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What would you want in a sound ID app? (1 Viewer)

jurek

Well-known member
Switzerland
I am thinking mostly about Merlin from Cornell, which is probably the only practically useful software currently. However, I am interested in other possible similar software.

I would hope to have:
- Better filtering out of ambient noises. Merlin currently stops working when there is a sound of footsteps or a bicycle. It should be easy, because on the sonogram produced, low noises of footsteps or a bicycle are clearly different from high sounds of birds. But Merlin stops producing an identification.

- More species identified, or an algorithm which requires few recordings as a training set. As of today, it is said that the algorithm in Merlin needs at training set of at least 150 recordings. So many recordings are unlikely to become practically available for rarer birds. And even a common bird can have multiple very dissimilar sounds.
 
The current limitations I’m currently finding are more to do with the poor "recording" available via my iPhone’s built in microphone. I can often hear a song but the phone/merlin cannot - yes, it’s a hardware issue and probably easily solved.

Overall, Merlin seems mainly "fit for purpose"

And I suspect many users are struggling with the various, odd, sounds made by young birds in, or just leaving the nest, are mainly undiagnosable.
 
The current limitations I’m currently finding are more to do with the poor "recording" available via my iPhone’s built in microphone. I can often hear a song but the phone/merlin cannot - yes, it’s a hardware issue and probably easily solved.

Actually, this is one issue which will be probably not solved. Most recordings will come from the mics of common smartphones, unless one wants to limit sound ID apps to a small minority of birders having professional recording equipment.

And I suspect many users are struggling with the various, odd, sounds made by young birds in, or just leaving the nest, are mainly undiagnosable.

My Merlin struggles with many normal calls. Most of the shrieks and whistles of the Common Starling, for example, are unidentifiable for it. It is not limited to Starling imitations of other birds.

On the other hand, if Merlin could learn to ID the sounds of nestlings, this would be a real benefit of AI, something more than doing what a human already can do. And I feel it might - AI is more sensitive to small differences in pitch and duration of sounds, which can be different between fledglings of different species. And, face it, humans never seriously bothered with identifying fledgling calls. I can sort-of pick the fledglings of Great Tits from other species by voice, because they are very common, but I never seriously tried to do it.
 
I assumed that there would be a plug-in external microphone available to enhance recording.
edit - there are lots on Amazon
 
I assumed that there would be a plug-in external microphone available to enhance recording.
edit - there are lots on Amazon
Has anyone experience of using these and if so do they make much difference. I tried a few years ago, with what was admitedly a cheap one, and it didn't make any real difference to the quality of recordings.
 
Steve,
Just received a cheap wireless one at £7.99 one from amazon and trying to get the microphone to speak to the receiver which plugs into the lightning socket of my iPhone.
Couldn’t get it to work “out of the box”, so charging the microphone to see if it improves
 
Merlin is definitely not "the only practically useful", because BirdNet exists. I do not use Merlin for ID, so I can't compare the results, but BirdNet is insanely good. It really changed my birding - basically I use it as a teacher to learn new sounds. It also has superior user interface - you record sound continuously and then, using the spectrogram, select the part with the sound in question - this helps you eliminate noise and focus on the best recordings.
 
I would like to see the phone apps ported to Linux. I am a Linux user but since both MAC and Windows can run Linux, Linux seems the way to go. I have a bird feeder and a camera that records both video and audio of the area around the feeder. The camera functions as a rtsp server so I want to take the camera feed into a PC running Merlin or BirdID to identify the birds the camera sees and microphone hears.
 
A few of us use birdnet-analyzer, we usually post in the bird sound recording section. There is also the option of linking it into Raven Pro which I do currently, but not the free version sadly. It has the advantage you can jump to each identified sound straight away.

 
Steve,
Just received a cheap wireless one at £7.99 one from amazon and trying to get the microphone to speak to the receiver which plugs into the lightning socket of my iPhone.
Couldn’t get it to work “out of the box”, so charging the microphone to see if it improves
Do let us know how it goes. I will try to find mine and give it another go.
 

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