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Cantar x3 Two-way talkback/slatemic option for both sound mixer and boom opetor


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Very happy with my new Cantar x3 of course!

Though at moment the talkback system only seems to be one-way, from the soundmixer to the boom operator/or any other line-out.
I'm missing a bit a internal talkback system which can be used both directions and activated at both ends of the line.
My previous recorder (sonosax sx62) had a boomoperator connection with a dedicated headphone output, talkbackmic and talkbackmic-activation for a button on the boomoperator belt-box (boombox). This was a perfect line which could be private or being recorded.

For now the solution to have the same communication options seems to me to have a talkback system almost fully separated from the cantar. Though I really like to have it intergraded to keep my filmcart as simple as possible. A second headphone output can now only be created via 2 line outputs of the SubD connector and adding a pre-amp to it, thats fine.
But, if possible, a talkbackmic with also activation on the boomoperator-side would be great for an update!
There could be a activation on the option-connector which opens talkback 1 and a XLR input at the same time. The talkback 1 button should be able to do the same of course. Maybe there could even be a dedicated headphone-output on the option-connector.

How do other cantar users work around this issue?

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I used a Sonosax ST for 9 years and it is a truly great analogue mixer. Using the 2-way system that was on the Sonosax, I set it up with Sennheiser G3 returns from my crew but it only lasted a few days before the crew got fed up of the extra complication of mics with PTT boxes and belt packs. For the years that I used the Sonosax, I used the comms section in the traditional simplex way. I could have bought the Sonosax cabled comms boxes but I cannot see my crew working with hard wired comms.

For 20 months I have been post Sonosax ST, using the Cantar X3 initially with the Cantarem mixer panel from my X2 rig, then the Cantarem 2 and I am looking forward to mixing on the Cantaress next year. The X3 may not have the dedicated comms system that the Sonosax had - and I suspect used by relatively few in duplex mode. But it does have many inputs, outputs and routing options that should enable you to set up a system quite similar to the Sonosax dedicated system. You have press to talk (Talk 1 / Talk 2) on the X3. You have 12 analogue inputs on the X3. If you are using all the analogue inputs, use the AES3 inputs and an AJA ADA-4 AD / DA converter for the comms return from your crew. This return could be unrecorded but routed to the sound mixer's headphone mix. PTT from the crew would go through to the headphone mix. Talk 1 or Talk 2 direct to the sound crew. There are so many routing options available that I am sure that you can find a solution within the X3 with no extra external equipment.

For me, since a production edict a few years ago on a studio film that the boom would not be used for any comms, we have used Walkie Talkies like everyone else on the set. I have become used to a covert earpiece that remains in my ear all day and I wear my cans over it when monitoring and for my way or working, it works well. This also has the advantage that I can walk away from the mixer and I still have comms. Likewise, my crew are not cabled into a comms system. Comms are comms on the walkies and programme is via IEM in the usual way. It is wireless so they always have comms on the set, if they are outside in the sound van or collecting the coffee order. Our way is just one way of working. It won’t suit every crew but for us it works well. 

Tim White

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hi there Jaaps, this is my actual comms situation:

my boom operators still use their boom for talkback to me. Possibly not the most elegant solution, but in my working hemisphere directors only wear their headphones during the take and try to get rid of them asap afterwards. On the same time, cabled work is not possible and not wished for by the boom operators since quite some years. They wear Senn G3 300 IEMs for their monitoring.

With the G3 300 I can provide 2 channels of monitoring programme to them, which allows them to gradually mix between his/her own boom signal and/or the production mix on the other channel. If we work with 2 boom operators (more than 50% of the projects), both boom ops usually listen to about 75% of their own signal and 25% of their partner's, so they can communicate to each other over the booms. My talkback 1 goes to both of their channels. The restriction in that system is, that I cannot hear them, if I do not monitor their boom track at the moment they want to talk to me.

With Cantar X3 those monitoring outputs can be switched through very easily, make yourself a few presets and press F2+F3 consecutively to switch between presets. It is super quick and easy.

Talkback 2 goes to the production audio comms, is fed to video village and listened to by the director and scriptie at least. We also use Senn G2/G3 pocket Tx/Rx for that purpose. I use the talkback on this channel only to communicate to the director during the take, like that I'd opt for a cut due to any unforseen noise or technical problem, but it does rarely happen.

@ Tim: I wonder what the Cantaress will be. Tried to google, but not much info. Can you tell about the basic idea?

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On 23/12/2016 at 1:49 PM, axel said:

@ Tim: I wonder what the Cantaress will be. Tried to google, but not much info. Can you tell about the basic idea?

Hi Axel, Nice description of your comms set-up. I can't say too much but Cantaress does include much that was included in my initial sketch of what I called 'Cantaress' back in 2012 when I was working lightweight on my X2 with a Cantarem and wanted the panel to do more of what my Sonosax did on my full rig. Now that we have X3 which we can use it either stand alone or with the Cantarem 2 so the Cantaress will be a great addition to the cart and be at the heart of mixing. 


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