Echo Meter Touch 2: Repost
Michael Johnson posted this a couple of days ago but for some reason there was no way to comment. So I am trying again. I hope this is now commentable!
Has anybody used or have any comments on the Echo Meter Touch 2 bat detector, either in the Standard or Pro model?
It plugs into a smartphone. Information here:
This comment from
“ as a frequent user of the Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro I would definitely recommend it, despite the price tag. I bought mine about three years ago. Very good at picking up signals, even in a canopy-filled garden. The results are pretty accurate. Occasionally, if it only picks up a partial signal, it may tell you you’ve recorded a national rarity, e.g. a grey big-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus) in suburban London. Best then to ensure a better reading is taken and the echo meter has a chance to correct that to common pipistrelle! It may also provide likely alternatives where a signal cannot be attributed precisely to a given species, e.g. between noctule, Leisler’s or, occasionally serotine. I particularly like that the geographic coverage can be changed to reflect one’s location. So, UK, Europe, North America, or South Africa are currently covered.
I have had one for several years and since you can save recordings to compare to known data sets, I am a fan. The book “Mammals of San Diego” for example has “sonograms” for bat calls, so you can compare those to your results from sites such as Anza Borrego in the Southern California desert.
Fun too if you have “civilians” with you, to help the night feel less intimidating? The clicks can be slowed down and made audible, and I find everybody likes it, kids and adults equally. In Bishop (Eastern Sierra of Calif), there’s a city park adjacent to a hotel that my wife and I stay at. Sort of a family tradition but on summer trips we like to watch (and hear) the bats hawking for insects at the baseball diamond’s lights. Based on that, I think the range is about 50 meters? That is, I can see the bats in the twilight sky and seem to be getting a clear signal from that distance and closer. (Echo Meter Pro 2 version.) The Bishop Park site also has bats over a small lake and flying along a stream, so you’re getting data from multiple directions at once, which can confuse the auto ID. Use it as a starting place, not an end point.
At what point can you count an ID with it for your life list? Your personal tolerance of stringiness may vary, but to use that example just mentioned, the park in Bishop has a pond / small lake. With a spotlight you can see the bats feeding over the surface of the water, sometimes passing as close as 2 or 3 meters. If the machine says over and over, “Look you dolt, that really IS a Yuma myotis, I know one when I hear it,” and if the bat in question looks right and is doing the right things at the right habitat and at the right time of night, then short of mist-netting it, that seems that’s as good as mammal watching is going to be.
If you don’t trust the ID, don’t count a new tick, that’s easy enough.
One good thing is you can be alerted to bats being around in the first place, if it has already gone full dark. If you’re walking in the forest and the device is clicking away like a Geiger counter, that tells you to switch on a torch and look up.
Due to changes with Apple’s license process, I don’t think they will be able to make more of the iPhone version once the current stock sells out?
Charles Hood, Palmdale, California
I have the standard Android model EMT2 Touch and also had a few troubles with the USB-B to C adaptor – it often needs wiggle for the App on the phone to find the device.
Once the device is found it has worked well and I have made a few recordings with it.
I am based in Western Australia so identifying them is another thing all together! The Auto-ID doesn’t work for the Australia region and I have found it an uphill struggle to learn how to do IDs – both learning the acoustic side and also I understand there is a lack of published info on West Coast bat calls.
Here is an example https://soundcloud.com/ry-beaver/unknown-bat-call-tutanning-jan-2018?utm_source=clipboard&utm_campaign=wtshare&utm_medium=widget&utm_content=https%253A%252F%252Fsoundcloud.com%252Fry-beaver%252Funknown-bat-call-tutanning-jan-2018 – I crowdsourced the ID of Gould’s wattled bat (Chalinolobus gouldii)
For a screengrab of the call and also using Kaleidoscope for some visualisation of the audio check out about halfway down my blog post.
I would love to learn more.
One tricky thing is when you travel with it. I am slowly getting some idea about bat calls in Europe and I am planning to get a book on it – there is a promise of a very good one to come out very soon – but then I took the thing to Costa Rica and made a lot of recording … and now what? 🙂 From the European experience, it’s clear to me that I have recorded several different species, because the basic structures are completely different, but that’s where my understanding ends. For many recordings I am not even sure there is a bat, because the ID may be picking up some noise – but it IDs the noise pretty consistently 🙂 Also, in the tropics, there is a staggering amount of high-frequency noise that I don’t hear at all, but the EMT surely does. I suspect it’s all insects, but it’s hard to tell.
HMW Bats volume lists call characteristics for most species. Insect calls are usually “mecanical” sounds, with endless repetition of identical pattern.
Thanks everybody. I have gone ahead and ordered a standard model from a local agent (I’m in Melbourne Australia). Interesting about the HMW Bats volume, looks like that will have to be on my book list.
I have one and found it is great for recording bats. The auto-ID feature is unreliable though. I frequently record Southeastern Myotis (the only Myotis in my area) and it almost always identifies them as Grey Myotis. It also has difficulty with Evening Bat versus Red/Seminole Bat and Hoary Bat versus Mexican Free-tailed I am sure there are others outside my region. That said it does a great job visually rendering the calls. The best idea is to use the auto-ID as a jumping off point to investigate further and come up with an ID you can support. Some good resources for the US include:
For the Aussies, check out:
There is a comparison by the manufacturer Wildlife Acoustics of the 2 models here:
Look at the signal – noise charts at the end.
Comparing the two in the field does show a noticeable difference.
@Paul Carter: would it be possible to elaborate a bit more on the experienced differences between the standard and pro version in the field?
Is it regarding to noise floor, accuracy, sensitivity, range?
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We have bought the Pro model a few months back. First we were a little disappointed, because it worked on/off, then it stopped working, but Wildlife Acoustics had us ship it back and they quickly found it was just a faulty adapter between USB-B and C (which was included by them), replaced it and now it works fine. My understanding of bat detection is really basic, but from what I gather, EMT is basically the ultimate solution to the problem nowadays – it allows full spectrum detection, so it stores all the data about the sound (unlike some older systems) and then it’s up to you to use this data – and that’s the hard part, because bat ID from sound is surprisingly difficult – and confusingly also for some reason really “commercialized”, meaning that there are relatively little available resources apart from paid courses, which is rather unusual for a random fun nature activity. I guess it’s to a large extent because of the fact that before EMT, there wasn’t really any widely affordable hardware.
The microphone seems pretty sensitive to me, usually almost every time I take it out in a suitable place, I get some clear bat sounds. The app has built-in ID even, but I have been repeatedly told that it’s not reliable and it’s pretty obvious that it’s guessing sometimes. The interface is well designed and I like it – everything happens so fast in bat detection, but the interface is done with that problem in mind and makes it easy to not get overwhelmed. The only downside of the app is that it seems that it cannot record in the higher sampling mode of the Pro on my smartphone, because it needs too much CPU for that and my smartphone (Moto G8) is too slow, so I keep it in the lower sampling mode, but then I basically wasted some cash on the Pro model … maybe the next phone will do better.