High-Quality Ultrasound Recording and Playback

The Avisoft-UltraSoundGate system is an integrated PC-based hardware and software solution for recording and playing back ultrasonic signals both in the field and in the laboratory, which has been specifically designed for bioacoustic applications.

Key Features

  • Avisoft-UltraSoundGate is a turn-key system that consists of a rugged data acquisition hardware with USB interface and a PC-based harddisk recording software. Depending on the specific application, various ultrasound microphones or hydrophones can be attached (see the signal flowchart),

  • Selectable sample rates of up to 750 kHz with adaptive anti-aliasing filter,

  • The accompanying Avisoft-RECORDER USGH software provides a real-time spectrogram display, advanced triggering facilities and many other useful features.

  • Balanced analog inputs for high immunity against electromagnetic interferences,

  • Multichannel recording with guaranteed synchronity from up to 12 channels,

  • Acoustic real-time (broad-band) monitor (models 116xx only),

  • Overload indicator & peak level meter (model 116Hm and 116Hme only),

  • Gain adjustment potentiometer either continuous (standard version) or stepwise with eleven 3dB increments (optionally on request),

  • Trigger button for quick start and stop of recordings.

  • Digital inputs for external triggering and timecode acquisition,

  • Easy plug-and-play installation,

  • Bus-powered operation (no need for extra power-supplies, which is important in the field),

  • Rugged and compact design suited for field use (all parts have been selected for best performance and maximum long-term reliability),

  • Watertight, dustproof and unbreakable transport box (model 116Hm only).

Principle of the UltraSoundGate system

See also the general flyer USG UltraSoundGate advertizing flyer or the application-specific flyer USG rodents UltraSoundGate USV flyer for laboratory rodents.

UltraSoundGate Product Family Members

The UltraSoundGate product family consists of the following components:

Recording Devices (A/D Converter Units)

  • 1 channel : 1 x 386 kHz/16 bit (USB 1.1/2.0 Full-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116Unb/116Un USB Ultrasound Microphone (Generic USB Audio Device that can be used with both the Avisoft-RECORDER USGH Windows software and other third-party software on Windows, Android, Linux, iOS and OS X
  • 1 channel : 1 x 300 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116Hnbm
    (low-cost solution for stationary bat call monitoring)
  • 1 channel : 1 x 750 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116Hn
    (low-cost solution for mobile bat call recording in the field)
  • 1 channel : 1 x 1 MHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116Hme
    (full-featured system for mobile use in the field)
  • 1 channel : 1 x 1 MHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116Hm
    (small-sized and full-featured system for mobile use in the field)
  • 1 channel : 1 x 300 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116Hb
    (basic solution for stationary lab use)
  • 1 channel : 1 x 1 MHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 116H
    (full-featured system for stationary lab use)
  • 4 channels : 4 x 300 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 416Hnbm
    (for bat monitoring with electret microphones)
  • 4 channels : 4 x 300 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 416Hb
  • 4 channels : 4 x 750 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 416H
  • 8 channels : 8 x 750 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 816H
  • 12 channels : 12 x 750 kHz/16 bit (USB 2.0 High-Speed): UltraSoundGate 1216H

  Single-channel Multi-channel
model number 116
number of channels 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 4 4 8 12
max sample rate [kHz] 386 386 300 750 1000 1000 300 1000 300 300 750 750 750
acoustic monitor output                  
overload indicator                  
peak level meter                      
polarization voltage for CM16/CMPA    
trigger button        
external trigger input / output        
digital input(s)            
sync input/output              
extra low-noise preamplifiers                  
Generic USB Audio Device                      

Ultrasound Microphones


Preamplifiers for connecting 1/4″ microphones and hydrophones


Playback Devices

  • 1 channel : 1 x 500 kHz/16 bit or 1 x 1 MHz/8 bit D/A converter with power amplifier (USB 1.1 Full-Speed): USG Player 116, Player BL Pro and Player BL Light
  • 2 channels : 2 x 1000 kHz/16 bit D/A converter with power amplifiers (USB 2.0 High-Speed): USG Player 216H
  • 4 channels : 4 x 500 kHz/16 bit D/A converter with power amplifiers (USB 2.0 High-Speed): USG Player 416H


Ultrasound Speakers

  • Dynamic speaker (1…120 kHz, 10 W) : Vifa
  • Electrostatic speaker (25…200 kHz, 1W) : ESS 16


Power Amplifiers


System Integration

Avisoft-UltraSoundGate is fully integrated into the sound recording and analysis applications Avisoft-RECORDER and Avisoft-SASLab Pro.

Avisoft-RECORDER provides the following key-features in conjunction with UltraSoundGate:

  • Multi-channel real-time spectrogram display (0% – 87.5% overlap), waveform envelope display, energy waveform within selected frequency range,
  • Pre-tigger harddisk-recording with widely selectable trigger options. Trigger event threshold definition for sound-activated recording can be done graphically by mouse,
  • There will be no limitations on the duration of continuous recordings (harddisk space rather than RAM size limits the duration of single recording sessions),
  • ASCII-format LOG file containing date, time and duration of each recorded event and optional text comments,
  • Manual triggering by the UltraSoundGate button,
  • External triggering through the UltraSoundGate digital input (TTL-compatible, 2.5mm mini jack). This external signal can also be used to enable/disable the sound-activated recording mode.
  • Multichannel recording with UltraSoundGate 416Hb/416H/816H/1216H with either separate triggering of each channel (separate .wav files for each channel) or simultaneous triggering for all active channels (one single multichannel .wav file containing all channels). The latter configuration is suited for passive acoustic location of animals because all channels are packed into a single data stream, which secures the phase relationship between all channels.
  • Automated call parameter measurememt tool
  • Real-time acoustic monitoring through the soundcard (heterodyning or aliasing technique).
  • High-pass filtering for rejecting low frequency noise.
  • The Bat Call Trigger Filter can efficiently prevent triggering unwanded noise.
  • Acquiring GPS location data from NMEA 0183 compatible GPS receivers and logging the geographic locations of the recorded .wav files drectly into .gpx, .kml or .shp files.
  • Real-time weather data logging from external temperature sensors / weather station devices.
  • Time program for putting the computer to sleep in order to save power and limit the recordings to predefined time intervals (optionally relative to sunrise or sunset).
  • LANC/SMPTE timecode signal tracks (fed into the DI inputs) can be used to synchronize the recorded .wav files with video or to synchronize several (distibuted) UltraSoundGate units.

Avisoft-RECORDER real-time spectrogram screen shot

The versatile sound analysis software Avisoft-SASLab Pro can be used to analyze the .wav files created by the RECORDER software.

Sample recordings made with the UltraSoundGate system can be found at the Animal Sounds page.

A list of scientific papers that report the use of the UltraSoundGate system can be found on Google Scholar.