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Bat detector choice??? (1 Viewer)

Birding Tunisia

Mohamed-Ali Dakhli
Good morning,

I would like to buy a bat detector to use it for a bat survey in Tunisia. Can't make my mind on which one I have to chose between these two: the BAT BOX DUET Bat Detector and the ELEKON Batscanner. What will you recommend? Thanks
 

hisneilness

New member
Good morning,

I would like to buy a bat detector to use it for a bat survey in Tunisia. Can't make my mind on which one I have to chose between these two: the BAT BOX DUET Bat Detector and the ELEKON Batscanner. What will you recommend? Thanks
Hi, I am about to make the same choice. Which one did you go for in the end and how did it perform?
 

Had.enough

Well-known member
Supporter
The choice has moved quite a bit recently. There are still fairly cheap heterodyne Bat detectors, and very expensive time expansion and full spectrum recorders.

USB ultrasonic microphones, which can be used via smartphones and laptops are now becoming common, and may be a cheaper option for high quality performance. I have one on order, so will let you know my thoughts in the next week hopefully.

My current bat detector,. A Ciel, seems to be both cheap and good performance, but sadly the company no longer exists.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
I have recently bought an ultrasonic microphone for a smartphone - EchoMeter Pro. It's my first venture into bats, so I can't compare it with anything, but when I was choosing what to get, it seemed like a no-brainer choice. With such an easy access to full spectrum detection, all the other methods like heterodyne don't seem to make sense anymore as they basically existed just because full spectrum recording was too expensive. It however may be different for surveys, because the smartphone dependency is clearly not practical for "leave it and trigger" way of surveying.
 
I have owned an Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro (from Wildlife Acoustics) for a number of years now, and use it for my bat research in Bulgaria. The Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro offers Auto ID for European, North American, Neotropical and South African bats. However, I have found the auto ID is very untrustworthy and frequently incorrect for the bats in my region, so I manually analyse all the .wav recordings using the free Kaleidescope Lite software also produced by Wildlife Acoustics. Manual analysis also frequently enables you to pick out several species in each recording, whereas the auto ID will only pick up on one. Overall the recorder is easy to use and does a great job at recording the bats, and is great value for money. The biggest problem is that it drains the mobile phone battery very fast, so can only be used for a relatively short recording session. Hope that helps. Good luck.
 

Had.enough

Well-known member
Supporter
I have recently bought an ultrasonic microphone for a smartphone - EchoMeter Pro. It's my first venture into bats, so I can't compare it with anything, but when I was choosing what to get, it seemed like a no-brainer choice. With such an easy access to full spectrum detection, all the other methods like heterodyne don't seem to make sense anymore as they basically existed just because full spectrum recording was too expensive. It however may be different for surveys, because the smartphone dependency is clearly not practical for "leave it and trigger" way of surveying.
It's very true. All my training was about how to tune heterodyne, and identify bats by the peak frequency and the tones as you tune the recorder. It was very satisfying, and sounded great.. but I'm noticing some modern, expensive detectors do have heterodyne, but no dial!!! It just uses it to detect, at which point you switch to recording, or it automatically displays the peak frequency for you.

It's worth noting that in UK at least.. I wouldn't be able to identify any more species with the latest tech, compared with a 20 year old heterodyne detector! But the modern tech is more accessible, shareable, easier to record data etc.
Digital versus analogue so I'd expect sharper sonograms, and more accurate triggering.

Unless there is some major flaw with the USB ultrasonic microphones, and I haven't heard of any disadvantages, then that has to be the way to go for anyone starting out. The bat detector software on Android, you can even switch on a heterodyne or frequency division mode, so it has all the new stuff, plus built in older technology!
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
Yeah, I have been told by several people that the IDs from the app are not great - but it's still a great way to get some rough idea for a beginner and at least to classify "types" of calls. The fact that it's all digital means that you can revisit all recordings later when you know better, which is a great advantage.

I found only one flaw with the EchoMeter and that's the wonky mechanics of the USB - I can't walk around with it basically, because if not held still, it will disconnect. On the other hand, it does not seem to drain my battery much, but I have a larger than usual battery.
 
I found only one flaw with the EchoMeter and that's the wonky mechanics of the USB - I can't walk around with it basically, because if not held still, it will disconnect.
That's strange. I haven't had any connection problem. I carry mine around recording whilst I walk transects all over mountainsides and haven't ever had it disconnect. The USB connection for me is firm and snug.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
I should have mentioned that I have USB C, so I am using the (included) reduction, which may be a part of the problem - on the other hand I guess that's now the case for a vast majority of users (and they should drop the B connector already).
 

Had.enough

Well-known member
Supporter
I previously used a Frequency Division detector coupled to a recorder, then a fairly good cheap detector which enabled time expansion recordings.
The USB microphone (dodotronic 384 Evo) gives much better results. I'd say it's the first time in my life where the sonograms resemble what the book says they should look like! I've always had a good indicator of the peak frequency, and rough call shapes, but rarely as sharp as this.
The high and low frequency of the call is much more accurate with the USB mic.
( Older tech, I got the feeling I could tweak the display when analysing the recordings, and get whatever high and low frequency I wanted!)

The USB mic didn't seem to be picking up harmonics, or much background hiss.

Also seemed to be more sensitive. Lots of Noctules last night, and I picked out a single Daubentons passing thru without any problems, amongst the pipistelles.

I've attached the USB mic to a parabolic reflector, to see what that produces this evening following the same route. This could be ideal, as I could strap a phone or tablet to the handle with a handlebar mount, and not run out of hands.

The android bat detector software was quite powerful, but hung a few times, and was a bit fiddly tapping the screen. Changing to activating recording with the phone volume buttons was a big improvement.
 
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Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
Are the computerised detectors simulating heterodyne sounds; digitally doing heterodyne style processing or do they have actual analogue heterodyne circuitry?
 

Had.enough

Well-known member
Supporter
Are the computerised detectors simulating heterodyne sounds; digitally doing heterodyne style processing or do they have actual analogue heterodyne circuitry?
I think it must be in the Software/App, simulating Heterodyne and Frequency division.
My brief listen last night, the heterodyne sounded rich, the FD sounded typically flat. It seemed to do a good job, if it was simulating these effects.
I didn't get so far as trying to sweep the heterodyne frequency and work out the peak frequency etc., or tune out the Pipistrelles to detect Daubenton's. Its a lot more visual than I'm used to.. you tend to be looking straight at the sonograms, and pick things up visually, as opposed to doing everything by ear.
 

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