One of the highlights of #FutureFi is connecting our primary listening systems to the world of the virtual assistant. I have started with Google and Amazon connections to the system. I cannot setup Apple and Siri yet. The Apple AirPlay 2 protocol is going to help soon. Note that the assistant road is still a bit bumpy so forewarned is forearmed. It is a journey we are taking together.
I use the Kii Control as the hub for my digital connections. Also, there are the XLR connections on the speakers that I am also using. Yes, Analog still lives, at least on the outside! If you watched my intro video, you saw the VPI turntable in my system.
The Kii Control has three inputs: Coax, Optical, and USB. The additional inputs supplement the XLR connections on the speakers themselves. The XLR inputs that are on the speakers can be an analog L/R pair or a single AES digital.
I am using the USB input for a computer for file-based and Internet-based streaming using dedicated computer gear and Roon software. You could use a laptop connected to the system or maybe even an iPad. I have plans to expand on this soon.
I have now used two of my inputs to give myself access to multiple sources of digital music and LP playback. I have the Amazon Echo system connected to the Coax input and the Optical for connection to the Google Home and assistant systems. Note that the Ki Threes do not decode Dolby Surround on their optical input.
The Amazon Echo Link is a small black box with multiple inputs and outputs and linking them to the Amazon Alexa digital assistant. There is both WiFi and wired networking. Note that you must set up the Echo Link using WiFi. I connected Coax output to the corresponding connection on my Kii Control. There is a manual volume control on the front of the Echo Link that I set that to full volume, so the Kii Control has the full volume range.
After connecting Echo Link to your Alexa account, you can use the voice input on any of the Echo devices to tell Alexa to play music to the Echo Link. You can have it read your audiobooks and more. The Alexa app on your phone/tablet can also direct audio to the Echo Link. Sometimes if the music is loud, it is hard to get the Echo Dot in the room to stop the music playing.
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