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Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

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Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby markodarko » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:29 am

Hi Guys,

I have Notion 4 and use the default instruments when composing as it's easy to switch between my computer and the iPad that way, and everything loads really quickly etc. However, for "rendering" I wanted to use my EWQL Symphonic Orchestra library but my system just won't handle a full orchestra with that library - I've previously only used the odd strings in Logic X and that didn't cause any issues.

I also have GPO but I just don't like the sound of the strings in that library.

So, aside from spending £thousands on a 12-core / 64Gb RAM Mac Pro so that I could actually use the EQWL library, I was considering the cheaper option of buying the LASS library for £600 or so with the notion (no pun intended) that it uses the efficient kontakt player. (I'm currently using an i7 MBP with 8Gb RAM)

Thoughts?

Will LASS integrate easily in Notion 4 with regards to articulation a etc?

My target genre is classical music with woodwinds, brass and strings.

I don't actually _need_ to be able to render out an all-dancing version at the moment as I've decided to write my first symphony and it's faaaar from being completed at the moment, so perhaps the better advice would actually be to just wait, save, and buy that expensive new Mac Pro...?

Thanks for your help,

Mark.
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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby Johnny » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:00 pm

Bought the EWQLSO platinum Complete library on sale a while back.
Added primary and secondary solid state hard drives for system and sampled sounds.
Those hard drives alone saved me from having to buy a new computer.

EWQL "Soundsonline.com" recommends only SSD's in order to stream the full Platimum edition of the Symphony Orchestra. I've found that CPU demands can make computer performance suffer because of the demands a reverb can make. I have the Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Plug-in Bundle which has a "very" light CPU hit. Still, I use the EWQL samples(3 mic) that have a very large amount of data to stream but without adding reverb. There's a slight amount of reverb the Eastwest "Play" sample player adds. However, I only add reverb to Notion or other libraries samples.
I don't get audio drop-outs. The audio buffer needs to be set quite high 512 and sometimes 1024 but it works great.
Post-production is when I may consider other processing.

Again, when streaming is so demanding a solid state hard drive can be more beneficial than a fast processor. I'll get a newer computer latter on in the game. I chose to get software when on sale and to stream it with multiple SSD's.
My system isn't a problem for now.

Save your money. Get SSD'. You can put them into a new computer when that time comes.
If you already have the Eastwest library I'd use that for now. Notion has good integration with it's presets and custom rules.

,Johnny

:arrow:

Ps. In jazz and other projects I use Modeling instruments that do demand more CPU performance; however, with a small ensemble of instruments I get by at this point.
A new more powerful computer will come in the future. I'm good for now.
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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby wcreed51 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:01 pm

Also, at this point LASS doesn't integrate with Notion at all.
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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby Johnny » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:13 pm

OP!
If your computer processor is sufficient and you already have EWQLSO, consider the SS Drives and if you don't have the Platinum version of EWQLSO consider a sale priced upgrade .
The SSD' made a huge difference for me.

Back in Nov 2013 I called Notion support before I bought EWQLSO to find out about the integration with Notion 4.
_ I was told the LA strings sounded better and was the way to go. I really didn't want to believe all of that. And I needed a full orchestral library. For a medium priced introductory library I thought the sale priced EWQLSO was all I needed.
The presets and custom rules integration was "THE" major reason to go with EWQLSO.

I called Notion support back and talked with a different support member and they agreed with me.
Notion Inc. has done a lot of work creating the "presets and custom rules" included with Notion software.

It's a no brainier. EWQLSO works as is in Notion. No fuss!. No Muss!.
I'm very happy with the combined package with SSD'.

,Johnny

P.s. SSD' are the way to go. No moving parts. Quiet. No sound! Little to no fan noise because of low heat generation.
My Window Experience Index Number (performance index) went up by nearly 1.2 points to 6.1_ Boots super fast and sample library loads super fast. What else can I say except that I'm a happy camper with Notion using EWQLSO presets and the built-in custom rules. Fits like a glove.
When on sale
(2)Solid State Drives,
Notion Software and _EWQLSO Platinum Complete become a Semi-Pro/Pro Sound Library system at an unbeatable price!
And a combined price that is less than a new computer that has a limited sound library with slow hard drives.

SSD' and EWQLSO__"A BIG TIME SAVER".
All EWQL instruments and articulations at your finger tips in Notion. A dream! No Library searches needed.
Add Presonus Studio One Pro__ Rewire!
Click and Go!


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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby Surfwhammy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:12 am

markodarko wrote:I'm currently using an i7 MBP with 8Gb RAM


The first thing to do is to upgrade the system memory (a.k.a., "RAM") to 16GB . . . :ugeek:

Running NOTION 4 in 64-bit mode will map to being able to use all the memory, and it makes a difference. You probably are running everything in 64-bit mode, and if so, then you will notice a significant improvement when there is 16GB of system memory . . .

If your MacBook Pro is a new 15" model with Retina display, then it already has an internal SSD drive, but if not, then there are external SSD drives that use Thunderbolt, and they will be very peppy. There also are internal SSD drives that you can use to replace the internal hard drive, but SSD drives are a bit expensive at present, although a 500GB internal SSD drive for a MacBook Pro costs approximately $300 (US) to $400 (US). You can do the upgrade yourself if you are comfortable doing relatively easy computer hardware upgrades. You need to do a backup, and it helps to have a bootable external hard drive, where LaCie external hard drives are nice, and they are bootable for Mac OS X, which is very important. In fact, you can run a MacBook Pro and use a LaCie d2 Quadra USB 3.0 as the primary hard drive, which you do by booting from it. This works on all Macs, and is useful at times . . .

[NOTE: There are other brands and models of external hard drives that work nicely with the Mac, but I recommend LaCie drives, because LaCie drives are designed to work with the Mac, which includes being bootable. LaCie drives cost a bit more than other drives, but they are well built and you can boot from them. If you MacBook Pro has FireWire ports, then this drive works nicely, since it has FireWire connectivity, as well; and this makes LaCie drives all the more important, because booting via FireWire is different. Nevertheless, newer MacBook Pro notebooks have USB 3 ports and Thunderbolt ports, and there is a LaCie d2 drive that has USB 3 and Thunderbolt connectivity, but it costs a bit more (approximately $100 [US], but you get a 3TB drive rather than a 2TB drive, which makes it attractive). . . ]

LaCie d2 Quadra USB 3.0

If you are doing this with the goal of producing recorded audio rather than as real-time instrumental accompaniment for a performance, then you can build the audio in layers using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) application like Logic Pro 9/X, which you mentioned that you already have . . .

In the layering strategy, you start with a NOTION 4 score which has just a few instruments, which in this instance might have just a single EWQL instrument, for example one violin, and some other typically light digital footprint instruments . . .

I usually include a NOTION 4 kick drum playing a quarter note on each beat as a type of metronome, and it can be helpful to have a NOTION 4 piano playing chords or something that you can use to determine a point of reference for the different sections or parts of a song (verse, chorus, bridge, interlude, and so forth), where the kick drum and piano are constants or common instruments . . .

Once this is working nicely, you can record the NOTION 4 generated audio as soundbites in the DAW application, where the best strategy is to peg the NOTION 4 Mixer volume controls at 0 dB and to avoid using any VST effects plug-ins in the NOTION 4 Mixer, which includes not using the native NOTION 4 reverb in the NOTION 4 Mixer . . .

You want dry, raw audio generated by NOTION 4, and you want the volume to be consistent at 0 dB for everything coming from NOTION 4 . . .

The reason for doing it this way is that you will be doing the producing and mixing in the DAW application, which is where you can use effects plug-ins and techniques that are done most easily and efficiently in the DAW application. Another reason is that you can add reverb and echoes, but it is nearly impossible to remove them, as is the case with most effects, hence the reason to have dry, raw audio. This also applies to panning, where as a general rule it is best to leave the panning by default at full panning in the NOTION 4 Mixer, since you can adjust the panning latter in the DAW application. In some instances, it makes a bit of sense to adjust the panning in the NOTION 4 Mixer before recording the generated audio as soundbites in a DAW application, but this only makes sense after you do some experiments and discover how panning works in this specific scenario, where the general rule is the same: Doing is easy, but undoing is not so easy . . .

The next step when the first layer is completed is to start on a new layer, and this is done by cloning the original NOTION 4 score, which you can do via "Save As . . . " and giving the newly cloned NOTION 4 a helpful name, where I use the naming convention {"Song-PT-1.notion", "Song-PT-2.notion", . . . , "Song-PT-n.notion"}, and I keep all the files in a folder for the song, which includes the NOTION 4 scores, DAW application project files and audio clips, and so forth) . . .

You can do some experiments to determine how many EWQL instruments you can have in a single NOTION 4 score and have everything running smoothly. It might be just one instrument, in which case you will need a separate NOTION 4 score for each EWQL instrument, but you probably can have a few EWQL instruments in each NOTION 4 score . . .

This happens here in the sound isolation studio on the 2.8-GHz 8-core Mac Pro (Early 2008) with 20GB of system memory when I use certain MachFive 3 (MOTU) VSTi virtual instruments, which for the most part are the highly sampled instruments like the F Grand 278, Mark 97, Star Drums, and Telematic, where for example the Telematic has approximately 10,000 keygroups, but it sounds good, which is fine with me . . .

THOUGHTS

If your MacBook Pro has a quad-core i7, then I am not certain that getting a 12-core Mac Pro will make much difference with respect to processing, because the problem probably is not processing . . .

You can get a sense of this by running Activity Monitor and watching the CPU meter, which will show the activity for the various processor cores . . .

The more likely culprit is system memory, which is the reason I advise upgrading the system memory on your MacBook Pro to 16GB, which is the maximum . . .

If system memory is a problem, then getting a new iMac makes more sense than getting a new Mac Pro; and it costs less, as well . . .

You can have upto 32GB of memory on a new iMac . . .

This is a snapshot of the CPU Activity Meter for Activity Monitor when there is a ReWire 2 session with Logic Pro X as the ReWire 2 host controller and both NOTION 4 and Reason 7 as ReWire 2 slaves. This snapshot was done when a song is playing. The song is "Faster" (Techno Squirrels) and is a Reason 6 demo song that I use to explain different ReWire 2 strategies. I added some synthesizers to the Reason 7 project, and I added several instruments to the NOTION 4 project

Image

[NOTE: This YouTube video shows how it works with Digital Performer 8 as the ReWire 2 host controller. For purposes of the Activity Monitor snapshot (see above), the only difference is the DAW application. The song plays starting at 3:16, if you want to skip the technical stuff. In total, it is 20 tracks (15 in Reason 7, and 5 in NOTION 4). The NOTION 4 project has MachFive 3, Kontakt 5, and FabFilter Software Instruments VSTi virtual instruments, and the music notation on two NOTION 4 External MIDI staves is playing two Reason 7 synthesizers (the two tracks with solid red name areas in the Reason 7 Mixer) . . . ]

DP8 N4 R7 ReWire2 MIDI ~ YouTube video

As you can see in the Activity Monitor snapshot, the 8 cores on the Mac Pro here in the sound isolation studio are not very busy, which is a key bit of information because this is an older Mac Pro. I purchased it new in 2009, so it is 6-years old . . .

A new quad-core i7 iMac is faster, and with the same amount of system memory, it is faster all-around. A new MacBook Pro might be faster, as well, if it has a quad-core i7 processor, but the MacBook Pro is limited to 16GB of system memory. 16GB of system memory is good, but Mac OS X can use more system memory when it is available, and more in this context is better . . .

If I were going to get a new Mac now, I would get the 27" iMac with the quad-core i7 upgrade; 32GB of system memory; and a 3TB internal hard drive, as well as the 4GB upgrade to the video processor. i might get the 512GB SSD internal drive and then use an external Thunderbolt hard drive, but it depends. Based on what I have read, Fusion drives are not good for doing digital music production, but an SSD internal drive is fine and super fast . . .

The primary advantage to the Mac Pro is that it is easy to swap internal hard drives, and rolling back the clock it had a wider system bus than the iMac, Mac Book Pro, and mac Mini at the time . . .

Lots of FUN! :D
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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby markodarko » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:07 am

Wow, thanks for everyone's replies!

To clarify a few things from the replies above: yep, I have a MBP i7 but it's 4 years old so the maximum RAM available is 8Gb. It has a 256Gb Crucial SSD for the system drive.

As for putting the EWQL stuff onto SSD, I bought the EWQL CCC2 Pro http://www.soundsonline.com/CCC2-PRO which arrived on a 2TB USB 3 drive. It's around 1.7Gb of files in total so to get that storage in SSD format would not be cheap. Having said that, I could always just copy the EWQL Orchestra onto an SSD and forego the rest for the time being.

The iMac isn't really a road I want to go down as I already have a large screen which I'm happy with, although I'm not completely against the idea if it came to it.

On a different note, has anyone used Notion with the EWQL Orchestra on a new quad core i7 MacMini with 16Gb RAM? Maybe that would be a cheaper way of doing things for me if I also got an external SSD just for that library to go on.

But, back to my question about LASS. I thought any instrument could be used in Notion via the VST Manager. Is this not the case? Or do you mean that the articulations aren't supported because the settings file doesn't exist for it within notion?

I was also considering the VSL strings bundle but I gave no idea of how much of a resource hog that is. I just know that the kontakt player isn't. Hence LASS.

I think whichever route I go I'm looking at getting a newer machine with more RAM by the sounds of it...

:-/

Mark.
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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby markodarko » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:36 am

Johnny wrote:Bought the EWQLSO platinum Complete library on sale a while back.
Save your money. Get SSD'.


I've looked into this since my last post and boy have SSDs come down in price since 4 years ago! I've currently got a 1Tb Samsung 840 EVO and a USB 3 enclosure in my amazon basket for around £330. I think I'm going to try this route first because it's bound to help, and if I do need another system later on then I can just plug it into the USB 3 port of that machine.

One thing I just remembered though, I have two MBPs. One is a 4 year old i7 as mentioned and the other is a 13" retina i5 from last year (again, with 8Gb) and it's the i5 machine I'm using for audio as the i7 doesn't support USB 3 - and I needed USB 3 for the EWQL drive. Doh! Sorry. I completely forgot about that.

Mark.
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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby Johnny » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:08 pm

markodarko wrote:Or do you mean that the articulations aren't supported because the settings file doesn't exist for it within notion?

Mark,
You are exactly right. Notion uses scripting (XML) to access all the multitude of sample articulations and playing techniques.
In other words you write the music and Notion software instantly calls up the proper sample from these "huge" sound sample libraries in less than a blink of an eye.
LASS could be loaded in Notion as a external VST; however, you wouldn't have nearly the control and access to all the sounds and the time searching would blow your mind (creative ideas).

Real quick! point. The SSD' really do make for the biggest benefit when it comes to streaming these large 100GB+ sample libraries.
Streaming weighs heavy! I only have 8GB memory but can stream large amounts of data "quickly".
Adding memory would be great; however, even with 32, 64GB etc. you still have to stream in data often. That's the bottle neck. Processing power and memory are another thing to consider but somewhat separate from data streaming.
I'd suggest SSD' is a "first things first" approach to upgrade options IMO.

As for the Notion 4 _preset scripting(XML Rules Files), they can be accessed with the "Express Entry" method by typing a four letter code that calls to the cursor _for document placement the "articulations and techniques" that are available in a sound library ie. from the EWQLSO and VSL.
As fast as you can type and click.

Without the express method it would take an excessive amount of time to hunt and search through manuals and lists to find, click, load and adjust an instrument sample.
Say you look up "FF_Col-Legno" input and use it for a short passage(5 meas.) then! try to remember where to find and input the pizzicato instrument technique(pizz) change it for 12 measure after that the Sul- ponticello(sulp)., Crescendo(cres), Harmonic(harm), Glissando(gliss) _and so on and so on.

Anyway you get the idea. Without scripting for a sound library & score markings etc. composing would be a snails pace to say the least.
"Express entry" is a very fast intuitive input method. As fast as you can think, type and click.

Yes!, you can create your own custom (scripting) rules for sample libraries like the LASS collection; however, the documentation needed to create custom rules is "very" vague and limited at this point. You can make custom rules (prules) work very good and personal preferences of the parameter settings can be a bonus. It took me "I'm sorry to say" a year or two to decipher(stumble) through the custom rules documentation and methods to get them to do what I needed. It's not nearly worth the hassel if you've got Notion preset rules built-in that work for your sound library.

I could go on and on. Sorry!
Bottom line_ The included preset rules "XML.Pules files" created by Notion will save you mountains of mayhem and frustration.
LASS library at this point is not in the included presets and writing your own custom .prules would! take a significant amount of time to research, code, and test for correct non-conflicting operation.

,Johnny

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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby Johnny » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:11 pm

If 96khz samples libraries and more signal processing were in this topic I would then agree with the need for more memory and processing power "A new computer".

However with 44Khz samples the EWQLSO 100GB+ library is manageable on older computers if the data streaming requirements are met. Installing solid state hard drives (system & secondary) saved my 5 year old computer from retirement.

,Johnny

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Re: Going to buy a new Sting Library. Considering LASS...?

Postby Surfwhammy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:05 pm

markodarko wrote:I think whichever route I go I'm looking at getting a newer machine with more RAM by the sounds of it...


Based on the information you provided, you can upgrade the system memory on the newer 13" dual-core i5 MacBook Pro to 16GB, which will help . . .

The new mac Mini with 16GB of system memory and the fastest quad-core i7 is a very fast computer, and as you mentioned you already have a display, so it is a possibility for a new computer . . .

THOUGHTS


There appear to be two problems:

(1) The EWQL samples are approximately 1.7TB and they need to be on a fast drive with USB 3 or faster connectivity . . .

(2) System memory is important, and 8GB is not a lot of system memory, where the key bit of information is that Mac OS X and applications will use more system memory when it is present, which is good . . .

At present, the reality is that only the iMac and Mac Pro can have more than 16GB of memory, and this is the reason the 27" iMac with the fastest quad-core i7 is attractive for digital music production, since it can have 32GB of system memory . . .

[NOTE: The current 21.5" iMac only supports 16GB of system memory, hence the focus on the new 27" iMac which supports 32GB of system memory . . . ]

16GB of system memory is good; 20GB of system memory is better; and so forth, but cost becomes a factor, so it depends . . .

Apple memory typically is installed in matched pairs, but there are a limited number of memory slots; so one of the goals is to avoid getting memory that needs to be discarded when you decide to increase the total system memory . . .

QUESTION: Have you run Activity Monitor on the 13" dual-core i5 MacBook Pro?


"Activity Monitor.app" is provided with Mac OS X, and it will be in the "Utilities" subfolder of the "Applications" folder. You can use it to see how the processor cores are utilized, and you can use it to get a sense of system memory usage and disk I/O . . .

When you are using the EWQL samples in NOTION 4, there will be an EWQL engine running, and it is called "Play 4" . . .

When Play 4 is hosted by NOTION 4, it works a bit differently from the way it works when it is running in standalone mode; and you can read about this in the Play 4 Users' Manual . . .

System memory is important in this context, because you can configure Play 4 to use more system memory when there is more system memory available on the computer, and this extra system memory makes it possible for the Play 4 engine to buffer and manage samples more efficiently . . .

Generally, NOTION 4 requests instrument sounds when it needs them, and this is done on a "Just In Time (JIT)" basis, which can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the NOTION 4 "Audio Buffer Size", which for all practical purposes is the only obvious parameter for this purpose . . .

The Play 4 engine does essentially the same thing, and it has buffers that you can adjust, but only if there is sufficient system memory on the computer, hence the importance of having more than 8GB of system memory on a Mac . . .

Basically, it is a matter of "look-ahead", where the general idea is that the various buffers "look-ahead" and preload samples that will be needed soon toward the goal of always having samples loaded in system memory when they are needed to generate the audio for notes . . .

Obviously, with the EWQL samples sounds being approximately 1.7TB (terabytes, not gigabytes), there is no practical way to load everything into system memory, but so what . . .

Think of it as if it were a busy fast-food restaurant and the various buffers are customers, while the complete set of sampled sounds is the kitchen and pantry . . .

The goal in this instance is to ensure that there always are freshly cooked French Fries so that the waiters and waitresses can fill the customer orders quickly . . .

There might be 1.7 tons of frozen French Fries or potatoes in the pantry, but it is not necessary to fry all of them at once, so the restaurant devises a system where everything is done in a way that works smoothly and maps to happy customers, cooks, and wait staff . . .

It also is useful to understand that NOTION 4 and the various VSTi virtual instrument engines (including the Play 4 engine) do more than one thing at a time; and having larger buffers makes it possible for the Play 4 engine to do a better job of running its kitchen and pantry, so that when NOTION 4 requests more French Fries, there are some already cooked and ready to put on the plate . . .

System memory operates in nanoseconds, but hard drives operate in milliseconds; and larger buffers makes it possible to preload more audio, which in turn allows more time to retrieve the next subset of audio . . .

The retrieving work certainly will be faster and more efficient when the samples are stored on multimedia quality hard drives, which typically will be 7,200 RPM or faster, and this also is the case with SSD drives, since SSD drives are flash memory and are considerably faster than hard drives . . .

EWQL recommends having its sampled sounds on a separate drive that is a dedicated EWQL drive and has approximately 30 percent free space . . .

SUMMARY

Before spending any money, I think it makes sense to develop a strategy, which includes getting as much information about hardware and software options as possible, which is part of what you are doing in this topic . . .

There will be a new version of NOTION sooner or later--noting that I have absolutely no specific information about this, other than it appears to be a logical prediction--and the fact of the matter is that in the 64-bit computing universe on the Mac, the operating system and 64-bit applications can use all the system memory available . . .

If you decide to get an external SSD drive, then I think it makes sense to get one that you can use with a new quad-core i7 mac Mini or a 27" quad-core i7 iMac, where the primary difference will be system memory (32GB maximum for the iMac, but 16GB maximum for the mac Mini). There also are more ports and other stuff on the 27" iMac, and you can have a larger internal hard drive, as well . . .

On the other hand, it is easier to do hardware upgrades on a mac Mini than on a 27" iMac, but system memory upgrades are easy on both . . .

Intuitively, EWQL provided an external USB 3 hard drive with all the sampled sounds, so it probably is sufficiently fast for most activities, which in turn suggests to me that the "bottleneck" is somewhere else; and since the 13" dual-core i5 MacBook Pro only has 8GB of system memory, it is logical that the "bottleneck" is system memory . . .

In the US, it costs approximately $200 to upgrade a 13" dual-core i5 MacBook Pro with Retina display to 16GB of memory . . .

Upgrading the system memory might not solve the problem, but it does no harm; and it will map to a significant improvement, regardless of what it does with respect to the problem, although I think it will help, because you will be able to increase the size of the various buffers, which in turn provides a bit more "wiggle room" for NOTION 4 and the Play 4 engine with respect to having more time to do hard drive reads during playback . . .

Lots of FUN! :D
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