SWIFT Autonomous Sound Recorder

Dear all,

Those of you considering the use of passive acoustic monitoring for your research, you may want to keep in mind the new – very energy efficient – sensors developed by the Cornell Bioacoustic Research Program. You can read specifications (and how to learn more about them and possibly acquiring some) by reading the small description below.



The component board is designed to accommodate significant enhancement to features, implemented through firmware updates. These enhancements will include scheduling of recording times, stereo input, and expanded file naming options. Requests for features from users, if generally applicable, will also be considered.

Features as of September 2016:

  • internal power: 3xD-cell batteries (recording time will depend on sampling rate – at 8kHz runtime ~ 30 days continuous)
  • power source monitor (to preserve data integrity as power reaches lower limit): If power falls below a threshold value, the unit goes into standby mode and will resume recording if power levels improve. For example, in temperate environments cold overnight temperatures could cause power to drop, but sufficient power is available once temperatures increase during the day. This feature maximizes data collection under such conditions
  • single-channel audio input
  • audio sampling rates from 8kHz to 96kHz
  • adjustable microphone gain levels
  • configurable delay in recording start date and time, and configurable end of recording date and time
  • recording and system status LED indicators
  • internal USB interface connection
  • waterproof housing with external microphone connection

For more information contact:



One thought on “SWIFT Autonomous Sound Recorder

  1. astaras Post author

    The technicians of Cornell University’s Bioacoustics Lab informed us that the SWIFT sensors would probably run for up to 2 months if deployed using three D size lithium batteries (such as http://www.atbatt.com/xeno-energy-xl-205f-d-size-36v-lithium-battery-class-9-hazmat.asp?gclid=CJ2r5qOmoM8CFQtehgod41cCGQ / 3.6V each vs. the 1.5V of the standard D cell batteries). Such lithium batteries are considerably more expensive than regular batteries and harder to obtain, but they may be worth considering if the sites where the acoustic sensors to be deployed are remote and therefore having monthly maintenance trips for them becomes very expensive or impractical given the human resources available.
    If you end up using these batteries with the SWIFT sensors, please do share with us your experience with them (i.e. how long did they last in the end in the given landscape/climate). Sub-zero cold weather for instance is known to reduce the running time of batteries.

    Also, the engineers recommend using San Disk Extreme Pro SD (Class 10) cards as the energy consumption with other SD card types could be up to 10% higher. In terms of regular 1.5V D cell batteries, they recommend using Panasonic Industrial Alkaline batteries for longer running time (https://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/theshorelinemarket/Panasonic-Industrial-D-Data-Sheet.pdf ).

    Happy PAMing (Passive Acoustic Monitoring)



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