Cheetah 5.0 (Legacy)

High Performance Electrophysiology Recording & Experiment Control

Cheetah 5 was replaced by Cheetah 6, October 2016. You may wish to upgrade to the latest version. Please note: Cheetah 160 acquisition systems are not supported on Windows 7. Digital Lynx SX acquisition systems require Windows 7 or higher. Digital Lynx S acquisition systems require a DIP switch change when upgrading from Cheetah 5.4 and earlier versions to Cheetah 5.6.3.

Over the past 20 years, Neuralynx has been continually developing and enhancing Cheetah Software for Single Unit Action Potential and LFP research experiments, providing the signal and data processing features and performance required for this highly demanding aspect of neuroscience research. Cheetah enhancements support the flexibility to easily configure electrode input channel assignments and signal processing options needed for the user’s specific experiments.

One software package – Cheetah 5.0 – seamlessly integrates with Neuralynx’s hardware acquisition subsystems, including Cheetah 160, Digital Lynx S, Digital Lynx SX, Digital Lynx SX-M and Digital Multiplexing Headstages.

Channel Cloning & Digital Filtering

Neuralynx’s Digital Lynx SX system eliminates channel duplication challenges by digitizing and sending the signal to Cheetah without any analog domain modification: all channels are sampled at 24-bit resolution and are full bandwidth (DC to 8 KHz). Digitizing the full bandwidth signals allows Cheetah to perform digital filtering (Digital Signal Processing (DSP) on the signal. Users can make unlimited copies, or “clones,” of each input channel and use Cheetah to perform the desired bandwidth filtering for each signal type. Changes to the settings of an acquisition entity using one of the cloned channels will not affect any other acquisition entity using other clones of that channel. Note: The most common use of channel cloning is to record a continuous version of one tetrode channel, allowing the user to filter for low frequency signals, such as Theta, while still recording the high frequency spike activity without any special connections or equipment.

Digital Reference Selection (DRS)

Cheetah manages all hardware settings “behind the scenes,” making Digital Reference Selection (DRS) set up easy. Instead of having to control each setting of the DRS hardware analog switch arrays – the interactions between the DRS functions and the input boards and with each other – the user merely sets the reference input for an acquisition entity (AE) directly in the AE property page.

Additionally, Cheetah eliminates manual programming of the references in a configuration file: the reference selection list only shows A/D Channels and dedicated references that the hardware is currently capable of using as a reference for a particular AE. Once a reference is selected, Cheetah programs the necessary hardware changes to set the reference appropriately.

Recording & Experiment Control:

  • High Performance: 8 to 256 channels
  • Signal processing for LFP/EEG/EMG and spikes
  • Real-time data record distribution for experiment control and analysis
  • High performance displays for spikes and EEG
  • Input channel signals may be “cloned” and processed with multiple parameters, such as different low and high frequency bands for EEG and spikes
  • Microwire tetrode, stereotrode and single wire spike processing
  • Online FFT plots improve signal evaluation
  • Online reference selection allows for quick reference change
  • Audio monitoring of input signals
  • Unfiltered, raw data file records

Ease of Use:

  • Pre-defined configuration files for easy startup
  • Modifiable configuration files to suit user specific needs
  • User-friendly interfaces
  • Multi-threaded for full use of computer resources
  • Improved File Playback functions
  • Controls ultrasonic microphone

Software Integration:

  • Video Tracking (VTS license sold separately)
  • SNAP Sorter – fast, consistent tetrode spike auto-clustering for same day analysis
  • Hardware Processing Platform (HPP) for sub-millisecond signal analysis latency
  • Free access to extensive library of software utilities and development packages:
    • NetCom
    • MATLAB


Video Tracking Software (VTS) supports many modes, such as multiple “targets” for position, navigation, head direction and Grid cell experiments/studies.

Distributed data analysis and experiment control are supported by our NetCom library, enabling users to focus on developing custom analysis and control programs for their experiments without being concerned about the details of data acquisition engineering.

System Requirements:

  • 1000 Mbps (gigabit) Ethernet adapter
  • Dual-Core processor (Intel Pentium D / AMD 64 x2 or newer processor)
  • Operating System: Windows XP SP3 32 bit, Windows Vista SP2 32bit, or Windows 7 32 bit.
  • *Cheetah 160 acquisition systems are not supported on Windows 7
  • *Digital Lynx SX acquisition systems require Windows 7.
  • *Digital Lynx S acquisition systems require a DIP switch change when upgrading from Cheetah 5.4 and earlier versions to Cheetah 5.6.3.

Version History

Fixed Bugs
  • Can now recover from a Direct3D lost device when time windows are visible.
  • Fixed incorrect error messages related to Video Windows
  • Fixed inability to display live video on some systems.
  • Fixed freezing if a video capture device cannot be initialized.

Fixed Bugs
  • Can now use multiple capture devices for VT with the same device name if they have unique hardware IDs
  • Fixed intermittent crashes caused when changing some acquisition entity properties
  • Fixed multi-selection bug when switching between different AE types.

Fixed Bugs
  • Data files no longer lock up after ring buffer overrun errors occur.
  • High frequency TTL events are now properly saved to NEV files.
  • Fixed errors logged for each AE when shutting down software.

General Changes
  • Added back support for the 3 argument -SetClusterBoundary command in order to work with SpikeSort 3D
  • NetCom data buffering is now on by default for SE, ST, and TT acquisition entities.
  • Can now add multiple of the same AE to a Time or Spike window.
  • Now works with Measurement Computing InstaCal v6.51
  • Error message now shown when Digital Lynx SX is acquiring, but not receiving data
  • DRS Properties window now adjustable
Fixed Bugs
  • Fixed communication problem with CUBE utility programs
  • Pre-made configuration files now display properly in Notepad
  • Y-axis labels in maximized time plot now adjust to appropriate values when using Zoom.

General Changes
  • DRS Properties display is now read only.
  • Spike Plot can now only individually enable and disable display of cells 0 – 6 and then 7+ as a group.
  • Last configuration file is now written out every 5 minutes.
  • System configuration file now written and used to notify user of unexpected shutdown.
  • All configuration files processed are now stored in sub directory of data directory.
  • Addition of hot keys for displaying System Status dialog (Ctrl+Shift+A), Event Display dialog (Ctrl+Shift+E),
  • AE and Display Properties dialog (Ctrl+Shift+P) and Audio Output Control dialog (Ctrl+Shift+Y)
  • Addition of the following commands: -GetDASBuildDate, -GetDASVersionNumber, -GetDASObjects, -GetDASState, -GetSampleFrequency (for HWSS)
  • GetVoltageConversion.
  • Updated version for all data file formats except log file.
  • Unique recording session identifier.
  • Data acquisition state retrieval.
  • Recording Options dialog now contains raw data file output GUI
  • Modification of error reporting and viewing in System Status dialog.
  • Firmware version verification for Lynx SX systems.
  • Increased log file output for property changes.
  • Event history populated in Event dialog even when Event dialog is not displayed.
  • Spike trace colors in time window will match trace color in spike window when using classification.
  • Messages displayed in time window when window is frozen, recording is off or when raw data file playback is being performed.
  • Can now copy selected messages from the System Status Dialog to the clipboard using Ctrl+C or right clicking on an item.
  • Removed “Save Window Configuration to File” from menus of display windows.
  • All acquisition entities now default to Headstage 01 Animal Ground as their reference.

Added Features:

  • Addition of feedback display window type containing FFT plot.
  • Data lost during recording and file writing is now logged to a data processing errors file (NDE v1.0.0)
  • Automatic recording shut off when hard drive is full.
  • New data files per recording option.
  • Max file length recording option.
  • Raw data file playback resumes from current location when acquisition is toggled.
  • Start timestamps specifier for raw data file playback.
  • Raw data file playback speed adjustment.
  • Plot trace color is now adjustable for for Time Plots.
  • Background color is now adjustable for for Time Windows.
  • Support for multiple NetCom client applications simultaneously.
  • 64 bit version – currently supports Windows 7 and Video Tracking, DigitalLynx SX, Raw Data Playback and Cheetah64 systems
  • Adjustable channel count for Lynx SX hardware.

General Changes
  • Data Translation Driver updated from to for Cheetah64 analog systems.
Fixed Bugs
  • Timestamps for events created from Digital IO input for Cheetah 32/64 HWSS are now correct.

General Changes
  • All DRS references are now set using a single Cheetah command, no need to manage globals and locals on each DRS.
  • Added Named TTL Events. Allows you to associate custom event string with specific TTL bits transitioning from 0 (low) to 1 (high).
  • Cheetah will now support a sample frequency of 32768 Hz for the Lynx SX hardware sub system.
  • FIR Filters can now be used for Lynx SX DA output.
  • Cheetah now supports the Digital Lynx SX 16 board system.
  • Cheetah now requires that DRS boards only be at odd slot indices and that all input boards not paired with a DRS be placed after all paired input boards.
  • Cheetah now logs an error when the VT is no longer receiving frames from the capture device during acquisition.
  • Added New Commands:
    • SetAcqEntReference
    • GetAcqEntReference
    • GetMinMaxInputRange
    • GetDiskWriteEnabled
    • SetNamedTTLEvent
    • RemoveNamedTTLEvent
    • GetRawDataFile
    • GetDataDirectory
  • Deprecated Commands that will be removed in a future release
    • SetDRSLocalReferences (replaced by -SetAcqEntReference)
    • SetDRSGlobalReferences (replaced by -SetAcqEntReference)
    • SetDRSChannelReferences (replaced by -SetAcqEntReference)
  • All Cheetah output files now contain a file version in the file header.
  • The -AcqEntName field has been added to the event file header.
  • The -FileType, -NumADChannels and -RecordSize fields have been added to the raw data file header.
  • The -NLXBase_Class_Name field has been changed to -AcqEntName in the video file header.
  • The -FileType, -CheetahRev, -HardwareSubSystemName, -HardwareSubSystemType, -SamplingFrequency, -ADMaxValue, -ADBitVolts and -NumADChannels fields have been added to the lost AD records file header.
  • All AD and raw data timestamps are now synced to start and stop recording event timestamps for all hardware sub systems.
  • The -PostEvent command now has an optional timestamp argument.
  • Cluster and Feature library version information now written to log file.
  • AD data files are now automatically created when the Acq Ent(CSC, Spike) is created.
  • Fixed problems when using globals or making many DRS reference changes that caused Cheetah to report references incorrectly.
  • Fixed erroneous error message saying VT is not in ADAcqEntContainer.
  • Cheetah no longer generates error messages when clicking in the white space below the device selection list in the Audio Output Dialog.
  • Cheetah now returns error code for NetCom OpenStream and CloseStream commands.
  • Creation of a VT can now only happen when Cheetah is idle.
  • VT capture device selection dialog no longer shows capture devices that have invalid hardware IDs.
  • Attempting to create a plot window via NetCom now fails instead of locking Cheetah’s UI which requires a restart of Cheetah to unlock.
  • Tooltips are now shown when hovering over the icons in the time windows.
  • Cheetah now searches the path of a configuration file that calls -ProcessConfigurationFile if no complete path is specified for the file to process.