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  1. #1

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    Default Living with an Acoustical Line Source

    The Sound Lab Millieneum

    The underlying theory of electrostatic speakers is actually quite straight forward. The laws of physics teach that "like" electrical charges repel one-another and "unlike" electrical charges attract one-another. But this is easy to say and much more difficult to execute. First, stretch a very thin membrane on a rigid frame. Then coat it with a low-mass electrically-conductive substance. After that fabricate stiff flat electrodes called stators and then insulate them to prevent discharge. The audio signal applied to each stator is identical with the exception of phase, one signal is 180 degrees out of phase with the other. So as the signal voltage on one stator increases positively, it attracts the negative electron charge on the membrane. The signal voltage on the other stator is increasing negatively and, hence, repels the charge on the membrane. Thus, a "push-pull" force is exerted on the membrane. When the audio signal reverses, the push-pull force also reverses. Since the membrane is compliant, the push-pull electrostatic force applied to it causes it to move. Thus, air is moved and sound is created in the image of the electrical driving force. Wallah it works, straight from Mr West and his site with a bit of paraphrasing.

    So what do you get? Well imagine if you would a string running from the floor to ceiling of your listening room, and then imagine that if you plucked the string it produced full frequencies with superb transient speed, no coloration, openess, detail, and a coherence of the sound only produced by a single driver. Oh yes, and we can cut the string and still keep everthing since the speaker although large, in my case about 6 ft tall is not as tall as the whole room. You end up with an Acoustical Line Source.

    So what sets Dr. Roger West's speakers apart from the pack? Well, he facets the "curved" face, putting many smaller flat panels together to form the panel needed for quality sound, this sectioning not only allows for deep bass (mine go to 30hz) it also eliminates so called one note bass ELS so often have a problem with if they can play bass at all or need to use a supplemental bass system. There are many other innovative technique's that the Sound Lab company patents and incorporates in their speakers, if you interested check it out at http://www.soundlab-speakers.com/products.htm

    Of course nothing can be perfect. These speakers need tremendous power to work properly and like all high end products they are so complex and sensitive that changes to air temp. humidity, and environment do effect the bias charge of the panel, so you have to be willing to adjust the bias as needed and keep a dehumidifier in your room. A small price to pay as far as I am concerned for the sound you get.

    Now speaking of power, the speaker has measured to dip as low .5 ohm during treble passages. The bass impedance curve is also not all that smooth. As many know this caused me to have to let my beloved BAT amps go. In their place are now Wolcott Presence 220 watt monobloc, with, yep variable damping of both high or low frequencies to meet your need, an amazing design to say the least. Eight excellent EL-34 power tubes with some innovative driver design and an auto-bias circuit, all add up to a terriffic tube amp. As we know.........TUBES RULE.

    I have included some shots for you to see the new amps, cant get the speaker shots up right now, but I think I posted them in another thread. No doubt that an audio trip with an ELS speaker of your choice is highly recommended, but in particular Sound Lab, one of the most unknown yet one of the best Electro-Stats ever built.

    RT1
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    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  2. #2

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    Shot of the backstage.

    RT1
    Attached Images  
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  3. #3

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    I want to be Ted when I grow up!

    Very, very nice!
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  4. #4

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    Very nice Ted.

    Funny that you post this now, I was recently impressed by another speaker who use the same principle of many small panels that make up one large one, the Kingsound Prince 2. Panels definitely have a certain magic to them that box speakers can never have.

    Enjoy!
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  5. #5
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    Default

    Nice write up Big Brother.

  6. #6
    Stronzo
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    Simply awesome speakers. Congrats.

  7. #7

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    Yes Mike, each panel within a facet has separate stators resulting in each segment of the membrane being individually charged both front and back. So although all portions of the membrane and each of the stators are connected electrically to the same power supplies and see the same signals, by dividing the membrane up into separate panels of varying size allows the speaker to distribute the resonance of that membrane. A number of varying sized panels will have smaller amplitude resonances at different frequencies than just one large panel with one large amplitude resonance at one frequency, additionally, this distribution of resonances of the membrane allows resonant energy to be available to boost bass responce more uniformly further reducing bass drumhead effect.

    A bit hard to understand the above until you look at the speaker, amazingly the membrane is less than 100 millionth of an inch thick, extremely compliant with low mass. I am hearing deeper into the music, layering is excellent as claimed the speakers are very coherent unlike any box I have ever heard.
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  8. #8

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    Since when was Soundlab an unknown loudpseaker?

  9. #9

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    You seen any SoundLab ads?? Reviews in the rags in say the past five years??

    Sure a nut case like you knows about them.

    Anway a quick check of CP notes seven hits in seven years here, no matter, I am sure we can talk some more about wire.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  10. #10

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    Very nice Ted. I hope to hear it one day.

  11. #11

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    Cool Dave, most everyone is welcome to come down, listen to the tunes and enjoy the area.

    I am working on something new for the audio room, should be nice. But first I have to complete another project.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  12. #12

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    Congrats Ted. That would be a trip worth making. So, more PC's being added?
    Michael ;)
    In the beginning, all knowledge was new!

    NORTH of 60

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    You seen any SoundLab ads?? Reviews in the rags in say the past five years??

    Sure a nut case like you knows about them.

    Anway a quick check of CP notes seven hits in seven years here, no matter, I am sure we can talk some more about wire.

    RT1
    In my denizen style existence I've heard 4 pair in my travels, one quad setup and one local. Outstanding loudspeaker and in this crowd, certainly an apple amongst oranges. Good on you for bucking the system.

    Why would Club Polk be the marker of something rare?
    Last edited by dorokusai; 03-24-2009 at 10:16 AM.

  14. #14

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    nice setup. I look forward to the learning about your additions...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai View Post
    In my denizen style existence I've heard 4 pair in my travels, one quad setup and one local. Outstanding loudspeaker and in this crowd, certainly an apple amongst oranges. Good on you for bucking the system.

    Why would Club Polk be the marker of something rare?
    Guess I was trying to raise the bar a bit. What was I thinking!!! I am though wearing a speedo undergarment as the boxer drawer was a bit lean this morning.

    I did read about some sort of mulitple speaker set-up with SoundLab at CES with Ray Kimber's rig, the reviewer noted it as best in show. But it was just a couple paragrah blurb in TAS I believe, the set-up was uber hi-fi at a price tag of around a half-million. But you can find SL for much less if you take your time and I got mine for a very reasonable price comparitively speaking.

    For those who do not know my interest in planars was sparked/boosted when I went to the Doro-Polkfest and heard a fine pair of Maggie's, so what's the point??? Well instead of looking at the pictures of a Fest, get to one, say the next one, I believe it may be BDT's, I always provide him support, not to let any cats come out of the bag early, but I would not be suprised if there were Planar, Ribbon, SDA, Bookshelf, like nothing you may of heard before run by some very nice electronics. Sure the monitor 7's still will hold a place, plenty of Polk stuff will be on hand.

    OK, so back to Sound Lab, if you learn about Dr. West, he is in many ways your rather typical audio eccentric/genius, audio is his passion, not his job, he just wanted to build nice speakers for folks, he had no interest in becoming a super audio company and is a very laid back fellow, easy to find and he frequently will write you himself if he sees a question over at SL owners forum.

    ELS speakers are just so different from boxes, first off the impendance curves are something, the speaker rises to 50 ohms or better in the bass, not so good in general for SS amps, (ever wonder what a 200 watt ss puts out at 50K) still some owners use Krells or Arye's with good results, however, tube amps from Wolcott, Atma-Sphere (OTL), VTL and such are among the most coveted by Sound Lab owners. One thing for sure these speakers will let you know if there are any problems upstream, but in a rather polite way.
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  16. #16

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    Ted,
    What are the large boxes behind the amps?

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  17. #17

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    Steve,

    Those are the tube cage covers, purely cosmetic, I prefer to see the tubes so I set them behind as you see them, now the large boxes attached to the speakers visible in the backstage shot hold all the electronics for the speaker panels, a large toroidal transformer, capacitors and so on. There is no crossover as we know it, there are some rotary dials and pots to adjust frequency levels up and down. Speaker level connections and the bias circuitry for the panels.
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  18. #18

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    Holy crap. Wicked setup man.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  19. #19

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    Hmm....Planar with Dipoles Radiation and Tubes...:)

    Ted, you sure your tubes can handle this? :)

  20. #20

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    Very Nice, and well worth the trip ;)

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    Hmm....Planar with Dipoles Radiation and Tubes...:)

    Ted, you sure your tubes can handle this? :)
    My Tubes Rule.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  22. #22

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    I certainly appreciate this write up. Not too much out there to read about the SL. I don't think I could ever go back to the box again in spite of the "finicky" reputation of ESL's. I also keep an air purifier on in the room because we have a dog that sheds and I enjoy a cigar every now and then when listening. Smoking is not the best thing for the membrane but I try to keep it to a minimum. Does SL recommend running the vacumn over the panels or do they all have a fiber cover?

    I considered the Quads but I understand there is a quality and or service issue with them recently. Next month I'm going to listen to the ML CLX and see how well the bass is reproduced. I'm certain the mids and highs will be as stellar as ever, hopefully far ahead of the Spire, but the bottom is questionable until I actually here them.

    Thanks again for your write up.

    Gordon
    2 Channel -
    Martin Logan Spire, 2 JL Audio F112 subs
    McIntosh C1000 Controller with Tube pre amp, 2 MC501 amplifiers, MD1K Transport & DAC, MR-88 Tuner
    WireWorld Eclipse 6.0 speaker wire and jumpers, Eclipse 5^2 Squared Balanced IC's. Silver Eclipse PCs (5)
    Symposium Rollerblocks 2+ (16)Black Diamond Racing Mk 3 pits (8)

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    Congrats Ted,,I just looked at the pic's,,are the amps EL-34 based?
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    Hate to see you electric bill Reel.

    Well worth whatever it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    My Tubes Rule.

    RT1
    The only tube that rules for me has color temperature of 9000 Kelvin.

    If your tubes doesn't shine that bright, take the glass cover off to see it'll light up more.

    :D

    Nice setup, man! Congrats you are enjoying it.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    My Tubes Rule.

    RT1
    You better put a knot in them puppies. Sounds like you're ready to get your ass kicked by the missus. How long do you think she's gonna go on cleaning those spots out of the carpet???

  27. #27

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    Very nice Ted,but for me,they seem too finicky and that would drive me nuts.Anyway,good music is good for the soul,no matter what you have.Enjoy!!

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    george--yes the power tubes are EL-34, I am using Svetlana winged C, nice tube.

    Hawk--no have not seen a vacuum recommendation for the panels, I just keep the dust off and no smoking or animals in the shed. I did read about the new ML coming out, the overall review was positive.

    One thing for sure, any kind of good music is captivating, I certainly have been having some fun with all the vinyl, jazz and classical.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  29. #29

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    RT1, It is interesting that there is a thread going on now at the ML club comparing the the SL to ML. Of course there is an obvious bias toward ML, there is one guy there who has owned several pair of SL. I pasted the link in case you may want to read his comments. Quite a fair discussion.

    http://www.martinloganowners.com/for...ead.php?t=8720

    Gordon
    2 Channel -
    Martin Logan Spire, 2 JL Audio F112 subs
    McIntosh C1000 Controller with Tube pre amp, 2 MC501 amplifiers, MD1K Transport & DAC, MR-88 Tuner
    WireWorld Eclipse 6.0 speaker wire and jumpers, Eclipse 5^2 Squared Balanced IC's. Silver Eclipse PCs (5)
    Symposium Rollerblocks 2+ (16)Black Diamond Racing Mk 3 pits (8)

  30. #30

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    Beautiful amps. Must cost you a fortune to re-tube them. EL34's are awesome tubes.
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Pre: Antique Sound Lab Passive T1-X DT
    Amp: NAD C270
    Speakers: B&W DM6
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

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