Prism Sound unleash Titan audio interface

Prism Sound unleash Titan audio interface


Given that Prism Sound make what are arguably the best audio converters in existence, we tend to get a little giddy whenever they release a new device. This time round, though, we feel it’s completely justified. 

Prism Sound Titan audio interface

Titan is a USB multi-channel recording interface with MDIO expansion. While it’s a USB 2.0 interface at heart, that expansion slot means you can slot in either a Thunderbolt card or a Pro Tools HDX connection, attach the Titan directly to an HDX or HD Native card and use it instead of your Avid OMNI or 8x8x8.

Titan’s key specs

According to Prism Sound themselves, Titan users will be able to enjoy:

  • No-compromise, full Prism Sound audio quality.
  • Dedicated USB interface.
  • Multi-channel digital I/O (MDIO) expansion port.
  • ASIO drivers provided for Windows VISTA, 7 and 8 (32 and 64bit).
  • Direct compatibility with CORE AUDIO on Mac OS X 10.4+.
  • Eight ‘Prism Sound’ premium-quality AD and DA channels.
  • Concurrent operation of ADAT and switchable S/PDIF or AES3 ports.
  • Four high-end integrated mic preamps (typ.-130dBu EIN).
  • Mic pres with individually switchable phantom power and 20dB pads.
  • MS Matrix processing on mic inputs.
  • Two instrument inputs.
  • RIAA equalisation on inputs one and two.
  • Prism Sound ‘Overkillers’ on every analogue channel to control transient overloads.
  • Fully-floating (isolated) balanced architecture for optimum noise rejection.
  • Mono or stereo input configurations.
  • Outputs selectable between workstation bus or Titan mixer.
  • Low-latency ‘console-quality’ digital mixer for foldback monitoring.
  • Fader, pan, cut, solo on every mixer channel.
  • Dual headphone outputs, each with its own front-panel volume control.
  • Front-panel master volume control and mute, assignable to selected channels.
  • Configurable for stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 or surround monitoring.
  • Built-in sample rate conversion (SRC) on S/PDIF inputs and outputs.
  • Prism Sound 4-curve SNS noise shaping on digital outputs.
  • State-of-the-art clock generation with proprietary hybrid 2-stage DPLL.

The Titan clocks in at a fairly reasonable £2495 (£2994 inc VAT) and the units should be with us in late December/early next year, so if any of you fancy buying us a Christmas present…

Want to know more about the Prism Titan? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Audio on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How iPad is making it easier for DFS customers to find their perfect sofa

How iPad is making it easier for DFS customers to find their perfect sofa


As the UK’s leading furniture and upholstery brand, DFS are always looking for ways to move their business forward and deliver a better customer experience. They built a 3D augmented reality app that would help customers find their perfect sofa, either in store or at home, and then used a group of staff champions to ensure it was a success on the shop floor.

“The main thing we wanted to try to achieve was making the experience of buying a sofa easier for our customers,” explained Russell Harte, DFS’s head of multichannel development and delivery. “We developed our app to do that, and we focused that primarily on Apple devices because iPad is something our customers are very aware of from a brand recognition point of view.”

The decision to keep the app on iOS was also due to the second half of DFS’s app campaign: at the same time that the app appeared on the App Store, it would be rolled out as a sales tool to 100 of their branches across the UK. Salespeople could then use the app with the customers to help them make a more informed purchase. “Our store guys all intuitively knew how to use iPad, whether they’d got their own or not,” said Russell. “There is something about iPad which means that people can use it without any significant training.”

DFS' room planner iPad app

Finding staff champions for the new app

The DFS app allows customers to create a 3D model of their room, complete with windows, doors and stairs, then position DFS’s sofas and chairs in the space to see which is the best fit.

“DFS’s app is a great example of how mobile devices can make decision-making fun,” says Martin Wright, Jigsaw24’s iOS developer. “It brilliantly combines 3D models with your camera, letting you turn your living room into a showroom and inviting you to explore more options before buying, so customers get a better idea of everything DFS has to offer.”

In order to prepare for the rollout (and check that the app was suitable for use in store), DFS’s senior team chose nine stores around the country to receive in-depth training on the app. Managers from those stores would then go to other branches in their region and act as champions, explaining how the app worked.

“We visited those store managers individually, and then over a period of weeks they got to understand when was best to use it with a customer, at what point in the conversation to use it, [how to gauge] whether it really helped or whether it just made the choice too much,” explained Russell. “They passed on that expertise to other store colleagues in their regions, and that’s how we rolled iPad and the app out.”

Having champions on the sales floor also helped to reduce internal resistance to this new idea, and iron out any kinks in the app before it hit the App Store. “They fed back a lot of things to change, so we took that on board before we launched it to customers and the rest of the estate,” said Russell. “In the room planner aspect, we got a lot of requests for doors that showed the opening arc, because a lot of furniture ends up having to fit behind a door. And then there were bits of feedback about usability – about moving the furniture around and how we displayed information and prices.”

DFS' room planner app

Preparing for an Apple rollout

Although they are primarily PC-based, DFS already had a management system in place for staff iPhones and their small contingent of Mac users, so “in terms of infrastructure we were ready for iPad, but process-wise we still had a bit to learn.” Russell’s main concerns have been around ensuring that updates to the app appear seamless to end users, and that the size of the updates doesn’t overtax the company network. However, the update process is so smooth that the company are now rolling out extra iPad devices in some stores and recently they’ve been given to senior managers to make working easier when they’re on the road.

Gauging the customer response

DFS’s app has been doing incredibly well on the App Store, with over 120,000 download and a 3.5 star rating. It’s faring well in store, too. “From a purely anecdotal point of view, when you sit in a store and watch a customer interaction, the app leads to really, really good conversations,” said Russell. “This is a purchase that is reasonably expensive for most people, and it’s a fairly infrequent purchase as well, so trying to make sure you get absolutely the right one is very important. If you ask the store staff, particularly the ones who use iPad a lot, they will say that it allows them to have better customer conversations around the products.”

DFS' room planner app

Choosing an Apple partner to move forward

“We already had an existing relationship with Jigsaw24, so we originally approached them to see whether we could get hold of iPad and other Apple devices [for the rollout],” Russell explained.

“Working with them was all very straightforward, pricing was competitive, and delivery was on time and in full, so it was all very easy for us, and that’s all you can hope for when you’re trying to get hardware out there quickly. Jigsaw24 do what they say they’re going to do, they’re very straightforward, and they allow you to get on with running your business and moving it forward, which is what you really want to be focusing on.”

The company’s next project? Building Mac-powered kiosks that will let customers interact with a larger touchscreen, and other digital signage to access marketing content that’s created at head office and distributed and scheduled in the cloud. “Everybody’s keen that, as the market leader in the UK upholstery market, we continue to develop things that keep us in that position and move the market forward. If you want a device that’s intuitive to use, has got high brand awareness and needs minimal training, iPad works really well.”

Want to know more about how iPad can support your sales team? Get in touch on 03332 409 305 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and recommendations, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Apple in the public sector: How secure is iPad?

Apple in the public sector: How secure is iPad?


iPad was the first tablet to introduce 256-bit encryption, and includes four levels of security. Protection at device, network, data and platform level mean that iOS is now one of the securest platforms available. Testament to its security, iPad and iPhone been given clearance for Impact level 3 work by CESG, meaning it can be used for restricted work.

iOS is designed to secure the contents of your iPad and iPhone from the moment you turn it on

As with the Mac, Apple make both the hardware and the software. On a hardware level, features such as app sandboxing, ASLR and the 256-bit encryption engine help protect against malware and viruses, whereas tools within iOS further secure data and personal information.

Within the operating system, apps requesting information or data from Calendar, Contacts, Reminders and Photos will ask for your permission in order for them to proceed. Support for a passcode means that you can prevent unauthorised access to the device, and it can even be set up so that too many failed attempts results in data on the device being deleted.

iOS is also completely compatible with a range of mobile device management solutions. While Apple Configurator will allow you to deploy profiles and the Find my iPhone functionality lets you locate and wipe lost devices, with MDM, you can ensure that all devices have encryption turned on, can monitor usage and restrict access to different apps. It’s also possible to partially wipe only information rather than the entire contents.

Steps for ensuring that data is encrypted

In light of a number of high profile cases where organisations have been fined for data being lost through device theft, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you can guarantee that all sensitive information on devices is secure and encrypted.

If devices are enrolled in a management solution, such as Casper Suite or Absolute Manage, then IT teams have complete control. Should the device go missing, it can be completely wiped of sensitive information. In addition, if the device is enrolled in a backup solution like Code42 CrashPlan PROe, the user can have profiles, preferences and data remotely reinstalled on a new device.

1. Get a management solution whichever you choose, it’s important to enrol devices (computers, tablets and phones) into a solution that includes remote wipe functionality.

2. Within the management solution, IT can run a report on all devices in the environment that don’t have data encryption.

3. Remotely inform users that they should have disc encryption enabled.

Your iPad security feature checklist
  • Secure Boot Chain.
  • App sandboxing.
  • DFU mode.
  • Address Space Layout Randomisation.
  • File and Keychain data protection.
  • Encrypted iTunes backup.
  • Support for encrypted email and S/MIME.
  • Configuration enforcement.
  • Remote wipe.

 

Want to know more about how iPad can improve your IT security? Give our team a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up with all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Student purchase scheme FAQs: Who do Jigsaw24 work with to provide this scheme?

Wondering if a student purchase scheme is for you? Here are some of the key questions colleges usually ask us before they get started. If you’d like more info, you can always get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com

How do I organise the admin of a scheme like this?

Jigsaw24 work with CHG, who act as the primary lease provider, and Burnett & Associates, who provide the insurance and collect Direct Debit payments.

For more information, call 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Student purchase scheme FAQs: How do I organise the admin of a scheme like this?

Wondering if a student purchase scheme is for you? Here are some of the key questions colleges usually ask us before they get started. If you’d like more info, you can always get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com

How do I organise the admin of a scheme like this?

Jigsaw24 provide an exclusive digital portal, branded to fit in with the rest of your website. Parents and students can log into this using a secure username and password, then choose from a pre-selected list of devices and accessories. They then register their Direct Debit details so that the insurance company can administer their monthly payments.

For more information, call 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Student purchase scheme FAQs: Is it possible for us to pay a portion of the cost of devices?

Wondering if a student purchase scheme is for you? Here are some of the key questions colleges usually ask us before they get started. If you’d like more info, you can always get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com

Is it possible for us to pay a portion of the cost of devices, so things are cheaper for the students?

Yes, the institution can pay a portion of the device cost. The monthly cost for parents/students can be adjusted to compensate for any extra investment from the school or college.

For more information, call 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Student purchase scheme FAQs: How can you pass VAT savings onto parents and students?

Wondering if a student purchase scheme is for you? Here are some of the key questions colleges usually ask us before they get started. If you’d like more info, you can always get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com

How can I pass VAT savings onto parents and students?

Your school or college will need to pay the VAT upfront, but can claim this back at the end of the scheme.

In order to claim back the VAT on a scheme such as this, the device will need to be essential for learning, and therefore will need to be offered to all students within a year group or across campus to qualify.

For more information, call 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Is your software ready for OS X Mavericks?

Is your software ready for OS X Mavericks?

While we understand that you want to update to the latest version of OS X as soon as possible (154 Jigsaw24 employees are attempting to download it simultaneously right now), there are a couple of software programs out there that aren’t quite ready for it, and if they’re part of your daily computing routine, you’ll want to hold off until they’ve been updated. 

We’re going to be keeping a rolling list of red flags and fixes here, so let us know if anything you’re using has issues with Mavericks, or if you’ve spotted a software patch release that we’ve missed. In the meantime, here are the compatibility issues we’ve found so far:

Avid have released an official list of issues (including data corruption on the VideoRAID SR). However, they’ve recently released a free update for Mavericks users, Pro Tools 11.0.3, along with new drivers for their audio hardware, so these issues should be fixed now.

axle video have announced that the 2012 and 2013 versions of their popular asset management solution do not support OS X Mavericks. They are currently hard at work on a compatible version, which they plan to release before the end of the year, but advise you not to update before then.

Final Cut Pro users have received this advice from FCP guru Larry Jordan: “Based on recent reports I’m reading and additional conversations, FCP 7 seems to work fine on Mavericks. (Though I had a report of a few generators not working properly on the new OS.) Keep in mind that all development on FCP 7 has ended. And, at some point, FCP 7 will not work on a future Mac operating system. While FCP 7 is not optimised for Mavericks, it does run. If you need to upgrade, go ahead. However, my personal recommendation is to not upgrade the operating system of any computer primarily devoted to FCP 7 editing. Instead, run FCP 7 on the operating system for which it was designed. Your time with FCP 7 will not last forever. It is time to start planning your migration.”

Nemetschek Vectorworks 2013 and 2014 are both Mavericks-compatible, but users on older versions will need to upgrade.

Parallels Desktop version 6 will not work with OS X Mavericks, and you will be unable to launch Windows virtual machines or directly access your files if you try to run Parallels 6 on a Mac that’s been updated. However, Parallels Desktop 9 is fully compatible and is available here.

QuarkXPress will support Mavericks from 10.0.1 onwards – version 9 users have reported a string of random crash bugs and that site licences aren’t working, and Quark are looking into resolving this. However, they have no plan to support Mavericks for QuarkXPress 8 or lower. As of 31/10, Quark are claiming that the 10.0.1 will be available from their download portal within the next few days.

SMBv2 seems to reorder ACLs on SMB share, effectively changing the permissionsThis was flagged up by a user on an AD bound Mac, and so far only those machines seem to be affected.

Rolling back to OS X Mountain Lion

If you’ve updated to Mavericks and want to roll back to Mountain Lion, your only option is to use the internet-based version of your Mac’s Recovery system – if you boot from your Mac’s built-in Recovery partition, you’ll just end up with a clean install of Mavericks. (If your computer is so shiny and new that it shipped with Mavericks, you won’t be able to roll back). Internet-based Recovery is available on Macs running OS X Lion or later, and will work as long as you’re connected to the internet.

To get back to Mountain Lion or Lion, start your Mac while holding down Cmd + Alt + R. You’ll be presented with four options; first, you’ll want to select ‘Repair or erase a disk using Disk Utility’. Be warned – you’re going to wipe your hard disk, so you’ll want to have made a decent backup or two beforehand.

Follow the on-screen instructions to erase your drive, then exit Disk Utility. You’ll be returned to your Recovery options. This time, select ‘Reinstall OS X’ and select the version you want to reinstall (you’ll need to enter your Apple ID and password if this is a version you purchased from the App Store. Follow the on-screen instructions, then once complete restore your files from the backup you made before installing Mavericks. You did back up before installing Mavericks, right?

For more on the latest Apple releases, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

The Mac Pro is finally here!

The Mac Pro is finally here!

Far and away the most anticipated of Apple’s October releases, the Mac Pro has been occupying an unhealthy amount of our thoughts since it was first unveiled back in June.

The round design means it not only looks great on your desk, but also enables a new cooling system that’s going to keep your Mac Pro near-silent (it’s an evolution of the system that’s been used in the most recent iteration of MacBook Pros). And Sonnet are already working on rackmount solutions that take the new shape into account, which is reassuring to know.

Spec-wise, you’re getting an Intel Xeon E5 chip that’s capable of supporting up to 12 cores, four DDR3 memory slots and the flash storage has a top read speed of 1.25GBps, meaning it’s similar to Steve Wozniack’s latest, the iOFX and up to ten times faster than a 7200 rpm SATA hard drive.

Next up on was the memory, which uses 1866MHz DDR3 ECC. Configurable to 64GB, you’re getting up to 60GBps bandwidth in a four-channel controller. Completely accessible by the user, this is also the fastest ECC memory available.

The native GPUs are dual AMD FirePro cards, capable of delivering up to 7 TFLOPS of power between them and capable of driving native 4K displays.

The six Thunderbolt 2 ports mean you can daisy chain up to 36 devices to your Mac Pro (6 per port), and that’s before you even go near the four USB 3 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI and Line out connections. In fact, Apple very clearly aimed this at anyone working on high end video and with a 4k workflow because the Mac Pro can deal with up to three 4K displays, single and dual-input displays, and the HDMI 1.4 port supports 4K TVs.

From a storage point of view, Mac Pro will now boast Apple’s latest PCIe-based flash storage, and can be configured up to 1TB, with a standard configuration of 256GB.

Mac Pro 2013 key specs:

• 256GB (configurable up to 1TB)
• 12GB DDR3 3CC memory (configurable up to 64GB)
• Dual AMD FirePro D300 or D500 graphics cards as standard
• 3.7GHz Intel Xeon E5 quad core (configurable to 2.7GHz 12 core)
• 6x Thunderbolt 2.0 ports

Want to be one of the first to see the new Mac Pro in action? Register now for one of our December launch events.

Want to know more about the new Mac releases? Give us a call on 03333 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest Apple news, read our roundup post, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Make the most of your Adobe apps with a colour critical display

Make the most of your Adobe apps with a colour critical display

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer, part of an agency or a creative type embedded in a larger company, choosing the right display is key if you want to get your work looking right first time, every time. Investing in a colour accurate display means that what you see on screen will reflect the final output, be that a print campaign, a web image or anything in between.

Displays are often a forgotten part of your designers’ workstation, but if you’re working in Photoshop or InDesign you could be wasting time and money by using a monitor that doesn’t display images accurately. For example, non-colour-accurate displays often have variations in brightness and chromaticity across the screen, so you end up correcting for variations in the display rather than in the image itself. With a colour accurate monitor, you can see the images as they were captured, saving you time and money by reducing the number of iterations needed, and ensuring that you’re working to your client’s specifications rather than your monitor’s variations.

Obviously, different displays are suited to different tasks. Here, we’re looking at the top monitor options for people using key Adobe apps, such as Photoshop or InDesign, at different levels of production.  If you want some more information, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or at displays@Jigsaw24.com. Asking costs nothing, after all, and it might save you a few iterations in the long run. If you already know what you need, just click on the banner below to see our full range!

Buy Autodesk software and Autodesk subscriptions now

For professionals who need the highest levels of colour accuracy

These displays are ideal for photography, retouching, pre-press and post-production. 

EIZO 24 inch ColorEdge CG246 Self-Calibrating IPS Display

If you’re working in photography, image retouching, video post-production or design, you’ll want to opt for the highest possible level of colour accuracy. We recommend the EIZO CG series or NEC’s SpectraView Reference monitors. As Deborah, our product manager explains: “These are the most advanced displays in their line-ups, with the tightest uniformity and colour tolerances. They also come with additional features such as 3D LUTs for smoother colour mixing, hoods to keep glare off the screen and pixel failure warranties for extra peace of mind.”

Both can represent the majority of Adobe RGB, and support hardware calibration, meaning corrections are performed in the display’s LUT itself as opposed to on your graphics card, giving a more accurate result.

Top picks: EIZO’s 24″ ColorEdge CG246 and NEC’s 24″ SpectraView 241 reference display.

For professionals and prosumers

These displays are ideal for general design and photography work.

EIZO 24 inch ColorEdge CX240 Self-Correcting IPS Display

If you need colour accuracy but aren’t too fussed about extras like hoods or the tightest fault tolerances, save yourself a penny and opt for the EIZO CX range or the NEC SpectraView series. While these don’t have the hand-picked panels of their more expensive peers, they’re still capable  of hardware calibration, boast high-bit LUTs and will represent the majority of the Adobe colourspace.

Top picks: EIZO’s 24″ ColorEdge CX240 self-correcting IPS display and NEC’s 24″ SpectraView 241 widescreen P-IPS display.

For business users and enthusiasts

These displays are ideal for web graphics, photographers capturing images in sRGB/JPEG and video editors. 

NEC 23 inch MultiSync P232W Widescreen IPS Display

“If you’re capturing images in sRGB and JPEG formats, or are developing content for the web and only need to work in sRGB, then the EIZO CS and NEC P series offer great value for money,” says Deborah.”The EIZO CS230 has DUE (digital uniformity equaliser) technology to ensure the most uniform colour representation across the display, a 16-bit LUT, a self-calibration sensor and a five year warranty. Finally, the NEC P range are a good call if you’re after value for money. They don’t have quite the colour critical chops of the others we’ve featured, but cover most of the sRGB space and are ideal for general office use as they have great ergonomics, a wide viewing angle and broad connectivity options.”

Top picks: EIZO’s 23″ ColorEdge CS230 self-correcting IPS display and NEC’s 23″ MultiSync P232W widescreen IPS display.

Buy Autodesk software and Autodesk subscriptions now

Want to know more about finding the right colour accurate display? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email displays@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook