On the sound quality issue:
I found I had inadvertently cranked the bass EQ knob all the way up on my mixer. Everything sounds a lot better now.
Since I didn't hear any different, and the system seems to working alright. I'm just going to leave things as they are. Thanks for the help in setting the sample rate and configuring Jack properly.
I'm going to test lowering the sample rate from 88200 until latency becomes an issue then raise it back up a notch.
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