Meridian HD621 MHR makes the 861 "High End" again. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 106 Old 05-12-2009, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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The HD621 has just been released by Meridian and is no longer speculation. I had my HD621 installed today by Israel "Izzy" Verchik of NYC's Stereo Exchange and it's MHR "smart link" makes Meridian's 861 "High End" again. You can continue to enjoy Meridian's world class CD playing by using three coaxial "smart link" outputs as before to enjoy Trifield and other Meridian digital delights. Now you can add DTS HD Master HDMI 1.3 Blu-Ray sound as well.

The remaining HD621 coaxial outs can be used to upgrade any of the 6 HDMI inputs, regardless of their age, to full 96k Meridian glory. Also, the HDMI 1.3 out on Blu-Ray players brings you HD DTS that lives up to it's "lossless" high grade reputation through the HD621. Just make sure that your HDMI outs are set to "Auto" as opposed to PCM and that your installer has close ties to Meridian in order to configure your 861 to the new links correctly. A Meridian VP at the demo I purchased the HD621 at told me that the long delay in getting it out had nothing to do with "jitter" on HDMI, but with legal issues dealing with the film studios who release films on Blu-Ray. The HD621 is now out and it works!

So the $3,000 you spend on the HD621 will make you feel that the 20k you spent on the 861 is still valid in today's new Blu-Ray age. You don't have to get a reciever to enjoy full fleged HDMI 1.3 HD sound. I would be interested to hear from other 861 owners on this step forward. Also I would like to hear how the HD621 sound compares to other HDMI 1.3 set ups.

Best of luck and good listening from Capnvid
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post #2 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 06:26 AM
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I agree that the 861 is a marvellous piece but must disagree about a few things:

1. Configuration is very simple...I had my Meridian system reconfigured and working without a hitch in 5 minutes without the need for my Meridian dealer. A minimum level of technical savy, a laptop and a serial/usb cable are all that is neeeded.

2. The settings for the HDMI source that you describe are not correct...neither the HD621 nor any Meridian processor decodes DD-THD or dts-MA and, as such, the HD Audio source must do the decoding meaning that the audio in a Blu-Ray player MUST be set to out PCM (as AUTOmay output biststream, and BITSTREAM will, of course, output bitstream).

3. The benefit of the HD621 for Meridian owners is that it works with any Meridian processor that has an MHR connection meaning units as far back/old as the 568.2MM. That is good customer support.

4. The reason -- or at least one of the key reasons -- as to why the unit sounds so good is that Meridian has including in the HD621's upsampling algorithm (i.e. from 48 kHz to 96 kHz) an apodizing filter which, to my ears, makes a a noticeable difference.

5. Meridian will shortly be releasing an MHR connection that uses CAT-5 rather than 3 coaxial cables whicg means that 8 channels of LPCM will be made available, at least for those Blu-rays that have 8 discrete channels!

I could go on but I think everyine gets the flavour...

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post #3 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

5. Meridian will shortly be releasing an MHR connection that uses CAT-5 rather than 3 coaxial cables whicg means that 8 channels of LPCM will be made available, at least for those Blu-rays that have 8 discrete channels!

Do you mean MMHR input into 861? And is this 'informed speculation' or do you have some concrete information? Thx!

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post #4 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

Do you mean MMHR input into 861? And is this 'informed speculation' or do you have some concrete information? Thx!

Yes, I dropped an M and did in fact mean MMHR...yes, it is, at least in my view, concreate information as I was told by two dealers who are physically 1000's miles apart and who have previously provided advanced but solid information in the past...timeframe is supposedly fall of this year...

HTH

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post #5 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

I agree that the 861 is a marvellous piece but must disagree about a few things:

4. The reason -- or at least one of the key reasons -- as to why the unit sounds so good is that Meridian has including in the HD621's upsampling algorithm (i.e. from 48 kHz to 96 kHz) an apodizing filter which, to my ears, makes a a noticeable difference.

This one is sort of a puzzlement to me. Why would an apodizing filter applied to a sound source at 48 kHz offer any benefit, regardless of whether or not it is upsampled.

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post #6 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ehlarson View Post

This one is sort of a puzzlement to me. Why would an apodizing filter applied to a sound source at 48 kHz offer any benefit, regardless of whether or not it is upsampled.

Do you want the short or the long explanation.

Short explanation, the pre-echo of the brickwall filter is perceived and sounds unnatural while the post-echo is masked by our brains.

The apodizing filter addresses the pre-echo in tradeoff for post-echo and (to many people's ears) a more natural sound.

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post #7 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kotches View Post

Do you want the short or the long explanation.

Short explanation, the pre-echo of the brickwall filter is perceived and sounds unnatural while the post-echo is masked by our brains.

The apodizing filter addresses the pre-echo in tradeoff for post-echo and (to many people's ears) a more natural sound.

Cheers,

The problem here is that regardless of what is upsampled, the frequency response is limited by the Nyquist theorum applied to the original sample rate.

At 44.1 or 48 kHz there just isn't enough guard band between the wanted information and the aliasing to fit in a useful windowing function.

This is why the original papers by Craven et al refer to using apodizing filters at higher sample rates.

So unless I am missing something apodizing filters really don't apply to upsampled 48 or 44.1 kHz data.

So this is why I don't understand what the benefit here could be.

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post #8 of 106 Old 05-13-2009, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey!

I have a Sony BDP S500 Blu-Ray player which would not allow me to hear Roy Orbison's "Black And White Night" in DTS HD sound unless the HDMI setting was on "auto.' The Meridian HD621 manual says that PCM is the correct setting for HDMI, but different machines of different ages may require some trial and error before HDMI "handshake" is achieved via the best setting.

The Meridian expert my installer spoke to during his visit mentioned some hookup problems with the 861 and the first American HD621 models. I'm glad Joel was able to avoid them with his model and "tech savy."

I'm pleased to hear that others are enjoying Meridian's HD621 upgraded and smart connected sound. I would still like to hear from people who have compared the Meridian setup with other other True HD setups with recievers or other preamps. This is the future till something new rolls around the corner. The Meridian VP I spoke with when I purchased the HD621 felt that HDMI would be obsolete in 10 years.

Good listening, Capnvid
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post #9 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capnvid View Post

The Meridian VP I spoke with when I purchased the HD621 felt that HDMI would be obsolete in 10 years.

In 2007, A Meridian man told me HDMI would never take off and Meridian would never incorporate it!

Seriously though, the 621 is a great solution for Meridian owners looking for a path to HD audio and without the need to buy an entirely new product. It will be further improved, if the link can be done with a single CAT5 cable.
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post #10 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 05:25 AM
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Do you mean MMHR input into 861? And is this 'informed speculation' or do you have some concrete information?

This is fact. SpeakerLink will be incorporated using CAT5 throughout their product line. The source is Bob Stuart, who'd I suspect has reliable inside information unless the Salmon dinner had some adverse impact.

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post #11 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ehlarson View Post

The problem here is that regardless of what is upsampled, the frequency response is limited by the Nyquist theorum applied to the original sample rate.

No one's disagreeing with you about this, even Meridian doesn't. Upsampling is not used to alter the FR of the original capture -- it changes the characteristics of the output filter.


Quote:


At 44.1 or 48 kHz there just isn't enough guard band between the wanted information and the aliasing to fit in a useful windowing function.

And yet, it's working. Stereophile's measurements of the effects of the apodizing filter.



Quote:


This is why the original papers by Craven et al refer to using apodizing filters at higher sample rates.

See previous.

Quote:


So unless I am missing something apodizing filters really don't apply to upsampled 48 or 44.1 kHz data.

I'd say you're missing something based on Atkinson's measured results.

Quote:


So this is why I don't understand what the benefit here could be.

See previous post. Reduction of pre-echo which is not masked by the ear/brain filter in traded off with increase of post-echo. Post-echo is masked by the ear/brain filter. Natural sounds don't have pre-echo.

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post #12 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 08:05 AM
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In what way does it make it "High-End" again? The 861 was and still is a excellent performer, but it keeps flawed with the 621. I would have bought a 621 three years ago, but today, I want more. There are two major flaws with the 621.

1. No 192kHz
2. No true 8-channel support

Now, I'm well aware there are few 192kHz titles and 8-channel titles.
192kHz is limited to 6 channels and only used for music. That's something I can live with, so it isn't an issue for me personally but it would be nice to have.

No 8-channel support is a deal killer for me. In two or three years, we'll have alot 8-channel titles and then what? Please don't tell me about Meridians miraculous 6-channel to 8-channel conversion. I want real 8-channel support.

For now, I found an excellent replacement for my 861 and moved the 861 to my second living room system. As soon as Meridian announces a 8-channel solution, I'll place my order for the 621. Until then, my 861 is used for watching some tv shows.

I'll talk to Meridian again next weekend and ask what their plans are. After all, they've mentioned a possible 8-channel solution a while ago. So we'll see where they stand right now.

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post #13 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Stephan View Post

In what way does it make it "High-End" again? The 861 was and still is a excellent performer, but it keeps flawed with the 621. I would have bought a 621 three years ago, but today, I want more. There are two major flaws with the 621.

1. No 192kHz
2. No true 8-channel support

Now, I'm well aware there are few 192kHz titles and 8-channel titles.
192kHz is limited to 6 channels and only used for music. That's something I can live with, so it isn't an issue for me personally but it would be nice to have.

No 8-channel support is a deal killer for me. In two or three years, we'll have alot 8-channel titles and then what? Please don't tell me about Meridians miraculous 6-channel to 8-channel conversion. I want real 8-channel support.

For now, I found an excellent replacement for my 861 and moved the 861 to my second living room system. As soon as Meridian announces a 8-channel solution, I'll place my order for the 621. Until then, my 861 is used for watching some tv shows.

I'll talk to Meridian again next weekend and ask what their plans are. After all, they've mentioned a possible 8-channel solution a while ago. So we'll see where they stand right now.

You are wrong the HD621 does do 8-channel...what is need is the MMHR connection which will be available in the near term OR the ability for the 861 to use 4 SPDIF connections as inputs (as teh HD621 does have 4 SPDIF outputs)...

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post #14 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

You are wrong the HD621 does do 8-channel...what is need is the MMHR connection which will be available in the near term OR the ability for the 861 to use 4 SPDIF connections as inputs (as teh HD621 does have 4 SPDIF outputs)...

That's exactly my point, there is no way to get 8-channel into the 861. I'm aware the 621 has 4 outputs, but they can't be used and that's the problem. The 621 is a add-on for the 861 (or 500-/G-series for that matter), it could have 100 outputs and it wouldn't be of any use until we get a way the hook it up to the 861. Just because it already has 4 outputs doesn't mean we'll get a new card for the 861. I hope we do, but until that's officially announced I remain skeptical.

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post #15 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey again!

As a New York City apartment owner, True HD 5.1 is high end enough for me. Pardon my lack of "tech savy," but I thought surround sound beyond 5.1 was matrixed and not discrete.

Also, music coming from behind you is not as involving as film effects. That's why Trifield makes the 861 a high end product. Leopold Stowkowski's first stereo experiments in the 1930s used 3 speakers. Trifield gives you that plus ambiance in the rears. 8 channels of music would probably be a distraction to me. I wouldn't like sitting in the center of an orchestra.

The HD621 adds High End 5.1 sound. I don't know the technical details of filters, but on the HD621 they sound great. Again, how much better does the HD621 sound then other Tru DTS or Dolby Digital HDMI 1.3 setups you folks have heard?

Good listening, Capnvid
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post #16 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan View Post

That's exactly my point, there is no way to get 8-channel into the 861. I'm aware the 621 has 4 outputs, but they can't be used and that's the problem. The 621 is a add-on for the 861 (or 500-/G-series for that matter), it could have 100 outputs and it wouldn't be of any use until we get a way the hook it up to the 861. Just because it already has 4 outputs doesn't mean we'll get a new card for the 861. I hope we do, but until that's officially announced I remain skeptical.

And, until there is 8channel music software, I can accept this hardware limitation.

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post #17 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 09:37 AM
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And, until there is 8channel music software, I can accept this hardware limitation.

I don't want it for music, I want it for movies. As far as music goes, I think 2- channel is all one needs. Add a Audio Research Ref3 to the 861 and you're in music heaven.

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post #18 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

This is fact. SpeakerLink will be incorporated using CAT5 throughout their product line. The source is Bob Stuart, who'd I suspect has reliable inside information unless the Salmon dinner had some adverse impact.

Yes, one would think! Did Bob happen to expand upon whether a speakerlink MMHR input board would be available for current processors like 861v4 or would require a whole new unit (i.e 861v5 or 6)? Since M have been unable to fact-check the CES '09 questions that John K. so kindly facilitated almost 5 months ago, this remains an impediment to my purchase of the HD621. Thx.

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post #19 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by John Kotches View Post


And yet, it's working. Stereophile's measurements of the effects of the apodizing filter.

See previous post. Reduction of pre-echo which is not masked by the ear/brain filter in traded off with increase of post-echo. Post-echo is masked by the ear/brain filter. Natural sounds don't have pre-echo.

Thanks for the links to the Stereophile measurements. That is some wonking big increase in post echo.

I'm going to reserve judgement about the advisability of this technique for now. While post echo may be filtered I don't understand by how much, and boy there sure is a lot of it here. Natural sounds don't behave like this either.

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post #20 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 10:18 AM
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As far as music goes, I think 2- channel is all one needs.


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post #21 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 10:31 AM
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As far as music goes, I think 2- channel is all one needs.

Comment ignored.

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post #22 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 11:31 AM
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I cannot speak to future product releases.
The HD621 will be the only HDMI interface to the Meridian architecture for a long time.
My understanding is the 861v4 will have an interface card in the reasonably near future.
The current DSP8000, DSP7200 and DSP5200 speakers incorporate SpeakerLink.
Do the math.

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post #23 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post


Don't be too shocked.
I never really liked the 6-channel music mixes we got over the years.

As for Trifield, there was a time when I really enjoyed it and I still think it works very well with, let's call it so-so-speakers. I've always had the impression that the better speakers I got, the more pointless Trifield became. But that's another topic which I have discussed before and has nothing to do with the 621 in this thread.

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post #24 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ehlarson View Post

Thanks for the links to the Stereophile measurements. That is some wonking big increase in post echo.

Everything comes at a price.

Quote:


I'm going to reserve judgement about the advisability of this technique for now. While post echo may be filtered I don't understand by how much, and boy there sure is a lot of it here. Natural sounds don't behave like this either.

No, they don't. The question to ask about though is audibility and if this error is contained within the envelope of our ear/brain masking window then it becomes perceptually inaudible.

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post #25 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 02:13 PM
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I cannot speak to future product releases.

Gee, where have I heard that line before .....

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post #26 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 02:15 PM
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Do the math.

Yeah, OK, I get you. Trouble is I've done this kind of 'math' a bunch of times over the last 20 years and discovered that 2+2 can indeed equal 5 if one is not careful.

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post #27 of 106 Old 05-14-2009, 02:43 PM
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No, they don't. The question to ask about though is audibility and if this error is contained within the envelope of our ear/brain masking window then it becomes perceptually inaudible.

That is indeed the question. If you count the cycles on the pre- and post-ringing on the Stereophile graphs for either filter, there are around 11 periods per 0.5 msec --- in other words, the ringing occurs at 22 kHz. That makes sense because that's the Nyquist cutoff for a CD, and they'd want to place the cutoff as high as possible.

It does beg the question of how audible the ringing itself is in either case since 22 kHz is above the physiological hearing range of most humans --- our bodies can't physically perceive 22 kHz. But the envelope of the impulse is pretty different between the two. Is that audible? I have no idea.

--Andre
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post #28 of 106 Old 05-19-2009, 01:56 PM
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Don't be too shocked.
I never really liked the 6-channel music mixes we got over the years.

As for Trifield, there was a time when I really enjoyed it and I still think it works very well with, let's call it so-so-speakers. I've always had the impression that the better speakers I got, the more pointless Trifield became. But that's another topic which I have discussed before and has nothing to do with the 621 in this thread.

At the risk of sending this thread off topic (although it's not particularly active, so wth) .....

Not shocked at all, actually. Always seemed to me that SS music was caught between the proverbial 'rock and a hard place'. On the one hand most 2-channel audiophiles have shunned it - either because of the cost of 3.1 additional hi-end channels or the often deplorable mixing choices by engineers - and on the other the mass-market has been much more inspired with MP3/portability. Doesn't leave much of a market for SS!

My experience with Trifield has been somewhat different than yours though. Herculean challenges to find an adequate center speaker notwithstanding, I continue to find Trifield appealing even as I use the best speakers that I am ever liekely to own (aka - be able to afford).

Certainty and conviction are a sure sign you don't know what you're talking about! The world is not black and white, rather shades of grey!
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post #29 of 106 Old 05-20-2009, 07:26 AM
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At the risk of sending this thread off topic (although it's not particularly active, so wth) .....


My experience with Trifield has been somewhat different than yours though. Herculean challenges to find an adequate center speaker notwithstanding, ...


I think you hit the nail on the head there; there seem to be so few truly seamless centers out there. Once I got the Von Schweikert LCR 50, there was no going back.
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post #30 of 106 Old 05-20-2009, 10:56 AM
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Herculean challenges to find an adequate center speaker notwithstanding, I continue to find Trifield appealing even as I use the best speakers that I am ever liekely to own (aka - be able to afford).

Not an issue for me, I'm using identical speakers in my HT/music system. Actually I've been saying that for over 10 years now, the best system will always have identical speakers all around.

Unfortunatelly that wasn't possible for my second living room system, because the 70" TV is in the way, so I don't have the option to use a floor standing speaker there.

As far as costs go, sure it can add a little compared to a normal center speaker, but in my opinion it's worth it.

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