An Anabat SD1. The later SD2 version has a USB socket on the right-hand side, rather than a serial port. The velcro on the left was stuck on to allow a GPS receiver to be attached for transect work.
My biggest beef with the Anabat has always been it's limited ability to keep accurate time. Over a period of weeks they are fine, but over protracted periods of use the internal clocks tend to lose or gain time. So far the SM2s I have been using have been reliable in that respect. They also have a useful ability to be set to start and stop recording at specified periods before sunset/after dawn, rather than specified start/finish times, as with the Anabat. This saves having to reprogram them through the year, to reflect changing dawn and sunset times.
One colleague I spoke to this year was hopeful that using SM2s intead of Anabats might reduce the number of equipment failures. Sadly that hasn't been my experience. It's easy to think that, when you buy a machine with a high price tag you are getting high quality electronics, but electronic development doesn't really work that way. The major cost in producing any electronic equipment is the initial development cost. If you are developing a new iPod, confidently expecting to sell millions of units, you can afford to invest millions of pounds in perfecting the design. If you are developing a bat detector, with an expected sale of a few thousand units then the development budget is inevitably much smaller. In this respect both machines are in the same boat and they appear to have an equal propensity to fail.
So what would I spend my cash on? Well, the SM2 is an interesting piece of equipment, with some useful features. It had the potential to knock the Anabat for six on waterproofing and reliability, but so far it has proved no better on either score. It lacks the Anabat's flexibility and it's memory-hungry format is time-consuming to manage. So, unless I was involved in a project which could benefit from the specific extra capabilities of the Songmeter I would spend my hard-earned cash on an Anabat.
Wildlife Acoustics (maker of the Songmeter) www.wildlifeacoustics.com
Titley Electronics (maker of the Anabat)
Wildcare & Alana (the UK Songmeter importers) http://www.wildcareshop.com
My website: www.plecotus.co.uk