Our 6 best headphones for the classroom

Our 6 best headphones for the classroom

Are headphones the unsung heroes of the audio classroom? Not only do they keep your neighbours happy, protect you from your students’ more ‘experimental’ compositions and make things like our old favourite the JamHub possible, they’re pretty much constantly being battered, beaten and dropped. 

So, if you’re taking advantage of the Christmas break to give your audio equipment a bit of a spruce, we’d recommend starting with your headphones. And we have a few suggestions as to which might be best for you…

For student workstations: AKG K44. Great for where you need lots of pairs for student workstations, the AKG K44 has a straight single-sided cable, which means it’s less prone to getting caught or snagged and snapping than your typical, double-cabled headphone.

For media students: Sony MDR-7506. Sony’s MDR-5706 provides your media students with excellent sound quality, while combining a closed back design and single-sided coiled cable to ensure they can stand up to the rigours of outdoor shooting (it also minimises the amount of cable around to get tangled up in).

For the recording studio: Beyerdynamic DT100. If you’re trying to replicate an industry standard workflow, try using the DT100, which is the industry’s standard closed back headphone. It offers you minimal sound leakage and a tough-as-nails industrial design, with all parts being individually replaceable if they sustain damage.

Beyerdynamic DT100

For critical listening: AKG K240. These high quality monitoring headphones give your students an excellent frequency range and open backed design, making them ideal for exercises where students need to listen critically, such as when they’re listening to recorded performances or monitoring instruments.

For use in noisy environments: Sennheiser HD-25-1 II. With its pro quality sound reproduction, closed back design, excellent background noise attenuation and rotatable ear cups, this Sennheiser model is great for anyone trying to hear clearly in noisy environments. It’s proved very popular with professional cameramen and DJs, which we’re taking as a sterling recommendation of its noise reduction abilities.

For monitoring on a budget: Sennheiser HD205-II. The 205-II’s single-sided cable and closed back design make it a sturdy choice for anyone who needs headphones for monitoring, recording or general listening that don’t break the bank.

Want to know more about headphones for your music students? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, reviews and recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or Like’ us on Facebook


How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

When Adobe announced that their key apps were moving to Creative Cloud and that a new teams option would be available, we decided to sign our in-house design team up straight away. While they were initially nervous, we now have a team of designers who can work remotely, collaborate easily and have developed an unhealthy fascination with InCopy…

Choosing to move to Creative Cloud for teams

As the UK’s largest Adobe reseller, we’re always keen to get our hands on the latest updates so that we know what our customers are dealing with. However, when the design team found our that their beloved copies of Creative Suite were going to be confiscated, they were a little worried.

“At first, I was apprehensive, because it was really an unknown,” explains our design manager Loui Goldsworthy. “Because of the name, I thought it might change how our team works. Would it pull from a server continuously and be slow?” (These worries turned out to be unfounded – our team just needed to download the apps once, then worked locally as they had before, without the need to connect to Adobe’s servers or maintain a constant internet access.)

But the possibility of accessing new features quickly overcame any nerves. “We thought it was the right thing to do – we were excited to move and see the new features we’d get to explore, and we always want to make sure we’re utilising the latest features and using the most efficient workflow,” Loui.

As for the designers themselves, their reactions ranged from excited to nervous to worried that they’d have to pay for their own software – a worry quickly put paid to by the arrival of Creative Cloud for teams, which allowed everything to be managed centrally rather than forcing each designer to take out an individual licence.

Getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams

When it came to getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams, “It was really easy,” said Loui. “We just had to assign the email addresses of the individual designers to the licence. They then got an invitation to the main Creative Cloud portal.”

From there, the designers can download whichever apps they need. If their requirements change or they want to explore a new app, they simply head back to the portal. On the flipside of that, our design managers can also choose to lock down apps if they wish. “We’ve stayed away from that as just because some of our apps aren’t part of our workflow now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. If we don’t explore them we don’t know what we could be missing. The expanded range of apps available as standard in Creative Cloud for teams is great to give us opportunities to be able to cater more widely to our clients’ needs.”

Finding new features and tools

One of the main benefits of moving to Creative Cloud for teams was that our designers got access to a host of new tools. “I love the idea of Edge Animate and the possibilities it opens up when you’re creating HTML5 animations for websites and iBooks,” said Paul, while our graphic designer Liana is a big fan of Kuler: “You can download it to your iPhone, which is great if you get inspiration on the go or need to kill time on the bus.”

Across the department, there’s also been a lot of interest in InCopy. “I looked at it years ago but made the decision that the extra cost wasn’t justified then – now it’s free it might be a really useful addition to our workflow,” said Loui.

So would we recommend it?

“Yes,” said Loui. “Firstly because the range of apps that come as standard within Creative Cloud and the seamless integration between them. And secondly because of the admin side of things – I’m very pleased not to have to mess about with loading installer CDs, it’s much better to have a central area where I can download the apps I need when I need them. Plus it’s great that the licence allows me to load Creative Cloud on my home computer so I can continue with some bits at home if I need to, or any of the team can pick up work out of office – it helps us stay productive without being tied down.”

“I’ve changed my mind about the cost after working with it,” Paul added. “Yes, on the face of it, moving to a subscription rather than owning your software is strange, but you do get access to all the applications. This opens a lot of doors creatively and also challenges you and makes you want to learn more and do more.”

Want to know more about how Adobe Creative Cloud for teams could help you? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Red Giant add Smart Start to PluralEyes 3.3

Red Giant add Smart Start to PluralEyes 3.3

One for PluralEyes and Shooter Suite users: Red Giant’s new update (which takes the software to versions 12.2 and 3.3 respectively) is available for free now, and gives you access to the new Smart Start feature. 

As Red Giant explain it, “whether adding a small set of files or importing multiple folders of multi cam files, the new Smart Start feature in PluralEyes 3.3 intelligently organises your media, so you can start synchronising sooner.” They tell us you can drag and drop entire folders without losing structures or names, which is always a plus as far as we’re concerned.

Other changes in the update include a new look and feel to the GUI, which is designed to streamline it and ensure your focus is drawn to where it’s needed, and support for the Canon C100 and Canon XF range, including spanned clips. The update is free for existing PluralEyes and Shooter Suite users.

You can download the update here or watch Red Giant’s Smart Start tutorial here:

Getting Started with Red Giant PluralEyes 3: SmartStart from Red Giant on Vimeo.

Want to know more about PluralEyes? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Do Blackmagic Design think low frame rate UHD is good enough?

Do Blackmagic Design think low frame rate UHD is good enough?

Much has been made of the fact that Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design, apparently told TVB Europe that “low frame rate UHD is good enough.” Now, while we enjoy a good web argument as much as the next person and our marketeers salute that link-baiting headline, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s, well, a bit wrong. 

Blackmagic Design's 4K Production Camera

And by ‘a bit’, we mean ‘completely’. If you read the interview in full, you’ll note that the quote that line comes from actually goes as follows, and actually means the opposite:

“However, the computer industry will send 4K to the home before broadcast does. Broadcasters have to figure out how to get UHD 60p down a conventional channel. UHD at low framerates is doable, but even so it will emerge pretty rough on transmission. The problem is that 4K is being driven by organisations pretending that low framerate UHD is good enough. That’s a press release, not a workflow.”

You’ll also notice the far more exciting news: The 4K Production Camera will be shipping this quarter. We’re going to start clearing space in our warehouse now.

Buy Autodesk software and Autodesk subscriptions now

Want to know more about Blackmagic Design’s 4K Production Camera? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Avid welcome ISIS 7500 with ISIS v4.6 software

Avid welcome ISIS 7500 with ISIS v4.6 software

Mark 9th December in your diaries: it’s the date Avid will roll out the Avid ISIS 7500, complete with ISIS v4.6 software. According to their official statement, the 7500 is going to streamline and accelerate your production, double your storage capacity and offer fantastic value money. All sounds great, doesn’t it?

ISIS 7500

“The ISIS 7500 is the latest addition to the award winning, most dependable, collaborative storage for media and entertainment workflows,” Avid continue. “We’re raising the bar on capacity, introducing an i8000 ISIS Storage Blade (ISB) with two 4TB drives, delivering 128TB capacity per engine.”

These higher-capacity engines will obviously be a huge help to anyone who has found themselves working in higher resolutions and frame rates of late, as they give you more overall storage space and allow you to deliver more streams of footage to more editors faster, which in turn helps you turn around a project in less time, even if the files involved are mahoosive.

The ISIS 7500 will come in three sizes: an entry-level 7500-32TB, a 7500-64TB module for anyone looking to expand a basic setup, and an ISIS 7500-128TB module for anyone who needs as much space as they can get their hands on. You can combine and scale these modules to create an ISIS system with up to 24 engines, and they’re fully compatible with the previous generation of ISIS engines, so will work with your existing ISIS storage. (As a side note, Avid are withdrawing the ISIS 7000 range from sale in January, but will continue to honour support contracts until January 2019.)

You’re currently able to expand these scalable ISIS systems all the way up to 3 Petabytes, and as Avid tell us: “ISIS 7500 i2000 (2TB), i4000 (4TB) and the new i8000 (8TB) ISBs can be used to upgrade existing ISIS 7000 systems. This provides huge capacity increase without increased power, space or cooling needs. Users are constantly looking for economical ways to expand the hours of footage available to the whole production team, ISIS 7500 delivers.”

ISIS 7500: the official key features
  • Built for media production – Seamless integrated workflows with benchmark performance, reliability and manageability.
  • Enables collaboration – Unsurpassed user experience with reliability, scale, and predictability that enables and accelerates creative collaboration.
  • Workflow connected – Tightest integration with asset management, editing, ingest, and playout devices while supporting 3rd party applications.
  • Ease of use – Suite of powerful and intuitive system management tools that save time and effort.
  • Open architecture – File Gateway, Avid clients, Final Cut Pro, Adobe….
  • Elegant simplicity, with exceptional power – Thanks to its self-balancing distributed architecture and metadata management, you gain more time to focus on creative work.
  • Proven and trusted – Over 3,000 broadcast and post-production customers worldwide have made ISIS their storage solution of choice.
ISIS 4.6 software

To support your new 7500 engines and ISBs, you’ll need to update your ISIS software to v4.6. This will also allow you to access, edit and share ISIS-based media on OS X Mavericks or Windows 8.1, if that’s your thing.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Avid introduces OS X Mavericks support with Pro Tools 11.0.3

Avid introduces OS X Mavericks support with Pro Tools 11.0.3

Avid have released Pro Tools 11.0.3, an update that brings support for OS X Mavericks to Pro Tools HD and Pro Tools standard. As this is a Mavericks-specific update, it’s not necessary if you’re using an earlier version of OS X – in that case, you can just stick with Pro Tools 11.0.2.

This is a free update, and you can download it now from the download area of your Avid account. However, you can’t co-install Pro Tools 11.0.3 and 10.3.x on a Mavericks machine, and as this is a full installer, Avid are recommending your remove and replace any installations of Pro Tools 11.0.2 or 11.0.1 on your machine. (Insert all the usual warnings about backing everything up here.)

New, Mavericks-compatible audio hardware drivers are also available for the majority of Avid audio devices – you can see the full list of updates at the Avid site.

Want to know more about the latest version of Pro Tools? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news from Avid, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Video: Exploring Adobe’s new video features

Video: Exploring Adobe’s new video features

Adobe reckon they’ve made 150 improvements to Premiere Pro, After Effects and Speed Grade since they moved to Creative Cloud, so we thought it was probably time for a roundup.

In this webinar, we ran through the basics of using the latest versions, as well as running through some of the more noteworthy additions. You can also download Adobe’s PDF roundup of the bigger changes here.

Buy now from Jigsaw24

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Canon warn there’ll be no cashback deal or warranty support for ‘grey imports’

Canon warn there’ll be no cashback deal or warranty support for ‘grey imports’

Canon are warning customers that they’re seeing a rise in the number of ‘grey imports’ hitting the UK since they launched their winter offers, and would like to remind you that these imports aren’t eligible for cash back deals, warranty support or any of the other extras you’d expect when dropping several grand on a camera – even if they’re DOA. 

What is a grey import?

Grey imports are goods which were intended for sale in another territory, but have been bought up by unscrupulous resellers and sold into the European market. While they are real Canon cameras, they often don’t have serial numbers (which you need to register your product for support, to claim cash back offers, and to activate certain features and updates on some models) and may contain pirated or incorrect copies of the software that is supposed to come with the camera. They’re also not eligible for any support from Canon, so even if the camera is broken when it arrives on your doorstep, there’s no way for you to get a replacement, refund or repair.

How do I know if my camera’s a grey import?

If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are a few honest to goodness Canon deals going on at the moment, but if someone’s selling off cameras for a price that you can’t believe, tread carefully.

If you’ve already got your camera, common signs of a grey import include: no UK power adaptor in the box, or a third party adaptor instead of a Canon one; photocopied manuals or manuals not in English; copied, incorrect or non-functioning software; missing warranty card, non-Canon warranty card or a non-European Canon warranty card. The camera might also fail to display a valid serial number.

Read the official warning from Canon.

 Do Jigsaw24 import grey goods?

No we do not, and we’re offended that you had to ask. Stick to us – well, to the authorised resellers listed on Canon’s site, of which we are clearly the most excellent – and you’ll be fine. You can see our 100% legit Canon range here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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.

New firmware brings RAW recording to Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera

New firmware brings RAW recording to Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design are over at the InterBEE expo in Japan today, and one of their key announcements is the 1.5 firmware update for their Cinema Camera range, which brings 12-bit Log CinemaDNG RAW recording to the Pocket Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera from Jigsaw24

“The new Blackmagic Camera 1.5 software update adds CinemaDNG RAW file recording so customers can now capture super wide dynamic range in a single file,” Blackmagic Design’s press team tell us. “Wide dynamic range RAW image recording allows users to capture the brightest highlights and the darkest shadows simultaneously, capturing more of the scene than is possible with a regular video camera. CinemaDNG RAW files give users incredible freedom to be able to adjust the exposure manually during colour correction with Davinci Resolve, allowing more flexibility for incredible feature film look colour grading.”

Add this to the Resolve 10 update that came out last week, and we’re basically in Blackmagic Design heaven right now.

For those of you who want to know more about CinemaDNG, “The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera uses the open standard lossless compressed version of CinemaDNG RAW. CinemaDNG RAW lossless compression works in a similar way as a ZIP file where the RAW files are compressed during recording without the loss of any part of the image, so all images retain the same quality when they are decompressed. That means customers get back the mathematically perfect high quality RAW file image that they recorded.”

CinemaDNG is, thankfully, fully compatible with our colour corrector of choice, DaVinci Resolve 10, and as it’s an open standard the number of editing applications that can handle it is increasing all the time, but you can use DaVinci Resolve Lite to transcode it into ProRes or DNxHD to drop it into FCP, Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro.

“Adding CinemaDNG RAW recording to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is incredible,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “It’s amazing that we are now able to record the highest quality RAW images on such small SD cards! We think customers are really going to enjoy the extended creative flexibility that color grading wide dynamic range RAW files will bring to their productions!”

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.