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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.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for your blog, its very usefull. I have a question, do you know researchers who have used the Ultramic 200k for scientific research, in other parts of the world than Europe and the USA? I have been looking for a cheap batdetector for a long time, but one able to function well in tropical areas, with similar capabilities and performance as detectors such as the pettersson d980 or d1000x. I hope you could respond my question, my mail is ivar82@yahoo.com
    Cheers

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  2. Thanks for your fast comment, and waiting anxiously for your detailed answer. Might it be possible that you put in contact with some of the researchers using Ultramix200k? I have spread the word here in Chiapas Mexico about the Ultramix 200k and people have been very interested. As budget is low with many of us, it might be a very good alternative batdetector.
    Cheers

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  3. Hi!

    This was great news!

    How does the Ultramic 200k work? Do I always need to bring a computer out to field or does work to connect the mic to a digital recorder as the Zoom H2 with a USB?
    Regards
    Daniel
    dmattsson@gmail.com

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  4. Thanks for your comment. Well, The Ultramic does work very well. I like the fact that it may be used to record normal sounds also - Which means that it can take the place of a regular shotgun mic (for example). Just increase the Gain (SW) setting by a few increments.
    Well, I finally got a Netbook (it was unexpected). But now, I'm ready to take the Ultramic with me to a few locations. I'll post pics soon, in fact.
    Sometimes, I really do wish that I could connect the mic to a digital recorder - But, unfortunately it won't work without the SeaWave (or other SW) to guide it. Well, you can't have it all.

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  5. Thnks for your fast answer! The Ultramic is still an interesting options, me like many others are looking for a less expensive TE batdetector.

    Regards

    Daniel

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  6. There are 2 types of full-spectrum technologies out there. TE is not really the holy grail. Real-time full-spectrum is much more desireable.

    TE (time expansion) detectors miss a lot of bat calls. The D240x, for instance, which is a very good detector, still misses about 50% of the bats flying around you. It does this in 2 ways. Firstly, it records a time-slice into circular memory and then plays it out in Time expanded (10x for example), which divides by 10 (it's actually configurable)mode to an attached digital recorder, or the built-in speaker. If your time-slice is set to 1.7 seconds of full-spectrum sound, it takes 17 seconds to play that out to a Linear-PCM recorder. While it's playing out, it can't record anything new and you loose all those bat calls that you can hear on the HET channel in your other ear.

    The other way it can loose bat calls is that if the HET channel is set to 40kHz (for example) and a 25kHz bat comes around, you won't hear it and you won't be able to trigger the playback to the recorder, even though the 25kHz bat would be picked up in the circular memory.

    The D1000x is one of a handful of detectors capable of recording real-time full-spectrum (or 1x). You'll never miss a bat call with this type of detector.

    Best Regards,
    Lone Ranger.

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  7. Thank you for your comment.
    Yes, I'm aware of the two types of TE out there, thanks. This particular post is a little old, though - May 2011. At the time this post was written, the TE provided by a D240X would still be considered the holy grail of bat detecting: To the average *Hobbyist*.
    (Now, in 2013 - We are very lucky to have quite a few excellent new detectors!)

    I believe that many enthusiasts are fully aware of those (unfortunate) delays when recording with a D240X. But, your full description will be of great use to many beginners, thanks.

    Kind regards,

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  8. You're welcome!

    Splitting hairs, of course, the D1000x was out in 2011. That's a real-time (1x) detector as well as a TE detector; but yes, to the average hobbyist, I agree. :-)

    I use the D240x a lot. It's a great detector. You get great sonograms with it. If you use Sonobat, that product was designed with Pettersson detectors in mind. Most of the calls in the Sonobat call libraries are made with a D240x. That can be a major benefit for identifying species - to have apples-to-apples. The pairing works very well for me.

    Keep up the good work! Love the blog!

    Kind Regards,
    Lone Ranger.

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  9. Thank you for your comment.

    Yes, the D240X was wonderful - The most beautiful heterodyne I've ever heard too!
    Very interesting, that the D240X was used to create the SonoBat call libraries. I get what you mean, re: apples-to-apples; I'm sure it must be great!

    Thank you for the kind words, I appreciate it!
    Regards,
    Al

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