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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The New micro trio From Ciel Has Arrived! - First Impressions

The brand-new micro trio, from Ciel EaM - First impressions:

This bat detector is very new, and has just become available for ordering right now!
Ciel now has them in stock!

I'm very happy to report the arrival of the review sample micro trio, from Ciel EaM in Germany.
Since this new x05 line of bat detectors is soo new, I received a prototype; which happens to be black & yellow. Instead of the black & blue colours, which are planned (for the micro trio). I believe the blue & black scheme will make for a handsome-looking device.

The box which the prototype arrived in 

The detector was wrapped in light protective foam, inside it's box - Along with a small, folded 'Brief Manual'. This is printed in colour; with English on one side and German on the other.


A prototype of the new micro trio
(Production units will be black & blue)

As always, you should read the Manual first. Neglecting to do so, will lead to frustration in the case of the micro trio. Since there is a little "trick" to powering the unit on:
After pressing the 'On/Off' button, (you will see " ---- " in the display) you must press the "+" button within a second to confirm - Or the detector will switch back off.
This feature was implemented to avoid accidentally powering-on the unit. 

 The battery compartment, with diagram for proper polarity.
9v battery not included.

This detector feels very comfortable in the hand. It is a little bit wider in size, than The Batscanner from Elekon. The sides are made from a type of rubberized plastic, which assures a firm grip. The wrist strap is a nice feature to have, while traversing the woods!
Much more to follow!

Happy bat detecting!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: The New Echo Meter Touch From Wildlife Acoustics - Part 2 Of 2

Review: The Brand-New EM Touch From Wildlife Acoustics - Part 2 of 2

As we've established, in Part 1 of this review, the ideal buyer for The new Echo Meter Touch, would be someone who already owns a compatible Apple iOS device.
This product is also good for someone who prefers a bat detector, which has the ability to constantly improve. This is accomplished, via The EM Touch Software -and- Firmware updates. These will be released regularly, from Wildlife Acoustics.
  
Further good news, is that (as with other iOS Apps) you will be prompted/notified, directly on your Apple device. So, there are no worries about missing or overlooking an e-mailed Newsletter.
The following, are conclusions which I've reached, after using The Echo Meter Touch (with iPad mini Retina) for almost a month now.

So far, I've confirmed The Echo Meter Touch recording bats from a distance of just over 20 Meters. Fairly impressive for a bat detector in this price class. However, I have a feeling that it will be able to pick up bats from even greater distances.Therefore, I will continue to test the EM Touch, to determine the outer limit of it's recording range.
Just a bit more testing, in a different location should corroborate this for me. And of course, any findings, etc., will be published here - In an future (update) post.

The distance at which a bat detector can detect and/or record bats, has always been one of the most important factors (for me). This is the case whenever I evaluate any bat detector. 

The GPS performance is absolutely wonderful! Thanks to the constant access to Google Earth/Maps. I have not seen a GPS system this accurate, since Elekon's Batlogger M. 
Thanks again to Internet access, the live (and recorded) GPS' accuracy seems to be just a hair more precise than even The Batlogger's. For example - When doing some simple bat detecting from within a home: The Batlogger M almost "knew" which room of the house you were in. With The EM Touch, it actually does "know" exactly which room the unit is in.
This observation simply illustrates just how accurate the GPS is. By default, the exact location of The EM Touch+iOS device is represented by a pale blue dot (not shown in photo below). I was pleasantly surprised by it's accuracy. And those performing Transects will be too!

In the photo below, each colored line represents a different recording. Typically, these will be of various bat calls. And will serve to represent the location where each bat was recorded. However (in some cases) there may also be some, from non-biological recordings (man-made noise for example). 
Since the recordings shown below were made from inside a house: The GPS readings tend to get confused. Which, results in the random squiggly lines you see in the image below. This does not occur when using the Echo Meter Touch outside, in the field.


The GPS screen (satellite view) of The Echo Meter Touch. LANO stands for Lasionycteris noctivagans (Silver-Haired Bat).

Pros:
  • Many people already own a compatible iOS device, so the only purchase necessary, is The EM Touch unit itself. 
  • The basic Echo Meter Touch software is free; and very easy to use.
  • It possesses almost all of the most desirable features in a bat detector: The ability to monitor, record, playback, and identify* bats; all via finger-taps on your iOS device. (*with the optional software).  
  • Being coupled to a modern & dynamic iOS device, and being a fully upgradeable bit of hardware itself, are both desirable traits. Both halves of this EM Touch system, are dynamic.
Cons:
  • Cannot charge/plug-in The iPad while the EM Touch is in use - There would be an advantage to this: Whenever the Echo Meter Touch is used from inside a house.
  • The microphone sensitivity cannot be adjusted.
  • The Trigger threshold cannot be modified/set.
*The interesting thing, about the issues in the above list of Cons, is that at least two of them can (and may) be reconciled via firmware updates. Specifically, the Microphone sensitivity adjustment and Trigger threshold setting. Once again, it's hard to ignore the flexibility (and possibilities) of The Echo Meter Touch.

In closing, I'd like to share a quick video I made, demonstrating one of my favorite features of The EM Touch Auto ID software. I highly recommend going for the In-App purchase! You'll be glad you did. In this quick (and spontaneous) video, "shot" in my living room, you can see The Auto ID software analyzing each of the recordings: The blinking yellow bat icon, represents the analysis being performed on each individual recording. 
When the blinking bat goes from blinking to solid - It means that a bat was recorded (and identified!). The standard, date-time format of the recording's name, is appended with the abbreviation of the bat's Species name. Which, in the case of this short video, was 'LABO' (Lasiurus Borealis) - An Eastern Red Bat. I apologize for the poor quality of this video, I hope to replace it with a brighter version soon.





As with several of my recent reviews, I will certainly be revisiting The EM Touch; via future blog posts over the coming months. I promise to help everyone keep abreast of any new developments.

Happy bat detecting!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Bat Detectors: Available Now! -And- Coming Soon!

"We interrupt our regularly scheduled bat detector reviews, to bring you news of the following new developments"

There are some new bat detecting devices available now – several manufacturers have produced and released new detectors for sale. 

I will be testing and reviewing the following two brand-new systems soon:

In order of their release:
  • The micro trio, from Ciel EaM - This bat detector is currently very new, and only available to the public via Advance Orders (for now).
Each of the preceding bat recording solutions look very promising!

The solution from Dodotronic & Ultrasonic Analyzer is available now. 

The brand-new bat detectors from Ciel Eam (there are several) are available as pre-order items right now. Others are set to be released soon...

I will also be writing a short review of the latest version of SoundChaser software (works with Dodotronic's Ultramic series of microphones). From Acounect in France. They are also currently offering a free 15-day trial of their software Here. So, if you own an Ultramic, you should have a look and try it out.

Now, on to a few more new bat detectors!

Please Note: At this time, there is no indication that I will have the opportunity to review any of the following new devices. I list them here, for the sake of being complete, and thorough. As always, one of the main purposes of this blog, is to inform the public of new bat detectors as they become available.

Be that as it may, I do plan to purchase and use a Momimic from Dodotronic. So a review of this super-small microphone will eventually be posted here. I am planning to build a homemade, ultrasonic, parabolic dish to record singing insects with. And I plan to use The Momimic as the microphone for it.

Elekon AG - The latest model of their wonderful Batlogger M, has had a few minor changes. The small, external GPS antenna now resides inside the case (no longer visible). In addition, the GPS system itself, now utilizes data from The GLONASS satellites. This is especially helpful, to those in Europe and Russia, etc. Read more at the Newsletter Archive Page.





Avisoft Bioacoustics has recently announced updates to their USG116Hm/116Hmn

Titely Scientific, is poised to release their brand-new AnaBat Express very soon...And, from what I've seen so far - It looks very interesting.

BatBox is supposed to be coming out with a new bat detecting device! No one knows much about it (yet!)

Once again, I will not be reviewing any of these devices, so please contact the manufacturers with your questions.

The "busy season" for new bat detecting devices is here; and once again, I have two (software) reviews in progress...

"We now return to our regularly scheduled bat detector reviews...Part 2 of The Echo Meter Touch review coming up next"

Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Echo Meter Touch From Wildlife Acoustics - Addressing Recent Concerns

Review: The Brand-New EM Touch From Wildlife Acoustics - Part 1.5 of 2
An effort to address recent concerns

Since this iOS-based detecting/recording system is so new, and drawing a lot of attention - I felt that perhaps an attempt to address some common questions was in order. In regards to The Echo Meter Touch I'd like to address some of the concerns, which a friend (and Bat Working Professional) has brought to my attention.

Driven transects:

The EM Touch is fine for driven transects, as long as precautions are taken to avoid wind. In any case, this is true when using all bat detectors. I've performed my amateur-level, driven transects with various bat recorders over the years. One quickly learns the tricks necessary, to avoid contacting wind while recording from a moving vehicle. One must remember that The FG mic element employed by The EM Touch is very sensitive. Which is a good thing, of course. More on this subject, in Part 2.

This Bat Working Professional (friend of mine) also suggested that "...The AnaBat system is better and clearer." As someone who has never been a big Fan of AnaBat systems, I must disagree.
I presume the device being suggested for comparison, in this case, must be the new AnaBat Express. Since, it is the lowest-cost system that AnaBat currently offers. It has been touted as a competitively-priced bat detecting solution. However:
  • The current cost of an AnaBat Express is $850 US Dollars. Close to twice the cost of an EM Touch unit.
  • It is an unattended recording solution, therefore does not feature an exposed display.
Admittedly, I haven't had the opportunity to test or review an AnaBat Express. However, if I were given a choice between the two of them...I would choose The Echo Meter Touch; every time. And the query I offer you is:
Who wouldn't?
The EM Touch allows a user (even a youngster!) to: Detect, Record, View the Spectrogram of, and Identify said bat, down to species. I'd say this pretty much runs the gamut of what one may even expect from a bat detector in 2014.

A concern, for the memory capacity (of the required iPad device) was mentioned. This was actually addressed (from the very start), in Wildlife Acoustics' FAQ Section of The EM Touch Page. It's entitled 'How many recordings can you store on the iOS device?'
And is located at the bottom of This Page, just prior to the last question listed.
Using a 16GB (model MF066LL/A) iPad mini Retina for this test and review, presented no issues whatsoever. And, I was especially pleased (and relieved) to see this.

My friend also brought up the (very real) and very relevant concern; one of safety - The safety of, and risks involved, when bat detecting using an iOS device (which thieves find attractive).
On this point, I am in agreement with my friend, an experienced Bat Pro (in The UK). In regards to bat detecting, the concern was "...walking around with a £300+ iPhone or iPad out in the open, plus the detector...nice chance you will be mugged!" 
Indeed. 

When considering the prospect, of performing your bat detecting in the field: You must use your discretion, and common sense.

The vast majority, of traditional "stand-alone" (hand-held) bat detectors can easily pass for: An AM radio, a radio scanner, an (inexpensive) MP3 player (i.e. The Batango), or some homemade gadget (in the case of bottom-of-the-range detectors). Nothing too conspicuous, in other words.
Fortunately, there are many places, where one may do some bat detecting, without the risk of being mugged. This, I can practically guarantee - It simply requires a bit of forethought on your part. Be safe.

Concern was also expressed, in regards to potentially dropping (and damaging) your iOS device while bat detecting. However, this is easily remedied by safeguarding your iOS device, with an appropriate protective case. There are currently a wide selection of iOS device covers available, providing various levels of protection. Many not only provide very good protection, but may be had for under $20 US Dollars.

The final concern, was in respect to the future. Basically, the future of both the Echo Meter Touch and of Apple's iOS devices. My friend, was concerned that perhaps "...the detector will only be useful for the time period you have a current iPhone/iPad device for..."
Luckily, this is far from the actual case. The reality is, that The EM Touch can (and will) roll with whatever changes come. Simply because that is the kind of device it is. The ability to be dynamic, and easily adaptable is one of it's main strong points. It is sure to continue to grow, develop (and change, if need be) right alongside the iOS devices that it interfaces with.

Now that these concerns have been addressed, I can continue working on Part 2 (the final installment) of this Echo Meter Touch review. To be posted soon...

In addition, I would just like to add, that Elekon AG has just released a new firmware update - For their Batlogger M. As well as updates to their (free) BatExplorer software.

Happy bat detecting!

Review: The BatLure From Apodemus Part 2 Of 2

Review: The BatLure From Apodemus Part 2 Of 2

After unpacking The Batlure, and installing batteries, it's time to copy recorded bat calls onto the SD memory card provided. The 4GB SD memory card, included with The BatLure already has high-quality recordings on it. They are high-quality recordings of European bat species. However, these were not useful to me, since none of them were of North American bats.

Time-expanded recordings (x10, preferably) are probably the most convenient type of bat call to use. Followed by, full-spectrum recorded files (which I used quite a few of).

Now that 8 fresh AA-size batteries are installed, along with the SD memory card (containing recordings of your preferred bat species); you are ready to power-upThe BatLure. The BatLure is fully, easily useable in the dark: The few buttons it has, are very easy to locate; due to their convenient locations (and the accompanying white markings).

The BatLure is controlled by a (very short) text file, called batlureconfig.txt. The standard/default copy of this file is already on the (root) SD card, when it arrives:

; batlureconfig.txt
; Apodemus BatLure
; This is a config file for your BatLure device.
; To have a fresh copy of this file, simply delete or rename this one, and restart the BatLure.
; It will create a fresh file with factory standard settings for you!
; Recorded files from Michel Barataud (http://ecologieacoustique.fr/) and Guido Pfalzer.

time_expansion    1        ;enable or disable time expanded files
track_pause    3             ;seconds pause between tracks
startup_volume    20       ;startup volume level, 0 to 40
repeat        1                  ;amount of times a wave file will be repeated when play time is lower than repeat time
repeat_time    0              ;repeat time, when the length of a wave file in seconds is lower than this time, it will be repeated

 The Batlureconfig file, represented in Courier font

So, when you press the Power button, the unit will begin to play the bat calls from the SD card.

The volume is set at 20 decibels, by default (this happens to be exactly in the middle). And is a good starting point.

The unit performs very well, without any issues to report. I went from not having any bat activity, to now having regular bat activity in my immediate area - It happened rather quickly. And, I firmly believe it was from the use of The BatLure. 
I may also be re-visiting The BatLure, with an addendum post here in the future. I plan to test The BatLure in both open/cluttered woodland areas, near ponds and lakes, and other environments. Until then...

Happy bat detecting! calling!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: The New Echo Meter Touch From Wildlife Acoustics - Part 1 Of 2

Review: The Brand-New EM Touch From Wildlife Acoustics - Part 1 of 2

The Echo Meter Touch Module

By now, even those with a passing interest in bat detecting will have (no doubt) heard about, or seen the brand-new Echo Meter Touch from Wildlife Acoustics. There have been several Photos and video Demos of this new bat detector circulating The Web.

Some seemed to have already "passed judgement" on The EM Touch. It seems that a few people have already made up their minds; both for and against it. 
Perhaps this may be attributed to the fact, that this device is so new, there aren't enough actual owners/users yet? 

Therefore, my responsibility as an objective reviewer seems to loom ever greater...

I will confess, right at the start - Even I made a few (minor) assumptions, prior to having access to the User Manual and receiving the equipment for test. Read on...and all will be made clear.

It's hard to deny, that Wildlife Acoustics ranks among the very few companies, which rather enjoys being on the cutting edge of bat detecting technology. One need not look any further than their past and current bat detecting solutions. 

I once read, that "If you truly love a Hobby, you want to share it with others...with everyone". This is essentially what I try to do, when it comes to the hobby of bat detecting. It's also why John Dobson spent many nights on the street in San Fransisco, allowing passerby's to have a look through his telescope...
And a passion to share, also seems to be the case with certain detector manufacturers. Yes, of course they are a business, but in addition to selling bat detectors...There's the subtle attitude, of wanting to share new technology with those who record bat calls. In fact, one can plainly see, that Wildlife Acoustics is one such company (there are, perhaps one or two others). 

Apparently, this time - Someone there had Apples on their mind (no, not fruit) - The Apple computing devices. The EM Touch is currently compatible with almost all of the newer Apple iPads and iPhones. Click Here for a complete (and dynamic) list.

Of course, the list of compatible devices is likely to expand in the future, as The EM Touch is not simply a stagnant bat detector - But a lively, progressive bat recording device. An ultrasonic recorder which will be constantly morphing and improving; all while hovering at the bleeding edge of technology. I have a feeling, that this prospect will appeal to many. If bats and portable computing technology are among your interests: Then you'll certainly want to set yourself up with one!

The packaging of the Echo Meter Touch is really cool:


The attractive box which The EM Touch is packaged in

This brand-new Echo Meter Touch features an omni-directional, FG microphone element; which has the added benefit of being weather resistant. Some may choose to use it for some unattended recording, with the aid of a Lightning Cable extension. Although, while testing the review unit, I managed fine without one. 

Even though, Wildlife Acoustics themselves would be the first to tell you: They do not intend for the EM Touch to be used for unattended monitoring.
I have used it for unattended monitoring/recording of bats quite a bit. When set-up near a window, in a rural/quiet environment (sans man-made noises) it performs admirably, for a whole evening's worth of monitoring.
I presume that many potential owners, might make the very same (or other) assumptions; simply based on how The EM Touch looks. As seen pictured in several (small) advertisements, in online catalogs, and other Web sites: It seems to give one the impression, of being a dynamic, hand-held bat recorder - Fine for use in the field. 
But, few would ever guess that it also:
  • Performs well as an unattended monitoring solution.  
  • Has built-in automatic triggering, for the exclusive recording of ultrasounds.
  • Can still perform, in the background, while you work with other Applications.
It sports a 256K Sample Rate, 12 Bit full-spectrum .wav file recording, and includes a recording range from 8kHz to 125kHz - Which means I get to record some singing insects when the mood strikes me.

The EM Touch is delightfully small; even when inside it's protective case

Looking at the photo above, one can plainly see: What we have here, is truly a super-portable bat detector. Not just a small frequency division or heterodyne detector, which simply produces clicks, or "plops", etc. But, a full-spectrum recorder, that is quite capable in it's own right. With the added benefits of looking at/recording a live spectrogram while detecting in the field.

In fact, when you stop to think about it - This new Echo Meter Touch is really in a league of it's own. I'm not sure, if typical FD/Het detectors should even be mentioned in the same paragraph!
However, in this case, I bring them up simply because of the similarities in size (and portability).

Although The EM Touch may be even smaller than the average Hobbyist's detector - It is a device several magnitudes more capable than a typical bat enthusiast's detector.
And, yes - It's price is also several magnitudes higher. Especially, if you do not already own a compatible Apple iOS device.
It is true, that in such instances: Your initial monetary outlay may be considerable. All of this is just idle speculation, of course. Everyone has their own particular budget constraints. 
Take me, for instance - I (still) consider myself to be an average bat detecting Hobbyist / enthusiast...  
I have only a (very) modest income, and limited discretionary funds - Yet, I saw fit to begin the process of equipping myself with an iPad mini Retina, to be followed by an Echo Meter Touch, and required software...The EM Touch application is free, on iTunes.

I'd like to try and share, what I found, during my individual "journey": Which consisted of first buying myself an iPad mini Retina. The first thing I found, was that the iPad naturally filled an "opening" or "void" in my daily technology needs. Technology Geeks will no doubt, understand what I'm referring to here!
In layman's terms - I now wonder how I ever got along without one! An Apple iPad, that is. In short, I've found The iPad mini Retina to easily outperform my (usual) Asus mini-notebook; in just about every aspect.


On the other hand... 

What if you do already own a compatible iOS device? Well, then it's a "no-brainer" (as they say) - If the cost of an Echo Meter Touch is in your considered budget - Then, the choice is simple: Go for it!
Why? Because you are simply getting the absolute most-for-your-money in the case of an EM Touch. It is the obvious choice, in it's price range. Remember, that The EM Touch Application is free in the  Apple iTunes Store. 
So, the only software purchase - Which is optional - But, highly recommended! Is the Bat Auto-ID Feature. This is an in-app purchase, currently priced at $149.00 (U.S. Dollars).
In the spirit of clarification, I've taken the liberty of pasting a paragraph directly from The Wildlife Acoustic's Web page below:

"If you need to identify bats in the field you can add the Echo Meter Touch Bat Auto-ID feature ($149.00 in-app purchase). Featuring Wildlife Acoustics Kaleidoscope Pro algorithms, the software quickly and accurately identifies bats species. The Bat Auto-ID feature includes all Kaleidoscope classifiers and will be continually updated with new classifiers as they become available."

[Here, is where I should probably re-iterate, that I am not affiliated with Wildlife Acoustics in any way. As always, I'm simply doing my best to share my experiences and opinions] 

Again, everyone's budget is different, of course! There are many Hobbyists and (especially) Beginners, for whom this route would be outside of (or place a strain on) their budget. And, yet there are many for whom The EM Touch would be exactly what they were looking for. I've had several people message me recently. Each wanted a bat call recorder, which would allow them to record and analyze the spectrograms of bats. They were willing to use external recorders and audio cable connections, to capture the calls picked-up by the already somewhat costly detector. These people were starting out with budgets, which would've easily allowed them to get an EM Touch and the Bat Auto-ID Feature. This is the optional, in-app purchase.

The catch? They would have to already be proud owners of one of the (compatible) iPad devices. Even the correct model iPhone, and they'd be up and running! But...If not, we are back at the "Budgeting table" - Discussing the acquisition of an appropriate iOS device.



Installation, is a piece of cake, of course! And the more familiar you are with your iOS device, the quicker it will go. As you might expect - The most time-consuming portion, is the download and install of the software (from Apple's iTunes Store). Which, after all, only takes about 5-10 minutes, at most. If you do a bit of reading on The EM Touch App's page, you'll see that there have already been some small improvements made. And, I've always been a fan of ongoing improvements!

Once installed/set-up - The Echo Meter Touch is truly, very easy to use. Operation of the iPad application is intuitive, and I found it to be a spontaneous, and fun learning experience! The layout of the application's buttons and Menu choices are all conveniently implemented. No one will ever be able to accuse the EM Touch application of being convoluted, or difficult to get acclimated to. It all seems to flow very naturally during normal use; this is a big plus while in the field. 

You may get an idea of just how well everything flows, by watching a couple of the short videos, which have been recorded so far:

The original, from Wildlife Acoustics

A brief one, from NHBS (in UK) via YouTube

A new one from Wildlife Acoustics
 

Yet, at the same time - You can become even better acquainted with it's capabilities at your leisure, via the (dynamic) User Guide, which you can read right on your iOS device.

Now, I cannot divulge any specifics - But, I will reiterate: In the months (and even years) to come, The Echo Meter Touch will improve and morph in ways, which many of you would not expect. The software end is already being updated, my test iPad automatically prompted me to download/install updates (to Ver. 1.0.4 now). And, let's not forget (one of my favourite little wonders) Firmware updates!

Now, more than ever, I hope that my summary and descriptions are helpful. And, I'm currently hard-at-work on Part 2 of this review; which will answer many of the questions (and concerns) on everyone's minds.

Link to Part 1.5 Of 2

Link to Part 2 Of 2

Until then, Happy bat detecting!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Review: The BatLure From Apodemus Part 1 Of 2

Review: The BatLure From Apodemus Part 1 Of 2

The BatLure, from Apodemus in The Netherlands, is an ultrasonic acoustic lure. It's primary purpose, is to playback recordings of bats; in full ultrasonic fashion. That is to say, it accurately reproduces (plays back) the unique ultrasounds of (recorded) bat calls. Such a device is of paramount importance, in one's effort to attract bats.
This cannot be properly accomplished without the existence of specially designed hardware (especially the speaker), such as the one employed in The BatLure.

There are several types and brands of these machines currently available. Some are more expensive than The BatLure, others are slightly less. However, that old cliche (that everyone is probably tired of hearing) bears repeating here: "You get what you pay for"
I came across a small advertisement (online) for The BatLure (while browsing bat detecting equipment). And I was impressed, as well as intrigued. 
After it's arrival, I was also fascinated by the excellent design and build-quality of the device.
In addition, I was even fascinated with the very nice carry bag it is supplied with:


The carry case, complete with separate pockets for fresh/unused memory cards and used memory cards.

For those interested in recording bats, most notably, Professionals: The prospect of being able to lure specific species to your location, can make the difference between the success or failure of a given Project or Study. 
When you really stop to think about it, the list of potential owners would actually be quite long... Those who would benefit from The BatLure include: Bat Researchers, Educators, Universities, PhD's-in-progress, Bat Workers (performing Surveys or otherwise), those interested in attracting bats to roost areas/Bat Boxes, other Pros involved with Wildlife, and even bat detecting enthusiasts...
The Manufacturer of The BatLure has provided their own list of potential uses:
  • The luring of bats using recordings of bat social- and echolocation calls in order to catch them for research purposes;
  • To draw the attention of bats to a new potential roost to hasten its colonisation. For example: bat boxes, newly constructed hibernacula as well as new summer- and maternity-roosts;
  • The playback of bat calls during training and bat-detector courses;
  • The testing of bat detectors and sound recording devices;
  • The localization of mating roosts via playback of male song/vocalizations and observation of responding territorial males.
As with several other creatures in The Animal Kingdom, bats may be attracted to an area, by accurately reproducing their calls (essentially calling them in). The unique challenge with bat calls, of course, is that they are ultrasonic (and therefore inaudible to us). There is also a bit of a challenge, when endeavoring to reproduce calls of bats. The average/typical speaker is incapable of properly reproducing the ultrasonic calls of bats. This is where a device such as The BatLure is indispensable. 

 One of the many compartments of the BatLure's carry case, with pockets for fresh batteries and used/flat batteries.

This is the first time that I've had the opportunity to review such a device. And, I have been very impressed. Being fortunate enough, to have had extensive exposure to bat detecting equipment, I can tell you that the build quality of this unit is splendid.
Further information, Price, and technical specifications may be seen Here.

In the case of The BatLure - The hardware practically takes care of itself.
The only buttons/controls are: On/Off button, Volume Up(+), and Volume Down (-). 
By all means, those who are interested, may see the User Manual (in PDF format) Here.

Battery Holder (w/8 AA size cells), 4GB Kingston Class 4 SD card

The basic design of The BatLure, is that it's compact and solid. It sports a weather resistant and robust Aluminum enclosure. Unlike similar machines on the market, the speaker on The BatLure, has been afforded some protection by the outer ring. This helps prevent accidental damage to the speaker. And is comforting to have on a valuable piece of equipment.


Interior of carry bag, with supplied power leads (for providing 12vDC)

The unit is very easy to use. The only process which requires some effort, is getting the calls of (the desired species) onto the SD memory card. A 4GB Class 4 SD memory card is included, with the BatLure kit. I've successfully used bat calls (.wav files) which were recorded using both full-spectrum, and Time-Expansion methods.

The (extremely simple) software which runs/controls The BatLure is a (very short) text file. For those who  have been around PC technology long enough: Think of a .bat/Batch file, Config-type file; or an .ini file. In the case of The BatLure, it is a .txt file called batlureconfig.txt.
More details on these subjects, will be covered in Part 2 Of 2; where I will also discuss:
  • Typical workflow / Set-up.
  • Variables
  • Performance
To be continued...