Carver TFM-35x any good? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-19-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I am about to buy an amp to power focal 814v. I have an option to get a Carver TFM-35x for around 350 in good condition.
I have heard some weird things about carver with their power ratings. I am just curious how are these amps and do they do rated power cleanly?
It says 250wpc.
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-19-2013, 08:47 PM
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Try here? http://thecarversite.com/yetanotherforum/default.aspx?g=topics&f=104

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post #3 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortyg83 View Post

I am about to buy an amp to power focal 814v. I have an option to get a Carver TFM-35x for around 350 in good condition.
I have heard some weird things about carver with their power ratings. I am just curious how are these amps and do they do rated power cleanly?
It says 250wpc.

i think the fact that used carvers amps are still north of 300 bucks on ebay says a lot about their cult status and quality. really some of these amps are probably 10 years old and going strong my yamaha rcvr that i bought for 600 bucks 3 years ago is worth about 60 bucks now! with anything that is 10 years old you may have to replace a part here and there and if you are good with a soldering iron have no fear. there are lots of schematics out there and parts available.

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post #4 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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The problem I have is I have read so many mixed reviews. People saying bob carver is known as "sideshow bob" And the amps are not reliable and that their power rating is not true. Also that they have a completely different sound than other amps. I am kind of stearing away from them.
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortyg83 View Post

The problem I have is I have read so many mixed reviews. People saying bob carver is known as "sideshow bob" And the amps are not reliable and that their power rating is not true. Also that they have a completely different sound than other amps. I am kind of stearing away from them.

I have a Carver AV-705X 5 Channel Amplifier that I got new about 15 years ago to drive a Yamaha DSP -1 along with a Carver 2000 receiver and Carver CD player, they all still work in fact I am using the amp to drive my presence speakers in my current surround sound system.

I would not say the amp has a completely different sound I would say it has a warmer sound than a lot of the newer ones on the market today, if that makes sense. I can say the same of my Sunfire Cinema 7 amp.

If Bob Carver had a nick name of side show Bob, I don't think it was a result of his equipment , more likely the technology he introduced like sonic holography or digital time lens (DTL) that some claimed were hooey and others swore by, (personally I liked and used both).
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 05:12 PM
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Since my first Carver I have owned many amps in between.Most all were good, some hummed, or buzzed or had some reliabilty issues. My old Carver is still going strong, sounds about as good as any I've owned at a MUCH higher price. I had mine on 4ohm power hungry speakers and it never broke a sweat with floors and ceilings vibrating.
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortyg83 View Post

The problem I have is I have read so many mixed reviews. People saying bob carver is known as "sideshow bob" And the amps are not reliable and that their power rating is not true. Also that they have a completely different sound than other amps. I am kind of stearing away from them.

Mind sharing your sources? Are they qualified? Any time I read someone "heard" something I just doubt they did any real research. Some of the "audiophool" magazines got rubbed the wrong way by Carver as he didn't put much credence into their wine snob style opinions of the most expensive amps must be the best sort of thing. Why is their power rating not true? What is that based on? Do you understand power ratings? Amps shouldn't have a sound at all. They're amps, not processors or preamps that shape sound. I have an M500 I've had for so long I don't remember for sure when I bought it, think it was mid 80s. I bought two M500t's from a friend who had them for several years, they're almost as old; they're all still going strong (altho I need to check one of the 500t's as when I used it unbridged was getting some buzzing, but no problem bridged). I hope to have them advanced to Mark II status one of these days now that Bob has closed shop (I am horrible with a soldering gun smile.gif ).

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post #8 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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My source was audiokarma and about every other audio site there is.
http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=117433
there is one thread in general. The reviews are always mixed. As far as all amps sounding the same. It isn't true, it should be but its not. That is why on every review they compare the sounds of the amps and I have never seen the word IDENTICAL.
Carver amps in fact are known to try to copy a tube amp sound.
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 08:58 PM
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yup my tfm 55 still going 17 years later.
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-20-2013, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortyg83 View Post

My source was audiokarma and about every other audio site there is.
http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=117433
there is one thread in general. The reviews are always mixed. As far as all amps sounding the same. It isn't true, it should be but its not. That is why on every review they compare the sounds of the amps and I have never seen the word IDENTICAL.
Carver amps in fact are known to try to copy a tube amp sound.

Well then I'd suggest you either experience it or buy something you heard nicer things about..... Those who are sure they hear differences in SS amps are IMHO hearing differences for other reasons...or selling amps (or shilling for amp manufacturers). The reference to Carver trying to copy a tube amp is far from fact (you might be thinking of the story where he fooled some reviewers into thinking he had tweaked the amp to mimic some "famous" amps perhaps?) You buy into differences in power cords and speaker cables, too....because you "heard" it?

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post #11 of 32 Old 02-21-2013, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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The tube amp voiced amplifiers are a real thing made by Carver.
The models normall have a T at the end of their name. They even talk about them on the carver site.
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post #12 of 32 Old 02-21-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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post #13 of 32 Old 02-21-2013, 10:27 AM
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I've had my Carver HR-752 receiver since 1992 and it is still going strong.
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post #14 of 32 Old 02-21-2013, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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So it would seem their reliability isn't as bad as some other say.

To people who have heard both or owned both. How does Carver compare to Rotel?
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post #15 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 12:58 PM
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I have had three Carvers. A 1986 "The Receiver", 1994 TFM-15, 1996 2 A-500X Bridged Mono. Sold one to a pawn shop, still have the other three-one set hooked up to Klipsch KLF 20s and the other room runs a pair of Polks. In today’s world of MP3 format, hard to find vinyl, and digital sources like CDs, what is the difference anyway? Spend $10,000 on a Krell. You won't hear the difference with music today. They (Carver) are great amps and work like horses. If Carver ever got a bad wrap it is because he made accessible high end sound for a fraction of the price. I kind of got the impression from the old Stereo Review days (Julian Hirsch era) that they kind of got mad that their elite “club” was compromised. It isn’t fun when everyone drives Porches. Kind makes you less of an identity. I recommend Carver as a buy.
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post #16 of 32 Old 06-01-2013, 04:40 PM
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I realize this is a very late response, but i just recently joined this site and wanted to comment about the Carver TFM-35 for the benefit of any future readers of the thread.

I purchased a TFM-35 back in 1995 i think it was, along with a Carver Ct-17v preamp and it was driving a pair of Bose 601 series III. To the chagrin of the audio "philes" that will scowl after reading that...., this setup sounded exceptionally good. I dont recall what else i had, i know there was a decent Cd player and EQ in the system. Most people who heard it said something like "turn that **** UP".

In 2002 i had everything stolen with the exception of the amp. The day that happened was basically the last time i had heard that amplifier. Fast forward to 2012....for whatever reason, i decide that i am going to build a decent, reasonably priced system...BUILT AROUND THE OLD AMP. It was not working and had been sitting in my garage for a bit more than 10 years. I discovered an outfit that repairs and revitalizes old Carver gear named Hi-Tech Audio in Oregon. After talking to Rolland there, i decide to send it in to be "serviced" at a cost of approximately $400 (includes shipping to and from Michigan). He says its 10 weeks before they will get to it and 12 before you get it back, so in the meantime i buy the following:

B&W 704's
Carver C-16 Preamp
Oppo BDP-83
Schiit Bifrost
Morrow Cables SP-3, MA-3, DIG4
A Second Carver TFM-35

All the above is ready when the amp gets back,

Long story short. I have a friend over for a listen. Put on a few tunes from his favorite band (yello), played at full throttle. "you ruined me for music" he says.

Either my friend doesnt know what sounds good....or he does. That was with ONE amp hooked up.

The Second amp has now returned from service and the speakers have been sold (too revealing of recording) and im waiting for Tekton Lores, with which i intend to blow the house down.

I highly recommend obtaining and then sending any TFM-35 in for service to HI-Tech Audio. They are essentially rebuilding this thing for you for about $400 and it will last another 20 years or more. These amps sound GREAT and have tons of power (250/ch or 700 in mono). If you have decent source components, you will not be disappointed at the Hi-Tech Audio serviced TFM-35.

What this guy says in this video is 100% accurate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGSV41dNcSE
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post #17 of 32 Old 06-02-2013, 05:31 AM
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How how much do the TFM-35's usually go for on the used markets such as A-Gon or Ebay? How can you justify spending $400 dollars on getting it brought back up to spec when you can go buy a brand new Emo or similar pro-amp for equal to or less than the Carver amp with the rebuild.
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post #18 of 32 Old 06-02-2013, 12:58 PM
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You may not be able to get Hi-Tech Audio to do anything, their website isn't functioning.

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post #19 of 32 Old 08-21-2013, 04:15 PM
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I have a pair of 15+ year old TFM-35 and 35x running them mono at 700 Watts at 8 Ohms on some old Tangent 500's; no issues! Love the vu meters, and the warm sound. They were part of my very first home theater back in the late 90's. The only issue I've ever had from them was a blown fuse. Bought them for new @ 375 each while I was in Okinawa.

Robert Chatman II
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post #20 of 32 Old 01-29-2014, 02:22 PM
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Like the previous reply, I know this is an older thread but if you have an opportunity to purchase a TFM series or M series amp in good condition, I would go for it every time.

I have a TFM-35x that I purchased roughly 2 years ago to power a pair of Wharfedale 10.2's. The amp is awesome, although overkill for this particular set. The sound is night and day versus my Pioneer Elite VSX-31 avr that is also connected to the Wharfedale. I plan on keeping this amp and the C-2 preamp as long as I can. Built in the US, exceptional power, exceptional value, and the vintage look are a few reasons why I'll be having both the amp and preamp serviced (will probably do an upgrade or 2 on the preamp) to keep them around for as long as I can.

The Sun fire amps and subs introduced me to Carvers gear and I've recommended it ever since.

Carver TFM-35x amp
Carver C-2 Preamp
Marantz 6100 turntable
Wharfedale 10.2 bookshelf speakers
Definitive Technology Supercube 2
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post #21 of 32 Old 01-29-2014, 04:02 PM
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i still have a carver A753x, a 250x3 amp...those 3 vu meters on the front are just to cool for the room. i love the sound of this amp...or should say i DID love the sound, 'cause tho the amp looks mint, it has a bad transformer


i also had a TFM-55x and two amps i think were TCM-15's or or some such...
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post #22 of 32 Old 02-27-2014, 02:05 AM
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I Have the TFM 35 and 45. Extreme reliability. The only problem you would ever have is meter bulbs.
As far as sound quality: Very good. They have a ton of power. If you push a TFM hard enough to clip, the result is violent. When they are out of power thats it. Nothing soft about it.
I ran them on Polk Monitor 10s, Altec 501s and PSB Stratus Golds. Very good results in every application. I still run my IDMAX subs off of the TFM45. It does a fantastic job. Its not going anywhere.



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post #23 of 32 Old 02-27-2014, 08:42 AM
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The M1.0t I bought in 1986 and still running strong. I bought another used in 2006. Running them in mono. I have one in now for a recondition and will send the other one soon. They will last a good long while. I love mine. Some people hate them.
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post #24 of 32 Old 02-27-2014, 07:27 PM
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Sad to report the death of my M500 (purchased early 80s I believe), had not used it since I moved recently, plugged it in and heard a loud buzzing sound and shortly thereafter a flash and a plume of smoke! Wondering how long my slightly newer two M500t's will last now?

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post #25 of 32 Old 03-18-2014, 09:50 PM
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im looking into a tfm-35 ,so who is the best people to send carver to for service and upgrades??

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post #26 of 32 Old 04-30-2014, 06:06 PM
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I'm not a Carver Fanboy by any means.  Used plenty of Phase Linear's back in the day for Pro Audio sound reinforcement, disco clubs, etc.  Have used many other brands as well, BGW, Crown, Spectro Acoustics, Denon, Biamp AB Systems, Peavey, Mackie, Pioneer and more.

 

Carver has built some junk, and I've owned one - the AV-405 is a POS.  The TFM-45 is another shitheap of an amp - a buddy bought one and it died on him.  We opened it up, the design sux - output devices mounted the sheet metal of the case bottom - no heat sinks.  That being said, Bob Carver has also built some awesome amplifiers of which I have owned in the past and currently own several.  The AV-705 is a killer amp as is it's little brother the AV-505 - I have a 705 in the HT system for center and rears and a 505 on the computer system driven by a DBX DriveRack PA in a tri-amped configuration.  It drives a pair of JBL S-38's for low mids and highs and a Dayton 15" 4 ohm sub with one channel.  Very solid amp and it sounds great - lots of headroom.  Phase Linear's were great amps, that's why companies like Clair Brothers Audio, Hiel Sound and many others used them back in the day.  Yes, there were idiots out there that called them Flame Linear's and they could be easily destroyed in the wrong hands.  So can a Ferrari F-40 with an idiot behind the wheel.  With peak limiters and proper cooling fans and air exchange they were among the best amps available in the their day and could drive 4 ohm loads all day long every day in Disco and Touring Sound applications.

 

I have a TFM-35X in the HT system bridged mono driving a JBL 2245 18" subwoofer in a JBL enclosure.  The amp is tight, sounds great, runs cool, has lots of headroom.  It drove the Dayton 15" 4 ohm sub for about 2 years in mono-bridged mode.  A DBX DriveRack PA controls that system as well and I had it setup with the limiter at +2 db which should equate to ~1000W at 4 ohms mono-bridged and the amp was happy.  Yes, there are dual 120mm fans on the insides of the rack blowing on the TFM-35X, to keep it cool.  Wouldn't need them in stereo mode with 8 ohm load.

 

The Carver TFM-35 X is a great amp, that's why George Lucas put his seal of approval in the front panel.  Matter of fact, I'm looking on eBay for another one as I'm re-configuring the L&R mains in the HT system now that I've finally decided on the final configuration.  Dual JBL 2245 18's for lows, 4 x JBL 2118 8s for low mids, McCauley 416 1" throat horn/lens for high mids with JBL 2426 drivers and a pair of JBL 2404 HF horn/driver for highs.

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post #27 of 32 Old 04-30-2014, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dual-500 View Post

I'm not a Carver Fanboy by any means.  Used plenty of Phase Linear's back in the day for Pro Audio sound reinforcement, disco clubs, etc.  Have used many other brands as well, BGW, Crown, Spectro Acoustics, Denon, Biamp AB Systems, Peavey, Mackie, Pioneer and more.

Carver has built some junk, and I've owned one - the AV-405 is a POS.  The TFM-45 is another shitheap of an amp -.

Interesting. My 45 drives 2 Idmax subs daily in 4 ohm stereo. Never a problem with this amp. I have been using it for nearly 20 years. It ran a pair of altec 501s before assuming duties as a sub driver. I have the 35 too. The 45 is more powerful. Both have been reliable amplifiers for me.

NAD M15 /NAD M25 / PSB STRATUS GOLD / PSB STRATUS 6C /DENON AVR 3300/CARVER TFM 45/35 - ANTHEM MCA3/NAD T163
IDMAX 12INFINITY RS3 / POLK MONITOR 10/ALTEC 501 / INTEGRA 50.3/PARADIGM DSP 3400 / GOLDENEAR AON3

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post #28 of 32 Old 04-30-2014, 09:08 PM
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Interesting. My 45 drives 2 Idmax subs daily in 4 ohm stereo. Never a problem with this amp. I have been using it for nearly 20 years. It ran a pair of altec 501s before assuming duties as a sub driver. I have the 35 too. The 45 is more powerful. Both have been reliable amplifiers for me.

Well sir, I stand humbly corrected!  The TFM-35X is built more robustly than the 45, probably why the 45 doesn't carry the "X" designation.  But, the proof is in the pudding.

 

If it works it works, never owned one, just opened up a buddy's that died and took a look inside.

 

Running the 45 at 4 ohms, does in need fans?  Do you lean on it?  Just curious.  When I get in the mood for some serious listening, I crank 'em up pretty far and usually rock for an hour or two.  :)

 

I didn't mention, the 35's handle 2 ohm loads as will the AV-705's and AV-505's.  Another plus for the Carver's in general.

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post #29 of 32 Old 04-30-2014, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dual-500 View Post

Well sir, I stand humbly corrected!  The TFM-35X is built more robustly than the 45, probably why the 45 doesn't carry the "X" designation.  But, the proof is in the pudding.

If it works it works, never owned one, just opened up a buddy's that died and took a look inside.

Running the 45 at 4 ohms, does in need fans?  Do you lean on it?  Just curious.  When I get in the mood for some serious listening, I crank 'em up pretty far and usually rock for an hour or two.  smile.gif

I didn't mention, the 35's handle 2 ohm loads as will the AV-705's and AV-505's.  Another plus for the Carver's in general.

I push the 45 pretty hard. When we play movies it will run several hours without a break. It is quite a bit more powerful than the 35. No fans. It gets warm but not hot.. I am concerned by your observation of build quality. Im tempted to pop the cover and compare it to my 35. Ive never had a problem. Hopefully that trend continues.

The only issue I have ever had with any carver amp is lights burning out. The nice thing about the 45 is it has a variable dimmer for the meter lights. The 35 does not.


NAD M15 /NAD M25 / PSB STRATUS GOLD / PSB STRATUS 6C /DENON AVR 3300/CARVER TFM 45/35 - ANTHEM MCA3/NAD T163
IDMAX 12INFINITY RS3 / POLK MONITOR 10/ALTEC 501 / INTEGRA 50.3/PARADIGM DSP 3400 / GOLDENEAR AON3

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post #30 of 32 Old 04-30-2014, 09:50 PM
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I push the 45 pretty hard. When we play movies it will run several hours without a break. It is quite a bit more powerful than the 35. No fans. It gets warm but not hot.. I am concerned by your observation of build quality. Im tempted to pop the cover and compare it to my 35. Ive never had a problem. Hopefully that trend continues.

The only issue I have ever had with any carver amp is lights burning out. The nice thing about the 45 is it has a variable dimmer for the meter lights. The 35 does not.

Pop the lids and have a look.  I'm a firm believer in fans, but I've done lots of club installs and such - probably overkill for home use - well maybe not - my stuff is all in a rack, and it's full of amps.  HT and whole house system amps and I do rock 'em pretty hard sometimes.  I would put some spacers on the component on top of your amp to let it breathe better.  Heat is what will kill em, keep them cool and they'll take mucho abuse!

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