discussion / Acoustic Monitoring  / 27 October 2022

Song Meter Micro experience?

Hi everyone, 

First off, what a great community this is! I only recently found out about it, and it seems like a game changer, especially for early career folk like me.

I was wondering, has anyone had experience with the Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter Micro?

I've used AudioMoth, but currently they're still unavailable, and I'm in need of some more sensors for an upcoming season in the Amazon. The main aspects I'm curious about are durability and sound quality (self-noise, SNR etc). I've read the spec sheet, but some advice from a user would be more helpful. On the durability front, I notice that this is the only SM model that comes with a recommendation to use silica gel packets for each deployment, which concerns me slightly...

The Song Meter Mini is obviously fantastic, but a) $$$ and b) it's also out of stock. Particularly, if anyone has been able to compare the Micro with other ARUs, that would be valuable info. 

Any help/advice much appreciated!


Hi Nick, 

We gave your question a boost over on twitter, and it kicked off a bit of a discussion. Dropping them in here so you can see some of the advice / questions coming through. 


I did some comparison testing between SM Micros, SM Minis and AudioMoths last year.  I found the Minis gave the best 'average' results for soundscapes when the data was run through the acoustic indices of Kaleidoscope and soundecology (R package).    

My personal take is that Micros are more geared towards consumers who may want to record, say, for pleasure; and AMs are more geared towards research.  The latest AM can also be kitted out with better external mics. after a relatively simple mod - I tried this and there was an improvement in signal pick-up, but you do have the added hassle of modding up a new way of waterproofing it all as the 'issue' housing won't obviously fit afterward.  There is a definite and known frequency skew towards c. 6 kHz signals in the Micros too which stopped me using them for soundscape analysis.   Bear in mind too that none of these three recorders can be 'calibrated' like the more expensive ones (SM4 etc.) so noise level analysis is out.

When using a constant 5-day recording protocol I found the 3-cell recorders rarely lasted the course if 'average' rechargeables (Energisers) were used; but would if eneloops or decent non-rechargeables (Duracells) were used instead.  The extra cell in the Mini meant it would last even with Energisers.  If using a 1 minute in 10 recording protocol, then all would last roughly a month.

Used all kinds of SanDisk microSD and SD cards in all the recorders and only had one occurrence of corruption.

I love the Minis as a cheaper level recorder for their ease of use, features and they last well in the field.  My only real gripe with them is that the 'accessories' and replacement bits always seem a bit overpriced (but that might just be me!)   I've recently started testing the 18650-cell battery lid on a couple to try to cut down on servicing visits and have high hopes (potentially up to 6 months between servicing - with an appropriately large SD card).  I'd also love to incorporate more AMs into my work too, but I just can't get hold of them.  We seem to be a perfect storm at the moment of a rapid increase in using PAMs pitched against a worldwide component and PAM shortage.  I was hoping to deploy around 50 more PAMs soon for a new project but its' currently looking like I may not be able to get hold of them either.

Just my pennies worth - hope it helps!

P.S:  use the silica gel packets found in Covid test packets; they are the perfect size for Micros.  I believe Minis already have silica gel incorporated into the housing, but I use a couple in them too just as insurance (this is in the UK so temperate - but wet!)

  • The mic of Micro is different than in Mini, and it's audible - the quality is slightly worse, but still quite good. We have recordings from the same place and time, recorded by Mini and Micro, but I'm not sure if their mics were directed the same way  :-/
  • Our Micros were recording max 144h - this is the maximum on 3 x AA Varta Lithium Ultra  (non-rechargeable). With 3 x Eneloop Pro (black) it would be a bit less - as@Bob_Ashington  mentioned, not more than 5 days 
  • I've just finished preliminary tests and it seems Micros can be run on a single Li-ion 18650 cells (3.7V x 3.3Ah) . A small custom lid could fit 3 of them nicely, which is 4 x more energy than Eneloops Pro. With a separate box, the battery can be as big as needed :-)