Frequently Asked Questions About Wildlife Acoustic Products

Recorders: General

What is an active bat recorder versus a passive one?

Active bat recorders (such as our EM3+ or Echo Meter Touch) are designed for interactive work where you want to see/hear the bat as it flies by. They also record the bat passes for later analysis. Active recorders are not weatherproof and offer little or no automation capabilities. Passive recorders such our SMZC, SM2BAT+ or SM3BAT are designed for long term deployment. They are fully weatherproof and offer extensive scheduling capabilities along with greater power and storage capacity. They offer little or no ability to listen to or view the calls in real time.

How is the equipment affected by cold?

Our recorders and accessories are rated for use to -20 C (-4 F). Temperatures below this may damage the equipment. Some customers have had luck putting the recorder into a cooler or other insulation to protect it from extreme nighttime temperature swings. At temperatures below freezing you can expect the display to become sluggish, have low contrast or go out altogether. It is also important to note that batteries will have a greatly reduced life at colder temperatures.

How is the equipment affected by the sun/heat?

Foam microphone covers will break down due to exposure to UV rays (direct sun). Even if they turn brown, they are still useful until they start to flake away. We recommend customers stock up on new wind screens to replace any that have been degraded or eaten. Extreme heat and/or direct sun can cause the temperature inside the recorder to exceed the maximum for which the equipment is rated and can cause damage.

How should I mount my microphones?

Our microphones are, by default, omni-directional. As such, they do not need to be aimed. For weatherproofing purposes, they should be mounted pointing slightly down (or straight down in areas of heavy wind and weather). For those models that need windscreens, they should always be present and not pushed up against the end of the microphone. If mounting a microphone on a pole, make sure to ground/earth the equipment properly to avoid damage due to electrical buildup or lightning. Ultrasonic microphones should be mounted away from any reflective surface (trees, foliage, ground, water, walls, etc.)

How far away can my microphone hear?

This is a very difficult question to answer. For acoustic recordings it can vary widely depending on the volume and direction of the source, the humidity, foliage, etc. You may be able to hear an owl from ½ mile, but not be able to hear a mouse from 50 feet. As a rule of thumb, if you can hear it with your ears, the microphone will also hear it. For ultrasonic work, please see our white paper on the subject.

Recorders: Echo Meter Touch

How do I update my Echo Meter Touch app? Echo Meter Touch

Once you've downloaded the app from the app store, you can easily update the Echo Meter Touch app on your iOS device. In your iPad, iPone or iPod touch, simply click on the app store icon, click UPDATES on the bottom right-hand of the screen and find the Echo Meter Touch App in the list, Click UPDATE to the right of the Echo Meter Touch icon. Note that you will need to be able to connect to the internet to download the update. You may also need to know the iTunes password for the device. If you have additional questions, watch the video here.

Can I adjust the direction in which the microphone is pointed?

No adjustment is needed. The Echo Meter Touch uses an omnidirectional, ultrasonic microphone and it is mounted at 45 degrees in the enclosure, so it is suitably orientated for monitoring whether the device is held in landscape or portrait layout.

Can I convert the full spectrum WAV files to zero-crossing files?

You can quickly convert the files to ZC files using our free Kaleidoscope converter on PC, Mac or Linux.

Can I turn auto-ID off?

Of course, if you a) don't want to see the pop-up that tells you the ID results, b) or if you are in a region that the classifiers don't cover and/or c) or you simply don't want to use the feature, you can turn off "Real-Time ID" in the settings. You will then just have a professional-quality, full-spectrum bat detector and recorder.

Can the Echo Meter Touch be used with a protective iPad / iPhone case?

Yes, however, the Echo Meter Touch Module fits snugly against the iOS device and, as such, it may not fit with all cases. You may need to obtain a Lightning extender adapter to make it work. There are third-party Lightning extenders that work with the Echo Meter hardware, but be aware that none of them are Apple approved, so we cannot sell them. However, our favorite Lightning extender is made by a company called CableJive.

Can the Ultrasonic Module be extended by cable off the iOS device?

Yes, there are third-party Lightning extension cables that work with the Echo Meter hardware and allow extending the Ultrasonic module up to a few meters. Be aware that none of them are Apple approved, so we cannot sell them. However, our favorite cable extender is made by a company called CableJive.

Does the Echo Meter Touch log the GPS location of the recordings and my path?

The Echo Meter Touch does log the recording location if you have an iOS device that includes GPS functionality. Any iPad that is cellular-enabled (and of course the iPhone) will log both GPS locations and path. If you do not have GPS, you can purchase a Bluetooth GPS module that will stream location data to the iOS device. There are two such devices on the market; the Dual Electronics XGPS150A and teh Garmin GLO. Both are under $100, highly accurate and have their own batteries to avoid depleting the iOS device. If you have built-in or Bluetooth GPS, then all the recordings will be tagged with their location and the path will be recorded from each recording session. The path and locations are also exported with recordings in KML format which can be opened in Google Earth.

How can I transfer my recordings to a computer for further analysis or archiving?

The The Echo Meter Touch app can transfer full-spectrum .wav recordings to your computer over a wireless network, via email or iMessage or cabled through iTunes.

How many recordings can you store on the iOS device?

The number of recordings are dependent on the available memory on your iOS device. Minimum size of compatible devices is 16GB and max is 128GB. The operating system and your other apps take up room, but even at the smallest size, there should be plenty of room for several nights of monitoring. Figuring a few megabytes per recording and a few hundred recordings a night, that's about half a gigabyte per night.

I find the screen distracting. Can I turn it off?

Yes, the app has been designed such that you can continue to hear and record bats while the screen is off. This is useful if you find the screen distracting and/or you want to prolong battery life if you are running low. Just press the Sleep/Wake button at the top of the iOS device to turn the screen off.

Is the Ultrasonic Module weatherproof?

The UM is designed to be attached to an iOS device, which is not weatherproof. However, the microphone element itself is quite weather resistant and the circuit board is treated with a weather resistant coating so it should tolerate accidental exposure to precipitation.

What countries/regions are covered by the Echo Meter Touch classifiers?

We cover many species of North America, Europe, the UK and the Neotropics. The Echo Meter Touch uses the same classifiers as our Kaleidoscope Pro software. You can see the full list of species <a href="/products/kaleidoscope-software/classifiers">here</a>: As we add regions to Kaleidoscope, we will also add them to Echo Meter Touch.

What kind of microphone element is used with the Echo Meter Touch Ultrasonic Module?

The Ultrasonic Module uses an FG element. This element is the gold standard of bat sensors. It is extremely sensitive, has every low noise and is designed to withstand harsh weather and abuse.

Will Echo Meter Touch be available on Android?

Echo Meter Touch is not avaialable on Android. It is available on the following platforms - iPad Pro, Air and mini; iPhone plus and iPhone; iPod touch. Visit the Echo Meter Touch specifications page for specific iOS devices.

Recorders: Song Meter SM3/SM3BAT

My SM3 will not turn on

If you have any product in the SM3 line and it will not turn on, please check/try the following:

  • Make sure it has good power (if using external power, try testing with new internal batteries)
  • Make sure the power switch is in the correct position (down for internal power)
  • Press and hold the "Stop Program" button for a couple of seconds.

Recorders: Song Meter SM2+/SM2BAT+

The clock is not running.

If you have any product in the SM2 line, it is important to change the batteries that run the onboard clock yearly. If the clock does not run, the SM2 will not record. Each SM2 has 2 AA batteries in a tray attached with Velcro to the right of the main D battery tray. Simply slide a credit or similar card into the Velcro to separate it and then slide the battery tray out. Replace both batteries with new alkaline cells (do not use rechargeable batteries) and slide the tray back into its home. Set the date and time and you should be good for another year.

Software: General

How does the software licensing work?

Each license for any of our software is for use on one computer by one person. We realize that some researchers have more than one computer (often an office machine and a field laptop). For this reason we allow each license to be activated twice. Under no circumstances is one license to be used by more than one person, either at the same time or at different times.

How do I move my software to another computer?

Please go ahead and download the software from our website onto the new computer and attempt to automatically activate it. If you get an error, send an email to support containing your serial number (SongScope) or license key (Kaleidoscope) and the exact error you are getting and we will be happy to assist.

Software: Song Scope

My serial number doesn't appear to work.

Please email support with the serial number that you are using and the exact error message you are getting

Software: Kaleidoscope

My license key doesn't appear to work.

Please email support with the license key that you are using and the exact error message you are getting.

What are the minimum requirements for a computer to run Kaleidoscope?

Kaleidoscope will run on any modern computer (i.e. purchased in the last few years at least) running Windows, Mac or Red Hat Linux. The software is multi-threaded, so the more processors / cores available, the faster it will process data sets, especially large ones. Similarly, the more memory that you have available, the faster it will process data. If you will be processing large data sets, we recommend using a computer with as many fast processors and as much memory as you can.

Converting BatBox Duet recordings to Zero Crossing

The BatBox Duet records in frequency division with a factor of 10. To compensate, you need to change the time expansion factor on the input side of the batch processing tab to 10 to indicate that the input file is already divided by 10. If you then choose ZC on the output side you should get the results you are looking for that can then be analyzed in Analook.

Software: Recognizer Development

Where can I get tips on creating recognizers?

We have two videos available here. Please note that these were created by one of our engineers for a specific customer's use and are not "polished". They do give some great tips however.

Can I use training data from one individual only?

If you use data from only one individual, you are telling SongScope that a large number of individuals have very little variation in their calls. SongScope will reject calls that aren't nearly identical to this individual's calls. The solution is using more training data, preferably from different sites at different times and conditions to be sure that a dozen or so individuals are present. This will reflect the broadest range of variations present and avoid model segmentation.

Can I make only one recognizer for multiple calls?

You should make different recognizers for calls that are significantly different, especially with limited training data. With a small data set and significant variation in call types, you are likely to create a recognizer that will only look for a very close match to each variation; the new recording is unlikely to fit within any one of the tight definitions and thus will fail to match.

Can I run multiple recognizers at the same time?

You can run multiple recognizers at once if the recognizers are all in the same recognizer group – meaning – they are built with identical parameters e.g. sample rate, fft size, detector parameters, etc.

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