Link To My Original Detector Review Blog

Published April 22, 2016 by Bat Detector Reviews

Sometimes, I’m not entirely sure, why I do some of the things I do…

Like the creation of this second, “auxiliary” blog.

The initial idea, was to give WordPress a try. To have a secondary blog, where I would post (duplicates) of only the reviews which I felt were special. And that is what I’ve been trying to do – I’ve reviewed more than 40 different bat detectors from all over the World. But, those which will be duplicated here, will be less than a dozen.

Not sure why I’ve never written a Post with the link to my original, bat detector review blog…But, here it is:

Bat Detector Reviews

After all, it is the main detector review blog.

Happy bat detecting!

 

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Review: The New AnaBat Express From Titley Scientific Part 2 Of 2

Published July 28, 2015 by Bat Detector Reviews

Review: The New AnaBat Express From Titley Scientific Part 2 of 2

The AnaBat Express sports a clever design, which reminds one of a weatherproof Pelican brand case. When attached to a tree (anything except a Birch tree!) it blends-in very well. The Camo pattern is very effective. 

Out-of-sight, out-of-mind; this equates to a much lower probability of potential theft or vandalism. There isn’t nearly as much concern, as one might have leaving other brand units in the field. 

Once the unit is powered-on — There are three options to choose from:

  • Schedule
  • Night Only
  • Continuous

This arrangement makes The AnaBat Express nearly fool-proof. Close the unit, snap the two latches closed, and you’re done. 

Titley has provided an interesting feature – The black nylon cord seen attached to the top of the unit, has a magnet inside (the tiny enclosure at the end).

After the unit is installed, you don’t have to remove it in order to double-check it for proper operation. You simply hold it (the black clip) up to the LED (lens) on the outside of the case.

“A brief flash indicates the unit is working” 

In use, you will probably be a bit surprised, by just how sensitive this unit is. But, again, it doesn’t seem to record many unwanted (non-bat) noises.


The accuracy of recordings is very good; as well as one would expect from a modern-day, zero crossing recorder.

Pros: 

Small and lightweight.

Very simple operation/Deployment.

Built-in GPS.

May be monitored live via USB port.

Firmware updates are extremely easy.

Cons: High price (compared to it’s competitor, The SMZC),

The overall simplicity of The AnaBat Express, makes it a pleasure to use even on a nightly basis. Although most owners, will be using it for field deployments of up to 10 days at a time.

The price of the unit varies, depending on where you shop. Here in The U.S., you may purchase from Titley directly. For those outside of The U.S., I’ve listed two sources which come to mind: NHBS -and- Wildlife & Countryside Services (both in The UK). 

It is provided with (4GB) SD card and (4AA) batteries.

I feel as though my general impressions regarding The AnaBat Express, were pretty much summed-up in Part 1 of this review. To re-iterate: I like: The size, robust design, the simplicity of operation, and the dependability of this unit. 

I’ll be adding some AnaBat Express-related screenshots to this post, in the near future. In just a few short days, The Express will be on it’s way back to Titley Scientific (here in The US). Thanks again, to Titley for the loan of the unit.

Among the Reviews coming-up next, will be a short overview of Titley’s free AnaLook software.

Happy bat detecting!

Review: The New AnaBat Express From Titley Scientific Part 1 Of 2

Published May 31, 2015 by Bat Detector Reviews

Review: The New AnaBat Express From Titley Scientific Part 1 Of 2


The AnaBat Express, is the very latest passive bat monitoring solution from Titley.

It is a fully weatherproof machine, for collecting ultrasonic recordings of bats. 

It’s no secret, that this passive monitoring solution, is in direct competition with the (SMZC) offering from Wildlife Acoustics. 

I knew that the time would come, when I’d have to address this subject. There’s certainly no way around this (hot) topic. It just so happens, that the Review most recently published here, was of The SMZC.

Many Ecologists, Bat Workers, Researchers, et al, will be narrowing their choices down to these two solutions. Both are formidable.

So, we may as well get it out in the open, straight away. 

This is probably the closest  bat detectors will ever come to reminding one of…Cogswell Cogs vs. Spacely Sprockets…(The humour may be lost on non-U.S. Citizens)

  Vs.


Be that as it may, I do not intend for this review to be a direct “Shoot-out” between the two, but rather more like an informative summary; which will aid those faced with deciding between the two. With the goal of making the decision process a lot easier.


The brand-new AnaBat Express records bat calls in zero crossing format, directly to a removable SD card. The recorded ultrasounds are intended to be analyzed afterwards, utilizing Titley’s free downloadable software packages – Specifically, AnalookW.

AnaBat Toolbox is also a very helpful, and well laid-out application, developed to help you with manipulation of recorded data. It is also free. User Manuals may also be conveniently downloaded, via the Menus on this Link. All of the most current / up-to-date downloadable applications, and even firmware, may be found on This Titley Link.


The AnaBat Express arrived well-packaged. To give you an idea, of what type of packaging to expect, when your Anabat Express arrives. see Photo below:

Un-Boxing The AnaBat Express.


For users who prefer direct Links: AnaBat ToolBox 1.16  – And –  AnalookW 1.4t


I like the small size of this unit, very easy to handle (I was able to hold it in one hand).
Being a unit primarily designed for passive / unattended bat recording; The AnaBat Express isn’t what one would call “Feature rich”. Opening the unit, the user will quickly attest to it’s economy on buttons. There are 2: A ‘Power’ and a ‘Select’ button.

To be fair, they are just about all I’ve ever needed. 

I am fond of the blue LED indicators; the fact that they aren’t too bright is also a plus for those in the field (they are not so bright as to ruin one’s night-adapted vision).

The design is rather nice – The exterior of this unit is produced in a (very effective) camouflaged finish. When the unit is closed; it’s really closed.

The system is very compact; yet has the ability to hold the microphone in a (foam-lined) slot (when not in use). There is also a black plastic cap provided, to screw onto the microphone port, to protect the opening from the elements. It also stores inside the Express. 

The essential equipment, which also benefits from the impenetrable housing includes:

  • The on-board (built-in) GPS unit
  • The SD Card Slot
  • Mini-USB connector 
  • 4 AA-Sized (LR6) batteries 

Not to be neglected…There is also a memory/system clock back-up battery (CR2032) and a Lid Switch; which informs the system (and logs) each time you open/close the unit.

Using the unit is very straightforward and yes, easy! Talk about quick deployment…The AnaBat Express rates very highly in this area. The only drawback I encountered while having tested and used the unit, was the delay in acquiring GPS lock. However, Titley cautions the user regarding this possibly, throughout their documentation. Which, I found admirable.

Another feature which I really like, is the ‘Instructions for use’.

Just below the small ‘SN 324XXX’ (serial number) sticker, is a very useful sticker, with simple instructions for the deployment of this unit. Very neat!

Amoung those who would be most interested in The AnaBat Express, would be someone for whom quick deployment is paramount. Obviously, this product would prove useful to Bat Workers and Ecologists, needing a reliable bat recording device. But the small size of the Express, would allow each Professional to easily carry more than a few in a back-pack, etc. An AnaBat Express, with batteries installed, is surprisingly light. This translates into the ability to deploy many units, without the need for many people. 

Much more to follow, in Part 2 Of 2!

Until then…

Happy bat detecting!

Review: The new Stereo Batscanner – Scanning bat detector from Elekon Part 2 of 2

Published March 9, 2015 by Bat Detector Reviews

Review: The new Stereo Batscanner – Scanning bat detector from Elekon Part 2 of 2

The current User Manual, is a straightforward, one page document (now available in pdf format Here). It is currently available in both the English and German language.

I’ll admit, I do not have a lot of experience using Stereo bat detectors – But – Testing Elekon’s new Stereo Batscanner (on a recent field trip) was a real pleasure.

I was pleasantly affected with this new Stereo Batscanner, right from the start. Having a sensitive, high-quality microphone on each side of the unit, makes it twice as hard to miss any foraging bats.

An FG Knowles Mic on each side (Port & Starboard):

Above the detector in this Pic, is a (high-quality) right-angle stereo adapter. Along with a (shielded) Stereo patch cable (for connection to a recording device). Both are 3.5mm.

The 3.5mm audio output jack, is located at the front & center of the bat detector. A right angle (male-to-female) stereo adapter (like the one pictured above) may help to keep things neat. These may be found/purchased separately, 

As many are already aware, The FG Knowles microphone element(s), such as those used in The Stereo Batscanner are rather robust. In other words, they are quite tough. Their small, dainty appearance might lead one to presume they are delicate – But, this is not the case. Even so, I rather wish there were something there to protect the Mic…Perhaps a thin circle of (acoustically-inert) Felt/material.

There is no denying, that the Stereo Batscanner is unique. The only other (popular) Manufacturer producing stereo bat detectors, is Ciel (in Germany).

The Batscanner Stereo (in the dark)

  

In use – The best description I can offer, in one word is: Pleasant. I envision experienced Bat Workers enjoying the sounds of bats foraging, in stereo. In heterodyne mode, mind you; considered by most (experienced bat listeners) to be the most pleasant mode in which to listen. I’ll take this opportunity to remind the reader, that even with the year 2015 approaching, there are still those who enjoy the simple pleasure of listening to bats. In heterodyne mode.

Have a listen yourself, to a quick & easy recording I made below:

(The Stereo Batscanner was connected to a Tascam DR-08 via a stereo patch cable)

Can you tell which direction the bat is flying from? 

The point is, that this detector is of value to both the Hobbyist (who, for example) may not be overly concerned about which direction the bat began it’s flight from -To- The Professional, just starting out (with Surveys, etc.) -To- The seasoned Professional, who will be able to easily confirm the bat’s direction of flight. -Or- even an individual who prefers to use it outside of work; just relaxing in the back garden. I’m sure the market for potential owners doesn’t end there…

Pros –

  • Stereo!
  • No tuning needed – Scanning Heterodyne.
  • Wonderful, small size – Fits in a pocket!
  • Relatively long battery life.
  • Easy to record from, for unattended monitoring.

Cons –

  • Slightly higher price than some other detectors.

Thank you, to Elekon AG, for the loan of the new Stereo Batscanner.

I understand, that there have been a few (minor) improvements made, since the very first prototype was released. Perhaps I’ll be re-visiting one of the very latest (full-production) Stereo Batscanner units in the future?

In any case, I am planning to add more recordings -and- a couple of sonograms to this post, in the near future.


Until then…

Happy bat detecting!


Up next, will be a Review of The New SMZC Songmeter platform from Wildlife Acoustics.

Followed by a Review of the new M500 USB Mic from Pettersson.

Review: The brand-new Stereo Batscanner – Scanning bat detector from Elekon AG Part 1 Of 2

Published March 5, 2015 by Bat Detector Reviews

Review: The brand-new Stereo Batscanner – Scanning bat detector from Elekon AG Part 1 of 2


It’s finally been announced & released! I’m very happy to report, that I’ve had the opportunity to test (and use) the new Stereo Batscanner from Elekon for months now…And now, since Elekon AG has announced it – I’m finally able to share my thoughts.

This turned-out to be a very fortunate situation; the timing was perfect, since I was able to test the new detector on one of my recent “mini field trips”. We travel to a location (not too far from here, actually), where the bats are even more plentiful (and diverse) than those I routinely record at home.

The result, was a digital recorder full of stereo recorded bat calls! I used my ultra-portable Tascam DR-08 recorder. 

The new Batscanner Stereo, shown with stereo patch cable

(notice LED indicator near ‘A’, representing Auto Mode)

While on-site, at the “batty” location, a substantial amount of time was spent testing The Stereo Batscanner. The first half, of this particular test session was devoted to testing the new unit’s general abilities, as a hand-held bat detector (before hooking it up to the digital recorder, via a stereo audio cable).

It was a real pleasure to use. Of course, there were many (general) similarities to the original Batscanner. The exciting part, was hearing the bats as they flew from Point A to Point B. This new stereo Batscanner adds a wonderful, new dimension  to bat detecting:


A user is able to determine the direction of flight of the bats, as they are being detected.

This can be accomplished by using your ears – And/or your eyes:

  • The front-mounted speaker produces enough clear audio, to allow most (experienced) bat chasers to actually determine the origin of the calls, as a bat flies from left to right (or vice-versa). 
  • The (very clever) LED indicators on the front panel (below the frequency readout) also indicate which (of the two) microphones are detecting ultrasounds. Very neat!

So, if you cannot decide which direction the echolocation’s are coming from, using just your ears…You will be able to determine which direction they’re coming from using your eyes!

I found, that simply listening to the foraging bats, was very enjoyable with this new stereo Batscanner. I believe that many experienced detector users will also find this new Batscanner a joy to use. It has all been very exciting for me.


The new Stereo Batscanner arrived promptly from Elekon AG, in it’s typical box (packaging) which may be seen below:

 The Stereo Batscanner, in it’s box as received (via UPS)


I love the small size and weight of this unit. It’s very similar to the original (Mono) Elekon Batscanner. It’s nice to have such a capable bat detector in such a small, and easy-to-hold enclosure.

 The battery compartment

The new Stereo Batscanner is also available from NHBS:

http://www.nhbs.com/ad/product-link?n_id=218426&af_id=745183&b=ffffff&l=0021b3&p=ff0000&c=euro&nw=1&sp=1


Features – The new, Stereo Batscanner from Elekon is a scanning, heterodyne bat detector. As it’s predecessor, it automatically scans the detecting area for any ultrasonic bat calls – When it detects the ultrasound of a bat’s echolocation, it stops scanning, and displays the peak frequency of the detected call.

During my testing, I found the unit’s ability to display peak frequencies of the detected bats to be quite accurate. While simultaneously using high-end bat recording systems, to confirm. 

The Stereo Batscanner is super-easy to use: It powers On, by depressing two buttons on the unit: The Power-On -and- Volume Up buttons. This design (also present on the original Batscanner) prevents the unit from being turned-on accidentally. While in transit, in a pocket, etc.

This detector has the potential to suit a variety of different owners: From Beginners just starting-out, to experienced “veterans” (Hobbyists), to even Professional Bat Workers who would like a comfortable, easy-to-use detector for quick listening sessions, etc.

You can tell which direction the bats are flying from, even from the recordings. Very nice.

I intend to post the various stereo recordings, in the up-coming Part 2 Of 2 of this review.

There is much more to follow, in Part 2…

Happy bat detecting!

Review: Dodotronic’s Ultramic200K

Published February 12, 2015 by Bat Detector Reviews

– ULTRAMIC200K – From Dodotronic

I’m excited about a new product, that has just become available from the folks at http://www.dodotronic.com/ In this case, It’s a new ultrasound microphone, called the Ultramic200K. The main purpose I’ll be using it for, is to record bats! But, any type of ultrasound can be recorded. You can see photos and info of the new unit, by visiting the link above.


One of the reasons that I am really thrilled about this device, is that until now, there’s never been a true, low-cost version of professional ultrasonic microphones – Such as the high-end (and very high cost!) models offered by a few specialist suppliers in Europe. 

These are geared more towards the Professional’s budget, way out of reach for the average bat enthusiast.
Another great feature of the Ultramic, is that it plugs right into a laptop. Unlike the expensive professional units, which require the user to purchase one or more additional hardware components. Since most folks have laptops these days, just about anyone can have a professional style bat recording system that’s simple (andinexpensive!).

The newly released, free SeaWave software has been modified to run the Ultramic smoothly, even on a Windows tablet with low-power Atom CPU. You can find SeaWave here: Download SeaWave

As you will learn from the Dodotronic Web site, the Ultramic200K is an ideal choice for someone who enjoys “experimenting” and discovering new ways to use the various (free) software packages available. It is a very versatile device, with lots of features; so there are quite a few ways in which to record sounds. One can use it straight away, simply by plugging it into your portable computer. It may be used with a Windows or Linux operating system. Or, you may try it with any free, downloadable sound application of your choice.

I’ve completed some tests and comparisons on one of the first prototypes of this unique microphone. Recording tests of the UltraMic200K reveal a very capable piece of equipment.

Ultramic200K First Impressions:

I received the Ultramic200K prototype today (here in New York, USA), less than a week after ordering it. The mic was well packaged, with bubble wrap and a padded envelope.
The microphone has ‘ULTRAMIC200K Distribuito Da DODOTRONIC’ printed on it, in neat, black lettering.

The unit is lightweight and very compact. Upon plugging it in to my laptop (running Windows XP) via USB cable, It is recognized right away.
I immediately launched the SeaWave software, since I knew it already has a convenient template for this microphone. After launching the SeaWave application, you can simply click on the ‘Quick Settings’ pull-down menu on the right, and select ‘UltraMic 200K 16 bits’
I’ve found two ways to get it ready to record – Although, there may be others (I’ll confess: I have not read about all the capabilities of this software yet). You may either click on the ‘Rec Mode’ button (lower left side of screen); or click ‘Task’ on the upper left area of the screen (sometimes referred to as the file or menu bar) and choose ‘Real-Time Analysis + Recording’. Either of these actions will cause the large ‘Start’ button to turn red, and read ‘REC Start’. A single-click on that button begins recording.

The first thing that struck me, was it’s ability as a microphone in general: Outstanding! It has simply amazing performance! It easily out-performs each of the shotgun microphones I had to hand (including the well-known Sennheiser MKE-300). The sensitivity of this (MEMs-based) microphone is astonishing. This is especially noteworthy, as the Ultramic was not designed to perform as a shotgun mic.
The main feature that I always look for in a new bat detector, is it’s ability to detect bats from a good distance away. And, I’m happy to report that the Ultramic200K can pick up bats at the same distances as my other top bat detectors.
Tonight was the first real test for evening bats. And it performed very well indeed! The sensitivity of this mic is phenomenal!
I still have a lot of learning to do, as far as the SeaWave software goes, but I give it a thumbs up, overall. And it can be used with just about any software that detects a USB microphone. Audacity, etc.
When it comes to the ability to pick up distant bats on the wing: The mic easily matches my beloved BatBox Baton (one of the best performing bat detectors in my collection).
I will say, that this is the perfect ultrasonic microphone for those Nature Recordists & bat enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with recording equipment. The combinations of software settings seem endless. I’ve only just scratched the surface of what can be accomplished with this hardware & software (SeaWave). The full version of SeaPro, has even more (and very desirable) capabilities.
As you will learn from the Dodotronic Web site, the Ultramic200K is a very versatile device, with great specifications and lots of features; so there are quite a few ways in which to record sounds. Many different combinations of settings are possible.
I’ve only tried a few so far. 

One of the most outstanding features of this device, is that it is capable of time-expansion bat detecting! To me, this alone was worth the price of admission. I’ve wanted a time-expansion bat detector for years now…
Another reason that I’m very impressed by this device, is because until now, there hasn’t been a low-cost ultrasonic microphone available to Hobbyists. So, I am pleased to report that the Ultramic200K costs as much as many conventional bat detectors. 200 Euro + VAT + Shipping. 

Many of the specialty ultrasonic microphones on the market have been very high cost units, which also required additional add-on hardware in order to function. Sometimes, one also has to factor-in the expense of additional cables.

With the Ultramic, no additional hardware components are necessary.


Among the options in the SeaWave dialog box, is an option to adjust the Digital Gain. Well, just increasing the value in small increments provides amazing results – The mic becomes super-sensitive, but at the same time doesn’t over-saturate or suffer from too much clipping or distortion. I’m not sure how or why that is, but I’m happy about it (I’ve just never seen it before).

I’ve been informed, by the software Designer, that the Digital Gain feature of SeaWave, should be used sparingly, and on weak signals (as needed). I did start to think that I would be
losing some signal to noise performance – But, it was so much fun increasing the gain! It’s like turning the Ultramic into a Super-Mic! Wow! : ) 

In any case, this new Mic; along with the awesome SeaWave software are the best things to happen to ultrasound recording in a long time!

Happy bat detecting!

A link to the above review, in PDF format, on Dodotronic’s Web site: PDF version on Dodotronic Site