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This is religious ground you're treading on... From what I can see, all are excellent. Clearly for cold water, the piston will be the most problematic. The Zeagle flathead is an adapted Apeks design. And I don't know much about the ATX50.
So I've narrowed it down to either the Scubapro MK25/s600, the Zeagle Flathead or an Apeks ATX50. So what do you all think, what are your preferences?
For singles or doubles?
For singles, it’s hard to beat the MK25 for neat hose routing. For very cold water use I would go with Apeks.
OTOH, both the MK25 and the Apeks DST first stages (that is usually sold with the ATX50 second stage) have swivel turret—some people would say that they are potential failure points that one does not need.
For doubles, especially for cold water, I would go with the ATX50 (with DS4 first stage)—an even better Apeks choice would be the old TX100/FST (Flathead) combo. The MK25/S600 (bad reputation in very cold water—deserved or not, I don’t know...) does route beautifully though; I would be tempted to get the cheaper (but just as good) MK25/G250HP.
I use a TX50 (basically the old ATX50 - has a larger exhaust) and find it a great reg. Some people like the swivel turret first stage, others hate it. I dont know of any proven failiures due to the extra ring. Ive found hose routing very nice.
As a second stage the TX50 breathes well at all depths and has cracking pressure along with venturi adjustment to control breath. If i had to buy a new set of regs now, id buy the same one again.
Anyone taking offence at anything in my posts - tough. It's only an internet forum. Stop being over-sensitive. The real world isn't as warm and fuzzy.
Remember, underwater only YOU are responsible for YOUR own safety. Nobody else is.
One thing to consider is Apeks is supported by the Aqualung network so parts will be readily available...while the arguement will rage on, the chances of a swivel going bad are remote at best .....Life is a failure point.......but most teks use the DS4 which is non......I have the TX100 and it has been a great reg.....I have a bias toward diaphram over piston.....good luck on whichever one you choose.
I have been diving the MK 25 in Washington state and Northern Canada for a few years now and have not had a problem, I am a regulator technician and have not heard of one complaint pertaining to freeze up of a MK 25. Scubapro has gone to great lengths to ensure that the Mk25 will work in cold water.
When using doubles the Mk 25 is also an excellent choice. On the swivel section the low pressure port coming out of the bottom of the housing provides 20% more air flow than the rest of the low pressure ports. By adjusting the orientation of the first stage to approximately 45 degrees pointing towards each other you can use the low pressure ports to provide your second stages with air.
As far as the swivel low pressure housing being a point of failure; I haven’t heard of a valid complaint or concern about that being a likely point of failure.
I used to use Mk 20's and Mk 25's but prefer the Mk 17. It is bullet proof in cold water and I honestly prefer the ability to route all the hoses straight down on doubles with the Mk 17 compared with the turret on the Mk 25.