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Recording Insects

What gear is necessary for recording insect vibrations and sounds that are outside the range of human hearing?

Comments

Boswell Thu, 08/11/2022 - 09:44

The main trouble you will have is finding a microphone whose response covers the audio frequency range you are hoping to capture. As well as upper frequency response, sensitivity is the other factor to consider, as the insect sounds are usually much quieter than the human voice or a musical instrument. After selecting a microphone, audio interfaces and processing software are a secondary problem.

There are some types of USB microphones available that may be suitable for this work. It's a case where a direct USB interface is actually a major advantage, as it by-passes the need for a conventional audio interface with its intentionally limited high-frequency response. I suggest you take a look at the Ultramic384K BLE. That one even has an option to install a micro-SD card, meaning that it can act as a self-contained recorder. Whether it is acoustically sensitive enough for your purposes is something you would have to determine for yourself.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on, as it's an interesting topic.

Wallace Kaufman Tue, 08/16/2022 - 11:33

Boswell wrote:

There are some types of USB microphones available that may be suitable for this work. It's a case where a direct USB interface is actually a major advantage, as it by-passes the need for a conventional audio interface with its intentionally limited high-frequency response. I suggest you take a look at the Ultramic384K BLE. That one even has an option to install a micro-SD card, meaning that it can act as a self-contained recorder. Whether it is acoustically sensitive enough for your purposes is something you would have to determine for yourself.

 

Thought I just replied, but don't see my note. Thanks. I will look into that mike and let you know if I get it and what the results are.

paulears Wed, 08/17/2022 - 13:16

The trouble with this is that assuming you find a mic that can record stuff above the range of human hearing, you won't know what it sounds like and nobody in the audience live or on YouTube will hear it? Bat finders might be useful, they capture the bat's radar and then convert it to a lower frequency so we can hear it. Is this the sort of thing you want to record?

Boswell Wed, 08/17/2022 - 15:47

I don't see that as a "trouble", as acoustic waves do not need to be heard in order to be useful. There is a huge amount of research work done involving sound waves that reach above or below the frequency range of human hearing, just as there is a need for infra-red and ultra-violet photography.

If you had a good reason to need an acoustic impression of the sounds, you could speed up or slow down the recordings, but generally you keep them at the frequency range that you recorded and perform whatever analysis is required on them.

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