Sound Analysis Software
Software for bioacoustics
Welcome! Bienvenue! Willkommen!
This is a compilation of WEB addresses that provide
software and information for bioacoustics: as freeware, shareware, commercial trial
versions, or commercial software. There is a wide variety of software
available, and I outline a good number of sources on these pages, with annotation.
My effort is meant to be in a
spirit of information-sharing. I am not trying to promote any
particular system, just outline what is available. What I suggest is
people check out what is offered to see how it serves their needs,
hardware, and pocketbooks. I might be able to answer questions if
you respond directly. Also, a brief caveat: You get what you pay
for. For a lot of these free- and shareware programs, what they will
accomplish is limited. Their development is not necessarily with a
particular goal or application, and the ability to perform complex
analyses is often limited by the simpler programs. Further, the graphics
capabilities may not be top quality. However, many of these
programs often offer rather straight-forward options for several things
and, if you are not engaging in full-time or data-intensive work, and select
carefully, they can perform remarkably well at a lot of tasks. As the price
increases so does the quality. A small investment
would likely be rewarding as these mid-priced commercial programs provide
considerable flexibility. Perhaps most important, particularly if you are
not as comfortable doing the trouble-shooting, is that the commercial companies
provide technical support! Finally, the best systems are, logically,
the more expensive, but their overall performance is the very best.
For people trying to decide on a system or software my suggestion would
be to clearly answer three main questions: First, what exactly
is my research question, and what type(s) of procedures will I need a system to
perform? Second, what hardware do I currently have, and what might I need
to change/add/upgrade? (most of the software listed below will work
with a wide variety of sound cards). Third, what am I willing/able to pay? Having
balanced those three major variables in the equation is probably the best
starting point. Having answered those questions, you can then look for resources
that address particular needs. Or select a few that seem reasonable, and e-mail
specific questions to whomever hosts the site.
For those who need a opening primer of computer-sound hardware and software I suggest you
begin with the first few links listed under
Resources and Utility Programs below. These give a good introduction to the hardware
involved in sound acquisition and replication, and introductory information
for related topics.
For those interested in recording equipment, I've added a section on companies
specializing in recorders, microphones, etc. under the recording
Also, web-related software has been placed on a separate page
The information presented
here is mostly PC-based, as that is the platform I mostly use, and what seems to be
widely available. I've included a section on Mac-specific systems,
and many of the multi-listing pages have lots of information
on what is available.
General Bioacoustics Listings
General Signal-analysis Programs
Speech Research Resources
Automated sound monitoring and detection
Resources in other Disciplines
Resource and Utility Sites
Animal-specific systems and programs
A number of companies and individuals offer systems specifically
designed for animal research. Some are commercially available, some are
research-developed, and available for free. The main consideration for these systems is
that the designer(s) were operating within a framework of animal-related
research, whether particular groups, or animal vocal systems in general. Most were
developed within an academic context.
Signal and RTS from engineering Design.
A very thorough animal-oriented system. Both real-time aquisition and end-analysis programs.
Extremely powerful and flexible, but requires
some effort to learn. Windows and Mac-based programs available.
Avisoft is a company that makes a software package designed for bird
and other animal researchers. They have acquisition, analysis and ultrasound systems.
They also have a "lite" version available as a download.
Raven is a software
package for sound analysis from the Cornell group. Professional and limited-feature Free trial versions available.
They also have an Exhibit program for public displays and presentations.
Sound Ruler is a free
analysis and graphics package designed for animal sound analysis. Looks promising.
SpectraPro SpectraPlus and SpectraLab: sound analysis software packages designed for
Dolphin work. Has 30-day trial versions for download.
Sound Analysis Pro: free sound analysis and related software
SEA - Sound Emission Analyzer Real-time sound analysis
software for animal work, from the
bioacoustics group at Pavia, Italy
BatSound software system: Real-time Imaging/Recording. Has evaluation version as download.
Listed by Pettersson Elektronik AB:
the Swedish Bat Detector company. Also carry ultrasound detectors.
Syrinx program designed for real-time and interactive playbacks, as well as
signal imaging and editing.
Spectrogram 11 by R.S. Horne--A shareware program that does simple but
effective spectrograms, available as download. New version does real-time
Program designed for bat research, runs on both Mac
and Windows platforms
Ishmael: Sound acquisition program with automatic call (signal) recognition, file annotation, acoustic localization
General Bioacoustics Listings
There are several sound/software link listings related specifically to
animal bioacoustics, and they offer a lot of links to various sources of
software. Many of the sources I have listed below can be found at these sites.
There are a number of general animal/sound/software
related pages, and I begin with those. These are places much like this, and good places to
find longer descriptions and reviews, etc. of software and systems.
General Signal-analysis Programs
There are a good number of acoustic/signal analysis programs not specifically
designed with animal work in mind, but for general scientific signal analyses.
Consider that sound can be viewed as a subset of any signal, whether brain-waves,
seismic waves, or sound, and these systems have features or tools that would suit
our purposes. Many can be "customized" for partucular needs.
Spectra-Plus is a flexible system that does a lot of signal analysis. They have
a 30-day trial download.
National Instruments: Science Instrumentation including LabView
Dadisp: A "signal management" program with a lot of options: filtering,
editing, analyses: They have a "student" version available for
Sigview: real-time spectral analysis
software with various analysis and imaging tools. 21-day download available.
Micro LAB is a bundled software package with Real
Time Stereo Spectrum Analyser, Oscilloscope and Signal
Generator (PC platform).
Scope DSP and Scope FIR: Two programs for F/T analysis and
filtering (FIR). Shareware/with trial downloads . Doesn't have A-to-D
input; utilizes existing digital files. Student (limited) and Pro versions.
ParEq: A real-time parametric equalizer.
DAQARTA! commercial company offering I/O equipment:
Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis system
Speech Research Resources
The area of speech research has a LOT to offer, but it
requires a bit of background/familiarity, and not designed for animal
work per se, although most will do many of the things we require.
Animal research has benefitted a great deal from the development of instrumentation
in Speech Research, particularly in software systems. Many of them do the types of
analyses we desire (file manipulation, waveform editing, synthesis, graphics), and
often offer tools not familiar to or infrequently used by most animal researchers (e.g.
LPC, cepstral analysis and various types of pitch/formant tracking).
The Comp-speech page provides a general listing of software and information and is
a useful place to see what is out there. In addition I list a few particular
examples of software systems available
in both the research and speech therapy arenas, as
well as some information pages from speech research groups.
Speech-oriented software systems:
PRAAT speech analysis software. Excellent general program that
does analyses, good graphics, and statistical analyses. Available
in PC, UNIX, LINUX and MAC platforms. Recommended.
GSU Praat Tools is an integrated package of scripts for the Praat software, with manual. Free!
SIL International: Several speech-related programs for both PC and MAC
systems. Free downloads.
self-contained system, designed for speech, but with lots of options.
Windows, Linux and Macintosh.
Sensimetrics' SpeechStation2: speech-oriented sound
TF32: is a speech analysis package. Demo version allows analysis
of existing files
and commercial version
allows acquisition with real-time
spectrogram or pitch trace recording.
Sonogram Visible Speech: Java-based sonogram program for speech analysis: sonograms, cepstral analysis,
FFT and LPC.
SFS: A free research developed Speech Analysis Program Download
There are potentially lots of basic programs available in this arena, including
some very flexible editors-- worth exploring. The sites change often, so I list just a few
notable ones here. If you have any others to suggest, let me know.
Many of the web-related programs are designed for music or web-site sound effects or the like.
Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit). A nice sound manipulation and analysis package. Very easy to use, and
quite flexible in applications. Does simple spectrograms and FFTs, waveform manipulations
and editing, synthesis, and various sound "effects". Excellent little package-- recommended.
Goldwave. Very similar to Cool Edit (previous listing).
Wave Flow Simple and inexpensive (shareware) wave file editor, with filtering.
Spanish Version Available.
Automated monitoring and detection
New programs are emerging for automatic remote monitoring of animal populations by sound,
and software for automatic detection/recognition of certain signals within recordings.
Wildlife Acoustics offers package systems both for monitoring animal populations by sound, and for
identification of signals.
SoundID has a software package for sound detection and recognition.
Batcorder is a recorder for automatic detection of bat calls. Screens out non-bat calls.
Acoustimetrics offers The Acousonde, an automated underwater acoustic and ultrasonic recorder.
PAMGUARD is an open-source program for the detection of cetaceans at sea.
AUSOMS is for underwater sound monitoring.
REAL (Remote Environmental Assessmant Laboratory) is a research program that is conducting lage-scale
acountic monitoring of animal populations. Their site offers information and archives.
Resources in other Disciplines
There are additional resources available in research/academic areas
outside of animal-related areas, and many have software that might suit our purposes.
The SETI league (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) is a source for
various software, and they have a signal-processing listing. Mostly signal/noise
extraction programs, signal detection. Slightly different focus, but likely some
interesting potential applications here.
Computer Music Site at University of Ill.
Pro-tools 24: Music-oriented editing and signal manipulation
program. Versions for Mac, and PC systems.
Resources and Utility Programs
The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology occasionally conducts
Sound Analysis Workshops that are geared toward animal sound analysis.
Excellent information page on
Geared toward general computer audio
Glossary of Recording Terms
The Bioacoustics-L Listserv is a discussion group for the scientific study of animal sounds.
Sonotrack by Metris Sonotrack is for Recording, Analysis & Playback of Ultrasound Vocalizations.
CTR offers hydrophones and information on underwater recording.
FFT Properties: a program for studying and
understanding Fourier tranformations, does Scope emulation, Spectrum analysis, filtering.
Zero-crossing program for obtaining cycle-to-cycle frequency.
Oxford Sound research information. Lots of general information and links.
A long list of
general acoustics and sound-related links.
(Also note above listings for other programs designed to
run on both PC and Mac platforms.
several in the Speech Research Resources)
Canary- From the bioacoustics Group at Cornell. Probably the most
widely used MAC animal-sound system.
Wild Spectra: Research developed real-time spectrogram
program from University of North Carolina
is a utility program for sound designed to run with Igor Pro. Also
has Real Time
Signalyze: Developed as a speech-analysis system, but performs a
variety of signal analysis procedures.
Soundscope: Another Speech-based system, similar to previous.
Also Superscope, for waveform analysis.
Sound Studio 3: Mac Audio Editor
SoundHack. Music-developed editing and FFT-based analysis. Download
Lemur software: for MAC
Interesting-looking sinusoidal-modeling based analysis system
developed by the CERL Group
Links to Linux/Unix sound-related software can be found on the
including a listing for Signal Analysis software.
I have a page devoted to recording resources: Recording Equipment
Here is the contact information for the 2 main bioacoustics
suppliers in the U.S.:
Maurice Stith is also
an excellent source for equipment, with on-line catalog:
Marice Stith E-mail
Further information on recording equipment is
on the Recording Equipment Page
If you find any links you think should be included here,
please e-mail me! Also, I don't necessarily keep up to date
on whether these links are outdated; if you find any that no longer
work, let me know. Or, if I've mis-represented something, please inform me.
In addition, and most important, if you should try some of the
software I've listed here and can add information on it's applicability
to animal-related research, please drop me a note about it, particularly
if the application is novel or interesting.
Finally, I can answer simple questions and make recommendations: Please give me
brief answers to the 3 questions I've listed above.
Steven L. Hopp