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Kii Three - my impressions and pro reviews

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17 minutes ago, baconbrain said:

Kii Preamp? Do you have more info?

Not long after the Kiis came out there were dealers who claimed they'd heard of a Kii Preamp-essentially an larger and/or upgraded Control -  in the works. Since then, AFAIK, no one has any actual information about it and Kii has never said they are working on one. 

I'd love it if someone has concrete info about one, and I'm pretty sure I'd trade my Control for one, unless it has a price in the stratosphere. 

 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 9(dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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18 minutes ago, firedog said:

Not long after the Kiis came out there were dealers who claimed they'd heard of a Kii Preamp-essentially an larger and/or upgraded Control -  in the works. Since then, AFAIK, no one has any actual information about it and Kii has never said they are working on one. 

I'd love it if someone has concrete info about one, and I'm pretty sure I'd trade my Control for one, unless it has a price in the stratosphere. 

 

Yes, I remember the rumors. Would be fantastic if they added room correction and bass management ....

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14 hours ago, simonp said:

What type of USB cable do you use?

Supra cables throughout the system.


Netgear modem > Synology router > Roon Nucleus / HDPlex LPS > Kii Control > Kii Three > w/Supra cables

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7 hours ago, firedog said:

Not long after the Kiis came out there were dealers who claimed they'd heard of a Kii Preamp-essentially an larger and/or upgraded Control -  in the works. Since then, AFAIK, no one has any actual information about it and Kii has never said they are working on one. 

I'd love it if someone has concrete info about one, and I'm pretty sure I'd trade my Control for one, unless it has a price in the stratosphere. 

 

 

Yes, I had heard the same thing--and I had also heard that it would:

 

1. Support the WiSA connection (which has been confirmed to be supported by the THREEs already);

2. Have it's own streamer/renderer built-in.

3. Like @firedog I would almost certainly buy it, if/when it comes out

 

So when something went wrong with one of my THREEs about 8-10 months ago, Kii tried to diagnose it over the internet before I sent it to Grace Design, which was the importer at that time, for repair (as it turned out, the power supply bricked and I ended up having to send it in for repair anyway).  However, none other than Chris Reichard was on phone when we were trying to diagnose the speaker.  So decided to take the opportunity to ask him about the pre-amp directly.  He:

 

1. Was willing to confirm that the "big" preamp was on the Kii "roadmap," but could not confirm--or even comment on--when it might be available;

2. Said that the features I listed above sounded more or less right, but he could neither confirm nor deny specific features until the preamp was actually introduced.

 

So there you have it, just how "concrete" that is I cannot say, but that is at least confirmation from the top that it is something that Kii is working on.  Honestly, I'd hoped that they might surprise us all with the big pre at Munich 2020 but, with that being canceled due to the CV, who knows.  And I might have been overly optimistic about that anyway....

 


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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9 hours ago, baconbrain said:

 

At least theoretically, a higher quality D/A conversion in front of the Kii could make sense ...

 

 

How? The Kii will immediately convert the analogue back to digital in order to do its DSP tricks. No way round that.

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2 hours ago, input username here said:

 

Yes, I had heard the same thing--and I had also heard that it would:

 

1. Support the WiSA connection (which has been confirmed to be supported by the THREEs already);

2. Have it's own streamer/renderer built-in.

3. Like @firedog I would almost certainly buy it, if/when it comes out

 

So when something went wrong with one of my THREEs about 8-10 months ago, Kii tried to diagnose it over the internet before I sent it to Grace Design, which was the importer at that time, for repair (as it turned out, the power supply bricked and I ended up having to send it in for repair anyway).  However, none other than Chris Reichard was on phone when we were trying to diagnose the speaker.  So decided to take the opportunity to ask him about the pre-amp directly.  He:

 

1. Was willing to confirm that the "big" preamp was on the Kii "roadmap," but could not confirm--or even comment on--when it might be available;

2. Said that the features I listed above sounded more or less right, but he could neither confirm nor deny specific features until the preamp was actually introduced.

 

So there you have it, just how "concrete" that is I cannot say, but that is at least confirmation from the top that it is something that Kii is working on.  Honestly, I'd hoped that they might surprise us all with the big pre at Munich 2020 but, with that being canceled due to the CV, who knows.  And I might have been overly optimistic about that anyway....

 

My conclusion is that I'm not holding my breath for one anytime soon. When a working prototype shows up somewhere, I'll start to consider it as a real possibility. We actually knew the BXT was in development for a long time before it was available, but this thing is still Vaporware.  


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 9(dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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11 hours ago, baconbrain said:

 

Thanks for the feedback. At least theoretically, a higher quality D/A conversion in front of the Kii could make sense ...

 

Kii Preamp? Do you have more info?

 

It does make sense. I use a Chord DAVE in front of my Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 (essentially an all digital powerDAC with build in DSP/DRC). So introducing extra D/A -> A/D.

 

The Lyngdorf has a high quality D/A module to facilitate analog inputs. With DAVE in the chain the SQ is at a whole new level compared to direct digital into the Lyngdorf. I almost got lynched when I reported this on another (Lyngdorf) forum. Until others tried it and found the same...

 

Probable explanation: reconstruction filters, jitter reduction, noise rejection. And a very good A/D implementation is a must. I don't know how good this is on the Kii's.


Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad power cables with Oyaide termination Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone EtherREGEN | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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1 hour ago, Emlin said:

 

How? The Kii will immediately convert the analogue back to digital in order to do its DSP tricks. No way round that.

 

Hi Emlin,

 

Would applying this logic mean that the SQ remains unchanged regardless of the quality of the analoge input signal? If so, I personally have had other experiences ...

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No. What it means is that going from digital to analogue and then back to digital cannot improve things. Unless you like any colouration that may be introduced.

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12 minutes ago, Emlin said:

No. What it means is that going from digital to analogue and then back to digital cannot improve things. Unless you like any colouration that may be introduced.

 

It is like with network switches, there is a group that says a switch cannot make a difference because of the error correction protocol and it is al '0' en '1'. I belong to the other group that says it is much more complex when digital information is passed via (basically) analog/electrical circuits. Nothing to do with coloration.


Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad power cables with Oyaide termination Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone EtherREGEN | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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2 hours ago, firedog said:

My conclusion is that I'm not holding my breath for one anytime soon. When a working prototype shows up somewhere, I'll start to consider it as a real possibility. We actually knew the BXT was in development for a long time before it was available, but this thing is still Vaporware.  

 

Unfortunately, that's my conclusion as well... though, as I said, I'd hoped to be proved wrong at Munich. 


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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PLEASE HELP ME RE: REW and Kii EQ

 

So, I decided to try and use the new Kii firmware to do additional EQ.  As suggested by many here, I bought a miniDSP umik-1 mic., a good mic. stand and downloaded REW.  Since then, the process has been equal parts terrible and frustrating.  I know that I probably ought to be hitting the REW forums but 1. these forums are huge with no easy indication of where to go or where to begin, 2. they often try and be very exhaustive, which is admirable generally, but not when I just want to do very simple things--like get my mic set up and take a few measurements, and 3. are often very specific to use cases that are of absolutely no interest to me (e.g. using REW as a convolution engine for loading setting sinto Roon, or whatever).  Further, given that some people on this form have used the exact same equipment I have to achieve the exact same results I'm seeking, I thought I might try here first, if anyone would be willing to help. 

 

To begin with, I have downloaded the the correct umik-1 mic cal. file from miniDSP and successfully read it into the Calibration file in Preferences.  As suggested by REW, I selected the ASIO driver for my YellowTech PUC-2 USB-AES D-to-D converter (which goes AES into the speakers) and have left the Sampling Rate at the default 48kHz.  I have set levels to "Use main speaker test signal to check/set levels."  All also in Preferences.  So far, so good, I think.

 

From there my problems include:

 

1. The GUI on both the REW and the umik-1 pages do not match my GUI.  I suspect I have a newer rev. (I have REW V5.19) and, also, I am using WIndows 10 and they seem to be screenshotting Apple OS.  Anyway, with the images completely off, I cannot seem to find simple answers to things like, in Preferences, what does the Input/Output/Timing Reference Output/Loopback Input mean--what is 2: in 2 or 1: Out 1 mean and should I care?

 

2. I play pink noise from the Generator and only get signal out of the right channel.  This doesn't seem correct to me... but I cannot figure out if maybe I am supposed to do one and then the other?  Or, if not, how to even begin to get sound out of both channels.

 

3. When I play pink noise and check it against the levels (following the instructions--as best I can--from the umik-1 page) the sound-meter does move a bit, but although I am supposed to push the sound to about 75dB, mine always sticks around 30.0 - 30.5 dB(z) F/-102 dBFS, no matter how loud (or soft) I turn up my speakers (--or "speaker" since, as I said, sound only comes out of the right channel).  Like I said, it does bounce around a bit, so it appears to be reading something but, whatever that is, it's nothing to do with the sound coming out of my system.

 

This should be so simple but, basically, nothing looks or works as it should.  So I haven't even begun to try and tackle  doing an actual measurement.  I cannot begin to say how much I hate this process.  All I want to do is find the freq., Q and magnitude of any room nodes/peaks and program their inverse into the Kii CONTROL's EQ--simple, no?

 

Currently, I am at 100% failure, maybe it's just me.  Can anyone who has used [1. the Kii CONTROL, 2. the Kii THREEs, 3. a miniDSP umik-1 USB mic, 4. REW and 5. Windows 10] tell me how they got measurements so that they could enter them into the CONTROL?  If so, i'd be eternally grateful.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

 


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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2 hours ago, input username here said:

PLEASE HELP ME RE: REW and Kii EQ

 

So, I decided to try and use the new Kii firmware to do additional EQ.  As suggested by many here, I bought a miniDSP umik-1 mic., a good mic. stand and downloaded REW.  Since then, the process has been equal parts terrible and frustrating.  I know that I probably ought to be hitting the REW forums but 1. these forums are huge with no easy indication of where to go or where to begin, 2. they often try and be very exhaustive, which is admirable generally, but not when I just want to do very simple things--like get my mic set up and take a few measurements, and 3. are often very specific to use cases that are of absolutely no interest to me (e.g. using REW as a convolution engine for loading setting sinto Roon, or whatever).  Further, given that some people on this form have used the exact same equipment I have to achieve the exact same results I'm seeking, I thought I might try here first, if anyone would be willing to help. 

 

To begin with, I have downloaded the the correct umik-1 mic cal. file from miniDSP and successfully read it into the Calibration file in Preferences.  As suggested by REW, I selected the ASIO driver for my YellowTech PUC-2 USB-AES D-to-D converter (which goes AES into the speakers) and have left the Sampling Rate at the default 48kHz.  I have set levels to "Use main speaker test signal to check/set levels."  All also in Preferences.  So far, so good, I think.

 

From there my problems include:

 

1. The GUI on both the REW and the umik-1 pages do not match my GUI.  I suspect I have a newer rev. (I have REW V5.19) and, also, I am using WIndows 10 and they seem to be screenshotting Apple OS.  Anyway, with the images completely off, I cannot seem to find simple answers to things like, in Preferences, what does the Input/Output/Timing Reference Output/Loopback Input mean--what is 2: in 2 or 1: Out 1 mean and should I care?

 

2. I play pink noise from the Generator and only get signal out of the right channel.  This doesn't seem correct to me... but I cannot figure out if maybe I am supposed to do one and then the other?  Or, if not, how to even begin to get sound out of both channels.

 

3. When I play pink noise and check it against the levels (following the instructions--as best I can--from the umik-1 page) the sound-meter does move a bit, but although I am supposed to push the sound to about 75dB, mine always sticks around 30.0 - 30.5 dB(z) F/-102 dBFS, no matter how loud (or soft) I turn up my speakers (--or "speaker" since, as I said, sound only comes out of the right channel).  Like I said, it does bounce around a bit, so it appears to be reading something but, whatever that is, it's nothing to do with the sound coming out of my system.

 

This should be so simple but, basically, nothing looks or works as it should.  So I haven't even begun to try and tackle  doing an actual measurement.  I cannot begin to say how much I hate this process.  All I want to do is find the freq., Q and magnitude of any room nodes/peaks and program their inverse into the Kii CONTROL's EQ--simple, no?

 

Currently, I am at 100% failure, maybe it's just me.  Can anyone who has used [1. the Kii CONTROL, 2. the Kii THREEs, 3. a miniDSP umik-1 USB mic, 4. REW and 5. Windows 10] tell me how they got measurements so that they could enter them into the CONTROL?  If so, i'd be eternally grateful.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

 

Maybe not what you are asking for, but:

I used Audiolense to map the nodes in my room and make a correction curve and convolution files. Pretty easy. The program isn't free, but it has clear instructions and the whole process took me about an hour and a half the first time. You can also download a demo version and get a temporary license to try it out before you buy. 

 

I also did what you are talking about in the past. This process is more precise and does better quality correction. 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 9(dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Hi input username here.
It's a bit difficult to diagnose remotely, but I guess you have read the REW manual regarding set-up (although the screenshots may differ) and your REW preferences are set showing the following setings:
Output Device: Kii Control, Output: SPEAKER and Input Device: Umik-1 Gain: 18db, Input: MICROPHONE (see example screenshot taken from one of my measurements).
At least that were my preferences settings when I did my set-up and measurements. So I guess it should look similar for you.
I started exactly the same way as you from scratch with a  Umik-1 and REW but everything worked out just fine. I was running it on a MAC though.
Regarding sound only coming from one speaker: did you verify the settings for the measurements: in REW you can make choices for L, R, L+R at several locations. So maybe one setting is not set to L+R somewhere.

I don't have access to the Kiis and the Umik at the moment, otherwise I could try to be a bit more specific...

2020-03-09_10-43-11.png

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3 hours ago, Rubysea said:

Hi input username here.
It's a bit difficult to diagnose remotely, but I guess you have read the REW manual regarding set-up (although the screenshots may differ) and your REW preferences are set showing the following setings:
Output Device: Kii Control, Output: SPEAKER and Input Device: Umik-1 Gain: 18db, Input: MICROPHONE (see example screenshot taken from one of my measurements).
At least that were my preferences settings when I did my set-up and measurements. So I guess it should look similar for you.
I started exactly the same way as you from scratch with a  Umik-1 and REW but everything worked out just fine. I was running it on a MAC though.
Regarding sound only coming from one speaker: did you verify the settings for the measurements: in REW you can make choices for L, R, L+R at several locations. So maybe one setting is not set to L+R somewhere.

I don't have access to the Kiis and the Umik at the moment, otherwise I could try to be a bit more specific...

2020-03-09_10-43-11.png

 

Thank you, @Rubysea, and @firedog for your advice.  I'll try and give it a shot one more time this week... if it doesn't work, I guess it's on to Audiolense.  Thanks again!


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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7 hours ago, ragwo said:

@input username here

How did it work out? Did you manage without Audiolense? 

Hi @ragwo, unfortunately, I was unable to make REW work.  Given that so many others have, I think that the problem must be with me--not with REW.  I broke down and bought Audiolense a few days ago; I haven't set it up yet.  Maybe this weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have better success than with REW!


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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7 minutes ago, input username here said:

Hi @ragwo, unfortunately, I was unable to make REW work.  Given that so many others have, I think that the problem must be with me--not with REW.  I broke down and bought Audiolense a few days ago; I haven't set it up yet.  Maybe this weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have better success than with REW!

You can get support at the Audiolense forum. 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 9(dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Sounds like excellent service! 

I have gotten new amplifier and PSU boards during the last year, but didn't get promo stuff. Did the t-shirt fit? 

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20 minutes ago, ragwo said:

Sounds like excellent service! 

I have gotten new amplifier and PSU boards during the last year, but didn't get promo stuff. Did the t-shirt fit? 

 

Haven‘t tried it on yet but the size is right!

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6 hours ago, Cazzesman said:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5cbe41e4fb22a50b24b34ed3/t/5e1a536233f1ef3a52d0481d/1578783595599/fidelitykiithreebarf47en.pdf

 

Not sure if this review has been posted before.    Something to read in Iso.

 

Regards Cazzesman

 

Thanks @Cazzesman.  There's not much out on the BXT (... maybe because of it's price relative to the THREE?).  Anyway, looking forward to reading.


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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27 minutes ago, input username here said:

 

Thanks @Cazzesman.  There's not much out on the BXT (... maybe because of it's price relative to the THREE?).  Anyway, looking forward to reading.

Unfortunately, the article was mostly technical, and didn't talk much about the sound. I think such an article should also compare the Three's with and without BXT.

I find it interesting that there haven't been reviews of the BXT. You'd think that Kii would want to get them out to reviewers, but it's been a while and they haven't done so, apparently. 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 9(dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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