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Discussion Starter #1
After spending the last MONTH looking at specs and posts and threads and YouTube videos, my head is swimming with terms and rational that has turned into mush. No matter what forum or page I looked at I seemed to always come back to AVSForum. This told me to stop and just see what these fine people think.



So, I have a very, VERY old Sony HT-In-A-Box speaker kit. We are talking early 2000's. I'm ready to be an adult with my HT and with my 44th BD coming next month why not!?


I enjoy watching movies and sports on my 65" Samsung OLED. I have YTTV (I know, only basic stereo), Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max-GO-NOW (or whatever it is this month). I do not listen to music and only rarely play games on my XBO. I live in a townhouse with wood floors in an open design and I try to keep my lows, well, low so as to not disrupt my neighbors. (Although my one neighbor tries to knock my pictures off the walls at least once per week. SMH)


I've looked and looked and narrowed my selection to the following list. I've only eliminated DefTech. At first I think I'm going with the center, f l/r and sub. Later this year I'll do the surround. I'm going to keep the receiver (Denon AVR-S500BT) for now but will look to change that out when I get the surround. Ok, enough of the background. What are your thoughts?



KEF Q Series

  • Center: Q650C
  • F l/r: Q550
  • Sub: KUBE 10b
  • Surround: Q350
ELAC Debut Reference


  • Center: DCR52
  • F l/r: DFR52
  • Sub: SUB3010
  • Surround: DBR62
Polk LSiM

  • Center: LSiM706c
  • F l/r: LSiM705
  • Sub: DSW Pro 550
  • Surround: LSiM703
 

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I enjoy watching movies and sports on my 65" Samsung OLED. I have YTTV (I know, only basic stereo), Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max-GO-NOW (or whatever it is this month). I do not listen to music and only rarely play games on my XBO. I live in a townhouse with wood floors in an open design and I try to keep my lows, well, low so as to not disrupt my neighbors. (Although my one neighbor tries to knock my pictures off the walls at least once per week. SMH)

first I think I'm going with the center, f l/r and sub. Later this year I'll do the surround. I'm going to keep the receiver (Denon AVR-S500BT) for now but will look to change that out when I get the surround.
KEF Q Series

  • Center: Q650C
  • F l/r: Q550
  • Sub: KUBE 10b
  • Surround: Q350
ELAC Debut Reference


  • Center: DCR52
  • F l/r: DFR52
  • Sub: SUB3010
  • Surround: DBR62
Polk LSiM

  • Center: LSiM706c
  • F l/r: LSiM705
  • Sub: DSW Pro 550
  • Surround: LSiM703
These are all poor bang-for-the-buck speakers for a 100% HT setup, and all 3 have mediocre subwoofers. I wouldn't go with any of them, frankly.

Let's start over:

1. Maximum total budget?
2. Room dimensions (listening space AND any adjacent spaces that it opens up to)
3. Loudness preferences? Most people top out at around 70-75db. Some people like it REALLY loud, like 80-85db and higher. Download a free SPL meter to your phone and find out where you're at. This, and your listening distance (how far you'll be sitting from the screen) will determine your SPEAKER needs.
4. Any WAF (Wife Approval Factor), i.e. aesthetic requirements?
5. Any safety concerns (small kids or large dogs)?

===

There is a popular misconception that subs are a bad idea in any non-detached housing. Not true at all, in my experience: every sub has a "gain" knob on the back. I used to live in an apartment with paper-thin walls, ceilings and floors, where you could easily hear neighbors fighting or having sex. Had neighbors across the hall, next to me, above and below me too. When I moved out five years later, they were all shocked to see me lugging a 65lb sub. They could hear my music (usually at moderate volumes, so never had any complaints) but never guessed that there was a sub in use the whole time!

Another nice benefit is that when you move to a bigger place, you don't have to spend more money to upgrade from a weak "apartment friendly" sub. :)
 

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Classic newbie mistakes:

1. Overspending on the receiver, falling for the "latest and greatest" over-hyped sales gimmicks/gadgets/formats of the month, esp. the "future proofing" fairy tale.
2. Overspending on towers you don't need when bookshelves on stands will be as good or better and allow you to get better sub(s) and center speaker.
3. Underspending on the subwoofer(s). (Disregard if you never/seldom watch big-budget action movies.)
4. Being unaware that the CENTER SPEAKER actually does 70-80% of the HT output and 99% of the dialogue, that "matching" horizontal centers are sometimes craptastic (related to #2 ), and that the only way to get a true "timbre match" (whose actual real-world relevance is debatable) is to use an identical speaker to your L/R in vertical alignment.
5. Buying more speakers than you need for your room, resulting in quantity over quality.
6. Buying a SEALED subwoofer even though your usage is mainly HT/TV and you're in a big space, and ending up with a uselessly weak sub that you'll have to pay more money to upgrade later for the bigger PORTED sub you should have bought to begin with.
7. Insisting on buying only well-known big brands at big box stores, instead of exploring other options (a.k.a. "the Jack Daniels whiskey mistake") you've never heard of before.
8. Trusting predatory and/or incompetent salespeople (BB Magnolia & some boutique shops), online shill reviewers, copy-and-paste clickbait review sites, etc.
 

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After spending the last MONTH looking at specs and posts and threads and YouTube videos, my head is swimming with terms and rational that has turned into mush. No matter what forum or page I looked at I seemed to always come back to AVSForum. This told me to stop and just see what these fine people think.



So, I have a very, VERY old Sony HT-In-A-Box speaker kit. We are talking early 2000's. I'm ready to be an adult with my HT and with my 44th BD coming next month why not!?


I enjoy watching movies and sports on my 65" Samsung OLED. I have YTTV (I know, only basic stereo), Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max-GO-NOW (or whatever it is this month). I do not listen to music and only rarely play games on my XBO. I live in a townhouse with wood floors in an open design and I try to keep my lows, well, low so as to not disrupt my neighbors. (Although my one neighbor tries to knock my pictures off the walls at least once per week. SMH)


I've looked and looked and narrowed my selection to the following list. I've only eliminated DefTech. At first I think I'm going with the center, f l/r and sub. Later this year I'll do the surround. I'm going to keep the receiver (Denon AVR-S500BT) for now but will look to change that out when I get the surround. Ok, enough of the background. What are your thoughts?



KEF Q Series

  • Center: Q650C
  • F l/r: Q550
  • Sub: KUBE 10b ($650 10" 300watt sealed)
  • Surround: Q350
ELAC Debut Reference


  • Center: DCR52
  • F l/r: DFR52
  • Sub: SUB3010 ($406 10" 200 watt ported EQ app)
  • Surround: DBR62
Polk LSiM

  • Center: LSiM706c
  • F l/r: LSiM705
  • Sub: DSW Pro 550 n($539 10" 200watt ported)
  • Surround: LSiM703
All solid choices but absolutely no reason whatsoever to match the subwoofer brand to the speaker brand.

The only one that you list that is "unique" is the Elac that offers its EQ app which might be of value to you but most all the subs below are better values with better performance overall though many are larger than the ones you listed.

PORTED SUBWOOFERS $607 AND BELOW, DELIVERED

NOTE:
*THE LARGER PORTED SUBS DELIVER AT LEAST 40% MORE SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
THAN THE SAME BRAND'S SEALED VERSION WITH SAME SIZE WOOFER AND AMP
*IF LOOKING AT LARGER/MORE EXPENSIVE SUBWOOFERS ADD PSA TO THE LIST OF BRANDS
*IF YOU ARE NOT AN ACTION MOVIE FAN A SUBWOOFER WITH 22-30HZ EXTENSION WOULD BE FINE
*FOR MUSIC A 30HZ SUB IS A FINE CHOICE
*BEFORE BUYING MAKE A CARDBOARD CUTOUT OF THE SIZE OF THE SUB TO MAKE SURE IT IS NOT TOO LARGE FOR YOU
Specs are from the manufacturer unless noted otherwise.
Warranty
for AMP
2 years 350watts =15w16h17d= 40 lbs 10" [30hz] $399 RSL SPEEDWOOFER 10S, (extension from Sound & Vision review)

5 years 300watts =15w19h20d= 46 lbs 10" [18hz] $499 SVS PB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision Review)

5 years 500watts =15w19h20d= 72 lbs 10" [20hz] $500 MONOPRICE MONOLITH THX 10"

3 years 300watts =16w22h21d= 69 lbs* 12" [19hz] $599 RHYTHMIK LV12F

2 years 350watts =15w21h22d= 62 lbs 12" [18hz] $607 HSU VTF2 MK5, (extension from Audioholics review)
* = shipping weight

SEALED SUBWOOFERS $650 AND BELOW, DELIVERED


5 years 300watts =13w14h16d= 27 lbs 12" [23hz] $499 SVS SB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision)

5 years 500watts =13w16h17d= 50 lbs 10" [20hz] $500 MONOPRICE MONOLITH MTS10 THX

3 years 300watts =14w14h16d= 58 lbs* 12" [18hz] $559 RHYTHMIK L12
 

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Discussion Starter #5
These are all poor bang-for-the-buck speakers for a 100% HT setup, and all 3 have mediocre subwoofers. I wouldn't go with any of them, frankly.

Let's start over:

1. Maximum total budget?
2. Room dimensions (listening space AND any adjacent spaces that it opens up to)
3. Loudness preferences? Most people top out at around 70-75db. Some people like it REALLY loud, like 80-85db and higher. Download a free SPL meter to your phone and find out where you're at. This, and your listening distance (how far you'll be sitting from the screen) will determine your SPEAKER needs.
4. Any WAF (Wife Approval Factor), i.e. aesthetic requirements?
5. Any safety concerns (small kids or large dogs)?

===

There is a popular misconception that subs are a bad idea in any non-detached housing. Not true at all, in my experience: every sub has a "gain" knob on the back. I used to live in an apartment with paper-thin walls, ceilings and floors, where you could easily hear neighbors fighting or having sex. Had neighbors across the hall, next to me, above and below me too. When I moved out five years later, they were all shocked to see me lugging a 65lb sub. They could hear my music (usually at moderate volumes, so never had any complaints) but never guessed that there was a sub in use the whole time!

Another nice benefit is that when you move to a bigger place, you don't have to spend more money to upgrade from a weak "apartment friendly" sub. :)
Zoba922, and this is why I did not pull the trigger which was my first thought. Get all three and see what I see. Or rather, hear what I hear. So let me try to answer your questions and I do appreciate your honest assessment, that's exactly what I was looking for from you all.


Your First Post

1. Max budget would be around 1500 if I can get the front 3 and sub. Pushing to 2k if needed and leaving the rears out for now.
2. Dimensions are tough but here goes (see pics for more detail). From the stairs to the star side wall 14', from the TV to the bay window 17' (behind me), from the star wall to the records wall 21'.
3. Wow, the meter read 40. If i turned it up to 70 holy hell that was like movie theater loud. On my Denon I have set so the volume increases in numbers and usually have it at 39 for YTTV and 55 for Netflix. My sitting position is 12 feet from the center of the TV.

4. Divorced so NOPE!
5. No kids, no pets.


Your Second Post
1. Not concerned for latest and greatest or future proofing. Don't need to upgrade the receiver if the one I have is powerful enough. Don't need latest and greatest gadgets. I get enough of that as an IT Consultant with others paying for the toys.
2. I had a fantastic pair of Pioneer speakers from the 1970s, massive real wooden boxes. Sounded amazing but sadly did not make it in a move from a few years ago. Would rather go with BS than towers anyway. So not concerned about not having towers.

3. I believe the center and sub are the most important for TV/Movie action so I'm in agreement with you.
4. In agreement.

5. In agreement, which is why I'm here.
6. Nice to know.
7. Not worried about the brand name at all. I don't know what I don't know.
8. I don't talk to sales people and only look at basic specs and what forums like this say.
 

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Get all three and see what I see. Or rather, hear what I hear.
That is the best way for sure.

And looking at your room, you want a ported sub for that space.

2 would be better, some would say 4, but start with just one and go ported.

Nice looking space.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All solid choices but absolutely no reason whatsoever to match the subwoofer brand to the speaker brand.

The only one that you list that is "unique" is the Elac that offers its EQ app which might be of value to you but most all the subs below are better values with better performance overall though many are larger than the ones you listed.

PORTED SUBWOOFERS $607 AND BELOW, DELIVERED

NOTE:
*THE LARGER PORTED SUBS DELIVER AT LEAST 40% MORE SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
THAN THE SAME BRAND'S SEALED VERSION WITH SAME SIZE WOOFER AND AMP
*IF LOOKING AT LARGER/MORE EXPENSIVE SUBWOOFERS ADD PSA TO THE LIST OF BRANDS
*IF YOU ARE NOT AN ACTION MOVIE FAN A SUBWOOFER WITH 22-30HZ EXTENSION WOULD BE FINE
*FOR MUSIC A 30HZ SUB IS A FINE CHOICE
*BEFORE BUYING MAKE A CARDBOARD CUTOUT OF THE SIZE OF THE SUB TO MAKE SURE IT IS NOT TOO LARGE FOR YOU
Specs are from the manufacturer unless noted otherwise.
Warranty
for AMP
2 years 350watts =15w16h17d= 40 lbs 10" [30hz] $399 RSL SPEEDWOOFER 10S, (extension from Sound & Vision review)

5 years 300watts =15w19h20d= 46 lbs 10" [18hz] $499 SVS PB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision Review)

5 years 500watts =15w19h20d= 72 lbs 10" [20hz] $500 MONOPRICE MONOLITH THX 10"

3 years 300watts =16w22h21d= 69 lbs* 12" [19hz] $599 RHYTHMIK LV12F

2 years 350watts =15w21h22d= 62 lbs 12" [18hz] $607 HSU VTF2 MK5, (extension from Audioholics review)
* = shipping weight

SEALED SUBWOOFERS $650 AND BELOW, DELIVERED


5 years 300watts =13w14h16d= 27 lbs 12" [23hz] $499 SVS SB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision)

5 years 500watts =13w16h17d= 50 lbs 10" [20hz] $500 MONOPRICE MONOLITH MTS10 THX

3 years 300watts =14w14h16d= 58 lbs* 12" [18hz] $559 RHYTHMIK L12
gajca,


Thanks for the list. I'll keep track and see if they make the cut. I'm not concerned and mixing and matching and did not notice the subs did not have ports.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That is the best way for sure.

And looking at your room, you want a ported sub for that space.

2 would be better, some would say 4, but start with just one and go ported.

Nice looking space.
gajca,


LOL, four would be nice but I'll stick with one for now. Considering I just purchased the place and in the DC area SFH are 600k+ unless you move 2 hours outside the city, I think it'll do for the next 10-15 years.
 

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gajca,


Thanks for the list. I'll keep track and see if they make the cut. I'm not concerned and mixing and matching and did not notice the subs did not have ports.
Two that you listed were ported.

I'm not saying they are "bad" subs, just that there are better price/value options out there though none that I listed comes with an EQ app like the Elac which is decently priced at the moment.


Sub: KUBE 10b ($650 10" 300watt sealed)

Sub: SUB3010 ($406 10" 200 watt ported EQ app)

Sub: DSW Pro 550 n($539 10" 200watt ported)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Two that you listed were ported.

I'm not saying they are "bad" subs, just that there are better price/value options out there though none that I listed comes with an EQ app like the Elac which is decently priced at the moment.


Sub: KUBE 10b ($650 10" 300watt sealed)

Sub: SUB3010 ($406 10" 200 watt ported EQ app)

Sub: DSW Pro 550 n($539 10" 200watt ported)
gotcha. No problem. I didn't even realize the Elac one had the app on this model. Don't care if it/they do or don't.
 

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gajca,


LOL, four would be nice but I'll stick with one for now. Considering I just purchased the place and in the DC area SFH are 600k+ unless you move 2 hours outside the city, I think it'll do for the next 10-15 years.
Crutchfield is about 120 miles from you.

Might be worth the drive assuming you can still audition with some restrictions.

But they only charge $75/pair for you to return towers and $10/box to return stand mount speakers within 60 days.

Congratulations on the new house.
 

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1. Max budget would be around 1500 if I can get the front 3 and sub. Pushing to 2k if needed and leaving the rears out for now.
2. Dimensions are tough but here goes (see pics for more detail). From the stairs to the star side wall 14', from the TV to the bay window 17' (behind me), from the star wall to the records wall 21'.
3. Wow, the meter read 40. If i turned it up to 70 holy hell that was like movie theater loud. On my Denon I have set so the volume increases in numbers and usually have it at 39 for YTTV and 55 for Netflix. My sitting position is 12 feet from the center of the TV.
1. That's a solid budget, no need to spend more. In fact, you can easily do all 5 speakers right now with that budget, if desired.
2. Open plan = you want lots of output, so stick to PORTED subs. I'd do a pair of Hsu VTF-2 or Rythmik LV-12F, about $1200 shipped all in.
3. By "meter" do you mean an SPL Meter app on your phone, or your receiver's volume display? The latter is completely useless in comparison. Anyway, that sounds like you are definitely not a volume freak which is great news for your budget.

Your photos show a space with lots of windows and wooden floors, so I'd avoid anything that might be "bright"---i.e. have a tendency for strong/aggressive treble. A very safe bet and with very high price-to-performance ratio, would be Emotiva...2 pairs of B1+ for front L/R and surrounds, with C1+ center would set you back just $710. They are wonderfully clear and detailed even at low/moderate volumes, with zero harshness. That leaves you with plenty of budget for a pair of subs as mentioned above.
https://emotiva.com/collections/loudspeakers

If you dislike the futuristic styling of the Emotivas (they actually look a lot better in real life than in the website's terrible white-backbround photos) then I'd look into the Hsu HB-1 and HC-1 speakers, which can be bought as a bundle with the VTF-2 subs.
 

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1. That's a solid budget, no need to spend more. In fact, you can easily do all 5 speakers right now with that budget, if desired.
2. Open plan = you want lots of output, so stick to PORTED subs. I'd do a pair of Hsu VTF-2 or Rythmik LV-12F, about $1200 shipped all in.
3. By "meter" do you mean an SPL Meter app on your phone, or your receiver's volume display? The latter is completely useless in comparison. Anyway, that sounds like you are definitely not a volume freak which is great news for your budget.

Your photos show a space with lots of windows and wooden floors, so I'd avoid anything that might be "bright"---i.e. have a tendency for strong/aggressive treble. A very safe bet and with very high price-to-performance ratio, would be Emotiva...2 pairs of B1+ for front L/R and surrounds, with C1+ center would set you back just $710. They are wonderfully clear and detailed even at low/moderate volumes, with zero harshness. That leaves you with plenty of budget for a pair of subs as mentioned above.
https://emotiva.com/collections/loudspeakers

If you dislike the futuristic styling of the Emotivas (they actually look a lot better in real life than in the website's terrible white-backbround photos) then I'd look into the Hsu HB-1 and HC-1 speakers, which can be bought as a bundle with the VTF-2 subs.
WOW, nice paint and tv stand. We have the same tastes I see. I was actually going to get that exact door pattern but settled on the one I got since the doors you have stated "back order".
 

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WOW, nice paint and tv stand. We have the same tastes I see. I was actually going to get that exact door pattern but settled on the one I got since the doors you have stated "back order".
Oh that's not my system, I think I found those photos on Google Images or here on this forum. :)

I *used* to own the B1 + C1 but stupidly sold them about 2 years ago, which I kind of regret.
 
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1. That's a solid budget, no need to spend more. In fact, you can easily do all 5 speakers right now with that budget, if desired.
2. Open plan = you want lots of output, so stick to PORTED subs. I'd do a pair of Hsu VTF-2 or Rythmik LV-12F, about $1200 shipped all in.
3. By "meter" do you mean an SPL Meter app on your phone, or your receiver's volume display? The latter is completely useless in comparison. Anyway, that sounds like you are definitely not a volume freak which is great news for your budget.

Your photos show a space with lots of windows and wooden floors, so I'd avoid anything that might be "bright"---i.e. have a tendency for strong/aggressive treble. A very safe bet and with very high price-to-performance ratio, would be Emotiva...2 pairs of B1+ for front L/R and surrounds, with C1+ center would set you back just $710. They are wonderfully clear and detailed even at low/moderate volumes, with zero harshness. That leaves you with plenty of budget for a pair of subs as mentioned above.
https://emotiva.com/collections/loudspeakers

If you dislike the futuristic styling of the Emotivas (they actually look a lot better in real life than in the website's terrible white-backbround photos) then I'd look into the Hsu HB-1 and HC-1 speakers, which can be bought as a bundle with the VTF-2 subs.
JESUS, I just noticed the cat. LOL!


I see you're driving the the Emotiva. I've never heard of them before. not that I would expect to since this isn't my thing. Can I ask why and how you came across them and chose them for your own rig?
 

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Can I ask why and how you came across them and chose them for your own rig?
Almost by accident. I was looking for a mismatched center speaker a couple years ago, tried the Emotiva C1 after hearing good things about it, loved it, and later on added the B1s just to see if there was anything to the "timbre-matching center to L/R speakers urban legend" (discovered yet again that there isn't, lol).
 

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You might consider the Wharfedale Evo series of speakers. The 4.1s for your L&R with the 4.c(s) would be quite the upgrade from what you are used to hearing. Non-fatiguing sound from the folded ribbon tweeter will mate well with the live room. Just add a sub from Rythmik, HSU, and you should be quite happy for a long time. Nice looking, as well.

https://www.wharfedale.co.uk/evo4-series/
 

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You might consider the Wharfedale Evo series of speakers. The 4.1s for your L&R with the 4.c(s) would be quite the upgrade from what you are used to hearing. Non-fatiguing sound from the folded ribbon tweeter will mate well with the live room. Just add a sub from Rythmik, HSU, and you should be quite happy for a long time. Nice looking, as well.

https://www.wharfedale.co.uk/evo4-series/
It seems he's leaning towards floor standing speakers...assuming NanuNanu is a guy which 99 percent of the dorks on here seem to be! :p

Myself included mind you.
 

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It seems he's leaning towards floor standing speakers...assuming NanuNanu is a guy which 99 percent of the dorks on here seem to be! :p

Myself included mind you.
Well, when budget permits, he can upgrade the fronts to towers and move the 4.1s to the rear.
 

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I think I'd echo the HSU VTF-2 MK5 subs (or even possibly the Rythmik LV12F), and the Emotiva C1+ and T-Zeros. Add a pair of B1+ (or other brand) as surrounds later when you have it in the budget, and you'll have a respectable setup.

The KEFs are also very good, but I'd wait for a sale. I'd also say that the Polk LSiMs are very good, too. I'd get the HSU or Rythmik subs in either scenario. Between these three options, go with whatever is the least expensive, and run away from here as far as you can.
 
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