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It is great to see that Aaton have announced the Cantaress at NAB. This will be their new full size fader panel to use with the Cantar X3. The announcement comes just as the Cantarem 2 compact fader panel is about to hit the sound shops. Cantarem 2 has 12 faders, is no wider than the Cantar X3, using Aaton's magnetic fader system but perfected to a smoothness that rivals P&G by running super comfortable faders on polished steel rails. I used a pre-production Cantarem 2 at the BSC show in London a couple of months ago and it was impressive. I was at Aaton in Grenoble two weeks ago and the production version has had some tweeks that make the faders really silky smooth. I have been using the original Cantarem 8-way panel with my X3 for nearly a year now and even that has worked really well releasing the Cantar top faders to control line-outs and digital gains. Now that the X3 has eq on all the analogue and digital inputs I am missing my Sonosax less. In fact the digital delays mean that I can match wireless of different latencies and the versatile line-out routing means that the X3 and old Cantarem combo far exceeds what I could do with my lovely SX-ST. So, with the announcement of a full spec panel I am expecting I will have my hands on faders and trims that will feel not too dis-similar to my Sonosax mixing days, but right up there in the digital domain. There are no details released but the original concept for the Cantaress was in an email that I sent to Aaton back in the spring of 2012 when I was 2nd unit on Skyfall. We were in Turkey and a sudden fog meant that we were grounded and couldn't do the train top fight that we were scheduled to shoot that day. In the down time, I started sketching, wrote a spec and emailed it to Aaton calling it Cantaress and this was the starting point long before the X3 reared its head. So, I feel emotionally tied to the whole Cantaress project and cannot wait to help shape its features and to put a prototype through its paces. Back in 2012 I was just a happy X2 owner wanting a few more tracks and faders. I am now tied by an NDA and after my input into the X3, Aaton asked me to be their dealer in the UK - something that I am really enjoying. So I am no longer the independent enthusiast but I am still objective. I will be mixing with a Cantarem 2 very soon and its 12 assignable faders will do almost anything I need. While the 12 faders on the Cantarem 2 are assignable so are the 10 linear and the 8 rotary faders on the X3. This makes for some really versatile possibilities and the need for the user to have clear methodology. X3 for me has been a great journey so far but with Cantaress on the horizon, it has only just started. I hope you like this colourful 'bag' X3. Tim