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post #1 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys I have a variety of CD's for my home stereo. I currently have a NAD C356BEE integrated amp that is capable of being upgraded to the DAC model. The majority of my CD music is stored lossless on my computer as .wav for convenience. I am debating whether I should invest in the DAC or a new CD player for around $250. Which will sound better? Also, if my music is 16bit/44.1khz will the 24bit/96khz DAC upsample it to that quality?
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post #2 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 06:15 AM
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There will be no difference in the sound either way. 24 bit audio is used by audio engineers in order to have more overhead for mixing and mastering. Basically it allows the digital filters to lose less information. It doesn't sound any different that 16 bit audio. My advice is always to work on speakers and room acoustics in order to gain an improvement in sound quality. Messing with the digital front end simply doesn't matter.
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post #3 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 07:25 AM
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I am debating whether I should invest in the DAC or a new CD player for around $250. Which will sound better?
Neither. And neither will sound better than your current set-up, assuming there's nothing wrong with it. Some DACs are better than others on technical grounds, but even the cheapest ones today are close enough to perfect that you can't hear the difference. (You can spend some money and then fool yourself into thinking you hear a difference, but that's another story.)
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Also, if my music is 16bit/44.1khz will the 24bit/96khz DAC upsample it to that quality?
No. You can't add resolution that isn't already there. But 16/44.1 offers better resolution than humans can generally hear, so you aren't missing out on anything.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #4 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I'm currently using my Apple TV to stream the CD quality audio but it upsamples to 48khz. If I do choose to get the upgraded DAC will I hear a quality difference?
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post #5 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 08:48 AM
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Those two, as usually, have no clue what they are talking about, they just spew their garbage that consist in 'all the DAC's sound the same'. Which, in this case it means that 'no DAC sound as any other DAC' since the OP mentioned that it has NAD C356BEE without the DAC option.

Not, back to reality world:
I think that if you have your music on a PC/MAC with USB connection, it makes sense to use the NAD DAC upgrade. Definitely would be better than integrated sound in your Apple TV - if that's what you use now, probably you have the older model with analog out?
The NAD upgrade it is based on Burr-Brown TI PCM1796 chip, IMO that's a decent sounding part.
And will sound probably equal with NAD's new CD lineup, except maybe their high end NAD C 565BEE (that has a good upsampling and a little better DAC chips).

On the other hand, if you can get a cheaper second-hand CD player that was top-of-the-line some 10 years ago, it might be a better choice financially. I personally found out like better the sound of the CD players that have true multibit DAC chips, as opposed to newer delta-sigma chips found in all the new DVD/DAC's (and certainly in that upgrade DAC from NAD). The downside is that you would have to burn al your music on CD's.
And, another minus for second-hand, in a few cases I found out that lasers might need to be replaced in older units that saw a lot of use - that's not a big deal for me, but it might be for you.
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post #6 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 09:12 AM
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Well, I'm currently using my Apple TV to stream the CD quality audio but it upsamples to 48khz. If I do choose to get the upgraded DAC will I hear a quality difference?
No. The upsampling is quite benign, and isn't going to have any audible effect. The fact that DACs generally sound the same is so widely accepted in the scientific community that it's even made the science textbooks. If you want to improve your system, you're working at the wrong end of the chain.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #7 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Those two, as usually, have no clue what they are talking about, they just spew their garbage that consist in 'all the DAC's sound the same'. Which, in this case it means that 'no DAC sound as any other DAC' since the OP mentioned that it has NAD C356BEE without the DAC option.

Not, back to reality world:
I think that if you have your music on a PC/MAC with USB connection, it makes sense to use the NAD DAC upgrade. Definitely would be better than integrated sound in your Apple TV - if that's what you use now, probably you have the older model with analog out?
The NAD upgrade it is based on Burr-Brown TI PCM1796 chip, IMO that's a decent sounding part.
And will sound probably equal with NAD's new CD lineup, except maybe their high end NAD C 565BEE (that has a good upsampling and a little better DAC chips).

On the other hand, if you can get a cheaper second-hand CD player that was top-of-the-line some 10 years ago, it might be a better choice financially. I personally found out like better the sound of the CD players that have true multibit DAC chips, as opposed to newer delta-sigma chips found in all the new DVD/DAC's (and certainly in that upgrade DAC from NAD). The downside is that you would have to burn al your music on CD's.
And, another minus for second-hand, in a few cases I found out that lasers might need to be replaced in older units that saw a lot of use - that's not a big deal for me, but it might be for you.

subjective onions should be taken with a big grain of salt....and a perhaps a dose of fairy dust. wink.gif

OP the real knowledgeable folks are easy to spot and will never purposefully steer you wrong. it is up to you if you want the red pill or the blue pill.

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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post #8 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 09:26 AM
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Jason, stick to the tread. Just say if the NAD upgrade is better or not than the AppleTV out. I have datasheets of the DAC chips itself to prove my point. Do you have anything to prove the opposite (besides lame comments)?
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

The fact that DACs generally sound the same is so widely accepted in the scientific community that it's even made the science textbooks.
'Science textbooks'? LOL, which ones? Weren't you asking me for proof when I claimed that you said that "all DAC sound the same" - and you said that you didn't say such thing? You know that are using 'generally' as 'always'?
Ridiculous...
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post #9 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Jason, stick to the tread. Just say if the NAD upgrade is better or not than the AppleTV out. I have datasheets of the DAC chips itself to prove my point. Do you have anything to prove the opposite (besides lame comments)?

plenty. try researching proper testing procedures for audio and LEARN something.

the OP got the correct answer to his question in post #2.

your data sheets don't mean anything if they represent ranges beyond the range of human hearing - this should be a fairly simple concept to understand. rolleyes.gif

the only thing the OP will gain on an upgrade is new gear, which is always fun and the opportunity for modern convenience features (audio over USB for example). no sound upgrade - the sound and quality of it will be the same as what he currently is using unless of course you can prove reliably otherwise wink.gif.....which you wont because a) your scared, b) you lack the understanding and education to know that you cant.

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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post #10 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

. I have datasheets of the DAC chips itself to prove my point. ..

What do the data sheets say about audibility? Nobody is saying DAC's aren't different from one another, only that they sound the same despite those differences. Believe what you like but don't try to draw others into your beliefs.
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post #11 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

your data sheets don't mean anything if they represent ranges beyond the range of human hearing - this should be a fairly simple concept to understand. rolleyes.gif

That's the whole point, and one that Sonic refuses to acknowledge. Can anyone explain to me why changes in numbers in performance matter if human being simply cannot hear the difference?
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post #12 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bo130 View Post

That's the whole point, and one that Sonic refuses to acknowledge. Can anyone explain to me why changes in numbers in performance matter if human being simply cannot hear the difference?
I've seen that type or posting come from shills for retailers and they are stubborn.
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post #13 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Jason, stick to the tread. Just say if the NAD upgrade is better or not than the AppleTV out. I have datasheets of the DAC chips itself to prove my point. Do you have anything to prove the opposite (besides lame comments)?
'Science textbooks'? LOL, which ones? Weren't you asking me for proof when I claimed that you said that "all DAC sound the same" - and you said that you didn't say such thing? You know that are using 'generally' as 'always'?
Ridiculous...

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that these tiny differences in DAC output performance *might* be audible in some cases.

Having designed and tested audio DAC outputs on numerous high-volume consumer A/V products (something SoNic67 can't claim), I can tell you from experience that the final performance of the overall output depends not only on the DAC chip specs, but also on the design of the DC power supplying the chip, the design of the ground around the chip, the design of the routing of the lines to and from the chip, etc.

A poor design could use a chip with great numbers and mess it up by having a noisy power supply or messed-up board layout. A really clean circuit board design could squeak better performance from a lesser chip.

So if SoNic67 wants to lead you down the rabbit hole of thinking you can hear these tiny measurable differences, then he needs to start paying as much - if not more - attention to the circuit board the chip is on, and not just focus on the datasheet claims of the chips.

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post #14 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 01:22 PM
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Hey iduhfuse,

Sorry your thread's been semi-hijacked by some people who'd rather engage in a p!ssing match. I stand by my earlier advice, and the science behind it. If you have more questions, there are still people around willing to give you constructive answers.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #15 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 01:24 PM
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A poor design could use a chip with great numbers and mess it up by having a noisy power supply or messed-up board layout. A really clean circuit board design could squeak better performance from a lesser chip.
True, but avoiding these problems is pretty trivial, which is why almost every producer of CD players and DACs manages to do so.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #16 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 01:30 PM
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We're in agreement, mcnarus, but I'm trying to live in SoNic's (fantasy?) world, where the difference between a dynamic range of 96 dB and 98 dB is audible. In that case, layout and power supply can make a difference.

I did several products that used the same DAC chip, and each product would have slightly different measurements for its output. I'm not claiming those would be audible, but I'm telling SoNic that if he's chasing the rainbows of DAC chip specs from datasheets, that he's got even more rainbows to chase with board layouts. He has told us he has upgraded op amps and DACs, but has he redone the circuit boards to squeeze out that last bit of performance? If not, he's just living in mid-fi land. wink.gif

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post #17 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 10:12 PM
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It's settled, everything sounds the same. Problems are already solved by a bunch of wannabe 'scientists', no need for further discussions.
All others that hear different, you are just imagining things. Any garbage made in China is everything that you'll ever need, because you can't hear anything.

Please shut down this forum/site, it is useless.
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post #18 of 60 Old 08-31-2013, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

It's settled, everything sounds the same. Problems are already solved by a bunch of wannabe 'scientists', no need for further discussions.
All others that hear different, you are just imagining things. Any garbage made in China is everything that you'll ever need, because you can't hear anything.

Please shut down this forum/site, it is useless.

Acting like a child isn't helping your case.
And that's from somebody who *loves* to act like a child. wink.gif

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post #19 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post


Please shut down this forum/site, it is useless.

Obviously it is useless to you. But the rest of us like it. So the answer is not to shut it down but rather to suggest that you move your writing to Audio Asylum where you won't get any disagreement.
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post #20 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

It's settled, everything sounds the same.

It gets you attention, so your posts seem to repeat that lie over and over again.
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Problems are already solved by a bunch of wannabe 'scientists', no need for further discussions.

The problems with speakers, recordings, and room acoustics are far from solved.
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All others that hear different, you are just imagining things.

The truth is that apart from experimental controls, we all hear these illusory differences.
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Any garbage made in China is everything that you'll ever need, because you can't hear anything.

So much even high end equipment is made in China, and if not assembled in China, the parts are made there.

Just for grins:



Note the text in the bottom center:

"Precision Crafted in China"

;-)
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Please shut down this forum/site, it is useless.

I think we do pretty well with exposing uncomfortable truths....
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post #21 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by iduhfuse View Post

Hi guys I have a variety of CD's for my home stereo. I currently have a NAD C356BEE integrated amp that is capable of being upgraded to the DAC model. The majority of my CD music is stored lossless on my computer as .wav for convenience. I am debating whether I should invest in the DAC or a new CD player for around $250. Which will sound better? Also, if my music is 16bit/44.1khz will the 24bit/96khz DAC upsample it to that quality?

 

The guys who are telling you that there will be no audible difference between the DACs are giving you sound advice which is backed by proper science. These days DACs are commodity items and even the cheapest found in reasonably decent modern AVRs, CD players, BD players etc have specifications which exceed that of the human ear to discern differences. Once a component has reached that level of performance, any further 'improvement' is pointless because the differences are inaudible. For example, if 0.1% distortion is inaudible to human hearing, then engineering a component to deliver 0.001% is futile (other than for marketing purposes and to convince those who don't understand these things to pay a lot more for essentially nothing). 

 

If you want to really improve the sound, forget futzing with digital front ends and concentrate on speakers, speaker placement, subwoofer optimisation and, most important of all - the room itself. The room is by far the biggest influence on what you hear and the huge 20-30dB swings in frequency response that are commonly induced by most rooms have a far more profound effect on what you hear than any modern SS amp or DAC or BD player. There are guys in these threads who claim they can hear differences between one DAC and another, yet their rooms are so poor it is surprising they can tolerate to listen to any music in them at all. They chase these illusory differences in components because their rooms are so bad they are always trying to get better sound, but they fail to understand what facilitates better sound so their search and upgradeitis is endless (which is music to the ears of AV stores and some manufacturers of course). 

 

If you spent your budget on some room treatments and acoustic panels you will immediately hear a substantial and real difference. Just 4 good panels in a typical room will make a vast difference. Check out the Realtraps and ~GIK Acoustics websites for lots of good info, videos etc.

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post #22 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, I didn't expect all that lol. So in theory, unless I have music higher than the bitrate ability of the DAC, there's no point on getting a new one?
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post #23 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Note the text in the bottom center:
"Precision Crafted in China"
Designed 'where' is what matters, smart guy. That sets the specs of the parts used inside and reflect in final price.
But that doesn't matter for you, because 'they all sound the same'...
Oh, and you forgot to take your 'sarcasm detection' pill.
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Originally Posted by iduhfuse View Post

Wow, I didn't expect all that lol. So in theory, unless I have music higher than the bitrate ability of the DAC, there's no point on getting a new one?
How about you listen to your own ears instead of some frustrated guys? Borrow a good DAC and listen it in your system. If you hear differences, don't let somebody tell you that you are 'mentally impaired' by the mere sight of the DAC and you are imagining things.
Also, good headphones will add more quality that spending major $ in speakers.
PS: In US you can buy a DAC and return it with no major issues, don't know where are you from.
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post #24 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by iduhfuse View Post

Wow, I didn't expect all that lol. So in theory, unless I have music higher than the bitrate ability of the DAC, there's no point on getting a new one?

 

There is no point in buying a new DAC. It won’t do anything your current DAC doesn’t do.

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post #25 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Note the text in the bottom center:
"Precision Crafted in China"
Designed 'where' is what matters, smart guy. That sets the specs of the parts used inside and reflect in final price.
 

 

That isn't what you said. You said stuff made in China was "garbage". Are you backtracking on that now and saying stuff made in China isn’t garbage, so long as it isn't designed in China?
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post #26 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 09:25 AM
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For me, 'made in' includes the design and final quality control. Product from start to finish. Otherwise is 'assembled in'...
Cheap products by design will cut shortcuts in manufacture process to satisfy greedy consumers. Quality control is skimped on, they rely on 'returns' if products don't work.
At the other end, they need some people to advertise and convince buyers that their cheap POS are 'as good' as reputable companies products. That's where you come in, and you do a swell job at that.
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post #27 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 10:45 AM
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Hey, Sonic, do you have any actual experience in the audio field, or are you just spitting back stuff you read somewhere?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #28 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 10:51 AM
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Wow, I didn't expect all that lol. So in theory, unless I have music higher than the bitrate ability of the DAC, there's no point on getting a new one?
Not really. There is the occasional bum product—and these are probably as common on the high end, where design may be done by an underqualified guy in his garage. Way back in the early days of hifi, sound quality was all over the lot, but as solid state electronics and digital audio matured, these problems became few and far between. The exception remains speakers (and analog gear if you're into that), where we're talking about real sound in rooms, not electrons in wires.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #29 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

For me, 'made in' includes the design and final quality control. Product from start to finish. Otherwise is 'assembled in'...
 

 

Even better backpedalling than before...

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post #30 of 60 Old 09-01-2013, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Note the text in the bottom center:
"Precision Crafted in China"
Designed 'where' is what matters, smart guy. That sets the specs of the parts used inside and reflect in final price.

Your motto must be "Never give the sucker a break" because you keep moving the goalposts.

You said:

"Any garbage made in China."

So I do some research in a vain attempt to educate you.

Then you change the rules and suddenly according to you, my proof is misdirected.

So far today I've proven that Emotiva and Cambridge Audio products are according to you: "Any garbage made in China.", and now you up the ante.

Prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Emotiva and Cambridge and no other high end audio company don't farm out any design work to China or some other LDC where the engineers are cheap and you've got a deal.

Failing that, your posts are just more hot air.
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But that doesn't matter for you, because 'they all sound the same'...

I never said that without additional qualifications, so not only can't I trust you to be true to your word, you also keep misrepresenting what I said in the past.

Is your problem something in the drinking water?
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