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#1
So I'm sure some people here don't spend much time with recording and mixing while some of us put away hours, days, weeks, or more - of work to make them sound absolutely spectacular.

The question is, why do we do it?

To the average non-musically-involved listener, an unprofessional demo someone threw together won't sound much different than something you'll hear on the radio. (in terms of production))

I guess it's similar to instruments. Someone who doesn't play an instrument will think the worst cover of American Idiot sounds just as good as the studio version of For The Love of God.

They're two different fields. So let's just ignore music dummies for now.

But even the people who do both of those things still won't always hear something as well as some people do. Like I'll come on to this site and go to the original recordings section or something and hear a recording that really isn't good and there will be comments all over by people saying it sounds amazing. Or you'll see someone who has this really undeveloped guitar style and sound that everyone says is great.

It seems that there's just so little people that can actually hear everything for what it is, you know? I'm sure there are people here who can hear more exact, but they seem to be outweighed by the others.

So why do you do it? Why do you spend so much work to record something that barely anyone will recognize as sounding its best? You could throw something together quick and 99% of people would think of it the same as compared to you making it as professional as possible.
Do you do it so the people who can hear it for exactly what it is? Do you do it for the purpose of having something be the best it can? Do you do it to try to impress? Because you intend to sell the recordings? Or are you simply a perfectionist? etc.

I'm just curious at how other people feel about this. I personally do it for myself. I want it to sound great to my ears. I don't want to leave a recording at a state where I know it just doesn't sound its best, no matter who doesn't notice.. because I'll still notice and want it to be more.
(before someone gets smart - do note, everything on my profile is pretty old and I've went back and re-done a majority of things on there but haven't uploaded them yet.)
Last edited by TechnicolorType at Mar 23, 2011,
#2
I'd have to say that I primarily do it for myself, but I also get a little extra kick out of that 1 person in 10 who picks up on all the little extras that have been thrown in that you average listener has no clue about. Oh yeah and also a mild case of OCD.
Satan. Grant this man the gift of revenge against his foes at the Food Network.
#3
It all comes down to why people do music, or why I feel they should. Do music because you love it. If taking tons of time on a mix makes you happy (as it does for me), then do it. I still smile listening back to my better work, it's a feeling of accomplishment to me. I love hearing something that sounds amazing and huge and realizing that I made it.
#4
According to the timer on FL, all my newer stuff whether it be instrumentals or stuff with my band I spend about 30hours per song on it. Why? Because I want to. I don't care if other people like it. I just do it because I want it to sound its best. I also like going to soundclick and there are a few competitions I like competing in just to see how I do. I figure if I get in top 3 out of 12 to a bunch of people who love 1980s British rock I am doing damn good for the music I make.

Another reason to be honest is I usually get pretty great reviews from fellow recording musicians online when I do music. It makes me feel good, since to be honest I am not really good at anything else. As cliche as it sounds during hard times in life music is all I had, so I guess you can just say I love it. Thats why I spend way to much time on it.


I will say Ms. Techni, I do agree sometimes I go to original recording or soundclick, and I listen to somethings with great reviews and I listen and think wtf where they thinking on the reverb, why is the voice so quiet, why is the left ear at least 3dB louder. I usually don't post here much in recordings, because I figure its just there different levels we are recording at. Heck I look at something I did last year and am like....why the **** did people like that shit? So I try to just comment on the actual music, cause no matter what your production value is...if shit is outta key...shit is outta key...

I am not saying I am the best, and I know there are a few people on here that blow my production value out of the water. I guess back to the question...why do I spend more time on music then my school (I just got off academic probation that I attribute to music)? I love music, and it makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

EDIT: I may have ran off onto a few tangents lol

TLR: I spend hours doing music because I want it to sound good to my ears. I usually redo it later if I am unsatisfied I have spent 30 hours recording something and mixing just to spend another 12 hours remixing it a few months later. And I love music.
Last edited by FireHawk at Mar 23, 2011,
#5
yeah, I agree with all three of you.

@Firehawk - I agree. It's kind of obnoxious but something I recorded maybe 5 months back that I thought was the best thing I ever did at the time.. is just so not that great and the current version I'm doing is at least 20 times better (imo) and I'm not over-exaggerating by saying 20. I really do mean 20 times better. That's quite a leep. I've been working on it for a while now. The original was done rather quickly. this one is just taking ages.
#6
Quote by TechnicolorType

@Firehawk - I agree. It's kind of obnoxious but something I recorded maybe 5 months back that I thought was the best thing I ever did at the time.. is just so not that great and the current version I'm doing is at least 20 times better (imo) and I'm not over-exaggerating by saying 20. I really do mean 20 times better. That's quite a leep. I've been working on it for a while now. The original was done rather quickly. this one is just taking ages.


Yeah I think what happend is there is like a threshold we all have, that as soon as we break it we are like "WTF was I thinkin?" I know I feel in the last few months with my knowledge of EQing, compressions, etc. and how all that worked going up, my production quality has grown exponentially.
#7
same here with the same things. my old recordings didn't even have the tiniest bit of EQ'ing done which is quite sad. now I use it a ton.

I wouldn't say I question what I was thinking or find the work bad ;D but it's just I know I could do so much better now. :\

though it's kind of obnoxious to want to re-do so much.
#8
I've enjoyed recording in both a learning experience (and at one point wanted to record professionally.. ) and just cause I like playing with the toys. Using new techniques from people and acquiring gear/plugins is a fun process when you get to see how it influences your creations.

My recordings are pretty old too, and show the hallmark of someone not really knowing what they were doing. The old stuff in my profile, with all of its blatant mistakes, make me wonder what i was thinking. But, it was fun putting it all together, and trying out new things.

Edit: I don't feel it's obnoxious to want to redo stuff. I love A/B'ing anything i redo just to see how far i've come along. I think it's one of the more accurate ways to measure how much you've progressed.
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
Last edited by Kivarenn82 at Mar 24, 2011,
#9
Two words, pre-sets. I have presets on Reaper for all my tracks that I've spent countless hours tweaking so that they sound professional as I can get them, and they just load when I insert a new track, works great.

But whenever I learn a new technique for getting better tone, I spend a few hours remixing almost all of my most recent stuff.

I do it because I love to do it, it's a hobby and a emotion release for me....better than getting into trouble.
#10
Various reasons - mainly as an experiment/learning thing. Over the years I have learned so much about different techniques, EQ'ing, compression, mixing and mastering that I have a good feel for bringing out the best in my personal recordings. When in other environments I try to keep an eye on what's going on around me as I like to pick up new tips, tricks and techniques.
That said - I also know when and where to stop as there is only so much can be done before it becomes incessant tweaking - nothing's ever quite perfect...

It's always good to learn skills, tricks and "rules" and then go back and bend and break them.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#11
Quote by Slap-happy
nothing's ever quite perfect...
but sometimes it's those imperfections that make something perfect to us :]
#12
^ depends on the imperfections i guess, sometimes theres a little noise or something that adds to it, other times somethings overcompressed and it sounds just awful.

i dig spending so much time on mixing/"mastering" b/c i want to be able to write/record/mix/master my own albums. basically i want to be able to do everything exactly how i think it should sound.
#13
Quote by TechnicolorType
but sometimes it's those imperfections that make something perfect to us :]


That reminds me I have a song where at one point there is just a ton of noise, and every time I listen to that song when that section comes up there is a spot where I swear I hear the facebook noise lol
#14
Sometimes i think that spending hours in front of my DAW is pretty much just a waste of time because no one cares about what release times you use on your compressor and similar stuff but if i am honest i don't really hear bad productions in the mainstream. (especially in the electronic genrees, sometimes there are recordings which just sound monumental, sometimes i listen to Deadmau5 just for the kick sounds) A Lady Gaga recording uses over a hundred tracks and outboard gear only existing in our dreams.
So i think people are kinda used to quality and they will notice if something is bad.
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#15
Quote by Daneeka
Sometimes i think that spending hours in front of my DAW is pretty much just a waste of time because no one cares about what release times you use on your compressor and similar stuff but if i am honest i don't really hear bad productions in the mainstream. (especially in the electronic genrees, sometimes there are recordings which just sound monumental, sometimes i listen to Deadmau5 just for the kick sounds) A Lady Gaga recording uses over a hundred tracks and outboard gear only existing in our dreams.
So i think people are kinda used to quality and they will notice if something is bad.
most don't. I know I certainly didn't before I was involved with it and everyone I know in person can't tell the difference.
#16
When it comes to maintstream music I mostly just think of things I would change in the mix. The one thing that pisses me off the most is sometimes you can tell like 2 lines are from 2 different takes, but its not one of those overlap suppose to be. Its like a "wait was that line a lot clearer" and then the next lien is kinda bland again....idk if that make sense

but usually i think like....welll i prob would have cut the reverb a bit here or more delay here...little stuff like that....i never think holy shit that dude needs to learn wtf he is doing lol
#17
^I don't think I've ever noticed that. I don't listen to much mainstream music at all though, but still. that's funny. I usually think the mixes sound fine in professional music but there are times when it'll just be like jesus christ why are the vocals 10 times louder than the rest of the track?
#18
Quote by TechnicolorType
most don't. I know I certainly didn't before I was involved with it and everyone I know in person can't tell the difference.



So basically you say that now with the DAWs, drumsamples, ampsims/soft synths etc., VSTs and cheap interfaces we have every possibility to make a number one record?
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#19
Quote by Daneeka
So basically you say that now with the DAWs, drumsamples, ampsims/soft synths etc., VSTs and cheap interfaces we have every possibility to make a number one record?

Um... I'm fairly certain she's just saying that the average listener cannot tell if a song was recorded in a basement by a relative beginner or in a major studio by Chris Lord Alge (bit of an exaggeration to get the point across). Noone said (from what I read) that all the technology we have now allows us to make 'better' music, or more popular music
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#20
I spend a lot of time on my tracks adding in little things that hardly anyone will notice... ESPECIALLY in my recent dubstep-metal tracks. And i do it almost completely for me, to know that i tried my best to make that track the best it could be, so i can listen back later and be proud of how it sounds cause i made it. Also when someone does notice something that took a lot of time (eg. i showed my mum one of my tracks - 'i like that thing where it goes all around!' referring to a panning effect on a synth) it feels awesome
#21
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Um... I'm fairly certain she's just saying that the average listener cannot tell if a song was recorded in a basement by a relative beginner or in a major studio by Chris Lord Alge (bit of an exaggeration to get the point across). Noone said (from what I read) that all the technology we have now allows us to make 'better' music, or more popular music


i did not insisted that this technology will make us a better songwriter.

i asked that if we could write songs that could chart on the Billboard, the level of our "DIY/home"mixing/mastering wouldn't hold back the song's full potential?
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#22
Quote by Daneeka
i did not insisted that this technology will make us a better songwriter.

i asked that if we could write songs that could chart on the Billboard, the level of our "DIY/home"mixing/mastering wouldn't hold back the song's full potential?


If I am understand what your saying. Then yes definitely, if you are a complete noob and there is a bunch of backing noise.

If it is someone who really knows what they are doing, most likely makes money mixing and mastering. They could prob do it themselves. Whenever something is done in a studio there is a certain sound to it. Its just got a "shine" I guess. There are a few times I have listened to something and thought wow I wonder if that was recorded in a studio. It just seems like studio stuff blends together better.

Regardless a DYI song isn't going to be a number 1 hit, cause you more than likely don't have any significant label backing if your DYI. Labels are gonna want there producers, a professional studio, etc....

EDIT: If it were that easy to get on charts there would be a lot more competition on charts and not the same bands over and over.
Last edited by FireHawk at Mar 24, 2011,
#23
Quote by TechnicolorType
most don't. I know I certainly didn't before I was involved with it and everyone I know in person can't tell the difference.

same here, i think it has something to do with cutting everything down to mp3's, you get to a point where its all compressed the same amount regardless of the original.

and too loud vocals... i have a friend who likes to crank up vocals and it drives me nuts.
#24
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Um... I'm fairly certain she's just saying that the average listener cannot tell if a song was recorded in a basement by a relative beginner or in a major studio by Chris Lord Alge (bit of an exaggeration to get the point across). Noone said (from what I read) that all the technology we have now allows us to make 'better' music, or more popular music
Exactly what I was saying.

Nonetheless, you can make a professional sounding track without super professional gear if you know what you're doing.

Drum vsti (I've heard a handful of famous bands using samples.) and direct guitars + bass is enough to do it.

If you think otherwise then look around. There's plenty of examples. Especially at Andy Sneap.

Quote by Daneeka
i did not insisted that this technology will make us a better songwriter.

i asked that if we could write songs that could chart on the Billboard, the level of our "DIY/home"mixing/mastering wouldn't hold back the song's full potential?
You did say it would and you just did it again.

Writing songs =/= mixing songs.
but that's completely not the point.

Quote by Daneeka
i asked that if we could write mix songs that could chart on the Billboard, the level of our "DIY/home"mixing/mastering wouldn't hold back the song's full potential?
Fixed.

Sure, the results might be better with some super high end gear but you can still get professional results out of simplicity. You can know how to do a pro mix and master without using pro gear.

Plenty can record and mix songs that WOULD chart if they had the chance. I'm not saying they will because you generally will have to be with a label.

But it all comes down to not being the gear you use but how you use it and what goes on after recording.

Amazing gear doesn't make something amazing.
Last edited by TechnicolorType at Mar 24, 2011,
#25
i never sit down and say that i am going to make a great recording. most of the stuff i do is just to get my ideas down in a form that is listenable. there is a point when the recording quality and the mixing completely detracts from the music. as long as i get above that point, i am happy.

except not really. i end up aiming to better myself every time i mix something. it isnt the end mix that really matters to me, it is the journey. i love coming up with new ways to tweak things or record something or whatever, and then trying it out. it doesnt really matter if it doesnt work like i wanted or sounds bad, i still learned something.

do i really enjoy it when something i do ends up sounding good? of course. i mean its better than putting out a pile of crap. but since no one but me really cares about my music, i dont worry about what anyone else things of it.
#26
I do it

1. for myself
2. for my friends
3. everytime i make a new song its a learning experience
4. everytime im listening to music im creatiing im developing my ear

there are probably other reasons i do it. I like to do the best i can when i make music on the computer as its a reflection of me most of the time
#27
I'll answer the question, but first, I will tell you why I believe the premise of the question is a little skewed.

I DO believe that most people can tell the difference between an average basement/bedroom recording and a pro studio recording. But I also believe that people gauge their expectations accordingly. If someone makes a really solid bedroom recording and posts it here, people will say it sounds great. We're measuring it with that "bedroom" stick in mind.

It's kind of like how your high school production of West Side Story is really well done and everyone says it's great... and it is. But if you float that same production on Broadway, it somehow doesn't seem as great. Sure, it didn't become worse just because you put it on Broadway, but measured weaker because it was measured with a different stick.

If your favourite major label artist came out with an album that sounded like most of the stuff in the "original recordings" forum, most people would probably notice and be pretty p!ssed off. Case in point.... Metallica's St. Anger. (I don't know what the hell Bob Rock was thinking... he's easily among the best producers on the planet....)

I do it for the challenge. Admittedly, the money from time to time comes in handy too. But I always want to try to achieve as good a result as I can with what I have. Our original band recorded our CD at my house and was good enough to get some commercial radio and television play. To me, that was an achievement. But you always go back and point out weaknesses in your prior work, and that sets the next challenge - fixing those issues from your prior recordings to get an even better result than you did before with what you have.

It's not unusual for me to spend about 30-40 hrs on a song, all told.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#28
Never underestimate your audience. They are very forgiving (to a point) of bad production, but when faced with something good, they know it is good even though they may not be able to tell me exactly why.

The fact that people ask me to listen to their band on YouTube recorded with an iPhone to comment on how good they are gives me an idea of what level their production skills are at. This does not mean that the same person couldn't tell a brilliant recording from a passable recording on a real system.

On YouTube, even though the distribution quality sucks, most people can tell if it was originally Hollywood technical quality, recorded on a $400 camcorder or a bad rip from a worn out VCR tape. The same is true of music recordings.

Most of your audience listens to the song, not the technical aspects. Great production is rewarded by being transparent to the listener. Your mind will excuse a little noise in the background, a not so great EQ, inconsistent stereo and levels, or the famous sound of a Ludwig "Squeak" pedal, but it does register and is distracting. If those distractions aren't there, you won't notice it, hence "transparent". Your goal is to make it so that people will not even notice how brilliant your technical production was, that little extra sound to accent the guitar part, a little more "bang" from the snare that makes the main product (the song) just sound better to everyone, not just the audiophile elite.

As to why I spend many hours (as well as even more time from the rest of the production staff) from recording to post, it is very simple. If I am not going to do the best job possible, why bother doing it? My clients always come back to me for future projects because of these production levels I strive for,. I don't ever want to get the comment back "well the audio was annoying and the video was grainy", because that just isn't what I do. The client may never realize the care and attention that was given to the project, but they always seem happy with the result.
Last edited by Quintex at Mar 24, 2011,
#29
I put most of my time into recording takes over and over, trying to get it sounding good. I'd say only about 10-20% of my time making music is spent on the post stuff, EQing and levelling. If I can't get it sounding good, I usually ditch it and re record.

I know it's not the best practice, but at my level, there's only so much EQing can cover up.
"Levelled up. Still no solos."
[img]http://sc2sig.com/s/eu/1405270-1.png[/img]
#30
just my 2 cents but i often hear alot of bands say its tough to match the original demos etc,whether it be the feeling or whatever,something to be said about how u put it on tape and capture it down the track.
#31
just because most people can't tell you why a recording sounds great doesn't meant they can't tell that it does sound great. If you show somebody two recordings, one recorded by some kid through his microphone input on his computer and drum samples from fruity loops, and the other recorded by someone with maybe 200$ worth of equipment and two years experience, even the most tone-deaf of people will be able to tell which sounds better.

As for me, I've taught myself recording because I love writing music. I have to admit that the things that really made me want to learn more and more were artists like Cloudkicker and Devin Townsend, who showed me that everybody can learn how to mix and make at least decent sounding songs, and that if you stick to it long enough you can learn how to make records that sound professional.
Since it's really expensive and a lot of work to find a band and keep it together, and because I'm an extremely selfish person when it comes to my music and want to do everything my own way, I found it much easier to just record things myself.
Plus, even if you spend 1000 bucks on recording equipment, you'll have that equipment forever. If you spend 2 years learning, you'll have that knowledge forever and won't have to resort to spending a shitload of money to go into a studio where they may or may not record and capture the sound you're looking for.

EDIT: also, if you're like me, and you have a broad taste in music and like doing everything from electronic stuff to pop to hard rock and metal, it's nearly impossible to find bandmates who are willing to go through all those different styles with you.
Last edited by CoreysMonster at Mar 25, 2011,
#32
I taught myself recording mainly to save some money and make a few bucks on the side. I have a lot of friends in bands that don't have much cash but want to put out a good sounding demo. Most studios are $25+ an hour in the area. I usually end up recording for $10-$15 an hour and use the cash to invest in new gear. Plus, usually since people like it, they pass on the word and I can keep busy. I really want to find myself a house with a garage I can turn into a studio so I don't have to travel around and stuff.

As for my own stuff, I record it for the love of doing it. I spend as much time as I do since I want it to come across in a way that hits you. Music is a very emotional thing, it moves us. I want to pull out whatever response I can out of what I'm writing. I mix, record, write and whatever to get that across. I don't know how many times I've completed a song and completely scrapped it just because it wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to. Hopefully, those will see the light of day but still.
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
#33
I do it because :
I am strongly in love with music.
I am also strongly fascinated by creativity and how the human mind and soul can give birth to such complex pieces of art.
And I'm constantly being pushed by the urge to get better and evolve at expressing myself better through music. Over the past few years music has come to define me. Not saying that I'm actually good at making or recording music, but I love doing it, makes me happy, and that's all that matters to me; haters gonna hate, haha.

Good day to you, fellow fans of music. I salute you.
Last edited by LunyAlex at Mar 25, 2011,
#34
Quote by LunyAlex
Not saying that I'm actually good at making or recording music, but I love doing it, makes me happy, and that's all that matters to me; haters gonna hate, haha.
I agree. That's definitely the best way to look at it.
#35
i'm still not very good at mixing, but for now i want to learn just so that i can achieve the level of detail that is in my head when the stuff gets composed, nothing more, nothing less.

the act of mixing isn't very musical - the cause is, of course, but actually doing it is something else. and listening to your own song over and over again in sections kind of kills the magic, which is a problem if you're just a hobbyist doing it for yourself.

maybe my tolerance for fantastically written but poorly produced metal has screwed my perception
Quote by archerygenious
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Like melodic, black, death, symphonic, and/or avant-garde metal? Want to collaborate? Message me!
#36
I record music because...


Wait for it!


It's fun


To me, recording is as much of a creative process as is composing and arranging. Nothing is ever black and white. It's also, like playing an instrument, very easy to track your progress. When I hear stuff I made a year ago, I'm sometimes pretty amazed by how "bad" it sounds, even when I thought it sounded great back then. In a year, I'm sure I'll be looking back at my current projects with the same feeling. It's a very inspirational notion, tbh.
Last edited by xFilth at Mar 26, 2011,
#37
I do it for fun, and I think the average listener will notice the difference between a cheap demo and an actual good quality song.
Example: Metallica's "The Four Horsemen". They have a demo version of it on their No Life 'Til Leather demo tape. Then listen to the professional version on Cliff 'em All.

EDIT:
It's also a good excuse for not being able to hang out with that one annoying friend that seems to always want to hang out but you don't really want to hang out with him...
..I was watching my death.
Last edited by timbit2006 at Mar 26, 2011,
#38
Quote by timbit2006
It's also a good excuse for not being able to hang out with that one annoying friend that seems to always want to hang out but you don't really want to hang out with him...

it sounds horrible, but... this
#39
Quote by TechnicolorType


But even the people who do both of those things still won't always hear something as well as some people do. Like I'll come on to this site and go to the original recordings section or something and hear a recording that really isn't good and there will be comments all over by people saying it sounds amazing. Or you'll see someone who has this really undeveloped guitar style and sound that everyone says is great.

It seems that there's just so little people that can actually hear everything for what it is, you know? I'm sure there are people here who can hear more exact, but they seem to be outweighed by the others.

So why do you do it?


Well, not to put anyone down on here but why would you trust anyone's ears? There are a lot of noobs that don't really have good ears. There are also some talented people, too.

I do it for myself, mostly. I don't like the thought of people hearing a sub-par recording of mine. It's kind of like the perfectionist-artist complex. But, I wouldn't say I obsess over everything. Some things I just try to bang out rather than edit together 60 different takes


Quote by TechnicolorType
I don't think I've ever noticed that. I don't listen to much mainstream music at all though, but still. that's funny. I usually think the mixes sound fine in professional music but there are times when it'll just be like jesus christ why are the vocals 10 times louder than the rest of the track?


Mixes are approached differently depending on what style of music it is. That's one thing that really bothers me about pop songs too. I don't like when vocals are way loud. They do that on purpose because the average brain dead listener doesn't care about anything but vocals. That can't play instruments but they all have a voice so that's what they want to hear.

But, I do hear non-pop mixes that I would change. For example, I popped in Alice In Chains' self titled for the first time in years and was kind of taken aback at the mixes. It sounded like it was mixed by some old school pop rock guy. I shouldn't say that I guess. I loved Andy Wallace's mixes on Nervermind. The guitars were really quiet and vocals were too loud. Sonically everything sounded good but the levels were way out of proportion.
#40
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
the act of mixing isn't very musical - the cause is, of course, but actually doing it is something else.

i would disagree with this. the act of mixing can be very musical. it is more than just setting panning and levels with a bit of eq, it is also about thinking about how the song works. good mixing is like setting up an arrangement. you already have the music, now you have to decide how it sounds and goes together.

maybe thats why some people enjoy mixing more than others. to some people mixing is work, for others it is part of the creative process.
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