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  1. #1
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    Default Some Questions/Issues Regarding "Dolby EX" & "DTS-ES" Based on Setup...

    Hello All,

    I am uncertain if this was the correct place to post this question, but I figured I would give it a shot; if it isn't, please forgive me (perhaps mods can move it if deemed necessary)...

    I am running an Onkyo TX-SR605 in a 5.1 channel configuration, with R20 mains, a CSi30 center, PSW10 sub and R15 surrounds. I am having issues with my '605's "handling" of Dolby Surround EX and DTS-ES tracks on some DVDs, and was wondering if someone could assist with an explanation to some of them; whenever I play a title that carries a Dolby EX or DTS-ES track, the indicator on the front of the Onkyo NEVER indicates "DTS-ES" or "Dolby D EX"...it always simply illuminates as standard "Dolby D" or "DTS"...I am wondering if this is because based on how the receiver is set up, with no back surround channel(s) (it's only 5.1), the receiver "knows" this, and thus plays these tracks back as Dolby Digital or DTS.

    Under my Onkyo's setup menu, I have the "Dolby EX" setting set to "Auto" but still EVERY disc in my collection with an EX or ES track will not display on the receiver as "EX" or "ES" -- I know some discs don't carry the flag to tell these receivers or processors to play back this way, but this happens on EVERY title I own with these tracks...can this be because I don't have the back surround channel(s) and therefore the receiver just "knows" to run these tracks as Dolby D or DTS?

    Furthermore, what happens to these "EX" or "ES" signals when played back on speaker arrays without the back channel(s) to properly hear it? In other words, I have a 5.1 setup, so I can't really "experience" that "ES" or "EX" effect from these tracks -- but from what I understand, the matrixed signals in these tracks are simply collapsed into the standard surrounds anyway, so is that what's basically happening...the EX or ES signals are "collapsed" into the 5.1 soundstage and into the standard surrounds? Would this affect how the receiver is not displaying "EX" or "ES" properly?

    Thank you in advance to anyone that could help!

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    I'm running an Onkyo 606 and was wondering the same thing when I first got it.

    DTS-ES and Dolby Digital-EX are the 7.1 formats of DTS Digital and Dolby Digital. The ES and EX indicators will only light up if you have surround back channels hooked up.

    In the case that you don't have surround back channels hooked up, the receiver simply decodes it as DTS Digital or Dolby Digital. The information that would have went to the surround back channels, instead goes to the surround channels.
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    Sorry...double post. I'm not sure how though...lol
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    To clarify: Here's what happens with DD-EX or DTS-ES... All the surround data is encoded into the left and right surrounds. In the case of DD-EX, if you have rear surrounds, it compares the level and phase of the two side surround channels and moves anything in phase between the two channels to the rear. The same general process goes for DTS-ES Matrix soundtracks. Now, in the case of DTS-ES Discrete, the rear surround data is still there in the side surrounds to maintain backwards compatibility with 5.1 setups. What happens if you have rear surrounds is that it plays the discrete rear surround track to the rear... then compares that discrete track to the left and right surround and REMOVES that rear sound from them. So while many say DTS-ES Discrete is a fully discrete 6.1 solution, it really isn't... because sound is being removed from the discrete left and right channels during processing. So at no point in any of this is the rear surround data COLLAPSED back into the left and right. It's just already there.

    But here's the good news: Because all three of those formats keep all of the intended sound in the left and right surrounds, you're not losing any of that audio by playing it on a 5.1 system.

    Also, many soundtracks with DD-EX are not properly flagged for it, so most people don't use Auto mode on their receivers for EX. If you have a 6.1/7.1 setup with Dolby Pro-Logic IIx, Dolby recommends using that on all EX soundtracks so that the rear surrounds will be full bandwidth instead of the limited bandwidth of DD-EX rear surrounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablycurt View Post
    I'm running an Onkyo 606 and was wondering the same thing when I first got it.

    DTS-ES and Dolby Digital-EX are the 7.1 formats of DTS Digital and Dolby Digital. The ES and EX indicators will only light up if you have surround back channels hooked up.

    In the case that you don't have surround back channels hooked up, the receiver simply decodes it as DTS Digital or Dolby Digital. The information that would have went to the surround back channels, instead goes to the surround channels.

    As Always, Thank You So Much Curt!

    Yes, indeed I know EX and ES are "extensions" of the Dolby Digital and DTS systems; the issue was, as you and I were discussing of our Onkyos, how these soundtracks PLAY BACK on 5.1 systems and if they're supposed to indicate on the front panel of the receiver...

    So, you are confirming then that the receiver just "knows" (based on your speaker setup) that if 5.1 channels are present, the Dolby D EX or DTS-ES shouldn't light up, and standard Dolby Digital or DTS will be used/played? May I just ask where you learned this information from? Only asking because Onkyo themselves won't give me a straight answer and no one on any other hobbyist site could answer it conclusively either...

    UPDATE: JUST RECEIVED THIS FROM ONKYO'S HELP CENTER (Second E-Mail):

    Thank You for contacting Onkyo USA Product Support.

    If you are only doing a 5.1 configuration then you would be having the options for the Dolby digital EX or DTS ES. These formats are only for the 6.1 or 7.1. So on the front panel you would be seeing is the Dolby digital or DTS on the display.
    Thank you,
    Jen


    I suppose this is exactly what YOU were saying with the 5.1 channels being present; and I suppose what "Jen" meant is in the first sentence, if I am doing only a 5.1 configuration then I would NOT be having the options for Dolby EX or DTS ES, not WOULD be having...


    I had suspected this, but thought MAYBE it was every single disc I own with these soundtracks that simply don't carry the EX or ES flag...

    So, once I get surround back channel(s) hooked up, those EX and ES indicators should light?
    Last edited by Mike LoManaco; 05-01-2009 at 11:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    To clarify: Here's what happens with DD-EX or DTS-ES... All the surround data is encoded into the left and right surrounds. In the case of DD-EX, if you have rear surrounds, it compares the level and phase of the two side surround channels and moves anything in phase between the two channels to the rear. The same general process goes for DTS-ES Matrix soundtracks. Now, in the case of DTS-ES Discrete, the rear surround data is still there in the side surrounds to maintain backwards compatibility with 5.1 setups. What happens if you have rear surrounds is that it plays the discrete rear surround track to the rear... then compares that discrete track to the left and right surround and REMOVES that rear sound from them. So while many say DTS-ES Discrete is a fully discrete 6.1 solution, it really isn't... because sound is being removed from the discrete left and right channels during processing. So at no point in any of this is the rear surround data COLLAPSED back into the left and right. It's just already there.

    But here's the good news: Because all three of those formats keep all of the intended sound in the left and right surrounds, you're not losing any of that audio by playing it on a 5.1 system.

    Also, many soundtracks with DD-EX are not properly flagged for it, so most people don't use Auto mode on their receivers for EX. If you have a 6.1/7.1 setup with Dolby Pro-Logic IIx, Dolby recommends using that on all EX soundtracks so that the rear surrounds will be full bandwidth instead of the limited bandwidth of DD-EX rear surrounds.
    Thank You for the Lengthy Explanation...

    Indeed, I have been told these EX and ES formats are backwards compatible with 5.1 channel systems, and I have heard the theory regarding the fact that the information in these mixes are "already in" the standard surround channels, so nothing is really "lost"...yet, to experience that kind of smooth panning "EX" or "ES" effect, you really need that sixth or seventh speaker, no?

    With regard to Pro Logic IIx, I am only running 5.1 channels, so I utilize Pro Logic II ONLY for either Music or Movies, depending on the input demand; but I understand what Dolby is suggesting. Now, are you saying that because many discs aren't flagged properly for Dolby EX playback, should that setting in my Onkyo's Dolby EX setup NOT be on auto? Well, IF I WERE TO ADD A SIXTH SPEAKER or SPEAKERS, what would be the appropriate setting there -- manual?

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    Also, Curt and Guys...

    Onkyo's first e-mail to me (which is why I said they weren't really assisting with this at all) was this one below, which didn't really help me:

    Thank You for contacting Onkyo USA Product Support.

    Within the Audio adjust change the setting to the Manual instead of the auto setting. Also in the Listening mode preset section make sure for the DD should be set to the DD EX and the DTS should be set Neo: 6. After doing all that then when playing movies that are in DD 5.1 or DTS it will then show up as ES and EX.
    Thank you,
    Jen


    This suggests to me that you CAN force "EX" and "ES" illuminators on the display to come on EVEN IF YOU'RE RUNNING JUST A 5.1 CONFIGURATION...but what confused me most about her suggestion was that she tells me to go into the LISTENING MODE PRESET section of the receiver, and set THOSE Dolby Digital and DTS configurations to "DD EX" and "DTS-ES"...but wouldn't this make EVERY DTS and Dolby track play back in EX and ES? That wouldn't be correct, would it? And I'm not sure that "NEO:6" is the correct listening mode for six-channel DTS tracks anyway, is it? Isn't NEO:6 supposed to derive the same kind of results for TWO CHANNEL signals as PRO LOGIC II does, but it's just a DTS solution?

    Any continued help would be appreciated...

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    BTW,

    Thank you again for all your help, guys. :)

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    Yes, you can force EX/ES onto 5.1 tracks, and most of the time it works really well. However, once you get 6.1/7.1, DPL-IIx will likely be a better option for matrixed surrounds since the between-channel placement is more precise and it is full bandwidth. I agree that you need to set DD-EX to Manual, since so few movies are properly flagged. I'm using DPL-IIx full time on my Onkyo 705. For DTS, I wouldn't use Neo:6, because (at least in my opinion) it creates some audible artifacts when compared to DPL-IIx. You won't have to worry about what to do with DTS-ES Matrix or Discrete tracks because they are ALL properly flagged and once you go 6.1/7.1, your receiver will detect it and use it. But for 5.1 DTS tracks on 6.1/7.1, I'd use DPL-IIx on top of it to derive the rear channels.

    If you're only running 5.1, DPL-II can only be used for 2-channel sources. Once you go 6.1/7.1, DPL-IIx can be used with 5.1 tracks to create the rear soundstage; it will not alter the front three channels. It does this for the surrounds in much the same way that it does across the front 3 speakers for 2-channel sources. If you only have 6.1, only DPL-IIx Music Mode will be available. What this does is keep more of the rear channel data in the side surrounds, analogous to the way DPL-IIx Music with 2-channel sources keeps centered vocals across all three front speakers (with the balance adjusted using the Center Width control). The reason this is the only option for 6.1 is that single speakers behind you can create a perceived reversal where sound from one point source behind you can sound like it's in front of you. By keeping some of the sound in the side surrounds as well, the multiple point sources prevent any perceived reversal.

    With 7.1, you'll still have DPL-IIx Music mode, but should also have DPL-IIx Movie mode. This allows for far more precise placement across the rear soundstage since sounds panned directly behind you will be coming from multiple point sources (i.e. both rear channels). If you go 7.1, hit Dolby's website and pay close attention to the proper speaker placement so that you get the best results.

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    As Kuntasensei said, you can technically listen to any movie in Dolby Digital EX or DTS ES, whether or not it's that specific discs native format. It simply decodes the 5.1 soundtrack and splits the information for the surround channels between the surrounds and the surround backs.

    If you have a 7.1 ch. setup, with the receiver set to auto for DD EX and DTS ES, it will automatically play movies with DD or DTS Digital encording in the EX or ES formats. I can confirm this information by having the same receiver(though one model newer), and watching it do this itself numerous times.;)

    Take advice from Onkyo's CS with a grain of salt. The few times I've had to deal with their Customer Service I walked away feeling rather bitter...it's terrible.

    It doesn't matter if you have it set to auto or manual, whichever you prefer. As I said, if a movie had an EX or ES soundtrack, it will play it back as that automatically with it on auto. If it has a standard DD or DTS soundtrack, it can still decode them as EX or ES. The surround back channels just won't have their own discrete decoding, the information for the back channels will be coming from the surround channels.

    NEO:6 is DTS' version of Dolby ProLogic. It will take any 2 ch. source and convert it to six channels(5.1). Be aware that not all DVD's have a DTS soundtrack, you can still listen to them with NEO:6, but there won't even be an option for DTS Digital or DTS ES, as the disc itself isn't encoded with that information.

    That being said, if you're considering an upgrade to 7.1, don't expect a humongous improvement.(IMO)

    I was running a 7.1 setup for quite a while, and rearranged my room. I didn't have quite enough speaker cable to make the runs for the surround backs, so I just left it in 5.1, with the intention of picking up some speaker wire in the next few days. That was several months ago, and I have no intentions of going back to 7.1 anytime soon.

    Currently, there are so few titles even being released in 7.1, it's not really worth the extra cost of another pair of speakers and more cable. Granted, most AVR's will do a decent job of converting a 5.1 soundtrack to 7.1, it's not really a night and day difference IMO.
    Last edited by comfortablycurt; 05-02-2009 at 01:38 AM.
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    Respectfully, my experience differs from Curt's as far as 7.1 being a night and day difference, not only with movies and music, but with video games as well. Yes, with proper placement, you can get a reasonable illusion of sound moving behind you when just using side surrounds... but unless you get near ideal backwall reflection from the surrounds, it will always sound like audio centered between the surrounds is in your head like you're hearing it through headphones. In contrast, the rear surrounds in 7.1 actually move that sound behind you so that your brain processes it as behind you instead of just in phase between the side surrounds. You can get a satisfactory sound from 5.1... but because of the physical limitations (i.e. the occlusion of your earlobes on sound from behind you, how your brain detects and processes audio behind you, etc.) it will never actually sound like it's behind you. It also won't properly recreate the sound you'll hear in the theater, since damn near every modern theater has active rear channels and pretty much every modern audio mix is done with that in mind.

    You'll see a lot of people say "there are so few titles even being released in 7.1", but since the theatrical use of DD-EX began, damn near everything is produced for 6.1 (whether it's flagged as such or not - the matrixed data is there in the side surrounds). The second rear channel in 7.1 was created primarily to solve the issue of perceived reversal of single point source audio from directly behind you (initially by way of THX's use of two rear channels for ASA, both driven off of the same signal). Steering methods such as DPL-IIx simply place sounds between those surrounds in a more precise way for a home theater environment. 7.1 isn't a theatrical conceit because it isn't necessary in a theater environment - you have a speaker array behind you instead of just one speaker.

    So even if you aren't playing Blu-Ray discs with audio remixed for 7.1 (which would be any of them with 7.1 discrete channels, since 7.1 doesn't exist in the theater), a 7.1 setup will yield great benefits with regular DVD soundtracks and properly recreate what you hear in the theater. The bottom line is that your room needs to be set up so that the speaker angles recommended by Dolby are actually followed. If you don't have room behind you to place rear surrounds where they're supposed to be placed, you won't hear what you're intended to hear and the difference will be minimal.

    Another consideration is video games, as the PS3 does steer to the rear surrounds in 7.1 and the Xbox 360's method of audio steering in the surrounds is properly placed to the rear surrounds using DPL-IIx Movie (though it only outputs in DD5.1). Hearing someone try to roll up behind you and instantly recognizing that sound as being behind you is definitely worth having if you're a gamer, especially if you play online a lot. ;)

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    I can see 7.1 being better for video games. I'm not a gamer though myself, so I wouldn't know. I probably play my Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo about 3 hours a month, and that's about as far as my gaming habits go...lol...I wouldn't mind getting an Xbox 360 though.

    As far as music, anything more than 2 ch. is going to sound terrible IMO.;)
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    Well, I use DPL-IIx Music on top of DVD-Audio discs... on the rare occasion that I listen to my DVD-Audio discs. :)

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    Thank You Guys Once Again For Your Ongoing Assistance...

    Let me break this down a bit more succinctly so we can follow each other here; first, the original "issue" I had was with the way ES and EX soundtracks don't DISPLAY on my Onkyo '605's front panel when I play these encoded discs...initially, I wanted to know if this was happening because I am only running a 5.1 channel setup, so the receiver "knows" not to play back the track in EX or ES, nor display it as such, or if it was because all discs I'm playing aren't flagged right. I believe it was Curt who confirmed then that the receiver won't indicate "Dolby D EX" or "DTS ES" on the front panel because I am only connected with 5.1 channels...Curt, do I have this right? The receiver won't indicate Dolby D EX or DTS ES on the front panel when playing these discs because I'm only running 5.1?

    Now...the messages from Onkyo's help department just made things more confusing because they claimed I would need to go into the LISTENING MODE PRESET section of the receiver's setup menu and change the DOLBY DIGITAL and DTS settings there to DOLBY EX and DTS ES -- but I don't think this is right because then ALL Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks would be played back as Dolby EX or DTS ES (even though I don't have the speakers for it)...so, changing this in the LISTENING MODE PRESET wouldn't be correct, would it?

    As for their suggestions of switching to "DTS NEO:6," this wouldn't affect DTS ES tracks, would it? I thought NEO:6 does to two channel material in six channels what Pro Logic II does to two channels as well...

    At the end of the day, is my receiver not DISPLAYING the soundtracks as "Dolby D EX" or "DTS ES" because it knows I am only running 5.1 channels?

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    Yes, the receiver will not display it as Dolby EX or DTS ES because you don't have a 7.1 setup. It doesn't matter if the disc is encoded with EX/ES or not. You don't have a 7.1 setup, so the AVR isn't capable of playing them back in a 7.1 format. Thus, it will play them back as either Dolby Digital or DTS Digital, and the display will show the respective format.

    You wouldn't want to use NEO:6 on DTS EX soundtracks, you'd just use DTS Digital.
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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablycurt View Post
    Yes, the receiver will not display it as Dolby EX or DTS ES because you don't have a 7.1 setup. It doesn't matter if the disc is encoded with EX/ES or not. You don't have a 7.1 setup, so the AVR isn't capable of playing them back in a 7.1 format. Thus, it will play them back as either Dolby Digital or DTS Digital, and the display will show the respective format.
    Okay; thank you very much for confirming this for me.

    Just out of curiosity, if and when I do get the back surround(s), do I need to enter the LISTENING MODE PRESET on the '605 and change the Dolby Digital and DTS surround modes there?

    You wouldn't want to use NEO:6 on DTS EX soundtracks, you'd just use DTS Digital.
    You mean DTS-ES, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike LoManaco View Post
    Okay; thank you very much for confirming this for me.

    Just out of curiosity, if and when I do get the back surround(s), do I need to enter the LISTENING MODE PRESET on the '605 and change the Dolby Digital and DTS surround modes there?



    You mean DTS-ES, right?
    Yes, I meant DTS-ES.

    If you want them to go to ES or EX automatically, then yes, you'll have to change the setting to auto. You'll still be able to access them by switching through the sound modes even if you don't set them for auto though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablycurt View Post
    Yes, I meant DTS-ES.

    If you want them to go to ES or EX automatically, then yes, you'll have to change the setting to auto. You'll still be able to access them by switching through the sound modes even if you don't set them for auto though.
    But I'm not talking about that "DOLBY EX" setting under the Audio Setup menu of the Onkyo; I mean under the LISTENING MODE PRESETS...do THOSE need to be changed from Dolby Digital and DTS to Dolby D EX & DTS-ES? Seems to me that was the error Onkyo had made in its "suggestion" e-mail to me; changing these at the LISTENING MODE menu would affect ALL incoming standard Dolby Digital and DTS signals, so I don't think that would be correct...

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    I don't think that should even matter...those settings are just to set what sound format gets priority on any given input. It's not going to override any other sound mode. You still have the option of changing the format manually.

    In the listening mode menu I just have all of them set as Last Valid...that's the default setting, and I've never changed it. I never felt a need to. It automatically goes to DD or DTS, and when I had a 7.1 system hooked up it automatically went to EX or ES.
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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablycurt View Post
    I don't think that should even matter...those settings are just to set what sound format gets priority on any given input. It's not going to override any other sound mode. You still have the option of changing the format manually.

    In the listening mode menu I just have all of them set as Last Valid...that's the default setting, and I've never changed it. I never felt a need to. It automatically goes to DD or DTS, and when I had a 7.1 system hooked up it automatically went to EX or ES.
    Yes -- I totally get what you're hinting at here; however, I keep my Listening Mode Presets on their respective settings and everything else on Last Valid; in other words, Analog/PCM I keep on Last Valid, while DOLBY DIGITAL and DTS I keep on DOLBY DIGITAL and DTS to make sure soundtracks play back exactly that way -- but how would introducing a sixth speaker into my system for EX and ES playback affect these Listening Mode Presets?

    I understand you can manually go in during a disc playback and change a listening mode physically on the fly, but I prefer the receiver go into whatever decoding technique it is supposed to use automatically.

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    I have all of them set as last valid, and it still plays the proper format automatically.
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    Adcom GFA-545 power amp
    PolkAudio SDA 2A's/PolkAudio Monitor 7A's
    Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables
    Audioquest Sidewinder IC's
    Audioquest Black Mamba IC's
    Signal Cable Analog II IC's

  22. #22
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    Interesting...

    Under LISTENING MODE PRESET, are there other selections under DOLBY DIGITAL and DTS other than LAST VALID? What are they? Is there even an OPTION for EX and ES decoding here?

    Also, Curt, do you know anything regarding the 605/606's ability to pass 1080p video straight through to a display without the receiver degrading the signal in any way? My Blu-ray player is feeding 1080p over HDMI through the 605 out to my Sony SXRD display -- but does anything NEED to be set in the 605 to TELL it to send the video straight out of its HDMI OUT without clipping any resolution or signal?

  23. #23

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    I'm not sure if there are options for EX or ES decoding. If there are, you probably can't see them unless you have a 7.1 ch. setup.

    I can't really help with you with the 1080p pass through. I don't use any HDMI cables in my rig currently.
    The nirvana inducer-
    APC H10 Power Conditioner
    Denon DVD-2910 universal player
    DPA The Little Bit Three DAC
    Yamaha P-300 turntable/TCC TC-750 phono preamp
    Acurus L10 preamp
    Adcom GFA-545 power amp
    PolkAudio SDA 2A's/PolkAudio Monitor 7A's
    Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables
    Audioquest Sidewinder IC's
    Audioquest Black Mamba IC's
    Signal Cable Analog II IC's

  24. #24
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    Thank you for all your help, Curt. It's greatly appreciated.

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