Cantar In Musica Aaton Digital

Philippe Mouisset: Recording music - my pleasure, my passion

My history in sound recording
I started in 1980, recording sound for movies and documentaries with Nagra and Stellavox analogue recorders, then DAT with Stelladat, then digital with Nagra V and Sonosax R4, and finally my first Aaton CantarX1.
At the same time, I have recorded a lot of classical music, often in public in natural acoustics analogue and then digital. (Nagra IVS + QGB / Stellavox SP8 + ABR /Nagra D / CantarX1)
In 2015, I made the decision to quit cinema recording to devote myself to the recording of classical music. I created a mastering studio (Capta son Mastering) which features both analogue and digital equipment. Today, I continue to develop analogue recording tape with Nagra and Stellavox for reasons of tone colors.

Sometimes I perform a go and return with a WAV digital file on an analogue recorder to give what I think is a good colouration- the Stellavox TD9 with magnetic tape ½ "and with speed 76cm/s.

Philippe Mouiset Mastering Studio: CAPTA son Mastering – La Grange à Sons CantarX3
Picture#1 My Mastering Studio: CAPTA son Mastering – La Grange à Sons

Now it is a pleasure and a passion with my free choice on recording without the constraints of profitability. I am my own master- a decided advantage in this specialty.

 My first experiences with that first Aaton sound recorder
I followed with passion the creation and development of the CantarX1 with J.P. Beauviala and his formidable team.
With my CantarX1 #007, I made a difficult shoot in Kazakhstan in 2015 for 10 weeks for the movie ULZHAN" by Volker SCHLÖNDORFF. The Cantar was used in very harsh conditions including wind, sand, cold and humidity. This shoot was essentially outside and I had no full safe recorder, just a Minir-8 Sonosax. I had complete confidence in the CantarX1.

Back for checking at Aaton, there was sand inside the Cantar but it was still OK

Philippe Mouisset ULZHAN cantarX la Grange à Sons
Picture#2 During shooting of the movie ULZHAN, using the X1 for synchro sound. I still use this recorder today alongside my current Cantars, a testament to the superb build quality, ruggedness and reliability of these Aaton products

The Cantar experience
All my Cantars were purchased new, often the first models.

The CantarX1 gave me a lot of satisfaction in film and classical music.
When the CantarX3 has arrived, I had no hesitation to buy it because I was following the evolution of its design from the beginning. It was truly an expectation on my part!

I keep the Cantar X 1 because it became a very personal item with a lot of good memories.
And it is ‘marked’ in my name... with the #007.
All sound missions impossible became possible since!

The purchase of the CantarMini was justified because it's always nice to have a spare.
But also I use it when the mic inputs are not 4 but also it is lighter for smaller installations.
In concert, the installation spaces are often limited and without comfort...
In fact, it's a CantarX3 divided by 2.

Production sound mixer Philippe Mouisset with CantarX3 la Grange à Sons

I used the Cantarem1 mixing surface a lot back when I was recording sound for movies with the CantarX1 and X3. I loved the plastic track P & G pots.
At first I regretted these P & G on the Cantarem2 but after some time, I adopted the Cantarem 2 with 12 inputs without noticing!
The Cantarem allows ease of live mixing with linear pots, similar to a mixer visibility.
I use the Cantaress in the studio at the moment. The advantages are many: visibility of levels and the remote function. It makes it easy to work on the files with play action.More evolution is open to multiple actions in the future.

With CEO Jacques Delacoux, it's always exciting and professional for us, and he and his team are very open to requests and criticisms from users. They always give me answers to my questions (sometimes a little crazy).
The CantarX3 is constantly developing thanks to them. Sometimes I have requested things specific to the sound of classical music which could maybe not be of such interest to users working in the cinema, but I have always received good responses and satisfaction- I think somewhat unique in this specialty of mine.

Philippe Mouisset recording with CantarX3 Cantarem1 mixing surface la Grange à Sons

My recording equipment

  • 1 CantarX1 with Cantarem1
  • 1 CantarX3 with Cantarem2
  • 1 CantarMini with A–Box 8
  • 1 Cantaress and Souriquette

My favorite microphones:
Schoeps - Neumann - DPA – Audix

Preferred methods of sound:
Couple ORTF - Disc Jecklin – but often omnidirectional microphones

Mixer surface:
Sometimes Sonosax SX-64 or Studer 961

I use the Cantars to make recordings of classical music mainly in places with natural acoustics and often in public.
I also record many of the great organs in churches. This instrument is the most fabulous I know with extraordinary bandwidth-the broadest spectrum of all the acoustic instruments that exist.

In addition, the reverberation of the churches accentuates sound in a very emotional dimension. Listen to great live organs once in your lifetime to realize this fact.
This music recording is all made possible due to the compactness, flexibility, autonomy and the quality of these Cantar recorders.

  • No obligation to use the AC power supply, Cantar is autonomous with batteries.
  • A mandatory rule when recording in a church: never use the AC power supply because of the poor facilities that still cause often ‘parasites.’

Moreover the Aaton Digital team always strives to meet my requests, specific to my particular use and will discuss what technical evolution may be possible to meet them.

How I record on location
Of course it’s always different depending on so many variables, but here is a photo to illustrate how on this particular occasion I set up to record music in a church with my AatonCantarX3 and Aaton Cantarem2 fader panel – more details below the photo:

Philippe Mouisset recording with CantarX3 Cantarem 2 Oratorio by Antonio CALDERA ‘Maddalena ai piedri di Cristo’

I don't have a personal web site, but I'm on the site La Grange A Sons: – a site created by Gilles Dutrève who is a former companion of sound. We often work together.
I am also present on:

Music I enjoy
Current classical music:
Arvo Pärt – John Adams – Krzysztof Penderecki – Rynichi Sakomoto – Philippe GLASS

Classical music great organ:
César Franck – Marcel Pehu – Max Reger –Olivier MESSIAEN – Ch.Marie WIDOR – Louis VIENNE

Contemporary  acousmatic music :
Pierre Henri – Brian Eno – Hans Zimmer – Jon Hopkins – Nils Frahm – Jon HASSELL

My working practices
I use 8 to 10 tracks maximum . I'm good with ‘old school’ practice: ‘the smallest number of mics will often give the best result’.
At the end of each complex installation, the question I ask myself every time: "How many mics can I now remove that are not contributing?”

The Cantar Mic Preamps are very good; I file it with the Nagra microphone preamps and Sonosax as reference. (Heat, Dynamics and Fidelity).

Examples of music recordings I have made using my CantarX3 and CantarMini
Audio extracts WAV 24 bit 48Khz stereo

Philippe Mouisset Gerardo di Giusto and Lucia Luque La grange à sons CantarX3
Extract 1
Location : Particulier – Mornant- 69440
Duo Argentin (Gerardo di Giusto and Lucia Luque)« Pal Rengo » - Argentinian Jazz
Organiser: La Grange à Sons

Download extract 1

Philippe Mouisset Bel Astre Voyageur with CantarX3 Eglise de St Pothin – Lyon
Extract 2
Location : Eglise de St Pothin – Lyon - 69006
Orgue impro (Thibaud Duret titulaire orgue cathédrale de Chambéry) - « Bel Astre Voyageur »
Orgue St Pothin-Lyon
Organiser: Les Pothins musicaux du Saint Nom

Download extract 2

Philippe Mouisset John Playford trio baroque with CantarX3 la Grange à Sons
Extract 3
Location: Eglise St Vincent – St Laurent d’Agny - 69440
Ensemble Les Récits « John Playford » Trio baroque
Organiser: Chrysalide des Arts

Download extract 3

Philippe Mouisset Tabotuznel with CantarX3 la Grange à Sons
Extract 4
Location: Eglise de St Didier sur Riverie – Chabanière - 69440
Ensemble vocal Ephémère (FMR – direction : Régis Harquel) - « Tabotuznel » Chorale
Organiser: La Grange à Sons

Download extract 4

Philippe Mouisset Philippe Lefebvre Mendelssohn with CantarX3 la Grange à Sons
Philippe Mouisset Philippe Lefebvre Mendelssohn with CantarX3 la Grange à Sons
Extract 5
Location : Eglise de Rontalon - 69510
Philippe Lefebvre (titulaire orgue de Notre-Dame de Paris) - «Mendelssohn»
Inauguration orgue pour la Corée
Organiser: Facture d’orgues Michel Jurine

Download extract 5

If you have not yet had the Cantar experience:
Once you have used a Cantar, it is difficult to find any other recorder with so much ease of use and pleasure.

The unique look of the machine I think inspires confidence before you even use it.
When you do use it you find your hands go directly to the selectors and your fingers find the buttons, all perfectly placed. We discover the functions, we record and listen. Incredible sound and fidelity.

After using a lot of analogue recorders since 1976, only the Nagra had won me over with its famous selector and its undeniable quality at the time.
When I used the CantarX1, all the magic was still there, but with the added advantages of digital processing, but retaining that wonderful sound of the analogue mic preamps.
The results won me over completely, initially in cinema sound recording, then classical music and concerts, choral and organ recitals and performances that I record, often in public.

The CantarX recorders, now evolved into the CantarX3 and the CantarMini along with the invaluable accessories like additional fader panels, have continued to retain the benefits of analogue while adopting the latest digital technical expertise in the management and storage of sound.

  • I love the ergonomics of the Cantars because all settings are instinctively always available with a relentless logic.
  • I like the compactness of the machine because sometimes I prefer to be mobile with a quick setup.
  • I like the battery life because recording stations often have no reliable electrical installation. Batteries guarantee no hum or other parasitic sounds.
  • I know that listening to the recording in the studio, I'm often surprised to find a better sound than matched the reality of the concert.
  • I prefer to listen with my eyes closed in my studio and sometimes in complete darkness, with no visual influence to disturb listening. It is often a pleasant surprise when I think back to the position of my microphones and my mixdown.
  • I realize that during the sound recording, I also closed my eyes, Cantar was present but invisible beneath my fingers.
  • I would urge you try the Cantar for music and adopt it!

 A final request
Jacques- can you perhaps integrate a coffee machine into the next Cantar?