Wildlife Acoustics Blog

Using external microphones with Song Sleuth

Using external microphones with Song Sleuth

As of version 1.0.5, Song Sleuth, our bird ID app, supports the use of external microphones. Song Sleuth’s species identification was built to work well with your iOS device’s built-in mic, but we know that some folks want to use external equipment to get higher quality recordings than they might be able to get with a phone microphone. (I enjoy fiddling with audio equipment myself, so I can’t blame them!) Here are the details you need to know:

  • Song Sleuth supports iOS-compatible audio devices that plug in either through the headphone jack or through the lightning port. USB microphones and other audio devices can be plugged in using Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, but note that some USB devices that were not built for iOS devices specifically may draw too much power to be used with your device, or may otherwise be incompatible.
  • If you have any trouble connecting a lightning or USB microphone, try closing every app on your device, plugging in the microphone, and then launching Song Sleuth.
  • If you plug in a device that has multiple audio channels, such as a USB audio interface, Song Sleuth will take its audio input only from Channel 1.
  • We do not have any recommendations for particular microphones, but mics with directional pickup patterns, such as shotgun mics, are commonly used for recording single animals.

Feel free to contact support if you have any questions about using external mics.

Funny story, I was testing out a USB interface with Song Sleuth, and I decided to plug in my electric guitar and see what happened. I played bits of a few Led Zeppelin songs, and kept getting really weird auto ID results! Bos taurus, Canis lupus… I didn’t even know Song Sleuth could ID large mammals!

Gear up for Global Big Day 2017!

Gear up for Global Big Day 2017!

May is when the birds return to much of the United States and Canada. This Saturday, May 13, 2017, birders around the world will be counting and documenting bird sightings as part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day event. The event is not just for birding enthusiasts, anyone can participate and count birds from any location.

"One of the great things about birding is that you can always find a bird nearby no matter where you are,” said Sherwood Snyder, birding enthusiast and director of product management here at Wildlife Acoustics. “Birding is a very accessible hobby. Depending on your schedule, you can spend fifteen minutes or many hours searching for and observing birds. I never leave home without binoculars!”

Sherwood has a few recommendations for those interested in participating in the Global Big Day or for anyone who would like to get more involved in birding. 

Avoid pesky clipping! How to adjust gain on your Song Meter

A common question that people send to Jeff and me as the support staff at Wildlife Acoustics deals with how people should adjust their recorder settings. In particular, how to set gain. For example, “I’m trying to record X Species in Y Environment. How should I set the gain on my recorder?” The documentation for our equipment provides some suggested starting points, but I always tell customers they should test out their settings and make adjustments if necessary.

Wildlife Acoustics is proud to support wildlife conservation efforts: