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Have plugins peaked? Studio Monitors
Old 9th March 2018
  #511
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
Immediately I found myself flying around on the desk when I had the chance and I saw the real benefit of the desk workflow.
It's funny how subjective some of this stuff is. I've worked on Neve and SSL, and had the chance to test out some of the DAW controllers, and I PREFER using a trackball and seeing my automation on a visual graph. For me, it's quicker and more precise.
Old 11th March 2018
  #512
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Here's another area where plugins are lagging that popped up in another thread:

Most of our comp plugs are roughly modeled on their physical predecessors, yet we've built in the same limitations, and in some cases have never fixed them despite the fixes existing in other areas. For instance, we figured out that for brickwall limiters to work, they need lookahead. The ability to shave the peak BEFORE it crosses threshold changes everything.

Somehow, though, we're still emulating hardware limitations for comps. If I, for instance, want to use a comp to duck the music when a kick hits (an incredibly common use), that means I need to have the kick feed the sidechain input. Unfortunately, none of the comps I'm aware of allow for lookahead in the sidechain, so the initial transient passes which essentially invalidates the entire process. Now, I can create a second kick track, give it a negative offset, etc, but this can cause cascading problems, and be a general pain. Furthermore, it just shouldn't be necessary. This is a common use case, and I'm not aware of anything that handles it properly, yet the solution SEEMS simple.

Why don't comp plugs have a lookahead for the sidechain? Since they already have delay compensation for themselves, couldn't they just receive the sidechain in realtime, but delay their own signal thereby creating a negative RELATIVE offset for the sidechain, then use their own delay compensation to then realign the output? Seems like this is how all comps, limiters, and plugs of any kind with a sidechain should work... yet I'm aware of none that do.
Old 11th March 2018
  #513
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is this the case for cockos reacomp?
seems to work for me...
though it is not straightforward, there is a lot of trial and error, depending on the routing and on other plugins that have latency too.
Old 11th March 2018
  #514
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Not sure, but from the name, I'm assuming that's native Reaper, right? I'd need an AU.

If there are a couple, great, and I'd like to try them. Overall, though I'm saying that in 2018, most of the comps out there have all these legacy limitations... like no mix knob so you have to do all this ridiculous virtual routing to do simple parallel compression... which, again, is a ubiquitous use case. I'm glad to see now that even some of what were straight up emulations are finally starting to get some of those basic features.

Given the number of people that are using comps, LFO toos (ShaperBox, etc), and others as sidechain duckers (pretty much anyone making any kind of dance music, but also some rockers, hip hop, etc), it's just downright ponderous to me that lookahead isn't a standard feature in the sidechain for all these plugs.

I'd say most devs are only just BEGINNING to see past the emulation stage in this evolution.
Old 11th March 2018
  #515
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ain't Nobody View Post

I'd say most devs are only just BEGINNING to see past the emulation stage in this evolution.
Well they are not going to show all their cards, then they wouldn't be able to sell everyone new releases. However from a emulation standpoint everything has pretty much been done.
Old 11th March 2018
  #516
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
However from a emulation standpoint everything has pretty much been done.
So there's straightup mirror-image software versions of LA-2A, Pultec, Fairchild 670, etc. . . . ? Sure, they have been "emulated", but not replicated.
Old 11th March 2018
  #517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
So there's straightup mirror-image software versions of LA-2A, Pultec, Fairchild 670, etc. . . . ? Sure, they have been "emulated", but not replicated.
But I think we also need to be a bit realistic here. It's one thing to completely model a piece of hardware, say the Fairchild compressor, and another to model it to the point where the signal changes non-linearly to the point of us not hearing a difference between hardware and software. The balancing act is going to be between how much you change something sonically and what that costs in CPU cycles (and r&d).

When you write "replicated" it implies to me a 100% accurate model, and I think that's pretty much unnecessary. There are going to be several parts of the hardware that either don't contribute much to the sound or don't contribute at all, and those we can skip modeling of if it 'costs' too much.

So I think it's probably fair to say that if we accept that then they have been replicated. There are models where people couldn't tell the difference between hardware and software consistently in a "properly blind" test.
Old 11th March 2018
  #518
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post

So I think it's probably fair to say that if we accept that then they have been replicated. There are models where people couldn't tell the difference between hardware and software consistently in a "properly blind" test.
The question was have plugins peaked. I guess what I'm saying is that they will have peaked when nobody except nostalgic collectors of hardware will need to lay out $3000+ for a LA-2A. But for now, I think there are plenty who would say that there is no such plugin.
Old 11th March 2018
  #519
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
The question was have plugins peaked. I guess what I'm saying is that they will have peaked when nobody except nostalgic collectors of hardware will need to lay out $3000+ for a LA-2A. But for now, I think there are plenty who would say that there is no such plugin.
I think it's really dependent on the plugin and the type of hardware. Let me give you an example:

Years ago I took my Neve 33609 hardware and ran a drum-kit through it. I set compression so that it was nicely compressing that bus. Then I swapped it for a test signal and set the level of the signal so I got an easy reading of an amount of compression. I printed that signal at that level (no compression) and used it to calibrate the UAD-2 version of the 33609. I then took the drum-kit source and ran it through the software version. People who then heard the two without knowing which one they were listening to couldn't tell the difference. That included an engineer, drummer and composer/musician, all working professionally in those fields.

To me it's pretty much irrelevant if a software emulation is 100% equal to one specific hardware unit. What is relevant is if a software emulation is so good that people can't tell the difference between it an a hardware unit of the same type. If the software captures the qualities of the hardware to the point that people can't tell the difference then that's enough. In my test the 33609 emulation did that.

Of course, it's entirely possible that there are other hardware units out there that behave differently under a different set of circumstances, and then one of them will be distinguishable from the software. But on the other hand so will my hardware unit.

So at the end of the day the question really is whether or not it gives us enough of the sound and operation of the original to be sufficiently indistinguishable, and I think we already have those plugins. I'm betting that the UA LA2A and 1176 models and some of their others will easily fool most people when lined up against their "source" hardware.

Having said that there are also other hardware units which have not yet been captured to that degree, so if the question is can some plugins improve then the answer is "obviously".
Old 11th March 2018
  #520
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
So there's straightup mirror-image software versions of LA-2A, Pultec, Fairchild 670, etc. . . . ? Sure, they have been "emulated", but not replicated.
They are analog units they will never be replicated with a plugin, ever.
Plugins that emulate classic hardware, the most they can ever do is emulate.
Old 12th March 2018
  #521
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
They are analog units they will never be replicated with a plugin, ever.
Plugins that emulate classic hardware, the most they can ever do is emulate.
You know this how?
Old 12th March 2018
  #522
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Only engineers give a sh**. Listeners don't. And I include myself in that, although I'm on record as preferring clean, unadulterated digital. Just like the original 'recordists' could only imagine. AND... I do like reworking Classical pieces with new instruments. It's fun.

I'm gonna get myself a demerit. DAMN!
Old 12th March 2018
  #523
Gear Nut
 

This is where it gets wacky.

So there are those (top pro engineers) who believe their is no difference. I can hear differences though in some tests.

Perhaps it's however that those differences don't matter, or that hardware various enough that the only way to compare is against the original device that was modelled.

I am sure that one day Analog hardware will be modelled with no discernable difference.

In fact it's already starting to happen.

And to what degree does it need to be accurate to work for a mix? I have heard great productions done with very basic plugins, I know the waves Renaissance series is popular for a good but light on CPU collection.
Old 14th March 2018
  #524
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ain't Nobody View Post
I remember stumbling across it years ago, but couldn't demo it for some reason I can't remember. No AU at the time, maybe? Not sure. Anyway, I don't really need such a thing badly enough to spend $350 on it, but good to hear it works for you.

Typically what I've found with de-verb type plugins is similar to a lot of the cleanup type plugs... they can work on simple material under the right circumstances, but fail more often than not, and in particularly unmusical ways that somehow end up sounding like a bad mp3.
No "AU" at the time was actually the main reason I went Waves instead of McDSP. I did wait a while for McDSP to get something out there, but then got tired of waiting and started making other investments.

Of course I could always buy McDSP now, very good tech. That Colin guy both seems like a decent bloke and is indeed quite clever. However, how I manage to curb my spending is by limiting the number of devs I buy from. McDSP AU just came by a year or two late, unfortunately.
Old 14th March 2018
  #525
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
You know this how?
Because software and hardware are not the same thing.
You can only emulate hardware with software.
Old 14th March 2018
  #526
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post

And to what degree does it need to be accurate to work for a mix?
It probably depends on musical style and the sound you are going for.
Old 14th March 2018
  #527
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
This is where it gets wacky.

So there are those (top pro engineers) who believe their is no difference. I can hear differences though in some tests.

Perhaps it's however that those differences don't matter, or that hardware various enough that the only way to compare is against the original device that was modelled.

I am sure that one day Analog hardware will be modelled with no discernable difference.

In fact it's already starting to happen.

And to what degree does it need to be accurate to work for a mix? I have heard great productions done with very basic plugins, I know the waves Renaissance series is popular for a good but light on CPU collection.
The trouble with analogue is that no two devices sound alike. So when people get on their soapboxes as say "x" emulation sucks because it doesn't sound like the device they know, its because the device they know actually sounds different from the device that was studied.

This is due to manufacturing tolerances, what batch was it from, which facility was it made, fatiguing of components, devices fatiguing in different ways depending how they were used, has it been serviced, what were the replacement parts, etc...

These are all reasons why no two devices sound alike.. So if Teletronix could not make one make one LA-2A sound "exactly" like the other, then what chances do devs have making one emulation sounding "exactly" like the other.

So in the end "I am sure that one day Analog hardware will be modelled with no discernable difference." While its a nice thought, is just a factual impossibility because all analogue hardware are manufactured with a discernible difference.

Wouldn't that be dull and boring anyway, if we all used emulations that all sound exactly the same?? Wouldn't music just plateau out until the next new, exciting, "different" thing came along??

Subtle differences between emulations are a good thing and not the work of the devil.
Old 26th March 2018
  #528
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simon.billington View Post
The trouble with analogue is that no two devices sound alike. So when people get on their soapboxes as say "x" emulation sucks because it doesn't sound like the device they know, its because the device they know actually sounds different from the device that was studied.

This is due to manufacturing tolerances, what batch was it from, which facility was it made, fatiguing of components, devices fatiguing in different ways depending how they were used, has it been serviced, what were the replacement parts, etc...

These are all reasons why no two devices sound alike.. So if Teletronix could not make one make one LA-2A sound "exactly" like the other, then what chances do devs have making one emulation sounding "exactly" like the other.

So in the end "I am sure that one day Analog hardware will be modelled with no discernable difference." While its a nice thought, is just a factual impossibility because all analogue hardware are manufactured with a discernible difference.

Wouldn't that be dull and boring anyway, if we all used emulations that all sound exactly the same?? Wouldn't music just plateau out until the next new, exciting, "different" thing came along??

Subtle differences between emulations are a good thing and not the work of the devil.

I agree with this. Just because the plugins sound different to the emulations is not a bad thing. I've used some of the Acustica stuff recently and have to say the flavours coming out in plugins is growing.

I guess what I can see is that imagine if everyone was just focused on one piece of hardware - say an 1176 compressor. So everyone makes clones of the 1176 (which is what's happened) and the 1176 has inspired many other compressors. These have become classics in their own right.

And today there are many 1176 emulations in plugins and they all sound different. Yet they can be disregarded sometimes for their differences.

I think someone mentioned that the sound of the song dictates whats best to use, yet there are many emulations that put a songs production within that area. I somewhat disagree in that a song dictates Analog Vs digital, it only dictates the use of the tools.

I bet you that you can mix any genre of song, within context with either digital or Analog - including capturing a vibe and developing in the mix. There will no doubt be a sonic difference - neither good morning bad in many cases. The bigger point is the end listener won't know. Reason being - one version of crunchy Analog Vs Digital emulation crunchy Analog won't matter much to a listener - as long as it gives the right vibe it will probably work.

Analog still beats digital for the real sound I have no doubt in that. However mixing and art of production is not limited to that world.

SO in answer to the question - have plugins peaked? No, but have they reached a point now where they are good enough - yes.
Old 2nd May 2018
  #529
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
So we agree then?

I think the synthesizer example is a good one, because as far as I remember the argument wasn't just the death of music, the bigger fear was the death of the musician. Having been in audio-post doing sound for advertising for quite some time now I actually remember a time when we recorded a bunch of instruments live for commercials. And the musicians used were all great. These days; 'drum machines' and samples.

From the standpoint of the orchestra and studio musicians, "the synthesizer was the final nail in the coffin". It doesn't mean nobody is working today, but far fewer can make a decent living on it, and that's because of technology + capitalism. The future of AI will make the market shrink further.
Sorry but this attitude presumes that the only music that is REAL music is that made with traditional instruments such as by an orchestra or rock style band - guitars, drums, etc.

Drum machines and synths spawned entirely new ways of production and very exciting and hugely influential genres such as new wave, hip hop, rap, house and techno.

There is no way that you can discount the musical contribution that bands and artists such as Depeche Mode, Human League, ABC, Public Enemy, NWA, The The, The Eurythmics, etc. made to the history and evolution of pop music.

These artists and the genres they spawned would not have been possible without advances in music technology that the traditionalist decried as the death of musicianship and music.

I love and appreciate all genres from early rock such as the Stones and Hendrix, to amazing 70s pop a la Carly Simon, to Aerosmith, to all that is disco right up through to all the amazing 80s stuff (such as mentioned above). These are all valid forms of musical expression.

Maybe with innovative, leading edge AI based music processing techniques coupled with a new generation of synthesized hybrid Nootropics/Psychedelic substances, along with VR technology we may see new genres and new forms of production that we can not even imagine.

The way Jimi Hendrix rocked the guitar and all the broke ghetto kids bought 808s because no one wanted them early on and started to make music like no one had ever heard before speaks to this.

Just because we can't imagine the future does not mean it won't be amazing and exciting to new generations that are not held back by emotional baggage of the "good old days"!
Old 3rd May 2018
  #530
Tui
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Nah, it doesn't work this way. Electronic instruments are incredibly limited in the way they can act as a conduit for human musicality and artistic expression. They are in many ways imitations of the real thing... Nowadays, we even buy plugins to imitate earlier instrumental imitations such as Moog synths, Synclaviers and what not. Kinda pathetic, if you ask me.

Electronic music hasn't progressed in decades. The sounds might be slightly different and certain productions are impressive, but musical substance typically is dire. To my ears, electronic music peaked some time between the 70s-90s.

There is still good, perhaps great, music around, but it's not part of the mainstream.
Old 3rd May 2018
  #531
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Or... you're just not paying attention.

Not only has physical modeling made quantum leaps, but it's finally beginning to shed it's vintage emulation yoke.

Chromophone is a good example of a plug that does WAY more interesting stuff when NOT trying to emulate an actual instrument.

There are others. Actually, I've seen a dramatic uptick in companies who's entire game plan lately seems to be reimagining what plugs, instruments, or effects could or should be, or at least taking old concepts and removing the limitations on the traditional controls to allow new levels of creativity. MUCH moreso than just three or four years back.

It's a golden age for those of us who actually use the stuff daily.
Old 3rd May 2018
  #532
Tui
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Yeah, I also "use the stuff daily". I have more plugins and sounds than I could ever *audition*, let alone use.

Nothing much interesting has been happening in decades, I'm sorry to say.
Old 3rd May 2018
  #533
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siddhu View Post
Sorry but this attitude presumes that the only music that is REAL music is that made with traditional instruments such as by an orchestra or rock style band - guitars, drums, etc.
No it doesn't presume that at all. My point wasn't that using a drum machine means something isn't music, my point with what you quoted was that studio/session musicians were right in their fear of technology because they became close to obsolete. That was the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siddhu View Post
Drum machines and synths spawned entirely new ways of production and very exciting and hugely influential genres such as new wave, hip hop, rap, house and techno.

There is no way that you can discount the musical contribution that bands and artists such as Depeche Mode, Human League, ABC, Public Enemy, NWA, The The, The Eurythmics, etc. made to the history and evolution of pop music.

These artists and the genres they spawned would not have been possible without advances in music technology that the traditionalist decried as the death of musicianship and music.
It's true that those technologies spawned partially new genres, I don't disagree with that at all. Again, the point was one about making a living as a working musician, not what music new technology helped usher in.

It seems to me that what you think I'm maybe talking about is whether or not someone programming a drum machine is a musician. One of my friends from way back was one of the better drummers I'd heard, and he bought a drum machine and was great at programming it. He was no less of a musician just because he got a drum machine and knew how to use it. But of course there's a fundamental difference between your average Joe Schmoe being able to keep time on a drum kit while playing a beat and doing it on a drum machine. So the skill set is different. Ignoring that is just silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siddhu View Post
I love and appreciate all genres from early rock such as the Stones and Hendrix, to amazing 70s pop a la Carly Simon, to Aerosmith, to all that is disco right up through to all the amazing 80s stuff (such as mentioned above). These are all valid forms of musical expression.
I also appreciate a lot of different genres, and Squarepusher was one of my favorites back in the early 00's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siddhu View Post
Maybe with innovative, leading edge AI based music processing techniques coupled with a new generation of synthesized hybrid Nootropics/Psychedelic substances, along with VR technology we may see new genres and new forms of production that we can not even imagine.

The way Jimi Hendrix rocked the guitar and all the broke ghetto kids bought 808s because no one wanted them early on and started to make music like no one had ever heard before speaks to this.

Just because we can't imagine the future does not mean it won't be amazing and exciting to new generations that are not held back by emotional baggage of the "good old days"!
I appreciate the backhanded insult. I'm tempted to retort with something along the lines of "exciting to new generations that aren't educated enough to even comprehend what actually playing music once was"....

....but I'm not going to do that...
Old 3rd May 2018
  #534
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post

I appreciate the backhanded insult. I'm tempted to retort with something along the lines of "exciting to new generations that aren't educated enough to even comprehend what actually playing music once was"....

....but I'm not going to do that...
Hi Mattias,

I absolutely did not mean to insult you in any way and I totally apologize if this last line made you feel that way!

What I meant by this is that WE ALL have to be aware of the baggage we might be carrying which influences our thinking about the present and more importantly the future.

I meant this as a general statement and it was not directed in any way at you personally. I do not believe at all in attacking people or insulting them if I disagree with their ideas and I think that sort of behaviour is what ruins forums.

Thank you for your considered and detailed response to my post that also clarified what you were trying to say in your post.
Old 3rd May 2018
  #535
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I think there are at least two issues playing a part in the question of this thread.
I get the idea that both issues are mixed in this discussion.

One is that after the recent first giant leap with plugin development we can feel overwhelmed and are also less curious than we were at the start.

Second issue is that I think that when a new sort of computers will arrive (Quantum
or something like that) a new leap in development will occur.
Maybe that will have a bigger focus on improving quality of what is already there, but it will show that plugins haven't peaked.
Old 6th May 2018
  #536
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plugins will always get better because better processors are being made every year.
Old 8th May 2018
  #537
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bae1073andahalf View Post
plugins will always get better because better processors are being made every year.
Yeah just look at Waves new PRS Supermodel guitar amps vs GTR. Whike GTR is still decent, it does lack a bit by today’s standard. Clearly Waves have been able to up the ante with the Supermodels since they had more DSP to tap into.

That’s just one company, one plugin. The imagination knows no bounds. Decades back we would never have believed we would have gotten this far with our music technology... on computers too, nonetheless.

Guaranteed we couldn’t dream of now what we could be doing in another 10-20 years with this technology.
Old 8th May 2018
  #538
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Yeah, I also "use the stuff daily". I have more plugins and sounds than I could ever *audition*, let alone use.

Nothing much interesting has been happening in decades, I'm sorry to say.
Sorry to hear you're in a rut.

My experience has been the diametric opposite of what you describe.

The changes in synth architecture alone could keep you busy creating in new ways for decades.

Music creators have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities that have been opened up since plugs began allowing essentially any parameter to be controlled by any other parameter.

If that's not deep enough for you, there are tools like MetaSynth that take the blending of modalities to the point of absurdity, plugs that allow a parameter from one channel to affect another parameter on a different channel, etc.

On the character side, there are all sorts of new or revamped flavors that are MUCH more interesting (and infinitely more flexible) than straight emulations. If you haven't tried GoodHertz Wulf comp, stop what you're doing and demo it. Even the seemingly simple Wow Control plug offers control way beyond anything that existed previously. The general flavor may be retro, but the nuance and control are anything but.
Old 8th May 2018
  #539
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ain't Nobody View Post
Sorry to hear you're in a rut.
Huh? I didn't say that I was. Thanks for asking though.

There has been incredible electronic music coming out until the late 90s or so. Since then... Well, I haven't heard anything interesting enough to want to buy the album.

My own music is fantastic, of course.
Old 8th May 2018
  #540
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I don't think I've bought an album since shortly after that timeframe either (unless I was giving a gift)... though that has nothing to do with music quality, and everything to do with shifting distribution and playback paradigms. There's been much greater utility in non-physical digital files for decades now... since way before the final nail went in the coffin with everyone having a streaming digital media player with them in their pockets at all times.
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