Think I might of figured it out. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 07-04-2007, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I think it might be some pretty lousy engineering on these HD stations around me. Some of them wont even go out 20 miles without braking up. Some will be as strong and not drop out at all. Others will sometimes have the HD-2 channel up, and sometimes not. Lets get this together!
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post #2 of 28 Old 07-04-2007, 05:19 PM
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You are correct in your thinking! Some stations (FM band) seem to think that"Bright TINKLE" is the end-all/be-all to "great HD Radio Sound"! Cue the gym buzzer! Your best bet is to keep your eyes peeled on the list of HD Radio stations in your area that are up and coming. I found a few late-bloomers that really had an opportunity to get their sonic "ducks in a row". You would expect your AC and Hot AC stations to have their sound nice and transparent to showcase their more diverse music texture coming from their playlists. I've found that you're more prone to be rolling the dice with Classic Rock outlets. The simple answer is: "The more, the merrier". I'm in the Cleveland/Akron OH market and can hear some FM HDs from Youngstown OH roughly 44 miles east of me. That market seems to have the worst sound tweaks in the entire area IMHO. Let's compare stations: Youngstown's WYFM basically sounds a little louder and brighter but loses in the PUNCH department when compared with Cleveland's WNCX and that's with WYFM running only ONE HD channel compared to WNCX's 2 HD channels! Youngstown's HOT AC WHOT again sounds louder and brighter like someone punched-out the attenuation button and floored the treble boost. Cleveland's WQAL sounds very clean and open only to be outdone by newcomer, Akron's WKDD one of the newest HDers in the area online for a scant 2 weeks or so. I give Youngstown a gold ribbon for their WMXY AC station with the best sounding dynamics on both of their HD channels. So just hang in there and wait for your market to blossom just as I did when their were maybe 4 or 5 HD signals to choose from a year ago. Now there's nearly double that in this area alone.......

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post #3 of 28 Old 07-04-2007, 07:00 PM
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How useful HD Radio is?


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post #4 of 28 Old 07-05-2007, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinz View Post

How useful HD Radio is?

I use the DVD to VHS analogy to explain that HD Radio is one of those technologies you don't know you need or want until you actually hear it and feel it.

Sure VHS was great! Until DVD. Once you saw a DVD and where blown away VHS was never quite good enough.
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post #5 of 28 Old 07-05-2007, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Theseus View Post

I use the DVD to VHS analogy to explain that HD Radio is one of those technologies you don't know you need or want until you actually hear it and feel it.

Sure VHS was great! Until DVD. Once you saw a DVD and where blown away VHS was never quite good enough.

Agreed, allthough I wasnt that impressed with those LCD flat screen TV's. I think my 27" TV with the digital HD tuner has a better picture then they do. If only I can get my Direct TV picture as good now.
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post #6 of 28 Old 07-05-2007, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Theseus View Post

I use the DVD to VHS analogy to explain that HD Radio is one of those technologies you don't know you need or want until you actually hear it and feel it.

Sure VHS was great! Until DVD. Once you saw a DVD and where blown away VHS was never quite good enough.

And I remember, as a Laserdisc user, being horrified at the PQ of the earliest DVDs, and declaring that I'd get rid of my LD player when they pried my cold dead fingers off of it.

That's how I'm feeling about C-QUAM AM Stereo vs. AM HD Radio right about now. And just like with Laserdiscs and DVDs, the encroachment of HD Radio has completely eliminated AM Stereo availability in the LA market practically overnight.

Fortunately DVDs got a lot better. Here's hoping that HD Radio does the same. I hate bright tinkle even worse than macroblocking!
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post #7 of 28 Old 07-05-2007, 08:18 PM
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narkspud - as somebody who has never seen the picture of a LD in his life... I have to ask - how are/were they? I know you could get PCM and Dolby Digital on the disc, but what was the PQ like? Do you still use your LD player?


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post #8 of 28 Old 07-05-2007, 10:05 PM
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I have been a Laser Disc owner since the Discovision days, about 1980 (so, in fact, I never ever thought VHS was "great" ).

A good Laser Disc looks about 95% equal to a good DVD (or even higher), when both are displayed on a high-quality interlaced CRT display. Laser Discs are sharper than broadcast TV but not quite as high resolution as a good DVD.

When you are using a good upconverting DVD player or HTPC into a high-definition display with a "16:9 anamorphic" or "enhanced for widescreen" DVD, though, the DVD will be quite a bit better.

(I still have my LD players and discs...)

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post #9 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 03:32 AM
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Laserdiscs had plenty of resolution, but being analog there was some noise ("snow") in the picture. Usually you couldn't see it, because the bandwidth/resolution of 1980s tvs was too poor to reveal the limitations. In their day, laserdiscs were THE BEST SOURCE OF QUALITY VIDEO...better than broadcast tv by a considerable margin.
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post #10 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 06:20 AM
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What they said. Since it was an uncompressed (analog) image, there was no macroblocking, and no "fuzz" around outlines, both major issues with the earliest DVDs.

On the downside, they could only fit 1 hour of video per side, or 30 minutes if it was in CAV mode. Some also suffered from the dreaded laser rot, an unstoppable deterioration that would make them unwatchable over time.

They could also get pricey. You know those 2-disc Disney Platinum Editions you can get at Target for $20? The same content on Laserdisc was $100.

Wait, what was this topic about again?
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post #11 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 08:51 AM
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Uh... yea, sorry guys. The HD Radio area has to be the most "off topic" sub-forum in the entire AVS Forum.

Sorry for the off topic-ness, I just have always wondered about LDs. I kind of assumed they were "almost as good as DVDs", but as usual... the first generation of DVDs looked worse than the well established LDs.

While were off in the weeds, I should ask another question you guys might know the answers to.

It's been reported that the first and second generation CD players sounded downright awful, but subsequent generations got significantly better. Is this just typical audiophile BS, or was there real merit to that (did first gen decks sound bad?)


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post #12 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

And I remember, as a Laserdisc user, being horrified at the PQ of the earliest DVDs, and declaring that I'd get rid of my LD player when they pried my cold dead fingers off of it.

I remember you guys! Sometimes I go through the Usenet archives and laugh at the LD vs. DVD arguments from the late 90's. One venomous anti-DVD protester from then now proudly claims to own 3,000 DVDs in his signature!

To sort of bring it back to topic, digital formats can improve a lot once they get popular. When I first got my HD radio a year and half ago, there were a couple of HD2 stations that were impossible to listen to because they were just scrambled noise. I emailed the stations about it. One said they didn't normally monitor their HD stations (but they fixed the problem quickly) and the other apologized and said they just hadn't gotten around to fixing it (understandable since there were only a dozen HD listeners in the area back then).

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post #13 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mattdp View Post

While were off in the weeds, I should ask another question you guys might know the answers to.

It's been reported that the first and second generation CD players sounded downright awful, but subsequent generations got significantly better. Is this just typical audiophile BS, or was there real merit to that (did first gen decks sound bad?)

True. D-to-A conversion has improved tremendously since the first players. The first generation players sounded harsh as all getout, and usually had phase problems with the stereo channels.

The format has been regressing in recent years, as CD mastering guys have launched an industrywide contest to see how loud they can make their discs sound. And it's not just current hits . . . I recently heard an Ames Brothers comp that had the snot compressed out of it and the levels pegged. It's become par for the course nowadays for the "remastered" edition of a classic album to sound dramatically worse than the original 1986 version, which, for all its technical shortcomings, at least preserved the dynamic range that was supposed to be the whole point of the CD format in the first place.

It's easy to get me off topic when it's a subject I'm passionate about. Somebody PLEASE say something else about how good HD AM sounds, or there's no hope for me . . . .
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post #14 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

What they said. Since it was an uncompressed (analog) image, there was no macroblocking, and no "fuzz" around outlines, both major issues with the earliest DVDs.

On the downside, they could only fit 1 hour of video per side, or 30 minutes if it was in CAV mode. Some also suffered from the dreaded laser rot, an unstoppable deterioration that would make them unwatchable over time.

They could also get pricey. You know those 2-disc Disney Platinum Editions you can get at Target for $20? The same content on Laserdisc was $100.

Wait, what was this topic about again?

What's CAV mode?
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post #15 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

True. D-to-A conversion has improved tremendously since the first players. The first generation players sounded harsh as all getout, and usually had phase problems with the stereo channels.

The phase problems were caused by CD players using a single D/A converter for both channels to save money. The practice of D/A conversion hasn't really improved that much since then, but good D/A conversion has gotten so cheap that now any product can do it well. This was what everyone hoped for when CD players first came out.

I have a huge Sony CD player from 1988 and it's ridiculous to use. Skipping a track can take several seconds. What do you do with stuff like that?

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post #16 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

Somebody PLEASE say something else about how good HD AM sounds, or there's no hope for me . . . .

HD AM Radio is the greatest sound ever, will revolutionize the way we listen to music, and bring peace to the world

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I have a huge Sony CD player from 1988 and it's ridiculous to use. Skipping a track can take several seconds. What do you do with stuff like that?

Have you ever seen "Office Space"? Remember the FAX machine?
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post #17 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 12:13 PM
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I had a Sony from 1987 (got it from Goodwill for $4.99). It worked great on most CDs, but those with serious scratched discs would make it "sk k k k k k k k k k k k k k k", while newer players would "skkkip" over that section [as usual, the iTunes rips would sound perfect with no skips]. The transport on this player was really finicky and got to be unusable. By that time, I already had my iPod. I gave it to my brother for parts and it is now in pieces.

While were WAYYY off in the weeds, does anybody here have a CD with indexes on it?


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post #18 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rwagoner View Post

What's CAV mode?

"Constant Angular Velocity" - one frame per revolution. Made it possible to do freeze frames, frame-by-frame, slow motion, and clean onscreen search. The cheaper CLV ("Constant Linear Velocity") editions couldn't do those things, except on the last few players released.

There were great international wars fought over whether the CAV discs had significantly better picture quality.

At work we have a production music library on CD with index markers on the earlier volumes. Lot of good they are now.

HD AM sounds like tin cans in an industrial grade blender.
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post #19 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 04:27 PM
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Are you kidding? ? AM HD on Radio Disney here in LA is rockin!! I, as a 28 year old many love it and listen to it often!! (Just kidding about listening to it, but not about the sound. It is pretty good.)
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post #20 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 05:02 PM
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Kidding about the blender. Not kidding about not liking the sound of KDIS at all. I can't for the life of me understand how anyone can even tolerate listening to music that sounds like that, which is why I have such a hard time discussing it with people who think it sounds good. Can you not hear that glaring metallic fuzz right smack in the high midrange where the teenybopper girl singers' voices are? Or the buzzy csssssssssssssshhhh that's supposed to represent cymbals, sibilants, and everything else high frequency? It just baffles me! It sounds like a styrene 45 played with a fuzz-encrusted needle, only more metallic and computery.

I still have an aircheck I made of KDIS from an SRF-A100 from back when they were still C-QUAM, and even with the 10 kHz rolloff, inferior separation and noticeable distortion, it still sounds 1000% more like music than that electronic hash that they're burping out now.

Please note that I am not bashing HD in general. Some of the FM stations' HD signals definitely sound superior to their analog transmission. Some don't. But the bitrate on AM, at least as it stands now, is way too low for music. KDIS proves it. My opinion. (And back on topic!)
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post #21 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TydalForce View Post

Have you ever seen "Office Space"? Remember the FAX machine?

But I don't hate this CD player. It introduced me to digital sound and made all of my cassettes and LPs sound bad. The fax machine in Office Space was evil.

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post #22 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

I still have an aircheck I made of KDIS from an SRF-A100 from back when they were still C-QUAM, and even with the 10 kHz rolloff, inferior separation and noticeable distortion, it still sounds 1000% more like music than that electronic hash that they're burping out now.
(And back on topic!)

KDIS sounds better in HD than they ever did as analog. Far better. And I've followed them since they were KRLA in stereo.

I've played HD KDIS and analog KIIS-FM in a "blind" test and no one I have tried it with can tell the difference (when they are playing similar music, at least ... sometimes the music gives it away immediately).

Richard
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post #23 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mattdp View Post

While were WAYYY off in the weeds, does anybody here have a CD with indexes on it?

I think I have exactly one CD with more than one index mark on a track. It is Genesis - Invisible Touch, from 1986. The song "Domino" has two parts, and Part 2 has its own index. The CD's case has "Patent pending" molded into the plastic on the back.

I still have my first CD player, a Sony CDP-111 that I bought in 1985 for "only" US$425 or so when a local store had a "no sales tax weekend". It displays and can access indexes directly. It also has two discrete audible-scan buttons and speeds for each direction. That was a cool feature for playing Prince's "Darling Nikki" backward slowly to hear what he was saying...

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post #24 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdp View Post

It's been reported that the first and second generation CD players sounded downright awful, but subsequent generations got significantly better. Is this just typical audiophile BS, or was there real merit to that (did first gen decks sound bad?)

I never thought that first player or my early discs sounded bad, much less "downright awful". Yes, I think a lot of it was audiophile (or even average but old-fashioned-type people's) reaction to new technology. As Scowl said, many Laser Disc owners said comparable things when DVDs first came out. Similar comments are being made about flat-panel TVs and HD programming by old-TV collectors:

http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=115439

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post #25 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rwagoner View Post

KDIS sounds better in HD than they ever did as analog. Far better. And I've followed them since they were KRLA in stereo.

I've played HD KDIS and analog KIIS-FM in a "blind" test and no one I have tried it with can tell the difference (when they are playing similar music, at least ... sometimes the music gives it away immediately).

Richard

KIIS-FM, with its two streams and overprocessed audio, isn't much of a reference signal. It's a perfect example of an FM with HD audio noticeably inferior to the analog. But I'm still certain I can ace your blind test, at least using KISS's main stream. The -2 sounds very much like KDIS, IE horrible.

A comparison between my old aircheck and the sound from my HDT-1 and KD-HDR1 reveals that the HD signal is noticeably quieter (of course) in the quiet passages, and has significantly better frequency response, in that the 10 kHz cutoff of the NRSC mask is quite obvious on the aircheck. HD also has better and more stable separation, and does a fabulous job of reproducing phone calls.

The problem is those artifacts! I won't try to describe them yet again because enough is enough, and if you can't hear them, then you are much luckier than I am and shouldn't go searching for them. I find them obnoxious and distracting, and try as I might, I cannot get past them to enjoy the music. They add alien noises to the original sound that subconsciously make me want to find the problem and fix it. They detract from the music in the same way a blown tweeter, a damaged needle, or interference from the vacuum cleaner upstairs detracts from the music. They're not stashed in the extreme high frequencies, and they're not the relatively musical wateriness (I can't believe I just said that) you find with MP3s. They're a glaring harshness, right smack in a frequency range where it's most irritating.

I just don't get how they don't bother you! I guess if I knocked the treble control down to nothing . . . . .
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post #26 of 28 Old 07-06-2007, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW6ATV View Post

I never thought that first player or my early discs sounded bad, much less "downright awful". Yes, I think a lot of it was audiophile (or even average but old-fashioned-type people's) reaction to new technology. As Scowl said, many Laser Disc owners said comparable things when DVDs first came out. Similar comments are being made about flat-panel TVs and HD programming by old-TV collectors:

http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=115439

Agree that "downright awful" is an overstatement on the early CD players. They were a huge improvement compared to the typical consumer-grade audio equipment of the time. The limiting factor was often an amplifier that couldn't cope with the dynamic range.

However, DVDs did have issues when they first came out, and HD TV can look pretty bad with an overcompressed signal and a poorly calibrated TV. We're in an age where new technologies are demanding that we accept inferior quality as an "improvement", and all too many folks are falling for it. As a record collector, I still have to constantly wade through such "improvements" as simulated stereo, Haeco-CSG, and DynaFlex, all courtesy of a public willing to accept some corporation's hype over the evidence of their own ears.
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post #27 of 28 Old 07-09-2007, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

KIIS-FM, with its two streams and overprocessed audio, isn't much of a reference signal. It's a perfect example of an FM with HD audio noticeably inferior to the analog. But I'm still certain I can ace your blind test, at least using KISS's main stream. The -2 sounds very much like KDIS, IE horrible.

A comparison between my old aircheck and the sound from my HDT-1 and KD-HDR1 reveals that the HD signal is noticeably quieter (of course) in the quiet passages, and has significantly better frequency response, in that the 10 kHz cutoff of the NRSC mask is quite obvious on the aircheck. HD also has better and more stable separation, and does a fabulous job of reproducing phone calls.

The problem is those artifacts! I won't try to describe them yet again because enough is enough, and if you can't hear them, then you are much luckier than I am and shouldn't go searching for them. I find them obnoxious and distracting, and try as I might, I cannot get past them to enjoy the music. They add alien noises to the original sound that subconsciously make me want to find the problem and fix it. They detract from the music in the same way a blown tweeter, a damaged needle, or interference from the vacuum cleaner upstairs detracts from the music. They're not stashed in the extreme high frequencies, and they're not the relatively musical wateriness (I can't believe I just said that) you find with MP3s. They're a glaring harshness, right smack in a frequency range where it's most irritating.

I just don't get how they don't bother you! I guess if I knocked the treble control down to nothing . . . . .

I don't think any of us are arguing that the artifacts aren't there on AM HD, but I think what we are saying is that the audio is superior in HD to the AM analog. In most cases that is.

I believe I saw that AM Stereo in HD is 32 KBps which, with the proper codec, could sound great for music! It just doesn't yet.

And what I mean by superior is that when I listen I don't get that harsh tone and static that made me want to go out and redrum the town. Before AM HD I would have never dialed AM band, but now I do, and frequently.
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post #28 of 28 Old 07-09-2007, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Master Theseus View Post

And what I mean by superior is that when I listen I don't get that harsh tone and static that made me want to go out and redrum the town.

"Harsh tone" in analog indicates a mismatch in equalization, or crummy processing. It would not be an issue with proper NRSC EQ. The harsh tone in HD AM is inherent in the system.

And static knocks out HD lock every time, so I don't think you can legitimately declare that an advantage.
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