MAP Data Acquisition System | Plexon

The Multichannel Acquisition Processor (MAP) Neurophysiology System is Plexon’s original standard for programmable amplification, filtering and real-time spike sorting of multi-channel signals acquired in neuroscience research. Residing in hundreds of labs around the world and referenced in over 1,000 scientific publications, the MAP System is a real neuroscience industry legend. Although new MAP systems are no longer sold, upgrades are still possible and support continues.

The MAP System, also known as the Multichannel Neuronal Acquisition Processor or even the Multi-Neuron Acquisition Processor (MNAP) according to a variety of research papers, was the foundation of multichannel recording industry-wide. For decades it has been affectionately referred to as “The Harvey Box” in reference to Harvey W. Wiggins, the MAP System designer and Plexon’s founder.

The following primary components come together as the MAP System:

  • The MAP chassis offering a modular system of plug-in circuit boards – including signal boards, digital signal processing (DSP) boards, digital input boards, digital output boards, and host link board – is either table-top or rack mountable.
  • The MAP Control Computer operating the Real-Time Acquisition System Programs for Unit Timing in Neuroscience (RASPUTIN) a suite of client/server programs that control spike sorting in the MAP and provide real-time data visualization and analysis. RASPUTIN’s operation is based on two primary programs, Sort Client and MAP Server. Sort Client is the primary control program for the MAP System hardware, and MAP Server is the low-level interface for configuring the MAP System.
  • PBX Preamplifiers available in 16, 32, 48 and 64 channels, and can be combined to achieve higher channel counts.

The MAP System offers powerful, large-scale neuronal waveform recording and real-time spike sorting using DSP hardware, and simultaneous 40kHz (25µsec) analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion on each channel at 12-bit resolution. Further, ten-pole, total high-cut filtering across the system completely eliminates high-frequency noise from industry-leading eye coil systems. Optional analog signal acquisition for continuous recording of spike, field potential, physiological, and behavioral signals is available.

Building on the MAP System’s legendary contribution to the neuroscience space, Plexon has significantly advanced its capabilities and functionality through the launch of the OmniPlex® Neural Data Acquisition System .

Selected technical specifications for the MAP System are provided below. A Plexon Sales Engineer is happy to discuss your needs and how support your research goals.

Features Specifications and Options Remarks
Channels 16 to 128
Auxiliary non-neural A/D inputs 16 to 256
Digital Inputs Single-bit or multi-bit strobed word
A/D input conversion 40kHz neuronal channel at 12-bit resolution
Amplifier gain 1,000 – 32,000
Spike sorting Online via Boxes or Templates
File type Open-format Plexon .PLX files Can be read by NeuroExplorer®, C++ and MATLAB® other applications.
SDK availability C/C++ and MATLAB
Controller platform Windows® XP or Windows 7
Chassis dimensions 19 x 17 x 12.25 inches

Plexon’s original program supporting multichannel data acquisition is a suite of programs referred to as the Real-Time Acquisition System Programs for Unit Timing in Neuroscience software, or more affectionately known as RASPUTIN.

This combination of software and hardware enables users to view waveforms, acquire action potential waveforms around a voltage-threshold crossing, sort them in real time according to their shape, record continuous analog signals, such as field potentials, eye position, blood pressure, as well as capture external digital-event data, such as individual TTL lines or multi-bit strobed word data. RASPUTIN utilizes a client/server architecture on a Microsoft Windows™ operating system. The server program runs the MAP box and distributes the data among a set of cooperating client programs. The program can record analog signals and spike and digital-event data in a single data file, and supports 16, 32, 48, 64, 96 and 128 channel configurations.

RASPUTIN’s operation is based on two primary programs: Sort Client and MAP Server. The Sort Client is the primary control program for the MAP System hardware and may be used to adjust the MAP operating parameters (e.g., amplification, filtering) and to set the specific sorting parameters for each channel.

MAP Server is the low-level interface for configuring the MAP, which transfers commands such as gain and filter changes or parameter settings from the various clients to the MAP box. MAP Server also accumulates data coming from the MAP box in a circular buffer memory. The client programs connect to MAP Server to gain access to that data. MAP Server also mediates communication between the clients, keeping them informed of commands sent to the MAP from other clients.

RASPUTIN is compatible with Plexon’s C/C++ and MATLAB® software development kits (SDKs). It can also be further enhanced by Plexon’s PlexNet protocol supporting remote online data access across any TCP/IP or UDP network, and PlexUtil for modifying RASPUTIN’s output .PLX and .DDT data files. Additionally, the data can be read into Plexon’s Offline Sorter™ program for further spike sorting, and NeuroExplorer® for extensive analysis.

RASPUTIN is not sold separately, but rather arrives pre-loaded on the MAP Control Computer with the purchase of any MAP System. As the MAP System has been replaced by the advanced OmniPlex® D Neural Data Acquisition System, Plexon is no longer developing the RASPUTIN software program. However, the latest upgrade package is still accessible online. If you have additional questions, a Plexon Sales Engineer would be more than happy to discuss them with you.


Features Specifications and Options Remarks
Recording file format Plexon (.PLX)
Spike detection methods Voltage threshold
Spike sorting methods – Manual methods include: template, line sorting,
band sorting, box sorting, 2-D polygon sorting
– Automatic methods include: template, band
sorting, 2-D polygon sorting.
Features available for sorting – Projections onto principal components (PCA)
– For stereotrode and tetrode data, per-electrode
Views available – 2D PCA
– 3D PCA
– Spikes
– Peak histogram
– Field potentials
– Activity rasters
Electrode support Single, stereotrode and tetrode Acquisition only.
Platform Windows® XP or XP64, Windows 7, or Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
Activation requirement Plexon version-specific hardware license key When MAP is ordered, it comes with 2 license keys. Additional keys may be purchased.

Installation Packages/Upgrades

Manuals/User Guides

Change Log

Guides and How To Papers

For the Multichannel Acquisition Processor (MAP) Data Acquisition System

This document details the procedure for installing the hardware and software components required for upgrading a Plexon Multichannel Acquisition Processor (MAP) Data Acquisition System from a RASPUTIN v2 HLK2 System to a RASPUTIN v2 HLK3 System.

Technical Specs and Data Sheets