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post #1 of 2588 Old 09-15-2002, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking for plans for very high quality theater speakers. I'm not into design software, but rather looking for some plans that have been proven winners.

Anyone?

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post #2 of 2588 Old 09-15-2002, 12:08 PM
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Ted,
Call www.meniscusaudio.com and ask for Mark
They can build speakers with accuton ceramic drivers and Eton Kevlar drivers that will be right up there with the Big Boys! They built me a custom 4 way 2 enclosure center channel speaker.
Regards, Mark
mburnste@dmc.org

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Top Home Theater's I hope to see: The Bland's
Art's and my buddy Steve Bruzonsky! And Oneobgyn if I ever make it to NorCal!
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post #3 of 2588 Old 09-15-2002, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Mark, but I'm looking to build them myself. What I need are some directions, etc. A recipe.

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post #4 of 2588 Old 09-15-2002, 12:47 PM
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Saw these at Speaker City USA
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post #5 of 2588 Old 09-15-2002, 01:44 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Ted White
Thanks Mark, but I'm looking to build them myself. What I need are some directions, etc. A recipe.

Ted

Meniscus Audio can supply parts and plans of cabinets and crossovers as well as build them if requested.
additional places http://madisound.com/ and http://zalytron.com/

mark

Top Home Theater's I hope to see: The Bland's
Art's and my buddy Steve Bruzonsky! And Oneobgyn if I ever make it to NorCal!
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post #6 of 2588 Old 09-15-2002, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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These are good. Has anyone actually heard these? I was thinking there was a "best of class" out there that has been tested and heard by some of you out there.

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post #7 of 2588 Old 09-16-2002, 06:25 PM
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I am in the middle of building the Audax Home Theater Center channel speaker. I will be in a position to let you know first hand how it sounds in about a week.

The center speaker is described here

Full plans and description are at this link. (A corrected and updated PDF copy of the plans that used to be on the old USA Audax web-site)

More construction details at this link

Two minor errors in the plans published on the Audax web-site are described here

I ordered the kit of parts from Madisound (http://www.madisound.com)and I am building the cabinet myself. They did have cabinets available, but if I bought it assembled, I would not get to make as much sawdust.

I plan on building the full HT set of speakers but was not sure of how they would sound. In addition, I wanted to see how I did with constructing the center channel speaker box before committing to the entire project. If this works out, I'll be ordering the left/right front and rear channel kits soon.

At this point, the parts for the box are nearly done and ready for assembly. I will probably assemble everything and give it a listen before I glue on the last side and finish the cabinet with veneer. That way, I can be sure the crossovers are working correctly.

I looked at a lot of DIY designs before deciding on the Audax HT. I liked that they took into consideration the off axis response of the center channel. In my case, that is critical as only one of my theater seats is on-axis.

For the past few days I have been making lots of sawdust out of MDF. So far, he cabinet weighs about 35 lbs... empty... I figure it will be close to 45 lbs once the crossovers and drivers are mounted.

Got to go make more sawdust....
Joe L.

Edited to add link to description of errors in Audax plans.
Edited to correct link to Audax plans to point to PDF version. (They used to point to the USA Audax web-site, but it now is simply a pointer to the French Audax site and the plans there are not as detailed as the PDF compiled by an AVS member)
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post #8 of 2588 Old 09-16-2002, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Great Post Joe! Just great!

Sounds like a winning system. You must tell us how it goes. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

Ted

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post #9 of 2588 Old 09-16-2002, 07:40 PM
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You could try some of the projects here:

http://www.speakerbuilding.com/

Especially the Geers EVE II and the Andromeda.

Also, search in the Audio forum for 'Unity Horns' and you'll get full details of Bob Sorel's excellent system.

And finally check www.htguide.com in the DIY forum for some of the moderators projects.

Steve
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post #10 of 2588 Old 09-17-2002, 07:57 AM
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Ted,

What exactly are you trying to accomplish with DIY speakers.

If you are bored and this is just recreational they can be lots of fun.

If you are trying to save money they are almost never competitive with the most bang for the buck commercial speakers. The Silicon Valley is filled with smart engineers who love to "rool their own". But I have never yet heard a single finished speaker that sounded as good as something else I had heard at the cost of what they spent on components, let alone their time.

Most "speaker kits" are offered by those making their living selling the drivers at high cost relative to the OEM cost that a volume buyer would pay. The reall problem is finding a recipe that has sufficient crossover design expertise. They are not easy or inexpensive to do well and more important than the raw drivers used IMO.

Have you heard the Swans Diva speakers ? I can't imagine any DIY design being able to duplicate their performance if its bang for the buck you are after.
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post #11 of 2588 Old 09-17-2002, 08:47 AM
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Try some of the plans from Adire Audio. They have links to published reviews and amateur reviews by members of this and other audio forums.

-Robert
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post #12 of 2588 Old 09-17-2002, 10:37 AM
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Check out an interesting site at

www.northcreekmusic.com

I haven't built or heard these speakers, but in the course of researching
high quality DIY speakers, these were highly recommended. I finally decided
that I didn't want to tackle the wood working involved in DIY and bought
Swan Diva 6.1s instead.
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post #13 of 2588 Old 09-17-2002, 12:21 PM
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Ted, I came up with my own design about 5 years ago, and then went to Madisound to have the crossovers designed using their LEAP software, the driver specs and my cabinet design. You can see pics and drawings of my speakers on my web site if you choose. My main speakers were published in Speaker Builder magazine, which is now combined with several other publications and is called AudioXpress. I have made a matching MTM design center channel speaker as well as mid/tweeter surrounds.
I am using all of them in my theater as we speak.
I have everything documented on how to make them, as well as some tips on what I would do differently if I was to make them again (construction changes).

Scott
 

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post #14 of 2588 Old 09-17-2002, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Speaker Builder Magazine..? Really? That's impressive. I'll check out your site!

Thanks

Ted

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post #15 of 2588 Old 09-28-2002, 01:58 PM
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I have had less time in the evenings to devote to making sawdust out of MDF, but my center channel speaker is about at the point where I can put the drivers in and see how it sounds. I expected to be done by now, but I am getting closer.

I started with 4 MDF shelves I purchased from Home Depot. They were 12 1/4 inches wide, 49 inches long and 3/4 inches thick. I used the factory edges wherever possible to get square corners for my speaker. Per square foot, it was a few dollars more than buying a full sheet of MDF, but I do not have a table saw to make accurate cuts, so I took advantage of the factory cut on the shelves edges to be square and true. Besides, it was much easier to get them into the back seat of my car.

I used a circular saw to cut within 1/4 inch of the true dimension, then I clamped a straight edge to it and used a flush trim bit (the type with the little ball bearing on the end) in my router to get a clean edge (of the right size)
It is not the same as having a complete workshop full of woodworking tools, table saws, jointers, planers, etc., but the trim bit in the router worked very well for me. I was able to get accurate square edges and 90 degree angles using this technique and construction therefore was pretty easy.

The box was assembled with fine-thread drywall screws first, then disassembled for the final re-assembly with glue. I predrilled all screw holes and countersunk all the screwheads. (before I am done, I'll finish the cabinets with veneer)

The most recent step was to glue on the front and rear second layer of MDF. This gives me a panel thickness of 1 1/2 inches in the front and rear. Once they were glued on, I again used my router with the trim bit to accurately trim them to the size of the inner front and rear panels. (I had cut them oversize and did the final trimming after gluing them in place) A bit of sanding and everything is looking really fine.

You can find the plans here :
Audax Home Theater Speaker Plans



I'm just about done making sawdust out of MDF for the center channel. I can't wait to hear it in action.

Joe L.
Home Depot shelves - sawdust + Audax drivers and crossovers = DIY Center channel speaker. (basic speaker building math)

Edited to fix link
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post #16 of 2588 Old 09-30-2002, 12:43 PM
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http://www.northcreekmusic.com/Vision/VisionInfo.htm

After doing a lot of research with the same goal in mind, I built a pair of Vision Signature speakers, a high end MAPD monitor loudspeaker system featuring the Scan Speak 15S/8530K-01 mid-woofers and Scan-Speak D2905/9900 Revelator tweeter in a classic MTM configuration, and can highly recommend them. I have the center channel plans and lumber but haven't started them yet. Check out the above link for details. These sound absolutely fantastic in the two-channel mode I currently use them in. I also built the North Creek Leviathan Subwoofer.

George
LL
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post #17 of 2588 Old 09-30-2002, 07:26 PM
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George,

If your speakers sound half as good as they look, they must be wonderful. Very nice job on the finish. You must be very proud of your work.

In my case, I'm planning on using a satin finish and staining the oak veneer with a black aniline dye. I do not want my center speaker to reflect a lot of light from the screen.

It probably would be best if I just painted the MDF in flat-black, but I just can't bring myself to put that kind of finish on such a nice speaker cabinet.

I took a look at the north creek site. Their kits are more expensive than the ones I am building from madisound. In addition, I felt that the approach of having a separate midrange speaker in the center channel was important as off-axis response was critical in my theater. That made me choose the audax design over the northcreek design.

I've seen frequency response plots of MTM (midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer) designed speakers when horizontally orientated and off-axis In one case(I'll try to find the link), the critical midrange was over 10 db down, in another, they talked about it being 18 db down at 2000Hz when 30 degrees off axis. (right in the middle of the frequency range for speech) In this example, the builder measured the off-axis response of the MTM style center speaker he had built and supplied a response curve graph. Ouch... most of the midrange is over 10 to 15 db down off axis. His own comment was "Yuck! Look at how bad the off-axis response of a horizontal MTM is! This is why no one in their right mind would use this design for a center
channel."

Talk about making it hard to follow the dialog in a movie if you are not seated directly on axis. One of the major reasons I choose the design I did as I only have one seat in my theater that is "on-axis". The audax web-site stated that the frequency response for their design was flat within a few db even when off axis.
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post #18 of 2588 Old 10-06-2002, 05:08 PM
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So J.L., how is that speaker coming?
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post #19 of 2588 Old 10-07-2002, 05:43 AM
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This weekend I had everything in my DIY center channel assembled. The crossovers are wired and I temporally attached the top with screws. (The inner enclosure is supposed to be sealed, but since the top fits so well, I figured the sound would not be affected too much.) This was my chance to make sure that I had everything wired correctly.

I left it playing music overnight at a reasonable listening level to allow the speakers to break in. They did seem to improve after that and get even more detailed.

In a word, the speaker sounds great. I spent the weekend trying different types of program material. (I watched Moulin Rouge, Blade 2, and Hart's War) One thing I was looking for was how well I was able to understand dialog in the presence of other background sounds. It was very easy to hear the difference (from the computer speakers I was using) when watching a movie.


Last night, I disassembled the speakers (removed the drivers) so that I could apply the veneer finish. This should happen over the next few days.

The speaker is very heavy and not very easy to carry around once assembled. I can already see that I want to position it so that its top is in line with my line of vision (angled so that its speakers are pointed toward my ears) I will be making an angled stand for it from scraps of MDF I have left over from its construction.

Although you might think I was doing this for best sound, that would only be part of the story. The primary reason is to minimize the light reflected from the top of the speaker. It was distracting till I propped up the front of the speaker so that I could not see the speaker's top panel. I expect this will be lessened when I apply a matte black finish to the speaker.

I will be ordering the parts for the other channels this week from madisound.com. With any luck, I will be making more sawdust this weekend. I'll post another picture once I have the veneer applied.

Joe L.
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post #20 of 2588 Old 10-23-2002, 05:20 PM
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At this point, I have finished the veneering and about ready to stain and finish the center channel.

The construction has taken a lot longer than I initially thought, however, I only have had the chance to work on the speaker for an hour or two each week.

I can not be more pleased with the appearance so far. I used yellow carpenter's glue on the cabinet and veneer, let them both dry, and then ironed on the veneer allowing the heat to melt the glue to bond the veneer to the MDF. It worked great. The veneer is paper-backed red-oak purchased from Woodworker's supply in Burlington, NC.

The hardest task was trimming the veneer. That took far longer than expected. I did most of it by hand using a razor knife after getting it rough trimmed using a flush trimming bit in my router. The oak is really tough even when paper thin.

Here is a picture... I'm almost there... (I have not yet built a stand for it, so it is propped up on a couple of blocks of MDF temporally)



PS.
The box of drivers and crossovers for the L/R Front and Rear speakers has arrived from madisound.com. I'll be covered in sawdust... again....
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post #21 of 2588 Old 10-26-2002, 08:59 AM
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Try klone-audio.com

Thanks,

Jeff

Finally went digital: RS20, ISCO IIIs, DIY 10.5' wide torus screen, Stewart StudioTek 1.3 G3 with 4 way masking and adjustable image size
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post #22 of 2588 Old 10-26-2002, 11:41 AM
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J.L. that speaker is the best! I am glad you have posted those pics, every time I see them it brings me closer to building my own. Two questions: Do you have spectrum analysis graphs of the ported design I have only seen them for the sealed variety? And what would it be beneficial to use the ported design for all (3) front speakers?
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post #23 of 2588 Old 10-26-2002, 01:06 PM
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brothermaynard

I do not have any frequency response graphs. However, according to the Audax web-site, the Joe D'Appolito designed center channel performs as follows:
Quote:


On-axis frequency response is within +1.6dB from 100Hz to 20kHz. The low frequency -3dB point is 55Hz and sensitivity is 87.5dB/2.83v/1m. At typical viewing angles within +15 degrees off the on-axis position, response changes less than 1dB over the full frequency range.

Since Joe D'Appolito is a highly respected speaker designer, I expect that there is more truth than marketing in the Audix web-site description of the frequency response.

The left and right front speakers are also ported in the rear of the enclosure. The only difference is that they use a single 3 inch diameter port instead of two smaller ports in the center channel.

From what I have read, the efficiency is higher in a ported design. Other than that, I cannot comment. I'm following the Audix plans because I am not a loudspeaker designer.

I'll be starting the L/R front speaker construction after I get the center finished. ( I already have all the materials...but my wife suggested I get the center finished first before I start making more sawdust. Since sawdust and finish work with varnish don't mix too well, I agreed with her advice.) Left / Right Plans are at this link

I'll be sure to take more pictures..

Joe L.

Edited to fix link...
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post #24 of 2588 Old 10-27-2002, 08:14 AM
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I have applied two coats of black Aniline dye to veneer.

Wow... I almost want to stop now... The finish is almost flat black, yet the grain of the oak shows through. Exactly like I want for under my screen. (to minimize reflections off of the top surface of the speaker)

I'm off to the hardware store to purchase a sealer and finish for it. Since the dye was water based, I'll look for an alcohol based sealer.

The dye is perfect. I purchased it from Woodworker's supply in powder form. I mixed (dissolved) one ounce of it in a quart of hot water. Based on the amount I used to coat the center channel, that quart is way more than I'll ever need to finish all the speakers. I barely used any in the two coats I applied so far.

Since the speaker finish is so flat, I used a slave bounce flash along with the flash on the camera to take this picture. Without the extra flash, it was hard to see any detail at all. (of course, that is exactly the finish I am working toward.. I want the speaker to disappear when the lights are dimmed and a movie is playing)

Joe L.
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post #25 of 2588 Old 10-27-2002, 02:57 PM
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J. L. ,... I am following your progress with great interest (thanks for the pictures) as my father-in-law is making me wood box part of the Audax Center Channel as my Christmas Present (he has way more wood-working talent than I will ever have).
Couple quick questions. Do you plan on using Speaker Grills?... If so, which ones. We have a new puppy so I will be adding the grills but there are so many to choose from. And the second questions does the Audax kit come complete with the egg crate foam and other stuffing or did you buy that seperately on your own?.. I can't seem to find on the Audax info a specific yes or no to that question.
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post #26 of 2588 Old 10-27-2002, 06:11 PM
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blitzkreig,

I do not plan on adding any grills even though there are two dogs and a cat that allow my wife and I to share their house. Fortunately, they are well behaved and have not destroyed any furniture. (lately)

The center channel will sit atop the stage, below the screen and out of harms way from the animals. (They are not interested in climbing on the stage)

Actually, the cat attempted to walk on the stage during its initial construction. At that point I had draped fabric across its frame to see what it would look like. The cat stepped onto it, the fabric gave way as there was nothing supporting it, and the cat jumped back to safety thinking it was falling. (the stage platform is about six inches high so the cat was not in any real danger... but the cat did not know it) It has kept off of the stage since. (who says cats are dumb.)

The madisound kit of parts did not include eggcrate foam. Instead, it included flat acoustic foam about 1/2 inch thick. Since the original plans called for the thicker foam, and since I had a piece of the blue foam you see in the pictures, I used it instead. I expect that two layers of the foam they supplied would have worked just as well. (they supplied more than enough) From what I have read, the eggcrate foam is available at your local Walmart as an inexpensive mattress pad.

The kit also included polyester batting for the center compartment. I'll add that just before mounting the speakers.

I only have two complaints with the madisound kit of parts.
-- They did not supply enough wire to allow me to mount the crossovers where I would have preferred. I needed a few more feet to mount one crossover in the bottom of each compartment.
-- The person who assembled the crossovers glued the parts to the circuit boards with their values facing the board. I would have preferred the values to be visible.

It sounds like your father-in-law will make you a very nice Christmas present. I hope to finish my set of speakers by then myself. It has taken me two months to get this far, but this is the first time I have ever done anything like this. I expect the other speakers will go faster as I have the experience of building the center channel to draw upon and they are way less complicated.

Joe L.
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post #27 of 2588 Old 10-27-2002, 08:39 PM
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Thanks... and I must compliment you on that black dye job, it looks very nice.
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post #28 of 2588 Old 10-28-2002, 06:08 PM
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there is more to just slapping some wood together and cutting holes and dropping tubes in. do some research dont just look for general plans.. these plans are for specific drivers.. do a searcg on google for speaker building and go buy a book at radioshack about building speaker boxs..
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post #29 of 2588 Old 10-28-2002, 11:41 PM
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pen25,

I could not agree with you more. The drivers, crossover, and enclosure must be designed together. If not done correctly, the resulting frequency response is unpredictable and nowhere near optimal.

One of the reasons I went with the Audax center channel design was because I did exactly what you suggested. I did my research, found a highly respected design where the plans and drivers were both available, and where the biggest complaint I could find was that the speaker enclosure was huge and not something you could perch atop the average TV. Oh yes, it was also affordable.

Are there better designs... probably... but the Audax center channel has been compared to some pretty expensive designs and held its own. If anything, it is one that others were compared to in their evaluations.

In any case, I installed the drivers last night and settled in to watch a few movies. The dialog is distinct and the speaker performs exactly as expected. It sounds great even when seated off center. My biggest complaint is that the satin finish (3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic) is still more glossy that I would prefer.

Here it is, sitting on my stage. (now it doesn't look that big when you sit it under a 106 inch screen.)


It's time to make more sawdust... Front Left/Right are next.

Joe L.
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post #30 of 2588 Old 10-29-2002, 12:05 PM
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WOW... she is beautiful!!! Thanks for the step by step progress report.
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