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Is Digital Amp modeling the future of guitar tone?
Old 7th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3001
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For me I think of it as buying a 65 Ford A/C Cobra vs. buying a VW Rabbit with a gazillion options that eventually fail as the car gets some age on it, then the labor to repair all those wonderful computerized luxury accessory forces you to trade the car in.
Old 7th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3002
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
The Kemper is all you need unless you want to capture natural touch dynamics and the natural woody tones of a vintage guitar through a fine hand wired amp, through the best speakers money can buy.
Just wait.... The tones that I am getting now after some minimal tweaking, ARE getting some of that, and pick and hand dynamics too now. clips will be up at the end of my sessions over the next several days.

Jim
Old 7th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3003
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sure seems like a whole lot of extra effort to replicate something that comes
so easy with most good amps.
Old 7th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3004
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
Sure seems like a whole lot of extra effort to replicate something that comes
so easy with most good amps.
LOL.... took me 10 min. once several people gave the correct parameters to look at on the kemper forums. not that hard.

Jim
Old 7th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3005
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
People can say hardware amps are better all they want, there's a reason why people gawk at vintage amps and it's because for a lot of people it never got better than those vintage amps (I don't agree with this idea but those amps fetch high prices for a reason).

Digital amps have just arrived at a point where they are on par with their hardware counterparts. My Kemper can profile my AC15 and I will never pass a blind test with them both. At that point an argument can't made for what's better but the flexibility of having all those sounds at your fingertips is the future.

I've heard some people say they can hear a difference. I can't, Michael Wagner and Andy Sneap can't either along with a lot of guys who are using them nowadays.
I think the reason these threads get so out of control is because the people with their beloved tube amps think that we're some kind of conscripted army that's going to burst down their door and take anything with a tube in it and smash it to bits (and bytes). They think that we're trying to convince them to come to "our side" because it's so much better and secretly we want to beat them in some challenge. That's just not true.

I love a tube amp. I really do. I've even owned some MOSFET amps that I thought were fantastic. If I had more space and money I'd have a handful of them just because I find them to be wonderful objects. I will fight for the rights of humans who stand by their analog amps and never let the Modeler Army beat them down.

But, as some point in my life, real amps started to be a drag. I remember lugging my 80 lb Ampeg around to gigs. I also started to meld my music together with electronic instruments and audio loopers and a bunch of modern tech where the real amp just felt awkward. There were things that I just couldn't do with a real mic'd amp in a live situation.

Anyway, instead of lamenting what I was losing I looked at what I was gaining. Early stuff like the ART SGX processors were not really good at sounding like a tube amp, but they had their sonic merits and I was able to develop sounds I liked using them. Later I went with a Digitech rack box... I forget the name now, that "champagne colored" one. Instead of being bummed about not having a tube amp I was excited about having a new thing and the possibilities. Anyway, time went on... the Digitech became a Vox Tonelab... the history is hazy... finally I actually ditched hardware and went with an Amplitube setup which was fantastically liberating.

Not once would I say I was 100% satisfied with the tone though, but it was a compromise and 90% of the time I was really happy. I'd listen to AxeFX demos and think, "Not appreciably better than software considering the price." It wasn't until the Kemper that I thought, "Ah, finally! They really nailed it for me." Now I don't think I have the best set up in the world and I think that if I had the money and space I'd go with real amps and a Two Tone Torpedo setup, but frankly the 5% extra tone I'd get from that setup is easy to give up considering the Kemper's "one stop shopping" experience. There's no way I'm going to buy all the amps I enjoy as profiles. So, I make a choice. It's my choice. I choose to have a highly flexible setup that gives me an amazingly varied choice of amp tones and effects at my fingertips for about the cost of a single good boutique tube amp. I can also see the beauty of the dude who buys the Plexi or whatever and that's his deal, simple and great sounding. No need to argue which sounds better or can X sound as good as Y. Let's just look at the possibilities we have in front of us and be happy we live in a world where it's so easy to get a professional sound.
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Old 7th February 2014
  #3006
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🎧 10 years
I had another go at the Axe FX II last night at a friends studio. It had a firmware update since I last tried it, that addressed dynamics and response to guitar volume. I have to say it was noticeably better than the last time I tried it. Very responsive to pick attack, and even a heavily distorted JTM-45 pushed with a Fuzz Face cleaned up to a nice chime. We spent some time putting together a very dynamic, over the top Hendrix style tone and it definitely had some character and mojo. A lot of tweakability not only with the amp, but also with the cabinet and mic. You can really get deep into tweaking. I'm not ready to give up my tube amps and pedals, but this was definitely the most impressed I've been with modeling so far.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3007
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
I had another go at the Axe FX II last night at a friends studio. It had a firmware update since I last tried it, that addressed dynamics and response to guitar volume. I have to say it was noticeably better than the last time I tried it. Very responsive to pick attack, and even a heavily distorted JTM-45 pushed with a Fuzz Face cleaned up to a nice chime. We spent some time putting together a very dynamic, over the top Hendrix style tone and it definitely had some character and mojo. A lot of tweakability not only with the amp, but also with the cabinet and mic. You can really get deep into tweaking. I'm not ready to give up my tube amps and pedals, but this was definitely the most impressed I've been with modeling so far.
Why "spend time putting together" a sound when you could just plug into a real amp and not worry about it? That's what I mean when I talk about "spending all your time playing with gear instead of playing music."
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3008
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🎧 15 years
Maybe the real amp doesn't deliver the tone one wants?
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3009
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zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Why "spend time putting together" a sound when you could just plug into a real amp and not worry about it? That's what I mean when I talk about "spending all your time playing with gear instead of playing music."
Well, as someone who plays on both sides of the fence, I'll point out that real amp users are often just as bad... changing tube brands, changing speakers, additional mods...

Also, I can do a 12 song set and use a different amp sound for each part of each song and change effects to boot. With a single foot switch press I can go from a Plexi sound with a long tape delay to a Roland Jazz Chorus sound with a little reverb. As someone who used to play guitar and sing in a band, the last thing I wanted was to begin a tap dance to switch from a rhythm sound to lead sound. Maybe you're a "all I need is a Princeton reverb and a boost pedal guy" and that's fine, but a lot of us look for a way more eclectic guitar sound and we'll pay the price for it.
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3010
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feck's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Why "spend time putting together" a sound when you could just plug into a real amp and not worry about it? That's what I mean when I talk about "spending all your time playing with gear instead of playing music."
Nonsense. Sculpting a specific tone (in this case a Hendrix style tone) takes time on any tube amp. Unless you happen to have a vintage JMP100 sitting around that you can dime at will, nailing a Hendrix tone takes time any way you look at it. Ironic that you are talking about spending all this time with gear after all the time you spend posting against new guitar technology.
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3011
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58 Reviews written
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Ya know, it's kinda funny - Hendrix could take just about any guitar and plug into most any big tube amp and sound JUST LIKE HENDRIX without a whole lot of screwing around.

Marshalls, Dual Showmans, whatever.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Ya know, it's kinda funny - Hendrix could take just about any guitar and plug into most any big tube amp and sound JUST LIKE HENDRIX without a whole lot of screwing around.

Marshalls, Dual Showmans, whatever.
So what makes you think that would be different with an amp sim?

As you point out, just because people other than Hendrix require tweaking of their tone and settings on their amp and guitar to sound like Hendrix doesn't mean that Hendrix did.

You will continue to sound like yourself no matter what you use, you would sound like yourself if you used DI or even an acoustic guitar.... so what?
Old 8th February 2014
  #3013
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Honestly, the comparisons are nonsense. Yes you can plug into an amp sim just as with an amp and play, have fun, not change a setting.

But then if you add the criteria "it must sound exactly like this sound", or "it must have this characteristic" what exactly do you expect? The amp sim to magically read peoples minds? Do amps do that? No they don't, you don't plug into an AC30 with the controls at noon and expect it to sound like you're playing through a dimed Marshall. Yet somehow with digital it's unreasonable to have to turn some dials or pick the right amp. This is a total double standard that's purely in place to justify a prejudice rather than to make any real point about the worthiness of one technology over the other.
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3014
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
...you don't plug into an AC30 with the controls at noon and expect it to sound like you're playing through a dimed Marshall...
No, I agree - you'd plug into your Marshall to do that.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3015
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
So what makes you think that would be different with an amp sim?

As you point out, just because people other than Hendrix require tweaking of their tone and settings on their amp and guitar to sound like Hendrix doesn't mean that Hendrix did.

You will continue to sound like yourself no matter what you use, you would sound like yourself if you used DI or even an acoustic guitar.... so what?
I think you just made his point.
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3016
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
No, I agree - you'd plug into your Marshall to do that.
Therefore choices have to be made. Even if you have that Marshall, you still don't plug into a Marshall set to green channel with the dials all at noon and expect it to sound like the same amp dimed, and even if you do dime it, you spend some time adjusting the tone stack to sound semi decent if you give a **** about how it sounds.

So now tell me again why someone plugging into an amp sim shouldn't also adjust gain or other amp settings, pick an appropriate amp model etc?
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3017
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkknight91 View Post
I think you just made his point.
Which was what exactly? And relevant to the discussion how?
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3018
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
83 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
Therefore choices have to be made...
Mm...not really. You just unplug from the Vox and plug into the Marshall. You might even have another guitar already plugged in and ready to go. Tweak to taste (as per amp sim) and off ya go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
...So now tell me again why someone plugging into an amp sim shouldn't also adjust gain or other amp settings, pick an appropriate amp model etc?
Why would I want to tell you that?
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3019
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Mm...not really. You just unplug from the Vox and plug into the Marshall. You might even have another guitar already plugged in and ready to go. Tweak to taste (as per amp sim) and off ya go!

Why would I want to tell you that?
To justify the position that making adjustments/choices somehow invalidates the use of an amp sim or makes them less useable and "plug in and play" than a real amp, based on the absurd criteria of specifically trying to sound like X.

I believe that's the rough shape of what's being argued by John and others, and is what my points was countering. If you're in turn countering my point then you're going to want to state the case.
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3020
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83 Reviews written
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
To justify the position that making adjustments/choices somehow invalidates the use of an amp sim or makes them less useable and "plug in and play" than a real amp, based on the absurd criteria of specifically trying to sound like X.

I believe that's the rough shape of what's being argued by John and others, and is what my points was countering. If you're in turn countering my point then you're going to want to state the case.
I'd much prefer to use/tweak real amps (I've been tweaking sims all day and it's crazy...all those menus rather than WYSIWYG tactile control); I'm not telling you what you should or shouldn't do though....that's your business.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3021
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
83 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Another issue is that presets are absolute. IME conditions change depending on the room; amp position; time of day; season; weather/humidity; personal vibe; number of people in room; etc. - I find that easier to compensate for with a traditional interface.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
I'd much prefer to use/tweak real amps (I've been tweaking sims all day and it's crazy...all those menus rather than WYSIWYG tactile control); I'm not telling you what you should or shouldn't do though....that's your business.
So use a hardware sim. They normally have the usual tactile knobs on the front. The Kemper certainly does.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3023
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83 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
So use a hardware sim. They normally have the usual tactile knobs on the front. The Kemper certainly does.
Nah - like the pros I prefer the sound and feel of real amps. I'm using the sims through necessity now but I have an ancient AC30 on loan and saving for another low-wattage recording amp (after analogue synth)
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone
Another issue is that presets are absolute. IME conditions change depending on the room; amp position; time of day; season; weather/humidity; personal vibe; number of people in room; etc. - I find that easier to compensate for with a traditional interface.
Ok, are you arguing against or for sims here?

If against, then sorry, I'm just not following this line of logic. The two statements seem at odds.

Firstly after we've been talking about tweaking the statement "sims presets are absolute" is running counter to the whole "tweaking" discussion, and then even more doesn't make sense in light of the statement that follows complaining about how environmental factors change a real amps sound. But somehow you'd prefer to compensate for things which as you say don't happen with an amp sim anyway (therefore don't actually need to be compensated for at all, as they don't change) using a traditional interface... ...which you can also have with most hardware amp sim units... but you wouldn't need to use because the sim preset is absolute.

I mean, yeah amp sims are great that way, capture a profile of a sound as it was in it's sweet spot on a great day, carry on using said sound for as long as you want, never have to worry about environmental changes, fuses going, moisture in the air, different people in the room, mic's getting moved between sessions, tubes needing to be changed, seamless edits and re-amps needing to be done way later, very convenient that way.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3025
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Why "spend time putting together" a sound when you could just plug into a real amp and not worry about it? That's what I mean when I talk about "spending all your time playing with gear instead of playing music."
Because I appreciate new technology, and it was fun doing so. I have plenty of time to do what ever I want....including spending time with my family, writing music, playing and recording my real amps in my private studio, playing the occasional gig, reading a good book now and again, and yes, even futzing around with new technology.

Why do you spend so much time on Gearslutz trying to convince people that new technology sucks?
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Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3026
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
So what makes you think that would be different with an amp sim?

As you point out, just because people other than Hendrix require tweaking of their tone and settings on their amp and guitar to sound like Hendrix doesn't mean that Hendrix did.

You will continue to sound like yourself no matter what you use, you would sound like yourself if you used DI or even an acoustic guitar.... so what?
You're missing the point.

The point is that if you spent your time on your playing instead of your toys your music would be better served. And that, although Hendrix did love his toys, they're not what defined his sound. You want to sound like Hendrix? Learn to play like Hendrix. Learn to FEEL THE MUSIC like Hendrix. Playing with "tones" is missing the point.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3027
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
You're missing the point.

The point is that if you spent your time on your playing instead of your toys your music would be better served. And that, although Hendrix did love his toys, they're not what defined his sound. You want to sound like Hendrix? Learn to play like Hendrix. Learn to FEEL THE MUSIC like Hendrix. Playing with "tones" is missing the point.
Why do you assume that just because I was trying to recreate a particular Hendrix tone with the Axe FX II (an over the top, fuzz face>univibe>cranked Marshall tone), that I do not know how to "play like Hendrix"? I've been playing guitar for 30 years, and Hendrix is one of my top influences. Back when I was actively playing out, we did a break in our set and the bass player, drummer and I would come out and do a mini Hendrix set. I used to have people come up to me all the time and compliment me on my Hendrix style (granted, they were usually pretty drunk). At that time, I was using a TS-9 and DS-1, and a DOD chorus and delay pedal into a Deluxe Reverb.

I GET THAT IT"S IN YOUR FINGERS! That doesn't mean we have to spend 8 hours a day playing acoustic guitar, or just guitar>tube amp. It's about having fun and enjoying yourself. I like the gadgets. I'd rather futz around with a Digital Modeler all evening than sit in front of the TV or on the internet, or whatever.

In fact, I hace a Martin GCPA1+ in my lap right now with the Fishman Aurora+ system... God forbid, a Digital mic modeler built in to a $3000 Martin Guitar. I'm loving the sounds coming out of this thing. In fact, if I get motivated enough, I may actually open up ProToolsHD and do some recording tonight.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3028
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
Because I appreciate new technology, and it was fun doing so. I have plenty of time to do what ever I want....including spending time with my family, writing music, playing and recording my real amps in my private studio, playing the occasional gig, reading a good book now and again, and yes, even futzing around with new technology.

Why do you spend so much time on Gearslutz trying to convince people that new technology sucks?
I'm only opposed to the technology when the tech gets put ahead of the music.

It's a matter of perspective, that's all.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3029
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
Why do you assume that just because I was trying to recreate a particular Hendrix tone with the Axe FX II (an over the top, fuzz face>univibe>cranked Marshall tone), that I do not know how to "play like Hendrix"? I've been playing guitar for 30 years, and Hendrix is one of my top influences. Back when I was actively playing out, we did a break in our set and the bass player, drummer and I would come out and do a mini Hendrix set. I used to have people come up to me all the time and compliment me on my Hendrix style (granted, they were usually pretty drunk). At that time, I was using a TS-9 and DS-1, and a DOD chorus and delay pedal into a Deluxe Reverb.
Great! And you didn't need a modeler, did you?

Quote:
I GET THAT IT"S IN YOUR FINGERS! That doesn't mean we have to spend 8 hours a day playing acoustic guitar, or just guitar>tube amp. It's about having fun and enjoying yourself. I like the gadgets. I'd rather futz around with a Digital Modeler all evening than sit in front of the TV or on the internet, or whatever.
You do have something of a point there.

And I really don't see that as being in conflict with my POV, really. You're killing time and having fun, playing with your toys. That's great! Definitely beats watching most of the TV that's on these days.

Quote:

In fact, I hace a Martin GCPA1+ in my lap right now with the Fishman Aurora+ system... God forbid, a Digital mic modeler built in to a $3000 Martin Guitar. I'm loving the sounds coming out of this thing. In fact, if I get motivated enough, I may actually open up ProToolsHD and do some recording tonight.
Fine. Good for you. I'm not going to start on mic modelers here. Just got through a lengthy exchange with Steven Slate on that subject and I'm pretty sick of that brand on snake oil at the moment.
Old 8th February 2014 | Show parent
  #3030
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein
You're missing the point.

The point is that if you spent your time on your playing instead of your toys your music would be better served. And that, although Hendrix did love his toys, they're not what defined his sound. You want to sound like Hendrix? Learn to play like Hendrix. Learn to FEEL THE MUSIC like Hendrix. Playing with "tones" is missing the point.
Sage advice, so then, why are you posting here about the advantages of your toys over other peoples? I got your point easily enough, I believe you're the one missing the point here.

Here's the core problem though with your new spin, you assume that because people use an amp sim that they're spending more time on the sim than on playing. That's so preposterously, no epically wrong of an assumption that it beggars belief anyone would try to come out with that with a straight face.

Where's your basis for this crap? Seriously. The "it stands to reason because I'm still trying to figure out how to use the VCR remote even though you can no longer even buy videotapes anymore" school of thinking? Stop stating as fact a fantasy that you hope to be true in order to support your own closed minded prejudices.
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