Review: Epik Empire and Seaton Submersive - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 721 Old 03-02-2010, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been going back and forth between two subs for my home theater. I couldn't decide between a Seaton Submersive or dual Epik Empires. There are a lot of opinions online but I don't think anybody has actually heard or compared them both. Since this is such a tough decision, I went ahead and bought them both. I mean, this is a lot of cash to spend on a subwoofer setup and I really want to be happy with what I got. I went ahead and picked up the dual Empires and the Submersive last week. I will be comparing and measuring them both and will give a full report as to how they compare. I will keep whatever I like and return the other since they both have a trial period and I am local to both so there are no shipping costs.

Ordering the subwoofers made an interesting first impression. When I ordered my Empires, I just went to the Epik Subwoofers website, clicked the add-to-cart button and picked them up. It was very simple and they were easy to get ahold of. Seaton Sound has no website to order from. The only way to order a Submersive is to actually get in touch with Mark. After I tried to email him several times with no response, I actually almost gave up before he finally replied.

The packaging was similar on the subs but the Empire had a labeled, double box while the Submersive had a single, plain box. Both subwoofers weigh about the same, but the Empire is a bit smaller in size. Both are very well built. I the ordered the Submersive in the black finish which looks like it is painted over veneer. It has no edge roundovers and the grills are ½ thick magnetically attached frames with stapled cloth and little felt pads. It is very simple and clean looking. The Empire has 1 inch roundovers on every corner and has a black laminate finish. It has 1 inch thick grills with large grill pins similar to my old Velodyne DD-15. The SUBmersive has a nicer finish, but I like the look of the Empire better. Once its in the corner I don't really care.

I was surprised to see how little features the Submersive's amplifier has. It has a power switch, a volume knob and that's it. It has no internal crossover, phase switch, auto-on function, or RCA inputs. Mark supplies an adaptor to plug an RCA input into the XLR cable, but I wasn't real happy to see a Radio Shack label on the adaptor for a $2000 subwoofer. The volume knob has little indents that it kind of clicks into place, not a smooth rotary knob like the Empire and every other subwoofer I have owned before. The Empire's features aren't anything special since it has the normal phase switch, volume knob, RCA and XLR inputs, and auto-on function settings. It just looks special next to the Submersive since it has very little. I was also a little surprised that there isn't an auto-on feature on the Submersive which means that I have to turn it on every time I want to use it.

Out of the box my Submersive hummed. The supplied RCA to XLR adaptor cable made the unit hum even when it wasn't plugged into anything. I went ahead and ordered another XLR to RCA cable and almost all of the hum disappeared. But even with a cheater plug on the power cord, the SUBmersive still has a low-level hum when the receiver is on. I emailed Mark and hopefully he will have a solution for me soon. Neither of the Empires hum using the same plug so it's not coming from the outlet.

I have just started listening to them but I don't want to make any judgements about how they sound until I have spent more time with them. I have lots more listening tests to do and this will take some time. More coming soon
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post #2 of 721 Old 03-02-2010, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michman View Post

I have been going back and forth between two subs for my home theater. I couldn't decide between ...

*bows to his awesomeness and grabs some popcorn in anticipation of his next post...*

ala Yoda...

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post #3 of 721 Old 03-02-2010, 06:58 PM
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I will speak for almost everyone in the subwoofer forum when I say 'we are anxiously waiting for this comparison'.
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post #4 of 721 Old 03-02-2010, 08:08 PM
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Nice. Take your time. Also looking foward to this comparison. Pictures would be nice as well .

You'll rarely hear anyone say, "I wish I'd gotten less Sub."

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post #5 of 721 Old 03-02-2010, 08:25 PM
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Sounds like good fun. Post some pics too please.
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post #6 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michman View Post

I have been going back and forth between two subs for my home theater. I couldn't decide between a Seaton Submersive or dual Epik Empires. There are a lot of opinions online but I don't think anybody has actually heard or compared them both. Since this is such a tough decision, I went ahead and bought them both. I mean, this is a lot of cash to spend on a subwoofer setup and I really want to be happy with what I got. I went ahead and picked up the dual Empires and the Submersive last week. I will be comparing and measuring them both and will give a full report as to how they compare. I will keep whatever I like and return the other since they both have a trial period and I am local to both so there are no shipping costs.

Excellent idea! Do you have equipment to measure the response? Everyone is looking forward to some actual measurments of Empires in room. The Epik website doesn't have any graphs like http://www.seaton-sound-forum.com/post?id=1945927#1 If you have the ability, maybe you could do a close-mic measurement

Quote:


Ordering the subwoofers made an interesting first impression. When I ordered my Empires, I just went to the Epik Subwoofers website, clicked the add-to-cart button and picked them up. It was very simple and they were easy to get ahold of. Seaton Sound has no website to order from. The only way to order a Submersive is to actually get in touch with Mark. After I tried to email him several times with no response, I actually almost gave up before he finally replied.

Seaton needs a website, no doubt.

Quote:


The packaging was similar on the subs but the Empire had a labeled, double box while the Submersive had a single, plain box. Both subwoofers weigh about the same, but the Empire is a bit smaller in size. Both are very well built. I the ordered the Submersive in the black finish which looks like it is painted over veneer. It has no edge roundovers and the grills are ½ thick magnetically attached frames with stapled cloth and little felt pads. It is very simple and clean looking. The Empire has 1 inch roundovers on every corner and has a black laminate finish. It has 1 inch thick grills with large grill pins similar to my old Velodyne DD-15. The SUBmersive has a nicer finish, but I like the look of the Empire better. Once its in the corner I don't really care.

I haven't seen any instances of shipping damage with the Submersive. It sounds like Epik is getting a handle on the shipping damage problem they had before with a more stout box. What finish did you get on the Submersive? The black oak or flat black?

Quote:


I was surprised to see how little features the Submersive's amplifier has. It has a power switch, a volume knob and that's it. It has no internal crossover, phase switch, auto-on function, or RCA inputs. Mark supplies an adaptor to plug an RCA input into the XLR cable, but I wasn't real happy to see a Radio Shack label on the adaptor for a $2000 subwoofer. The volume knob has little indents that it kind of clicks into place, not a smooth rotary knob like the Empire and every other subwoofer I have owned before. The Empire's features aren't anything special since it has the normal phase switch, volume knob, RCA and XLR inputs, and auto-on function settings. It just looks special next to the Submersive since it has very little. I was also a little surprised that there isn't an auto-on feature on the Submersive which means that I have to turn it on every time I want to use it.

The Submersive amp is actually a much more advanced amp with DSP controls, and almost twice the power. Are you really dissing indents vs. a rotary knob? Indents allow you to go "five clicks from fully clockwise" vs. "about 3 o'clock". Much more exact and reproducible. There is a discussion about auto-on in the Rythmik thread. Idle power draw is very low. I think someone has measured the Submersive with one of those kill-a-watts at around 15W at idle.



Quote:


I have just started listening to them but I don't want to make any judgements about how they sound until I have spent more time with them. I have lots more listening tests to do and this will take some time. More coming soon

I look forward to the comparisons and measurements!
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post #7 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:03 AM
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The Submersive amp is actually a much more advanced amp with DSP controls, and almost twice the power. Are you really dissing indents vs. a rotary knob? Indents allow you to go "five clicks from fully clockwise" vs. "about 3 o'clock". Much more exact and reproducible. There is a discussion about auto-on in the Rythmik thread. Idle power draw is very low. I think someone has measured the Submersive with one of those kill-a-watts at around 15W at idle.

My Epik Dragon shares the same amp as the Empire. Actually Epik uses one amp for all there "current" subs. On "auto" mode the amp is warm to touch. Not sure how much the draw is though. With "off" mode the amp is cold. Assume no power draw.
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post #8 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:13 AM
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Thank you, michman, for taking the time to write about your impressions.

I think this not only will help with Submersive vs. Empire comparisons but also the frequent debate around 2 subwoofers vs. a more expensive one.

Just be ready for the challenges, regardless of your final conclusion. Some will question your methodology, your low post count, etc, etc...

Thank you again and I'm looking forward to your impressions.
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post #9 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gye View Post

Just be ready for the challenges, regardless of your final conclusion. Some will question your methodology, your low post count, etc, etc...

+1

I bet there is a fellow AVS'er that lives near you that could help you compare the two. Especially if you don't have an REW setup.

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Thank you again and I'm looking forward to your impressions.

As am I!

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post #10 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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I, for one, am very disappointed to hear the Submersive has a hum issue! Bad enough on a $500 sub like the MFW, but on a $2K sub that is totally unacceptable. Hopefully this one has an isolated issue, I'm anxious to hear what Mark offers up as a solution.
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post #11 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by floridapoolboy View Post

I, for one, am very disappointed to hear the Submersive has a hum issue! Bad enough on a $500 sub like the MFW, but on a $2K sub that is totally unacceptable. Hopefully this one has an isolated issue, I'm anxious to hear what Mark offers up as a solution.

I remember another SubMersive owner having a hum issue. Mark worked very diligently with him to correct it. The culprit ended out not being the SubMersive (it was like a cable or outlet issue). I am sure Mark will help resolve this hum issue as well.

Never argue with an idiot; they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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post #12 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridapoolboy View Post

I, for one, am very disappointed to hear the Submersive has a hum issue! Bad enough on a $500 sub like the MFW, but on a $2K sub that is totally unacceptable. Hopefully this one has an isolated issue, I'm anxious to hear what Mark offers up as a solution.

Hum is not always an issue with the subwoofer. It's often exacerbated by a subwoofer because it is in the subwoofer's output range, (60 Hz). Often the cause of the hum is some other issue with the grounding system in the house. I had a hum with my Submersives and it was completely eliminated by unplugging my CATV box. The problem comes from my CATV which has a different grounding point than my electrical system. I "solved" the problem with cheater plugs, but I have contacted my cable company to have them attach the cable ground to the house ground.

See the Hum FAQ for a more thorough explanation of the problem:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=322698

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post #13 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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I've experienced a cable induced hum myself, but it was system wide, not isolated to the sub. As I said, I hope this is an isolated incident and that Mark can offer up a solution. By the way, I've owned many subs over the years, and none of them have ever hummed, FWIW.
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post #14 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 10:12 AM
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Hmm, Price set aside, im pretty sure the Subversive is going to spank the Empire.

The Empires are nice, but im sure the Submersive has MUCH beefier drivers, I sort of giggled when Epik posted a pic of the drivers in the Empire.



They just dont strike me as the quality of the older drivers that Epik used.

Ah well, waiting for your review!

And no, im not a Submersive fan boy, I own two Knights.....

I like turtles.
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post #15 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 10:32 AM
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It's true Epik's new drivers don't compare with the F113, PB13-Ultra, LMS-5400, Maelstrom-X, etc, but in this particular design they really don't have to. Chad has already stated that the drivers in the Empire are better than those used in the Valor/Knight/Caliber. He's also stated that the magnet strength vs. cone weight ratio of this new driver is higher than ANY other Epik driver so far.

Also, in certain scenarios the beefiest driver might not be the best option. With a 600W RMS amp, the Empire doesn't exactly have a multi-kilowatt supply of power to tap. Many beefier drivers (like the LMS-5400) require much more power to shine. It's likely these 15" drivers are a good deal more efficient.

Finally, it's pretty obvious Chad is not trying to build the world's best subwoofer in the Empire. He designed it for low distortion and very high midbass output, along with the ability to dig down to 20hz reasonably well. And he did this at a fairly low price (<$1,000). Clearly he'd be much more inclined to "go for broke" with a cost-no-object design. The fact is, every <$1,000 consumer subwoofer makes compromises. From the initial reviews and Chad's excitement about the product, I think the few compromises he made ("unimpressive" drivers - at least aesthetically, and somewhat lower output around 20hz than older Epiks) were good ones.

Just my two cents.
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post #16 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lalakersfan34 View Post

It's true Epik's new drivers don't compare with the F113, PB13-Ultra, LMS-5400, Maelstrom-X, etc, but in this particular design they really don't have to. Chad has already stated that the drivers in the Empire are better than those used in the Valor/Knight/Caliber. He's also stated that the magnet strength vs. cone weight ratio of this new driver is higher than ANY other Epik driver so far.

Also, in certain scenarios the beefiest driver might not be the best option. With a 600W RMS amp, the Empire doesn't exactly have a multi-kilowatt supply of power to tap. Many beefier drivers (like the LMS-5400) require much more power to shine. It's likely these 15" drivers are a good deal more efficient.

Finally, it's pretty obvious Chad is not trying to build the world's best subwoofer in the Empire. He designed it for low distortion and very high midbass output, along with the ability to dig down to 20hz reasonably well. And he did this at a fairly low price (<$1,000). Clearly he'd be much more inclined to "go for broke" with a cost-no-object design. The fact is, every <$1,000 consumer subwoofer makes compromises. From the initial reviews and Chad's excitement about the product, I think the few compromises he made ("unimpressive" drivers - at least aesthetically, and somewhat lower output around 20hz than older Epiks) were good ones.

Just my two cents.

+1

But just couldn't resist this pic of the new SVS SB-13 Plus driver.

http://www.svsound.com/products/drivers/plus13_1940.jpg

Someone please feel free to repost the actual picture, rather than the link
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post #17 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 10:54 AM
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Here ya go . And yes, I agree it's a very sexy looking driver. Hope SVS doesn't mind. Resized it because it was huge in that link! If anything I should be getting commission on the sales they get because of this pic

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post #18 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lalakersfan34 View Post

Here ya go . And yes, I agree it's a very sexy looking driver. Hope SVS doesn't mind. Resized it because it was huge in that link! If anything I should be getting commission on the sales they get because of this pic


Thanks
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post #19 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 11:12 AM
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I know when I look the Valor's driver out, when I did have it about a year ago. The driver was pretty beefy. I think Chad said it weighed around 25 to 30 pounds. The Valors driver looked just like the Ascendant Audio Arsenal
15 in. driver.
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post #20 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 11:33 AM
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michman... so far your descriptions and opinions have essentially been neutral and helpful... thank you very much for this thread and what you are about to do... you are a very brave fellow indeed, you are now my hero.

"For deep bass, the listener is not really listening to the speaker, but rather, is listening to the room as it is being played by the speaker."
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post #21 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 12:14 PM
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can't wait to hear your results!
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post #22 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyboy View Post

+1

But just couldn't resist this pic of the new SVS SB-13 Plus driver.

http://www.svsound.com/products/drivers/plus13_1940.jpg

Someone please feel free to repost the actual picture, rather than the link

Why is it necessary to post pics of an SVS driver in a thread totally unrelated to SVS?

Fanboys!

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post #23 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by combos99 View Post

Hmm, Price set aside, im pretty sure the Subversive is going to spank the Empire.

The Empires are nice, but im sure the Submersive has MUCH beefier drivers, I sort of giggled when Epik posted a pic of the drivers in the Empire.



They just dont strike me as the quality of the older drivers that Epik used.

Ah well, waiting for your review!

And no, im not a Submersive fan boy, I own two Knights.....

That's what I been trying to tell all the fan boys.

There is a reason you can buy two of them for $1499 (to include 4 drivers), the components are cheap.
I just used a Dayton 15" DVC driver in a recent build and it is better buit than those and it was $130 (retail!) on sale.
So, you know it had to cost <$100 to produce...
I am not knocking it or the design or Epik, but you do get what you pay for. Everything has a price and a cost....

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post #24 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 01:30 PM
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I don't expect a pair of Empires to dig as deep as a Submersive. Why? Not sure if I could answer that. But, I'm a firm believer you get what you pay for. If I spend $600 more for a sub, it BETTER dig deeper.

I'm getting flat FR to 15hz in about 10000 cft with a pair of Empires. I don't think I'd need any more than that. Honestly, I seriously considered a submersive. I didn't buy one because 2 empires were considerably cheaper, there was very little wait time and I felt the benefits of duals outweighed a few db below 15hz.

I am not knocking the submersive AT ALL, it seems like an EXCELLENT sub. I am surprised to hear about the no-frills design of the amp connections and layout (or lack thereof). But, I'm sure what you don't see, however, more than makes up for it. :P

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post #25 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 03:22 PM
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i'm no driver expert, but how much can really be discerned from that photo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lalakersfan34 View Post

...Chad has already stated that the drivers in the Empire are better than those used in the Valor/Knight/Caliber. He's also stated that the magnet strength vs. cone weight ratio of this new driver is higher than ANY other Epik driver so far.

Also, in certain scenarios the beefiest driver might not be the best option. With a 600W RMS amp, the Empire doesn't exactly have a multi-kilowatt supply of power to tap. Many beefier drivers (like the LMS-5400) require much more power to shine. It's likely these 15" drivers are a good deal more efficient.

it would seem to me that these sort of metrics are more significant than a 'beefy' appearance.
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post #26 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 03:25 PM
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Is that picture accurate? Curious if the photo isn't to scale....i.e., it looks like someone squeezed it.

 

My DIY Subs ... http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1233892

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post #27 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmst3 View Post

There is a reason you can buy two of them for $1499 (to include 4 drivers), the components are cheap.
I just used a Dayton 15" DVC driver in a recent build and it is better buit than those and it was $130 (retail!) on sale.
So, you know it had to cost <$100 to produce...
I am not knocking it or the design or Epik, but you do get what you pay for. Everything has a price and a cost....

Just what this thread needs- another Materials Cost Analyst

Chad must have refused to sell you an Empire or something because you've had a hard-on for this sub since it came out.
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post #28 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by drewm27 View Post

From what I know about the two drivers and their approximate TS parameters (which came from a friend of mine who is very familiar with Eminence's OEM line, where both of these woofers came from)

didn't chad specifically refute this claim, in direct response to your claim in another thread?
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post #29 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dookie1 View Post

didn't chad specifically refute this claim?

Yes he did
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post #30 of 721 Old 03-03-2010, 03:37 PM
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