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BriBay

marcum power? Need help!

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I know that I am probably reading way too much and should just go buy one, but; I am torn between the LX-3 and the Fl-18 with Dual Beam so I emailed both companies the following:

I am going to be purchasing my first flasher and like a lot of people I am torn between the LX-3 and the FL-18. Since most of the retailers do not seem to know beans, I have read forums and forums getting real life answers. One thing that I am still unclear upon and hope someone can answer for me is the power of 400 watt vs. 1500. Following is a comment I encountered on a forum

"MarCums 1500 watts along with the 20 degree cone angle has plenty of power to penetrate deep water but also has the ability to fish in very shallow water without needing suppression cables like the FL8 and 8se or the LP mode like the FL18. Macrums IR is also a lot better at canceling out other nearby units." Is this not a contradiction in terms or am I messed up? I thought the LP mode on the Vex was to shut down the power enabling you to fish in shallower water without all of the clutter and if so, how does the Marcum LX-3 enable you to do this if it has nearly 4X the power of the Vex? Is there IR better because of the increased power?

Vexilar emailed back;
We have a different type of sonar design than they do. We utilize extremely high receiver sensitivity and moderate output power. They use high output power with much lower sensitivity. In the end you achieve basically the same apparent performance. However, we are a little confused about their output because the transducers they include cannot be rated to handle 1500 watts. 300 Watts is about it, given the physical size of it and stated specifications of the transducer from their vendor. The rest of the power is wasted and even can cause signal distortion and premature transducer failure. Something's not right about their story.

Many of our anglers do prefer to use an S-Cable or the FL-18 LP feature in shallow water. With our very high sensitivity receiver, shallow water readings can be too "hot" in some situations.

The IR performance between the two should be very similar since they more or less copied our design.


Marcum emailed back;
I'll be completely honest is saying I don't know how this works. I will pass your question on to the MarCum engineers and maybe they will give me a better explanation. I can tell you that I use my LX-3 in 10' or less almost exclusively as I manly fish Pike and Bass. I have no problems with clutter in fact my most productive area lately is a 5-1/2 feet deep weed flat and I've had no trouble with clutter or target separation.


I know this lengthy, but it seems marcum is avoiding the question? At least Vex had an answer, right?

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i would'nt say an answer that may not be accurate is better than an answer that is honest. one thing to remember about vexliar, they have no on staff engineers that i know of, their products are designed in japan with the designers having little or no experience in fishing (using the sonar unit in fishing situation's gives the designer great feedback). vexliar's response appears to be full of half truths.

1. yes the vexliar has 400watts compared to marcums 1500watts.

2. no the vexliar reciever is not more sensitive than marcums.

3. yes the marcum works as good in shallow water as it does in deep water. its not a function of power but rather a function of a well designed reciever.

4. yes marcums reciever has less distortion than vexliars. yes this can easily be measured.

5. yes marcums reciever design costs many times more than vexliars.

6.yes marcums transducer can handle 1500watts. hundreds of transducers have been life tested well over ten thousand hours at 2500watts (no failures).

7. yes vexliar dosent know transducers, they are not sonar engineers.

8. marcums transducer design is much more eficient than vexliars, this can be measured.

9.no 1500watts is "not" considered high power(except by veliar), virtualy every other sonar out there has more power. look at all the lowrance units that have 4000watts.

10. no marcum didnt copy the vexliars ir. marcum has a better way, which in the field can be verifyied (marcums ir works better than vexliars). marcum has applied for a patent on its ir.


i'm not trying to slam vexliar, just trying to correct the inaccuracy of their reply. this is my opion, and is based on over 20 years of sonar design and extensive knowledge of both units.

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I have been out to both marcum and vexilar web sites, marcum claims there engineers have 20+ years military experience in sonar. Vexilar tells you nothing about their engineers. something to think about.

O

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BriBay, That was me you quoted me in your post. I'm glad to see you using the info I've put out there from my first hand experience using both sounders. How the MarCum can perform great in shallow and deep water applications is because of a close to perfect matched set of receiver, transducer and good software. I also said that any good sounder should be able to do the same.

dec, I like the breakdown in your post.

I don't care if it's 100 watts or 5000 watts as long as it performs under real life situations. 1500 watts isn't high powered if you compare it to other sounders using 4000 watts. I can also say the IR of the MarCum is far superior to the Vex. I've found the Vex handles interference fine when theres only one other sounder in the area but put two or more in the mix and it struggles. With the MarCum you may have to adjust the IR once and then your done. Doesn't matter how many sounders are in the area the MarCum knocks out the interference. When your Vex buddies are complaining about interference you'll be happily fishing with a clear display on your MarCum. Heres an other scenario when your on the ice with a Vex and interference. You get you IR set when its almost tolerable and your buddy isn't happy with his and he hits his IR, there goes your display again doing counter clockwise back flips. Get the MarCum and be done with that nonsense.
I don't know how a Vex rep can say that the MarCum "may" have premature transducer failure when 90% of the transducers I see that fail are off a Vex.

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BriBay - Either unit you decide on will be great. Neither unit is gonna catch you more fish than the other - not true or false but Fact!!!

I cant see how a company can boast of "20 years" of experience while the other has been around and on the market for seemingly forever with a near flawless record and a A+ customer service....

The 1500 watts, the thin line display, and the adjustable zoom are all things that are way over marketed, bigtime!

I have fished 60-80 ft of water and never had my gain up over maybe 6. And often fish shallow weedy areas and never switched over to low power on my 18. In the shallow weedy stuff the gain is usually on 0 or 1 but havent needed to switch to LP. This to me means like the Vex rep said that the 400 watt out put to the reciever and the 1500 output to the reciever equate out to the same thing in the end. Apples to apples.... More power without harnesing that power is useless.

Thin line display. It may look appealing to some eyes but it dose not equate to better target ID or seeing more fish as some would have you believe. When your talking fractions of an inch in target seperation you might as well be splitting cat hairs or drilling holes in your sore prain.

Zoom is a nifty feature that has its place. One thing that is definate is you will miss fish on your non zoom side of the screen whils consentraiting on the zoom side. Maybe if your on a crappie bite where EVERy single fish is comming in at a certain depth the adjustable zoom would be nice. But it is way over hyped as a needed feature and about the last thing id do for fear of missing fish elsewhere in the water collumm.

Flasher are just tools in the tool box, the more tools you have AND know how to use the better you become and the more enjoyable the experience may be....

I have no ties to either unit and could care less which unit anyone chooses. Id just like to not see folks goated into believing either unit is the "answer"...

"Dont believe the hype"!!!

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northlander,
How come you traded your Vex for the Marcum?
just curious.
I've had the FL-18 for going on 3 years it it has treated me well. The IR does leave a little to be desired at times though ,I'll concede that. I haven't used the Marcum but can see room for improvement on the 18.
Also that 10' zoom would be a nice feature- been fishing metro crappies of late that are biting suspended about about 6' off bottom. sometimes just past the reach of my vex zoom. You can really pick up the mood of the fish with that zoom.
That red 'blob'on bottom can be deciphered with experience.
whatever happened to VS560 underwater cameras' by the way? At the ice fishing show they said a couple weeks they'd be on the market; they're still not out!
vexilars' reputation is better I think.
They probably have more returns for repairs because they're more often purchased. Haven't seen sales data but i'm guessing Vex has outsold Marcum 3 or 4 to 1. They maybe catching up though with some of their features--
bottom line I think you'll be happy with either unit

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Up on LOW in 25 feet of water fishing the crappies, it was sure nice to move that zoom window up to the 16 foot level where the fish were active. Outfished my buddy and his vex 18 in the tent with me. Maybe it was a coincidence? Maybe the zoom did nothing but make me happy? When Vex comes out with adjustable zoom, improved IR, better line separation, included charging accessories and a protective bag, then Marcum will have to take the next step. Wonder what that will be?

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Duffman - Bingo!!!

Surface Tension - There are a few added features on the Marcums that are nice.
The charging system is slick.
And id like to have the option of a 10 ft zoom.
Beyond that, nothing. But thats me and im not a Staffer....

The "blob" thing and target seperation. I was on a hot bluegill bite the other day. When the blob met up with my jig mark I took my eyes off the vex and consentraited on my rod/line. Splitseconds later I was setting the hook. I guess a thinner line display would have helped??? Yeah right. Or a better target seperation would have made a difference to....... Same yeah right!

Two year warranty??? I believe vex has that, and the cosutmer service is unbeatable, along with a proven track record...Plus from what I have seen if something does go wrong after two years they fix things for nex to nothing labor wise...

Its only a matter of time before we are talking about the fl-28 or something like that anyways..... And that will have over hyped features too....
"Its the man behind the trigger and dont believe the hype"...

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 02-12-2004).]

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Duffman & Dark Cloud you'll see quite a few FM family members saying great things about MarCum.

I can't speak for anyone else. I give my real life fishing experiences with both Vexilar and MarCum. When someone asks for a comparison I give it and its the same reply I'd give to friends, family or anyone on this site.
I do believe Vexilar was a sponsor on this site at one time. Do a search under my posts with the key word Vexilar, you won't see any endorsments from me. Not that anyone that was a Vex guy turned MarCum has anything to be ashamed of. Reviews and opinions change, usually because of new products or models entering the market.
The FL18 may have been top dog at one time and folks here raved about it. The emergence of the LX3 has given the FL18 a run for the money and when I compare the 2 MarCum has come out ahead IMO. Will things change with if a FL28 comes out, could be.
Could my opinion change, yes.

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Surface Tension....
I'm not trying to stir the pot as much as I'm just trying to open some eyes as to where some of the info comes from. There's a ton of info in these forums, some great, some good, and some bad. Those of us that have been around a while can figure out how some things operate on FM, that's why I take a lot of what is said by certain people with a grain of salt. Both the FL18 and the LX3 are fine units from what I've seen, but it really is nothing more than a Jiffy/Strikemaster, Ford/Chevy thing, maybe that's why I drive a Toyota. grin.gifgrin.gif

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And to throw in another twist, what does everyone think about the Marcum LX-1 vs. Vex FL8? I'm in a budget crunch...

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Dark Cloud I tend to agree with you, when you make the point about watching your line after the "blob" is near your bait. I find it hard to believe that such precise imaging will increase your catch rate.
The marcum has nice "superpowered" features, but I can't say I'm going to trade my ~4 yr old fl-8se in tomorrow. If you are experienced at using the equipment, you will catch fish IMO.

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so - Did you catch the Thorne Bros sale on the MarCum LX-1 I think they were $249. I checked there sale site and I didn't see it on there anymore. I don't have any experience with the LX-1 but one of my buddies that I fish with CNY Rob loved his FL8SLT and fished with it for many years and it's performance was flawless and still is today even though it is in dire need of brushes and clean up. That said you may be able to find one available on hsolist for a good price, solid unit.
Back to Rob he got a good deal on an LX-1 and he's been fishing with it this season and he has already called me twice telling me how much he likes it granted his FL8 is old but he is as salty an ice fisherman and experienced beyond my years. His main thing that he liked was the thin line display I also reminded him that his target seperation on the LX-1 is .5" tighter than his FL-8.
Either one you chose will give you a valuable tool for your ice fishing experience.

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Just because a staffer is talking up Marcum doesn't mean he is doing so because he got a unit for free.I don't know of any staffers that didn't pay for their units.We would pay the same if we were fishing for Vex.Its a choice,just like anyone elses.
That is fact.So you can be assured that you are getting honest opinions at FM.
In my opinion,the Marcum is the best unit out there right now.Who knows what next year will bring.You can bet if I have the bucks I will have the best unit no matter who is making it or if its a sponsor of FM or not.And I will let you know what I think of it.
I used to run a Vex 18.I happend to fish with a guy who had a Marcum last year.Thats all it took.It was clear(and I might add crisp)as a bell that the Marcum was indeed an improvement.So I hopped on the Marcum band wagon.
If the features are hype then why do they come in so handy and improve my fishing.
Better IR = the ability to see the fish when fishing in a group and anticipating that bite better.Your ready right now!
Adjustable zoom = I find this invaluable when fishing crappies that are suspended over water deeper than 40 feet.Just try to finesse a crappie with those tiny fuzy lines on the Vex.That would make my eyes strain and them my brain would hurt.
The ten foot zoom is great also.In my experience suspended fish do not stay within 6 feet of the bottom.I have also raised walleye further than that off the bottom to lose them in the fuzz on the right hand side of the Vex.
Crisper display means that you can easily pick out what is a fish and what is not.It also allows you to tell when a fish is breathing down on you jig easier.Its clear and less interpretation is needed on your part.
The charger is sweet,but wouldn't be a deal breaker in my opinion.I can use alligator clips and know how to read a clock.
The target separation is also better.Its easier to see that eye with his belly to the bottom.
All these things don't seem like hype to me but a definate improvement.If the price is the same I can't see why a guy would know a Marcum....especially if he has used one!
Thats one thing a guy should consider when reading the opinions on the forums.Has the guy used both units and can actually make the comparrison.


------------------
Minnesota River Guided Fishing
www.mnriverguidedfishing.com
[email protected]
NPAA #863

[This message has been edited by Dennis Steele (edited 02-13-2004).]

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From what I'm reading here,my opinion of Marcum vs Vex has changed drastically. Might have to try and coax my buddies to let me try his Marcum unit someday soon---------
thanks for all the info!

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Dark Cloud,
you are absolutely right. We all need to watch out for the hype. However, hype versus a real gain can sometimes be difficult to differntiate.

You for instance were claiming not that long ago, that the zoom was a bunch of hype.

Bottom line is, the new fishing tools and added features do and MIGHT help us, but in the end, it's what we know about fishing that makes all the difference.

Duffman, as for the Pro Staffers here, you will be hard pressed to find a more honest bunch of anglers (ok, they are fishermen, aren't they).

I bet there are thousands here who have followed their advice and are darn glad they did.

Also, Vexilar is a darn good unit and will serve folks well also. I do have to thank Vex for many years of use that helped me learn the ice fishing game a little better, ok, a lot better. grin.gif

I'll leave it at that.

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 02-12-2004).]

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Marcum are great, marcums rule! You will catch atleast 10 times as many fish if you have one....

Two things, well maybe three or four - Almost nobody that spends big bucks on anything is gonna badmouth it, ie - ford/chevy....
And no way is everyone thats talking up one unit or the other paying full price for it. I dont doubt that some are but some people are getting some sweet deal along the way....

Mr Steele - "honest opinions at FM". Yeah right. There is ALMOST no such thing as honest info on any site. Its all opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

Once again guys we are dealing with a 99.5777 and a 99.6777. Dont go selling one unit or the other to buy the other one thinking your gonna catch more fish....

Rick - I never said the zoom was a hype. I love the zoom feature. For my fishing which is very diverse the adjustable zoom is useless. And I bet for the vast majority out there it is more of an over hyped feature than one thats actually used. Just my 3 cents...

Timmy - Next time we fish together im hiting you in the head with every fish I catch for that "I also reminded him his target seperation on the lx-1 is .5" tighter that his fl 8" statement. You overthink things so much that one of these days your heads gonna explode. Im gonna flim over your trap and its gonna be one big mess, lol...

[This message has been edited by Dark Cloud (edited 02-12-2004).]

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Bribay

I read post after post ,and forum after forum, and still couldnt decide. So I bought both units with the intention of returning one.

Its very simple, of the two high end units available this year , the fl18 and the lx3, the lx3 is better in all tests including, target seperation, clarity in dim light, and bright light,less interference, better zoom,better charging system, better more protective case, but probably the clincher was that when my wife used both, who has never used a flasher before. Said the marcum showed her fish and bait much more clearly, and she was catching fish like she never has before.

The only area the fl18 may have an advantige is its bottom lock feature. I can see this would be nice to have in open water, but I dont know because I've never tried it. But for this year the Marcum wins, for me, it was a no brainer after haveing the two side by side, while fishing a third hole inbetween them.

Next year it may be different I'm sure vexilar will have an answer.

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Wow! I hope and will believe that anyone that takes the time to reply is putting forth an honest objective opinion and for that, I thank you all.

One thing that is kind of in the back of mind though; Look at my original post and the reply I got from Marcum - I still have not received an answer and it's been almost a week.

Thanks again to everyone.

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Dennis

You seem to have quite bit of experience sonar's. I have the lx3 and am totally sold on it for hard water. How well will it work in a boat [rocking boat].

I've never used any electronics with my boat, but if I can use my lx3 in a boat and have the same fun marking and watching fish like on the ice, I'll be happy. Or am I better of getting an LCD.

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I would much more rely on opinions you gather on a forum such as this, than I would from a minimum wage employee answering the phone at either vexilar or marcum.

If I would have read opinions such as many in this thread, by obviously unbiased real world users, I probably wouldnt have needed to buy both to try them out. I think I would have been convinced I was making the right descision with the LX3. And it was the right descision, and no I have nothing to gain by saying the marcum is better, other than it gives me satisfaction to pass on helpfull information.

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Dark Cloud - I knew I would have to pay for that .5 remark grin.gif
So let me get this straight...
The next time we fish together along with all my ice fishing gear, I am gonna need a football helmet with a lineman's mask cause I have seen you throw. grin.gif I need to pick up 3 more ice anchors so I can tap through the bottom of my trap in each corner into the ice and the last thing will be to leave the MarCum at home and bring the Vex. grin.gif
Have fun with Pops on T tomorrow!

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