First, I must apologize: This review should've been posted much sooner. I was away from home recently, searching for "battier pastures"... I forgot to pack my laptop's A/C adapter. So, I was unable to share all of the great screen captures I'd originally prepared.
If you are interested in an automatic bat call identification package - Then I urge you to download the free 15-day trial of Kaleidoscope Pro. You get to try out the full version of this software for 15 days, which will give you an opportunity to fully test drive the package before you buy. Just to clarify: This is a fully-functioning trial version - Nothing is disabled or limited, as in other software trial downloads. As I'm sure many of you already know, this is not a common practice. Most of the time, trial versions of software applications are severely limited.
The offer from Wildlife Acoustics has recently been extended - The free trial download will be available until June 30th 2013.
Again, I urge you to visit the Page - Check out the amazing screen shots! Watch the video presentation by Guest Speaker David Riggs, etc. There is a lot to see and learn there! Especially, if you're considering the purchase of a license.
I have tested this application, and found it to be excellent in overall performance. As per the Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro page: "Today we offer classifiers for 21 species of North American bats and 10 for the U.K.."
This is very impressive. I have compared it, to all of the other Auto Bat Call ID software packages; Including SonoBat. And, frankly it is one of the two best applications I have found. The other, being BCID.
Which is better?
In regards to features, performance, and ease of use: Kaleidoscope Pro is clearly "smoother around the edges" (more refined, etc.) than the other currently available packages out there.
Kaleidoscope Pro is clearly the winner between the two.
Kaleidoscope Pro currently retails for $1,499.00 (U.S. Dollars)
BCID's current price is $979.00 (U.S. Dollars)
Something else that is interesting, is that - In many ways, the two are somewhat similar: Both in the way they look, and the way they work. Which brings us to the next question; how does it look? Below is a screen capture of the first dialog box you see upon launching Kaleidoscope Pro.
By default, it opens up as a medium-sized dialog box. Here is a full view, enlarged (maximized Window) for a better look:
Here is a quick screen shot, of one of tonight's recordings (picked up with the new Avisoft USG 116Hnm) - Lots of color variations are possible, they are easily changed using slider controls:
There are currently only two software packages that warrant consideration for purchase:
Kaleidoscope Pro -and- BCID.
There is also a third. I list and describe it separately here, since it is a free application. It is awesome; and works beautifully with The Batlogger series of bat detectors (from Elekon).
It is BatExplorer from Elekon AG. The good news, is it's free. The bad news is that:
American bat species are not currently included.
Kaleidoscope Pro is a comprehensive, very well-made, software application. It also seems to have a bright future, with various advancements already planned...Frankly, I can't keep up with all the neat additions they've been making! Which is why this is going to be a two-Part post.
BCID gets the job done, almost as well. But, leaves some things to be desired. And, may even be considered to be lacking in a few (minor) areas.
BatExplorer works absolutely beautifully - With two caveats: 1. You must be using files produced by a Batlogger detector: In order for everything to work quickly, smoothly, and with the minimal number of mouse clicks -and- 2. No American bat species are covered.
The three companies listed above, are each very knowledgeable and dynamic. They pay attention to exactly what is needed by Bat Workers in the field; and do their best to tailor their software to suit their various needs. Wildlife Acoustics is chief among these. In regards to my use of the term 'Bat Workers' here - You may take this to include: Bat Biologists, Researchers, PhD's and soon-to-be PhD's. And generally anyone who works with these incredible mammals.
I have only reached these conclusions, after a lot of careful research. After studying user manuals, specifications, numerous field reports, other reviews (from those with more field experience than I), and a lot of correspondence with several Bat Working Professionals.
In other words, all other currently available bat call identification software has been thoroughly scrutinized by yours truly.
EchoClass - Although free, is hardly good enough to be considered for any serious (accurate) results, etc. No technical support
SonoBat - Doesn't have a good "track record" or substantial following among bat workers.
What I've learned from other owners, is that End User support leaves much to be desired.
For (one) example - In the recent past, I e-mailed almost a half-dozen questions (to SonoBat) that all went unanswered. Others have reported the same thing. This basically translates to - No technical support.
Part 2 Of 2 Review Of Kaleidoscope Pro
Happy bat detecting!