The Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro is designed for professional bat workers and includes a range of advanced settings.
Please Note: The Echo Meter Touch 2 requires a micro-USB connection. Customers using devices with a USB-C connection will need to purchase an adaptor to use this product.
The Echo Meter Touch 2 turns your Android smartphone or tablet into a state-of-the-art bat detector. This tiny device plugs directly into the micro-USB socket of your phone or tablet and, when used with the free app, will let you listen to, view, record, and identify the sounds made by the bats that you encounter.
Detect and Identify Bats:
The Echo Meter Touch 2 listens to the sound made by bats flying nearby and, using its complex built-in algorithms, will suggest the most likely species. You can also click on each species to learn more about it. The EM Touch 2 currently covers bats found in North America, the Neotropics, U.K., Europe and South Africa.
Hear Ultrasonic Bat Sounds:
Bats use ultrasonic calls both to detect their surroundings and to communicate with eachother. These sounds are too high to be heard by the unaided human ear. The EM Touch uses a special microphone combined with software to transform this sound into a frequency that is audible. You can listen either through the speaker of your phone/tablet or using earphones. You can also view the bat call as a sonogram which is a visual representation of the sound. With some experience you will learn how to recognise the different species based on the shape of their sonograms.
Record your Calls:
The Echo Meter Touch app lets you record your calls onto your phone or tablet, giving you an exciting record of the places you have been and the bats you have heard. If your device has GPS functionality then it will also tag each call and display them on Google Maps.
Share your Recordings:
Send your recordings to your friends or colleagues by text or email for them to view using the Echo Meter Touch app. You can even send your recordings to your PC or Mac via WiFi.
If you are a consultant or bat worker, why not take a look at the Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro?
The Echo Meter Touch 2 can only be used with compatible devices as per Wildlife Acoustics' recommended list. Please make sure you read this before purchasing a device.
* Sample rate: 256 samples per second at 16 bits
* Maximum recording frequency: 128kHz
* Gain settings: 1
* Custom User Settings: Trigger minimum frequency
* Echo Meter Touch App: Free to download
* Listening modes: RTE, heterodyne, post-recording time expansion
* Recording format: 16-bit full spectrum WAV
* Species Auto-ID regions: North America, the Neotropics, UK, Europe and South Africa
* Enclosure: Rugged ABS/polycarbonate housing with an integrated acoustical horn
I write this review as a novice bat detectorist, which is I think the target audience of the Echo Meter Touch 2 (I didn't buy the Pro version which was nearly twice the price). This is a really exciting product as it opens up the prospect of real-time bat identification for non-experts. I say ‘prospect’ because, for most species, I think it currently best to regard the ‘auto-id’ function as only a possible identification and not definitive.
What is it?
A high-frequency microphone (your Smartphone’s built-in microphone won’t work at sufficiently high frequencies), and an app. The microphone plugs directly into your phone (the Samsung S6 in my case) and then you just need to start the app.
Does it work?
Yes! It is excellent at picking out bat calls, converting them to a frequency spectrogram, and providing a “best fit” auto-id using its in-built classification software. All in real time. You can set it to record calls automatically. It records in .wav format for further analysis (I found it easy to transfer recordings from the phone to my computer and to use the separate and free “BatClassify” software to cross-check identification). More generally the app is well designed with sensible implementation decisions (eg it has a buffer so if you “hear” a call you can scroll back), and it uses fairly intuitive mnemonics for bat names.
What are the advantages?
Ease of use. It really is an easy and fun app to use with no or minimal training. I found the manual helpful and clear (in fact it is worth re-reading the manual once you have tried the detector out a few times).
Real-time listening to calls. The app provides a choice of heterodyne “clicks” or real-time expansion (RTE) “slowed down” calls, and simultaneous viewing of spectrograms (frequency analysis of individual calls).
Brilliant support. I had a number of email queries to the manufacturer’s support line all of which were addressed promptly and thoroughly. My queries were not about getting the product running which was easy but were mainly to do with understanding auto-id.
What about the auto-id?
The reality is that automating bat identification from call recordings is an inherently difficult task, as related species have similar calls, and moreover calls vary according to environment (eg cluttered vs open) and individual bat. I have found Jon Russ’s book, British Bat Calls to be an invaluable introduction to the complexities of this topic.
The auto-id feature is therefore very useful but should probably be seen as an indication or flag of possible species presence and not as a definitive identification (to be fair, the manufacturers do not claim otherwise and are open about the limitations).
The very helpful support person explained to me that the standard version of the app (ie not the Pro version) uses “sensitive” settings; meaning it is more likely to make a positive identification but that the identification is more likely to be wrong. Personally, I think giving all users the choice of more conservative settings would be better. They did say that the ‘Match’ ratio, which appears alongside the auto-id result, gives the proportion of pulses in the sample identified as being of the identified species and can help give an indication of certainty.
Are there any disadvantages?
Not really disadvantages but there are limitations. My phone sometimes struggled to keep up with high call volumes (i.e. environments with lots of bats). And unfortunately, the microphone USB connector snapped off after a few months’ use. This was my fault really for keeping it in my pocket plugged into the phone but does highlight the need to be careful with it. And sometimes the app failed to auto rotate when I pointed to microphone away from me, meaning I often had to read the output upside-down.
It would also be useful to have the ability to filter out certain calls/frequencies (for example to remove pipistrelle calls in a multi-species environment where you want to focus the auto-id on, say, Noctule calls) - this is apparently something the developers are considering and would be very cool.