update - fix bugs, maybe add an extra codec that is compatible with the chip but wasn’t originally included, etc. But upgrading the Bluetooth type or functionality - which means changing the Bluetooth version - is likely limited by the Bluetooth chip. I doubt an older chip can implement Bluetooth LE, for example.
 
Back
Top Bottom