Traditional | CHIRP | DownVü
ClearVü | UHD | Panoptix
Garmin Sonar | Guide
Contents | Quick Links
- Garmin Sonar Comparison
- Traditional Sonar vs CHIRP
- CHIRP Frequency Choices
- CLEARVu Sonar
- SIDEVu Sonar
- ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION
- PANOPTIX LIVESCOPE
- Panoptix Compatible Models
Whether you’re a freshwater or saltwater angler you know that sonar is one of the most efficient ways to find fish & bottom structure.
In this post, we are going to examine the 6 types of Garmin Sonar from Traditional Chirp to Panoptix All-Seeing Sonar and compare their features.
Garmin sonar technology is excellent for both Beginners and Pros alike.
First, we put the table below together for a quick comparison of the current models and the sonar they support.
Then… we dive into the types of sonar/fishfinding technology that Garmin has, what they do, and which ones will are best for fishing and finding structure.
- Traditional vs CHIRP
- Ultra High-Definition
- Panoptix LiveScope
- Panoptix All-Seeing
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Garmin Sonar | Comparison
Here is a breakdown on which models have which sonar
6 Types of Garmin Sonar
1 – Traditional Sonar vs Chirp Sonar
Traditional Sonar – sends one single frequency at a time.
Since the only feedback is from this one single frequency, there is limited information to work with, restricting the clarity and resolution available with standard sonar.
CHIRP Sonar – is one of the most sophisticated sonar technologies available for fishing and boating today.
It truly provides amazingly clear target separation and definition because it puts even more energy onto a target than traditional sonar.
Instead of sending just one single frequency, CHIRP sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies within a range from low to high and then interprets each frequency individually upon its return.
Since this continuous sweep of frequencies provides a much wider range of information, CHIRP sonar is able to create a much clearer, higher resolution image with greater target separation and crisper fish arches.
For example, 80-160kHz is sweeping through the range from 80kHz all the way up to 160kHz and hitting every single frequency in between.
Choosing a CHIRP Transducer – Picking the right transducer is very important to get the most CHIRP sonar.
These transducers have elements that are tuned to specific frequency ranges and limit interference while transmitting and receiving data.
It’s important to choose the right frequency range for the water conditions you boat or fish in. Higher frequencies use a narrow beamwidth and are better for high-speed operation and rough sea conditions.
The bottom definition and thermocline definition can be better when using a higher frequency.
Lower frequencies use wider beam widths, which can let the fisherman see more targets, but could also generate more surface noise and reduce bottom signal continuity during rough sea conditions.
Wider beam widths generate larger arches for fish target returns, making them ideal for locating fish.
Wider beam widths also perform better in deep water, because the lower frequency has better deep water penetration.
Chirp Sonar Frequency Choices
Low CHIRP | 40-60kHz
- Ideal for deepwater
- More power = Deeper Depths
- Can show thermoclines
Medium CHIRP | 85-165kHz
- Best all-around performance
- Mid-Band CHIRP, excellent for targeting Tuna, and Billfish
High CHIRP | 145-230kHz
- Best suited for shallow water
- High band frequencies use a narrow beam that is good for finding fish that are holding tight to structure.
- Better target separation for bait
High Wide CHIRP | 150-240kHz
- Excellent for freshwater.
- A wide beam angle can cover more area in the water column.
- High Wide beam shows larger fish arches than the standard high CHIRP transducer.
2 – CLEARVÜ Scanning Sonar
ClearVü Sonar – gives you an ultra-clear sonar picture of objects, structures, and fish below the boat.
ClearVü sonar is mainly used to identify structure and gives you a nearly photographic image structure below the boat.
With ClearVü, you see structure, submerged objects, and fish separation more clearly.
Instead of a cone-shaped beam like traditional CHIRP sonar, ClearVü scanning sonar sweeps a narrow beam of very high-frequency from side to side, producing “slices” that are combined to create very detailed images.
Fish are easily identifiable on Traditional View with CHIRP where as Structures are well defined using ClearVü.
For fishermen and divers looking for structure like wrecks, reefs, log piles and other underwater natural and man made features, ClearVü is a great tool.
3 – SIDEVÜ Scanning Sonar
SideVü is a high-frequency sonar – that gives a true-to-life view of structures and targets on either side of the boat.
Like ClearVü, SideVü scanning sonar sweeps a narrow beam of very high-frequency out to the side, producing “slices” that create very detailed images.
You see a crystal clear image that makes it easy to identify wrecks, structure, rocks, and even fish that are stacked up next to or above them.
The distance you can scan out to the side depends on the depth but can be usable out several hundred feet which is excellent for covering and searching lots of area quickly.
4 – ULTRA HIGH-DEFINITION
Ultra High-Definition scanning sonar redefines scanning sonar. See everything below and off to the sides of your boat in amazingly sharp, crisp detail.
Share Ultra High- Definition scanning sonar images seamlessly across multiple networked chartplotters.
The black box system version includes an easy-to-install, networking GCV 20 sonar black box with an included three-array GT34UHD or GT36UHD transducer to provide scanning sonar images in ultra-high definition.
UHD comes standard on the ECHOMAP UHD Series, Ultra Series, GPSMAP 8600, and the new GPSMAP x3 series. No black box needed.
Ultra High-Definition scanning sonar gives you some additional depth performance.
It shows very detailed images of fish and structure up to 200’ below the boat with 800 kHz ClearVü, while two SideVü sonar frequency settings (455/1200 kHz) provide a depth range of up to 125’.
Ultra High-Definition ClearVü – Transmits brilliant image clarity of structure and fish below the boat at greater depths than other high-frequency scanning sonars by utilizing a downward-facing element to put more power on targets.
Note: A UHD Transducer is required for Ultra High-Definition Sonar. Some bundles include the GT54UHD-TM or GT56UHD-TM transducer.
Here’s a good side by comparison of standard ClearVü and UHD ClearVü.
More UHD Examples
Ultra High-Definition SideVü – shows stunningly clear images of structure and fish out to the sides of the boat. This makes searching new areas easier and faster because you can see everything the first time with excellent detail.
Keep in mind though that these sonar images are under perfect conditions and tuning. We rarely get returns back quite this perfect in everyday fishing, but they are pretty damn good.
5 – PANOPTIX LIVESCOPE
Panoptix LiveScope sonar brings real-time scanning sonar to life.
It shows highly detailed, easy-to-interpret live scanning sonar images of structure, bait, and fish swimming below and around your boat in real-time, even when your boat is stationary.
PANOPTIX Livescope LVS12
The LVS12 Livescope series offers both 30-degree forward and 30-degree down real-time scanning sonar views.
Panoptix shows real-time sonar images below the boat, even while stationary.
With the active scanning capabilities of Panoptix LiveScope, you can see images and movement so clear that it’s even possible to distinguish between species of fish.
The single-array transducer is an economical solution for inland and near-shore anglers without the need for a black box.
The LVS12 transducer is compatible with both the GPSMAP 8600s and the ECHOMAP Ultra Series in plug-and-play.
LiveScope LVS12 features two modes in one transducer .
LiveScope Down and LiveScope Forward – and can be installed on a trolling motor or the transom.
Depending on your fishing preferences and style, you can choose to view both modes simultaneously or each individually from the chart plotter without any manual adjustment of the transducer.
Both views provide incredibly sharp, real-time scanning sonar images up to 200 feet down or away from the boat, even when the boat is stationary.
The LiveScope LVS12 is also equipped with an attitude heading reference system (AHRS) that constantly adjusts sonar beams to compensate for boat motion, so even in rough conditions, anglers will still see a steady sonar image.
This module includes a compact GLS 10 sonar black box with LVS32 transducer and simple plug-and-play Garmin Marine Network connector to install easily and integrate seamlessly with your compatible Garmin Chartplotter .
Use the transducer as a supplemental traditional and ClearVü sonar source to see a historical representation of structure and fish below your boat. Available with trolling motor, transom, and thru-hull mount transducer options.
- The Panoptix LiveScope scanning sonar system includes a compact GLS10 sonar black box with LVS32 transducer
- It has a total of six sonar beams generated by three arrays
- Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) stabilizes sonar view on Chartplotter screen, even in rough conditions (similar to camera stabilization). This also tells the Chartplotter what orientation the transducer is in for Forward vs Down views (similar to the PS22).
- Will read water temperature
- Can be the transducer source for Traditional and ClearVu
1. Compatible with:
- GPSMAP 8400/8600
- GPSMAP 702/902/1202 Plus
- GPSMAP® 7400/7600
- GPSMAP 1002/1202
- GPSMAP 1202/1202xsv Touch
- GPSMAP 702/902 series
- ECHOMAP UHD 70/90
- ECHOMAP ULTRA
- ECHOMAP Plus 70cv/70sv/90sv
Garmin Panoptix LVS32 Specs
Number of pins
LIVESCOPE LVS32 BEAM ANGLES
- Panoptix LiveScope coverage is 20o(Port to Starboard) x 135o(Bow to Stern)
- Maximum Range is 200′ (Forward or Down)
- Frequency Range is 530 – 1100 kHz
LIVESCOPE LVS32 vs LVS12
LiveScope System (LVS32)
- Full System – $1499
- It has a total of six sonar beams generated by three arrays
- Two modes in one Transducer. Transducer must rotate.
- 135 degree front to back x 20 degree side to side beam
LiveScope LVS 12
- Lower Cost – $499
- Two sonar beams generated by one array
- Two modes in one Transducer. No manual adjustment needed
- 30 degree front to back x 20 degree side to side beam
PANOPTIX LIVESCOPE | Transducer Comparison
RealVü 3-D Down
RealVü 3-D Historical
RealVü 3-D Forward
Garmin Marine Network Compatible
Independent Power Connection
Transom Mount Included
Trolling Motor Mount Included
Thru-hull Mount and Fairing Block
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 The forward-facing transom mount should be mounted in a location that is out of the water at speeds over 17 knots; if located below the waterline, cruising speeds over 21 knots should be avoided.
Here is a great video on the details of Panoptix LiveScope and how it works.
6 – PANOPTIX ALL-SEEING SONAR
Multibeam thru-hull transducer with premium FrontVü forward-looking sonar helps you avoid running aground¹ by displaying the bottom ahead of your boat in
real-time on your Chartplotter.
It also includes LiveVü Forward sonar so you can see fish — even divers — swimming in real-time under and ahead of your boat with a 300′ forward range.
Includes three forward views: LiveVü Forward, RealVü 3-D Forward, and FrontVü.
REALVÜ 3-D FORWARD
To help give you time to avoid collisions with submerged obstacles, FrontVü shows underwater obstructions within a 300′ range as you approach them in real-time.
The ability to effectively avoid running aground with FrontVü sonar decreases as speed rises above 8 knots.
Includes three downward views: LiveVü Down, RealVü 3-D Historical, and RealVü 3-D Down.
REALVÜ 3-D HISTORICAL
REALVÜ 3-D DOWN
Scans below the boat – front to back and side to side – to construct a full 3-D view of the area under the boat, letting you see contour changes, fish, and structure, even while stationary.