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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Good Bat Detector List

As per my previous post - Here is a complete list of ALL the good bat detectors.
I have personally tested and reviewed 99% of the detectors on the list. I have also reviewed many of the detectors that are conspicuously absent from the list.
The bat detectors on this list are all excellent performers, great value, and I would recommend them to anyone. They are listed in no particular order. I hope you find this list useful.

Just to keep things straightforward - And plain; here is the simple List - Again, In no particular order:

Good Bat Detectors:

The Simple Bat Detector Kit (parts & assembly required) from Tony Messina (USA)
The Bat Scanner Kit (assembly required) from Tony Messina (USA)
Any detector from Pettersson Elektronik (Sweden)
The SSF BAT2 from Microelectronic Volkman (Germany)
Any detector from BatBox Ltd. (UK)
The USD6 Bat Detector, from YS Design (Japan)
Any detector from Wildlife Acoustics (USA)
The UltraMics (200kHz/250kHz units) from Dodotronic (Italy)
Any detector from Ciel EaM (Germany) - Great for Hobbyists/Beginners
The Batscanner or Batlogger M, from Elekon AG (Switzerland) 
Any detector from Avisoft Bioacoustics (Germany)
The BAT MiniMIC Ultrasonic Microphone from Binary Acoustic Technology (USA)  

*Please Note: I have gone over this List very carefully. If you don't see a certain bat detector on this List, it is because I would not recommend it.

This list is intended to be used as a general guide. For more detailed opinions, please see my Reviews. Use the 'Search This Blog' tool to look for the bat detector review you'd like to see. 
In the future, as I review additional bat detectors: I will add them to this existing list, if needed. 

Last Update: July 1st 2014

Happy bat detecting!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Additional Responsibilities Of A Reviewer?

Recently, I read an article that advised those who review things - To Not just review or mention the good products...But, that the reviewer should also inform his readers of the bad products, the ones to avoid. I suppose I've always been reluctant to do this...
- Instead -
I'll write a post (soon) which will simply list all of the bat detectors which are good value, good pieces of kit, and which I would recommend to anyone. In other words - A complete list of any & all detectors (in all price ranges) which are known to be excellent products; which any buyer would be more-than-pleased with. 
I could easily indicate exactly which detectors to avoid (and why) if I were inclined to do so. But, I'm not. I will simply leave the bad ones off the list.

So, if you are considering the purchase of a bat detector; and the one you had in mind is not on the list: Avoid it! 

“Judicious omission is preferable to correct superfluity” - Walter Kidde

Happy bat detecting!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Kaleidoscope Pro Software From Wildlife Acoustics Part 1 Of 2

Review: Kaleidoscope Pro Software From Wildlife Acoustics. Part 1 Of 2

First, I must apologize: This review should've been posted much sooner. I was away from home recently, searching for "battier pastures"... I forgot to pack my laptop's A/C adapter. So, I was unable to share all of the great screen captures I'd originally prepared. 

If you are interested in an automatic bat call identification package - Then I urge you to download the free 15-day trial of Kaleidoscope Pro. You get to try out the full version of this software for 15 days, which will give you an opportunity to fully test drive the package before you buy. Just to clarify: This is a fully-functioning trial version - Nothing is disabled or limited, as in other software trial downloads. As I'm sure many of you already know, this is not a common practice. Most of the time, trial versions of software applications are severely limited.

The offer from Wildlife Acoustics has recently been extended - The free trial download will be available until June 30th 2013.

Again, I urge you to visit the Page - Check out the amazing screen shots! Watch the video presentation by Guest Speaker David Riggs, etc. There is a lot to see and learn there! Especially, if you're considering the purchase of a license.

I have tested this application, and found it to be excellent in overall performance. As per the Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro page: "Today we offer classifiers for 21 species of North American bats and 10 for the U.K.."
This is very impressive. I have compared it, to all of the other Auto Bat Call ID software packages; Including SonoBat. And, frankly it is one of the two best applications I have found. The other, being BCID.

Which is better?

In regards to features, performance, and ease of use: Kaleidoscope Pro is clearly "smoother around the edges" (more refined, etc.) than the other currently available packages out there.
Kaleidoscope Pro is clearly the winner between the two.

Kaleidoscope Pro currently retails for $1,499.00 (U.S. Dollars)
BCID's current price is $979.00 (U.S. Dollars)

Something else that is interesting, is that - In many ways, the two are somewhat similar: Both in the way they look, and the way they work. Which brings us to the next question; how does it look? Below is a screen capture of the first dialog box you see upon launching Kaleidoscope Pro.
By default, it opens up as a medium-sized dialog box. Here is a full view, enlarged (maximized Window) for a better look:

Kaleidoscope Pro Ver. 1.1.3

Here is a quick screen shot, of one of tonight's recordings (picked up with the new Avisoft USG 116Hnm) - Lots of color variations are possible, they are easily changed using slider controls:

 Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis)

At this point, I should probably re-iterate something here - For those who haven't seen my recent review of BCID software (from Bat Call Identification, Inc.) and that is - In the realm of automatic bat call identification software:
There are currently only two software packages that warrant consideration for purchase:

Kaleidoscope Pro -and- BCID.

There is also a third. I list and describe it separately here, since it is a free application. It is awesome; and works beautifully with The Batlogger series of bat detectors (from Elekon).
It is BatExplorer from Elekon AG. The good news, is it's free. The bad news is that:
American bat species are not currently included.

In summary:

Kaleidoscope Pro is a comprehensive, very well-made, software application. It also seems to have a bright future, with various advancements already planned...Frankly, I can't keep up with all the neat additions they've been making! Which is why this is going to be a two-Part post.

BCID gets the job done, almost as well. But, leaves some things to be desired. And, may even be considered to be lacking in a few (minor) areas.

BatExplorer works absolutely beautifully - With two caveats: 1. You must be using files produced by a Batlogger detector: In order for everything to work quickly, smoothly, and with the minimal number of mouse clicks -and-  2. No American bat species are covered.

The three companies listed above, are each very knowledgeable and dynamic. They pay attention to exactly what is needed by Bat Workers in the field; and do their best to tailor their software to suit their various needs. Wildlife Acoustics is chief among these. In regards to my use of the term 'Bat Workers' here - You may take this to include: Bat Biologists, Researchers, PhD's and soon-to-be PhD's. And generally anyone who works with these incredible mammals.

I have only reached these conclusions, after a lot of careful research. After studying user manuals, specifications, numerous field reports, other reviews (from those with more field experience than I), and a lot of correspondence with several Bat Working Professionals.

In other words, all other currently available bat call identification software has been thoroughly scrutinized by yours truly. 

EchoClass - Although free, is hardly good enough to be considered for any serious (accurate) results, etc. No technical support
SonoBat - Doesn't have a good "track record" or substantial following among bat workers. 
What I've learned from other owners, is that End User support leaves much to be desired.
For (one) example - In the recent past, I e-mailed almost a half-dozen questions (to SonoBat) that all went unanswered. Others have reported the same thing. This basically translates to - No technical support. 

Part 2 Of 2 Review Of Kaleidoscope Pro

Happy bat detecting!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Latest BatExplorer Software Version 1.8 Has Been Released

I'm happy to report, that Elekon has just recently released a new (updated) version of their (free) BatExplorer software.

For those with a keen interest in the details -
Here is a Link to the list of changes that were made (AKA the Changelog).

Fascinating stuff! Check it out!

Happy bat detecting!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Some Breaking News Regarding Auto Bat Call ID Software: Kaleidoscope

A bit of exciting News - Regarding the Bat ID Software application from Wildlife Acoustics: Kaleidoscope Pro. 

I've known about it for a short time... But, have only recently been given the green light to inform you of the wonderful improvements that have been made to the Kaleidoscope software package! 
For those who are somewhat familiar with it, and for those who have used the 15-day Trial, etc. You will be astonished when you see the awesome improvements that have been made! 
This new Version (Ver. 1.0.11) hasn't been released yet...But, will be made available soon!...And, features are still being finely-tuned, even as I write. 

I must state, that it is simply awe-inspiring. The interface itself looks remarkable!
The oscillogram/spectrogram display screen shows bat calls as a unique combination of white zero-cross type dots, imposed onto bright green (default) full-spectrum bat calls.

I am thrilled to have this new Version (Ver. 1.0.11) and am enjoying it immensely!
Unfortunately, my main Netbook (laptop) has become temporarily inaccessible (quite unexpectedly). ...So...I am currently unable to share all the great screen shots with you at this time. I'm sorry! I am deeply troubled by this!
Rest assured, I will share a bunch of screen shots of this latest version, as soon as I can!

Just a reminder - I'm currently working on several Posts, as per this recent Update.
And, of course The Best Of The Best bat detectors post...

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Brand-New UltraSoundGate 116Hnm From Avisoft Bioacoustics

I'm very happy to report, that I've been given the opportunity to test and review the very latest ultrasonic device from Avisoft Bioacoustics - UltraSoundGate 116Hnm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The unit arrived earlier today. Wow! The device is ultra-compact, and very cool-looking! I've already finished reviewing all of the currently available documentation for it - This device will be serious competition for the other micro-sized, high-tech, super detectors on the horizon... 
 


There will also be an even smaller, Black Edition (Bk): Which will feature sampling rates of 750, 500, and 375 kHz - Amazing! The only other bat recording device that I can think of, featuring such a high sample rate is the Pettersson D1000X (at 768 kHz). 

I'm looking forward to reviewing it!

Happy bat detecting!

Monday, May 6, 2013

An Upcoming Post...Will Feature The Best Bat Detectors!

It is May 6th, 2013 and bat detecting season is upon us in the Northern hemisphere of the World. For some reason, I feel compelled, even obligated, to state exactly what the best bat detector models are.

As I stated in a recent blog entry, an upcoming post will feature The Best bat detectors!
It will be entitled 'The Best Of The Best Bat Detectors'

It's time to leave some of the mystery behind...
It's time to take the guesswork out of the decision process...
I'll be addressing a very popular question: "Which is the best bat detector for my budget?"
I will not be utilizing any colourful charts. Although, I'll admit - That even I enjoy some of those comparison charts from time to time...

I will be listing the best bat detectors, in each of the following three major price categories: $2k-$2500, $1k-$1,500 and $150-$500 (U.S. Dollars) - Although I'll probably list prices in other major currencies (listing prices in Euros, and U.K. Pounds as well).

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Upcoming Posts And Reviews

Please note - Upcoming posts, will include the following:

A review of Kaleidoscope Pro, from Wildlife Acoustics
A review of BatExplorer software, from Elekon, AG 
A review of the latest ultrasonic device from Avisoft Bioacoustics - UltraSoundGate 116Hnm
An overview of the software from Myotisoft

Upcoming posts, may include the following:
 
A full, hands-on review of a future model from an American company (this model hasn't been announced yet)
A full, hands-on review of the new NanoBat model from Nanobat (this model hasn't been released yet)

I believe that covers everything, for now...I hope I haven't forgotten anything

Happy bat detecting! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Need For Un-biased, Bat Detector Review Blogs

It recently occurred to me, that when I first started this blog, there weren't many like it out there. There seemed to be a need for an honest, un-biased, bat detector review blog - One that was almost all-inclusive. Something concise and detailed - Which included (or aspired to include) all of the different bat detectors from all around the World.
So, I'd like to make something else clear - Just because I haven't had the opportunity to perform a hands-on test and review of a particular bat detector - Does not mean that I haven't researched it extensively. There are several well-known/World-class instruments which may not be featured. Please don't presume that I've neglected to research a particular bat detector, simply because a full, detailed review doesn't appear on this blog.

The fact is, that I carefully study all of the currently available documentation for just about each bat detecting device in existence. The only exceptions, being the devices that don't have any detailed documentation available. For example - A device such as the Nanobat: There is really only one page of documentation available; a PDF Here.

There is practically no bat detector out there, that is too "minor", too remote, or too obscure for me to overlook...
What I mean by "studying" documentation, most times translates into reading a full 250 to 500 pages. Which typically include: Manufacturer Specifications, User Manual, Case studies, Field reports from Professional Bat Workers/Researchers, Comparisons/Findings made during past (and recent) Surveys, etc. Many of these documents are written by PhD.'s. Most are difficult to find and/or obtain. But, again, for me: It's just what I do - A labour of love.
Again, the point of all this, is just to illustrate how thorough I am when it comes to bat detector research. I consider myself dedicated and persistent, and it probably helps to have a healthy obsession with bat detectors. 

"Always tell the truth - it's the easiest thing to remember" - David Mamet

Happy bat detecting!