• USB-MEA256


The USB-MEA256-System is a stand-alone recording system for microelectrode arrays with 252 electrodes.

With the high number of electrodes, it is the perfect set-up for recording from cell cultures of cardiac of neuronal origin as well as for stem cells.

Multi Channel Systems provides microelectrode arrays with 9 wells for this system, which makes it the ideal solution for drug testing.



The USB-MEA256-System from Multi Channel Systems offers the following benefits:

  • All-in-one device, small-footprint, no need for many cables
  • Sampling rate of 40kHz/channel facilitates excellent data quality
  • Works with both upright and inverted microscopes
  • USB-connection to any computer, can be used in any lab
  • Can be used with 9-well MEAs for drug screening


Simple set-up

The USB-MEA256-System consists of only 4 components: The microelectrode array, the recording device itself, the data acquisition computer, and the temperature controller.

Please click on the arrows on the right to learn more about the single components.

Microelectrode Arrays

The recording process starts at the MEA, the microelectrode array with embedded electrodes. You can culture your cells directly on the MEA or place your slice or retina preparation directly on it. Normally, it is equipped with a ring, which serves as a culture chamber.

Multi Channel Systems offers four MEA-Layouts for the USB-MEA256-System. You can choose between electrode spacings of 60 μm, 100 μm, and 200 μm, all having a 16×16 electrode grid. Additionally, there is a 9-well MEA.

9-well MEAs

Apart from the MEA with one recording chamber, you can select a 9-well MEA for higher-throughput experiments. You will find 26 recording electrodes as well as 2 stimulation electrodes in each of the 9 wells. This is the ideal solution for safety pharmacology, as you can test 9 substances in parallel.

All-in-one device

The USB-MEA256-System basically consists of only one device, with integrated filter amplifier and data acquisition. The compact housing is suitable for almost every kind of upright or inverted microscope. When the housing is closed, the contact pins in the lid are pressed onto the microelectrode array’s (MEA) contact pads. No cable connections between MEA and amplifier are necessary, which greatly reduces the noise level. The complete system can be used in a dry incubator. We provide culture chamber solutions for the MEA to keep your preparation sterile under stable environmental conditions.

Temperature control

In the USB-MEA256-device, there is a heating element right beneath the MEA. It is controlled by the included temperature controller, so the temperature of your sample is observed and kept stable at all times. You can select the desired temperature at the device itself or using the included control software TCX-control.

Multi Channel Systems also offer the USB-MEA256-System with enhanced perfusion (-E), meaning that the system comes with a heatable perfusion cannula, another temperature controller, and a peristaltic perfusion pump.

The peristaltic pump (PPS2) has two independent channels. The first channel will transport your solution via the perfusion cannula to the sample. The perfusion cannula has a heating element, which is controlled by the temperature controller, so you can define the temperature of your solution. The second channel of the PPS2 can be set independent from the inlet and will take care of the outflow.

The perfusion cannula as well as the outlet tube are hold by magnetic perfusion holders, which can be positioned freely on the headstage.

Computer with software

The last component of the system is the computer with the included software package MC_Rack. With daily lab work in mind, the program is set up like an instrument rack on a workbench, allowing you to combine virtual instruments (e.g. oscilloscope, filter, event detector, spike sorter, sound output, or signal-triggered TTL pulse) in any way you want. MC_Rack has been used many years in laboratories around the world and has proven to be a powerful, flexible and reliable software.

MC_Rack can be used for online and offline analysis of your data. You can also export the data and analyze the data with Neuroexplorer, Matlab or your custom program.

For experiments in the field of cardiac electrophysiology, Multi Channel Systems offers a software package available for purchase: Cardio2D, which is designed for analysis of cardiac cells, tissues, and whole organs.

As a policy at Multi Channel Systems, updates of all software packages are available online and free of charge, so you are always up-to-date with recent developments.


The USB-MEA256-System can easily be combined with a stimulus generator for current and voltage driven stimulation. They are available with 2, 4 or 8 independent output channels. Every electrode of the MEA can be selected for stimulation. The software MC_Stimulus II controls the stimulus generators and allows you to design arbitrary waveforms.


MEA-System for recording from one 256-electrode MEA without perfusion.



MEA-System for recording from one 256-electrode MEA with perfusion.