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post #1 of 22 Old 01-30-2018, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Multi Room Audio

Identical to a similar recent thread, my house is pre-wired with speakers in each zone (6 zones) that all run to my electric closet in my basement. I would like to run at least 3 zones at once but don't yet have any sort of multi-room control unit. So, I'm looking for equipment advice with a budget of up to $5k (but if I can get the desired results for less I'm all for it!).

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-30-2018, 11:26 AM
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There are a ton of similar threads...

Traditional is to use a multizone matrix amplifier. Your sources of audio connect to the matrix. Your speakers connect on the output of the matrix. You would need a control system to tell the matrix what source goes to which zone(s). Names include Russound and Nuvo.

IP based: Some users use multiple chromecast units as both zone control and as streaming sources. Connect this to a multichannel "dumb" amplifier (monoprice, HTD and others).

$5K will be enough to do either implementation.
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-30-2018, 01:27 PM
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Speakers are already installed? That makes this easy.

Pick up 6 of these: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/connectamp.html
Done, that will be $3000 and a very flexible system.

I did almost that for my 6 zones, but I bought Sonos without the AMPs, and purchased a standalone 12 channel Amp

6 of these: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/connect.html
1 of these: https://www.parts-express.com/dayton...ifier--300-815
$2100 + $475 = $2575

That was a for a AB Amp, they have a Class D amp for $575. Prices have gone up. Almost all manufacturers make this amp in this box.

Chromecasts seem to be winning lately, 6 chromecasts + Same amp is a lot less expensive, but Sonos is designed for exactly what you are looking for. Chromecasts are a bit of a hack, although I have not seen it in person to make a final judgement.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-31-2018, 10:48 AM
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You just have speaker wire runs, no CAT for control or volume or anything? Do you have speakers installed? OR purchased?

I'm a recent Sonos convert, and it seems the beauty of them is not to have to run wires. Plug in into AC power and you've got a speaker that's ready to rock and roll

If you were already wired, I'd think you could get similar functionality for a lot less $$$. Heck, Monoprice has a 6-zone controller for less than $500.

I'd wonder since you have the hard part done (the wiring) if you'd be just as happy, or happier with a Legrand or Russound or other whole house audio setup.

But Sonos is great, and a stack of 3 or 6 Connect:Amps might be the way to go. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-31-2018, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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You just have speaker wire runs, no CAT for control or volume or anything? Do you have speakers installed? OR purchased?

I'm a recent Sonos convert, and it seems the beauty of them is not to have to run wires. Plug in into AC power and you've got a speaker that's ready to rock and roll

If you were already wired, I'd think you could get similar functionality for a lot less $$$. Heck, Monoprice has a 6-zone controller for less than $500.

I'd wonder since you have the hard part done (the wiring) if you'd be just as happy, or happier with a Legrand or Russound or other whole house audio setup.

But Sonos is great, and a stack of 3 or 6 Connect:Amps might be the way to go. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I have a pretty huge attic, so speaker wire runs are super easy and I can add CAT runs if needed. That said, yes the lines are run and I do have some pretty average JAMO 8" ceiling mounted speakers. All runs go to an equipment closet and there are volume control knobs in both the kitchen and dining room but not the other rooms or the backyard. The runs currently go to a Niles control unit that lets you adjust volume and turn on/off a particular room. However, it isn't working in all rooms for some reason. Powering everything is a 10 year old Denon receiver.

So, I'm basically looking to scrap everything and start over with much better equipment. I've read a bit about the Sonos and Chromecast route and yesterday I read about a Control4 EA-5 controller and Sonance speakers, both of which seem top notch.

Beyond that, I have no idea which path to take.
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-06-2018, 05:41 AM
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I would say the choice really comes down to interface and flexibility. There is some simplicity in a multi zone matrix server, one app, one box, but generally a little pricier and commits you to the platform. Sonos is great — I’ve used it at my father in laws and have to say, it’s really rock solid connecting to it and controlling the zones. Personally, I use chromecast audio devices connected to external DACs with optical cables to dumb amps (Emotiva BasX 5 and 7 channels). I went this route because it was a lower cost per zone and I only listen to Spotify Premium, so casting to the devices was a good solution and it enabled me to control the quality (spend however much you want on a DAC or amp). If you have a large library of music, you can use a PC or NAS with something like Plex to cast the music to the chromecast.

The only complaint I have with the chromecast setup is that your WiFi needs to be rock solid. I have a few dead zones and it’s frustrating to try to control the music in those. Otherwise, we’re loving the setup and it’s easy enough for my wife or 7 yr old to use. I also prefer that my equipment is not locked in — outside of the $35 dongle and cheap DACs I am currently using, I can always move the amps to a home theatre setup and I do not feel like I put a bunch of money into something that will be obsolete.

There are really a lot of options. With the research I did, it comes down to audio quality in the source and in the transmission, and overall usability in the interface. The prices do vary quite a bit and setup and overall maintenance might vary if you go custom install like Control4.

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-06-2018, 07:35 AM
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I would say the choice really comes down to interface and flexibility. There is some simplicity in a multi zone matrix server, one app, one box, but generally a little pricier and commits you to the platform. Sonos is great — I’ve used it at my father in laws and have to say, it’s really rock solid connecting to it and controlling the zones. Personally, I use chromecast audio devices connected to external DACs with optical cables to dumb amps (Emotiva BasX 5 and 7 channels). I went this route because it was a lower cost per zone and I only listen to Spotify Premium, so casting to the devices was a good solution and it enabled me to control the quality (spend however much you want on a DAC or amp). If you have a large library of music, you can use a PC or NAS with something like Plex to cast the music to the chromecast.

The only complaint I have with the chromecast setup is that your WiFi needs to be rock solid. I have a few dead zones and it’s frustrating to try to control the music in those. Otherwise, we’re loving the setup and it’s easy enough for my wife or 7 yr old to use. I also prefer that my equipment is not locked in — outside of the $35 dongle and cheap DACs I am currently using, I can always move the amps to a home theatre setup and I do not feel like I put a bunch of money into something that will be obsolete.

There are really a lot of options. With the research I did, it comes down to audio quality in the source and in the transmission, and overall usability in the interface. The prices do vary quite a bit and setup and overall maintenance might vary if you go custom install like Control4.

+1 on the Chromecast audio devices. They DAC's in them are actually pretty good, but you will get some upside from a very high end DAC. If you have a lot of chromecasts, I would recommend hardwiring them with ethernet. Google has a $15 combo ethernet/power adapter that plugs into the USB power port, and that solves all connectivity problems.

Also, Sonance are decent, but if you care about music, the Polk RC80i's work very well, and not that expensive. if you are will to spend a bit more, check out the RSL C34e's. Super ceiling speakers. Very good sound. You can find lots of data on ceiling speakers in the speakers section of the forum.

Good luck.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-06-2018, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. After additional research, I ended up going with a VSSL A.6 ). Since it has built-in Chromecast compatibility, I'll pair it with 6 of those. The VSSL is supposed to arrive today so that's exciting.

For speakers, I'm still debating. However, I'm leaning towards the TruAudio GC-8. Has anyone heard them installed?
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-06-2018, 04:23 PM
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Never heard of them, but I would definitely recommend getting the best speaker you can for the money. A lot of people tried to talk me into lower cost speakers, saying it was all about background music. Both my wife and i agree, good speakers make a huge difference. My father in law had Polk MCs (I think) and they pale to my Paradigm E-80Rs. Just audition a few and go with the best you can.

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-06-2018, 08:08 PM
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I just took a look at the VSSL. As a music streamer, do you even need the chromecasts? It does not seem like it from the description on the web site. I think you can cast to it and it handles six zone matrix output, right?

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-07-2018, 06:29 AM
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I just took a look at the VSSL. As a music streamer, do you even need the chromecasts? It does not seem like it from the description on the web site. I think you can cast to it and it handles six zone matrix output, right?
That web site is long on dancing videos and short on actual details!

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post #12 of 22 Old 02-07-2018, 11:34 AM
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I just took a look at the VSSL. As a music streamer, do you even need the chromecasts? It does not seem like it from the description on the web site. I think you can cast to it and it handles six zone matrix output, right?
It claims to have "native casting." SO unless you can't cast from your desired app, I'd guess not.
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post #13 of 22 Old 02-07-2018, 06:57 PM
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I feel like I would prefer a mainstream music streamer (Autonomics, Control4, Naim), SONOS, or Chromecast devices over some random thing. No offense to VSSL (is that even a name?)

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-07-2018, 09:37 PM
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I have never heard of VSSL (but that's not saying much!). seems to be a decent solution. you may want to take a look at: https://www.htd.com/Products/Whole-H...ithout-Keypads

seems to be about the same at about 1/2 the price as VSSL.

I can also recommend Sonos. Bullet-proof. The were the first and still a leader. lots of others on their tails now. Denon's HEOS is basically a copy (that's why they lost the patent infringement case) but they have a 1RU 4 x controller that is interesting https://usa.denon.com/us/heos-drive or https://usa.denon.com/us/heos/heos-superlink.

There is also DTS Play fi : https://play-fi.com/. they seem to be a HEOS-like but have many mfgr's signing on.

update us on what you decide

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post #15 of 22 Old 02-08-2018, 10:00 AM
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I have never heard of VSSL (but that's not saying much!). seems to be a decent solution. you may want to take a look at: https://www.htd.com/Products/Whole-H...ithout-Keypads

seems to be about the same at about 1/2 the price as VSSL.
But with no built-in streaming (cast) receivers... So about "half" the solution.

For the $3k for 6 zones including streaming support, I'd do 6x Sonos Connect:Amp units, or perhaps a pair of NuVo Player 3-zone rack mount units, but both of those get a full integrated solution with a single app for everything.

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post #16 of 22 Old 02-08-2018, 06:27 PM
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Dirt cheap per zone cost, Chromecast Audio for the win! Upgradability with separate DACs, source content can be Tidal, Spotify, or a Plex to run local library....

Ok, I’ll stop. Though I suspect this thread was an employee of VSSL/TruAudio. This string makes no sense otherwise...

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #17 of 22 Old 02-09-2018, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Dirt cheap per zone cost, Chromecast Audio for the win! Upgradability with separate DACs, source content can be Tidal, Spotify, or a Plex to run local library....

Ok, I’ll stop. Though I suspect this thread was an employee of VSSL/TruAudio. This string makes no sense otherwise...
Not sure I follow. So because I post a thread soliciting information and then I post about a product I find through research you conclude that I must be biased and/or an employee of that company? That's quite a leap you made there sparky.

Based on your fanboy response and "logic," you must work for Google. Right?

To be clear, I am simply a homeowner looking for an audio solution (this is still an audio forum right?) with no affiliation to any electronics company.

From my perspective the VSSL unit is quite compelling for someone without a high power AVR or other amp in place to power the speakers and deploy the content.

What am I missing?
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post #18 of 22 Old 02-09-2018, 06:56 PM
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I guess it would have been helpful to share your research or logic, because the choice came out of the blue and you had no other posts or comments. Seemed like a planted question and biased answer. Also interesting choice on the speakers, since they’re a sister company. Kind of seemed like it all fit.
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Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #19 of 22 Old 02-22-2018, 09:30 AM
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Can't speak for the original poster but I recently purchased an a.6 from VSSL. I found the product on Google's site for products that have Chromecast Audio built in. Their products are generally sold via custom installers, same as with their sister company True Audio so I don't think there is a ton of information out there on them. I even asked around here and basically one person had any experience with VSSL.

Like someone said their site is a bit lacking on specifics but I was able to get my questions answered by contacting them. I think the site is more of a digital brochure that installers can send customers to.

I purchased my system directly from VSSL and they offered me a package price for the a.6 and speakers by True Audio, I suspect that is why the original poster was considering them.

I pick up the system to install in a house I am building so I can't speak to the quality of the speakers yet(hopefully I don't regret buying them without hearing them) but I did hook the a.6 up to test it out with some Boston Acoustic in ceiling speakers I have in my current house. It sounds good, was super easy to set up and it's easy to use.

For anyone interested it's basically a 6 zone 12 channel amp with most streaming services built in. It does have inputs for local sources in each zone as well as bus inputs for local sources. I ran RCA wires to one zone in my new house so I will be able to play the TV audio out of the in ceiling speakers in that room. I don't have any plan to hook up a local source to the bus input but if I had a music server it would be a nice feature.

I guess it's compatible with Control4 but I don't have any experience with this and don't plan to use it so I didn't research it at all.

When hooked up it showed up in Google home as 6 separate devices plus a device for a "party" zone where you can link multiple zones via the VSSL app(this can be done via the Google home app as well). The a.6 has an Ethernet connection so it's hard wired to the network (WiFi is not an option as far as I could tell)

I purchased it to use with Google Home in lue of piecing together a system. I know you can accomplish what the a.6 does cheaper by purchasing several Chromecast audios, a signal sensing amp and some Network adaptors but for me the convenience of having it all in one box was attractive. Piecing together a system would probably offer more flexibility as well but for me that was not really a deciding factor.

From my research this is a pretty new product and it was probably a bit of a risk in that it's not from an established company but my experience so far both with the company and their product has been positive. Hopefully it stays that way.
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-26-2018, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Can't speak for the original poster but I recently purchased an a.6 from VSSL. I found the product on Google's site for products that have Chromecast Audio built in. Their products are generally sold via custom installers, same as with their sister company True Audio so I don't think there is a ton of information out there on them. I even asked around here and basically one person had any experience with VSSL.

Like someone said their site is a bit lacking on specifics but I was able to get my questions answered by contacting them. I think the site is more of a digital brochure that installers can send customers to.

I purchased my system directly from VSSL and they offered me a package price for the a.6 and speakers by True Audio, I suspect that is why the original poster was considering them.

I pick up the system to install in a house I am building so I can't speak to the quality of the speakers yet(hopefully I don't regret buying them without hearing them) but I did hook the a.6 up to test it out with some Boston Acoustic in ceiling speakers I have in my current house. It sounds good, was super easy to set up and it's easy to use.

For anyone interested it's basically a 6 zone 12 channel amp with most streaming services built in. It does have inputs for local sources in each zone as well as bus inputs for local sources. I ran RCA wires to one zone in my new house so I will be able to play the TV audio out of the in ceiling speakers in that room. I don't have any plan to hook up a local source to the bus input but if I had a music server it would be a nice feature.

I guess it's compatible with Control4 but I don't have any experience with this and don't plan to use it so I didn't research it at all.

When hooked up it showed up in Google home as 6 separate devices plus a device for a "party" zone where you can link multiple zones via the VSSL app(this can be done via the Google home app as well). The a.6 has an Ethernet connection so it's hard wired to the network (WiFi is not an option as far as I could tell)

I purchased it to use with Google Home in lue of piecing together a system. I know you can accomplish what the a.6 does cheaper by purchasing several Chromecast audios, a signal sensing amp and some Network adaptors but for me the convenience of having it all in one box was attractive. Piecing together a system would probably offer more flexibility as well but for me that was not really a deciding factor.

From my research this is a pretty new product and it was probably a bit of a risk in that it's not from an established company but my experience so far both with the company and their product has been positive. Hopefully it stays that way.
As for the A.6, this exactly explains my reasoning for the purchase and also my satisfaction with the product.

As for speakers, I listened to tons, from $100 Jamo up to $3k B&W. I ended up going with the Goldenear HTR 7000 and couldn't be happier. I know they are overkill for WHA, but they are so good, and so much better than anything else I heard that I couldn't resist.
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post #21 of 22 Old 11-23-2019, 05:09 PM
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There is a new product called JukeAudio that may be a good fit. It allows multiple people to stream audio from iPhones, iPads, etc. to any combination of wired speakers located throughout our home and yard. You just connect the speaker wires. The sound quality is fantastic, it's really easy to use, and it's inexpensive.
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post #22 of 22 Old 11-23-2019, 08:19 PM
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Get a HEOS Drive. Runs 4 zones (two speakers each zone). It’s a amp and controller. You can controller it with a mobile app and stream different services in different zones or all the same. Can stream pandora, SiriusXM etc. It is rack mountable or stand alone. $2500
https://usa.denon.com/us/heos-drive

Home Theater System Denon X8500H, Emotiva XPA-5 Gen 2, Polk CSi A6 Center, Polk RTi A9 Front, Polk RTi A7 Front Wide, Polk RTi A1 Front Height, Polk FXi A6 Side, Polk RTi A3 Rear, Polk RTi A1 Rear Heights, Polk 70RT Middle In-Ceiling, SVS PB12-NSD x2 Front, SVS PC12-NSD x2 Rear, JVC DLA-RS1000, Visual Apex CineWhite 100" Screen, Panasonic UB9000, Dish Hopper 3
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