September 1, 2005
Aaton Cantar Sale
For a limited time, the price of an Aaton Cantar with Bluetooth technology has been reduced to $13,995!

Cantar-X brings five firsts in the digital-audio recording domain:

  1. a portable field recorder conceived as a real extension of the hand, for both over the shoulder and cart use, in a striking industrial design.
  2. a rugged recorder which offers both rotary faders on its nine analog inputs AND six waterproof linear faders and pan pots for track levelling and 'live' mixdown.
  3. a 24bit, 96KHz HDD recorder - with 18 simultaneous inputs - which nevertheless runs for 10 to 15 hours from it's on-board battery set.
  4. a sophisticated recorder with a touch screen where it has to be, in the hands. A Bluetooth connected PDA controls the '18 inputs to 8 track' routing, recalls the user's routings and settings, and allows the script supervisor to enter scene and take IDs from up to fifteen meters (45 feet).
  5. a peace of mind recorder: built-in CDR driver burns the mixdown of the day in less than 6 minutes. The external CDR burner is powered trough FireWire, no delay at wrap-up.

Through its work on the synchronization of sound and image with its in-camera time-recording system, Aaton has always been attuned to the needs of sound mixers.
With the spread of RF mikes, recordists were telling us they needed a machine with six to eight tracks, light and comfortable on the shoulder, sturdy, high autonomy, cozy on the cart, you-name-it.
As well, post-production people told us that they would embrace this new technology only if the dailies process was smooth and efficient.
Aaton, with its long experience in designing and manufacturing 16 and 35mm cameras plus its deep expertise in digital audio-post with its Indaw workstation, was in a good position to offer the sound professionals what they were dreaming of.

A work of art for the hands and eyes
Every detail of Cantar has been honed to perfection to make the task of a location-recordist as easy as possible, while providing the utmost flexibility.
The five mics, four lines analog rotary faders as well as the six linear track faders are positioned on the upper surface of the machine in such a way that operator's hand rests on them in a perfectly natural position, allowing convenient control of the knobs, whether the recorder is on the shoulder strap or on the cart. With its twelve-degree slanted upper surface, Cantar is as easy to use as a studio mixing console.
Another practical consideration: the faders as well as the limiter and filter actuators still are at operator's fingertips when Cantar is inside a carrying pouch holding four RF mike receivers.
Cantar's three circular read-outs and alphanumeric panel constitute the largest control surface of any known portable recorder; all fundamental operational parameters are plainly visible at a glance. The display panel can be swiveled to provide the optimal viewing angle for the operator.

Audio quality second to none
The electronic circuitry of Cantar's mic inputs received particular attention: first of all, for hum and interference protection and higher signal-to-noise ratio, all five mic inputs are equipped with the high quality isolation transformers used in the best standalone mixers. Since these transformers handle up to +10dBu signals, they can also be used as balanced line inputs. The second priority was to insure high dynamic range without pre-conditionners: to this end Aaton developed a special three stage proprietary amplifier. Third essential point: the limiters and high-pass filters (-6 or -12dB slope, from 30 to 180 Hz) are merged into the analog stages and can be ganged in the same way as the analog faders. Point four: a generous Phantom 48V power supply guarantees an 8mA feed to each of the five mics.
Another important point is the high sensitivity (-25 +8dB) of the four line inputs, it allows direct RF mic connection and makes Cantar a nine mic input machine! Any input pair (AES, mic or line) can be declared as an MS couple; MS to A-B decoding is automatic during record and playback. This declaration can be used later on the mixing consoles, since it is stored in the file name of each track.

Adult-sized controls
The adult hand - even with gloves on! - was the starting point for the design of Cantar's mechanical controls. A large rotating knob (Nagra III style) is used for play-stop-test-record, and two concentric ones placed on the left side, scan the headphone routing to check input solos, director's and script's audio feeds, M/S decoding - automatically applied to up to four designated track couples -, mix-down output, etc.
The five mic rotary faders, well separated from each other can be activated by the thumb rolling over rubber 'o' rings. For longer life and reliability the knobs incorporate their own friction pad and blocking stops to protect the potentio-meter inners from rough treatments. Another unique feature of Cantar is its built-in six track linear fader panel, real-look-and-feel mechanical faders - dustproof - clearly showing both the mix-down composition and the dynamic gain applied to each track. The gain values are stored in XML files and can later be fine-tuned on Cantar during playback; embedded with the audio files, they will serve as a guide for the post-prod mixer.

Protective niche for cables and plugs
Cantar is not just another box with cables protruding every which way: its in and out cables fall neatly to the rear, keeping the connectors out of harm's way. The radio mic receiver cables make a U-turn without even getting out of the carrying bag. Since the cables and connectors are all oriented downwards when Cantar is used on the shoulder strap, they are by definition protected from the weather. In addition, all the knobs and faders being dustproof, waterproof and snowproof, Cantar is at ease whatever the location on earth.

Highly informative readouts
The circular modulometer readouts - two tracks each - are particularly easy to comprehend: the eye responds better to changing angles (ten o'clock, five o'clock, etc...) than to varying lengths of straight lines.
The peak value is accurate to the sample and the ballistics perfectly emulate needle galvanometers.
The central part of the modulometers permanently displays the activity of the three discs, the number of activated tracks, the configuration in use, MS devoted tracks, confidence mode, etc. Remaining disk space (minutes and Gb) is visible at all times.
A unique feature of Cantar is its ability to mix any number of its 18 inputs (they are ALL simultaneously active), and to route the result to any track of the machine.
The modulometer tracking dots and icons are so abundant that they can provide on-demand display of the most complex input-to-track routing as well as the pan pot attenuation values.

Long carefree hours
The power consumption of a portable recorder is a potentially stressful issue on location. Cantar takes this load off the recordist's mind by going well beyond the two hour autonomy offered by other machines. In addition to the mental security of 10 to 15 hours' operation, Cantar's twin batteries offer mechanical protection: elastically suspended on either side of the unit, they function as shock absorbers protecting the hard-drive housing. To guarantee that the operator is never taken by surprise in the middle of a shoot, the second battery automatically takes over when the first one is depleted.
How does Cantar offer up to five times more autonomy than other machines? In fact, Aaton's know-how obtained through its long experience in electronic design for portable film cameras is the answer to this question. Low consumption was designed right into Cantar, and without any compromise: cold-starts from zero power to record are effective in less than five seconds.

Ubiquitous medias
No single media today can match the pervasiveness of CD-Rs as a means to carry audio files into any computer on earth. They are so inexpensive that there is no reason not to burn a two track mixdown for the telecine transfer and the Avid or FCP room at the end of the day, and some others for the final mix suite later.

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Published by Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc.
Copyright © 2005 Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
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