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Amphion studio monitors

Grotti

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Add to that what happens when you live in small sparsely populated country , dealer structure local audiophile culture and distributor oligopolies pre selects the whole market to certain brands you can experience in the stores and the few local magazines in your language also have their own weird biases .

It's so bad that certain brands are limited to certain store chains by their distributor who sometimes ins the same .

Luckily i live close to Stockholm . I'f i strolled down to the local dealer (who is part of a monopoly called hifi-klubben) i would end up with Dali or B&W and if i did not know better I would think that's how speakers sounds and pick the least bad out of their collection.
And that's how you start your journey as an audiophile and the endless upgrade cycle , it's a life long chain off suboptimal choices due to all kinds of biases not only your biases , even a good dealer has some biases.
I used to live in another town where the dealer was very partial to audivector speakers and had a lot of them in store . Luckily they where also partial to meridian , that's my current sub optima ;)
When it comes to dealers, it is not only their bias which leads to a concentration of certain brands. It's often conducted by the distributors and their salesmen: they have to reach the sales target and for that reason make good offers for larger quantities. And if you get addicted to this "drug" you have to put in all your reputation to sell your stock.

I sold hifi equipment as an employee for nearly a decade and I may state, that from what I know, the bias of local hifi dealers is often influenced not by their conviction but by their wallet...
 

Instrugramm

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Wow this forum chat escalated quickly... I just wanted to chime in, I know this forum is about measurements and such but I've been putting aside some money for the last 8 months and went on my search for the holy grail of mixing monitors. Yes, there has been quite some hype about these speakers and I was actually on the other side of the hype, mocking the fan boys.

Yet... I went to test the ONE15s and ONE18s a few weeks back, and of all the speakers I have tested since March, none of them told me as much about the areas that would need fixing in a mix as the ONE15s. That's also the reason why I ordered the Amphion 100 amp a few days back and will be getting the ONE15s in January. I want to mix on them and I'm sure the Genelacs or the Focals might have been flatter (no fan of the Neumanns btw. not even the KH310s) but they sound veiled in comparison to the Amphions and they hide the little faults in the mix instead of revealing them. They may be hyped but honestly if you want speakers to mix on, they should indeed be very high an the list of potential buys, they feel fast and full of micro information, I still don't understand how they do it tbh.
 

Jazmanaut

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Has anyone tried to figure out, how these predicted room responces actually differs with monitor type speakers?
I mean that with monitors you listen them very differently than in a hifi situations:
Studiorooms are usually quite well treated, they are in nearfield, like 1-1.5m, instead of 2-3m, so they exite room much less. They are placed much higher in vertically, like 1.2m instead of around 80cm, that changes type of floor and ceiling reflections drastically, and in studio, you allways have that desk reflections, from mixing/mastering console, or computer desktop.
 

richard12511

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I want to mix on them and I'm sure the Genelacs or the Focals might have been flatter (no fan of the Neumanns btw. not even the KH310s) but they sound veiled in comparison to the Amphions and they hide the little faults in the mix instead of revealing them.

Maybe, but with that overemphasized treble, they're also likely revealing "faults" in the mix that don't actually exist, leading to overcorrection.
 
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andreasmaaan

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Has anyone tried to figure out, how these predicted room responces actually differs with monitor type speakers?
I mean that with monitors you listen them very differently than in a hifi situations:
Studiorooms are usually quite well treated, they are in nearfield, like 1-1.5m, instead of 2-3m, so they exite room much less. They are placed much higher in vertically, like 1.2m instead of around 80cm, that changes type of floor and ceiling reflections drastically, and in studio, you allways have that desk reflections, from mixing/mastering console, or computer desktop.

What aspects of this question remain to be figured out in your view?
 

Jazmanaut

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What aspects of this question remain to be figured out in your view?
Let me rephrase: If i have understood correctly (?) predicted room responce is for ”normal” hifi speakers, for normal livingroom conditions, and with its acoustic anomalities. When you rise that speaker, and listening position, room modes and early reflection hits to different positions in audio spectrum all together, since the distance changes to the nearest boundary. And that console or desk boosts mid freqs, and this and that changes.

So my question is: How reliable those predictions about room responces are, when premises of listening conditions changes so drasticly in studio monitoring setup?
 

andreasmaaan

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Let me rephrase: If i have understood correctly (?) predicted room responce is for ”normal” hifi speakers, for normal livingroom conditions, and with its acoustic anomalities. When you rise that speaker, and listening position, room modes and early reflection hits to different positions in audio spectrum all together, since the distance changes to the nearest boundary. And that console or desk boosts mid freqs, and this and that changes.

So my question is: How reliable those predictions about room responces are, when premises of listening conditions changes so drasticly in studio monitoring setup?

I see. And yeh, I agree, the PIRs are not particularly reliable as predictors of how a loudspeaker will perform on a desk, in a room in which first reflection points have been heavily damped.

The PIR is a weighted average of:
  1. on-axis response
  2. early reflections
  3. sound power
Although (1) and (3) are not affected by the studio environment, (2) certainly is.
 

tuga

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Honestly, I can't really go further, you and I aren't mind readers. I'll just say that either nostalgia/conditioning to old inaccurate hardware or the "need" for a sound distorted in a way that make it more fit for background music is my guess. Another thing to look out for is the concept of silent majority: these audiophiles make kilometer long circlejerks, so of course they're very visible, but the average joe simply isn't on these forums very much.
I can’t read minds but I chat with a lot of people on forums.
Actually, I think it would be more correct to say it the other way around :p. People may be influenced by ear, but most are choosing mostly based on hype and the anecdotal evidence of others.

I believe that most people think they're mostly choosing by ear, but they are far more influenced by other factors than they realize, especially when you consider that the choices they even get to hear in the first place are already filtered by hype and anecdotes of others. If most people were choosing their speakers by ordering 100 speakers to demo in their own home and then doing a controlled blind test to pick a winner, then I think it would be fair to say that most people "choose by ear". But, I know of no one who choose their speakers that way. Most people I know choose almost entirely based on online reviews and forum impressions of others. A rare few actually utilize 30/60 day trials to setup a shootout between multiple options in the same environment at the same time. Even then, most of those people still do sighted shootouts, which we know are just as - if not more - influenced by expectation bias(from said hype) than they are by the soundwaves entering the ears. People choosing speakers via well controlled blind shootouts(which is the only way to really "choose by ear") are a very tiny minority.

We know that the majority of people prefer neutral speakers. If people really were choosing by ear, then neutral speakers would dominate the market. That they don't is evidence that people are mostly choosing by recommendations from others.

I agree about the bias but many people, after trying a few different kinds of “presentation” settled for their preferred.

My observation doesn’t quite agree with the research. I can give the example of a forum I participate in that is dedicated to analogue - mostly vinyl - and vintage gear. I’ve met some of the members and can attest that they prefer this coloured, lower-if sound. They’re not driven by bias.
 

napilopez

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You do realize I started that thread, right? :)

Wow this forum chat escalated quickly... I just wanted to chime in, I know this forum is about measurements and such but I've been putting aside some money for the last 8 months and went on my search for the holy grail of mixing monitors. Yes, there has been quite some hype about these speakers and I was actually on the other side of the hype, mocking the fan boys.

Yet... I went to test the ONE15s and ONE18s a few weeks back, and of all the speakers I have tested since March, none of them told me as much about the areas that would need fixing in a mix as the ONE15s. That's also the reason why I ordered the Amphion 100 amp a few days back and will be getting the ONE15s in January. I want to mix on them and I'm sure the Genelacs or the Focals might have been flatter (no fan of the Neumanns btw. not even the KH310s) but they sound veiled in comparison to the Amphions and they hide the little faults in the mix instead of revealing them. They may be hyped but honestly if you want speakers to mix on, they should indeed be very high an the list of potential buys, they feel fast and full of micro information, I still don't understand how they do it tbh.

"I still don't understand how they do it tbh"

See, that's the problem. There's no magic in speakers, certainly not in monitors. They can just sound different based on a variety of factors that are present in the measurements. It's not like Amphion is even using any exotic materials or drivers that can provide some secret sauce. They're just engineered to certain goals.

Speakers being revealing in a mix can also be a bit misleading. You can also EQ your speakers to have a 3dB boost at 5kHz and they will definitely sound "revealing" too. That's how a lot of HiFi speakers get away with supposedly sounding detailed when they are just exaggerating parts of the response.

In that context, of course you will hear things you might not have noticed before, because different parts of the music will be emphasized than before. That's why Barefoot Sound has its "MEME" DSP knob to emulate different types of speakers, such as an "Old School" setting that replicates the sound of the oh-so-popular yamaha NS10Ms, which are awful speakers that managed to catch on because they were also "revealing."


But please don't this as me saying you shouldn't enjoy what you like. If you tested a bunch of speakers and picked the amphions, found that they worked best for what you wanted, that's great! It's just when comes to making recommendations in a given price range, I think there are legitimate concerns about value and excellence in engineering relative to the competition. (Then again, there are studios that mix with worse speakers too)

I see. And yeh, I agree, the PIRs are not particularly reliable as predictors of how a loudspeaker will perform on a desk, in a room in which first reflection points have been heavily damped.

The PIR is a weighted average of:
  1. on-axis response
  2. early reflections
  3. sound power
Although (1) and (3) are not affected by the studio environment, (2) certainly is.

Small correction, PIR uses the listening window, not the on-axis. Specifically 12% LW, 44% ER, and 44% SP. In practice it is almost always nearly identical to the early reflections curve, except tilted by an extra 0.5-1 dB.

Let me rephrase: If i have understood correctly (?) predicted room responce is for ”normal” hifi speakers, for normal livingroom conditions, and with its acoustic anomalities. When you rise that speaker, and listening position, room modes and early reflection hits to different positions in audio spectrum all together, since the distance changes to the nearest boundary. And that console or desk boosts mid freqs, and this and that changes.

So my question is: How reliable those predictions about room responces are, when premises of listening conditions changes so drasticly in studio monitoring setup?

Yeah, it's been discussed a few times.

The PIR is not designed for studio setups. However, this does not mean it's not useful: it still is a summary of the speaker's directivity properties, and these are still very much audible in a treated studio context, just to a lesser degree. It's not that much different than listening in a bigger space or listening at shorter distances. A bit more direct sound, a bit less room.

My anecdotal experience is that PIR is quite accurate in different setups up to about 10kHz so long as the listening distance is 6ft/2m or more, in both large and small spaces. Below that, the tilt becomes lesser and lesser, and the actual in-room curve starts to trend closer to the direct sound. Similarly, broadband room treatment will reduce the proportion of room sound relative to the direct sound.

The PIR very closely resembles the early reflections curve, which is an average of five averages:

Front: 0, ±(10,20,30)
Side: ±(40,50,60,70,80)
Rear: ±(90-170), 180
Ceiling: vertical +(40,50,60)
Floor: vertical -(20,30,40)

As noted by @andreasmaaan, ER is the only variable that will change in a studio.

Because of the substantial averaging that is happening, I find the PIR to be quite flexible to a variety of listening environments. It covers the entire horizontal response of a speaker, so differences in horizontal positioning don't really matter, even if theoretically the weightings might change slightly.

As you noted, speaker height is probably the biggest differentiating factor in a studio. But even then the differences are usually relatively minor. The desk bounce would, after all, make up for some of the difference in speaker height.

Any differences would be most apparent if the speakers are substantially closer to the ceiling than your floor. We can imagine this by simply inverting the ceiling and floor angles; the effect on the ER will usually be small. Here's the ER of the D&D 8C if I swap the ceiling and floor bounce angles:

ER Swap.png
Considering the ER is only 44 percent of the PIR, the effect will be even less.
 

andreasmaaan

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Small correction, PIR uses the listening window, not the on-axis. Specifically 12% LW, 44% ER, and 44% SP. In practice it is almost always nearly identical to the early reflections curve, except tilted by an extra 0.5-1 dB.

Thanks, you're right :)

I should also have mentioned in the previous post that, in a studio context, it will not only be the angle of early reflections that might change, but also their relative impact on the PIR (for example, the desk bounce will have a greater impact on the PIR than the floor bounce does in a listening room, while other reflections will have lesser impacts).
 

Instrugramm

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The funny thing is that they did actually sound like the mids were more pronounced, I'm very treble sensitive yet these didn't hurt my ears (Compared to the Adams which were my favourites on my initial contenders list for example, listening to the ribbon tweeters basically made me want to kill myself after 2 minutes.). The One18s did have a very pronounced low mid region and the bass area sounded a bit coloured which is why I'll go for the One15s, I think the amp does account for a different sound as well, the vendor said the amp500 was hyped as opposed to the supposedly flatter amp100.

Ps. I listened to them with some of my mixes containing some faults I had left in there intentionally as well as some songs that are perfectly mixed according to my ears.
 
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Grotti

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The funny thing is that they did actually sound like the mids were more pronounced, I'm very treble sensitive yet these didn't hurt my ears (Compared to the Adams which were my favourites on my initial contenders list for example, listening to the ribbon tweeters basically made me want to kill myself after 2 minutes.). The One18s did have a very pronounced low mid region and the bass area sounded a bit coloured which is why I'll go for the One15s, I think the amp does account for a different sound as well, the vendor said the amp500 was hyped as opposed to the supposedly flatter amp100.

Ps. I listened to them with some of my mixes containing some faults I had left in there intentionally as well as some songs that are perfectly mixed according to my ears.
I decided, that the Amphion Amps were a little to expensive. Especially when it would come to sale them again for an upgrade (yes: upgraditis from time to time ;)).

So I chose a Elac Alchemy Amp (it was a special offer from the exhibition) and to my ears it is a perfect match with my Argon 3S....
 

tuga

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We know that the majority of people prefer neutral speakers. If people really were choosing by ear, then neutral speakers would dominate the market. That they don't is evidence that people are mostly choosing by recommendations from others.

Unlike you I take the results of Harman's Scientific Market Research with a pinch of salt. Mostly because of what in my view is flawed methodology and some dubious interpretation of data (perhaps also a tad of fast-tracking and corner-cutting) which led to it.
 
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unloren

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This is a slightly old thread but I just wanted to chime in.

I picked up a pair of the one18 a couple months ago after demoing both the one15 and one18.

I like this forum a lot and I appreciate the science-based measurements/reviews of speakers and amps, but in this case I think people are getting it wrong. Either the parameters of the measurements are not suitable for what Amphion is trying to achieve with their monitor speakers or we’re not measuring what’s important to an audio engineer.

I’ve tried the Genelec 8030, Neumann KH310, Eve Audio SC305 in my room but none of them could do what the Amphions can do, which is guide you quickly to a great mix that translates well. The KH310 comes close but I never knew which elements in the mix to emphasize; in the end I’d just be cutting and cutting away with EQ to eliminate all the resonances and undesirable frequencies, but I’d never find the part of the mix to bring to the forefront.

I don’t say this to argue about the methodology of measurements. Rather, just to encourage other engineers to try them out for yourself. Don’t disregard them because the measurements look bad. These are tools to achieve an objective and we don't drop over five or six thousand dollars on them simply because they look nice or because someone else says they're good. That's preposterous. I'm certainly not spending that much money unless they provide results.

(Also, the one15 certainly does that magical mixing trick better than the one18. Throw up your mix and you’ll know what to change within 30 seconds. However, it does this at the expense of the useful low end the one18 has. As someone who had always struggled with mixing bass, the one18 really is a godsend.)

For home listening, perhaps that’s another story. I don’t do any far-field listening on the Amphions and never turn them up past 70 or 80db.
 
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Jazmanaut

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This is a slightly old thread but I just wanted to chime in.

I picked up a pair of the one18 a couple months ago after demoing both the one15 and one18.

I like this forum a lot and I appreciate the science-based measurements/reviews of speakers and amps, but in this case I think people are getting it wrong. Either the parameters of the measurements are not suitable for what Amphion is trying to achieve with their monitor speakers or we’re not measuring what’s important to an audio engineer.

I’ve tried the Genelec 8030, Neumann KH310, Eve Audio SC305 in my room but none of them could do what the Amphions can do, which is guide you quickly to a great mix that translates well. The KH310 comes close but I never knew which elements in the mix to emphasize; in the end I’d just be cutting and cutting away with EQ to eliminate all the resonances and undesirable frequencies, but I’d never find the part of the mix to bring to the forefront.

I don’t say this to argue about the methodology of measurements. Rather, just to encourage other engineers to try them out for yourself. Don’t disregard them because the measurements look bad. These are tools to achieve an objective and we don't drop over five or six thousand dollars on them simply because they look nice or because someone else says they're good. That's preposterous. I'm certainly not spending that much money unless they provide results.

(Also, the one15 certainly does that magical mixing trick better than the one18. Throw up your mix and you’ll know what to change within 30 seconds. However, it does this at the expense of the useful low end the one18 has. As someone who had always struggled with mixing bass, the one18 really is a godsend.)

For home listening, perhaps that’s another story. I don’t do any far-field listening on the Amphions and never turn them up past 70 or 80db.
My thoughts exactly
i have been mixing and mastering over 25 years and heard tons of good speakers in some of the finest studios. (Especially almost every genelecs since I'm from finland) but first time I heard amphions, I knew that my search for a perfect monitor is finally over. I can instantly hear every little nuances and mixing decisions. Especially compressing has never been so easy before. After a while I sold all of my other reference monitors, since I learned that my work with the amphions just translates every time. No more quessing.
Nowdays I'm rocking with One 18 + FlexBase25, so I got full range stereo system and it is just amazing.
 

napilopez

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This is a slightly old thread but I just wanted to chime in.

I picked up a pair of the one18 a couple months ago after demoing both the one15 and one18.

I like this forum a lot and I appreciate the science-based measurements/reviews of speakers and amps, but in this case I think people are getting it wrong. Either the parameters of the measurements are not suitable for what Amphion is trying to achieve with their monitor speakers or we’re not measuring what’s important to an audio engineer.

I’ve tried the Genelec 8030, Neumann KH310, Eve Audio SC305 in my room but none of them could do what the Amphions can do, which is guide you quickly to a great mix that translates well. The KH310 comes close but I never knew which elements in the mix to emphasize; in the end I’d just be cutting and cutting away with EQ to eliminate all the resonances and undesirable frequencies, but I’d never find the part of the mix to bring to the forefront.

I don’t say this to argue about the methodology of measurements. Rather, just to encourage other engineers to try them out for yourself. Don’t disregard them because the measurements look bad. These are tools to achieve an objective and we don't drop over five or six thousand dollars on them simply because they look nice or because someone else says they're good. That's preposterous. I'm certainly not spending that much money unless they provide results.

(Also, the one15 certainly does that magical mixing trick better than the one18. Throw up your mix and you’ll know what to change within 30 seconds. However, it does this at the expense of the useful low end the one18 has. As someone who had always struggled with mixing bass, the one18 really is a godsend.)

For home listening, perhaps that’s another story. I don’t do any far-field listening on the Amphions and never turn them up past 70 or 80db.

So without addressing the quality of Amphions speakers specifically, the thing is you can open any big enough thread about any monitor and find similar comments about it. Some monitor ends up being someone's dream monitor for whatever reason. That's great!

But it would take me all of 30 seconds to find comments of people saying the same monitors sounded bad in their setup. Without some blind tests or statistical comparisons, it's hard to make much sense of these variegated opinions, which is part of the reason we turn to measurements in the first place.

I don't mean to sound rude or negate your impressions, I just think it's important to be able make the distinction between a monitor that is great for you in your setup and for your tastes vs one that is likely to be generally exceptional. It's possible for something to not be great in a broad sense and for you to still like it. Some of my personal favorite speakers haven't been the very best I've measured (while others have been). Just like some of my favorite movies aren't very good movies.

If we don't allow ourselves to make the distinction between "it sounds good to me" and "it is good" then I feel we're just back to the golden ear silliness of the hi-fi world.

All the above being said, I think the Amphions I've seen measurements for (including my own) certainly cross the threshold of "good," just not state of the art in the way some other companies are pushing. They're in the realm of performance where I think it becomes tricky to weigh different aspects of sound quality. I interviewed their CEO a while back for a review and he was a nice guy who certainly knew what he was talking about and had a strong philosophy about their design. From my recollection their approach to studio and home speakers is similar (as evidenced by the similar measurements), just with some tweaks here and there.

But I just feel like we have to be able to point to some aspects of the data to have meaningful conversations beyond anecdotal impressions. For me, I personally think that the Amphion's relatively great vertical directivity probably makes up for some of their issues elsewhere.

At the very least their directivity will make them sound "different" from most other speakers, because exceedingly few speakers on the market measure quite like the amphions I've seen. It's rare to find non-coaxial speakers with such solid vertical directivity, and I'd be willing to bet 5 tacos that over any other aspect of their design, their directivity is the main thing that makes some people enjoy them so much. And sometimes being different is all a speaker needs.
 
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unloren

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I appreciate your thoughtful reply, napilopez.

I think what I'm trying to get at, or at least one point I'm trying to get at, is that the speaker measurement metrics used here may not be as applicable for the purposes of studio monitors, or monitors as mixing tools, than they are for speakers used for hifi listening. I read comments here all the time that makers like ATC, PMC, and now Amphion are subpar and the success of their business relies upon their reputation alone, and that anyone who would buy these monitors are throwing their money away when objectively better measuring speakers are available at a fraction of the price. Now to be clear, I'm not trying to defend any manufacturer and I'm not trying to justify any expensive purchase I've made, I'm just trying to make sense of the fact that I've used the speakers that measure well and I've used the ones that measure "average" or "total shit," and I went with the latter because that's what gave me the results I needed for professional mixing work. In the name of science, I'd like to figure out why these speakers are preferred for mixing and mastering, and I'm not satisfied with "because they look cool" or "marketing hype."

The vertical directivity is an interesting point that I'd like to read into more. Another thing I've noticed is that, I believe, Genelecs are measured in an anechoic room whereas Amphions are measured (from the Amphion website)... "the speaker low end (below 100Hz) is measured in half free space. This gives a fairly accurate estimation of a very large control room.." Honestly I don't really know what this means or if it's even legitimate, but if a manufacturer is designing their speaker with a specific listening environment in mind maybe that's what I'm picking up on as a mixer.

In addition, the low-end on the one18 is very useful for mixing. In the same smallish room that I used the (ported) Genelecs in, the bass is more consistent throughout the frequency spectrum and it's faster (the bass notes sound like they start and stop faster). So yes, anecdotal, but if what I'm describing makes sense to you I would be interested in hearing what measurements show this "quick bass" phenomenon.

I'm more than happy to be schooled if it's in good faith. I'd love to know why these speakers and speakers like them work so well for so many mixing engineers while measuring average or poorly for the hifi crowd without it devolving into "groupthink" or "marketing."

Oh, and can I ask where your interview with Anssi appeared?
 
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