Monday, May 30, 2011

Sonogram produced by SeaWave software & Ultramic200K

Here is one of the first Sonograms produced using SeaWave 2.0 & Ultramic200K from Dodotronic. I know for a fact, that SeaWave & SeaPro are able to produce much nicer sonograms (I've seen them myself, on the Dodotronic/Ultramic page). But, I will confess - That I haven't got around to reading the whole manual yet...

Here's one, using the default (Gray) settings:
(I don't remember which bat this was)

And, here's one using the '#12 Violet' color scheme:

I haven't studied it very closely yet, but at first glance (and upon hearing the recording) I'd say this was from a Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus).
Both of these bats were picked up at over 40 meters away, using the Ultramic200K.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New bat detector - The SSF BAT2 Detektor

There's a fairly new heterodyne bat detector out now.

It's the 'SSF BAT2 Detektor' It may be ordered from NHBS:

It seems to be a really nice detector. It is actually a dual-detector - in a way. It has both heterodyne and frequency division. But, the frequency division capability is not utilized by the User directly. It exists to provide live frequency data to a spectrum display, of sorts...

I'm glad that I've already seen a bit of feedback, from one user: A Professional/Bat Researcher - And, he stated that although he likes the SSF BAT2, it is not as sensitive as other heterodyne or TE detectors.

This is very interesting to me, as I am constantly comparing the performance of bat detectors. In fact, while we're on the subject - I'd say that is how I started collecting and reviewing bat detectors: It began, as my own personal quest; to find a detector that was able to pick up bats well, from good distances.

In any case, it would be nice to have an opportunity to test and review one!
The Site is in German, but you may easily translate, using
The Web page also features a User Manual in English, in PDF format: SSF BAT2 Manual
An informative review of this unit, can be seen on this Gentleman's Blog: Davidsbatblog

I have a new favorite word: Fledermaus! I mean, they tell me - I've been bi-lingual since the age of 2 (English/Italian) but, I like the way it sounds...Fledermaus! (I know, it was also an Opera...)
I'd like to learn to speak Swiss-German...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time Expansion Bat Detectors!

This post will deal with Time expansion bat detectors - Yay! The "holy grail" of bat detectors! OK, it goes without saying that I'm a bat detector fanatic, and collector. I have been for quite a few years now. And, I have owned many different ultrasonic detectors. I'm speaking for myself here (but I'm sure that many bat detector enthusiasts would agree) - The time expansion detector, is the one that we all hope to own one day.
As time goes by (no pun intended), and your detector collection grows, it seems that the idea of investing in a TE detector is thought of more frequently.

"What's the big deal about time expansion detectors?" I hear you say...  To put it simply, the reason why they are so desirable - Is their ability to record bats and then (have the potential to) positively identify the actual species of bat you recorded!
Let's not forget, however, that with patience and experience - One can use a good heterodyne detector, to identify a few bat species. It takes practice. If you live in Europe, I can recommend The Bat Detective CD & Booklet set, from BatBox. Check it out here: The Bat Detective

In fact, since I may not get around to writing a full review of this set - I'll say this: I recommend it very highly, I think it's awesome! And, it is nowhere near as useful to me, as it would be if I lived in Europe, so...

OK, back to time expansion - When we get right down to it, it's a matter of which one can you afford? If, you have a limited budget (as I do) then, you're always on the look-out for a new TE detector that falls within your budget.

Thankfully, there are some time expansion bat detectors that are now in their prototyping phase, that will cost just a little more than conventional detectors. This is great news! And, I will be sure to inform my readers about them, on the same day they become available!

I suppose it's safe to say, that the even better news - Is that there already is one, which is now officially on the market - Ready to order. It is the Ultramic200K, from Dodotronic, in Italy. As you know, I ordered (a prototype) as soon as it became available. I've been using it ever since, and I really enjoy it's performance. I would just like to add, that at only 200 Euros (+VAT & Shipping) - That I've been able to already start saving up for my next bat detector : )
From what I've read recently: Other owners are enjoying this mic, in the field, as well! I should also note: More than one of these Gentlemen are very experienced, and/or Professional Bat Researchers. And, they have had good things to say about this mic's performance. Excellent.

These days, what I'm looking for, in a bat detector - Is the ability to tell me, with relative certainty, which species of bat I'm picking up.
I mean, this is the ultimate goal, n'est-ce pas? 

I will cover this topic some more, in future posts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Wildlife Sound Recording Society

You may want to check out the Spring 2011 edition of The Journal Of The Wildlife Recording Society. 
I wrote a short article, on the subject of getting started with ultrasonic recording.
It's not sold in Newsstands (unfortunately). You must become a Member, in order to receive The Journal.  

Check it out here:
Wildlife Sound Recording Society (UK)  It's a great site to visit, in any case.
You might consider becoming a Member! (If you aren't already!) - Membership Page

I enjoy the benefits of being a Member, and getting to listen to those CDs of Wildlife recordings that show up in my mailbox...  I should warn you: You may find yourself branching out, into making all kinds of wildlife recordings! As for myself, my two favorite groups of animals to record, are still: Bats & Bugs (Singing insects).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Article I wrote for Invertebrates Magazine...Just the first page

Just the first page...

New Ultrasonic Microphones from Avisoft Bioacoustics

USG 116Hnb kit with EP3 electret and USG 116Hn kit with CM16/CMPA microphones from Avisoft Bioacoustics

Many of you may already be familiar with Avisoft Bioacoustics, a manufacturer of high-end bioacoustic recording equipment. I've had the exciting opportunity to test and review two of their brand new, low cost 'Nano' units. Although they may still be considered far from beginner's units (especially with regards to price), I believe experienced Sound Recordists will really like these new kits. Although we've all heard it many times, it bears repeating here: "you get what you pay for" And, this is certainly the case when it comes to these new offerings from Avisoft.
In this case, to give you an idea, of the quality and craftsmanship that goes into each of these units; I'll put it this way: If Sound Devices made bat detectors, they would probably look like these!
Two new kits have just been released, from the Folks at Avisoft. One is the USG 116Hnb kit with EP3 electret microphone, the other is the USG 116Hn kit with CM16/CMPA. These are brand-new recording devices, released this year. These can only be used with the bundled Avisoft-RECORDER USGH software.
As per Raimund Specht, of Avisosft - There will be two different versions:

Part #31170, USG 116Hnb kit with EP3
max sample rate: 300 kHz
electret microphone EP3 (without mic extension cable)
no polarization voltage generator (can be added on request)
fixed gain
Price : 1400 Euros + VAT & customs charges

Part #31172, USG 116Hn kit with CM16/CMPA
max sample rate: 750 kHz
with polarization voltage generator
CM16/CMPA condenser mic including 2 m extension cable
gain adjustment knob
Price : 2600 Euros + VAT & customs charges
Note that the CM16/CMPA condenser microphone can only be used with the model 116Hn. The less expensive model 116Hnb does not have the required polarization voltage generator (which could however also be added on request).

The manuals are available online at

You can watch and analyze the recorded .wav files with the free SASLab Lite software that is available from

The USG 116Hnb kit with EP3 electret microphone kit, is very compact; so it's very portable. It was the first unit to the "test bench". It is supplied in a nice foam lined carry case, along with a gold-plated USB cable. An XLR extension cable was also provided, with the review samples, to facilitate remote placement of the actual mic units.

The Avisoft recording software is amazing, and exactly what one would expect from a world-class bioacoustic lab. While it has enough features to keep one busy experimenting for weeks, it also is not difficult to get up and running. However, I must stress; that it is imperative that you read the User Guide. You will not be able to make any successful bat recordings without consulting the manual, for software configuration.
Along with a full, spiral-bound User's Guide; the recording devices are supplied with a pamphlet-style User's Guide. This is similar to a "Quick-Start" Guide and is very convenient for quick reference. But again, make sure that you keep the full-sized User Guide close by. Installation of the software and hardware is fairly easy. A unique business-card-sized USB drive is provided, which is loaded with Avisoft software, and a bat call library.

Unfortunately, I had nothing but non-stop rain and wind during the evaluation period. So, sadly, I cannot comment on the actual performance of the prototype kits that I was supplied with.
But, these are definitely bat detectors to keep an eye on, for the near future.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"To All The Detectors I've Loved Before"

; ) In this post, I'd like to sum up, and provide min-reviews of bat detectors I've owned in the past. Some have been sold, others were given to friends as gifts. In any case, these are just some of the first detectors I had, that are no longer part of my collection. Beginning with my first bat detector:

The Belfry Bat Detector Kit - This simple ultrasonic detector was originally available in kit form. Not sure if it still is, or if you can only purchase a pre-built version. Not recommended. The quality of the printed circuit board provided was very poor. For the short time that the detector worked: It produced only simple clicks, to represent the ultrasonic calls of bats within range. The components provided are all low-cost. The unit failed on me, during a very exciting bat walk (through Central Park, NY). Not due to my assembly, by the way (I'm a certified Electronics Engineer) -but- due to a thin, cheap, circuit board trace coming loose from the board. Not only was it a huge disappointment, for one of my first bat walks, but it was also embarrassing!
In fact, I'm reluctant to even provide the link to this one, but I will - So that you know which one to avoid! Belfry detector Don't waste your time.

The Simple Detector Kit - From Tony Messina (a really nice guy! and a pillar of the North American bat hobbyist community). Now this is an entry-level detector kit that I can recommend! I really loved building these kits - I believe I've built 3 or 4, in total. Tony provides a high-quality printed circuit board that is very sturdy & well-made. A lot of thought was put in to the producing and offering of this circuit. It's neat, runs off a standard 9-volt battery (for a while!) and fits in just about any pocket. The Simple Detector Kit, is geared towards folks who have experience building simple electronic kits. There is a thorough Parts List on his site: Tony Messina's Page  One would order a PCB or two, from Tony - Then place an order from your favorite electronic component supplier. Such as: DigiKey, Maplin, Mouser, etc. Only basic soldering skills and a drill are required. Listening can be done with a simple earphone; or as I mostly used mine: With a mono audio cable, leading to a "voice-activated" recorder (for un-attended monitoring of nightly bat activity).
The unit is a frequency division type detector, in this case, it divides the echolocation calls by 10.
Did I mention they were fun to assemble? ; )

The Magenta MkIIb - A nice, adjustable heterodyne bat detector. Not terribly expensive, and it's fairly sensitive. Again, un-attended monitoring of nightly bat activity is possible, by using the Headphone jack.
By using a mono audio cable, leading to a "voice-activated" recorder. The detector is a little on the large side, definitely won't fit in any normal-sized pockets. It is probably the largest, most bulky detector I've owned.
The "b" in the model name, represents the fact that it is Built. These days, this model is only available in kit form, which needs to be assembled. All parts, etc. are included: Magenta MkII

The Ciel CDB205 - This was one of my favorite bat detectors. It is an FD (Frequency Division) detector. It has very good sensitivity, and yes, it looks very cool! The two green button switches on the right-hand-side: Both the Power on, and the (white LED) "torch" buttons are internally illuminated. It is very comfortable to hold, in the hand. And, I've used it extensively, for un-attended monitoring (and recording) of nightly bat activity. Ciel electronique

I have owned/and/or built other bat detectors as well, but they are either no longer available or difficult to get the required parts for - So, I have not listed them. Now that I've posted my thoughts on all the detectors that I've previously owned & used - I can go forward with reviews of all present and future detectors.

Happy bat detecting!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Future Bat Detector: Dodotronic's New BoxRecorder!

A brand-new device is "in the works" from Dodotronic... It sounds and looks very promising!

Since it is still in the prototyping/testing phase, we will just have to wait and see...

What we do know so far, is that it will be able to record on multiple SD cards.

And, we have some very interesting preliminary specifications:
(these are still subject to change)

- 200K per second sample rate.
- True 16 bits resolution.
- Frequency range 10~100 KHz.
- High quality and low noise analog amplification.
- Variable anti aliasing filter.
- USB connector for configuration.
- 32 bit 80 MHz integrated microcontroller.

You may visit their page, to check on the status of the upcoming BoxRecorder Here.
Update 5/22/11: The specs are changing (getting better) prediction for this detector? It's going to be cool!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bat Scanner - Bat Detector from Tony Messina

The Bat Scanner - Scanning Heterodyne Detector Review

This unique bat detector kit is available, from Tony Messina in the US. The same Gentleman who brought us The Simple Bat Detector (frequency division kit). This heterodyne bat detector is the result of a joint effort of both Tony Messina (in the USA) & Frank Pliquett (in Germany).

This heterodyne-based Bat Detector is unique because it has the ability to actively scan ultrasonic frequencies for bats. Hence, the name: The Bat Scanner.

The Bat scanner is currently available as an almost completed kit, where all of the delicate soldering and assembly has already been done for you (and checked \ tested), by Tony. The kit is supplied with everything you need to complete the construction. All that is required are basic soldering skills and the proper tools to create the needed holes and openings in the plastic case provided. Video and photos of the prototype can be seen here: The Bat Scanner's beginnings - Prototype phase

Some of the photos show the detector built with a round display, this may be available by request; but the kit is currently supplied with a rectangular display window.

Step-by-step assembly instructions, with color pictures are provided with the kit. I found the assembly straight-forward and very fun! I was one of the first hobbyists to receive one of these units.

The very first, original units had a buzz/hum caused by the multiplexing of the 2 digit LED display. In any case, this noise was very low ... often lost in the hiss of the amplifier - and definitely overcome by the bat calls. This issue has been addressed, and the current version of this kit no longer produces this low hum/buzz. Several other modifications and enhancements have been made, to further improve the detector's performance.

As per Tony Messina: "...about the firmware changes ... we have made some changes to the way the buttons are handled.  The debounce times have been extended, so the buttons switch cleaner.  We have also made a change that keeps the frequency from jumping if you press a button to stop the scan or bring up the blanked display from power save.  We also added a Scan Hold ( SH ) mode, similar to the Scan Pause ( SP ) mode, but with a very much longer delay. "

Therefore, as of this writing, anyone ordering the kit will be receiving the new, enhanced version. I like this bat detector very much!  During operation, it scans very quickly through it's frequency range (10 to 80kHz, in 2kHz increments) and will stop and display the frequency of whichever bat happens to fly within range!

The buttons also allow the unit to be used as a conventional Heterodyne bat detector as well, where the desired frequency can be selected and monitored. I use it this manner from time to time myself. Although, to some, it may not seem as fun as watching the unit scan the airspace above your garden. When used in this manner, the unit goes into a Power Saving mode, where the LED display powers off, while it waits and "listens" for any signals. At which point, it will blink in sync with the signals received (while also being heard through the speaker).

Here is the main link to the Bat Scanner, where a lot of information and details can be found.  The site also contains links to the Construction Manual and User Guide:
Tony Messina's Bat Scanner

I have used this detector very extensively, since completing the assembly. I've found it's sensitivity to be equal to many of the other bat detectors I own, including commercial units costing twice as much. The compact speaker provides nice sounding audio and the unit is a lot of fun to use. And of course, this detector is very useful in the field when encountering flights of more than one species of bat at a time. You can come close to IDing the bats right in the field, just by glancing at the display - without having to do any tuning.

In conclusion, if you enjoy enjoy building bat detector kits, then I would recommend this kit very highly. It is also proves to be a great platform for experimenting.The current price of this kit, for US buyers, is around $100 which includes shipping. Price is subject to change slightly; so Bat enthusiasts should always e-mail Tony or Frank, regarding availability, and for current price and shipping costs, etc.

Further Links:

Tony Messina (USA) - Tony Messina's Page

E-mail: Tony Messina

Frank Pliquett (Germany) - Frank Pliquett's Page

Review: The Batbox Baton

One of my favorite bat detectors, for nightly use, is the Baton from Batbox Ltd., Batbox Ltd.

I will say that it is among the most comfortable detector I've held so far - It conforms to one's hand very naturally. It is extremely easy to maneuver and point. Reminiscent of a device from your favorite Science Fiction series!

I've been using it extensively, since it's arrival. Another neat feature: The power switch: It is a comfortable, momentary type push button. It is illuminated at four points around the circular button, with blue (LED) light, which is at a low, pleasing level. This would not annoy one's night-adapted eyes (if in the field). Again, this is a clever & unique departure from other bat detectors that feature bright LEDs.

Another feature that I am very pleased with, is the fact that the speaker is automatically disabled when one plugs in a stereo audio cable for recording. Other bat detectors don't have this feature, and you risk having your neighbors hear the reports of bats late into the evening and overnight. This is the case (with some detectors) when one wishes to set-up for unattended, overnight recording (as I do, for 90% of my detecting). So, this is not an issue with the BatBox Baton.

The price of £65 plus VAT & delivery makes it very attractive for beginners - just a little more than the Ciel Kidz detector, and a bit less than the Magenta ones.
I simply love bats and bat detectors!
I was in need of a handheld detector, and was attracted to the very neat features the Baton offers. As well as the compact size of it, which will be great for field use on the go. The Baton has a pre-set volume, and it is set perfectly.

Well, the line out jack (found on the left side of the unit) provides plenty of audio and signal strength. So, one has to deal with this fixed signal output by way of recording device adjustments. Such as: Reducing the recording device's Mic gain and/or sensitivity, experimenting with/implementing the recorder's various noise filters (Esp. "Low-cut" or "Low pass" filters), and experimenting with the Vox/VCVA/Voice activation feature's Level. If the recording device's settings are a bit on the sensitive side, you will be more prone to picking up/recording the jet engines of airliners passing overhead, etc.

The operation of this bat detector could not be any simpler, so anyone, including children, would have no problem at all using it. The fact that there are no adjustments whatsoever is great, in this regard.
It even seems a little odd at first, to get used to the idea that there are no knobs to fiddle with, Especially for those of us who are accustomed to adjusting knobs while bat detecting. It produces nice sonograms - on the included version of Batscan 9 (Batscan V.9 CD), that comes with the unit. A custom vinyl carrying case was also provided.

And of course, the manufacturer's  links are: Batbox and specifically: Baton

I am very pleased with the unit, overall, and would recommend it to anyone!

Review: SeaWave Software - From CIBRA and AEST in Italy

SeaWave Software Review

Most will agree, that It's always nice to try something new, and different. Well, a new (free) audio application has been developed and recently released, it's called SeaWave. It is a light version of the SeaPro software package, developed by CIBRA and AEST in Italy.
You can read more about SeaWave, and download the free software here:
There, you'll find a self-extracting file. The software includes an easy-to-understand User Guide. This application was mainly developed for bioacoustic studies, and performs many functions very well, in real time. Not only is it excellent for ultrasound recording, but it's also very good for all Nature and Wildlife Sound Recording.

It's a neat little program, I like the fact that it's small in size (for downloading, installation, and use). It's a very fast download and install process. And, it's very easy to use, right from the start. Despite it's small size, in use, it's a robust application. By default, the program launches into a mid-sized window. I routinely run multiple instances of the software. And, in all the time I've used it: I've never had the application crash, freeze, or report any errors - So, that's a plus. As you will see, this new sound recording application has lots of neat little features. It has useful and desirable options available, without having any useless or complicated options to fuss over. The way it allows a user to capture sound recordings is simple. Some of the sound recording software available these days have more options than one knows what to do with. At times, a Recordist may prefer a recording interface that isn't too "busy" or complicated. Or, one that doesn't require a lot of computer system resources. Seawave is a "low-overhead" program; in other words, it doesn't need a lot of system resources to run.

Some of the features that I really like are:

The Real Time Controls

In the lower, right-hand side of the application's dialog box is the Digital Gain feature: This can be increased/decreased while recording or during playback of recorded files. I find it very convenient.
The default setting is 1, but it may be incremented to: 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. This control provides digital amplification of the waveform (and does not affect recording).

You can watch the time representation of the recording (during playback) and if you see or hear an interesting sound - You can just type the time of the event into the GoTo box, and click the GoTo button. This can be done while the file is still playing (no need to stop the playback, etc.). The application will then begin playing the recording again, starting at the time you entered. Great!

The Tracker box may be ticked, activating a feature that tracks the dominant frequency. If using the software in it's default, gray-scale mode: The loudest frequencies will be indicated in red.

The automatic file naming: The program will, by default, name each recorded sound file as 'Seawave_20110512 205758' Basically, the date "_20110512" followed by (combined with) a file number. The fact that the current date is used, as part of the file-name is convenient.

The default settings of the program displays the spectrograph in gray-scale. This software produces a nice, high-resolution spectrogram, even in it's default gray-scale mode. But, a large selection of colour combinations and window types are available to the end user. Any picked-up, or recorded sounds stand out in stark contrast. In black, if using the gray-scale mode or in dark blue, etc. when using colour.

It is an especially useful program for active, "real-time" recording. As opposed to unattended recording. It may be used with lots of different standard microphones (using a computer's Microphone-In jack) or USB-based recording devices. I use it primarily with Dodotronic's Ultramic200K. The software has a template built-in for this microphone. When the microphone is plugged in to the system, the template becomes available, under the 'Quick Settings' drop-down menu. 'Ultramic200k 16 Bit' may then be selected from the menu.

The Disk Recording feature in the 'Basic Settings' section allows you to set the Rec Path on your system's hard drive. This is useful, of course, to set a drive or folder path that has plenty of free space to hold the SeaWave recordings. They are very easy to play, analyze, etc. later. And any file, sound recording or otherwise, created by SeaWave may be easily deleted - just as you would any other file.

For advanced needs, there is SeaPro Software. A trial version may be obtained by sending the Developer an e-mail request here:

In the latest version of SeaPro, made available on May 6th 2011, an additional feature was made available: The buffer.

With the the buffer enabled (you may set the size in megabytes, in the quick settings panel).

Also added, is a setting for a 192k sampling rate, in case the user prefers
to cut down a few kHz but have a more standard file.

The creator of SeaWave and SeaPro (Gianni Pavan) hopes to get some feedback from users, in order to further fine-tune the program to user's needs.

Field Testing

This software works very well with Dodotronic's new Ultramic200K, the first fully digital ultrasonic USB microphone. The combination makes an awesome (and very sensitive!) recording set-up!
Many of the utilities and features of the software are designed to be monitored and used in real time. A lot of the functions and adjustments can be made while the system is recording (or playing-back).
I use the software mostly for recordings of night singing insects and bats. And, it performs very well indeed. I have just barely "scratched the surface" of all that can be done with this software.
I urge readers to visit the site, download Seawave, and try it out. After all, one can never have too many sound recording applications, can they?

(A sample sonogram will be added to this post soon)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Dodotronic's Ultramic200K

– ULTRAMIC200K – From Dodotronic

I'm excited about a new product, that has just become available from the folks at In this case, It's a new ultrasound microphone, called the Ultramic200K. The main purpose I'll be using it for, is to record bats! But, any type of ultrasound can be recorded. You can see photos and info of the new unit, by visiting the link above.

One of the reasons that I am really thrilled about this device, is that until now, there's never been a true, low-cost version of professional ultrasonic microphones - Such as the high-end (and very high cost!) models offered by a few specialist suppliers in Europe. 

These are geared more towards the Professional's budget, way out of reach for the average bat enthusiast.
Another great feature of the Ultramic, is that it plugs right into a laptop. Unlike the expensive professional units, which require the user to purchase one or more additional hardware components. Since most folks have laptops these days, just about anyone can have a professional style bat recording system that's simple (andinexpensive!).

The newly released, free SeaWave software has been modified to run the Ultramic smoothly, even on a Windows tablet with low-power Atom CPU. You can find SeaWave here: Download SeaWave

As you will learn from the Dodotronic Web site, the Ultramic200K is an ideal choice for someone who enjoys "experimenting" and discovering new ways to use the various (free) software packages available. It is a very versatile device, with lots of features; so there are quite a few ways in which to record sounds. One can use it straight away, simply by plugging it into your portable computer. It may be used with a Windows or Linux operating system. Or, you may try it with any free, downloadable sound application of your choice.
I've completed some tests and comparisons on one of the first prototypes of this unique microphone. Recording tests of the UltraMic200K reveal a very capable piece of equipment.

Ultramic200K First Impressions:

I received the Ultramic200K prototype today (here in New York, USA), less than a week after ordering it. The mic was well packaged, with bubble wrap and a padded envelope.
The microphone has 'ULTRAMIC200K Distribuito Da DODOTRONIC' printed on it, in neat, black lettering.

The unit is lightweight and very compact. Upon plugging it in to my laptop (running Windows XP) via USB cable, It is recognized right away.
I immediately launched the SeaWave software, since I knew it already has a convenient template for this microphone. After launching the SeaWave application, you can simply click on the 'Quick Settings' pull-down menu on the right, and select 'UltraMic 200K 16 bits'
I've found two ways to get it ready to record - Although, there may be others (I'll confess: I have not read about all the capabilities of this software yet). You may either click on the 'Rec Mode' button (lower left side of screen); or click 'Task' on the upper left area of the screen (sometimes referred to as the file or menu bar) and choose 'Real-Time Analysis + Recording'. Either of these actions will cause the large 'Start' button to turn red, and read 'REC Start'. A single-click on that button begins recording.

The first thing that struck me, was it's ability as a microphone in general: Outstanding! It has simply amazing performance! It easily out-performs each of the shotgun microphones I had to hand (including the well-known Sennheiser MKE-300). The sensitivity of this (MEMs-based) microphone is astonishing. This is especially noteworthy, as the Ultramic was not designed to perform as a shotgun mic.
The main feature that I always look for in a new bat detector, is it's ability to detect bats from a good distance away. And, I'm happy to report that the Ultramic200K can pick up bats at the same distances as my other top bat detectors.
Tonight was the first real test for evening bats. And it performed very well indeed! The sensitivity of this mic is phenomenal!
I still have a lot of learning to do, as far as the SeaWave software goes, but I give it a thumbs up, overall. And it can be used with just about any software that detects a USB microphone. Audacity, etc.
When it comes to the ability to pick up distant bats on the wing: The mic easily matches my beloved BatBox Baton (one of the best performing bat detectors in my collection).
I will say, that this is the perfect ultrasonic microphone for those Nature Recordists & bat enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with recording equipment. The combinations of software settings seem endless. I've only just scratched the surface of what can be accomplished with this hardware & software (SeaWave). The full version of SeaPro, has even more (and very desirable) capabilities.
As you will learn from the Dodotronic Web site, the Ultramic200K is a very versatile device, with great specifications and lots of features; so there are quite a few ways in which to record sounds. Many different combinations of settings are possible.
I've only tried a few so far. 

One of the most outstanding features of this device, is that it is capable of time-expansion bat detecting! To me, this alone was worth the price of admission. I've wanted a time-expansion bat detector for years now...
Another reason that I'm very impressed by this device, is because until now, there hasn't been a low-cost ultrasonic microphone available to Hobbyists. So, I am pleased to report that the Ultramic200K costs as much as many conventional bat detectors. 200 Euro + VAT + Shipping. 

Many of the specialty ultrasonic microphones on the market have been very high cost units, which also required additional add-on hardware in order to function. Sometimes, one also has to factor-in the expense of additional cables.

With the Ultramic, no additional hardware components are necessary.

Among the options in the SeaWave dialog box, is an option to adjust the Digital Gain. Well, just increasing the value in small increments provides amazing results - The mic becomes super-sensitive, but at the same time doesn't over-saturate or suffer from too much clipping or distortion. I'm not sure how or why that is, but I'm happy about it (I've just never seen it before).

I've been informed, by the software Designer, that the Digital Gain feature of SeaWave, should be used sparingly, and on weak signals (as needed). I did start to think that I would be
losing some signal to noise performance - But, it was so much fun increasing the gain! It's like turning the Ultramic into a Super-Mic! Wow! : ) 

In any case, this new Mic; along with the awesome SeaWave software are the best things to happen to ultrasound recording in a long time!

Happy bat detecting!

A link to the above review, in PDF format, on Dodotronic's Web site: PDF version on Dodotronic Site

First Post - Introduction

Welcome to my Bat detecting Blog ! 

Trying to decide on which bat detector to buy? 

Then you've found the right place!  

Hi, I'm Al and I enjoy many subjects related to Bats and other creatures that produce ultrasonic sounds.
So far, I've amassed lots of ultrasound recordings: 6 different species of Bats and various singing insects.

Here, you'll find my detailed reviews and comparisons of various ultrasound recording equipment.

I enjoy birding, recording ultrasounds from local bats at night, and taking telephoto pics of different wildlife right from my back window.
I've made loads of recordings of the ultrasonic calls of the bats in the area at night - simply by setting up various bat detectors and recording devices on my back windows in the evenings - I hope to get the WAV recordings on this page soon.

General Thoughts About Active (handheld) Bat Detectors Part 2 of 2

General thoughts & Considerations About Bat Detectors Part 2 of 2 "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's...