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Old 1 week ago
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPC View Post
...but I think this is where the people to whom Mr. Norman is referring excel - making a recording using a simple setup that appeals to those using everything from a pair of $20 earbuds to a pair of B&W Nautilus. No mean trick, that!
But then you end up with the "jack of all trades, master of none" problem.
Old 1 week ago
  #62
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Quote:
But the main point I am trying to make is that most microphones - because they do not have an accompanying brain attached - need to be placed somewhere else to get the same balance between the direct and reverberant sound when listening live.
Again for loudspeakers only, because the mics main purpose is to create phantom images between the loudspeakers for you to listen in your lounge, as if you were in the concert hall, the concert hall d/r ratio and acoustics need to be captured in the recording to mask the probably crappy acoustics of your loungeroom. If you put loudspeakers on the CH stage and sat in the best seat and played back your recording it would sound way too revereberant.
Old 1 week ago
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shosty View Post
...that officially places me at the other end of the recording philosophy because classical instruments are designed and meant to be heard from a distance, with the natural blend of the instruments in a shared space reaching the listeners ears. Everything I aim at is to capture the sound of the instruments as they would sound in a concert hall.
Old 1 week ago
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Again for loudspeakers only, because the mics main purpose is to create phantom images between the loudspeakers for you to listen in your lounge, as if you were in the concert hall, the concert hall d/r ratio and acoustics need to be captured in the recording to mask the probably crappy acoustics of your loungeroom. If you put loudspeakers on the CH stage and sat in the best seat and played back your recording it would sound way too revereberant.
Sorry David, but could you clarify what you mean by "for loudspeakers only"?

Because it is the mic positioning that creates the balance between d/r sound, unless the speakers are, as you say, placed in a concert hall.
Old 1 week ago
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
A lot of those early 'hi-fi demonstration/audiophile recordings' were ultra close miked, with unnaturally fast transient attacks due to proximity (ie no attenuation due to air and distance)...designed to show off the 'speed' of hifi speakers. As a 15 year old back then I was impressed...until I realized that nobody listens to a steel stringed acoustic guitar with their ear 3 inches from the strings or soundhole !

Hearing/experiencing acoustic music as if the listener is confined to the sound hole of an instrument is objectionable.
Old 1 week ago
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shosty View Post
Sorry David, but could you clarify what you mean by "for loudspeakers only"?

Because it is the mic positioning that creates the balance between d/r sound, unless the speakers are, as you say, placed in a concert hall.
Binaural is a completely different acoustical representation, there you are recording cues with a dummy head sitting in row 7, and the listener listens on headphones for a facsimile of that experience. The listeners acoustic or location is irrelevant.

Loudspeaker listening is all about phantom sources sitting between the speakers taking on the functions of the instruments and playing to a listener some distance away as in the CH. Near field monitoring in the studio notwithstanding (don't know how people can master a classical recording that way), this is trying to approximate the live listening experience in the concert hall, where the sources are spread (between the speakers = across the stage) and the listener is receiving cues to both ears mixed with ambiance and reflections from the hall and loungeroom. Your recording needs just enough of the CH ambiance to mask your loungeroom acoustic but not too much that the phantom images cannot be created, be stable or located when listening.

Putting the speakers on a CH stage and listening to your mastered recording is a good way to think about and understand the listeners acoustic and its influence on how the recording is perceived. I have done this.
Old 1 week ago
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
The ear is in the mid to far field in either the concert hall or the lounge room, listening to the "same" source, either the actual instruments in the case of the CH, or the proxy instruments (loudspeaker phantom images) in the case of the lounge room.
The trick, for me, in suspending disbelief and losing myself in the music is to believe what I hear without the benefit of visual cues...at least for orchestral performances.
Old 1 week ago
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Im a total 2 mic to two track idiot and I like some of the results I get
Its a great challenge and quite rambunctious fun, even my critics like some of em
My fan(s) says its like being there

Roger
So, with your 2-mic technique...your "fan(s) say its like being there..." in the audience or on stage
Old 1 week ago
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Binaural is a completely different acoustical representation, there you are recording cues with a dummy head sitting in row 7, and the listener listens on headphones for a facsimile of that experience. The listeners acoustic or location is irrelevant.

Loudspeaker listening is all about phantom sources sitting between the speakers taking on the functions of the instruments and playing to a listener some distance away as in the CH. Near field monitoring in the studio notwithstanding (don't know how people can master a classical recording that way), this is trying to approximate the live listening experience in the concert hall, where the sources are spread (between the speakers = across the stage) and the listener is receiving cues to both ears mixed with ambiance and reflections from the hall and loungeroom. Your recording needs just enough of the CH ambiance to mask your loungeroom acoustic but not too much that the phantom images cannot be created, be stable or located when listening.

Putting the speakers on a CH stage and listening to your mastered recording is a good way to think about and understand the listeners acoustic and its influence on how the recording is perceived. I have done this.
Yep, I understand all of this - though I hadn't thought about having just enough ambiance to mask room acoustics without blurring the stereo image, which is an interesting point as is listening to a recording in a concert hall.

But I am not quite seeing how this relates to my point that I have become skeptical that speakers are purely "sound source" and not in some sense "ear source" as well. Am I missing something? Or perhaps I am not making my point well.
Old 1 week ago
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shosty View Post
But I am not quite seeing how this relates to my point that I have become skeptical that speakers are purely "sound source" and not in some sense "ear source" as well. Am I missing something? Or perhaps I am not making my point well.
Sorry Shosty, I don't quite understand your point or why it is required.

To me we listen to loudspeakers the same as we listen to an ensemble in the concert hall, at some distance from the sound sources, instruments in the CH, phantom images in the lounge-room.

The holy grail for the recording engineer is to create a realistic but also exciting sound stage between the speakers which has the most realistic phantom image facsimile of the instruments sitting in just enough reverb to be believable for the acoustic and the listening room. Some of us can hear how this should be intrinsically and others cannot. This is our art.
Old 1 week ago
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Sorry Shosty, I don't quite understand your point or why it is required.

To me we listen to loudspeakers the same as we listen to an ensemble in the concert hall, at some distance from the sound sources, instruments in the CH, phantom images in the lounge-room.

The holy grail for the recording engineer is to create a realistic but also exciting sound stage between the speakers which has the most realistic phantom image facsimile of the instruments sitting in just enough reverb to be believable for the acoustic and the listening room. Some of us can hear how this should be intrinsically and others cannot. This is our art.
Actually, I agree completely. Well said!

I am surprized at how many music students have never experienced this. I'll have them sit in the sweet spot and it's pretty amazing to see their reactions to the phantom images. In the age of headphones, they really do miss the entire art, as you say, of stereo recording.
Old 1 week ago
  #72
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At this juncture, can I introduce a disruptive gatecrasher to the party ?
While I'm the last to concede that Apple is any sort of innovator when it comes to home audio reproduction, I think it wise we pay some mind to this upcoming product, destined to arrive soon to many loungerooms.

https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/homepod/

Ostensibly a mono longeroom speaker designed to emulate a toilet roll, if these rumours are correct it comes packing some pretty serious onboard DSP, directly related to ambience retrieval and interactivity with the playback environment it's in.

Put 2 in a room and they wirelessly talk to each other and figure out how they're going to 'present the phantom images' as David might say.

It's all speculation at this stage, and it's likely they won't get it right first time, but I do believe this points the way towards future home stereo reproduction, for those who choose to embrace it.

Here's part of their claimed potential:

"At the very top of the HomePod, there's an Apple-designed A8 chip, which is the same chip that was first introduced with the iPhone 6. It's a lot of processing power for a speaker, and Apple says it's perhaps the "biggest brain ever" built into a speaker. The A8 chip powers capabilities like real-time acoustic modeling, buffering, upmixing of direct and ambient audio, and multi-channel echo cancellation, and it is expected to be accompanied by 1GB RAM

HomePod uses spatial awareness to intelligently detect the room around itself, automatically adjusting and balancing audio to take full advantage of its environment to fill a room with sound regardless of where it's placed.

According to Apple, HomePod also uses an advanced algorithm to continually analyze what's playing, dynamically tuning low frequencies for smooth sound.

We're hitting on something people will be delighted with. It's gonna blow them away. It's gonna rock the house. -- Apple CEO Tim Cook on the HomePod
Two HomePods are able to work together for an even richer sound, and setting up a HomePod is as simple as holding it next to the iPhone. It's similar to the setup process for AirPods"


OK, it sounds like breathless marketing hype, laced with some seductive techo buzzwords, but if products like this point the way to making the loungeroom disappear for most listeners, this could have implications for the way music is recorded in the longer-term future.

Bear in mind that Lexicon and other DSP add-on processors for home use were available in the 90's and never took off...too highly priced...but this appears to be an evolutionary, and exceedingly more affordable, few evolutions forward

If the same sort of AI/robotics/modelling could be applied to guiding or informing mic placement in a hall or church, I'd be at least interested.

Not so different, perhaps, in concept from the 19 element Zylia microphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmLb...nNoqYi6B5VOLTK

It may be a long ways off yet, but....here's a letter to us in 2017...from the year 2030: https://www.soundonsound.com/people/...-non-ai-mixing
Old 1 week ago
  #73
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Old 1 week ago
  #74
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

RPC wrote: “...making a recording using a simple setup that appeals to those using everything from a pair of $20 earbuds to a pair of B&W Nautilus.”

And David Spearritt replied: “But then you end up with the "jack of all trades, master of none" problem.”

As someone who has spent years attempting what RPC described, I prefer the term “Jack of all trades, master of some”.

Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c1ferrari View Post
So, with your 2-mic technique...your "fan(s) say its like being there..." in the audience or on stage
I would never offer a stage recording, but its not a audience one either
Its a theoretical best seat with some spatial treatment
My recordings are transcriptions, there is little production in them, perhaps they can reveal inner detail sometimes, less can be more

Playing back LS on the same stage as recorded was much done the early days of HiFi (Gilbert Briggs of Wharfedale and Peter Walker of Quad)
It didn't prove much, the arrays that were required to move enough air were industrial not domestic
I had Meridian DSP 6000 speakers at home for 20 yrs ,3 of em in Trifield
They could produce the weight of music performance but not the detail of near field
I like detail over weight
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c1ferrari View Post
The trick, for me, in suspending disbelief and losing myself in the music is to believe what I hear without the benefit of visual cues...at least for orchestral performances.
As an aside, in the late 1980s/early 1990s I remember meeting a woman who worked for a classical music record label; her job was to clean up live concert recordings to remove extraneous noises to the extent possible--coughs and sneezes from the audience, the rustling sound of pages being flipped in the score, inadvertent clips of the conductor's baton on the music stand. She said it had ruined the experience of live concerts for her and she only listened to CDs now: when she went to a concert, all she could hear were the things her ears had been trained to listen for, and she couldn't get lost in the music itself.

My own personal interest is in recording traditional music in its natural setting, which in my case is mostly in people's kitchens or sometimes in pubs. The ambient noises -- the fire in the fireplace, squeaking of chairs, clattering of silverware, the lighting of a match -- are all part of the context and the recordings that move me the most keep all those sounds in.
Old 1 week ago
  #77
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildplum View Post
thomas- you mentioned sittinmg in H1 and then hearing the recording. Did the recording sound like you were still sitting in H1? if not, how did it sound compared to hearing the concert sitting in H1?
It sounded much different than listening in a live concert hall but it was so well done that I found it an enjoyable experience. Not the same, not better or worse but well done and an enjoyable listening experience.
Old 1 week ago
  #78
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Binaural is a completely different acoustical representation, The listeners acoustic or location is irrelevant.

Loudspeaker listening is all about phantom sources sitting between the speakers taking on the functions of the instruments and playing to a listener some distance away as in the CH.
Yes!

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #79
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1ferrari View Post
So, with your 2-mic technique...your "fan(s) say its like being there..." in the audience or on stage
What the heck do you mean? Not "on stage." And yes, "in the audience." That's the whole point isn't it? To come as close as possible to recreating the sense of being it the concert hall?

Well, unless you are recording Judas Priest live. That's a whole different story for certain. (I've done that by the way. Quite different from what I do now )

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
That's the whole point isn't it? To come as close as possible to recreating the sense of being it the concert hall?
Well after 3 pages, I think this is NOT what I am advocating. The ideal for domestic listening on speakers is similar but a closer sound to the ideal CH seat.

As you were.
Old 1 week ago
  #81
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Thread Starter
David - you are advocating for a “not quite but almost” “you are there” listening experience. And I assume you are talking specifically about classical music.
However, literally every other type of music is recorded with a “they are here” perspective: recorded in a studio situation with very close mics on every voice and instrument. I also,listen to plenty of Celtic folk music, and one of my favorites is Bonnie rideout - all her recordings are studio oriented just like pop music, and give a “they are here” experience through loudspeakers and it is very convincing. If this is how all other music is recorded and is clearly what everyone is used to as a listening experience, why should classical Music be different?
Old 1 week ago
  #82
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This might largely depend upon the listening context in which you'd typically hear the music played live ? With orchestras, you'd typically expect a concert hall acoustic surrounding...although I'd suggest there could be some degree of dry/wet variance (eg a Hans Zimmer movie soundtrack might be dryer than a Wagner opera ?) Let's range around a bit....

Next stop, baroque music. I can't picture Scarlatti, Monteverdi, Vivaldi working in less than a rich churchy acoustic...think wooden ceilings, slate floor, stone walls.

Jazz....they're really going to want to take you to a club, no ? Light amplification on guitar and bass, some light ambience on the drums, dryish close vocals. Nothing wrong with closeish miking here.

Celtic folk...you're not going to hear this in a concert hall or a cathedral, you'll want to hear the slap of the bodhran, the chanters on the uillean pipes, some plate reverb is ok, but largely a dryer sound, as if you'd happened upon them in a friendly pub atmosphere. You'll appreciate hearing detail on the fiddles, the guitar, the mandola...hence the miking is closer. For any variation from this....blame Enya !

Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, Milk Carton Kids are going to give you simple, honest close miked vocals and guitars, probably quite dry..a studio sound, minus the audible effects. Horses for courses.....take me to the music's natural habitat, that's mostly what I ask for.
Old 1 week ago
  #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
David - you are advocating for a “not quite but almost” “you are there” listening experience. And I assume you are talking specifically about classical music.
However, literally every other type of music is recorded with a “they are here” perspective: recorded in a studio situation with very close mics on every voice and instrument. I also,listen to plenty of Celtic folk music, and one of my favorites is Bonnie rideout - all her recordings are studio oriented just like pop music, and give a “they are here” experience through loudspeakers and it is very convincing. If this is how all other music is recorded and is clearly what everyone is used to as a listening experience, why should classical Music be different?
Recorded some nice Celtic folk music in a church. Used a blumlein pair and some omni flankers (also did a portion with MS using a cardioid for the center). Thought it sounded quite nice. That nice sense of volume upon playback a sense of space without being overwhelming or overblown. Didn't even think the omni's were needed at all. Very pleased with how 'you are there' it sounded.

They all complained about it sounding like being in a big building. That sense of space and volume they heard as noise around the music. Couldn't you get it cleaner, more like on a CD they said. Next session I close miked each musician and vocalist. Did a little compression, a light touch of reverb, a bit of EQ on this or that instrument. Everyone was smiles. You got rid of that boxy sound they said.

I thought the first one was much nicer. You could hear a little movement of the musicians while they played. It was clear yet not unnaturally hyped. They probably preferred close miking by a bigger margin than I preferred the simple miking.
Old 1 week ago
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
I would never offer a stage recording, but its not a audience one either
Its a theoretical best seat with some spatial treatment
My recordings are transcriptions, there is little production in them, perhaps they can reveal inner detail sometimes, less can be more

Roger
Hi Roger,

Thank you for the clarification. Detail with weight...eminently attractive in some circles. I seldom, if ever, experience that tandem in a concert-proper, orchestral setting.
Old 1 week ago
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
My own personal interest is in recording traditional music in its natural setting, which in my case is mostly in people's kitchens or sometimes in pubs. The ambient noises -- the fire in the fireplace, squeaking of chairs, clattering of silverware, the lighting of a match -- are all part of the context and the recordings that move me the most keep all those sounds in.

Bill Evans - Waltz for Debby
Old 1 week ago
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
What the heck do you mean? Not "on stage." And yes, "in the audience." That's the whole point isn't it? To come as close as possible to recreating the sense of being it the concert hall?
Yes, well-put, D. For orchestral, absolutely my preference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Well, unless you are recording Judas Priest live. That's a whole different story for certain. (I've done that by the way. Quite different from what I do now )

D.
I once served on the electrics crew for an Alice Cooper / Great White (?) gig and before the show ventured downstairs after completing my tasks . One guy was getting a tatoo. There was a plate of food, so I grabbed a sandwich and commenced what came naturally. Hehe, someone reminded me the food was for the band.
Old 1 week ago
  #87
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Thread Starter
Studer - “blame Enya” - at last, something I think we can all agree on...

Esldude- inre the reaction you got from the players - I was likewise getting more and more feedback from players desiring less reverb and more intimacy in the recording. Some good discussion of this in current thread about “small room acoustic”.
Old 1 week ago
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
If this is how all other music is recorded and is clearly what everyone is used to as a listening experience, why should classical Music be different?
Because classical music is different from modern music. It predates recording technology, so wasn't written with modern recording studios in mind. It depends on decent acoustics, the reflections of the hall, to glue the sounds of the instruments together (because there weren't any PA systems). And... it's designed for people to listen in large groups seated at substantial distances from the players (because it predates radio, TV, iPhones and Facebook). Even the "tafelmusik" of the classical period was meant for the string quartet (or whatever) to be well away from the board where the king and his people were eating, so they could talk over the music (my point being distance).

You couldn't actually record most classical music the way that modern pop is recorded in the studio. If you have the cello in the string quartet lay down his licks in an isolation booth, then send that to the viola player to lay down her track, then the second violin, then the first violin... what you get is a bunch of notes without the music. Because playing a string quartet is about the collaboration as much as it is about the notes. And part of the music is that the silences aren't silent -- they are the sound of the acoustic reverb decay. Even the best artificial reverb is still inferior to the best performance halls in this respect.

I'm just sayin' that classical music ain't no "wall of sound". Not that Mozart wouldn't have appreciated Phil Spector's invention.

Last edited by Bruce Watson; 1 week ago at 01:55 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
They all complained about it sounding like being in a big building. That sense of space and volume they heard as noise around the music. Couldn't you get it cleaner, more like on a CD they said. Next session I close miked each musician and vocalist. Did a little compression, a light touch of reverb, a bit of EQ on this or that instrument. Everyone was smiles. You got rid of that boxy sound they said.
I guess this is a great example of the conventions of the CD dictating the 'norms' which people associate with a particular style of music (reproduction)...and that what's pleasing and natural to one may be tagged as belonging to a different genre of music, and thus inappropriate.

There is some point to this...the fast attacks of Celtic folk percussion and stringed instruments can get muddied in a large churchy acoustic, and if they were playing together in such a place you could expect them to gather in closer, in an attempt to minimize this, and to facilitate them hearing themselves and each other.

It's no accident, for example, that much medieval choral music evolved, in composition and performance, within the wonderfully resonant churches and cathedrals of the era.

By contrast, this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT81AkyLveg would sound quite poor and diffuse in the same (ie church/cathedral) acoustic space, and the musicians would struggle to play it with the same articulation, sense of ensemble and speed as they deliver here in the studio

I love recording in those acoustics, but the music (as I mentioned previously: Scarlatti, Monteverdi, Vivaldi) has to suit the location
Old 1 week ago
  #90
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Thread Starter
Bruce - just because you use close mics doesn’t mean a quartet can’t perform together. I recorded a flute quartet in a nice large church with four spot mics along with a Blumlein pair of Royer ribbons and all four players preferred the mix with just the 4 spot mics. I have seen several videos of pros like yo yo ma playing with small folk groups in small studios all using close mics with excellent results. I do agree that any small acoustic group should absolutely perform as a group to record and NEVER try to overdub to a stupid click track. Oh, and inre: “I predates recording technology” - I think we all know you predate recording technology :-)

Studer - agree. I recorded a flute and harp duo in a large cathedral where I couldn’t get the mics any closer than about 8 feet out due to video considerations. The harpist hated the enormous reverb which hid so much of the delicacy and intricacies of the harp performance. The flute OTOH sounded heavenly... sometimes you just cannot win..
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