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Author Topic: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2  (Read 7100 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« on: January 06, 2018, 03:37:13 PM »
Continuation from the original thread here- http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=96009.msg1279052#msg1279052

DANG! OMT with the sideways supercards angled forward +/-45 degrees most certainly works in a small club (a good sounding one at least) as long as you can manage to shoe-horn it in there and keep everyone happy.  So good in fact I plan to play with angling those sideways facing supers forward outdoors to see if it works equally well everywhere.  I'll definitely be revising the OMT suggestion for small rooms (crappy ones remain to be tested, but I'm not overly motivated to explore that front). Listening today to last night's recording directly off the DR-680 via headphones using the 680's internal monitoring mixer I prefer not doing the Mid/Side mixing thing with the rear facing channel when the spaced +/-45 degree supercards are also in use, but rather just bringing it channel up with the appropriate level, panned to center.  Played back in surround with all six channels feeding their own speakers (no mixing, just mult'ing the single rear-facing microphone  channel to two back speakers, omnis routed to the side surrounds and sub) the way it handles audience chatter and room sound is really impressive.  All that is there, more of it in fact compared to the 2ch stereo mix, but the separation of it from the main stuff in front actually improves clarity of the vocalist and on-stage stuff and makes it easier to hear around the elements which would otherwise be distracting and cluttering.  I'll certainly be exploring this angle more.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 12:00:07 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 05:45:03 PM »
bump to join thread. Kung Fu 2017-12-16 OMT up now:
https://archive.org/details/kungfu2017-12-16.24akgck22ck61
to compare, here is kindms AKGck1x (cardiods) PAS recording:
https://archive.org/details/kungfu2017-12-16.akgck1x

snap is close up of both rigs
rig1] (AKG c460b|ck22 omni's spread 108 cm + AKG ck3 fwd and ck61ULS rear|naiant actives (black windscreens).
rig2] AKG ck1x on AKG collette (middle pair of large Shure AW81S)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 07:35:22 PM by rocksuitcase »
music IS love

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Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 07:19:38 PM »
I provided an audio patch out to the music club's regular video taper this past weekend while trying out 6ch OMT in a small club.  Below are links to a couple YouTube clips he's posted which will give some idea of baseline performance in this kind of situation.

Caveats!-  Audio here is a raw 6ch>2ch monitor mix made on-the-fly out of the DR-680.  No listening was done, much less proper balancing, EQ or any other post production.  Balance, mix levels and panning of the 6 OMT microphone channels were simply a best guess.  Deep omni bass content overloads the input of the small video recorder at times.  Subjected to video recorder's file compression and of course YouTube data compression, yada, yada & hand-waving.. At least it's something to give you all a taste of what OMT can do in a small club.  Unfortunately the video taper didn't run for Mingo Fishtrap which was the best sounding set of the weekend after Bettye LaVette, and of an entirely different genre (full NOLA-ish band with funky organ & horn section).  Recording location was from the same column the video cam is mounted to. It's hard to tell from the video, but that's basically the far left side of the room, in-line with the left PA, about 15' away from the stage.

Bettye Lavette (Elenor Rigby > Love Rein O'ver Me) - https://youtu.be/N1oq2ZqfKt8

Tim Palmieri solo happy-hour-
(You Enjoy Myself ~ Linus & Lucy ~ Blackbird ~ Wish You Were Here ~ YEM ~ Golden Slumbers ~ Carry That Weight ~ YEM ~ Wipe Out ~ Louie Louie ~ Blister In The Sun)- https://youtu.be/D-ALOX7_13c
(Hits From The Bong)- https://youtu.be/Xgvdbzn3cB8
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Offline kuba e

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 02:44:27 PM »
Thanks a lot for sending your recordings. Rocksuitcase, it is great to have your OMT and Kindms's single pair for comparison. Overall I prefer the OMT version, there is great sense of space. And I like the warm sound on Kindms recording. But maybe that is possible to tune it on OMT by an equalizer.

Gutbucket, you have my big respect for a 6ch on-the-fly mix. It is a very pleasant listening. I'm surprised that it sounds so spatially even when you were close to the left PA. How much did you space supercards?

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 03:22:56 PM »
Thanks a lot for sending your recordings. Rocksuitcase, it is great to have your OMT and Kindms's single pair for comparison. Overall I prefer the OMT version, there is great sense of space. And I like the warm sound on Kindms recording. But maybe that is possible to tune it on OMT by an equalizer.

Gutbucket, you have my big respect for a 6ch on-the-fly mix. It is a very pleasant listening. I'm surprised that it sounds so spatially even when you were close to the left PA. How much did you space supercards?
The kicker about the comparison is the room itself is typically difficult to get good vocals on an AUD recording. Toad's place is basically a rectangular width room with the stage in the middle against one long wall with the soundbooth, hence mic stand location being about 40 feet from the stacks, again centered in the rectangle. When I would run with Blues Traveler's permission, I would run up in the crows nest, which is where Matt set up his official streaming/recording cameras along with the SBD feed into them. So, to read that the OMT has "great sense of space" makes me truly smile as this is the characteristic most missing from other recordings in there. Also, when you like the warmth of the ck1x recording, that tells me those mics worked well with his SD pre-amp.  I agree with your assessment as well, the OMT is more "realistic" while the ck1x has nice warmth if maybe a bit  boomy in the low frequencies.
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline kuba e

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 04:49:01 PM »
I think the warm difference with Kindms recording is not because preamp. OMT contains omnis, it should be more warm than Kindms's cards. Maybe It would help to highlight in eq lower frequencies of the omnis. I do not know if the word "warm" is right. Do not take me as someone who can advise. Better to wait for others.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 04:50:37 PM by kuba e »

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 05:12:31 PM »
kuba- Yes, you can easily adjust the overall tonal balance via EQ, but that's not the only way.  You can also do so via the level balance between the omnis and the center mics.  So for instance, with a quick and dirty mix straight out of the DR-680 recorder using it's built-in monitor mixer that provides no EQ ability, I can dial up the omnis a bit more and the center mic(s) down a bit to tilt the tonal balance towards more bass and less treble, or vice versa.  Of course it helps if I'm actually listening while making those decisions. It happened to work out pretty well in the Youtube samples above just by knowing what monitor mix balances I've used in the past, even though I wasn't actually listening when I dialing it in for that patch-out.

This is where the flexibility in mixing OMT begins to come into play - and what really makes it advantageous in shaping whatever you come home with into something which works optimally for the listener.

Using EQ you can adjust overall tonal balance in a few ways- EQing each element separately before combining the channels and/or EQ'ing the resulting 2 channel mix after combining things.  So for example you can EQ the omnis primarily for what they are contributing to the bottom end, while EQ'ing the center mic or pair more for what they are doing in the midrange and top end.  And after combining the channels you can EQ the full 2-channel mix.  Typically I do both, but with different things in mind..

Actually, I sort of consider three separate corrective 'steps' or stages in putting together the finished product, and EQ is an important element in each of those steps, second in importance only to general signal integrity and level.  Looks like it's time to start outlining my process for mixing OMT.  I'll offer you a basic outline of what I do before blathering more philosophy about mixing and this approach in particular.

Basic OMT mixing in 3-steps-

1) First I'll do base-line corrective stuff to each channel.  Mentally asking myself things like- "Does this single channel have any problems?"; "Do the two omni channels sound similar in tonal balance and have a good level balance between them?" If not I'll compare just those channels and adjust one or the other as necessary to get them both sounding about the same.  That imbalance could due to some particularity about where I was setup in the venue, the PA, my recording trims being off, a misbehaving microphone or whatever.  In any case, I make sure each channel is okay on its own and more or less matches its pair in tonality if it has one.  Then I'll make sure they work together well as a pair, balancing the level between the two so that the stereo image is centered when listing just to that pair on it's own.  When I'm done with this step I have a good-sounding, well-balanced omni pair (channels 1 & 2), a good-sounding center channel (ch 3), a good sounding rear-facing channel (ch 4), and a good sounding pair of Left/Right supercardioid pair (ch's 5 & 6).  If using a center forward-facing coincident-pair instead of front/rear-facing mics, channels 2 & 3 are treated as a pair instead of independent channels.  Lock the individual channels of each of these pairs together so that you can adjust the level of the pair as a whole without upsetting its balance in the next step where you'll be balancing each pair against the other.

2) Then I'll do the mixing/combining part- setting up the mix balance between these elements.  This is where it gets fun and is probably the most subjective part of putting everything together. 

I usually start with the omni pair and build from that.  We already have it sounding good on its own so just pull up the level on that pair.  Hard-pan those omnis hard-Left and hard-Right.  Don't worry about any "hole in the middle" of the stereo image at this point if there is one (probably not unless they were quite widely spaced).  Next bring up your single center channel panned to center.  You've already gotten that sounding decent tonally, so just listen to what it does as you raise the it's level and it combines with the omnis.  Play around with it.  I find there are often three ways to work it, it depends on the recording and type of music, and there is no wrong answer- either the center level is about the same as the omnis acting as an "equal player", the center is lower in level and basically "fixes whatever is lacking with the omnis", or the center level is higher than the omnis and sort of dominates the mix.  I'll come back to this later as there are many different things going with this center/sides balance thing besides getting a solid stereo image, and the best choice will be one which finds an optimal balance between all those things.  For now, just listen for a solid soundstage between Left to Right which a reinforces the center content nicely, such that everything sounds balanced and you really miss it when you mute the center channel.  Don't worry about tonal concerns, how well you can understand the vocals, how distant it sounds or things like that at this point.

If you've recorded a center coincident-pair instead of a single center channel, pan both channels of the pair panned to center.  That effectively makes it a single monophonic center channel.  Balance it's level with the omnis as described above first, then play with panning the center Left and Right channels outwards by the same amount (symmetrically).  Try it fully hard-panned to either side as well as in all positions in-between.  The nice thing about having a coincident center pair is that you can pan this pair however you want without creating phase-conflicts.   Listen for a good, even image-blend between the center and sides.  You might like it best with no center spread at all (both mics of the center pair panned center), with fully hard-panned to either side, or somewhere inbetween.  Again there is no rule here other than getting it sounding good.  In general you are likely to end up with a center pair panned less widely than you normally would without the omnis in the mix.  Sometimes I'll pan them just a minimal bit to either side, but that slight panning makes a big difference in getting a smooth blend across the full soundstage and keeping the center from sounding separate and overly point-like.  If you mute the omni channels you might be surprised to find how narrow your choice sounds on its own.  That's an indication of how mic configurations need to change when used in combination with one another (taken care of by the OMT mic setup) and is helpful to hear to understand how each of the parts combine to make a sum greater than the parts.

Take your time here, work up a few different balances between center/sides (and center spread if you have a pair there) and listen to them for a while to see which one works best and sticks with you.  Often it may become apparent that what was sounding really good at first doesn't hold up under longer listening or only works for that particular section or song.  Try to find whatever balance works well for the entire concert and holds your interest without anything about it bothering you after a listening for a while.

If you have a rear-facing microphone, bring that up last panned to center.  The optimal level on the rear-facing channel will vary a lot depending on the situation, the room, the audience, etc.  You'll probably want to use more of it when listening to the sections between songs and during quieter numbers when the audience is quiet, and less of that during louder numbers, or when the audience is talking back there.

3) Once you have a mix you like, you can fine-tune the 2-channel mix bus or the resulting two channel mix output if you choose to edit that separately.  We are now to the point were we do the same things we would to any normal two-channel recording- EQ the whole thing (more subtle overall-tonal tweaks at this point), normalize, track, fade, whatever.


To me it helps to think of those 3 steps as follows:

The first step mostly about "fixing problems" and getting to a good level playing field starting point.
The second step is the "creative mixing" part where most of the gross (and subtle) decisions which have the greatest creative input on the the result are made.
The final step is the "mastering" part.  Putting the final polish on the thing and otherwise prep'ing it for release.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 07:29:35 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 05:22:03 PM »
Later I'll describe more subtle things you can do which really make this technique powerful, like EQ'ing the center channel differently to reduce conflict with the sides or to enhance vocal clarity and presence without the entire recording becoming too bright, and other stuff like that which comes after step 2 but before step 3 in the basic outline above.   Similarly, there are advanced EQ decisions you can make to the other channels- the omnis, the rear-facing channel, etc, which work in combination to create a greater sum than each of the parts in isolation.  As you move toward these more advance steps you'll begin to push the channels away from their "everything sounds as good as it can on its own" starting point of step 1, in a way somewhat analogous to ending up with a more narrow center X/Y pan in step 2 than you otherwise would for that pair on its own.
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Offline kuba e

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 05:52:04 PM »
I love to read it. This is huge help. I will try to write more in the morning.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 06:04:30 PM »
I think the warm difference with Kindms recording is not because preamp. OMT contains omnis, it should be more warm than Kindms's cards. Maybe It would help to highlight in eq lower frequencies of the omnis. I do not know if the word "warm" is right. Do not take me as someone who can advise. Better to wait for others.

Also consider that while it's useful to compare the overall sound of both in deciding if this is worthwhile or not, its very difficult to make specific comparisons of tonality or whatever because as explained above, Rocksuitcase's mix is his subjective choice, not only because he's applying EQ, but because of his choices of level balance, and OMT is always going to be more subjective in this way because we have to make these decisions in creating any 2-channel stereo mix from it.

I also noted more low frequency energy "warmth" in kindms' ck1x cardioid pair recording.  I personally don't find it too much or boomy but like that tonal balance.  Tonally, I prefer it's low-frequency balance to the OMT mix, at least on the gear I'm listening through, even though it lacks other traits I like in the OMT recording such as the sense of openness and spatial dimension.  Rock, please don't take this the wrong way, but I generally find your mixes a bit light on the bottom up through the lower midrange to my ear.  I haven't mentioned that previously because its a subtle subjective thing, but it's been stirring around in my head for a while and I think this is a good comparison to explore that a bit more.

The big OMT post production variables - subjective mix choices and what our monitoring is revealing (or not)-

Again these are subjective choices we make in putting the resulting recording together, but those choices are entirely dependent on what our monitoring is telling us.  It's not just really easy to correct for some minor (or major) imbalance in our playback monitoring when making decisions about what to do with the mix, we will in fact always do that unless we've specifically learned how to compensate for the deficiencies of our monitoring.  That's tough, because then the goal is to intentionally make it "not sound as good as it can" on our monitoring system but adhere what we have learned it needs to sound like there to sound correct everywhere else (on balance).  This is the well known mix-translation problem, and it is actually aggravated by this super flexible system of OMT mixing where we gain more control over everything.  It's one of the big reason's I've not released more stuff before now because I've long recognized my monitoring is the weakest link in my own recording-mixing-monitoring chain.  I know what to do but I don't trust my monitoring enough.  Okay so I'm a bit too much of a perfectionist there with respect to being a "taper", but that's partly because I know that once it's out there I'll never really have a second chance for a re-do.  That said, I'm getting closer to setting up a monitoring system I feel like I can trust, and the biggest issues there are getting the bottom and lower-midrange right.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 07:12:21 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 06:15:43 PM »
Gutbucket, you have my big respect for a 6ch on-the-fly mix. It is a very pleasant listening. I'm surprised that it sounds so spatially even when you were close to the left PA. How much did you space supercards?

Thanks.  I'll get mixed versions up at some point.  I can make a few of my raw recorded OMT files available to anyone here to play with as well.  It would be fun to see how different each person's resulting mix ends up.  I also hope to up-load some auditory examples of building a mix step by step.

I'll remeasure my rig to confirm but the general spacing was about 5' total on the omnis and about half that on the L/R supercardioids angled 45 degrees forward.
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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 06:50:47 PM »
Took a few photos with my phone last weekend trying to show the OMT setup in that room.  Tough to make out against the black ceiling in a dark room, but here are a few snaps.  These four show sort of an overview of the room and the relationship between the recording position, PA and stage.

First is the view of Tim Palmieri on stage as seen from the recording position (no rig in frame).

Second is the view from side-stage/bar-entrance (rig is at the column, stand placed on a table around the column, stand running up the front column edge closest to center stage, mics up high).

Third is the view from the back half of the room not quite all the way to the rear wall.  Video guy jumped up on on a chair all excited about the Phish tunes. (Mic-stand and 3 of the 4 supercards can be seen, left supercard obscured by column, both omnis obscured by darkness)

Fourth is from the SBD during Betty LaVette (you can see the outward extension of the right omni past the right supercardioid in this one - flush-mounted into the black ball at the end of the antenna).

« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 07:15:31 PM by Gutbucket »
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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 07:06:25 PM »
Here are some crappy closeups of the OMT array-

First two are of the array during setup.  Stand hasn't been raised yet above the video cam which made the YouTube clips posted above, omnis are still retracted (you can see that the omnis retract in to the same position as the Left/Right supercards, except the Left ommi's telescopic arm now retracts only part-way due to a splint repairing a break)

Third shows the array from below.  The rear facing mic is up against the column.  You can see the angle of the right supercard and the position-relationship between the the supers in frame (front and rear-facing supers have an bigger windscreens than the Right supercard).

Blurry forth shows the array as seen from a perspective closer to the center of the room, raised fully above the video camera.

The miniature DPA omnis are mounted in my DIY sphere accessories to make them somewhat directional (and eliminate potential eye-pokes).  Here I pointed them +/- 45 degrees to the front.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 07:35:29 PM by Gutbucket »
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
made easy- >>Improved PAS table<< | made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline kuba e

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 08:02:50 AM »
Oddball microphone technique is a beautiful thing. The following may be useful for those who are beginners like me. I started with two microphones. It took me a long time to understand the relationship between distance, angles, polar patterns (The stereophonic zoom - Michael Williams). I only made audience recordings this time. Then I tried onstage recordings with two or even four microphones or sbd feed. Here I needed to get a little more of theory (sound frequency, comb filtering, basics of sound propagation) And I also needed to use a little bit of post processing e.g. little eq or little shift of the stereo image.  And from there, it is already close to the OMT.

I am from Europe and hobby taping is not popular here. I got all the information from this forum. Great thanks to everyone from forum.

But why am I writing it? I was surprised by one thing. I'm music lover but I am a very simple, low-cost listener, I have no sound education and I'm working outside the music industry. But I noticed that the more I record, the more aspects I can distinguish in the recording. I did not expect that. I am just at the beginning because recording is only a hobby and I'm doing it for joy. But I know our brain has the ability to train listening skills and it may be unobtrusive, step by step. Things, that with I've fought in the past, are easy, fast and effortless to solve for me today. Of course, I get new obstacles that I didn't see in the past. If anyone is hobby taper like me and thinking about trying the OMT, do it. It will cost time and effort and the final recordings may not be good. But that's not important,  for sure recordings will come out better next time.

The big OMT post production variables - subjective mix choices and what our monitoring is revealing (or not)-
and also my ability, how subtle details I am able to distinguish. OMT is an ideal learning opportunity.

I can make a few of my raw recorded OMT files available to anyone here to play with as well.  It would be fun to see how different each person's resulting mix ends up.  I also hope to up-load some auditory examples of building a mix step by step.
I'm excited. It will be fun. And that would be a great help too.

Thanks for your photos. I should buy a selfphone with a camera (I'm an old school) because taking pictures of my rigs. I can see on your photo that the rear microphone could not be in the axle, but that is negligible. It reminded me my recording of Medeski and Mule. I used the rear microphone in Mid / Side. On your advice, I delayed the rear microphone before entering in the Mid / Side . The resulting sound was more pleasant to me. But as you say, these are very subtle things.

Thank you for sharing OMT with us. I see how much effort you gave in development. I appreciate Rocksuitecase help too. I found another beautiful part in taping because OMT.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 08:05:22 AM by kuba e »

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Oddball microphone technique (OMT) - part 2
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 09:06:57 AM »
Thanks for the kind words kuba. And your interest.  I too find that the deeper I get into this the more I can hear, and the more I understand the more I enjoy the music on a deeper level.  Figuring out the puzzle is a big part of the fun for me, as is sharing what I've figured out here with anyone else who may be interested.  Part of what makes this so interesting is that live-music taping, especially from the audience, is a unique form of recording which benefits from unique solutions which don't really apply to, or come directly from, more common forms of audio recording.

The journey is the destination.

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