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Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The AR125 From Binary Acoustic Technology Part 1 Of 2

Review: The AR125 From Binary Acoustic Technology Part 1 Of 2

(Serial number hidden for privacy)

The AR125 is easy to hold and point, due to the durable plastic handle that comes attached as standard. I like the fact, that it also has a 3/4" threaded opening at the very bottom (of the handle) for attaching to a standard photo tripod. 

Installation is easy, and it's easy to set-up & use: One end of the USB cable gets plugged into the AR125 and the other end is plugged into your computing device.
There aren't many external "features" to describe; all of the actual features present themselves on your computer's screen.

The AR125 (and the AR180) would be ideal units for those interested in:
Transects (esp. mobile/from a vehicle, or other forms of transport)
Unattended recording, and live recording (using a Netbook/small laptop PC)


(AR125 comes with handle attached - It is removable)

When you are ready to record some bats - 
Plug one end of the (provided) USB cable into the back of the unit
Plug the other end into an available USB port on your computing device
Launch the SPECT'R software
Check the software's settings (which will typically be set the same as you left them)
Type in a new file name (for the naming of the recordings) And, click 'Record'
The application also gives you the option of saving your settings; by clicking 'File' (from the Menu bar), 'Save settings'
For my testing, I simply used the current date (ie: "7-22"). The program simply starts each recording with "7-22" as the beginning of it's name. It worked well for me.


After setting up the AR125 & my Asus Netbook (mini-laptop) for an evening of bat recording - I got into the habit of turning off the WLAN (and Bluetooth). The initial idea, was simply to have one less device using the resources of my wireless router (overnight).
Even though, I realize that the the impact is minimal (to say the least). It may seem barely perceptible - But, It seems to not only free up more PC resources (making the SCAN'R software scroll even smoother), but also quiets background hiss even further. This may be a helpful "trick" to try, if you're using a low-end Netbook/laptop like mine.

So it appears that this is a case where the more I use this bat detector, the more I like it.

Pros:
  •  Large, excellent-quality sensor (microphone element)
  •  Simple device, robust: nothing to break-off or get physically damaged.
  •  No batteries to worry about.
Cons:
  • Not compact or ultra-portable, for easy transport.
  • Not weather-proof. 
Stay tuned for Part 2 Of 2 of this review, when I'll cover: More details and pictures of the unit itself, the software packages, and the brightly-coloured sonograms... 
Happy bat detecting!

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