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Tape is back! :-) Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 15th August 2008
  #91
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
it's also my experience that tape is far more robust than people give it credit for; i've re-used reels of tape probably hundreds of times and, after an initial 2 or 3 passes, find hf loss to be a non-issue.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
What machine are you running and at what speed? That is so far from my experience that I almost doubt (not really, I believe you) that you've even used a 2" machine.
Old 15th August 2008
  #92
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Are you using hyperbole to exaggerate the usage of the machine or do you simply not understand the process being discussed here? Maybe no one has adequately explained the operating principle yet in this thread.

When you hit PLAY on your DAW, the tape machine goes into play. When you hit STOP on your DAW, the tape machine stops. Unless you do sessions where you never hit STOP for the entire day, the tape machine will not be "running during your entire session nonstop." You may do sessions like that, but I suspect not.

Simple as that.

This is not an endorsement. I just saw the demo last night and was impressed by the functionality of the system.
Lynn, thanks for the CLEAR explanation. THat was not my understanding of the situation. I was under the impression that tape was running from head to tail, (continuously) and was rewound at the end of the reel.
Old 16th August 2008
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Brad, I understand that. But the tape ITSELF wears - irrespective of whether you recorded on it or not. If you disbelieve me, take a look at the heads of your machine after a day in the studio. Perhaps the machine and brand of tape you're using does not shed much, but the Scotch, Ampex, Quantegy, BASF, etc. brands that I have used are in a defiinate state of degradation by the end of a project - some more than others. Usually the more I liked the "sound" of a brand, the more it tended to shed. Don't know if there's a correlation there or if it's just coincidence. I think it's not logical or practical to think you can just slap a reel of tape on your machine and use it for an entire project. I'd be surprised if there was any oxide left on it....heh
Weird. Tape shouldn't really wear out if it was stored properly and the machine was functioning to spec. Even then, if it had too much moisture, baking it should make it useable for at least a month upwards to a year before having to worry about it. I started a thread about this on PSW because I was considering a tape rental scheme and wanted to crunch numbers.

The vast majority's experience was that there is no reason for tape to degrade other than poor storage (mostly repairable) or poor machine maintenance.

Personally I have loads of NOS 3M 996, and the stuff I've re-used heavily sounds just as good as when it was first opened.
Old 16th August 2008
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kats View Post
Weird. Tape shouldn't really wear out if it was stored properly and the machine was functioning to spec. Even then, if it had too much moisture, baking it should make it useable for at least a month upwards to a year before having to worry about it. I started a thread about this on PSW because I was considering a tape rental scheme and wanted to crunch numbers.

The vast majority's experience was that there is no reason for tape to degrade other than poor storage (mostly repairable) or poor machine maintenance.

Personally I have loads of NOS 3M 996, and the stuff I've re-used heavily sounds just as good as when it was first opened.

I don't know.....

Maybe it's just me. I mean, I never did figure out that degauser thingie...

Physical oxide medium that sheds and wears out over time. Running over a metal magnatized head. When not running on the heads, it's shuttling back and forth, rubbing all day long - either on the heads of the lifter.

Maybe I shouldn't have used that #120 fine grit sandpaper to smooth down my heads. What was I thinking.....

And I guess in retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have used comet to keep the tape path clean.... Oh well.
Old 16th August 2008
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Physical oxide medium that sheds and wears out over time. Running over a metal magnatized head. When not running on the heads, it's shuttling back and forth, rubbing all day long - either on the heads of the lifter.
In traditional analog recording, in the course of tracking and mixing a song you'd probably go over one section of tape hundreds of times. Still, somehow some high end still got transmitted to my transistor radio.

-R
Old 16th August 2008
  #96
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Levi's Avatar
 

Quote:
it seems to me that the CLASP system starts and stops the tape whenever the DAW is started and stopped. That indicates to me that that tape usage/wear would be similar to any typical session using tape.
Yes, and no. There is a post-roll function that can be set to 3, 6, 9 or 12 seconds. This is for when you're recording, you stop, say "alright guys, one more time," and hit record again. Based on how much time between takes you like, the recorder will continue to roll for whatever length of time you set. So, if 12 seconds, it will remain in record and stay running. Without post-roll, it will stop every time, BUT, not rewind back to the front of the song or wherever you move your DAW start point to... the tape just picks up from where it stopped. Hope that makes sense.

As for syncing the DAW to tape, there is a one-time sync that has to be performed at the top of the session. It lasts about 4-5 seconds and then you're set. It sets up the software and insert plugins on your DAW with all of the important info about your tape machine. No SMPTE, no striping to tape, etc. There is a simple midi in/ midi out for machine control, but the tape is not losing a track to SMPTE or anything like that... you get all of your tracks for recording.
Old 16th August 2008
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Levi View Post
Someone DID ask about price at the demonstration and he said "see me after the meeting." Not sure if he's offering a "how serious are you about buying" price, or if he's just keeping it under wraps until the street date in September.
To expand a little about the price situation, he (Chris) suggested that since each unit must be tailor-made to your own make of TM, the price will vary from case to case. Obviously the end price for the majority will be above what the project studios will pay, but within the range of real working studios. How many project studios have working tape machines? He seemed very realistic about the number of units he is going to sell. And to say it again, this isn't a box for everyone.

The way I see it, this is a good product. I don't work with tape for the common reasons. I attended the presentation and thought it [CLASP] was very cool.

It provides the best parts of analog with the best parts of digital.

I didn't see any downside other than cost, and frankly, if cost is my main concern, then that just means I can't afford it.
Old 16th August 2008
  #98
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fazeka's Avatar
 

I like this version of the actual patent better:

CLOSED LOOP ANALOG SIGNAL PROCESSOR ... - Google Patents
Old 16th August 2008
  #99
Lives for gear
 

Is that saying the box is to have a closed loop of tape like a tape echo? That would be so much better.
Old 16th August 2008
  #100
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THink of CLASP as something like a pre tape effect, such as a compressor following a mic pre going to tape, only with this processor, you get a tape recording by inserting the TM between the Mic pres and the DAW, with the latency between the record and play head accounted for (to the sample accurate level) along with DAW control of the TM.

So, you get the tape sound without the tape record to play delay and storage medium of analog tape.

After thinking about for a bit, the more the CLASP system becomes another form of ASP, not distant from strapping a 1176 across a 312 output.

It really is as the name implies. A closed loop ASP.

I think its just that we have become so accustomed to the way a TM has traditionally been used, that its hard to make the jump to treating it more as an aesthetic sound treatment.

Monitoring has to occur at the TM inputs, but because the TM is in repro mode, one can't monitor the TM inputs; CLASP solves the monitoring dilemma . Specifically, the playback TM outputs are hooked to the AD inputs. You can't monitor the TM inputs with the machine in repro. So, the nature remedy, which the box provides is direct monitoring pre tape machine. Also, on playback, any unarmed DAW track is monitored from the DAW outputs, like we normally use a DAW. Whether in record or playback in the DAW, the box intelligently provides the appropriate monitoring signal. When a track is armed, the box routes the mic pre outs direct to monitor, and when playing back, the box routes the DAW outputs to playback.

Hope this helps,

Andrew
Old 16th August 2008
  #101
Gear Addict
 

timing, timing, timing

hello,

anyone know how the clasp clocks the pro tools system? or, actually, i may be assuming it only works with pro tools. does it work with other systems, too? in any event, how does it clock?


userofgear
Old 16th August 2008
  #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I don't know.....

Maybe it's just me. I mean, I never did figure out that degauser thingie...

Physical oxide medium that sheds and wears out over time. Running over a metal magnatized head. When not running on the heads, it's shuttling back and forth, rubbing all day long - either on the heads of the lifter.

Maybe I shouldn't have used that #120 fine grit sandpaper to smooth down my heads. What was I thinking.....

And I guess in retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have used comet to keep the tape path clean.... Oh well.
Here's the thread I started with some good info:

RE-USING TAPE
Old 16th August 2008
  #103
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Steve Albini said:

Quote:
Think of it this way: A tiny spot on the tape is in contact with the guides and heads (at risk of wear) for a tiny fraction of a second, while the heads are being rubbed by tape continuously.

Unless your machine is in horrible physical or electronic condition, tape should basically never wear out from use. Sure, if you lived long enough you could play one tape all day every day for decades until it showed some physical wear, but you probably have better things to do.

One thing you don't need to do is to worry about tape wearing out.
I agree 100%.

Just compare what you monitor vs. playback. If it sounds bad, replace the tape.

I'd bet you could keep a reel for months without a problem.
Old 16th August 2008
  #104
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
In traditional analog recording, in the course of tracking and mixing a song you'd probably go over one section of tape hundreds of times. Still, somehow some high end still got transmitted to my transistor radio.
Rick's right on. On projects where you spent weeks/months in the studio, I think "hundreds of times" may be conservative.

I think people who didn't start off in the 2" (or earlier) days just may not realize how much shuttling, starting, stopping, rewinding and fast forwarding went on during the course of a day (album).

Tape, regardless of the binder debacle, was a very robust format. And yes, the tracks did sound different by the end of the project than when you started. Don't believe it? Just ask anyone who has made a slave reel to work off of for ODs and then at the end of the project went back to the tracks on the master reel that had not been played hundreds of times. It was a given and you worked around it.
Old 16th August 2008
  #105
Quote:
Originally Posted by userofgear View Post
anyone know how the clasp clocks the pro tools system? or, actually, i may be assuming it only works with pro tools. does it work with other systems, too? in any event, how does it clock?
Disclaimer: I saw the demo and will answer according to my understanding of the facts of the system after seeing it.

1) It doesn't clock the PT system.

2) It works with many different systems other than PT. They were demoing it using Nuendo.

3) The system has a setup mode used to synchronize the system before you start. When it performs that test, it checks the latency (head spacing, tape speed, etc.) so that the analog recording is laid back into the session sample accurately.

4) There is no clock in the CLASP system. You use the clock (either internal or external) that you typically use with your DAW.
Old 16th August 2008
  #106
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Tape, regardless of the binder debacle, was a very robust format. And yes, the tracks did sound different by the end of the project than when you started. Don't believe it? Just ask anyone who has made a slave reel to work off of for ODs and then at the end of the project went back to the tracks on the master reel that had not been played hundreds of times. It was a given and you worked around it.
But isn't that a different situation. You're talking about playing back something that was recorded many "plays" ago. Aren't we talking about recording onto something that has been recorded onto many times? Or is it the same thing?

And yes. We did work around it. It was called Mastering. heh
Old 16th August 2008
  #107
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
And yes. We did work around it. It was called Mastering. heh
I don't think it is fair to imply it is possible to recreate something that has been stripped away. Sometimes you can compensate to some degree, but it isn't quite the same.
Old 16th August 2008
  #108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
But isn't that a different situation. You're talking about playing back something that was recorded many "plays" ago. Aren't we talking about recording onto something that has been recorded onto many times? Or is it the same thing?
Different? Or the same?

If your concern is about rerecording over a certain piece of tape repeatedly, I would ask if you ever did lead vocal overdubs where you have to record the same phrase over and over again, maybe with takes numbering in the dozens, possibly hundreds. Ever work a line for so long that the "punch a hole through the tape" line came up?

I did sessions where one singer sang all the background vocal parts until he sounded like a choir. Record eight tracks, bounce to two. Eight more, bounce to two. Eight more, bounce to two. Etc. How many times do you think we played over the same section of tape?

A lot.

Yes, in my post I was talking about tape wearing with repeated plays. But my point was that tape was very robust, addressing the issues of those who stated concern about using a roll of tape repeatedly. I'm just saying that a roll of 2" tape is no stranger to hundreds of passes over the head.
Old 16th August 2008
  #109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I don't think it is fair to imply it is possible to recreate something that has been stripped away. Sometimes you can compensate to some degree, but it isn't quite the same.
Granted, that shelving boost at 12K in mixing or mastering doesn't compensate for the 16-20K frequencies that were worn off, but it was very common regardless, right?

There's a foundational issue that some here, who are not familiar with tape, may not understand. And none to their discredit.

Shorter wavelengths (higher frequencies) do not penetrate the recording medium (tape) so deeply as longer wavelengths. So the high frequencies are typically on the surface of the tape. As opposed to lower frequencies which will permeate the entire depth of the tape. As tape plays increase, the high frequency output of the tape would decrease. This would be caused by shedding or wear.

But, since it is a function of repeated plays, it would effect the tracks that you recorded weeks or months ago to a much lesser extent than the ones you recorded that morning. In other words, it wasn't a function of the tape aging, but the number of plays. So, by transferring the output from the REPRO head immediately after recording into your DAW, like this system does, you don't have to worry about the loss incurred during repeated plays.

I hope that is clear. If not, ask more questions.
Old 16th August 2008
  #110
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I don't think it is fair to imply it is possible to recreate something that has been stripped away. Sometimes you can compensate to some degree, but it isn't quite the same.
But somehow we survived and I've heard few complaints about how much greater those old records would have been.
Old 16th August 2008
  #111
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Different? Or the same?

If your concern is about rerecording over a certain piece of tape repeatedly, I would ask if you ever did lead vocal overdubs where you have to record the same phrase over and over again, maybe with takes numbering in the dozens, possibly hundreds. Ever work a line for so long that the "punch a hole through the tape" line came up?

I did sessions where one singer sang all the background vocal parts until he sounded like a choir. Record eight tracks, bounce to two. Eight more, bounce to two. Eight more, bounce to two. Etc. How many times do you think we played over the same section of tape?

A lot.

Yes, in my post I was talking about tape wearing with repeated plays. But my point was that tape was very robust, addressing the issues of those who stated concern about using a roll of tape repeatedly. I'm just saying that a roll of 2" tape is no stranger to hundreds of passes over the head.
To clarify: I'm with you 1000%. I have worked on many records that took months and we didn't use slave reels. I love the format and would have no problem using one reel of tape for a year.

I was questioning you on your example being different from repeated recording. I thought you were implying that because the tapes got less bright in playback over time, that you would have the same problem with re-recording. Which I disagree with.
Old 16th August 2008
  #112
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Granted, that shelving boost at 12K in mixing or mastering doesn't compensate for the 16-20K frequencies that were worn off, but it was very common regardless, right?
Maybe this is that warm tape sound we've all been missing. heh
Old 16th August 2008
  #113
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Rick's right on. On projects where you spent weeks/months in the studio, I think "hundreds of times" may be conservative.

I think people who didn't start off in the 2" (or earlier) days just may not realize how much shuttling, starting, stopping, rewinding and fast forwarding went on during the course of a day (album).

Tape, regardless of the binder debacle, was a very robust format. And yes, the tracks did sound different by the end of the project than when you started. Don't believe it? Just ask anyone who has made a slave reel to work off of for ODs and then at the end of the project went back to the tracks on the master reel that had not been played hundreds of times. It was a given and you worked around it.
YES!!!! All true. And the reason slave reels were invented and done at huge expense.
Old 16th August 2008
  #114
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
This whole deal seems like some kind of stopgap workaround. Until someone decides to manufacture tape machines again, these beasts are "middle-aged" at best and headed toward the end of their lifespan. Running them non-stop for a session seems like an extremely luxurious workaround. Where are the parts and techs going to come from to keep all these machines running. I could barely get a tech to work on mine 8 years ago. Why not just track with the machine and transfer to your DAW??? I don't know, maybe I'm just too old-skool or just don't get it.
I can't speak for others but I fully plan to maintain my own machine. I feel fully capable in that department. So the maintenance part of it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Keep in mind that I'm putting about 20-30 hours of time on my tape deck every month. That's not heavy use compared to a commerical facility. My heads have 70%+ left on them so I don't expect to have problems for a very long time.

I hate to say it, Bill, but you are old-skool. heh Haha. If you saw how I use the tape deck then all would become clear and you would likely have a major "Aha!" moment.

Brad
Old 16th August 2008
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Levi View Post
Yes, and no. There is a post-roll function that can be set to 3, 6, 9 or 12 seconds. This is for when you're recording, you stop, say "alright guys, one more time," and hit record again. Based on how much time between takes you like, the recorder will continue to roll for whatever length of time you set. So, if 12 seconds, it will remain in record and stay running. Without post-roll, it will stop every time, BUT, not rewind back to the front of the song or wherever you move your DAW start point to... the tape just picks up from where it stopped. Hope that makes sense.

As for syncing the DAW to tape, there is a one-time sync that has to be performed at the top of the session. It lasts about 4-5 seconds and then you're set. It sets up the software and insert plugins on your DAW with all of the important info about your tape machine. No SMPTE, no striping to tape, etc. There is a simple midi in/ midi out for machine control, but the tape is not losing a track to SMPTE or anything like that... you get all of your tracks for recording.
Okay this thing seems like it does exactly what I'm doing. My pre-roll is me yelling over to the kid in the band "hey, hit record on the tape deck...okay rolling!" heh

Brad
Old 16th August 2008
  #116
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
But somehow we survived and I've heard few complaints about how much greater those old records would have been.
I don't really think it was that big of an issue. My experience with tape is that it is really quite robust. I am guessing it has to be played back a thousand times before it became a real problem.
Old 16th August 2008
  #117
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
I can't speak for others but I fully plan to maintain my own machine. I feel fully capable in that department. So the maintenance part of it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Keep in mind that I'm putting about 20-30 hours of time on my tape deck every month. That's not heavy use compared to a commerical facility. My heads have 70%+ left on them so I don't expect to have problems for a very long time.

I hate to say it, Bill, but you are old-skool. heh Haha. If you saw how I use the tape deck then all would become clear and you would likely have a major "Aha!" moment.

Brad
OK. I'll admit it. But I prefer to think of myself as "VINTAGE" - in all the best ways...... lol

At 20 hours a month, I don't think you'll be wearing out your machine anytime soon, and I know you have the chops to mainitain it, so it's more an issue of "parts" when and if that happens.

BUT, with this CLASP system, there are studios that will be putting in 20 hours in a DAY. Multiply that times 300+ days a year and you're looking at huge wear and tear on the machines. Until Studer or someone starts making machines again, we're edging closer and closer to oblivion with machines that cannot really be kept running indefinately. Sad, but true.

You're in the bay area, right? perhaps an "aha" moment during AES for the Slutz????
Old 16th August 2008
  #118
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
BUT, with this CLASP system, there are studios that will be putting in 20 hours in a DAY. Multiply that times 300+ days a year and you're looking at huge wear and tear on the machines. Until Studer or someone starts making machines again, we're edging closer and closer to oblivion with machines that cannot really be kept running indefinately. Sad, but true.
Well, it seems like hyperbole* again.

Sessions can go 20-24 hours a day. But if you've ever been on one of those sessions, you know full well that the tape machine is not running, playing, shuttling 24 hours a day. On a 20-hour day (and I've done my fair share), there may be 12 hours of actual recording, interspersed with producer's direction, artist's opinion, bathroom breaks, union breaks, meals, phone calls, replacing strings or heads.

Even in orchestral sessions with 60+ players at a cost of $10,000+ an hour, the actual recording time during a three hour session may be 2.5 hours. But then there's 1-1.5 hours for a meal. So the machine may be running 70% of the time, tops, for a period of 9-10 hours. Then there's a break to setup for the next session or overdub.

I just think objecting based on usage 24 hours a day, even at a reasonable 300+ days a year is exaggerating the facts a bit. Plus, if you're billing that kind of time, you could probably afford and would need a backup machine so that you wouldn't miss a beat if the tape machine went down. How many studios billing 300 days a year couldn't afford two $9000 2" tape machines? Not long ago (I remember it well) they cost $50,000 each.


*hyperbole-1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”
Old 16th August 2008
  #119
I talked to the designer for about 1/2 hour yesterday and this guy is very very smart. Sounds like they're doing a very thorough job at making it seemless, easy to use and implement.

They've figured out that the re-tensioning, punching in, rewind, etc. is a huge factor in how fast the tape wears out. If you're just in record, RTZ, and stop, there's really not much wear on the tape... and it's always in different places. He's talked to some tape manufacturers and they believe you could get away with 1000 passes without significant degradation. Yes, 1000. Now, maybe that's quite a stretch but the point is, it's not going to wear out after 2-3 takes like someone was suggesting earlier. He's been working off GP9 and he has RTZd like 100 times and says he's got plenty of highs left.

It does sound like it's going to be expensive, but here's a scenario for folks to think about. I'm working in a mid-priced studio right now for guitar and bass overdubs. Called a rental place for a price on renting a studer 827 for the month. Over 5K. I own an ATR-102 in tip top shape. What if I had a harness made for the ATR/clasp and tracked 2 channels (DI and amp blends) for guitars... that could make it worth it right there so that I wouldn't have to rent a 24 track during the overdub session. Then I could have a different harness made for an 827 so when I'm tracking drums at Sunset, etc. I'd have the clasp available for basics, could take it with me wherever I go. Then I'd also have it available for overdubs at my house. Pretty sweet. No transfer time. That's no joke when you're paying for studio time as well. Also, no lynx/ destripalizer/ timecode BS. I could see it paying for itself over time.

For the Roy Thomas Baker/ Mutt Lang types out there... with three clasp units at 24 channels each, you could have 3 different multitrack machines recording at different speeds, biases, etc at the same time for different flavors, flowing back to the DAW in realtime. Pretty insane.
Old 16th August 2008
  #120
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
*hyperbole-1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”
Lynn, hey, thanks for the english lesson....
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