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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

From Pettersson Elektronik - The USB Ultrasonic Microphones - M500 & U384

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
-T.S. Eliot
 
Coming up next here on the blog, will be:
A (second) look at The M500 bat detector from Pettersson -And- A full, detailed review of The U384 bat detector. Both are USB-based ultrasonic units, which have been well received by bat professionals around the world.
 
In addition to the useful bits of kit which Wildlife & Countryside Services carries: See Here - They also has both of these Pettersson units in stock (as well as many others).
They provide exclusive extended warranties as well.
 
The M500 USB Microphone from Pettersson - A closer look... 
 
 
-- As well as --

The U384 USB Microphone - A full review.


Until then...
 
Happy bat detecting!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Review: The Song Meter Micro Recorder from Wildlife Acoustics Part 2 Of 2

Review of The Song Meter Micro Recorder from Wildlife Acoustics Part 2 Of 2

The Song Meter Micro is an unattended recording unit. It's so small and light, that I frequently put it in my pants pocket, before climbing up some steep terrain to deploy it. And, there have been several times (lately) when I've been very thankful for this ability.
 
In this instance, The SM Micro was placed just behind the small tree stump to the left of center in this pic.

The location for The Song Meter Micro (in pic above) was chosen, because a small animal was captured on trail cam video in that vicinity. Viewing the snapshot above, one might think it'd be easy to get to that tree stump...what isn't obvious however, is the very steep climb involved!

In general, it's easy to set-up and deploy. Whenever possible, I try to anchor it to a tree (using a small/short screw) -or- fasten/tether it to a branch, tree trunk, etc. I do this, to prevent the (unlikely) event of an animal walking off with it. Just in case some animal decides it would make a good chew toy?
As a side note: A Coyote were heard (close by) just last night (8/18/2021). A Great Horned Owl was heard today, it sounded like it was only about 40 meters away! 
 


The Song Meter Micro would be a great choice for Ecologists needing a programmable, unattended wildlife recording solution. The Micro is capable of recording vocalizations from a wide range of species. As mentioned in Part 1 of this review, the sample rate may be changed, to better suit the target species. Admittedly, I've failed to do this myself in the past. For no other reason than being hasty and too anxious to get it set-up before nightfall. Also, from years of using portable digital recorders for wildlife recording: I got into a habit, of always setting the Kbps to whatever the highest setting available was...
(wildlife sound recordists will relate)

Last weekend, right after moving into my new (rental) home, I found myself without a recording bat detector handy. I tend to always keep a Batseeker 4 around; but having a non-recording (FD) detector available just wasn't cutting it. I had a simple digital recorder, but couldn't locate an audio cable (everything was still in boxes).
It was a case of the glass being half empty (to me). In fact, it was quite a bit worse than just the glass just being half empty. Taking some time to observe and detect bats, at my new place, without the ability to ID and/or record bat calls was frustrating! Not fun for any experienced bat detecting enthusiast!
 
There I was, in a proverbial "pinch" - Wanting to record and * ID the species of bats, which were flying so neatly, high above me... And all I had to hand, was an entry-level, frequency division detector. There wasn't even a heterodyne unit around; where I could've at least ID'd a few "by ear". 
At least then, I could've gone to bed with a sense of accomplishment - Perhaps after having written some acceptable notes in my nature journal...But it was not to be; not that night.
This is not to say that there is anything "wrong" or lacking with the inexpensive Batseeker 4. On the contrary, it's still the least expensive way for someone to try bat detecting first hand. But, it is an entry level bat detector designed for beginners. 

The following evening, I decided to utilize The Song Meter Micro for a full evening's worth of unattended bat recording...I was keen on figuring out exactly what the predominate species of bats were here.

I set-up the Micro's settings as follows:
 
Sample Rate: 96000
Maximum Recording Length:  10 Minutes
Gain: 6
Delay Start:  off
 
Start Time: Set (Sunset) 00:00
Time Duty Cycle: Always
End time: Rise (Sunrise) - 01:00
These settings worked well for my purposes. Let's not forget that The Song Meter Micro was designed to record non-bat species...
And I've also used the built-in 'Record birds/frogs 24 hours a day' setting, with good results as well.

And while utilizing the latest version of Kaleidoscope Pro software, I was able to get some decent results (when compared to having a dedicated [designed for] bat detector). 
 
The Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
appears to be the most abundant species here.
 
 
Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
 

Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)

One of the things I really enjoy about The Micro, is the ability to use Bluetooth to check it's status. Now first I will point out the typical maximum distance of Bluetooth, when considering smart phones & tablets - The general consensus is 10 meters (30 feet). If I remember correctly, back when Bluetooth was first announced, it was 15 feet?
If you're interested in the official (specification) for Bluetooth communication between (various) devices; and under various circumstances - You're free to become engrossed with this page, from Bluetooth itself. Note: The short video provides an amusing summary!
But, I digress...
 
The gist of it is, that I find it fun to connect to the deployed Song Meter Micro via Bluetooth, to check it's status. Especially, if the unit it set-up in the back garden, and I can check it while comfortably in bed:
 
General status of Song Meter Micro via Bluetooth
(using Lenovo tablet)

As seen from the screenshot above, the data provided are the most essential factors. The 2 which I typically look at, are: (number of) Recordings, and Battery Level. I'm also happy to report that I've typically been able to communicate with The Micro from distances well on the plus side of 10 meters.
It's interesting to see it connect, while the distances between are not line of sight, through house walls, at odd angles, etc.

The Song Meter Micro Configuration screen

Personally, the species I've been hoping to record are Shrews; (Blarina Spp.) Short-Tailed Shrew, specifically. None confirmed yet, but I've recorded plenty of interesting species in the process. The Micro is well suited for recording many different species, and will be popular with Ecologists in the field.
 
To summarize, and point out additional features:
 
The Configurator App (on your smart phone or tablet) conveniently shows the recording space available on your installed SD card; and your battery status.

The User Manual states that mounting methods include bungie cords, zip ties, or cable locks - I agree; I've found zip ties of various sizes to be useful.

Inside The Song Meter Micro - Note: Always use good quality / good name brand batteries (not like the ones installed above)

 
As mentioned in my video review, on The BatAbility Club's Site:
I originally had issues when syncing the time/time zone, using my Lenovo tablet. I did not encounter the issue when testing/using The Micro with other smart phones & tablets.

The Preset 'Record birds/frogs from sunrise to sunset' is perfect for recording birds.

Remember to tap the 'Load' icon, to display a list of saved configuration files, while in the Configurator App. 
Tap the 'Save' icon to name and save the current configuration/settings to the Configuration Library.
To save new changes to the Configuration Library, tap the Save icon again.

The microphone has a Test Microphone feature. It allows you to check the status of the Mic's sensitivity; as well as calibrate it (with a third-party calibrator).

Choose a sample rate that is at least double the highest frequency to be recorded.
 
Utilizing a silica gel packet (inside the unit) when deploying, is an excellent tip from Wildlife Acoustics.
 

Again, The Song Meter Micro was made was designed to record vocalizations of non-bat species. So far, I've made very good recordings of: Fowler's Toads, Wood Ducks, various songbirds, various singing insects, Great Horned Owl, Coyote, and in a pinch: Bats.


I think my Nephew Gabe approves!


Next-up: USB based bat detectors from Pettersson! The M500 and U384 Microphones - Video presentation review on The BatAbility Club
If you haven't already, you should consider becoming a Member - Neil Middleton has interviewed almost everyone who is anyone in the world of Bats!
Including extensive interviews with Lars Pettersson, David King, and none other than Merlin Tuttle!! And many, many more...

Until then, Happy bat animal detecting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Review: The Song Meter Micro Recorder from Wildlife Acoustics Part 1 Of 2

Part 1 Of 2 The Song Meter Micro Recorder from Wildlife Acoustics

The Song Meter Micro, is the latest offering in the line of Wildlife Audio Recorders from Wildlife Acoustics, in Massachusetts USA.

This (very small!) wildlife sound recorder, was developed for those needing to record various (non-bat) animal species.

This compact, cute, and robust sound recorder was designed from "the ground up" to work as an unattended recording solution. The main points one realizes straight away are:

It's small!

It's not very expensive.

It's robust & capable.

Packaging - Upon arrival, you'll notice that the box is small. When you open the (outer) box, you'll notice that the inner box is small...

Unboxing video on YouTube 

The unit is 4"/101mm High x 2.9"/74mm Wide x 1.1"/28mm Deep. It is 0.43lbs/195g with batteries installed.

The Song Meter Micro currently sells for $249 (US dollars) directly from the Wildlife Acoustics Site. It is also available from many Dealers in the UK and Europe. Including Wildlife & Countryside Services' new page specifically for Non-Bat Recorders.

 

For those in The UK, NHBS has them in stock. The Song Meter Micro is designed for unattended recording of wildlife sounds in the field. It is constructed of a dark green poly-carbonate, which blends into the natural environment very well. It comes with a built-in, omnidirectional microphone. The Song Meter Micro records 16-bit PCM .wav files - to a single, Micro SD card (up to 2 terabytes in size). 

 

 

The sample rates available, range from 8kHz to 96kHz. 8, 12, 16, 22.5, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, and 96kHz are the selections available. Run time on 3 AA-sized alkaline batteries, is 150 hours. Wildlife Acoustics provides a thorough, 15-step Quick Set-Up Guide. 

For a whittled-down version, just to give you an idea of what's involved:

  •  Download/install the free App onto your mobile device.

  •  Get The Song Meter Micro up & running, by installing batteries, Micro SD card, and powering on.

  •  Choose from one of the pre-set schedules provided; save.

  •  Load schedule to The Micro via Bluetooth, replace cover, and deploy unit.

 

The Song Meter Micro deployed near my local lake. One small screw was all that was needed, to attach it to a tree at the water's edge. My target species here, were small terrestrial mammals (especially Shrews). More specifically, I was hoping to record Northern Short-Tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda); which I know to are in the area. No luck yet...at the time of this writing.

Once you read through The Quick Start's 15-Step process, and deploy the unit a few times, it becomes very easy. Read the User Manual, and you'll understand a lot more about how it may be customized: Gain settings, etc.

This unit fills a need for many Researchers working with (non-bat) animals that vocalize.

 

The unit records sounds very well; about as good as a handheld digital recorder in the same price range. So far, I've recorded various songbirds, ducks, singing insects, and Fowler's Toads.

Part 2 of this review will feature sound recordings (via YouTube video links), as well as spectrograms (using Kaleidoscope, of course!).

When deploying Song Meter Micro's, I would follow this excellent tip, directly from The Wildlife Acoustics's web page: "requires adding desiccant for each deployment to prevent condensation."

Pros:

  •  Relatively inexpensive for what you get (good value).
  •  Made by a trusted name in wildlife recording equipment.
  •  Professional Tech support available.

Cons:

  • Mobile device is necessary to control/set-up, and check status.

Once again, The Song Meter Micro may be ordered directly from Wildlife Acoustics, if you're in The U.S. 

Links to excellent Song Meter Micro Vimeo videos (created by Wildlife Acoustics):

Song Meter Micro Configuration Editor

Song Meter Micro Configuration Library 

Stay tuned - More to follow in Part 2 of 2, of this review. 

...Unless, you're the "impatient type" and want to know more about The Song Meter Micro right now - In which case, I'd recommend signing up to The BatAbility Club: Where there's a full webinar (video review) & discussion about it - By yours truly! Along with comments and questions from Director, Neil Middleton.

Happy bat animal detecting!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A DIY Ultrasonic Microphone For The AnaBat Walkabout

A DIY Ultrasonic Microphone For The AnaBat Walkabout from Titley

Below, I describe some details of my experiences:

I've tried making some DIY-type ultrasonic Mics, to plug into The Walkabout's 2.5mm microphone jack... However, there are a few reasons why I wasn't successful. Without going into a bunch of (unnecessary) technical details, suffice it to say that The Walkabout's Mic jack is a bit too advanced to "suffer the foolishness" of my amateur attempts!

The Walkabout's jack provides approx. 6.4 v DC - Not suitable for most DIY Mic capsules, etc. This equated to more tinkering.

Here is just one (of several!) examples, of a (home-built) ultrasonic microphone; which I wired to a (male) 2.5mm plug, for testing with The Walkabout.


The photos below, show a quick wiring-up, for testing. A DIY Mic utilizing the Panasonic WM-61A Mic capsule.



Quick wiring-up
Panasonic WM-61A









 



Here is another Mic, which I initially thought would be perfect for The Walkabout. It is an adorable little circuit board (complete with Mic capsule already attached).


Prior to attaching Arduino-type pins
AA battery shown for scale













These are available from FEL Communications Ltd. (in UK).


In order to get the output voltage of The Walkabout's (2.5mm) jack, to a safe and usable level for the Micbooster Mic board: 

I found that a 180K Ohm resistor (on the [+] voltage wire) reduced the voltage from 6.4v to 4.6v - Which is acceptable for the Micbooster ultrasonic board (voltage must be kept below 5v when working with this board).
However, I still had no success in recording any bats through it (attached to The Walkabout). All of my early attempts/tests, with DIY microphones, were unsuccessful.
It was fun trying though. And I was thankful that The Walkabout gives one the opportunity to experiment with such external microphones.


Experiments involving The AnaBat Walkabout have ceased. There is a limit to how much (careful) experimenting I'm wiling to do on a high-end bat detector. Especially one generously loaned to me for testing and review.

I eventually came to the conclusion, that it would be best for someone to just purchase the official Titley microphone adapter and Mic, if there is a need.


In my case, while spending a lot of time trying to build a working Mic:
It only served to bolster my appreciation of the quality recordings captured with The Walkabout's built-in (Knowles) microphone. 


But, experiments with this cute little (Micbooster) Mic board continue...
Recent tests, involving the ultrasonic mic board and regular digital recorders seem promising.

Happy bat detecting!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Some random thoughts on Non-Bat Recorders

As many of you may know, I've been testing and using The Song Meter Micro from Wildlife Acoustics, and I'm impressed. 

 

The Song Meter Micro
 

Of course, as a result, I've become very keen on non-bat sound recording! Amphibians, and singing insects (esp singing insects) had always been a seasonal interest/hobby of mine. And I'd become so accustomed to recording our Spring Peepers each year, that it was all but an automatic reflex.

But as we all know, way-leads-to-way when you're a naturalist: So now, I've become fascinated with rodents and small mammals in their woodland environments:

Voles (some happen to be pretty cute), Moles (very secretive), and especially Shrews! one of my (confirmed) local species of Shrew, is the Northern Short-Tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda)Hard to deny that it is one fascinating creature!

I'm fortunate enough, to have a good chance of picking up vocalizations of: Fox, Coyote, and others. 

I also remain hopeful, against the odds - that I'll capture vocalizations of a Fisher and River Otter.

Well, there's more interesting tidbits of information, which I'll be adding to this post soon... Including some fascinating projects which Neil Middleton (of The BatAbility Club) and others, are going to be working on: Terrestrial Mammals!

Until then,

Happy bat mammal detecting! ;)

Thursday, July 1, 2021

A Follow-Up Post To The Recent Interview I had With Neil Middleton Of The BatAbility Club

This is just a short follow-up post to a recent interview I had with Neil Middleton of The BatAbility Club. Anyone interested in bats should definitely have a look at the website. If you are a Bat Worker, Researcher, Ecologist, or work with bats in any capacity: then you simply must visit! The sheer volume and variety of resources is astounding - you’ll be glad you did!


I thought that I’d take this opportunity to elaborate further, on some of the topics mentioned:


While the microscopy image was up (abdomen of an earwig); I mentioned the insect’s nerve structure. Unbeknownst to me at that time, Neil was in fact moving his mouse pointer over the exact area where some nerves were visible.

As for the number of visitors my Bat Detector Reviews blog receives: As I said, it is typically between 2,000 and 3,000 per month. And it is sometimes double that, during bat detecting season.


Another example would be my life-long interest in the local fauna; which compels me to be a naturalist, in general. I’ve been interested in animals from a young age.

Back in those days, Bronx New York wasn't nearly as developed as it is now. A kid could have success finding amphibians, such as the red backed salamander - as well as the occasional garter snake. These days one would be hard-pressed to find any sizable area not covered in concrete.


From a very early age, I enjoyed spending time in the back garden. I spent countless days observing the myriad of insects and arachnids which lived among the landscaping (hedges) and flower pots.

I found it fascinating and completely engrossing; I never got bored. Couple this, with a serendipitous visit to a local pet shop; and my fate was sealed. I convinced my Mom to go in… My first time ever in a pet shop. 

It was pleasingly cool and (almost) dark. Walls were covered with rows of individual fish tanks. Each beautifully illuminated with slightly-so-bluish fluorescent lights. The ethereal beauty of the tropical fish contained within. The sheer number of glass tanks...the reptiles and amphibians… I could’ve stayed there all day! The name of the shop: ‘The Water’s Edge’


Psychologists have said that it is usually sometime before the age of 8, when a child comes across something which leaves a lasting impression on them. Many times, it is this chance encounter with something (whatever it may be) which ends-up influencing the child’s career choices as an adult, etc. 

As is the case with too many people, I did not end up making my avocation my vocation (or linking them, as Robert Frost wrote). Rather, I chose a path which was expedient and lucrative. 


More recently, I’ve become fascinated by the lives of famous Naturalists, Biologists, and other Scientists whose lives proved this “theory”.

Below is a short list of some of my favorites, in the off chance that some of my readers may be familiar with the biographical accounts of those mentioned. Each of them became fascinated early on, with the subjects they would later work in...and master. Each of them made astounding contributions in their fields - and I find it remarkable.


Leonardo DaVinci

Jean-Henri Fabre

Raymond Ditmars

Brian Grieg Fry


So, back to the interview - Neil asked me an excellent question about which bat detector I have in my hand when I go out to my back garden, to detect bats.

At the time, it was very convenient to choose detectors, from those shown in the collages, which happened to be up on the screen. And I stand by those recommendations. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention a bat detector which (sadly) I hadn't thought of at that moment. It is The AnaBat Walkabout from Titley. Not only does it offer world-class performance, as far as sound recordings and spectrograms go…it also boasts more features than several other bat detectors combined. See my detailed review, for more information & specifics.


The name of the bat detector developed by dodotronic (which was discussed) was called the Dodoultra

As for The Batango: See this active page (on the Dodotronic Site) which provides all the details, for anyone who is interested. As of now, it is an open source project.

 

There are also some excellent advantage's as a result of my unique role as a reviewer of bat detectors: firstly, I get to find out about new bat detectors months before the General Public. Sometimes, many months. I also occasionally get to test and evaluate samples while they are top secret. 

Bat detectors which only a few people even know exist. These people, of course, are the designers and creators. In fact I have a prototype of one bat detector here which is still top secret. And I am one of only a handful of people who are even aware of its existence. I consider that to be a really cool perk! Many bat detector manufacturers have the utmost confidence in my discretion, and professionalism. I am very fortunate and grateful.


It is my sincere hope, that this short post has helped to clear up anything which may not have seemed clear during the interview.

 

Happy bat detecting! 


Friday, June 18, 2021

Interviewed by Neil Middleton of BatAbility!

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege, of being interviewed by Neil Middleton!

This was for the 'Talking Bat' series which he produces exclusively for his BatAbility Club audience. To find out more about Neil Middleton, and BatAbility - see the links below:

The BatAbility Club Offers a unique combination of learning opportunities, including training, resources, information, and programs. These are especially suited for anyone who is interested in working with bats!

Here is the interview!

The Song Meter Micro from Wildlife Acoustics - First Look!

I am very happy to report, that The Song Meter Micro from Wildlife Acoustics has arrived for testing and review. So far, I'm very impressed with it.

 

  

I couldn't help but make a quick unpacking video.  


Let me remind the reader, that this device was designed to record wildlife other than bats. Wildlife Acoustics has it listed as a bird and wildlife recorder (as can be seen from the above link).

This micro-sized unattended recording solution, is already being used successfully in the field - To record singing insects, amphibians, mammals, and birds. It has many customizable features (especially for such a small device).

I simply couldn't resist some preliminary tests with The SM Micro. I've also taken the time to review many of the recordings, made here in the suburbs...And straight away, I can tell this unit has a lot of potential! 

I've just recently started to hear singing insects in the evenings. The local population of mammals are pretty much always present. And my local toad and frog population should be making their debut any night now!

Happy bat detecting!

And happy wildlife sound recording! - Visit The Wildlife Sound Recording Society

Review Of The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro Bat Detector Part 2 of 2

Review of The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro From Animal Sound Labs Part 2 of 2 
 
I expect Readers to find much of the User Manual to contain rather interesting bits of information. Some additional pages of interest from the User Manual include:
 
3.11 Correction of the recording level (Rec Level) AKA: (Changing the recording level [Set Rec Level]). Page 16
4. Detector firmware update (Firmware Update). Page 17
5. Useful tips. Page 19
6. Approximate working times in different conditions.* Page 20
 
*Of particular interest, if you're a battery geek (like me) - Two excellent brands of batteries are mentioned as well.

The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro is a good product for those in need of a handheld, professional-level bat recorder; which may also be used as an unattended detector, in many instances. It is robustly built, and can be relied upon to record bats in almost any situation or environment.
 
I've been informed that the very latest version of this detector, has had the buttons modified to respond to less pressure, and the amount of button travel has been reduced.
The illumination of the LEDs has also been made more energy efficient. 
 
As mentioned in Part 1 of this (2-part) review, the unit is highly customizable. Amoung the features are:
  • High-pass and low-pass filters
  • Full spectrum  High Pass filters
  • Frequency division high pass filters


As indicated in the user manual when the full spectrum high pass filter is turned on, certain audible sounds will not be recorded, such as those produced at frequencies below 15 kilohertz. Things like conversations, walking on dry grass and / or leaves, and other undesirable sounds.

Use of this filter is recommended during recording attempts in strong winds, or when one is in fact walking on dry leaves, dry grass, etc.

With the full spectrum high pass filter enabled, the lower-frequency limit of recorded signals will be approximately 150 Hertz, which enables things like verbal comments, other voices, and other  normally audible sounds. 

During my Summer of testing, I rarely came across a situation in which I needed to enable it. When using even the default settings, there weren't many instances where sounds other than bats triggered the LunaBat. I would just hit 'OK' to record, and walk...

If you have dry leaves underfoot during your survey, bat-walk, etc., then in addition to the filter, you can adjust the trigger level. Regardless of the mode I used, no background hiss was heard from this detector. 

All of this is covered in more detail in part 3.9 (page 15) of the user manual.

 
It has demonstrated excellent sensitivity. As you will see, when I add some results below, in the form of sonograms, and recordings. ...Thank you for your patience...

Now, although Animal Sound Labs graciously provided a list of links to free sound analysis software - On their Download page (under the heading 'Programs').
I decided to go ahead and utilize the latest version of Kaleidoscope (Version 5.4.2) from Wildlife Acoustics.
Especially since an update post on this excellent bat call auto-ID software is on my agenda.
 
Eptesicus Fuscus (Big Brown Bat)
as seen with WA's Kaleidoscope Pro software.
 

Lasionycteris Noctivagans (Silver-haired bat

Other neat features worth mentioning are:
 
A standard (3.5mm) audio cable may be used to connect the detector to a cell phone (w/ Mic Input) - Allowing Apps such as SpectralProAnalyzer to display live spectrograms. You may also experiment with similar, spectrogram-producing Apps.
 
Once the GPS/GNSS (blue) indicator comes on, maximum signal strength (exposure to the open sky) is no longer needed.
 
The volume setting is remembered after the unit is powered off; and even during battery replacement (if completed in under ~1 minute).
The length of each individual recording may be set to anywhere from 3 seconds to 60 minutes. 
 
As always, I encourage readers to do their research, and shop around. Again, watch this space for soon-to-be-posted spectrogams!
To be continued...

Happy bag detecting!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Review: The LunaBat DFR-1 Bat Detector From Animal Sound Labs - Part 1 Of 2

Review of The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro Bat Detector From Animal Sound Labs

Part 1 of 2 - Hardware, User Manual, and other considerations.

Here is a review of a bat detector, whose arrival I'd anticipated for quite some time. It's The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro!


 The DFR-1 Pro
 
The unit arrived to me here in the U.S., directly from the manufacturer in Poland: Very, very well-packaged. Everything was neatly placed.
And one of the first things I noticed, were all of the good quality accessories which were included - I'm very keen on stuff like this:
 
Unpacking The DFR-1 Pro (unit is in the red bubble wrap bag)

 
An assortment of useful cables, are amoung the accessories included.


The DFR-1 fit very comfortably in my hand; and I'd say my hands are average -to- small sized. It is also lightweight, and very easy to hold for extended periods of time (many hours).
It weighs 175g (without battery and microphone), and circa 200g with batteries and ME-series microphone.

The LunaBat DFR-1, with Non-Illuminated Keys, is priced at 849 Euros.
The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro, with Illuminated Keys (indicators) is priced at 879 Euros.

The DFR-1 Pro bat detector is feature-rich. It has all of the useful features one would find helpful (especially while doing field surveys). And none which might be considered useless, or gimmicky.
 
Among the features which I find interesting and useful are: 
 
  • High dynamic range, full-spectrum recording onto standard SD cards.
  • Built-in sensors for temperature and humidity.
  • Optional built-in GNSS (GPS) with convenient blue LED indicator.
  • FD detection for listening through speaker or headphones.
  • The (Pro Version) of the detector may also be powered via MicroUSB socket, via an external 5V source, such as a power bank.
  • Information displayed on the LCD when the unit is powered up.
  • Automatic recording triggered by signal level (performance of this feature is constantly evolving with firmware updates).

Some features I find unique and particularly fascinating are:
  • The built-in high voltage generator, which uses 200V to polarize the membrane of optional electrostatic microphones (Model #'s MC-1, MC-2).
  • The volume setting is remembered when the unit is powered back on.
  • The FD processed signal may be recorded, if one chooses to.

 

The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro - Summer of 2020 Bats were flying very close (~ 40-50 feet).
 

Some points of interest from The User Manual:
 
2.3 Recording without listening   Page 7
3.1 Selecting the recording mode Page 8
3.5 Viewing temperature and relative humidity Page 13
3.8 Writing a KML file Page 14
3.9 High pass filters Page 15
4. Detector firmware update Page 17
 
 
The DFR-1 Pro is very easy to use, straight out of the box. It also has plenty of features to keep you busy customizing it 'till your heart's content. As always, I advise readers to download and peruse the User Manual, available in PDF format (direct link above). It will give a complete account of all features, great and small.
 
The DFR-1 Pro would be ideal for anyone seeking a high-end bat detector producing professional level results. In use, it demonstrated excellent sensitivity and solid recordings. More on these topics in Part 2 of this review.



The DFR-1 Pro has a good solid feel to it, and comes with a built-in lanyard.
The battery compartment door, is found on the lower back of the unit. Two AA-sized (R6) batteries fit inside snugly; inserting the + end first is the way to do it. There's a ribbon provided to assist in removal of batteries (which is very useful). 
Directly above the battery cover, is a convenient tripod socket.
Holding the power on button for just a second turns the unit on (it's labeled with the universal power symbol). The 3-line display briefly shows the current installed firmware version. Followed by Animal Sound Labs; followed by the default/ready screen.
With either the default, or user specified settings in effect, you simply press OK to record (seen on the last line of the display as: "Press OK to REC"). While the unit is in ready mode.
 

While it boasts Professional-level performance, it also has the appearance of what I've come to refer to as - the quintessential bat detector.  

 
The DFR-1 Pro (Photo from Animal Sound Labs). 
 

During my extensive testing (Summer 2020) I found The DFR-1 Pro to be a very accurate instrument. Listening to bat calls (live/FD mode) in the field was always a pleasure.
I was able to pick-up/record bats at respectable distances, akin to other high-end bat detectors. The Full Spectrum recordings were excellent!
The DFR-1 Pro consistently created excellent sonograms (more on this in Part 2).
 

Pros 
  •  Robust design, including microphone and (optional) GNSS module. 3 modules to choose from.
  •  Excellent sensitivity, and pick-up range.
  •  Outstanding (384kHz) full spectrum recording quality.
  •  Frequency division sounds great, and is customizable.
  •  DFR-1 Pro FS recordings produce excellent spectrograms...
 
Cons 
  •  No live sonograms.
  •  No proprietary software (as with The Batlogger(s) from Elekon, et al).

The LunaBat DFR-1 Pro may be ordered directly from The Animal Sound Labs website.

For those who like the look and feel of The DFR-1 Pro, I'd like to mention the entry level (affordable) version of The LunaBat: The DFD-1
 
I do my best to be very thorough when testing and reviewing a bat detector. And of course, performance, quality of recordings, and features are of utmost importance.

Much more to follow, in Part 2 Of 2 of this review; where I will cover more hardware details, recordings/spectrograms, and an in-depth look at it's GNSS system.

Until then,
Happy bat detecting!