NHBS In the Field – Pettersson U-series USB Ultrasonic Microphone

The Pettersson U-series microphone is a powerful ultrasonic USB microphone that is designed to be plugged into a smartphone, tablet or laptop to listen to and record bats. The microphone is available in two options: the u256, which has a sample rate of up to 256kHz and the u384, which has a sample rate of up to 384kHz. Both models use a MEMS ultrasonic microphone for its high sensitivity, low noise and ultra-low power consumption. The units themselves are pocket sized and feature a robust aluminium outer casing, making them ideal for taking out into the field. They connect to your device using a micro-USB connector but can be converted to connect to USB-C, lightning connector, or USB by using an adapter. Once connected, they can then be used alongside a variety of apps for viewing and recording bat calls. 

How We Tested

We tested the Pettersson u384 with a fully charged Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 using the Bat Recorder app from the Play Store. The app instantly recognised the microphone when plugged in using an Arktec Micro USB to USB-C adapter. We took the device out on a warm early September evening around the time of sunset and chose a footpath which included some open areas and some wooded areas to allow the microphone to detect bats as we walked through differing habitats.

What We Found

The Pettersson u384 produced beautifully clear recordings with little noise. The Bat Recorder app worked perfectly with the Pettersson u384 , producing wonderful live sonograms and making it easy to record calls and look back over previous recordings. We recorded noctule, soprano and common pipistrelles on our short bat walk, and it was clear that the microphone was picking them up from at least 15m away when the bat was flying towards us. When listening out loud, we had to ensure the listening mode was on ‘Heterodyne’ rather than ‘Frequency Division’, so as to avoid audio feedback when the volume was high, but listening through headphones was easier and meant there was no risk of feedback. 

Our Opinion

The Pettersson u384 is an excellent quality microphone that produces low-noise, professional recordings. It has the advantage of being small and incredibly easy to transport – working alongside a device that most people already carry with them on surveys and bat walks. The Bat Recorder app was easy to navigate and very well made, although it would have been nice if the £5.49 cost of the app was already incorporated into the cost of the detector, or if the detector came with its own app for convenience, but Pettersson do state that the recorder works with multiple recording apps. We would recommend that live audio is listened to through headphones to avoid interference and help preserve the clean and crisp recordings that the detector was capable of. Overall, the Pettersson u384 is a fantastic USB microphone that would be a great asset to any bat worker or ecologist.


The Pettersson U-Series USB Ultrasonic Microphone is available through the NHBS website.

To view our full range of bat detectors, visit www.nhbs.com. If you have any questions about any of our products or would like some advice then please contact us via email at customer.services@nhbs.com or phone on 01803 865913.

Nick Baker reviews the Stealth Gear One Man Chair Hide for NHBS

“I think this hide is great value for money.”


“If, like me, you’ve spent time trying to conceal yourself from your wildlife subjects, then doubtless you will have found yourself wrestling with scrim, and swearing and cursing as it gets caught on tripods, zippers and Velcro. The other extreme – and until now the only solution – would be to buy a ‘blind’ – a wildlife hide with many of the complexities associated with putting up a tent – a puzzle of poles and guy ropes. As well as often confounding the wildlife watcher/photographer, the whole set-up was both expensive and heavy.

I’ve been aware of these Stealth Gear hides for a year or so now and judging by the high demand, they seem to have caught on – and for good reasons.

It’s a robust camping chair design with a fan of hoops that unfurl from behind and over the seat. This in turn drags with it the polyester fabric of the hide itself. There is a little mesh pocket on one of the arms for your beer, which also can function as a lens holder – pity it doesn’t have two of them! The whole caboodle comes in a Camo-Tree design (photo-realistic leaves and bark, and woodland scenes) which in my experience works, pretty much anywhere, to break up the outline of the unit – and, almost as importantly, hides the contraption and the watcher from the unwanted attentions of his own species!

I found it best to sit in the chair with my gear in front of me and simply flip the hide over my head. Once inside it can be a little fiddly, and your personal organisation is tested a little, but so it is in any blind. If you have big elbows, lots of gear, a mate or intend to be waiting a long while, consider the two-seat option, otherwise you might find it a little too cosy for comfort. But the one-man works very well for me.

There are five apertures through which you can peer or shove a telephoto lens, all of which can be opened or closed easily with Velcro attachments, either opening them fully or leaving a printed mesh panel in place which enables the hide user to see out, while nothing can see in. The five windows are adequate enough, but you can’t see behind – which would on occasion be useful. That said, it would be a bit challenging to turn around even if there were a rear-facing window, especially with a hide full of gear. If full, all-round vision is what you require then this is available in the two-seat version.

The hide comes with a bag of ground pegs, also in a Camo-Tree design. Come on guys, you put the bag down in the long grass because you are in a rush to set up, and of course the wind starts to blow and where are your pegs to secure the thing to the ground as it fills up like a balloon and its skirts start to ruffle uncontrollably in the breeze? In a camouflage bag! Which is where? Somewhere in the long grass, doing its best to be not to be seen… I’ve attached a piece of orange baler twine now I’ve recovered it, so hopefully this won’t happen again.

Slight niggles: stitching holes let through pinpricks of daylight, and water does come spattering through in a torrential downpour. Leaving the hide is difficult – keeping your set-up and not totally blowing your cover requires agility and contortional abilities that are beyond most naturalists over 40! But having said that, all these problems can be applied to all but the most expensive hides and blinds I’ve used, so on balance I think this hide is great value for money.

(Note: if you have children and are fed up with the gaudy primary coloured plastic wendy house that jars with your aesthetic sensibilities then there is a hidden bonus to this hide – 4 year olds love them! And being made of camouflage material, you can sit it in the corner near the shrubbery and barely notice it’s there. It kept my daughter occupied for hours!)”