Assembling cheap, high-performance microphones for recording terrestrial wildlife: the Sonitor system

Kevin Darras, Bjørn Kolbrek, Andreas Knorr, Volker Meyer, Mike Zippert
2019 F1000Research  
Passive acoustic monitoring of wildlife requires sound recording systems. Several cheap, high-performance open-source solutions currently exist for recording soundscapes, but all of them are still reliant on commercial microphones. Commercial microphones are relatively expensive, specialized for particular taxa, and often have incomplete technical specifications. We designed Sonitor, an open-source microphone system to address all needs of ecologists that sample terrestrial wildlife
more » ... ildlife acoustically. We evaluated the cost and durability of our system and measured trade-offs that are seldom acknowledged but which universally limit microphones' functions: weatherproofing versus sound attenuation, windproofing versus transmission loss after rain, signal loss in long cables, and analog sound amplification versus directivity with acoustic horns. We propose five microphone configurations suiting different budgets (from 8 to 33 EUR per unit), and fulfilling different sound quality and flexibility requirements. The Sonitor system consists of sturdy acoustic sensors that cover the entire sound frequency spectrum of sonant terrestrial wildlife at a fraction of the cost of commercial microphones.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.17511.2 fatcat:tp2dwezpnvb5bcpio365cqhlpu