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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Review: The Song Meter Micro Recorder from Wildlife Acoustics Part 1 Of 2

Part 1 Of 2 The Song Meter Micro Recorder from Wildlife Acoustics

The Song Meter Micro, is the latest offering in the line of Wildlife Audio Recorders from Wildlife Acoustics, in Massachusetts USA.

This (very small!) wildlife sound recorder, was developed for those needing to record various (non-bat) animal species.

This compact, cute, and robust sound recorder was designed from "the ground up" to work as an unattended recording solution. The main points one realizes straight away are:

It's small!

It's not very expensive.

It's robust & capable.

Packaging - Upon arrival, you'll notice that the box is small. When you open the (outer) box, you'll notice that the inner box is small...

Unboxing video on YouTube 

The unit is 4"/101mm High x 2.9"/74mm Wide x 1.1"/28mm Deep. It is 0.43lbs/195g with batteries installed.

The Song Meter Micro currently sells for $249 (US dollars) directly from the Wildlife Acoustics Site. It is also available from many Dealers in the UK and Europe. Including Wildlife & Countryside Services' new page specifically for Non-Bat Recorders.

 

For those in The UK, NHBS has them in stock. The Song Meter Micro is designed for unattended recording of wildlife sounds in the field. It is constructed of a dark green poly-carbonate, which blends into the natural environment very well. It comes with a built-in, omnidirectional microphone. The Song Meter Micro records 16-bit PCM .wav files - to a single, Micro SD card (up to 2 terabytes in size). 

 

 

The sample rates available, range from 8kHz to 96kHz. 8, 12, 16, 22.5, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, and 96kHz are the selections available. Run time on 3 AA-sized alkaline batteries, is 150 hours. Wildlife Acoustics provides a thorough, 15-step Quick Set-Up Guide. 

For a whittled-down version, just to give you an idea of what's involved:

  •  Download/install the free App onto your mobile device.

  •  Get The Song Meter Micro up & running, by installing batteries, Micro SD card, and powering on.

  •  Choose from one of the pre-set schedules provided; save.

  •  Load schedule to The Micro via Bluetooth, replace cover, and deploy unit.

 

The Song Meter Micro deployed near my local lake. One small screw was all that was needed, to attach it to a tree at the water's edge. My target species here, were small terrestrial mammals (especially Shrews). More specifically, I was hoping to record Northern Short-Tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda); which I know to are in the area. No luck yet...at the time of this writing.

Once you read through The Quick Start's 15-Step process, and deploy the unit a few times, it becomes very easy. Read the User Manual, and you'll understand a lot more about how it may be customized: Gain settings, etc.

This unit fills a need for many Researchers working with (non-bat) animals that vocalize.

 

The unit records sounds very well; about as good as a handheld digital recorder in the same price range. So far, I've recorded various songbirds, ducks, singing insects, and Fowler's Toads.

Part 2 of this review will feature sound recordings (via YouTube video links), as well as spectrograms (using Kaleidoscope, of course!).

When deploying Song Meter Micro's, I would follow this excellent tip, directly from The Wildlife Acoustics's web page: "requires adding desiccant for each deployment to prevent condensation."

Pros:

  •  Relatively inexpensive for what you get (good value).
  •  Made by a trusted name in wildlife recording equipment.
  •  Professional Tech support available.

Cons:

  • Mobile device is necessary to control/set-up, and check status.

Once again, The Song Meter Micro may be ordered directly from Wildlife Acoustics, if you're in The U.S. 

Links to excellent Song Meter Micro Vimeo videos (created by Wildlife Acoustics):

Song Meter Micro Configuration Editor

Song Meter Micro Configuration Library 

Stay tuned - More to follow in Part 2 of 2, of this review. 

...Unless, you're the "impatient type" and want to know more about The Song Meter Micro right now - In which case, I'd recommend signing up to The BatAbility Club: Where there's a full webinar (video review) & discussion about it - By yours truly! Along with comments and questions from Director, Neil Middleton.

Happy bat animal detecting!

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