Saturday, November 8, 2014

Review: Brand-New Stereo Batscanner From Elekon AG Part 1 Of 2

Review: The brand-new Stereo Batscanner - Scanning bat detector from Elekon AG

It's finally been announced & released! I'm very happy to report, that I've had the opportunity to test (and use) the new Stereo Batscanner from Elekon for months now...And now, since Elekon AG has announced it - I'm finally able to share my thoughts.

This turned-out to be a very fortunate situation; the timing was perfect, since I was able to test the new detector on one of my recent "mini field trips". We travel to a location (not too far from here, actually), where the bats are even more plentiful (and diverse) than those I routinely record at home.
The result, was a digital recorder full of stereo recorded bat calls! I used my ultra-portable Tascam DR-08 recorder. 

The new Batscanner Stereo, shown with stereo patch cable
(notice LED indicator near 'A', representing Auto Mode)

While on-site, at the "batty" location, a substantial amount of time was spent testing The Stereo Batscanner. The first half, of this particular test session was devoted to testing the new unit's general abilities, as a hand-held bat detector (before hooking it up to the digital recorder, via a stereo audio cable).
It was a real pleasure to use. Of course, there were many (general) similarities to the original Batscanner. The exciting part, was hearing the bats as they flew from Point A to Point B. This new stereo Batscanner adds a wonderful, new dimension  to bat detecting:

A user is able to determine the direction of flight of the bats, as they are being detected.
This can be accomplished by using your ears - And/or your eyes:
  • The front-mounted speaker produces enough clear audio, to allow most (experienced) bat chasers to actually determine the origin of the calls, as a bat flies from left to right (or vice-versa). 
  • The (very clever) LED indicators on the front panel (below the frequency readout) also indicate which (of the two) microphones are detecting ultrasounds. Very neat!
So, if you cannot decide which direction the echolocation's are coming from, using just your ears...You will be able to determine which direction they're coming from using your eyes!

I found, that simply listening to the foraging bats, was very enjoyable with this new stereo Batscanner. I believe that many experienced detector users will also find this new Batscanner a joy to use. It has all been very exciting for me.

The new Stereo Batscanner arrived promptly from Elekon AG, in it's typical box (packaging) which may be seen below:

 The Stereo Batscanner, in it's box as received (via UPS)

I love the small size and weight of this unit. It's very similar to the original (Mono) Elekon Batscanner. It's nice to have such a capable bat detector in such a small, and easy-to-hold enclosure.

 The battery compartment

The new Stereo Batscanner is also available from NHBS:

Features - The new, Stereo Batscanner from Elekon is a scanning, heterodyne bat detector. As it's predecessor, it automatically scans the detecting area for any ultrasonic bat calls - When it detects the ultrasound of a bat's echolocation, it stops scanning, and displays the peak frequency of the detected call.
During my testing, I found the unit's ability to display peak frequencies of the detected bats to be quite accurate. While simultaneously using high-end bat recording systems, to confirm. 

The Stereo Batscanner is super-easy to use: It powers On, by depressing two buttons on the unit: The Power-On -and- Volume Up buttons. This design (also present on the original Batscanner) prevents the unit from being turned-on accidentally. While in transit, in a pocket, etc.

This detector has the potential to suit a variety of different owners: From Beginners just starting-out, to experienced "veterans" (Hobbyists), to even Professional Bat Workers who would like a comfortable, easy-to-use detector for quick listening sessions, etc.

You can tell which direction the bats are flying from, even from the recordings. Very nice.
I intend to post the various stereo recordings, in the up-coming Part 2 Of 2 of this review.

There is much more to follow, in Part 2...
Happy bat detecting!

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