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Outdoor monitoring for indoor 24/7 listening? (2 Viewers)

Doug999

New member
United States
I found this thread recently while Googling how to do this myself. So, although this is an old thread, it does pop up on Google if searching for this stuff, and it is actually one of the more useful. So I though I would add this.

I have put together a system that gets pretty good sound. I have used it for a couple months now. I have no opinion yet on the longevity of any of the components, but they have handled rain, cold, and direct sun well so far.

I use a wired (not battery-powered) waterproof microphone, a tiny Bluetooth transmitter (battery with USB charging), and a bluetooth speaker (also battery/USB charged). The microphone I got from Amazon for $28. The tiny Bluetooth transmitter/receiver I got from Ebay for ~$9, but is also available from Walmart. It is about 60% of the size of a saltine cracker. The Bluetooth speaker I got at Staples clearance for $16. This speaker is normally way more expensive, but I think that many $10-$20 Bluetooth speakers would work just as well. I am not sure how well other microphones would work. The transmitter is so cheap that I would not really worry about using a different one.

I use a Bluetooth setup instead of wiring the microphone to the speaker because the access point to run the microphone wire outside is a floor up from where I want the speaker. The one challenge is getting the speaker and transmitter to pair up via Bluetooth, but eventually I always get it to work. I have not yet figured out the exact sequence of steps that these two prefer to link up, so I just punch buttons and curse until they cooperate.

The microphone comes with a very long extension wire. Although my arrangement is such that the extension is unnecessary, I use it anyway. I could mount the microphone 50 feet further away if I needed.

As for sound quality, there is a bit of hum if I turn the speaker volume way up. I no longer notice any hum, although if I concentrate there still is some. I found that there is actually a continuous small amount of sound from nature itself. This rig is every bit as sensitive as I had hoped for. It clearly picks up soft bird noises and turkey scratching 50 feet away (also backup beepers a half mile away and house siding sun expansion pops). There is an odd fraction of a second delay in the sound, but that is generally inconsequential. Also, gusts of wind make typical microphone noises. I put a piece of A/C filter over the microphone and it reduced the wind noise, but not completely. I am now quite aware of when it is windy or rainy outside. I have not used this yet in the winter, but I bet it will pick up the sound of a decent snow falling. Thunder commands attention. I also notice that the sound makes me feel like a window is open and I unconsciously sense a draft, sometimes even feeling cold (a mind is a curious thing). It also picks up noises from inside the house, so beware if you swear or fight a lot.

Because of the hum, I got a small audio mixer to adjust the signal, but I found it to be unnecessary.

Googling "waterproof microphone" and "bluetooth transmitter receiver" gets plenty of hits for these parts.

Details of the components are:

Microphone
"Tonton High Sensitive Weatherproof Preamp Microphone Audio Pickup Device Sound Voice Pickup Kit with 60 Feet Cable and Power Supply for CCTV Surveillance Camera System"


Bluetooth transmitter/receiver
"Bluetooth 5.0 Audio Transmitter Receiver Adapter, Bluetooth Transmitter for Car 2-in-1 Wireless 3.5mm Low Latency Stereo Audio Adapter for Home Sound System/TV/PC/Tablet/Speaker Headphone"


Bluetooth Speaker
"Altec-Lansing Mini Lifejacket Jolt with Lights"

Other
A cable/adapter to convert the microphone's RCA male output to the transmitter/receiver's 3.5mm audio input. These are less than $5 from a host of sources. Usually these are stereo (2 RCA plugs); since the mic is mono, I only connect one of the RCA plugs.

I hopes this helps someone. It took me a bit to figure out, but it is not hard.
 

Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
So the microphone power supply is plugged in to the wall in your house and its audio output connected to the Bluetooth transmitter. The cabled microphone is then run out from the house to a "bird feeder?". You can then use the Bluetooth speaker wherever in the house. Is that the set up?
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I'm just going to jump in here and wish you a warm welcome from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

Doug999

New member
United States
So the microphone power supply is plugged in to the wall in your house and its audio output connected to the Bluetooth transmitter. The cabled microphone is then run out from the house to a "bird feeder?". You can then use the Bluetooth speaker wherever in the house. Is that the set up?
I probably should have been more clear on this. The power supply to the microphone is plugged into an outlet in my house. The microphone's audio output is connected to the Bluetooth transmitter. The microphone's power wires and its audio output wires are a single bundle, so the microphone audio output comes back to essentially the same indoor location as the power outlet. The microphone outdoors could be located anyplace the long cable bundle can reach. More separation of the audio return from the power outlet could be possible by unzipping the wire bundle or using extension cables. I did not run the microphone wire bundle very far; I ran it out a window and it is attached to the siding just under the window (yes, a window is now partly open - I made a foam rubber seal to pass the wires; I would like to eventually make a wall penetration to route away from the window). My bird feeders and ground feeding area are two stories down and 30+ feet over from the microphone and I still get good sound pickup. I have no need to get the microphone all the way to the feeders, although one could do so (a couple of connectors might need to be sealed). Everything is inside my house except the microphone and some of its wiring. One could mount everything, including the Bluetooth transmitter, outside if one had an outlet, but a good weatherproof enclosure would probably be needed for the transmitter and power adapters. Bluetooth transmission from the transmitter outside to the inside speaker might become an issue depending on the distance and exterior wall construction (my walls are poured concrete and steel siding, so I could have a problem if I tried this).
As for "wherever in the house," Bluetooth has limited range, claimed at 10m/33ft, and obstructions like walls probably reduce this. So it is certainly not going to be usable "anywhere" in most houses. I have not tested its range. And turning the speaker on and off might be a pain unless one can get better than me at pairing the two. When I don't want to hear it, I turn down the volume instead of turning it off. Fortunately the speaker and the transmitter both have internal batteries, so they can run unplugged for a while to let me get them close together for pairing (and will maintain connection for some time in a power failure). I normally leave them both plugged in through the USB charging ports. The transmitter does not need to have the microphone plugged in to engage in pairing and my AL speaker is good about announcing pairing success.
 

HubSwitch

New member
United Kingdom
Hi all,

I have a USB microphone in my garden that streams to a audio server that anyone can listen to, it goes to a paid server from my website, and a free server to the Locusonus server in France for the world wide microphone network, for nature microphones, theres no music stations there.

Anyway, the USB microphone is weatherproof, and has stood the test of time, 5 years until I moved recently. I have started to make them availible at my website if anyone is interested in having a look over at


I would love to hear your opinions about the microphone, its a 3D binaural microphone that uses a dummy head and real cast human ears where the mic capsules are placed inside the ear canals where the rain keeps off them, it wears a sock over the head to keep most of the wind noise out the mics.

You can listen to the stream with headphones from my little garden 24/7 (GMT) from the raspberry pi mini computer, it is a little technical but is really easy to setup. I have different connector options but I dont think that they would stand the test of the weather, but Ive not tested that idea yet. But the USB one is all sealed up and weatherproof.

The 24/7 is here: http://locus.creacast.com:9001/liverpool_skelmersdale.mp3

Other outdoor microphone streams are here: http://locus.creacast.com:9001/
Anyone can join in with their streaming microphones, it has grown over the last few years.

Anyway, I look forward in hearing any opinions about the binaural microphone. The pic is the streaming microphone in my garden.

Alan
 

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