Thursday, September 8, 2011

Typical Recorders Used For Recording Bats

When using the typical, hand-held bat detectors - The ones we all know & love so much : ) A couple of items are needed, if one intends to record bats. First, of course, is a digital recorder.
The fact is, just about any device that can record sound can be used; including your laptop PC. Anything from a $15 tape recorder from RadioShack, to a top-of-the-line Sound Devices 7xx series can be used.
What I would like to share, are some recommendations that I've received, directly from a couple of bat detector Manufacturers. I love it! What could be better?!?
OK, first up, is the well known Pettersson D240X. If you just think about it for a moment... Many of you will probably remember which recorder has always been recommended (and, many times pictured with) this detector...
Yes, it is the Zoom H2 Digital Recorder! OK, that was an easy one! The D240X is pictured with the Zoom H2 recorder on a few different Web sites (in several languages!).

Next up, the BatBox Baton (from BatBox Ltd.). Here are the recommended recorders:

The Yamaha Pocketrak 2G, was initially recommended by BatBox. It's cost, was around
£175.00. (Details on the following link
But, it has been discontinued. Yamaha now has this model available: The Yamaha Pocketrak C24, which costs a bit more (at ~ $199.99 US dollars)

The Transcend MP33- 4GB USB (MP3 Player)
It costs only £35.00. Details on the following link
There's also the Transcend MP330 8BG USB (MP3 Player)
*Note:It doesn't record .wav files, but you can
convert from mp3's. It should suit both the Baton and the Duet.

Another well priced model that was recommended, is from American Audio,
called Pocket Record. It is available from CPC (code DP3028605)
at 75.00 + VAT. Details at this link. However, you will need to purchase a lead with a stereo
3.5mm plug at one end and two mono 1/4 inch jack plugs at the other end,
in order to connect it to a Baton, Duet, etc..

And, lastly, I found this "Alternative" recorder - Similar to the above. Details on the following link.

Next post, I will cover some of my digital recorder recommendations; as well as Cables, etc.

Happy bat detecting! 


  1. What are the best settings for the Zoom H2 to manual record batsounds from your Pettersons 240 ? Both devices are connected with a Cable (TAPE/LINE IN plugs used).

  2. Thanks for your question! The fact that the D240X is small (fits easily in most pockets) almost belies it’s capabilities as top-of-the-range instrument.
    It allows you to listen to the both the heterodyne, and the time expansion activity going on at the same time (using any stereo earphones). You can hear the heterodyne sounds in one ear and the time expansion activity in the other, simultaneously.
    Add a digital stereo recorder, and you’re all set.

    Partnered with a Zoom H2 or H2n = A perfect combination; with well-documented set-up tips easily found on The Web.
    What's the best set-up? Use my settings! (approved by Mr. Pettersson himself):

    Normal X
    Time Exp X
    Gain: Low -------------------- (I used to keep it on High (as suggested) but, I thought that I was recording too much noise / non-bat calls, etc.)
    Volume: Set to Minimum
    Trig: Auto
    Trigger Level Source: Low
    Source: HF
    Mem Size: I set it to either 1.7 Sec or 3.4 Sec.

    Happy bat recording!

    1. Hi,
      I have a problem with recording bat sounds on Zoom H2n. I figure out that the L and R channels do not have the same sensitivity. The left one records Heterodyne very well, but right one do not record the TE sound and I do not know how to fix it? Any help?
      Best, Marina

    2. Thank you for your question. What I would ask you, first – would be: are you sure that bats are present? Have you set the time expansion settings as per those listed above?

  3. Hi Al,
    this post on recorders is a bit dated, but still excellent advice. The present incarnation of the "Transcend MP330" is able to record WAV format (says amazon), which adds to the attraction of the small 25g item. If the detector is 142g or more, plus 46g for a battery, a mere 25g for a recorder seems just right.
    Kind regards, Stefan in Germany

  4. Hi Stefan,
    Yes, it is dated...You'd be surprised to learn that this Post is very popular!
    Which is why I've had plans to re-do it (revisit it, actually). Looks like I may have to bump it up higher on my To-Do List. Interesting, re: Transcend MP330

  5. Hi Al,
    I just received a BatBox iiiD and would like to try recording bat calls. As you may know, the iiiD uses heterodyne only (no frequency division). It's a very basic model. My hope is to leave the combination, Batbox plus recorder, out all evening and then use the wav file to analyze the calls (if any).
    Do you see any problem with this?
    Aloha from Hawaii!

    1. Congrats on acquiring a BatBox IIID; and thanks for your question.
      The short answer is, it can be done. I've done it myself, many times. But the final results (ie. spectrograms won't be the best). This is where an FD bat detector would be best suited...However, as long as you:
      - Tune the detector to the Freq. of your most common bat species (In my area, tuning ~40-45kHz worked best).
      - Perform a bunch of test recordings (rubbing of fingers from a short distance, etc.). To ensure the volume level's correct (as well as recorder sensitivity level).
      - Try to make sure you aren't getting too many false triggers (more work, sorting through the next day).
      - Use simple relatively "simple" software to analyze: Audacity to start, followed by something like BatScan, etc.
      Good luck!


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