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Where do I begin? (Read 1130 times)
Colinz
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Where do I begin?
07/28/20 at 18:07:38
 
Hi everyone. Newbie here who recently discovered the wonderful world of valves.
As you can see below I come from a SS background and for the past 30 years have been solidly grounded in Naim/ Linn combos and if you haven't guessed I'm a Brit, hence my kit all coming from the UK.
As the years roll on I've begun to look for more than black boxes to satisfy my listening needs, then I came across Decware. Wow it looks interesting. Kit that not only satisfies ears but also eyes.
So I'm beginning to think about replacing the black boxes with the SE84UFO25. I love the look of the anniversary edition. Unfortunately, I'd have to jump in without ever hearing the amp but I'm hoping that the reviews speak for themselves.
I not into mega volume and happy listening up to 85db so I hope the 2w would be sufficient but would my Linns be too big and if so what would be the best speakers for the SE84UFO25. Decware speakers l look very interesting but with shipping and import duty I'm thinking maybe a Klipsh would be more suitable?
Anyhow, I'd really appreciate any feedback and advice anyone can offer me on my journey.
Take care and be safe out there
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JohnWatson
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #1 - 07/28/20 at 18:21:35
 
Welcome to the world of Decware! One nice thing about this forum is there's very little BS and a lot of truth.  I waded in years ago and have never regretted it.  I currently listen to the SE341.3 through a Cambridge 851 streamer to Heresy 111's and the sound is downright holographic.  I recently put in an order for the SE84UFO25 because of the faith I have in Decware.  All was purchased without hearing any of it in person but I've never been steered wrong or regretted any purchases including interconnects and Zen Styx.  BTW, the Heresy speakers sound wonderful with SET and give me all the volume I'll ever need in a smallish living room.  Would probably also be plenty in a larger room.  Speakers listed on the Decware pages also get great reviews, although I don't have much experience with them.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #2 - 07/28/20 at 18:58:18
 
Collinz,

Welcome to the Decware forums.  I made the switch about 10 years ago to Decware tube amplification and haven't looked back.

The Decware Anniversary Zen is a very special amplifier. It sounds exceptional with fairly sensitive speakers 95dB and up. There is a very good selection of speakers which pair up exceptionally well, just check out the General & 25th Anniversary amp threads.

If you could share information on the listening space (dimensions) and musical preferences, that would probably elicit some suggestions. Personally I own Omega Alnico high-output speakers (a box design) and the single driver Lii Audio open baffles. If your room permits, open baffle single driver speakers such as the Lii Audio 15's and Crystal 10's are an amazing pairing. They just need to be set out 3' more from the rear wall to sound best.

Good luck for your journey.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2LO cart + Modwright PH 9.0 phono pre > ZROCK2-25th OR Modwright modified Cambridge CNX V2 > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #3 - 07/28/20 at 20:11:51
 
My first 2 forum replies, so thanks for your pointers and insights.

I’m looking at keeping things simple, clean and efficient. I’m not really a techie guy and am slowly catching up on how other Decware listeners get the best from their setup and the names associated with Decware.

The Heresy’s look clean and again although l have never heard them, its clear that they are solid monitor speaker. Sadly l don’t have the room depth to introduce a rear facing baffle as the speaker to ear distance is around 14’

I have a broad range of listening genres, from African, electronic, funk, fusion, Jazz. Etc. Not so keen on the C&W, heavy metal end of the scale. I’ve just removed CD’s from my life instead relying on vinyl and streaming, so Spotify for its convenience and Qobuz for its hi res files.

I’m intrigued by the dimensional element that everyone mentions, be that described as 3D or holographic. Either way I’m not finding anyone switching back to ss from Decware which speaks ‘volumes’. Excuse the pun!

I’m still trying to get my head round 2W per channel. How is this possible?
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Archie
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #4 - 07/28/20 at 20:32:21
 
Just to reality check expectations, 3D, holographic, soundstage may have as much to do with the room acoustics than the amps/speakers.  I have a wonderful stable of Decware and a decent but untreated room and I do not have what I'd call a holographic soundstage.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #5 - 07/28/20 at 20:40:08
 
It's all about matching the right speakers to a single ended triode amp like the 25th Anniversary Zen. They can play extremely loud, if desired. But to me this amplifier produces vocals accurately and acoustic instruments in a realistic 3D soundstage that simply can't be matched by any other amplifier.

Given the high shipping costs from across the pond, you might want to audition high sensitivity speakers from area dealers near you. I'd recommend trying out speakers w/ 93dB or higher. There are many different designs horns, single drivers, etc. in standing or monitor types.  It's best to audition a pair in your own listening space if possible w/ a low powered tube amplifier.

Since there is a few month build time on Decware products, you'll have plenty of time to audition several different speakers. Should be a lot of fun.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2LO cart + Modwright PH 9.0 phono pre > ZROCK2-25th OR Modwright modified Cambridge CNX V2 > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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lazb
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #6 - 07/28/20 at 20:50:23
 
The Lii Audio Crystal 10 complete speaker ordered from Lii Audio should definitely be considered! For the sound it is cheap and ticks ALL the boxes.
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #7 - 07/28/20 at 20:50:29
 
You'll have plenty of time to audition several different speakers. Should be a lot of fun.

l’m looking forward to creating a different audio experience. In the past my upgrades have always been incremental, so this is a real step into the unknown!
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HockessinKid
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #8 - 07/28/20 at 20:54:25
 
The 25th Anniversary Zen gives the the perfect foundation for a transformative, evolutionary listening experience IMHO.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2LO cart + Modwright PH 9.0 phono pre > ZROCK2-25th OR Modwright modified Cambridge CNX V2 > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #9 - 07/28/20 at 20:58:59
 
The Lii Audio Crystal 10 complete speakers look very interesting, but as l live in the uk (Shipping and import costs) and have no carpentry ability l think l need a European ‘Off the shelf’ solution. A number of members have mentioned the Klipsch,
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JohnWatson
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #10 - 07/28/20 at 21:38:49
 
Holographic probably does get thrown around too much.  I want to clarify that I don't consider myself an audiophile and I don't have great audio memory.  Adding a dedicated streamer was for me, a huge leap forward in sound.  It made it much more engaging and enjoyable than my turntable setups which were Well Tempered Amadeus  and a KAB modded TechnicsMK5 with a ZP3.  Don't get me wrong, vinyl sounded better for me than CD's but I never got to the point where I was completely satisfied and streaming from my computer was mediocre at best.  The dedicated streamer showed me what my Rachel was really capable of and Steves earlier post about his CXN led me to purchasing one and led me on this current upgrading path that will lead to many more thousands of dollars of moving up the Decware line.  Simply put,  I saw stars, now I want to shoot for the moon. My listening environment is wide but narrow.  My ears are about 7' from the Klisches, my floor is carpeted and my walls are covered with canvases....my wifes an artist so we indulge in that too.
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #11 - 07/28/20 at 22:15:42
 
I agree John, I’m embarrassed to admit that for too many years l listened to streaming services through my airport express. It seemed ok until l bought a dedicated dac streamer and was blown away by the improvement. My turntable is getting a service at the moment and I’m managing fine without it!
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #12 - 07/29/20 at 01:27:55
 
Colinz,
I must concur with some of the others here who have mentioned the Lii Audio Crystal 10.
Very sensitive speakers, and that driver of theirs is supposed to be something else.
And coming from China, perhaps the shipping is not too expensive?
If you’re somewhat considering them, try to get a shipping cost estimate just to see what it would be.
The Lii Audio page on the Decware website allows you to get a price quote I believe.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #13 - 07/29/20 at 01:31:19
 
Colinz,

I would go one step at a time; i.e. İf you already have a pair of speakers that you are happy with, I would try them with the UFO25 and see if you like the synergy or not.  Even with some relatively inefficient speakers (in my case, ProAc’s, B&W’s and Regas, all of which are British), you might be amazed!  And as far as speakers are concerned, there are some amazing products in the British market anyway, so you won’t be sorry investing in any of the Decware products...

Cheers,

Alper
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #14 - 07/29/20 at 01:35:48
 
Colinz,
To expand on what Alper just mentioned - are the world-class speakers - AN-J or AN-K - from Audio Note UK not being considered?
They’re sensitive and designed to work well with AN’s low-powered tube amps.
I imagine they would also work very well with Decware’s SET amps.
Perhaps others on the forum who have some actual experience with that combination could share their thoughts.
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Torii MkIV w/ 25th ann mods, Rachael SE34I.5, ERRx, ZStage, ZBIT, ZRock2, Tascam CD-240, Border Patrol DAC, Zu Audio Mission speaker cables, Declare Interconnects, Zenhead, Grado 325e
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #15 - 07/29/20 at 20:50:36
 
Big thanks to you guys, your advice is focusing me in on where next.

I kinda would agree with keeping my present speakers and seeing how they work with the 25, but Isobariks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linn_Isobarik  area happiest with mono blocks with 6 speakers and two crossovers - l’m not sure if they would be an ideal partnership.

I want to try and come out of the blocks with the system running sweet. The Audio Note speakers look interesting and from what l can see from their website, make a more sensitive speaker better suited to my requirements. An added bonus is that they are 45 mins down the road, so maybe I could see if they’d bring round a few Speakers to listen to compare.

Anyhow, thanks again
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beowulf
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #16 - 07/30/20 at 06:15:12
 
If you're looking for the most holographic imaging you should consider pairing the 25th Anniversary Zen with a good pair of efficient single driver speakers. One of the most classic pairings is with Omega Super AlNiCo Hemp drivers. I think single drivers will sound even better if you can augment the bass with a sub or two that have a high crossover range to bring in the mid-bass.

Also a few things to consider:

1. The 25th only has 1 source input, so if you have 2 sources you will need to either swap cables each time you change from your TT to your DAC (which is cumbersome IMO), or get a Decware Zen Switch Box that will add more inputs for sources, or use it the 25th with a preamp.

2. Also, the 25th is an amp with a volume attenuator in its purest form, so in order to use a TT you will need a stand alone phono stage or again a preamp that has a built in phono stage.

3. I'm not sure how great a match it would be with Naim as a pre + 25th Anniversary as I would think they are built and designed with different sound parameters in mind. I've never heard that pairing, it could sound great, but I just don't know. I can say though it pairs really good with McIntosh preamps and of course Decware's own preamps.

4. Another option that you could do ... is instead of the 25th Anniversary you could get the Super Zen Triode SE84UFO2 (as you can get it with 2 sets of inputs) and then have the 25th Anniversary mods done to it. This will sound pretty much like the 25th, but more flexible as you can hook a DAC and phono stage to it without having to swap cables each time you change sources.

Welcome to the forums!
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #17 - 07/30/20 at 16:27:04
 
Thanks for those pointers.
The  Omega Super AlNiCo Hemp drivers do look very interesting but I'm stuck with spending good money on shipping and import duty when it should be going on speakers!
I have actually just temporarily retired my Linn TT, I have become lazy in my old age and the monumental walk from couch to TT was too much for me and now I'm happy with the DAC streamer solely supplying my musical needs! I will get the TT upgraded some time soon, and that would be an excuse to get zen triode preamp. Damn those sexy boxes.
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JohnWatson
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #18 - 07/30/20 at 16:41:39
 
Selling my TT's too, I'm just slow about it.  I know Omegas get great love from the Decware forum but those Audio Notes look very similar.  I would definitely try to hear a pair connected to the UFO before pulling the trigger though.. Always remember that SET's love horns and if you like the sound of them, which I do, there's always that route.  I know horns get a bad rep for coloring the sound, but I've never really understood that.  I remember going to concerts way back when and the stages were always filled with horns and they always sounded great.  Coloring shmoloring, maybe it's a bad thing for piano solos or violin concertos etc, but for electronics, jazz, rock, ambient, it's great! IMHO
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #19 - 07/30/20 at 17:06:22
 
Cheers John, how long will we allow our vinyl to sit there before we weaken and return to vinyl?
Smiley

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beowulf
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #20 - 07/30/20 at 17:24:19
 
Colinz wrote on 07/30/20 at 16:27:04:
Thanks for those pointers.
The  Omega Super AlNiCo Hemp drivers do look very interesting but I'm stuck with spending good money on shipping and import duty when it should be going on speakers!
I have actually just temporarily retired my Linn TT, I have become lazy in my old age and the monumental walk from couch to TT was too much for me and now I'm happy with the DAC streamer solely supplying my musical needs! I will get the TT upgraded some time soon, and that would be an excuse to get zen triode preamp. Damn those sexy boxes.


The 25th should be perfect then if you only have 1 source and don't plan on adding another source (as long as you're OK with swapping cables if you do).

Is shipping from Canada any different as far as duty fees, etc.?  I know Omega has a dealer in Canada, I'm not sure about the UK, but I'm sure there are Omega speakers over there,so it's possible there may be some on the used market in the UK or EU as well.  You could contact Louis Chochos (the owner of Omega) and see if he has any importers there ... it's well worth talking to him.

25th Anniversary + Omega Super AlNiCo Monitors + Sub = kick ass setup for sure!

Edit ... he does have a UK Importer
UK
Devine Audio
26 Buxton Drive
Desborough, Northamptonshire,
NN14 2UU
Phone: +44(0)1536 762211
Email: tim@divineaudio.co.uk
Website: divineaudio.co.uk

Here are the Omega Super AlNiCo's from Devine Audio's own website.
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JohnWatson
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #21 - 07/30/20 at 17:54:29
 
Colinz,  I can safely say that vinyl is over for me.  I jumped back in about 15 years ago after being almost out of music for about 20 years because I was concentrating on my business.  When my daughter said to me "why don't you listen to music much anymore?" I said to myself, yeah..why and decided to get into the audiophile end of it a bit.  As soon as I decided to start doing vinyl again (I used to collect it way back when before college forced a sell off at the age of 25), I came across a collection of over 3,000 albums and decided to start selling at the local Record show.  After a few more collections and a nice collection of my own, I decided to sell it all when we downsized, mostly because at 64 years old I like to sit and listen and not have to get up every 12 to 20 minutes to change a side.  So you can say,  I've been saturated with vinyl and it's out of my bloodstream.  In fact, the tail end of my collection will go on Ebay eventually.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #22 - 07/30/20 at 18:59:16
 
If Devine Audio isn't too far, I encourage you to give a listen to the Omega Super Alnico High Output XRS speakers. These speakers have an amazing synergy with Decware amps & preamps. Louis builds a fabulous product and they sound great.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2LO cart + Modwright PH 9.0 phono pre > ZROCK2-25th OR Modwright modified Cambridge CNX V2 > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #23 - 07/31/20 at 10:59:51
 
Thanks for that - those Super Alnico Monitor speakers look interesting too, so  I'll put those on my list for a listen too.
So far and based on not importing directly from the US I have
  • Super Alnico Monitor
  • Audio Note -AN-J / AN-K's


Focal might be interesting, although their website is pretty its a challenge working through their range.

Enjoy your weekends

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beowulf
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #24 - 08/01/20 at 00:38:04
 
Colinz wrote on 07/31/20 at 10:59:51:
Thanks for that - those Super Alnico Monitor speakers look interesting too, so  I'll put those on my list for a listen too.
So far and based on not importing directly from the US I have
  • Super Alnico Monitor
  • Audio Note -AN-J / AN-K's


Focal might be interesting, although their website is pretty its a challenge working through their range.

Enjoy your weekends



Just a head's up ... the AN-J @ 93dB has a minimum wattage recommendation of 7 watts, so over 3x times the minimum watts the 25th puts out.  The AN-K @ 90dB is even less efficient so would require perhaps more watts and AN has been known to fudge their sensitivity specs on more than one occasion.  I'm not saying they won't sound good together, but the Zen amp doesn't meet those minimum requirements and you may not get the volume you need.  Both of these AN models are a 2 way monitor and thus have a crossover and will not have the coherency and speed of a single driver.

The Omega Super AlNiCo is 94.5dB and without a crossover is about as direct of a connection to the amp that is possible and will be easier to drive, will have better coherency and speed, and IME will 3D image better than a multi-driver speaker.  The minimum wattage for the Super AlNiCo is 2 watts ~ extra points if you happen to know what amp Louis uses to voice his speakers (if you haven't guessed it by now with the wattage requirements) Grin

Enjoy speaker shopping! Cool
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #25 - 08/01/20 at 07:53:12
 
Thanks for your thoughts and feedback Beowulf.

I’ll get to the showroom and Give the Omega’s a test run, but if speaker manufacturers are fudging their numbers it’s going to make comparisons (with AN-X) and others tricky.
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Brian
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #26 - 08/04/20 at 05:49:29
 

Tannoy is a British speaker maker. I have always loved their sound. I have heard three different models, STIRLING 10 inch, CANTERBURY 15", and WESTMINSTER 15".

I did not own any of these, so I do not know any technical details. I think each of these has either a coaxial or triaxial driver arrangement.

If used speakers are for sale in your area, there are probably some high efficiency JBL models. I like C50 Olympus, C60 Sovereign, and the newer design S4600 which is less dark toned.  But there are so many models in the JBL line, that I imagine there are many others I would like which I have never heard.

Best wishes,  Brian
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Colinz
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Re: Where do I begin?
Reply #27 - 08/04/20 at 10:43:33
 
Thanks Brian, I'll look into those speakers.

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