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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review Of BatExplorer Software From Elekon

Review of BatExplorer software, from Elekon, AG.

The BatExplorer software package, is free to download and use. As is generally the case, with most currently available software - It is easy to download and install. In fact, it may be said that BatExplorer software is even easier to download/install than most.
The current version (at the time of this writing) is Version 1.8 (17.05.2013). Clicking on the following link, will begin the download process: Version 1.8 , it is approx. 50MB in size.

I happen to like this software very much. As is the case with the recently reviewed Batlogger M detector, I simply cannot seem to find anything to complain about! It's very well-designed.
The ideal user of this (free) software would be anyone who owns a Batlogger detector. If you use this software with recordings that were made with a Batlogger (any version) - You will be pleasantly surprised at how well everything flows together.
The next user that Batexplorer would be good for, is anyone who has bat calls that have been recorded using either: A frequency division, full-spectrum, or time-expansion bat detector.

Right from the start, it's easy to become very fond of BatExplorer software - The first thing you'll notice, is that the interface looks just too cool for words. I absolutely fell in love with the colours!

Here's are typical examples (notice the wonderful default colours):

 Main Screen

Zooming in on a bat call a bit

Why do I like this software? Because it's multifaceted, elegant, and works as well as it looks. It works beautifully; and it's easy and fun to use. It has a very low "frustration factor". The work flow does just that: It flows
The good news is that after reading the User Manual a bit, you'll be ready to analyze just about any (.wav file) bat recording you've made. Except for those made with a heterodyne detector, of course.
The not-so-good news, is that the software really only shines when using recordings made by a Batlogger / Batlogger M. If not, you're basically limited to viewing one .wav file at-a-time.

---------------------------- For those fortunate enough to own Batloggers --------------------------
Read on!

For example - After a night (or two) of bat detecting/recording - Either passively or actively; you (should) have an SD memory card filled with recorded ultrasonic sounds. Many from bat passes. For the typical user of these products, I realise that detailed explanations are not necessary. But, in any case:  -Launch software-  -Insert memory card- -Import recordings-
The software suggests simple 'Project' titles, for the major file Folders where your .wav files will eventually be stored. 

Something else I like: You don't have to "give up" the ability to listen to your bat calls in heterodyne mode. Many people (myself included) enjoy the capability to listen to your bat calls in heterodyne fashion: As with the Batlogger itself, BatExplorer gives you several options for playback, while analyzing your recordings.

Among the new features, in version 1.8 is a system log of sorts. 
Reminiscent of the Log File from a Titely Anabat system/software:

 
As I always say, it reminds me of a log file from a computer server (of which I've seen many).

The BatExplorer software emulates a lot of the features which are present on the Batlogger detector. As for Pros, some of the components that come to mind, are:
  • Bat call Playback options, such as - Pitch, Mixer, Divider
  • I like the way it looks! I think it's hard to deny that it looks cool!
  • It's periodically being updated and improved via new Version releases
  • It processes files quickly, and is a robust application.
As for Cons:
  • It currently does not cover North American bats in it's Bat call ID library.
  • If using recordings that were not from a Batlogger, functionality is a bit limited.
The reality is, that Elekon's BatExplorer software is very well developed and is packed with amazing features that I haven't even touched on in this review. The fact is, that BatExplorer has too many features to properly cover in a review of manageable size.
Luckily, I won't need to explain every function, since anyone can download it and check it all out for themselves!  But, some really neat and useful features that come to mind, are things like:

* The way it breaks down each recorded bat pass - And indicates: Length, Max/Min/Peak Frequencies.
* The Statistics feature, with a bar graph of Peak Times of bat activity.
* It's ability to utilize detector-recorded metadata in various ways.
* The Map feature, which allows you to accurately plot locations of detected bats.

As always, I will update this post if there are any immediate/unexpected changes or improvements to the BatExplorer software package.

Happy bat detecting!

4 comments:

  1. Hi-
    Did you happen to find a link to a downloadable manual?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much for your comment. A separate, downloadable user manual is not available at this time. If you download and use the application, you will find that The built in, online Help feature is very useful, and informative. A separate user manual may be made available In the future.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi
    I would like to know how to read .wav data from another detector (D500x). I have not found how to do it.
    Can someone tell me how this can be done ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your question. As stated in the review above, under 'Cons': "If using recordings that were not from a Batlogger, functionality is a bit limited."
      In other words, if the recording was not made with a Batlogger - you can only look at one file at a time. That is the limitation.

      Delete