Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: EM3 From Wildlife Acoustics Part 1 Of 2

Review: The EM3 From Wildlife Acoustics (Part 1 Of 2) - Some preliminary thoughts, and first impressions -Well, it's finally here! The long-anticipated, new Echo Meter 3 from Wildlife Acoustics, Inc. is now available! I must state, first and foremost: That this new bat detector is revolutionary. It is the first hand-held, ultrasonic detector to feature a (live) sonogram display!
I envision this feature being very welcomed by experienced hobbyists and Bat Workers/Researchers.
Besides being unprecedented, technologically advanced and scientifically useful - The display looks very cool! It can also made to display "White-on-black" (for low light use) at the press of a button. This setting, is recommended for use in darkness (in the field, etc.).

In regards to my more recent reviews; I've been trying to keep a new goal in mind: I've made an effort to keep my reviews a bit shorter; whenever possible. Of course, with some new bat detectors - They simply have too many features to effectively cover on just one, long page. This new EM3 is a good example, of such an instrument. Like other high-end ultrasonic detectors: It has lots of features!
The new Echo Meter 3 arrived promptly, and was very well packaged. As you can see, from the photos: The EM3 is shipped to you with a lot of extras, as standard accessories. Last, but not least of which, is a really neat custom nylon carry case. The EM3 fits in the case like a glove. And, provides sufficient protection.

I'd like to convey the new EM3's features, in the "order in which they were discovered" by me. I presume most new owners of this unit will come across the features of this instrument in the same "order" that I have ~ So, I believe this format will be useful.
As stated on Page 1, of the User Manual: "The default factory settings allow you to begin monitoring bats in minutes."

First, I'm happy to report that the unit does fit comfortably in the hand. Even with the Garmin GPS unit attached to the back. The next feature, that I happen to like - Is the bright, bi-color LED (on the side of the unit) which serves as a battery charging status indicator. Red while the batteries are charging and Green when charging is complete. It is super-bright - Not to worry, it won't be illuminated during normal use (in the field).
I've noticed that the (included) rechargeable batteries charge-up in a very short time. Seemed to be < 30 minutes to me (although I didn't time it).

Next: Powering up - I love the splash screen. You get to see the different, subtle shades of color that make up the display. See for yourself, in the pic below:

Installing the Garmin GPS unit is very easy - Simply press it against the (modern-style) dot fasteners; and you're done. It is held in place very securely:

More to follow...

Review EM3 Part 2 Of 2


  1. "Last, but not least of which, is a really neat custom nylon carry case. The EM3 fits in the case like a glove."
    So with the GPS it doesn't i assume?

    Comments on the build will be appreciated, the prototype looked flimsy.
    Look forward to sonograms :)

    1. The carry case is really only useful for carrying it about when you're not using it as far as I can see. What concerns me is the complete absence of any wrist strap anchor point or ergonomic shaping to keep the very expensive box secure - when someone jogged my elbow as we were looking for Daubentons it very nearly finished up in the canal!

    2. Thanks for your message. You've brought up some good points. And, the prospect of having a unit fall into a canal is indeed very scary! Wildlife Acoustics monitors my blog pretty regularly; and I'm sure we'll see a response in the future, re: your concern. They may add a wrist strap.

  2. One great advantage that real-time spectrograms provides is a greater ability to ID in the field. This will help improve species/habitat associations because your not initially analyzing the calls back on the computer some time later. I know it can be already be done with most units using a laptop but not many entusiasts want to lug all that gear along.

  3. Well I received my EM3 today and I have to say there are some things that concern me regarding not only the build quality but also the operational aspects. Hopefully the operatonal concerns can be resolved via firmware.

    1. Thank you. Yes, the build quality may concern some: It is not a very heavy-duty plastic. The operation of the unit does take a bit of time to get used to. You have inspired me to finish up Part 2!

  4. not too sensitive, compare with duests and doesnt pick up half of the activity

    1. Thanks for your comment. I did not have the opportunity to test The EM3 directly against a BatBox Duet - However, I would agree, that the Duet is definitely more sensitive.


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