New Product From Pettersson Elektronik - The M500
A new bioacoustic microphone, from Pettersson Elektronik - It's The M500 USB Ultrasonic Microphone.
It's competitively priced, and has some excellent specifications:
A 500 kHz sample rate
16 bits ADC resolution
High-quality microphone with optional directional horn
An advanced anti-aliasing filter
I find each of these major specifications very exciting!
This M500 USB Ultrasonic Microphone, with it's 500 kHz sample rate, produces some of the loveliest spectrograms I've ever seen!
The Pettersson M500 Ultrasonic Microphone - First Impressions
The Pettersson M500 USB Ultrasonic Microphone - First Impressions: Wow!
It's here! It arrived rather quickly, here to the U.S. from Sweden. Un-boxing and first impressions are simply wonderful! As always, products from Pettersson Elektronik are always very well-packaged.
"Great things come in small packages"
For this test unit, an additional USB mini male to USB-A male was included. This is the much shorter coiled version.
I confirmed with Mr. Pettersson, and the additional coiled/compact USB cable will be included at no charge, upon request. This is the case when ordering from Pettersson directly. If ordering your M500 Microphone from an Authorized Dealer, it would be best to ask.
As you can see, the unit is small. However, it is robustly built. Very well-made, with solid construction throughout.
Installation was a breeze! And, although I've only "tested" it for a very short time (since it's recent arrival) - I can tell you that I am thoroughly impressed with this device!
The included recording software is perfectly laid-out, and features everything you need to start recording bats.
A brief, but important update, regarding The M500 from Pettersson Elektronik
Some major improvements have been made; to both the hardware and software platform.
The unit itself, is now produced in a slimline housing. It is only 13mm thick! Almost half the thickness of the original. Which is amazing!
The recording and analysis software: BatSound Touch, has also been re-done. The change (from the first software which was made available) is not simply an updated version - But is more like a totally new application - Re-built from the ground-up.
I've had the opportunity to install & test this brand-new, BatSound Touch software. And, so far, it is remarkable.
A lot more research and testing will be needed, but it won't be long before you see a full Review of this platform posted here. Also, at right around $400 U.S., the price of this Professional system, is very reasonable.
Review: The M500 USB Ultrasound Microphone
Posted: 13 Oct 2016 04:55 PM PDT
Review of The M500 USB Microphone
The M500 Ultrasound Microphone, is an advanced USB device for detecting and recording the ultrasounds of bats.
It arrives from Pettersson Elektronik, doubled-boxed. The unit (and included accessories) come in a neat, white box. Along with a ZipLok-type bag.
The unit is intended to be used with a tablet PC (or equivalent) or a laptop computer.
I did a lot of testing of this unit on several types of devices; I preferred to use it with a laptop.
The newest version of this USB microphone, The M500-384 is very small and light - Yet, the M500 series is very strong at the same time (being constructed of sturdy Aluminum).
As per Pettersson's Site, the dimensions are: "43 x 114 x 13 mm (incl microphone horn)"
To be clear, both The M500 and The M500-384 are now the same physical size.The instrument's very small size, allows it to be quite flexible, in terms of which devices it may be attached to.
It may even be used on devices as small as a cell phone. And anyone with prior experience with similar equipment, will find the unit easy to use.
I was excited about this new USB-based detector when it was first announced.
I'll state, right from the start - that I really like the way it
looked. I like the idea/design of the hardware itself - More
specifically, the layout/design of the indicator lights (more on that later).
And as always, I'm interested in an ultrasound recorder which can be used for both unattended, and field recording of bats.
Of course, it may also be used to record other animals / ultrasounds as well. The
other pleasant surprise, is it's price.
An overview, of the very latest version of their Batsound Touch software
newly released, free version of the software has been designed to run the M500 smoothly, on almost all Windows tablets. And the M500-384, is
even more flexible: It may be used on Windows as well as Linux
platforms. And with different ultrasound recording software. The M500 is an ideal choice for someone who enjoys trying-out the various software packages available.
considering the hardware which will be used with The M500: At the risk
of stating the obvious, I would recommend using one with a high-power
CPU, for best results.
Batsound Touch software is very versatile, with lots of features; so
there are quite a few ways in which to record sounds. More details to
be added here, in the near future...
completed some tests and comparisons on one of the first prototypes
of this unique microphone. Recording tests of The M500 revealed a very
capable piece of equipment.
The M500 is lightweight and very compact. Upon plugging it in to my
laptops (one running Windows 7, the other Windows 8) via USB cable, It
was always recognized straight away.
happy to report that The M500 can pick up bats at almost the same
distances as my other top bat detectors. Some of which, have higher
price tags than The M500.
And overall, it performed very well indeed! The sensitivity of this mic is wonderful!
The M500 is easy to hold and position, due to the durable & flexible USB cords that come provided.
Installation is easy, and it's easy to set-up and use: One end of the USB cable gets plugged into the M500 and the other end is plugged into your computing device.
The majority of features present themselves on your computer's screen, via The Batsound Touch interface.
The M500 (and M500-384) would be ideal units for those interested in:
Transects (esp. mobile/from a vehicle, or other forms of transport)
Unattended recording, as well as live recording (using a Netbook/small laptop PC).
When you are ready to record some bats -
Plug one end of the (provided) USB cable into the back of the unit Plug the other end into an available USB port on your computing device
Launch the Batsound Touch software Check the software's settings (which will be set the same as you left them) Click 'Record'After setting up the M500 on my Asus Netbook (mini-laptop) for an evening of bat recording - I got into the habit of turning off the WLAN (and Bluetooth).
The initial idea, was simply to have one less device using the resources of my wireless router (overnight).
Even though, I realize that the the impact is minimal (to say the least). It may seem barely perceptible - But, It seems to not only free up more PC resources (making the Batsound software scroll even faster), but also quiets background hiss even further. This may be a helpful "trick" to try, if you're using a low-end Netbook/laptop like mine.
So it appears that this is another case where the more I use this bat detector, the more I like it.
Front-facing, high-quality sensor (microphone element)
Simple device, robust: virtually nothing to break-off or get physically damaged.
No batteries to worry about.
After a very straightforward software installation; using the device is simple:
Customize the various recording Settings, as per your preference.Click the "Record" button, and you will observe the live spectrogram display and may adjust volume, etc.
The simple fact is, this device can detect, and make useful (accurate) recordings of bats in flight - at impressive distances.
During my various tests, I also discovered that the recordings created by The M500 were of such high quality, that they enabled Auto ID software packages (such as Kaleidoscope) to produce more accurate identifications!
More accurate identifications, as compared to recordings from the other, high-end detectors.
The spectrograms produced are lovely. They will be added to this review, in the near future...
USB Microphone would be ideal for anyone performing passive
(stationary) recordings of bats. It may also perform very well for
driven transects; where the use of a laptop isn't a hindrance.
If the computing device used is very small, and light (cell phone) - I can see The M500 being a wonderful candidate for walking transects.It
would be perfect for someone recording bats from inside a home. I've
tested it in this way many times, using various laptops. It's very
convenient to set-up. The Aluminum enclosure is secured outside,
pointing in the general direction of expected bat activity.
You may even perform work on your laptop, while detection is in progress.
With The M500, we now have another, USB-based microphone for ultrasound recording; and
it may be used across several devices. This review, is actually still a
work-in-progress; and more Info will be added soon.