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I am buying my first set of equitment. I have used some scubapro mk 20/g250 and like it. I hear at lot of recommendations. I've also looked at Mares Abyess. The dive shop I took my classes thru does not sell these and says that dacor is equal in quality and lower in price. I am having difficuly finding reviews on it (such as Rodales). Does anyone have any advice or opinions? I live in Columbus, Ohio and will be doing some dives around here. Mostly we are taking a few trips a year to the carib in the warmer waters.
You'll get a lot of opinions on this board, including mine. But I think that most people will tell you that you should purchase the best regulator that you can afford. They last a long time if you buy quality, and the breathing effort is much less with the better regs (in general).
That said, I really like my Apeks TX50. It breathes well in many different angles and has excellent adjustments. I have not tested it very deep, but many others on this board have done so and will tell you that this reg is hard to beat. The only other reg that is mentioned often is the Scubapro. I dont' remember the model number, but it is one of their better units.
"I will spare you a gushy description of the dive itself, except to say that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you've been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent. "
My buddy dives an Abyss and swears by it. The ScubaPro G250 is an old workhorse and many many divers swear by it. I dive an Apeks TX50, and you guessed it, I swear by it. Atomic, Zeagle, Aqualung, and others are well thought of. I no no experience with Dacor regs, but I'm sure someone here does. Anyway, I'd recommend that whatever you decide on, you get a reg that you can get serviced locally. If your shop doesn't sell what you want, then try another shop, or you could always get what you wanted online, but you may have trouble getting it serviced if you go that route.
Apeks DS4/Zeagle50D for me. And I swear by that one too. But I'm planning on doing some technical diving (wrecks and caverns) by end of next year's dive season.
Choice of reg depends lots on current and future dive profiles. If you are planning to say shallow (read 100 fsw or less) and purely recreational (no overhead environments), then just about any mid-range regulator will do. If you do plan on getting technical someday, either spend the extra cash now, or plan on upgrading in the future.
And it's is my opinion that a regulator is not something to skimp on dollar wise. You need that to exist underwater, so you sure don't want to get a low end one that has a chance of packing up at depth. A budget of $250-350 will get you a "decent" to "better" setup.
My suggestion is to investigate a Apeks TX50 with TX40 octo. http://www.divinn.com can provide this one for about $350 US. And this is one of the regs that logs folks on this board like, eh Warhammer? :p
PS. To bad we can't dive down to a platform 60 feet or so with a bunch of regs setup on tanks so we can try them out at depth before purchasing.
Recently, Mares, the maker of the "Abyss", bought DACOR INC. As far as I know, the DACOR line will continue as separate branding and technology. These two companies have been making regs since the 50's and have it down cold. However, I think the Mares MR 12 type regulators(with the bypass tube)are more highly regarded than the "Abyss". The DACOR "America" and DACOR "metal" are side breathers and Rodales response was tepid. Actually, they tested the older "Vyper" and reported some wet breathing in certain positions. My understanding is that the later models I mentioned correct this. Neither of these regulator lines is second stage adjustable in water. However, this feature is personal preference more than anything.
Don't let anyone tell you that these regs or the Aqualung line, etc won't perform below 100 feet. All these midrange regs will deliver as much air as the Scubapro or Apex. Differences between these regs, to the extent reported, can only be detected by sensitive machinery; the diver won't see any difference. From the divers viewpoint, he will notice "ergonomic" differences such as weight, "pull" at the mouthpiece, bite, flexibility and position and length of hose, side breather or etc, bubbles, clearing. This is all the result of diver experience and prejudice and it is unlikely that someone can give other than general advice since your experience will almost always turn out to be somewhat different from another. Tests such as Rodales can give you a starting point.
Something to think about: Jacque Cousteau's team preferred the single stage, two hose "Mistral" in dives below 100 feet. This regulator was designed in 1955 and had six moving parts, half that of some modern regs. Yet, this ancient device provided adequate air for almost any situation. Regulators have come a long way in the last 50 years. The average diver would certainly notice differences between the Mistral and the G250 or whatever, but differences between equally modern regulators, as reported by some divers, are mostly nitpicking and/or speculation.
Thank you for the advice. Like everyone, I do not want to spend money on benifits I do not need. I have no problem however paying whatever the cost is to get the best for my needs. My budget therefore is whatever it needs to be. There are shops around here that sell just about everything. It is just the shop I have always gone to seems to be limited in this area.
IMO, Apeks regs are probably the best regs on the market in every aspect except for really cold water. They are among the best (if not the best) breathers on the market, exceptionally durable, and have an outstanding track record among extreme tech/cave divers. There are definately more expensive regs out there, but probably not better. Do your research and don't be talked into anything by your dive shop.
The best prices I've found is Aquatic Adventures in Florida. Call Gene at 1 800 741 6476 and tell him Mike Wood JR. referred ya from the UP. As of today, he was selling a new DIN non swival sealed first stage (which is the better one) for $150. A friend of mine just today bought an excellant used 300DIN TX100 for $200 from him. I susect you can get the non swival first and the TX50 or 100 second for $300 or less from him.
Honestly, I would recommend you to get the Apeks, either the tx50 or 100, they are both nearly identical except for the first stages. But I would not recommend that you get the Mares Abyss, either the Mr22 or the new smaller one, the Mr22 is huge, really huge and heavy and expensive, you're better off with the newer epos or something. As for the new smaller one, new is just a catchphrase, look at the voltrex model and you'll see that it's the exact same regulator except for a different faceplace. Scubapro's okay too.
As has been previously stated, you're not really going to go wrong with a mid-price (say $350) or above regulator from any of the major brands. Many of the scubaboard members use Apeks and recommend them often, and as a previous poster said, most people swear by whatever reg they ended up buying. Personally, I swear by my Aqualung Titan LX, balanced 1st and 2nd stages, and a great value for money ($190 at http://www.diveinn.com, though I got mine at a local place "on sale" for $300). Serves my purposes as a "normal" recreational diver.
As for an octopus, if that's the config you're considering, I'd also recommend the Aqualung LPO, specifically designed as an octopus to be shared -- side exhaust, so no up/down and angled from the hose in a position for the donee to more easily use it. This is something not often considered. Again, though, it's a "recreational diving" octopus.