HOW-TO videos These how-to videos show you step-by-step how to develop your ephys project and make the best possible use of Blackrock Microsystems instruments and setups.

Electrophysiology research how-to videos

We are constantly adding new how-to videos for Blackrock Microsystems products and solutions to our website. We also have videos for general guidance in electrophysiology research topics in general. Please check back from time to time for new videos or notify a customer support engineer if there is a specific demonstration video you would like to see.

CerePlex Direct Starter Package Step-by-step Setup

The CerePlex Direct starter package from Blackrock Microsystems is an easy to use plug-and-play solution for high channel count neural recordings. This video will show you how to unbox and connect the core components of the starter package and record your first signals.

Central—Getting Started

Central Software Suite is used to communicate with Blackrock’s Cerebus, NeuroPort, and CerePlex Direct Neural Recording Systems. This video covers the procedure for connecting the Neural Signal Processor via Ethernet, connecting the CerePlex Direct via USB, checking Firmware and Software versions, and launching the software.

Central—Hardware Configuration

The Hardware Configuration application configures all the inputs and outputs of the NeuroPort, Cerebus, and CerePlex Direct Systems. This video covers the organization of input and output channels and the configuration of individual or groups of channels. Additionally, it covers the settings available for neural recording channels such as the LFP, spike and raw data streams, filtering, input range, and thresholding. Last, it explains the settings available for analog and audio outputs as well as serial and digital inputs.

Central—Single Neural Channel and Spike Panel

The Single Neural Channel application displays a given channel in detail by showing all incoming data streams. The Spike Panel displays the threshold crossing waveforms, i.e. spikes, from all channels, in a grid structure.

This video covers channel selection, the different displays within Single, scale and threshold sliders, line noise cancellation, spike sorting displays, and access to hardware configuration.

This video also covers, visual scale, text size, refresh rate, and map files within Spike Panel.

Central—File Storage for Cerebus

The File Storage application saves recorded data to the local computer. The Cerebus system, used for non-clinical research, supports TOC or 2.x file storage modes. This video covers the user interface and options available in the File Storage application in 2.x mode, which includes the differences between TOC and 2.x standards, file types and extensions, file directories, naming and incrementing, file splitting, and starting, stopping, and pausing recordings.

Central—File Storage for NeuroPort

The File Storage application saves recorded data to the local computer. The NeuroPort System, used for clinical recordings, only allows recording in TOC file mode. This video covers each option and parameter in the TOC file mode, which includes patient information, comments, file directory and naming, remote start and stop, manual start and stop, file splitting, synchronization pulses, and noise removal.


Central—Raster Plot

The Raster Plot application displays data from any of Central’s inputs in a customizable raster. This video covers how to add and remove channels from the display, enable continuous data plots and spike tick marks, make comments, set display size, split and combine data streams, set scroll speed, pause, and save/load raster configuration files (.rcf).

Central—Activity Map

The Activity Map application displays a heat map of spiking frequency across electrodes. Spike counts from each recording channel are gathered in 20ms bins and mapped to a color for display on the heatmap. The channels are arranged following the map file loaded into Central. This video shows how to adjust the color range, channel position, and time sensitivity of the activity map.

Central—Signal to Noise Ratio

The Signal to Noise application compares the magnitude of extracted spikes to the magnitude of the noise floor to calculate the signal to noise ratio. This video covers sorted spike unit selection, N-value, time binning, pausing and refreshing calculations, scaling, and exporting data for record keeping.


Map files include the physical orientation of electrode arrays and the necessary information to map physical electrode ID and locations to Channel ID’s in Central and other Blackrock software utilities. This video covers the map files included with all Blackrock electrode arrays and how to create custom mapfiles for third party electrodes, how to open, edit, and save mapfiles in a text editor, and load map files in Central.


The Neural Processing MATLAB Kit, commonly referred to as NPMK, features functions to import Blackrock data files into MATLAB for easy manipulation and analysis. This video covers the two core functions of NPMK, which include opening Blackrock continuous data files (.nsx) and event files (.nev). This video also covers file metadata, data structure, electrode information, and tips for plotting continuous or event-based data from the NPMK data structures.


Blackrock Offline Spike Sorter, commonly referred to as BOSS, is a powerful, yet easy-to-use spike-sorting application that handles large data files with ease. A free trial of BOSS is available at BlackrockMicro.com. This video covers how to load a data file, detect spikes by filtering and thresholding, sort spikes with automatic PCA methods, manually sort or modify the automatic sorting results, and save results into the Blackrock Neural Event (.nev) data format.

CereStm R96 – Stim Manager

The Stim Manager application allows both simple and complex control of Blackrock’s CereStim R96 Neural Stimulator. This video covers how to connect to and run diagnostics on the CereStim, construct a basic manual stimulation waveform, configure waveform parameters, and trigger with external hardware. This video also covers how to create, save, load, and edit complex stimulation programs with pauses, repeats, and many waveforms delivered over many electrodes.

CereStim Matlab API – Stimmex

The CereStim MATLAB API, commonly referred to as Stimmex, is a fully featured MATLAB API for controlling Blackrock’s CereStim R96 Neural Stimulator. It is recommended to watch the CereStim R96 – Stim Manager video before learning about Stimmex. This video covers how to use function calls required to connect to a CereStim, program individual waveforms and complex waveform patterns, set hardware triggers, and trigger stimulation from the software interface. This video also covers test scripts you can run on the CereStim, which also make a great basis for beginning your own programming of the device.

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