Using the included SPECT'R capture software, up to 4 BAT USB microphones can be connected to a laptop and record simultaneously!
The miniMic was conceived at the April 2013 Western Bat Working Group meeting after realizing the needs bat biologists have for a lower cost, but still high quality microphone we can use for active monitoring. A few weeks later, BCM received the first two miniMIC demo units and proceeded to test them the remainder of that summer.
The miniMIC is the latest addition to Binary Acoustic Technologies professional grade ultrasonic receiver and microphone product line. The miniMIC is small, portable, and easy to carry. It employs a hemispherical, wide bandwidth ultrasonic element along with ultrasonic to digital conversion technology to produce a high quality, digitally sampled, acoustic stream that is captured directly into a Windows tablet, a laptop or netbook running Windows XP or higher, or a Mac via Parallels for recording and analysis.
The miniMIC is specifically designed for applications such as bat recording and vocalization analysis where wide spatial coverage and a wide ultrasonic frequency range are desired. It employs low noise circuitry along with 16-bit digital converters to achieve high sensitivity along with a large dynamic range. It is capable of detecting bats at a distance of up to one hundred and forty feet.
miniMIC is better at:
SPECT'R Capture Software
The miniMic is controlled via BAT's SPECTÕR software which performs spectral analysis, digital tuning, and hard-disk recording. It is designed for field collection and it is capable of operating up to any four BAT USB microphones from a single laptop. SPECTÕR can also be used as standalone playback processor to playback and reprocess or analyze recorded data.
SPECTÕR includes the option to use the WAVPACK loss-less file compressor which reduces the recording size by a factor of three. This increases the time span that SPECTÕR can be left out during unattended recording. SPECTÕR also includes several of the advanced call detection and insect noise rejection techniques that were first developed for the SCANÕR automated processing software. This effectively simultaneously increases the detection range of an AR125 system and reduces the number of false detection recordings. Most recently, an active record mode was added so users can save bat passes selectively, but after the pass, thereby enabling you to only record strong or unusual activity, not all the intervening junk.
SPECTÕR includes a complete collection of spectral analysis tools. The main window features a unique short duration, sonogram called SonoSCOPE that is useful for real-time species identification. In addition, SPECTÕR includes a ultrasonic spectral display that is useful for performing surveys of the acoustic environmental. Both spectral analysis tools are mouse operated and can be used to make frequency, time duration, and sound pressure measurements.
SPECTÕR includes a high performance digital tuner that translates high frequency ultrasonic signals down to the human audio range. The tuner uses true heterodyning and advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to produce a high quality audio signal which can be played through a windows compatible sound port for live monitoring and/or recorded for future playback.
At the heart of SPECTÕR is a versatile hard-disk recorder that supports two different recording modes: full-bandwidth, and snapshot. In full-bandwidth mode, the entire bandwidth of the ultrasonic receiver ( >200Ksps) is recorded continuously to disk. This preserves all the nuances of the original ultrasonic environment. Full-bandwidth recordings can be reprocessed after-the-fact to search for bat vocalizations, and/or perform acoustic species identification. Full-bandwidth mode is most useful for recording emergences or other events where large groups of bats will be recorded. Alternatively, in snapshot mode SPECTÕR operates as an automated (full-bandwidth) snapshot recorder, generating snapshots only when bat vocalizations are detected, and only for a user-selected time. A timeout feature ends the recording sooner if no more ultrasound is detected for a user-designated time period. All recordings are stored using industry standard 16-bit .wav file format. Both the full-bandwidth and snapshot files are compatible with SonoBat.
Finally, to support file playback and reprocessing, SPECTÕR includes a variable-rate playback function that supports all three record modes and any SonoBat compatible WAV file. The playback rate is user selectable to allows an operator to employ a combination of time-stretching and digital heterodyning to obtain an optimum translation of ultrasonic acoustics into the audio range. Download the Spect'R User Manual for more information.
Why BCM sells the miniMIC:
BCM and Janet Tyburec Consulting have set up quite a few side-by-side tests over the years now, hereÕs one with a Pettersson (D500x) and our best performing Wildlife Acoustics (SMX-US). We deployed these side by side with the Binary Acoustics strongly directional AR-125 microphone and the new hemispherical BAT miniMIC.
These were tested at our southern AZ location. Each mic was deployed on the top of a 5-meter pole. All were oriented straight-up, vertically, to take advantage of the hemispherical microphone on the miniMIC and the omnidirectional SMX-US. Unfortunately this was a one night trial.
As far as species occupancy went, the miniMIC had a much greater representation, due possibly to the sheer number of recordings it collected, with 5 species to the other detectorsÕ 2-3 species. Species occupancy is after all a numbers game, especially during short, single-night surveys. Any detector which collects large numbers of calls will be more likely to collect rarer species.
The vertical orientation proved extremely beneficial for the hemispherical microphone which collected significantly more recordings than any of the other microphones; between 4.5 and 12 times as many.
In this configuration, the hemispherical miniMIC out-performed the omni-directional SMX-US significantly, indicating a longer range and/or more sensitive microphone employed by Binary Acoustics.
The directional AR125 microphone recorded only half as many files as that of the directional D500x. And many of those files contained fewer call pulses. We believe this is an artifact of the the AR125 being more strongly directional than the D500x and neither is well suited for a open space deployment like this, where bats are not funneled in front of the microphone.
Yet when it came to quality of recordings, the D500x microphone excelled, with over 75% of the files recorded being identified confidently to species.
The AR125 produced similar results, for it too is a very high quality microphone.
Both the SMX-US and the miniMIC recorded fewer high-quality passes, due likely to the number of bats that approached the respective volumes of detection for these microphones off axis, thereby rendering less fully-formed calls.
Confused about acoustic monitoring for bats?
Acoustic monitoring is more complicated than it appears. How do you know if what you are recording is any good, if you don't know what it's supposed to sound like in the first place? Please see our acoustic help section particularly for placement and weatherproofing suggestion. BCM also offers highly rated workshops of various lengths around the country for those wishing to jumpstart their learning curve. We also offer professional services ranging from managing your acoustic data for you to complete project management; contact John Chenger for quotes.
A note about placement and weatherproofing
The miniMIC is small, portable, and easy to carry. It employs a hemispherical, wide bandwidth ultrasonic element along with ultrasonic to digital conversion technology to produce a high quality, digitally sampled, acoustic stream that is captured directly into a Windows tablet, laptop, or Mac via Parallels for recording and analysis.
Live full spectrum recording
MiniMIC USB Ultrasonic Microphone
Hemispherical microphone coverage.Includes (1)- 3' USB cable, Spect'r capture software, manuals. Spect'r requires Windows XP or higher, or Mac via Parallels.
30' USB Active Extension Cable
Normal USB cables can be run up to 20'. Beyond that, you must use an Active Extension Cable. We have deployed two AEC on a MiniMIC, in conjunction with a regular cable which successfully ran all night 70' from a netbook without a hitch.
Storage/Travel/Short Term Deployment Case
Storing bat detectors is usually not a problem; it's what to do with the myriad of "other things" you find indispensable that need to be in ne place for convenience for your surveys. Intended to hold a MiniMIC, 70' of USB cables, a netbook and associated power adapter/chargers, and an assortment of rubberbands and guy ties for mounting you microphone to things. We have cut a small groove in the lid for you so the USB cable can exit. Plastic, weather resistant, lightweight construction and stackable. One size..
Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. Carlisle, Pennsylvania (717) 241-ABAT
Conceived at the April 1, 2013 Western Bat Working Group Meeting, BCM received the first two prototype miniMic devices just a few weeks later in time for a full summer of testing. The D500X is a USB driven full spectrum ultrasound microphone intended for live view active monitoring, mobile transects, and short term unattended (passive) monitoring of bat and other high frequency animal calls. The miniMIC is specifically designed for applications such as bat recording and vocalization analysis where wide spatial coverage and a wide ultrasonic frequency range are desired. It employs low noise circuitry along with 16-bit digital converters to achieve high sensitivity along with a large dynamic range. It is capable of detecting bats at a distances up to one hundred and forty feet.
General MiniMIC Features:
MiniMIC is better suited for: