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      03-31-2013, 03:38 PM   #1
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E91 audio upgrade with lots of pics: Mosconi, Gladen, stealth

A bit of introduction before I go into this audio build thread. I bought the car in February having just finished a two year contract hire, I decided to buy again. I knew I wanted a 3 series, space was important (two kids, two dogs) so it had to be a touring, and I wanted economy so decided on 4-pot diesel. I don't do mega mileage so something bigger with 6 cylinders would have probably been OK, but balancing the age / cost / wanting warranty, etc meant that a 320D was in my sights. A 2010 LCI E91 320D M Sport Plus Edition in Alpine White to be exact.

Before buying it I told myself I would be happy with everything stock and keep the car standard. After 5 minutes of listening to the stereo on the 160 mile drive home after collecting the car I told myself I'd update the audio a bit. Then after a couple of days of owning and not liking the contrast between the LED door lights, number plate light and all the remaining standard bulbs (headlamps and interior), I thought to update the angel eyes and a couple of other bits as well.

I'd read up a lot of useful information on here (particular thanks to Makkan00, IanS100 and Mr Singh) so if I can help anyone else with my experiences then it's worth it.

This isn't a build with sub boxes and multiple amps. My intent was sound quality, decent levels and keeping an OEM look.

The fitted option is Base / Professional HU. After reading the various options available to me and probably like many people I considered the Alpine kit, then I looked at an installation of Focal / JL which I know a lot go for but changed my mind on cost. I then read up on the Gladen BMW kit and Mosconi amps. As mentioned, I wanted everything to look OEM or as standard as possible so that ticked all the boxes. And I know from past experience doing bits of audio engineering that in theory at least, two 8" drivers mounted well up front should give plenty adequate bass.

I've installed a fair few systems over the last 19 years including several active multi-amp systems and custom sub boxes, etc, but being a newish car that's well screwed together (and not having much time spare) I wanted someone else to do most of the work which would involve panels, trim and seats to be removed. I spoke to Amar from TeamSPB in west London about getting him to supply the kit and do most of the cabling install. I could only spare the car for a day so Amar installed the quadlock harness, 8" underseat subs, remote control for the amp, additional speaker cables and sound deadened the door panels. The rest was left to me.

Amar had taken all the cables to the underfloor storage area in the boot, but I decided that even though that's pretty stealthy, I wanted to try and use the area where the Alpine / factory amps go in the left hand corner. The amp I'd chosen was the Mosconi Gladen 120.4 DSP. It looked perfect on paper with power specs well up to the task, and a class A/B design which should give great dynamics (important part of the performance for me). After removing the panels and toolkit, I was pleased to see that it fit…just. It looked a bit tight certainly, but doable. I spent a bit of time re-routing the cables Amar had put in, and adding the chunky 4AWG power cable directly to the battery. I used the factory grounding point above the left wheel well for the earth feed.





In lieu of any harness tape at this stage of the build, I used velcro cable wraps to keep things tidy and non-rattling. Will re-tape these later.







Back over to the amp tray. The floor here isn't dead flat. There's a couple of raised mounting points for the OEM amp frame, and a dip in the floorpan on the far left so I realised I would need to make a mounting plate as a solid base for the amp. This would also very handily mean I could channel some of the cables underneath in the dip to keep things super tidy (even though it would already be hidden). I put everything in place, measured the gap above to the tool tray and decided on 9mm MDF for the mount plate. Anything thinner would have wobbled too much, too thick wouldn't give enough clearance above when the toolkit was replaced. I made a template out of card, bought a £2 offcut of MDF from a local timber merchant and got busy with the jigsaw. Again even though I knew it would be hidden, I wanted it to look the part so added a couple of coats of primer and a few of alpine white. All added up to a pretty nice looking mount. Shame it's hidden







I laid the board over the power and speaker cables with some foam to stop any potential rattles, and trimmed the cables all to the same manageable length. The nature of this being a tight fit, meant it would be necessary to connect the power and speaker cables to the amp before manoeuvring into position and fixing. After a couple of false starts (dropping the mounting screws) and having to de-loom the RCAs by about 10" from the speaker cables, everything went together perfectly. I added the Bluetooth module to the amp to make life easier for tuning, and left the USB cable attached should that ever be needed (since found it's not and removed - the Bluetooth works great, the USB doesn't). The gains are a little tricky to adjust because of the tight fit and angle. I've found the best way is just to use a flat-head screwdriver bit by hand. Once they're setup properly, it shouldn't really need much adjustment, and if it does it's not that big a deal to get to it anyway (two bolts to remove the tool tray). Another advantage of keeping all the cables underneath is that it makes it easier to get to these controls.

















I finished connecting the power cables and added the main fuse before a very quick check to ensure the sensing remote turn-on was working. All good so far.

I know the question has come up before about whether it's possible to install a Mosconi 120.4 / DSP in the amplifier tray on an E91 so I'm happy to report it is! I'm not sure if the E90/2 are the same (maybe someone can say) but it works just great here. 480W RMS is a healthy amount for a cabin the size of the 3er and the Mosconi easily drives the Gladen kit with power to spare.



What amp? Totally hidden and all underfloor trays, etc still empty. Very happy with this. If ever I do decide to add another amp for a sub, there's another spot (under floor just behind the seats) where the same approach would work with the right sized amp. Something like a bridged Mosconi 120.2 would be ideal driving a 10 in an underfloor box. Maybe one of the Gladen SQX10 to keep everything on brand. Anyway, I'm not going down that route just yet as pretty sure it's not necessary for what I want.

On to the front speakers. I know what a difference the install makes to the end result, so I wanted to make sure everything was acoustically treated, deadened and without rattles. Amar had sound deadened the inside of the door panels using a load of Silent Coat. I used some more from the bulk pack on the inner metal panels.



I cut a small piece of SilentCoat acoustic foam and added to the door foam behind where the mid driver sits.



Next I used a load more Silent Coat to deaden the shit out of the door cards. Two layers around the 4" Gladen driver. Went a little overboard here but you can't have too much acoustic control. The Silent Coat is the best stuff I've worked with like this, but the foil is lethal sharp. Watch your fingers.







Crossovers hot glued to the door card. All cables were then wrapped in loom tape, and stuck down using cuts of adhesive foam.



The Gladen tweeters clip perfectly into the OEM tweeter positions. I had to purchase new sail panels (which on an E91 wrap all around the front window - fiddly to get back in!) as of course my car was a base stereo with no tweeters as standard. The clips hold them in firmly, and the foam just sits behind. Nothing else to do here but I wrapped the cable in loom tape to keep things neat and the rattles at bay.










All cables crimped and connected up and the door cards put back in place to finish the completely OEM look. The extra mass of the door cards definitely adding to the thud when closing! Noticeably different. It's a dead thud with no resonance and tapping the outside of the panels they sound really solid. I'm planning to coat the rear doors as well even though they only have the base speakers running off the head unit. No plans to change those. I'm only a fan of listening to music with rears if they're pseudo-surround like a Dolby Pro-Logic II system. I prefer to get the right image up front and these BMWs are in a fortunate position of having the subs under seats to help keep all the image focus forward.



I set the levels on the amp using the included pink noise CD and pinged my tweaked custom DSP settings over via Bluetooth. The Mosconi software is basic but works fine. The only issue for me is having to borrow a Windows laptop as I only have Macs. I might try a Parallels / VM Ware install on my Macbook Air to use the software but it's no big deal at the moment. Worst thing is having to use Windows again after 6 blissful years away!

Everything finished and put back together so I fired the system up to test and………nothing. At least nothing from the front speakers. The subs were working fine.

After a few frustrating hours of stripping back, pop tests, removing the head unit, testing the harness, testing the amp output and a direct cable to the speakers, I couldn't figure it out. After some googling and finding out about the original subs being wired in parallel, I chatted with Amar again who told me that the connection for the door speakers is made at the factory harness to the underfloor subs, which are now unconnected. So I had to peel back some trim, find the 4 connector speaker plug running under the carpets and bridge the pins. A few small spade connectors and some speaker cable was all that was needed to fix the connection. Now we're in business! Again something worth checking if you're doing an install like this on a post-09 car.



So how does it sound? Well, I had quite high expectations of the Mosconi / Gladen kit based on various posts and chatting to both Sam (Makkan00), Am (Mr_Singh) and Amar about it. It's still running in so I know it will improve further as well but in a nutshell: it's fantastic. The high expectations I had have actually been blown away. It goes pretty low, has a punch you feel in your chest, sparkling highs and a superb clarity throughout the midrange. Really wow. I listen to most of my music on studio monitors and reference headphones, and I generally like a flat response with a slightly warm bass and brighter top end. I haven't RTA'd yet but will do when properly run in and will try and get a flattened output before lifting the highs back a bit if needed. Considering it's driven from the base head unit outputs (which I understand are EQd to boost the treble heavily), the sound is really appealing to my ears. Silk dome tweeters like these Gladens are usually a little soft so the boost to the treble helps to give them some more clarity and brightness without being harsh and fatiguing like a metal tweeter can be.

Stereo imaging from the time shift on the amp is spot on. The focus is high and central with a good wide spread of sounds.

Oh yeah, and it goes loud. I've got nowhere near to testing full output yet but it's gone to blink-inducing levels with zero distortion quite happily. Will report back on this after a few more hours of running in.

As you might guess, I'm really pleased with it. The install is exactly what I wanted and the sound output surpasses expectations. Very, very happy.

In terms of other plans with the audio, I will possibly install a Dension kit for iPod control, and as that will need coding may as well get the Hifi coding done at the same time so I've got the best possible source signal to the Mosconi. I can always use the in-built DSP to shelve up the treble and restore the tweeter brightness if it needs it.

Whilst sorting the audio, I converted the rear of the centre console, adding two 12v sockets to power the kids entertainment. All genuine BMW parts of course and a pretty easy job. Incidentally, if you have kids and an iPad, the Nextbase car mounting kit is absolutely brilliant. Easy to install, looks neat and with the optional infrared headphones provides instant distraction. Highly recommended!





Onto other things with the car, as I mentioned, I thought it a bit weird looking that BMW install cool coloured LEDs in the door handles and for the number plate lights, but the interior is still old fashioned halogen bulbs (or whatever they are), along with the headlights and worst of all the angel eyes. Changing the interior bulbs was easy enough. Bought a kit off amazon for this and it was a doddle. As it was an E90 kit, I had to buy two more bulbs for the boot area, and then realised how easy (and cheap) it would have actually been to just buy them all off ebay individually. You live and learn. I love how it looks and the cooler light inside works really well with the silver trim and blue stitching. When the car is unlocked, it all looks 'right'.

I swapped the angel eye bulbs for LEDs as well. Bit of a false start with these as I couldn't get the first ones in properly. Tried again with a different set and all good. There's a bit of a flicker from the left bulb when it starts (takes about 5 seconds to settle whereas the right one is instant). That's a slight annoyance which I need to look into more but not too serious and they look a lot better IMO. I changed the headlamp bulbs to Osram Nightbreakers which are seriously bright and slightly less yellow than the standard BMW bulbs. It'ss great driving at night with those in. Crappy photos but trying to show the consistency in colour between handles, angel eyes, etc.







Final thing (so far) is the BMW Performance kidney grills. Simple mod and works well I think. No pics of them yet but will sort some soon.

Engine wise, I added a DTUK tuning box and Pipercross filter. I know the whole tuning box / remap debate and ideally would have liked a remap but a) it's still in warranty, b) I've heard how difficult to map these late 184s are; involves cracking open the ECU box apparently. Maybe further down the line when the warranty runs out. As it is, the DTUK box feels amazing. Really happy with it.

I was planning on fitting some spacers to the wheels to make them look a bit better in the arches. Holding off on that in the hope I might get some new wheels a bit further down the line. There's not that much left on the runflats, so when they need replacing I'll definitely go to non-RFTs, but might see if I can sneak some wheels on at the sometime. Quite like the idea of something else darker like the current MV3s but maybe with a polished face. Quite smitten with the Dare NK1s or these 313 style. Or possibly some silver Zito 935s. Not sure on that yet. Tyres might need changing a bit too soon for budget on the wheels unfortunately. Just want to enjoy the car as it is for a while.

Any questions or comments please just let me know. Hope the thread and photos are of interest.
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      03-31-2013, 04:11 PM   #2
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Very informative and interesting write up, GOOD STUFF
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      03-31-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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Your flicker on the angel eye will be something to do with the bulb check. Mine does the exact same.
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      03-31-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Amazing write up! I need to do all these mods to my 09 320d!
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      03-31-2013, 07:43 PM   #5
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Do you have a list of the parts used for the center console? That's something that I'd like to do in my car.
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      03-31-2013, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabao767 View Post
Do you have a list of the parts used for the center console? That's something that I'd like to do in my car.
Same here. Search the forum for 'Robot mod', I think that's what it's called. I like the cubbyhole under the 12V sockets too - much better than the useles ashtray I have. So yes, parts list please
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      03-31-2013, 08:41 PM   #7
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Great write up Andy, looks like we've done pretty much the same mods except I've help off on the grills, I think the standard sport plus grill looks good on the sapphire black car.

I can highly recommend the Dension 500s, sounds good, easy to use & a variety of input options.

I installed your modified Gladen BMW setup file today & it's spot on but I've developed a rattle on the passenger side underseat sub which I'm going to have to investigate, it probably needs a decent layer of sound deadening applying.
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      03-31-2013, 08:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parapaul View Post
Same here. Search the forum for 'Robot mod', I think that's what it's called. I like the cubbyhole under the 12V sockets too - much better than the useles ashtray I have. So yes, parts list please
I think it was "Happy Robot". If you can't find it I've got a link squirreled away somewhere on the PC, I'll have a look later
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      04-01-2013, 01:20 AM   #9
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The flicker is due to bulb check and nothing can be done about it.
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      04-01-2013, 02:29 AM   #10
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Parts list for the centre console:

51167150155 (cover)
51167154481 (storage)
51167156472 (rubber insert)

As mentioned there are other threads on this. Only other thing required is some splicing block connectors. Easy job and better than having nothing there.
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      04-01-2013, 02:57 AM   #11
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Looks great, particularly impressed that you were able to install the Mosconi Gladen ONE 120 DSP in the side compartment!

The setup file has proven to be a good base to work on, just minor tweeks for tonality based upon users taste for richer top end or midrange etc.

Top effort by all, Enjoy!
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      04-01-2013, 03:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Singh View Post
Looks great, particularly impressed that you were able to install the Mosconi Gladen ONE 120 DSP in the side compartment!

The setup file has proven to be a good base to work on, just minor tweeks for tonality based upon users taste for richer top end or midrange etc.

Top effort by all, Enjoy!
Cheers Am!

The only major thing that needs changing with the setup file is that it's configured for LHD cars. I'd be happy to share my amended version with time alignment and parametric EQs reversed. Is there any way of uploading the files to the forum?
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      04-01-2013, 03:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian mc21 View Post
Your flicker on the angel eye will be something to do with the bulb check. Mine does the exact same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by raj55 View Post
The flicker is due to bulb check and nothing can be done about it.
Ah makes sense. Thanks for letting me know.
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      04-01-2013, 03:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyrap View Post
Cheers Am!

The only major thing that needs changing with the setup file is that it's configured for LHD cars. I'd be happy to share my amended version with time alignment and parametric EQs reversed. Is there any way of uploading the files to the forum?
Using the file attachment feature on the forum, zip the file and it should be all dandy
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      04-01-2013, 05:34 AM   #15
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Andy
Excellent efforts. Very neat installation. Glad to see that you have done some work yourself. I can assure you that E90 has less space in there and this mosconi amp will not fit there.

A quick question? Did you put the weather seal of the doors back on after sound deadening?
Also when you took out your HU, have you got MOST loop going into your HU? Late 2010 HUs with BT had it, and later models didn't. So if you are thinking of Dension kit, make sure that your HU has most loop going into it.

Your Halo rings look brighter as they were coded. That flickering can be coded, but I would leave it as it is (avail 12 months warranty if they go faulty).
If you pass by my area, let me know as I found out a trick to code hi-fi on HUs with BT built in. I can try that on your car.

Enjoy the music!
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      04-01-2013, 05:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Also when you took out your HU, have you got MOST loop going into your HU? Late 2010 HUs with BT had it, and later models didn't. So if you are thinking of Dension kit, make sure that your HU has most loop going into it.
I can't remember whether the HU in my car (manf: 2010-09-16) is in the MOST loop but the Dension is connected into a block under/behind the glovebox, it's accessed by dropping the panel under the dash.
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      04-01-2013, 06:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS100 View Post
I can't remember whether the HU in my car (manf: 2010-09-16) is in the MOST loop but the Dension is connected into a block under/behind the glovebox, it's accessed by dropping the panel under the dash.
Thanks Ian.
I guess in 2011 and onward, they have taken out the most loop. (don't know the reason). Here is an example.
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      04-01-2013, 08:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Thanks Ian.
I guess in 2011 and onward, they have taken out the most loop. (don't know the reason). Here is an example.
Very strange, I wonder why BMW have done that - I know that my BT & phone are connected to the MOST loop because the Dension MOST bypass doesn't work properly, switch it to bypass mode (which should make the Dension invisible but keep the lop intact) & BT & phone disappear - I'm guessing that the bypass breaks the loop & everything beyond the break just doesn't show up. I had the same problem with the MoBridge so I don't know if it's an anomaly with the units, the way they're connected to the loop, or the way the BMW MOST loop works?!? I coud do with a manual jumper loop that could be plugged in when the car goes for servce etc
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      04-01-2013, 10:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS100 View Post
Very strange, I wonder why BMW have done that
I guess the reason is that on later HU, BT and usb connectivity is built into the HU. (one example is in classified sections)



Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS100 View Post
- I know that my BT & phone are connected to the MOST loop because the Dension MOST bypass doesn't work properly, switch it to bypass mode (which should make the Dension invisible but keep the lop intact) & BT & phone disappear - I'm guessing that the bypass breaks the loop & everything beyond the break just doesn't show up. I had the same problem with the MoBridge so I don't know if it's an anomaly with the units, the way they're connected to the loop, or the way the BMW MOST loop works?!? I coud do with a manual jumper loop that could be plugged in when the car goes for servce etc
There is a lot of misconception with the installers and on the internet threads. BMW has left a MOST loop connector in the passenger foot-well to update certain modules via MOST technology and not to connect ipod kits AFAIK.

I had a chat with Andy that the correct place to install Dension is where OEM CD player sits (Where he has installed his amplifier).
I have highlighted the pic


And then run apple extension cable from there to front of the car.
If installed correctly, bypass function of Dension kit should work.
I guess connecting the fiber loops correctly on the rear NSR wheel arch is pain in bum.

HTH.
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      04-01-2013, 04:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Andy
Excellent efforts. Very neat installation. Glad to see that you have done some work yourself. I can assure you that E90 has less space in there and this mosconi amp will not fit there.

A quick question? Did you put the weather seal of the doors back on after sound deadening?
Also when you took out your HU, have you got MOST loop going into your HU? Late 2010 HUs with BT had it, and later models didn't. So if you are thinking of Dension kit, make sure that your HU has most loop going into it.

Your Halo rings look brighter as they were coded. That flickering can be coded, but I would leave it as it is (avail 12 months warranty if they go faulty).
If you pass by my area, let me know as I found out a trick to code hi-fi on HUs with BT built in. I can try that on your car.

Enjoy the music!
Thanks Sam.

Are the weather seals the foam part shown in some of the pics? If so yes. If no, then I didn't know there was anything else in there! I don't think Amar took anything out but I'll check.

The MOST loop goes back into the HU as you describe. I'll see if I'm likely to be up your way anytime soon and maybe we could try that hifi trick you mention.

Cheers.
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      04-02-2013, 10:53 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyrap View Post
Thanks Sam.

Are the weather seals the foam part shown in some of the pics? If so yes. If no, then I didn't know there was anything else in there! I don't think Amar took anything out but I'll check.
Yes, thats the one.
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      04-02-2013, 01:19 PM   #22
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I think it was "Happy Robot". If you can't find it I've got a link squirreled away somewhere on the PC, I'll have a look later
Here's the Happy Robot link
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