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post #61 of 276 Old 06-07-2019, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by _tk View Post
Level matching was ultimately done by ear, not instrumentation [Not that they were initially using the right kind nor the right calibration test signal in the first place):

"Pink noise was used to set levels until the panel got tired of the blast of noise and found we could set levels even better by ear(s) than the RTA I was using."

This is unacceptable because the person doing it by ear is cognizant of which device is currently active. [It's also rather odd to be performing the calibration with the panelists already assembled in the room. It should be done before they enter.] So their testing is invalid right from the start, but I'll continue.

"The DACs were hidden behind the system, out of view of the judges."

It's always a red flag to me when a tester thinks a blind test means using blindfolds or obscuring the device under test itself. That's immaterial [assuming they don't have some sort of a flashing indicator exposing they are the one currently in the signal path. This is called a "tell"]. What counts is the listeners not knowing which DAC is currently the active one in the signal path.

The person who did the actual switching remained in the room so the test was not double blind. Their body language or unintentional grimace after making a switch, for example, could have theoretically influenced the listeners.

Statistical significance was determined by opinion, not math:

"5 of the 6 judges indicated that the differences were "Significant" with one saying they were "Subtle".

The test methodology was flawed because it assumed, from the get go, that there are audible distinctions in the first place. This was never established at all. Instead 6 DACs [in this shoot out, I haven't examined shootout 2 since this one is already so flawed]. And by votes of preference by the listeners they picked their "favorite". Say "C" or "D" on this score sheet:


http://www.stereomojo.com/Stereomojo...s/DSC_0157.JPG

Nowhere on the score sheet is the instruction "And if you don't feel you hear any distinction, write the words 'neither DAC preferred" so this made the test essentially a "forced preference test". There is no option for "no difference found". In such a test as this you are assuredly going to find a winner most of the time using such a small number of trials, somewhat similar to how if you flipped a fair coin say 5 times to see if it favored heads or tails it too would always show a "preference".

There are other questions not answered like:

"Did each listener hear the sound in isolation or did they see the body language of the other participants as they filled out their score sheet?"

"Was the presentation order randomized per listener or did everyone comparing (say) DAC C to DAC D always hear C first and then D second? Scientific studies published in peer reviewed journals have found that second exposure test signals are statistically preferred by listeners even when they are (unbeknownst to the listeners) literally the exact same test signal.

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post #62 of 276 Old 06-07-2019, 01:01 PM
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I stepped back from that back and forth because in my experience, the gentleman will dodge the topic entirely (my comment focused on the contradiction of citing a none scientific report to justify his opinion) while demanding high scientific standards as reference from his opposition to send them on a wild goose chase, then dismiss any results.

Providing the link was gracious of you. But watch out, Ive seen him do it consistently.
Define "scientific". Does that mean it has to be published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal? If so that means this Stereomojo test is no more scientific the the Tom's Hardware test.

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post #63 of 276 Old 06-07-2019, 01:34 PM
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More. "Darby's comments: The Lavry suffered intermittent dropouts on 2 tracks, the only DAC to do so."

Sounds like there were some other tells as well.

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post #64 of 276 Old 06-07-2019, 04:15 PM
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Testing DACs is one of the hardest things to do properly for consumers. On top of the regular needs one has in general audio testing:

- double blind
- level matched
- randomized exposure sequence
- valid number of trials
- positive and negative controls to be sure the test rig is adequate
- participants brave enough to take the test because they know they'll lose face if they fail
- adequate statistical significance


there's a new one we don't see in amp or wire testing: synchronization. Assuming the listeners are smart and therefor request a switchbox inserted in the signal path so they can alternate between A and B on the fly, at will, and instantaneously (so they can use their echoic memory) then you have to worry about them being able to detect that one DAC may have an audibly different latency compared to another. I've for instance demonstrated that a mere difference of 11 milliseconds can make an audible distinction under the right circumstances. That's easily a difference we might see in comparing the output of one DAC to another.

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post #65 of 276 Old 06-08-2019, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
"Was the presentation order randomized per listener or did everyone comparing (say) DAC C to DAC D always hear C first and then D second? Scientific studies published in peer reviewed journals have found that second exposure test signals are statistically preferred by listeners even when they are (unbeknownst to the listeners) literally the exact same test signal.
It would strike me as being rather odd that they used a random number generator [flipping a coin will do in a pinch] for the presentation sequence yet failed to bother mentioning this important step in this write up, so I strongly suspect they did not randomize the presentation order and all the people listened at once. Go back and read the conclusions. Notice in every single paired comparison of this shootout the winner was always the second selection:

A vs B, winner: B
C vs D, winner: D
E vs F, winner: F

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post #66 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Not just there... more pop sounds throughout on youtube video... have to check my flac file but I am at work now and traveling afterwords... can check first on Monday.

I just have checked my flac file and there is nothing... no pop's or anything similar just clear voices from "Voices of Angels". I guess it is you tube or uploader may had an LP, who knows.
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post #67 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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In regards of other comments posted in this thread...

I usually read the reviews to get some opinion or narrow down choices. For me it is very logically if 100 reviewers saying that "imaginary" device/equipment is not good there must some truth in it. Professional reviews I am always taking with grain of salt and like to develop/build my own opinion. There is so many people out there and everyone is unique therefore everyone will have slightly different opinion then the other. Also everyone will have slightly different hearing abilities or ears, logically no one should have the same or exact sensation of hearing to the same sound, therefore there will be millions of different opinion however usually the "people from this world" (maybe beyond too!) will agree to some extent to the same.

Speak, I like to go and audition or try to create my own test and to listen carefully to the changes. When I was around 35 I went to doctor and they tested my hearing. I had to repeat test at least 5 times as the doctor was sure that I am faking when I was in insulated acoustic chamber with headphones on and they played test tones from 20Hz to 20Khz. I should flag them or press the button as long as hear something or to be exact test tone. I got out with with result that I hear full frequency spectrum. Right now I can say that my hearing abilities are degraded but I am still very careful listener and still can hear changes in sound when using different equipment. I guess I trust my ears...

Again, thousand opinions out there but I guess all of those thousand will agree to some extent to something. Let's start from there!

- Chromecast Audio is excellent device and it sounds as well really good.
- Can be improved? I guess yes to some extent...
- Is there more capable devices? for sure, yes!
- Are they sound signature so much better? Depending who is listening...
- Does it matter? To some critical listeners, yes but for some others no...

Feel free to add your own opinion's on this!


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post #68 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 01:55 PM
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I guess I trust my ears...
Listening with your ears is the correct approach and it is what published scientists do however there are three very important considerations:

A. The test must be blind, ideally double blind, or else we don't know if expectation bias ["placebo effect" as it is popularly called] is clouding our judgement. We know this happens in audio all the time and nobody, despite their claims otherwise, is immune to it. Not me, not you, not anyone.

B. The test must be at the same precise volume or else the change in level, called a level differential, may be subtly influencing the listener, perhaps at a subliminal level which they aren't even consciously aware of. This is difficult for most consumers to correct for, called "level matching", because the standard 2.0 V output level is not strictly held to even by very expensive DACs which claim to be 2.0V output on their spec page. If the DAC does not have its own precise, variable output control (most don't) to match its output to another under test, then another level control needs to be inserted into the signal path.

C. If the test methodology allows for quick switching then it has to be established that there is no significant lag of the DACs' output ("latency") compared to each other, otherwise the listener may be able to identify one DAC from the other, perhaps subliminally, so the test is no longer blind, it is effectively sighted, so expectation bias is reintroduced.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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post #69 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Listening with your ears is the correct approach and it is what published scientists do however there are three very important considerations:

A. The test must be blind, ideally double blind, or else we don't know if expectation bias ["placebo effect" as it is popularly called] is clouding our judgement. We know this happens in audio all the time and nobody, despite their claims otherwise, is immune to it. Not me, not you, not anyone.

B. The test must be at the same precise volume or else the change in level, called a level differential, may be subtly influencing the listener, perhaps at a subliminal level which they aren't even consciously aware of. This is difficult for most consumers to correct for, called "level matching", because the standard 2.0 V output level is not strictly held to even by very expensive DACs which claim to be 2.0V output on their spec page. If the DAC does not have its own precise, variable output control (most don't) to match its output to another under test, then another level control needs to be inserted into the signal path.

C. If the test methodology allows for quick switching then it has to be established that there is no significant lag of the DACs' output ("latency") compared to each other, otherwise the listener may be able to identify one DAC from the other, perhaps subliminally, so the test is no longer blind, it is effectively sighted, so expectation bias is reintroduced.

I guess that I did everything right, if you read the post above when I compared NAD and CCA as they were level matched (I forget to mention that, as different players allowed for precise level match), also I had my eyes closed, concentrating on music and with remote switching between sources without knowing which one is playing at the moment. Also further more after trying first listening to whole songs I switched to sequence listening while I was not able to remember objectively or to be exact wasn’t sure about differences. When I had players playing with 15 seconds between them and after listening to same sequence of song immediately I was able to hear difference. I am not sure even if “professional” reviewers who do that for life can objectively hear the difference if they listen to whole songs as our short memory will disregard the old information for new ones. After switching for so many times between devices I did not knew which one is playing and first after I picked one that sounded better to me I went to PC in other room and shut down one of the payers as I knew which one streamed to which devices and at that point I knew the result. Also I have obstructed the view of the inputs and they were not visible during the test, since I used remote to switch.

My test may have been flawed but I do not know if I missed something there and i strongly believe that someone else may have different results. IMHO for the results to be valid they have to be measured as well, just to disregard some small mistakes that everyone makes and to combine those results. Anyway it was fun doing the comparison and I still will be using both devices for what they meant for.
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post #70 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 03:24 PM
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I forgot to mention that precise level matching should be done by instrumentation, such as a voltmeter measuring a calibration test tone, and not by ear.
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post #71 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Also covered that as well with decibel level app on my iPad. Very handy application... I kept forgetting to mention everything!


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post #72 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 04:28 PM
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Also covered that as well with decibel level app on my iPad. Very handy application... I kept forgetting to mention everything!


Not sure if you have noticed it or not, but there will always be "something" that you are going to be missing or didn't do properly.

Just friendly advice and trying to save you some effort in this thread...
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post #73 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure if you have noticed it or not, but there will always be "something" that you are going to be missing or didn't do properly.

Just friendly advice and trying to save you some effort in this thread...


I am trying to do my best in explaining what I have done and how... nothing more, nothing less.

It might be helpful to someone reading this. Someone may criticize the method and some may praise. It is up to individual to take it how they want and I wont stand in their way and by all means I am not perfect either and if I did something that most people think that is wrong I will think about it and draw my conclusion. That's also the reason I like to think that sometimes is good to take critics or critical advice IMO while that will or may improve my tinkering in the future, but sometimes I will ignore that and go my way... mood!
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post #74 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 10:13 PM
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I love the twilight zone... watching currently the new episodes of it, though remember the old ones as well
Do you know what network and time/day the new ones are on? I asked my DVR and all it could find are the old ones from the early 60's.
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post #75 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you know what network and time/day the new ones are on? I asked my DVR and all it could find are the old ones from the early 60's.
CBS

https://www.cbs.com/shows/the-twilight-zone/
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post #76 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 10:21 PM
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Awesome. Thanks.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".
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post #77 of 276 Old 06-10-2019, 10:24 PM
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I can't decide if I should watch in B&W or color. If the creators pushed for B&W and CBS forced it to be color then the B&W oprton is for me. Anyone know the back story?

[This question is related to my signature, below.]

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".
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post #78 of 276 Old 06-11-2019, 07:32 PM
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Not sure if you have noticed it or not, but there will always be "something" that you are going to be missing or didn't do properly.

Just friendly advice and trying to save you some effort in this thread...
It may come off as "nitpicking", but most of those were well-understood potential biasing factors which need to be controlled for as they can negatively impact the viability of a good blind test.

For me, it's even more basic than that though. Built upon decades of basic hearing study, we have a very good idea what kind of quantitative differences can be distinguished by humans. And these devices fall well under those thresholds of measurable difference, differences which would need to be much higher before they could become audible. We also have a deep understanding of the myriad physiological and psychological ways that can trick us into believing things that aren't possible or real.

Some aren't ready or willing to accept these things as being more likely or plausibly true, so round and round we continue to go!
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post #79 of 276 Old 06-11-2019, 07:36 PM
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I've heard such polar opposite mixed reviews for this modern take on the classic show. "It's great, very well done!", "No, it's just so disappointing!", etc.
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post #80 of 276 Old 06-11-2019, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I've heard such polar opposite mixed reviews for this modern take on the classic show. "It's great, very well done!", "No, it's just so disappointing!", etc.
Some episodes are good and some average but that's also relative to viewer expectations...
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post #81 of 276 Old 06-11-2019, 09:39 PM
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Some episodes are good and some average but that's also relative to viewer expectations...
There's a name for that: "expectation bias".

Every single human on the planet suffers from it whether they believe they do or not.
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There's a name for that: "expectation bias".

Every single human on the planet suffers from it whether they believe they do or not.
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Most Dacs sounds different...

That's a earheld fact. If it's measurable I don't know or care.

If you listen to enough various music and albums you understand this.

For the people locket into just one genre/style I understand it's difficult to grasp..
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post #84 of 276 Old 06-14-2019, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Most Dacs sounds different...

That's a earheld fact. If it's measurable I don't know or care.

If you listen to enough various music and albums you understand this.

For the people locket into just one genre/style I understand it's difficult to grasp..
I do listen to various music and genres... and I understand what you are trying to say.
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post #85 of 276 Old 06-14-2019, 04:20 PM
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Are there people who when asked will say they only listen to one genre of music? News to me.

I'm reminded of a ploy high end sales people use: "Will monsieur be listening to TV or is this for the appreciation of fine music?"

. . . I respond "TV!" and it completely throws them for a loop because it is not what they were expecting and foils their prepared pitch. HA!
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post #86 of 276 Old 06-14-2019, 05:23 PM
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Most Dacs sounds different...

That's a earheld fact. If it's measurable I don't know or care.

If you listen to enough various music and albums you understand this.

For the people locket into just one genre/style I understand it's difficult to grasp..

Funny, I'm doing this right this minute. My two cheap DACs, the DFR and Chit Modi 3, sound the same as best I can tell on the Maggies, but sound different on the ESLs with the advantage clearly to the Schiit Modi 3. So wtf.
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post #87 of 276 Old 06-14-2019, 05:30 PM
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Most Dacs sounds different...
Sorry, but I'm not dead sure what your position is. Are you saying, to paraphrase, "Only the best DACs all sound the same." ?
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post #88 of 276 Old 06-14-2019, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Funny, I'm doing this right this minute. My two cheap DACs, the DFR and Chit Modi 3, sound the same as best I can tell on the Maggies, but sound different on the ESLs with the advantage clearly to the Schiit Modi 3. So wtf.
During my in-home auditions, when playing CDs, my aural receiving devices said thank you every time I switched from the Marantz SA8005 DAC to the sublime Teac UD-503 DAC, especially when the latter converted a silver disc to DSD. After all these years, goodbye to annoying digital harshness in the upper midrange, which came as a very welcome surprise.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #89 of 276 Old 06-14-2019, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
During my in-home auditions, when playing CDs, my aural receiving devices said thank you every time I switched from the Marantz SA8005 DAC to the sublime Teac UD-503 DAC, especially when the latter converted a silver disc to DSD. After all these years, goodbye to annoying digital harshness in the upper midrange, which came as a very welcome surprise.

Yep, that was my DFR, and especially annoying on piano. I guess my new Magnepan LRSs don't resolve as well. Fine by me. Been like this for a while. Damn man the differences back in the 90s when I was ABing the A1s versus the ML Statements and I really couldn't tell a difference with the MGIIIa.
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post #90 of 276 Old 06-15-2019, 03:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Sorry, but I'm not dead sure what your position is. Are you saying, to paraphrase, "Only the best DACs all sound the same." ?
No some Dacs may sound about similar, but no Dacs I have owned sounds the same.

I'm not into high end, more mid and budget.


A very expensive Dac hopefully sounds great on everything..

My experience with ALL gear I've tried, expensive to budget is that it has cons and pros on different music....

It's not always easy to pin out. So I didn't mean sarcastic -only one music genre....


One Dac I've tried f example... Plays everything great.. but two albums I don't want to play...

I guess this is mixed to be bright.... And that shows.


Then it's also nice to check for siblings, this is typical often also showing on high end.

I'm so tired of people (not you) who says All sounds the same.. my experience is the opposite.

And it's not a hi end versus budget thing.

There's Henry and Schiiit who is great Dacs for the money.

Last edited by IIDexII; 06-15-2019 at 06:30 AM.
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