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Friday, July 5, 2019

Review Of The Anabat Swift Bat Detector from Titley Scientific - Part 2 Of 3...

Review Of The Anabat Swift Bat Detector from Titley Scientific - Part 2 Of 3
 


Very nice protective case included with AnaBat Swift


When it comes to any technology kit, I've always been an advocate for reading the User Manual. As a summary, I'll point out some areas which will help provide an overview of The AnaBat Swift.

While first "Jumping around" inside The User Manual, some of the pages I was drawn to were:

Page 4 - Features of the Anabat Swift

Page 5 - Getting Started

Page 9 - AnaBat Swift basic operation



Colour touchscreen displays the system's status at a glance.


The AnaBat Swift's System > Status screen


In practice, using the headphone output jack, to listen-in while recording bats, is about what one might expect: The sounds heard via the headphones, sounds like a typical frequency division bat detector. Nothing fancy here.
However, the addition of an inexpensive external speaker, can add another dimension to this passive bat detector.

In my case, a quick rummaging around in my electronics box turned-up a simple amplified speaker (from RadioShack). This turned-out to be a perfect fit for my intended purpose:
Which was to have The AnaBat Swift function as an active monitor, for live bat calls as well (while simultaneously recording). This is ideal for "deploying" the (opened) unit on a windowsill. Setting-up bat detectors on windowsills, is a practice which I've been quite fond of over the years.
I haven't had a chance to try an ordinary speaker; and I'm not yet sure if the headphone output jack (3.5mm) would be able to drive one. But a small amplified speaker is probably best suited for the purpose anyway.


Small amplified speaker, connected to the Headphone jack (via 3.5mm audio patch cable).

I should remind the reader, that using the Headphone output in this manner is just an idea I had; just something to try. Not something mentioned by Titley. If you decide to try it, your results may vary (depending on the amplified speaker used). You may find (as I did) that the audio produced in a typical pair of (inexpensive/generic) headphones is a lot more pleasing.

Fortunately for me, this is the view out of my (current) windowsill:


Where I point my bat detectors, for quick, nightly tests.


The AnaBat Swift, with Omnidirectional Mic, routinely creates good quality recordings at respectable distances. The water's edge, of the lake pictured above, is a favorite flyway of Big Brown Bats (Eptesicus Fuscus). And it lies approximately 40 meters distant.

AnaBat Insight
  •  Opening recordings:
File > Open > Open Directory 
The directory is then loaded, and appears on the left hand side of the screen. 

  • Playing back the files, my take:
Pitch Shift - Sounds pleasing, very basic.
Heterodyne - Sounds pleasing, strong and clear (probably my favorite).
Comb Filter - Sounds pleasing, subdued/lower.
Frequency Division - Sounds great when using ZC recorded files. Not for listening to full spectrum recorded files.
A couple of spectrograms below, recorded with The AnaBat Swift.
 

Big Brown Bat pass (Eptesicus fuscus) - Viewed with AnaBat Insight's default settings with FS (Spectrogram) and Zero Crossing selected.


Another Big Brown Bat pass (Eptesicus fuscus) - Viewed with AnaBat Insight (there are a myriad of customization's and colors available).



I like the Metrics, and the Metadata display areas, on the right-hand side of the AnaBat Insight screen. 
For Frequency Division, the multiplying factors available are: 4, 8, 16, 32. I would like to see '10' as an option, so that results from low-cost bat detectors can be accurately played. Obviously, this is just a minor point.

I like the touch colour screen on this unit. I found that I had to re-calibrate the touch screen a few times, to get it to my liking. In general, I like the way the screen menus are laid-out. There is also a Force Screen On option, useful for using the unit as an active monitor. As in using a connected headphone or speaker, as mentioned previously. It ensures that the screen doesn't go into sleep mode (battery power consumption is increased).
I like the way the AnaBat Insight software informs you when an update is available.
It gives you a complete overview of what is about to take place - See screen shot below:


Thorough update information.


Other sections of the AnaBat Insight Manual, which I found useful were:
  • Frequency Scale (Page 14) - Info on how to change and customize (your own) frequency scale.
  • Time Scale (Page 15)
  • Trigger Settings (Page 16)
  • Graph Colours (page 17)
  • Spectrogram De-Noise (Page 19) - Caused the application to crash, on more than one occasion.
  • View Power Graph (Page 20)
  • Audio Modes (Page 25) - Brief explanations of each audio mode.

 
A ZC recording of a bat pass, in Dark Mode. Mouse pointer held over one of the pulses, provides temporary pop-up of Metrics.


As is the custom with unattended bat recorders, The AnaBat Swift automatically produces a Log File. And, as I've mentioned in the past, it reminds me of log files which computer servers create. For those who are interested, here is a typical example of such a log file, from The AnaBat Swift:

,INFO,Power Button Wakeup
,RTCBATT,3.24
16:58:09,POWER,on
16:58:09,INFO,GUI start
16:58:09,INFO,night mode start 20:01 end 5:57
16:58:09,INFO,Status: Insert an SD card
16:58:10,TEMP,53.7        -------- I really like this feature.
16:58:10,BATT,5.20
16:58:10,BATT,5.17
16:58:10,INFO,CPU usage 78%
16:58:10,INFO,sd card 1 inserted
16:58:10,INFO,Status: Please wait
16:58:11,INFO,CPU usage 72%
16:58:13,BATT,5.08
16:58:13,INFO,card 1 in use 30.5G free
16:58:14,DATE,2019-07-03
16:58:14,TIME,16:58:14 -4:00
16:58:14,INFO,Anabat Swift
16:58:14,INFO,Hardware Rev 2.0
16:58:14,INFO,Device ID Private
16:58:14,INFO,Software 1.4 (master/d035424)
16:58:14,INFO,Bootloader 1.0 (jro-4723/1db4759)
16:58:14,INFO,Recording div 8 ZC files
16:58:14,INFO,Transect Off
16:58:14,INFO,Max file length 12s
16:58:14,INFO,Analog HP filter On        -------- (High Pass) I like this feature.
16:58:14,INFO,Sensitivity is 10
16:58:14,INFO,Trigger Freq 15kHz to 155kHz  -------- Allows you to tighten the recording window.
16:58:14,INFO,Min event 2ms
16:58:14,INFO,Trigger window 2s
16:58:14,INFO,Recording mode is Night
16:58:14,INFO,Status: Next recording at 20:01
16:59:09,INFO,User inactive for 60 seconds
16:59:14,INFO,GUI stop


Further to my comments on the Log File above, the usefulness of a temperature sensor is obvious. A High Pass filter is also a welcomed feature, useful for recording in diverse environments (where other wildlife are present, etc.). The ability to limit the frequency range of the unit's trigger, is very useful for narrowing-in on the species of bat you're after. In other words, you can change the range of frequencies which the Swift responds to.
For example, if you were recording bats in the Northeastern United States, you might try changing the settings to 15kHz to 90kHz.

Part 3 of 3 of this AnaBat Swift review, will cover the differences seen and heard when using the various microphones, which should be available for purchase soon. 
Of course, the Directional Mic is currently available / stocked by most Dealers, etc.

On to The AnaBat Walkabout review! ...In progress...

Happy bat detecting!

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