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Building your system where are you with yours? (Read 5791 times)
Digger
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Building your system where are you with yours?
12/03/13 at 01:05:15
 
     I actually decided to start this thread to see how many others are in the middle of putting your systems together and see where you are at with it. I know there are a few that are in the middle of putting things together Lonely Raven your one that I have seen and well on your way.
     This past summer with the sale of a basement full of Vintage speakers and amps I decided to re-invest some of it into a tube amp system something I've always wanted to do and with my life passing me by I decided now or never. Started looking around at what I had to work with first off needed to figure out what I didn't want to part with early on and decided to hold onto a pair of Pioneer HPM 100's and a pair of Polk LS 70's to start out with for my base line speakers. Sold the Bozaks, Synergistics, Sansui's, Infinity Kappa 7.1 series 2's and other pioneer speakers I had setting around. Sold off Marantz 2325, 2250, 2250b.
     The Polk speakers I pretty much rebuilt from the Midrange up Aurum Cantus 180 50 series f1 driver to replace the polk midrange. Morel Cat 378 soft dome horn to replace the tweeters. Up graded the crossovers with mills resisters and Dayton +/- 1% caps. Very basis crossovers simple as they come. One resister one cap and the iron core coil crossed at 375 and 2,500 nice spread. The Pioneer HPM100's are all stock with future plans of recapping these also.
     The adventure begins started looking at Audiogon my I thought to myself whew these tube systems aren't cheap so I looked at the Jolida line first seemed like the entry level place to look but really wasn't crazy about the looks and not sure if I would end up being happy with it overall. Looked at some Chinese made pre-amps price was attractive but had big concerns about service and dependability. Wasn't sure if I wanted separates or an integrated amp so the search continued. Finally read enough positive reviews about the Jolida 502 P and decided to pull the trigger on one of them but still needed to find a decent pre-amp to use with it. This is when things became interesting saw a Decware listed on Audiogon but had never heard of it and decided to do the research on it. The Jolida fit the bill with the 60 watts it would provide the power needed for summertime deck party's with sound system in the house and needing to be loud enough to hear behind the house on the deck. Not for a dedicated listening room. Decware made a pre-amp that was competitive in price with the Chinese pre-amps so the Chinese pre-amps went to the way side and that was one of the best decisions I made I liked the idea of made in the USA and by a small company that cares about quality with a nominal up charge over a Chinese made. Kept reading about all of this amazing tone that was being created by this Decware equipment so decided to pull the trigger on the CSP3+ so glad I did but in doing so it has made me also want to move into the Decware power amps so now the fun begins.
     For now this is where I'm at Sony dvd player as transport, Jolida 502P power amp, Decware CSP3+, Decware interconnects, Polk upgraded LS70's and Pioneer HPM 100's to provide the bottom end with there 12" woofers. No sub needed especially with the CSP3+ amazing the bass this little pre-amp delivers not comparable to any Solid State I've ever owned not even close for detail, clarity and bass delivery all in one package.
     Now for the future wish list. Need to get a DAC not sure which one yet and the Mystery amp. Once accomplished may consider a pair of Decware err's but not sure if I'll ever do vinyl and I know that is where the best sound would probably be found.
      I've seen some very nice listening rooms forum members have and can't imagine the time money and dedication that you all have put into your systems. I have other summer hobbies that consume most of my extra fun money and must say this is the first time I have taken my audio system so seriously. I have to say finding Decware has provided me the excitement to put together a nice system something until now I didn't have an interest to do.
      I've been fortunate to have been around a few high dollar systems that friends of mine have and they sounded very sterile to me maybe to perfect or something but didn't do any thing for me for the money they spent. A very reputable Audio Research system with VS speakers money no object. wasn't for me.

      How far is your system?

Even though my system is a bit hodge-podge it sounds excellent! † †
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« Last Edit: 12/03/13 at 01:15:46 by Digger »  
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Dom
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Still like that old
time Rock and Roll!!

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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #1 - 12/04/13 at 22:48:42
 
Hey Digger....I went down a similar path.  When I looked into a tube amps, the Jolida 502P seemed very attractive.  After reading a ton of info. online, I came across Decware and their product line.  I was quickly sucked in after joining this forum. The Decware community is a great bunch of guys.

My first call into Steve made me see just how great their customer support was.  He spent about a half hour on the phone and gave me great insight on what I was looking to do, and the best way to approach my main goal.

I started with buying a ZStage and their new ZSB Switchbox.  It's incorporated into my SS System for now.  I was just getting ready to buy the new Torii with an order placed,  but had to postpone it temporarily due to expanding my family.  Totally fine... because for the time being the ZStage brought some Tube goodness into my music.   A Schitt DAC will most likely be next.   the meantime I have learned a lot from everyone here.  

So enjoy the ride and more importantly enjoy your music!!

Dom
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Digger
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #2 - 12/05/13 at 01:26:23
 
Dom,
     That is funny how this all works in the audio world. Seems as though it is one piece at a time and always hope its one piece in a straight line. If I would of learned about Decware sooner I may have ordered the Torii Mark iv but already had the Jolida. It will have to be fine for a while. The CSP3+ worked very well on my SS Marantz's I would say it has made the most difference in the influence of the tube tone I was after. Not a hugh difference when played on the Jolida compared to the Marantz's sounds great on both. Depending on your SS amp I would not rule out the CSP3+. Since getting into this setup I've lost the ability to eq and have found tube rolling to be a very satisfying way to do it. Less is better right! So far I've been lucky that what I have put together has been complimenting the overall systems synergy.
† † Its funny you mentioned the Schiit equipment I just ordered a Schiit Bifrost this evening. This will be it for awhile I need to put a new roof on the house next spring so that will postpone any new equipment for now. Hopefully I will be able to pickup the Mystery amp someday and will probably pass on the Torii Mark iv although probably would be all of the amp I would of truly needed. You are certainly right about Steve great guy to talk to seemed very patient with questions that he has had to answer probably 100 times from us newbies. Love his dedication to the hobby you can tell he is just as excited about his products as his customers are its a great thing to see!
     Good luck with your new family addition its all good in life!

† † Thanks for your return post its always nice hearing other music lovers endeavors!


Cool


Digger
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« Last Edit: 12/05/13 at 01:32:14 by Digger »  
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Dom
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Still like that old
time Rock and Roll!!

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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #3 - 12/05/13 at 03:12:09
 
Your welcome Mr. Digger.  Keep us posted on your new Schitt...no pun intended!!  I have heard some great reviews on their products.   I have also emailed their company, and received a reply from Jason within 20 minutes.  Impressive!!

Dom
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marky
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #4 - 12/05/13 at 13:35:52
 
Ditto on arriving here Digger. I`d finished a system upgrade ; Roksan radius 5, M/L aeon i e/stats, Isotek power sub, Isolda sp/cbls and....E. Electric minimax pre/power. Oh, the hours spent looking through the web for a phono amp to replace the stopgap project phono box. Could`ve just gone for the minimax...too easy...no rush...wanted something a bit je ne sais quoi. Kept looking at the altec with the mini tubes. All the others were like if I get one I`ll be thinking of their more expensive version, and being the ones you see everytime you click on a hifi site they were dear to start with. G. Slee phonos were ponder-some. And there were a lot out side my budget for the phono, even though reviews justified the high prices, hmm. Cant remember how  I got here but the ZP3 ticked every box and I suppose I dropped into a groove here. Couldn`t find [i]any[i] reason not to pull the trigger.
I genuinely felt I`d lucked in, and even bought the DHC-1 power cable with a furtech uk plug. Needed the su ZMC as well. + i/cs
A couple of hiccups, paypal had to be upgraded. Confusing for a couple of weeks, but Sarah was very cool. Then the big day and wtf`s going on   Huh  really trebly, thinnish, weird. Bit of a hum.
First thing I thought was could be incompatible.
Well low and behold when I e-mailed to make sure of the connections Steve was there. OMG it`s the boss ! Yes Steve, no Steve, doing it Steve, Steve....`You dont need to plug the ZMC in, it passive`   Smiley Me...`I cant get over the incredible detail`
Anyway, it was the dreaded burn in, something I`d not been through
(minimax`s pre owned).
A few days later and, (I`m starting to bore myself repeating this) It was wow! You just knew this machine was the real deal. I`ll say effortless and filterless and leave it there for now. Ears were warmed up.
It took a couple of months to recomfirm what I knew. The minimax`s were holding back what was possibe. A leisurely now, look through the catalogue  and as I`d really decided what I wanted back in the days of reading hifi mags over the years there were a pair of monoblocs in the form of basic Rachaels and the CSP2+. Power requirements met. Dial around 50%.
At the moment the Rachaels and CSP are sitting on 6" thick 4x2 ft redwood ply, hardwood, cut from an 8x4` sheet. and several coats of clear varnish. I`m working out or waiting to find an inconspicuous frame so it can be the same on a top level, then move those up and hve the ZP3, ZMC and Nak below. They are on a basic 5 tier Appol unit now. Thanks to the member who mentioned birch ply. Sometimes I imagine in the US you have thick hardwood being sold at wallmarts  :)
It`s like hens teeth here.
Should all be sorted in around 6 months and I`ll get some pics up.

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Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.Benz LP s , M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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jsm71
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #5 - 12/05/13 at 17:15:53
 
I separate in my mind the "core" of my system from source components. †The core consists of preamp (if used), amp, and speakers. †This core establishes the available macro level sound including tonal balance and volume levels, as well as the ambient characteristics, such as soundstage dimensions, levels of realism, and transparency.

The source equipment will "take a ride" on the core and play a huge part in overall quality and satisfaction, but generally won't alter the basics of the sound. †The exception to that is some tone tuning with cartridge choices if vinyl is used.

I am really happy today with my core components. †I evolved from cones to quasi-ribbons to ESL panels in my speaker journey to arrive at the sound I was always looking for. †It wasn't until just recently that I finished my journey from all solid state to all tubes. †I had a very clean and clear sound running all SS, but something was missing. †The first step was jumping to a tube preamp back when I had Maggie speakers. †That gave me a little taste and was enough to show me I was moving in the right direction.

The search for a tube amp was mostly in my mind and a lot of web reading. †I had some real long standing objections to running a tube amp that kept me from actually trying one. †They included overall cost, fussy and frequent tube biasing, heat output, and costly tube replacements. †Those objections didn't seem to surface with a tube preamp and I really wasn't in tune with just how different and better a tube amp could be. †

I've posted on this before, but a local friend brought over his Torii III to hear it with my speakers. †That was the nudge I needed, and the rest is history. †

The Torii at that time was still only $3k (very modest cost compared to other options I read about), self-biasing (another objection removed), wasn't any hotter than other amps I've owned (check), and the output tubes were not in the hundreds to replace (check). †The sound floored me and I now own a Torii MK IV.

I am very vinyl oriented and someday I will jump to another level in TT quality along with an appropriate cartridge, but I'm super happy today. †My core gear is set. †Part of this journey is being truthful with yourself and knowing what is important and what is not.  High volumes are not important to me.  The Torii will give out before my speakers, but I get more volume than I need. †The Mystery amp remains an option but I don't think I need it.  †My JansZen zA2.1s are keepers.

Scott
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Digger
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #6 - 12/06/13 at 02:25:14
 
† † Guys, this is really good. I'm seeing I am more normal than I thought. My wife and I have a really good relationship been married for 36 years and tends to think I'm a bit obsessive about things that I am interested in especially audio. (Dom) I read to her your post about the Schiit BiFrost and she looked at me and said men your all crazy that was worth the price of admission were all the same. That was funny! Her approach to music is its music but she did admit while we were sitting listening to Bob Marley she was hearing things she had never heard before a good thing. I need to suck her in just a little bit more.
     Looks like a lot of different approaches to where we all are ending up. My journey started many years ago in the early 70's when everybody had the Pioneers, Harmon Kardon, Sansui, Kenwood and Marantz stereo systems. I was to young to afford any of them at that time but had always remembered the great sound back in them days. Over the years after that purchasing surround sound systems and other 2 channel stereo's and not finding that old sound I used to know pointed me into collecting the old vintage equipment. Seems as though in the late 60's the more popular SS equipments sound was being modeled after there predecessors the tube amp. I always like the more liquid well balanced sound of a well broken in Marantz probably the closest SS amp to a tube amp I've ever heard. I also have a SS system that I will probably never part with and it is a McIntosh 2100 and McIntosh MX113 that has been refurbished 1971 model. I believe this was the first model out that replaced there tube line of amps and they modeled it after as close as they could to there tube amps as not to loose there business worried about the switch to solid state. I will say they did there best at it but certainly isn't the tube sound that I have learned to love.
     It looks like we all still have a bit more work to do to our systems Interconnects, Power cords, tubes, and any other new useful thing we will come across. I was looking at tube Dacs but wasn't sure if that would end up being the best way to go sometimes to much of a good thing can be to much of a good thing. This will be a good test on the system I guess if I don't feel it is doing anything positive for the system I will return it and try a tube Dac and see what happens.
      Have any of you guys used tube Dacs with your tube systems? I am mainly trying to upgrade the Dac in my inexpensive Sony s-590 DVD player it really doesn't sound to bad as is but will see if it makes much difference. I have read that Sony actually does a pretty good job but I really have not had the opportunity to listen to any higher end Dacs to have a knowledgeable comparison. I know probably to get the whole package in a good quality unit transport and Dac I would likely need to spend upward of $1,000-$2,000 but I'm having a hard time wanting to put it all in one unit.

Thanks you guys for all of your replies!

Marky,
      Where in the world did you find a 6" thick piece of Redwood I'd love to find any hardwood 4"s thick by 21"by 3'. I could probably have it custom cut by the Amish and than would need to let it season out for a year or so before finishing Oak or something.

Digger

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« Last Edit: 12/06/13 at 02:31:55 by Digger »  
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marky
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #7 - 12/06/13 at 14:42:29
 
Digger, after reading a post here about placing equipment, I think speakers, on birch ply, I thought yes. I`ve been wanting a good thick hardwood base (2 really) for the new Decware amps. A conventional rack wouldn`t accommodate 2 Rachaels + CSP2+ together as a trio on one platform. The ZP3, I`ve found, prefers to be below, or isolated from them. There are racks but phew, were talking megabucks. I just wanted to get †a good thick hardwood base. Nope, cant locate any. Timber merchants dont carry them. Dried oak beams were the closest I came. Still not garaunteed to split and warp with time.
So off to the timber yard. They didn`t have birch but he showed me redwood ply, said it was hardwood..8x4 standard sheets. Good price, £20. Quick calculation and I got him to cut 4 pieces 4x2`out of one sheet. £30
Perfect size. Sorry, I got carried away with the thickness, they look thicker but are 3"thick, just measured them. When I get the top tier I can get 2 cut up and make both 4".
You can have the grain going either way.





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« Last Edit: 12/06/13 at 14:46:45 by marky »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.Benz LP s , M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Lon
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #8 - 12/06/13 at 14:50:13
 
I use maple platforms and they always improve the sound.

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« Last Edit: 12/06/13 at 14:54:43 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,
PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #9 - 12/06/13 at 16:36:22
 
I would like to make some Maple platforms, but I'm having trouble finding thick slabs to make them from, and the purist in me doesn't want to glue up a bunch of 1" boards to make 3"-4" boards.

I'm thinking about hitting up a tree felling shop in my area and seeing if they can get me some rough slabs, but I'd have to air dry them or build a small solar-kiln.
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Lon
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #10 - 12/06/13 at 16:53:14
 
This guy has reasonable prices imo.

http://www.timbernation.com
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« Last Edit: 12/06/13 at 16:53:35 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,
PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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tgarden
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #11 - 12/06/13 at 17:25:46
 
I purchased three maple pieces from Timbernation, several years ago. †I'm happy with them.

One nice thing, they have not warped at all. †This was not the case with the several maple pieces I got from Mapleshade (also years ago). Every one warped, two rather dramatically.

Mike in Seattle area
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #12 - 12/06/13 at 17:32:47
 
I am looking for a new pair of Speakers for all three of my Amps.
SE84CS - SuperZen CKC - Mystery Amplifier

I think I found them:

Gallo Classico CL-4
http://www.roundsound.com/floor-standing-speakers/classico-cl-4-loudspeaker.html...
Sensitivity
92dB @ 2.83v/1 meter
Crossover
None required
as little as 15 watts to drive them tells me....all 3 of †my Amps will drive these.... .

I have decided to get a pair of ERRx's!
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« Last Edit: 12/06/13 at 21:46:45 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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Digger
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #13 - 12/07/13 at 15:53:04
 
Wow you guys are full of so much excellent information!

(Lon)
      You are a magical source for information on equipment and accessories. Thanks for the link to Timbernation. This maybe a good place to have custom build the shelf I'm looking for in my cabinet.

(Dom)
      †I received the Schiit BiFrost last evening. Now I will see if this Schiit will stay or go! I dropped it into the system and away we go. My first impressions last night was the unit sounded a little bit bright not sure if it is just added detail or actually is brighter sounding. I sold a Rotel 995 preamp due to being excessively bright on the top and lacked bass but detail was great. It had the tendency to cause ear fatigue at higher volumes so away it went. I'm giving this unit a bit of time to settle down before I make any harsh decisions on what to do with it seems as though the detail is rich and still maintains the base punch that I like but just much tighter, tight is good! I pulled the Cryo'ed 6922 out of the output section of the CSP3+ to see if it would lighten up the top end and intalled the Cryo'ed 6n1p that I picked up from Ron at Cryoset. Yep it settled things down a bit on the top next I'm planning on trying one of the stock 6n1p's in the input section to round it off a little further currently running a Nos 6dj8. I'll sit through a few more listening sessions before totally making a final decision on whether it will stay or go. Sometimes after hard day at work it isn't the best time to evaluate additions to my system so I'll see what the weekend brings I have to say this morning things are sounding wonderful with Dire Straits. One thing though for us more technically challenged old folks I wish they would supply instructions with the new digital cables He He didn't know there were rubber caps covering the ends of the optical cables just looked like they were part of them and they didn't want to stay plugged in now you guys can get a good laugh I am! Whats even more funny the thing works with them on.

Hey all!

Have a great weekend and stay warm.

Digger

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« Last Edit: 12/07/13 at 15:54:50 by Digger »  
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beowulf
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Re: Building your system where are you with yours?
Reply #14 - 12/08/13 at 04:54:54
 
Quote:
Lon said,
This guy has reasonable prices imo.

http://www.timbernation.com


Wow, those Tiger Maple platforms are sexy! Grin
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« Last Edit: 12/08/13 at 05:28:32 by beowulf »  
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