The AnaBat Express, is the very latest passive bat monitoring solution from Titley.
It is a fully weatherproof machine, for collecting ultrasonic recordings of bats.
The brand-new AnaBat Express records bat calls in zero crossing format, directly to a removable SD card. The recorded ultrasounds are intended to be analyzed afterwards, utilizing Titley's free downloadable software packages - Specifically, AnalookW.
AnaBat Toolbox is also a very helpful, and well laid-out application, developed to help you with manipulation of recorded data. It is also free.
I like the small size of this unit, very easy to handle (I was able to hold it in one hand).
Being a unit primarily designed for passive / unattended bat recording; The AnaBat Express isn't what one would call "Feature rich". Opening the unit, the user will quickly attest to it's economy on buttons. There are 2: A 'Power' and a 'Select' button.
To be fair, they are just about all I've ever needed.
I am fond of the blue LED indicators; the fact that they aren't too bright is also a plus for those in the field (they are not so bright as to ruin one's night-adapted vision).
The design is rather nice - The exterior of this unit is produced in a (very effective) camouflaged finish. When the unit is closed; it's really closed.
The system is very compact; yet has the ability to hold the microphone in a (foam-lined) slot (when not in use). There is also a black plastic cap provided, to screw onto the microphone port, to protect the opening from the elements. It also stores inside the Express.
The essential equipment, which also benefits from the impenetrable housing includes:
The on-board (built-in) GPS unitThe SD Card SlotMini-USB connector 4 AA-Sized (LR6) batteries
Not to be neglected...There is also a memory/system clock back-up battery (CR2032) and a Lid Switch; which informs the system (and logs) each time you open/close the unit.
Using the unit is very straightforward and yes, easy! Talk about quick deployment...The AnaBat Express rates very highly in this area. The only drawback I encountered whilehaving tested and used the unit, was the delay in acquiring GPS lock. However, Titley cautions the user regarding this possibly, throughout their documentation. Which, I found admirable.
Another feature which I really like, is the 'Instructions for use'.
Just below the small 'SN 324XXX' (serial number) sticker, is a very useful sticker, with simple instructions for the deployment of this unit. Very neat!
Amoung those who would be most interested in The AnaBat Express, would be someone for whom quick deployment is paramount. Obviously, this product would prove useful to Bat Workers and Ecologists, needing a reliable bat recording device. But the small size of the Express, would allow each Professional to easily carry more than a few in a back-pack, etc. An AnaBat Express, with batteries installed, is surprisingly light. This translates into the ability to deploy many units, without the need for many people.
So far, I have no complaints. I've used this unit for overnight recording of bat activity, on every good night (with weather cooperating). And, I like the fact that (I've found) it -- Quick to set-up. It's very sensitive in response to bat calls, but doesn't record too many false triggers -- As compared to other bat recorders in general.
This (Part 1) section of The Anabat Express review, is actually still in progress -- Watch this space for some comprehensive changes and additions...I've also just been informed, that a new firmware update will be (automatically) released for it. When you connect your Express to your computer via USB cable & open AnaBat Toolbox: You'll have the opportunity to update your firmware.
The unit itself, has been working wonderfully. I have no complaints, or issues to report.
Much more to follow, in Part 2 of 2 (below)
The AnaBat Express sports a clever design, which reminds one of a weatherproof Pelican brand case. When attached to a tree (anything except a Birch tree!) it blends-in very well. The Camo pattern is very effective. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind; this equates to a much lower probability of potential theft or vandalism. There isn't nearly as much concern, as one might have leaving other brand units in the field. Once the unit is powered-on -- There are three options to choose from: Schedule; Night Only; Continuous. This arrangement makes The AnaBat Express nearly fool-proof. Close the unit, snap the two latches closed, and you're done. Titley has provided an interesting feature - The black nylon cord seen attached to the top of the unit, has a magnet inside (the tiny enclosure at the end). After the unit is installed, you don't have to remove it in order to double-check it for proper operation. You simply hold it (the black clip) up to the LED (lens) on the outside of the case.
"A brief flash indicates the unit is working"
In use, you will probably be a bit surprised, by just how sensitive this unit is. But, again, it doesn't seem to record many unwanted (non-bat) noises.
The accuracy of recordings is very good; as well as one would expect from a modern-day, zero crossing recorder.
Small and lightweight.
Very simple operation/Deployment.
May be monitored live via USB port.
Firmware updates are extremely easy.
Cons: High price (compared to it's competitor, The SMZC [no longer available]),
The overall simplicity of The AnaBat Express, makes it a pleasure to use even on a nightly basis. Although most owners, will be using it for field deployments of up to 10 days at a time. It is provided with (4GB) SD card and (4AA) batteries.
I feel as though my general impressions regarding The AnaBat Express, were pretty much summed-up in Part 1 of this review. To re-iterate: I like: The size, robust design, the simplicity of operation, and the dependability of this unit.