Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: The New Songmeter SMZC Recorder From Wildlife Acoustics Part 2 Of 3

Review: The New Songmeter SMZC recorder from Wildlife Acoustics Part 2 Of 3

Welcome to Part 2 of 3, of the new Songmeter SMZC recorder review. Let's start, by going over some of this machine's main features:

The new SMZC from Wildlife Acoustics is built tough. There are no "weak links" to worry about on it. I like the fact, that even the (already robust) Mic element, is covered by a thin, felt-like material. This is a simple way to keep any debris from ever coming in contact with the microphone. I sometimes wish that other manufacturers (of bat detectors) would do the same thing.
It's very easy to use - Install batteries, and you're almost half-way done.

The recorded bat calls are easily transferable to your laptop, via the (included) SD memory card.
This machine will allow you to record bat activity, for about 40 nights! (per set of fresh batteries)
Priced at just $649 U.S., it is positively, one of the most economical un-attended solutions available. The price will be attractive to many in the field of Bat Ecology.

For those using Kaleidoscope Software, who need to manipulate the ZC recordings - There are a lot of things you can do: Chief among these, is the ability to easily convert the Zero cross recordings of The SMZC to .wav files - For playback and analysis.
Note: Way back in the "early days" of zero-crossing technology - The process, of simply playing the recordings back, might have been considered a bit convoluted (by today's standards).

The ideal buyer might be someone who needs to deploy several recorders, in various locations - And, needs to do it quickly.

In use, The SMZC seems to have a respectable pick-up range. There is a PCB mounted, 3.5mm earphone jack located inside the SMZC box. This is provided so that you can listen to the sound input while recording; this may be used for live monitoring, to check the status of the microphone, perform test recordings, etc.

If you would like to do a bit of quick monitoring, in the field -
Just plug a pair of earphones/headphones into the 3.5mm jack, and listen for yourself -You'll notice that the omni-directional microphone is picking up everything!
{As per WA's Site: "If you need to ensure that your recorder is operating properly, the Song Meter SMZC has an integrated earphone jack inside the enclosure. Simply open the lid and plug in ear buds or headphones to monitor."}
Of course, thresholds/triggers can always be adjusted as necessary. 
The unit can be permanently mounted to a flat surface (or, on trees of various sizes) using any of the various built-in screw holes. These holes will (more than likely) be used to secure the SMZC to a tree, using several of the common best-practices in use today.
And, at this point, I must also mention (as a reminder) the available options and accessories

With the top cover safely closed-up, in preparation for mounting/deployment - The green LED light will be visible to you, so that you can get feedback before, during, and after the unit is mounted:
- A steady blinking: Indicates the unit has started it's scheduled program; and will be recording when the (appropriately set time arrives). Again, it basically serves as an all-systems-go indicator. I would like to have seen a built-in diffuser (as seen used on The SM3, and other units). It informs you that the system is awake, and will be actively monitoring when the time you've specified rolls around.

One of the best places to order the new Songmeter SMZC, is from Wildlife Acoustics themselves.
Part 3 Of 3 of this review (the final installment) will also include sonograms, and screen captures. 
Happy bat detecting!

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