Aaton’s ergonomics applied to Digital Audio Recording gave birth to Cantar,
the Stradivarius of multi-track digital sound recorders.
The recordist has permanent access to mechanical faders, each devoted to only
one function only: nine rotary analog
faders, plus six linear mixer sliders; no other recorder offers such luxury.
They are positioned so the operator’s hands rest on them in a perfectly natural
position, whether Cantar is on the shoulder or the cart.
‘Cantar Sound’ has become a reference among recordists: they have never
encountered such a small machine producing such a big sound.
Since its introduction four years ago, a continuous software development effort
brought to Cantar very sophisticated and unique new functionalities:
an automatic clapstick detector/time stamper,
- PolyRotate able to auto-shuffle
multi-monofiles into the polyfiles that some Avid and FCP editors require,
- PDF Sound-Report a ready to print frame accurate report stored with the audio
files en route the Post-Production team, and, last but the least,
a powerful system which can record live audio while playing-back pre-recorded
overdub a dialog track while the actor is still around and
in the same mood.
Accompanied by CantaRem, a slim and light
eight channel remote surface, Cantar
will be more than ever at ease on a cart with Grand Arcan,
a new Mac/PC application which remotely controls Cantar and displays all of its
recording, routing and monitoring parameters, plus the metadata (Scene ID, take
#, comments, track-names, start-TC, duration, slate timecode, etc.), associated
with each audio file.
A machine under permanent control
The Cantar interface is the easiest to use under the most technically demanding
- It offers the largest display surface of all portable recorders, which
simultaneously shows every critical recording parameter.
- The custom designed high contrast displays remain viewable under bright
light (sun, sand, sea, snow, storm), and at very low temperatures too.
- The swiveling front panel always provides the best viewing angle for both
on cart and over the shoulder work.
- The large twelve position MainSelector eliminates diving into numerous
- The unique three-crown turret gives instant access to all recording and
monitoring configurations, even while wearing heavy winter gloves.
- Nine rotary faders (analog inputs) plus six linear faders (mixdown), each
entirely devoted to one specific task, are faster to handle than
- An important consideration for those who work in deserts and high seas,
all of the mechanical actuators (faders, sliders, actuators, selectors) are
sandproof and waterproof.
- To complement the waterproof design, all audio sockets are pointed toward
Earth, the same direction that rain falls. This concept has the subsidiary
advantage that no plugs are protruding from the sides; this allows third party
designers to build very narrow 'Made for Cantar' carts!
Unsurpassed mic preamps
The fame of the ‘Cantar Sound’ is based on Aaton’s expertise with audio signal
processing. First, the five mic inputs are equipped with the highest quality
impedance transformers. Second, Aaton developed huge dynamic range three stage
proprietary preamplifiers to eliminate cumbersome trims. Third, the powerful and
smooth analog limiters achieve an impossible task: they are almost transparent
to background sounds.
Built-in ‘B-Format’ stereo monitoring
Cantar is the only on-location digital recorder allowing stereo monitoring of
the complete Soundfield B-Format (which includes 5.1) with no extra accessories.
Thanks to its on-board mixer sliders, it is easy to dynamically adjust the
‘space’ parameters: pattern, width and rotation. And since the gain of the
Mic/Line preamplifiers can be aligned to a half dB, and then ganged to a master
fader, Cantar insures total control over later B-format treatments.
Long recording hours
The power consumption of a portable recorder is a potentially stressful issue on
location. Cantar goes well beyond the two hour autonomy of other machines; with
Li-Ion batteries, it can perform for up to sixteen hours.
Audio post compatibility
The Cantar ‘WorkDay’ file structure eliminates the dreaded disk-partition
confusion and makes the Post Production file handling much easier. The mixdown
generated by the built-in mixer is treated separately from the primary channels
and can be backed-up on tracks 1&2. Full details are in ‘The Post Chain’ on at:
Some features worth noting:
- Cantar is able to simultaneously record the same audio files on both the
internal and external hard drives.
- Save your “Cantar Configurations” in a laptop. Next time you rent a
Cantar, you can load them in the new machine, allowing you to pick up where
you previously left off.
- No wait in powering-up Cantar up: a cold-start from ZERO power to ‘REC’
can be executed in less than five seconds.
- The track-names (actors’ name) can be entered from either a PS2 keyboard
or directly with the Cantar jog.
- While entering a ‘Differential Delay’ (up to 85 milliseconds) between two
audio sources, you can fine tune it by listening to the tracks in left/righ
- 17 simultaneous inputs (9 Analog, 8 AES), for 8 tracks.
- Five ultra-high dynamic range, very low-noise Mic/line switchable
preamplifiers totally eliminate the need for trims.
- As well as the preamp faders, all high-pass filters (-6 or -12dB slope,
from 30 to 180 Hz and LFA) can be ganged.
- Generous Phantom 48V power supply guarantees an 8mA feed to each of the
- M/S declared channels are recorded as M & S and are automatically L/R
decoded for the mixdown tracks and playback monitoring.
- On-board talkback mic can be routed to the left or right channel of the
line and foldback outputs.
- Outputs: 2 line-out, 2 foldback., 8 AES.
- Dedicated linear sliders control the mix of the 6 primary tracks to the 2
- Digitization: 16-bit & 24-bit; 44.1kHz to 96.096kHz.
- Sample-rate converters on each AES input, e.g.44.1kHz and 48kHz signals
resampled for 48048Hz recording.
- 80GB or or 250GB Firewire connected HDD elastically suspended in a
QuickChange craddle (64GB SSD on option).
- Drive formatting: HDDs - FAT32, DVD-RAMs - UDF1.5.
- Real time mirroring on both Internal and External HDDs
- Backup on CD, DVD-RAM and DVD±R (SL & DL).
- Post-Production import and syncing at all camera frame rates from 23.98 (A
B C modes) to 30NonDrop.
- High precision (1ppm) timecode clock (free-run and rec-run).
- Remote Roll by LTC from video camera or GMT-u.
- BWF-M (multi-mono) native tracks, and BWF-P (polyphonic interleaved)
backup of both primary and mixdown tracks.
- 35 sec pre-record (8 track @48kHz).
- AutoSlate, the Aaton exclusive slate detector, with timecode stamp
insertion on ordinary clapsticks.
- Scene, take and comments entry with PS2 keyboard.
- PDA remote control through Bluetooth.
- Firewire connection to Majax, a ten track player with metadata tools
running on Mac & PC platforms.
- Easy software upgrades through internet downloaded files.
- Optional display heaters for -30°C operation (-4°F).
- Sandproof & waterproof, 3.4 kg (7.4 lbs) without battery.
- Up to 16 hour autonomy with Aaton Li-Ion batteries
Cantar-X2 new features
- Play&Rec: records live audio while playing-back pre-recorded sounds;
overdubs cued dialog tracks.
- WordSync: sample-rate syncing of paralleled recorders
- Differential Delays: up to 85ms@48kHz on analog inputs.
- Ethernet TCP/IP: communication with Mac & PC laptops, allowing realtime
control by Grand-Arcan.
More about the Cantar capabilities in the user manual available at: