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Harrison Mixbus and Analogue vs Digital DAW Software
Old 22nd November 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 

Harrison Mixbus and Analogue vs Digital

First things first, I don't want start an A vs D thing,
if it happens, feel free to delete this thread.


I just want to point out an interesting observation.

Judging from the Harrison mixbus thread, MOST people who have USED
the HMixbus seem to think it sounds better than their current DAW.

Thinks like 'more separation', 'easier to get a good mix', etc have been said.

If you think I've made a wrong observation, please say so, but for now,
lets assume this is true.



If so, could we put it down to the fact that the Harrison Mixbus software sounds CLOSER to an analogue console than their other daws? and this basic fact is the reason why most people on that thread that have directly compared it to their DAW's seem to prefer it?


I have never used an analogue console, I don't have a mac so I've never used Mixbus. I work in pro-tools and I guess I'm just trying to
get a handle on this A vs D thing.


So the point of difference between this thread and all the other A vs D threads is the fact that now people can get an 'analogue' sounding system for $80, suddenly analogue IS better than digital. Before this,
it was not better, just different.


Thoughts?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #2
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Quote:
If so, could we put it down to the fact that the Harrison Mixbus software sounds CLOSER to an analogue console than their other daws? and this basic fact is the reason why most people on that thread that have directly compared it to their DAW's seem to prefer it?
Fact is folks that have used it have never an analog console so.....
Old 22nd November 2009
  #3
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dub3000's Avatar
unlike other DAWs, it looks like harrison mixbus has some sort of built in "analogizer" on every channel - my guess is soft-sat and some sort of sweetening eq (this is conjecture, i have a PC so i haven't used it).

first DAW which won't null with other DAWs. i feel this is a negative, personally - you can always just stick a saturation plug on every track using track templates if you actually want that. sounds like whatever processing they're doing is nice though, would like it as a VST plugin.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #4
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
first DAW which won't null with other DAWs. i feel this is a negative, personally - you can always just stick a saturation plug on every track using track templates if you actually want that.
I'd say the second with Paris being the first. A million years ago I worked on an album that started on Paris and was migrated to PT. And the difference was shocking. I'd much prefer to work with something similar to these two, but I'm stuck in PTHD.

IMHO, ALL daws (with the exceptions noted above) just simply require too much attention, as opposed to just making things sound good.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #5
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Kenton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by konkaos View Post
Fact is folks that have used it have never an analog console so.....
If you're saying what I think you're saying, then you're absolutely wrong. While I haven't owned a console for the last 8 years, I have owned several in the 20 years previous to that. fuuck

Does Mixbus sound like a Analog Console?
Depends on what king of Analog you mean - Valve, Transformer, FET, Discrete, Solid State, Tape or what combination of these. All of these have different transfer functions and introduce different distortions when driven hard.
Funnily, when I was taught to design audio circuitry back in the late 70's, one of the requirements was to achieve minimal distortion.

Does it sound better than a mix direct from Logic?
To our ears here - yes.

Could the same sound be achieved by a saturation plug(s)?
Possibly - but I haven't heard the same results from using saturation plugins in the past - and I've tried most of them.

K.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #6
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I don't know if this question has been asked yet.....Has anyone compared it to the Metric Halo console in with character plug-ins and 80 bit mixbuss?

Thanks,

Kirt Shearer
Old 25th November 2009
  #7
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RoyJeeBiv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbshearer View Post
I don't know if this question has been asked yet.....Has anyone compared it to the Metric Halo console in with character plug-ins and 80 bit mixbuss?
i'd also be curious for any insight with this comparison...
Old 25th November 2009
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by konkaos View Post
Fact is folks that have used it have never an analog console so.....
Boy that's pretty arrogant no? I work on analog consoles as well as a few friends
who've tried out mixbuss. It's a cool little program that, while buggy, has a great character to the sound. Undoubtedly sounds different than pt and logic; a good 'different'!
Old 25th November 2009
  #9
So it's closer to what I've been using for the last 30+ years?

Nice to know. Maybe some day it will sound even closer to what I've been using for 30+ years.

Nice to know I won't need to wait for it.

"The Promise of Digital" has been a work in progress for 20+ years. Heard a lot of promise, not much results. Maybe in another 30 years it can get closer to what I've been using for 30 years.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 25th November 2009
  #10
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Sorry I am not pretty sure if another Digital VS Analogue debate helps.
Fact is you can have great sound with any DAW today.

Just make it sound good as you would do with a console and outboard as well and not a single human being will be worried about if you have mixed it on Mixbus / Logic / PT or on a Console w. Outboard or on a spacecraft.

The day you stop to waste your energy worrying about this analogue vs. digital debate, this will be the day you start making SOUND!!

Thats the reason why they invented DAWs make sound with it and do not debate about if an SSL console sounds better as any DAW.
May it does may it does not but for me this is irrelevant both analogue an digital can make nice SOUNDs!!!heh
Old 25th November 2009
  #11
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robot gigante's Avatar
To my ears Mixbus does not sound the exactly the same as analog.

It does have a great character to it though. High end digital is pretty cool and that's what it sounds like to ears. Remember that say six years ago the only access to that kind of digital sound was kicking out for very expensive digital hardware.

There is no way you can achieve the same sounds with a lot of routing and stacking plugins in another DAW without creating problems- and besides, in a regular DAW that takes a lot of time away from your workflow only to get mixed results. So it is something that I've been wishing for in the digital world for a long time now.

I've been mixing with a bit of CS Phoenix (and/or Massey Tape Head for some tracks) on every track for years now, and like to add distortion in small amounts to individual tracks as well. It absolutely is not the same thing as using Mixbus.

Mixes come together easier because the workflow is way easier to mix on. It's easier to gain stage and do parallel processing.
Old 25th November 2009
  #12
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DrFrankencopter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackcatdigi View Post
I'd say the second with Paris being the first. A million years ago I worked on an album that started on Paris and was migrated to PT. And the difference was shocking. I'd much prefer to work with something similar to these two, but I'm stuck in PTHD.

IMHO, ALL daws (with the exceptions noted above) just simply require too much attention, as opposed to just making things sound good.

Agreed 100%.

I'm a Paris user (still hanging on with it)...I like that I can get different sounds by applying gain and saturating in different places.

Yes, I could probably get the same result from a *clean* 64-bit floating point DAW by applying saturation plugins, but that's too much work. Maybe it's be okay if I set it up as a template (which I could then bypass if I didn't want the saturation), but I could never see opting to do it on a channel by channel basis.

It's fun to have different sounds available with say the channel faders up, and the master down, or vice versa, saturate pre/post EQ and aux. Lots on non-linearity to exploit.

Cheers

Kris
Old 25th November 2009
  #13
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ProducerBoy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
So it's closer to what I've been using for the last 30+ years?

Nice to know. Maybe some day it will sound even closer to what I've been using for 30+ years.

Nice to know I won't need to wait for it.

"The Promise of Digital" has been a work in progress for 20+ years. Heard a lot of promise, not much results. Maybe in another 30 years it can get closer to what I've been using for 30 years.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
It's too bad that more people can't seem to realize what these breakthroughs mean for music. MixBus sounds so much better than other DAWs, IMO. This is exciting because there isn't a line of new music makers lining up to get what you've been using for the last 30+ years. With all due respect, there is a mass of people who simply love making music, and the better the tools they have access to, the better the entire music community will be for it.
Old 25th November 2009
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelyMike View Post
[SIZE=2]
Judging from the Harrison mixbus thread, MOST people who have USED
the HMixbus seem to think it sounds better than their current DAW.
I suppose that "better" comes cos it adds saturation on individual channels. Whether it's better or not I don't know as I haven't tried it. What I can say it's just different approach when creating a DAW - apart from that distortion I don't think HMB has anything special that separates it from famous DAWs, at least when it comes to get "better mixes". Concerning that saturation, I think you can do the same thing in Cubase, Logic, etc using saturation-plugins

I don't know why people have hard times understanding that it's mainly all the same digital algo's technology - it's just variation of the theme. It takes a lot more power than today's CPUs have to model that kind of mixing desk and to still have "acceptable" and close sounding emulation..
Old 26th November 2009
  #15
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Kenton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
I suppose that "better" comes cos it adds saturation on individual channels.
No it doesn't. Well, not according to my measurements anyway - no saturation in the channel strips. Saturation occurs in the 4 mixbusses and (mostly) the Master Bus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
Concerning that saturation, I think you can do the same thing in Cubase, Logic, etc using saturation-plugins
And you think this because..??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
I don't know as I haven't tried it.
That seems to be the most pertinent part of your post.

K.
Old 26th November 2009
  #16
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
I haven't tried it.
Obviously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
What I can say
...is not much since you haven't tried it. (Sorry, I had to )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
I don't know why people have hard times understanding that it's mainly all the same digital algo's technology - it's just variation of the theme. It takes a lot more power than today's CPUs have to model that kind of mixing desk and to still have "acceptable" and close sounding emulation..
Well, as has been pointed out, they already did it way back when with PARIS. I only had a chance to do a couple mixes in PARIS but I did like it a whole lot. It wasted PT Mix by a long shot which was the only digital mixing platform I could compare it to.

There were people who paid a lot more for their PT setups who insisted PT Mix didn't need improving, and for the vintage vibe all you had to do was use Bombfactory plugins (yikes!)-- we know how wrong that assumption was in retrospect!

I can see some similarities with the situation here...

Incorporating their DSP with the mix engine as Harrison has done via an open source DAW is not the same thing as simply adding saturation as with a plugin. Not at all.
Old 26th November 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProducerBoy View Post
It's too bad that more people can't seem to realize what these breakthroughs mean for music. MixBus sounds so much better than other DAWs, IMO. This is exciting because there isn't a line of new music makers lining up to get what you've been using for the last 30+ years. With all due respect, there is a mass of people who simply love making music, and the better the tools they have access to, the better the entire music community will be for it.
I'm convinced it will be a tool for those into computer mixing, especially those wanting a less linear mix to emulate sloppy analog consoles from the past.

However, I use the analog mix because it's clearer than the digital mix with better crosstalk, imaging and lower THD levels. I'm not into old school dirty analog mixing. I use my highly modified analog gear as a more linear alternative to digital mixing.

I get better than -90 db stereo crosstalk at 10k hz. The mix buss noise is -134 dbu. THD+noise is .0005%. CCIF IMD is 2 parts per million or .0002%. Unlike digital, my distortion drops with decreasing levels, not increasing as all digital systems will do. With this system, a cymbal still sounds like a cymbal, you hear the tick of the stick attack and then a very clear bell tone as each hit sounds different and seperate. Then the decay fades very quickly instead of ringing with distortion for several milliseconds longer.

My top-o-line AD converters are still short in encoding these specs and sonics. Perhaps the new BB 32 bit ADC's may get me closer to what I hear out of the monitor section of the console. Meanwhile, I enjoy hearing and knowing I'm several years ahead of the digital mixing technology today.

The warmth of analog, the clarity of digital = the best of both worlds. It's here today, I don't need to wait another 30 years in which I would be almost 90 anyway and probably deaf or dead.

What I've discovered at my age is patience is a virture that's easily fatigued through exersize.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 26th November 2009
  #18
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Well I don't think there's anything vintage in HMB at all, on the contrary it sounded VERY digital to me. Like when working with a project with way to many plugins.

When I mix ITB I often "cheat" by bouncing the most important stuff through a lot of transformers. I often use a api 2500 compressor and 2-3 api filters. The bass seem to tighten up and the transients are not as fast and everything glues better. That is often good.

That is what I would love to hear in digital but that is exactly what I feel is lacking and when that is emulated we gain character but lose depth. The air around the elements seem to get lost, just like when using to much compression.

I have no idea what is missing, I just know what I like and what i don't like.

I tried record (propellerhead). It was more interesting than HMB. I would have bought it if it had a great reverb (like space designer).

I'm sure there's no difference in sound (since every digital eq sound the same) and there's no difference in the summing. I like the work flow. Logic is boring and slow but It works and I will use it until I find something better (native)

I would have liked Harrison if it was transparent and didn't crash all the time
Old 26th November 2009
  #19
wow, I suppose flaming comes from the emotional attachment to this product. Have any of you been personally involved in making it? Too bad you considered some thoughts as direct attack to HMB - I actually didn't intend to bash the product, I just want to know what is the exact speciality of HMB

Quote:
Incorporating their DSP with the mix engine as Harrison has done via an open source DAW is not the same thing as simply adding saturation as with a plugin. Not at all.
So, what exactly is that DSP adding? I asked it previously, but no answer still
Old 26th November 2009
  #20
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robot gigante's Avatar
I paid for my copy and am not involved with any project or company.

I'd love to know exactly what they did as much as anybody. I could make some guesses, but I don't know that much about coding DSP anyway. I don't know how they did what they did in PARIS either for that matter.

What I am saying is, it doesn't act or sound the same way as when you simply put tape saturation plugins on your tracks and/or busses. Like I said, I've been doing that in different ways for years. Not the same.

Sorry about the flame, sometimes when someone hasn't used something but posts an opinion anyway it can get a little old, especially since that happens so much here at gs.

Old 26th November 2009
  #21
@robot gigante - It's ok, we're just sharing thoughts here.

I found it a bit odd when I read "proprietary digital mixing technology" without any further and just a bit more detailed description what's happening in their DSP. I became very doubtful over time seeing a lot of fancy GUIs and "analog" plugs that really don't do anything special apart from looking nice and eyecandy.

Since majority of people don't know DSP it's easy to give such explanations that really don't say much about the product
Old 26th November 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
I found it a bit odd when I read "proprietary digital mixing technology" without any further and just a bit more detailed description what's happening in their DSP.
I just don't find that "odd". Perhaps it's the word "proprietary" that you struggle with.

Some time you should try and call any company that makes any audio product and ask them for a copy of a schematic or a theory of design overview so you can see if it is something you might want to buy and see how far you get. I suspect not very far.

How do you ever buy any gear?
Old 26th November 2009
  #23
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Kenton's Avatar
 

I would like to echo Robot Gigante's comments.

What I am trying to ensure is that I'm not fooling myself and suffering from placebo effect.
I like to measure.
I like to know exactly what my tools are doing.

I'm generally sceptical - I can't see how summing can be different between DAW's, all you're doing is adding numbers. How can 2+2 NOT equal 4?
But my ears are telling me that Mixbus is doing something and I want to know if there are numbers to back that up.

There are lots of claims like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by steffo View Post
I'm sure there's no difference in sound (since every digital eq sound the same) and there's no difference in the summing.
which are in direct contradiction to my experience and tests.
My UAD Neve 1073 eq plug sounds (and measures) different to Logic's Fat EQ and all the others I tried (PSP, URS, Sonnox, UAD Cambridge etc.).
All the BiQuad EQ's might have similar characteristics but there are some out there that are definitely NOT the same.

Finally, I like the truth and GS seems to abound with BS.

K.
Old 26th November 2009
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlast View Post
@robot gigante - It's ok, we're just sharing thoughts here.

I found it a bit odd when I read "proprietary digital mixing technology" without any further and just a bit more detailed description what's happening in their DSP. I became very doubtful over time seeing a lot of fancy GUIs and "analog" plugs that really don't do anything special apart from looking nice and eyecandy.

Since majority of people don't know DSP it's easy to give such explanations that really don't say much about the product
I had these same concerns about the HMB claims on Harrison summing and digital mix technology and Ben from Harrison contacted me and went into detail about some of it via some emails. Suffice to say I was very interested and he provided the answers to all my questions.
If you genuinely want to know I suggest you contact him. I think there is a limit on how much developers want to put out into the public domain for the consumer - and whilst that might appear to produce unsubstantiated claims (which is what I at first suspected) in fact that may not be the case...
Old 26th November 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenton View Post
I would like to echo Robot Gigante's comments.

What I am trying to ensure is that I'm not fooling myself and suffering from placebo effect.
I like to measure.
I like to know exactly what my tools are doing.

I'm generally sceptical - I can't see how summing can be different between DAW's, all you're doing is adding numbers. How can 2+2 NOT equal 4?
But my ears are telling me that Mixbus is doing something and I want to know if there are numbers to back that up.

There are lots of claims like this:



which are in direct contradiction to my experience and tests.
My UAD Neve 1073 eq plug sounds (and measures) different to Logic's Fat EQ and all the others I tried (PSP, URS, Sonnox, UAD Cambridge etc.).
All the BiQuad EQ's might have similar characteristics but there are some out there that are definitely NOT the same.

Finally, I like the truth and GS seems to abound with BS.

K.
Ok, all clean eq's sound the same if they are not upsampled or add som kind of distorsion. That is the truth and obvioulsy proven here. I did not believe that at first and now I feel kind of stupid that I thought otherwise.

All colored eq's do not sound the same but they still share the same quality (if they are not upsampled and that might be the case with Neve1073?). I own The UAD Neve and It's pretty good but not better then logics eq to me. It looks nice though

There's BS everywhere and especially in the plugin world. Even though it's a fact that all software eq's that are clean share the same algorithm people still claim the new XXX eq is gorgeous sounding!!. We kind of want to be fooled over and over. Tell me I'm wrong, I like to think otherwise
Old 27th November 2009
  #26
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dub3000's Avatar
fwiw: if you're on PC, there's a freeware program by Christian Budde called 'vst analyzer': KVR: Christian Budde VST Plugin Analyser - Plug-in Host

it does full analysis of your plugins - full suite of compression, distortion and eq parameters. if you are actually interested in what those plugins are doing, this is a very good way to check. it also does loopback tests with hardware if you have external gear.

btw: some EQs are *very* different, particularly if they're based on circuit modelling or if they do any kind of saturation. but yeah, most clean EQs are all doing basically the same thing - the default curve shape makes a lot of difference (e.g. some use looser curves for boosts than for cuts, this makes a lot of difference sometimes even though the raw capabilities of the filter are probably the same).
Old 27th November 2009
  #27
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
All I can say I am happy with my current setup and the sound I get fits my needs.
I use logic and I have only the plug ins which make sense for me.

The 2 Bus runs into a analogue unit which ads a few harmonics to the sound.

I am alright with this and I get the sound I need.

Isn't that enough?

I mean what do we want more?
Why another DAW?

If I want SSL E or G I can have this with the Waves Bundle.
If I want Neve I got the 88 RS simulation.

And for me it does not counts if it sounds exactly like a console!

It will not.... because it is not a console.

But I can have a mix with it which I like and love!!
And for gods sake the tools are getting better and better....
Softube / EMT 250 Reverb / another great reverb by Waves is coming 480 L simulation coded by the same guy who made the EMT for UAD.

Sorry, what the hell we are discussing here again?

If we want exactly the vibe and feel of a console we got to buy a console!
If we want the vibe and feel of real vintage outboard gear we got to buy real vintage gear!

The true discussion here is.

90% of us cant afford a great console and all the things it needs to run.
90% of us cant afford 100 spaces of outboard gear.

But we want the sound of this gear!!
We do not accept that the digital stuff is not bad by any means, but not exactly the same.

We waste our energy with discussing pro and cons of gear instead of using our energy how to get the best out of the gear we already own.

In the moment we accept the limits of mixing in the DAW we come to a new better point in our audio geek soul!!
We start to think again about the sound we want to create.

Thinking all the time this gear is better as that gear.... keeps our energy bounded and wasted for the things which we should do.

Making great sound with any given gear.

If I would ran after every new invention in the market I would have no time to create sound.....

Sleep well I am going to bed now!!!
Old 27th November 2009
  #28
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There's no placibo effect here. I monitor Logic through a 2192 for hours on end almost daily. Have been using logic for years. (and PT)
I bounced a bunch of unprocessed tracks outta logic and into MixBus. I really expected to be dissapointed. I figured the sales pitch and price got the best of me. But, when I hit play... My jaw dropped and I laughed. Couldn't believe it. I actually could hear high frequency stuff I didn't before. It felt softer in that analog way.
Now I just need the damn thing to play nice with my uad plugs. Heh.
Old 27th November 2009
  #29
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProducerBoy View Post
There's no placibo effect here. I monitor Logic through a 2192 for hours on end almost daily. Have been using logic for years. (and PT)
I bounced a bunch of unprocessed tracks outta logic and into MixBus. I really expected to be dissapointed. I figured the sales pitch and price got the best of me. But, when I hit play... My jaw dropped and I laughed. Couldn't believe it. I actually could hear high frequency stuff I didn't before. It felt softer in that analog way.
Now I just need the damn thing to play nice with my uad plugs. Heh.
And are you sure you did not fooled yourself by different sound pressure levels as well as placebo effect.

Do two mixes one in mixbus and one in logic be fair use saturation plug ins in logic and try to mix nearly the same....level the mixes right and compare them and then I bet you will be disappointed ... Mix Bus is a DAW like all the others too and not a console a DAW has no certain sound except you use plug ins.

For me it is logical that a console has a special vibe.

I heard mixbus today at my neighbors studio and all I can say .... it is a DAW like all the other DAWS just laid out more like a console but this is just pictures like with the plug ins we buy...
Old 27th November 2009
  #30
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProducerBoy View Post
My jaw dropped and I laughed. Couldn't believe it. I actually could hear high frequency stuff I didn't before. It felt softer in that analog way.
My jaw didn't actually drop and I don't remember feeling giddy with laughter but I do hear the highs differently and it does sound softer and yet punchy at the same time.

I/you/we could explain this by saying that I also use the EQ and dynamics judiciously but hey that's me and that's what I do.

R.
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