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Sound BlasterX AE-5
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angelgraves13
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Default Sound BlasterX AE-5 - 06-12-2017, 20:38 | posts: 561 | Location: Los Angeles

https://us.creative.com/p/sound-card...-blasterx-ae-5



The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is a SABRE32 Ultra Class PCIe DAC which is perfect for hi-resolution audio for games, music, and movies.

It delivers up to 32-bit 384kHz playback with a 122dB SNR, ultra-low distortion and jitter.
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 06-12-2017, 21:35 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

I was just talking about this with an friend about what creative should do with there future sound cards, mentioning that they should start using sabre based chips and even better choices for components.

They must been reading my mind since they went and did this but then again RGB wasn't in my mind at the time, I wonder if that can be turned off. Because as it stands I doubt any one wants the inside of there computers to look like an Rave or an laser show.

Now I just hope it will support DSD it may since it supports 32bit/384khz. Ingesting this would show up during the time that I'm currently eyeing sources for my Schiit Jotunheim due to not liking sound of the module inside it.

Now it gonna be Asus turn to do the same and counter creative, I curious to see what they will do.

Last edited by GenClaymore; 06-12-2017 at 22:02.
   
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nhlkoho
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Default 06-12-2017, 22:37 | posts: 7,096 | Location: Washington DC

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenClaymore View Post

They must been reading my mind since they went and did this but then again RGB wasn't in my mind at the time, I wonder if that can be turned off. Because as it stands I doubt any one wants the inside of there computers to look like an Rave or an laser show.
Many people color coordinate the components inside their case so I don't see why this would be a problem. No one says you have to make it flash or change colors.
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 06-12-2017, 23:19 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

I know many people color coordinate there case but I saying I hope you are able to turn it off, if you happen to don't want an light show inside your case.
   
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Dragondale13
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Default 06-13-2017, 15:53 | posts: 1,020 | Location: Imagination Land

I'm interested in this one as it supports 32bit/384khz, which is what MS default Win10 sound drivers support.Would be nice to finally have a card that can match it.As long as the drivers are stable I just might order one.
   
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MerolaC
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Default 06-13-2017, 18:54 | posts: 2,814 | Location: Argentina

****, I want it!
But, it will probably be worth more than my current GPU, as It always happens in my country...
   
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Default 06-13-2017, 20:39 | posts: 12,911 | Location: Finland

Mii wants it, gief! Leds I don't need though.

Last edited by Anarion; 06-14-2017 at 13:03.
   
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X7007
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Default 06-14-2017, 06:30 | posts: 1,224 | Location: ISRAEL

Really if anyone will buy it he should get a slap on the face.

There is nothing literally nothing, to use 32 bit 384 Khz, if you try to use it nothing will work properly, nore SBX surround or games. I had Creative cards since beginning , don't remember the name before the XFI Xtreme music, but I had this and then Asus Xonar Phoebus > ZXR > Asus Strix RAID DLX > GSX 1000 + Objective2 AMP > Beyerdynamic DT990 600 Ohms.

All and all , the XFI Xtreme Music had the CMSS which was great, then they changed it to SBX which has terrible Echo and I can't pinpoint nothing in a war zone. Xonar Phoebus had dolby which I kinda like but still not the greatest. the Strix RAID DLX have amazing VSS - virtualsurround, people didn't buy it because they think it has the same VSS like other asus cards which it doesn't . the GSX 1000 I just got it and it almost feel the same, I still need to hear more games , still testing it.

But who the hell need LED on Sound card !? we already have tons of RGB gear.

More about virtual surround, every card that I had , when going 24 bit 96 Khz there are tons of issues, for creative cards I think mainly the issues people had when they changed it. For Asus it's the same, if you change the Frequancy from 44 Khz or 48 Khz to 96 Khz , the games don't detect the VSS 7.1 ! they will go to Stereo !. another example is Windows 10 Creators ATMOS , when you choose Spatial Atmos or Sonic it will change automatically to 16 bit 48 Khz max ! that's because how the surround can work. Also Creative cards are still 5.1 , even this newest one. Asus and GSX are already 7.1.

Last edited by X7007; 06-14-2017 at 06:34.
   
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RealNC
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Default 06-14-2017, 07:03 | posts: 1,156

People buy 32-bit 384kHz hardware to then play 16-bit 48kHz content on it and think that it magically makes the sound better...
   
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Dragondale13
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Default 06-14-2017, 12:26 | posts: 1,020 | Location: Imagination Land

 Click to show spoiler


Last edited by Dragondale13; 06-14-2017 at 18:51.
   
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holystarlight
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Default 06-14-2017, 13:27 | posts: 723 | Location: England

whats the point of a sound card that uses up a PCIE socket when you can get a external DAC thats fair better than this... I dunno if I am missing something here..
   
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Only Intruder
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Default 06-14-2017, 13:45 | posts: 813 | Location: UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by holystarlight View Post
whats the point of a sound card that uses up a PCIE socket when you can get a external DAC thats fair better than this... I dunno if I am missing something here..
It's good if you want analogue processing or using headphones - if you're using digital audio and an external DAC, then there is no point for a soundcard at all as most motherboards output digital audio so you can leave your DAC/Amp to do the processing.

It all depends on the kind of hardware in use - I have both a Soundblaster Z and an X-Fi Fatal1ty Platinum Series which I use both of for a variety of uses such as for a vinyl record player and amplifier.

As for 3D surround sound processing such as CMSS, it doesn't work for me, I'm one of those that have difficulty with psychoacoustic audio (have good hearing so it just sounds... wrong...to me) so I prefer to have a clean and rich stereo output.
   
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Default 06-14-2017, 14:44 | posts: 244 | Location: Italy

i have a sound blaster z, there will be any differences with this card in sound with diffusors and headphones?
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 06-14-2017, 17:43 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

For me I just hope it sound good enough that I can use it for an source, since it has features that I want since I'm not just an music listener but an gamer also. Plus I would rather grab this since it has all that I want minus the RGB, then grab something I was originally looking at the korg DSDAC100 which doesn't,side for the XLR which I keep forgetting the jotunheim is an Differential amplifier so I still get Balanced from the RCA inputs.

Now if the AE-5 sound signature includes bright or over detailed highs like some of the other sabre based dacs I have used in the past, then its an deal breaker Hopelessly it doesn't.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
People buy 32-bit 384kHz hardware to then play 16-bit 48kHz content on it and think that it magically makes the sound better...
First of all don't assume you know the type of music files that people own, A lot of people own native 24bit/192khz flacs that are not upsampled trash. I own plenty of native 24bit/192khz. While I do own 16bit/48khz but that beyond the point. I sure most people posting in this thread know good as well that an good design sound card/External Dac regardless of it's max bit rate that it supports can make even mp3's sound really good.

plus you ever thought that some one may actually own some DSD albums that may be high enough that could need the support of 32bit/384khz to convert them to PCM from DSD since the card doesn't support DSD as I emailed creative, worst case they don't even know them selves.

My main interested in it was due to me thinking it supported DSD then recording usage as well. But more so of the way it's design and look like it could be an good source for my jotunheim while having features related to g aming that I wanted, without using half arse Virtual headphone tech from microsoft or trashy Razer surround software.

If all I cared about was 32bit/384khz there dozen of much cheaper options out there for that, but clearly that was not the case here. I saw it as an bonus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by holystarlight View Post
whats the point of a sound card that uses up a PCIE socket when you can get a external DAC thats fair better than this... I dunno if I am missing something here..
The main thing is features and functionally, sure you can go to an external dac depending on which one it is as all is not created equal ,will be better then it.

But you have to look at the bigger picture, These sound cards has features and functions that a lot of people want that isn't available on external dacs for gaming. Such as Virtual surround Headphone tech for one, sure windows have it built in but it doesn't work correctly due to not being able to config it right.

Another reason is desk space,not every one have or want an large or even any size box on there desk, who would rather have it inside of an computer and have PCI-E to spare. Then you have folks who run 5.1 analog speakers who won't get any benefit from going to an external dac/amp due to it not having 5.1 analog connections.

But mainly features and functionally plays an big rule besides affordability.

Last edited by GenClaymore; 06-14-2017 at 18:14.
   
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Anarion
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Default 06-15-2017, 09:07 | posts: 12,911 | Location: Finland

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelgraves13 View Post
https://us.creative.com/p/sound-card...-blasterx-ae-5



The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is a SABRE32 Ultra Class PCIe DAC which is perfect for hi-resolution audio for games, music, and movies.

It delivers up to 32-bit 384kHz playback with a 122dB SNR, ultra-low distortion and jitter.
By the way, I just noticed that they are talking about DNR not SNR. So SNR is still a mystery. I wonder why they aren't quoting SNR...
   
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Mufflore
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Default 06-15-2017, 10:18 | posts: 10,241 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelgraves13 View Post
It delivers up to 32-bit 384kHz playback with a 122dB SNR, ultra-low distortion and jitter.
It doesnt you know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
By the way, I just noticed that they are talking about DNR not SNR. So SNR is still a mystery. I wonder why they aren't quoting SNR...
Exactly this.
SNR will be much lower, that is why.
The 122dB figure is only of the DAC "chip", specified by ESS.
It looks like they dont want to publish the real figures, instead relying on dodgy marketing.

I suspect it wont sound much better going higher than 96KHz, I hope that 96KHz is worth using.
We shall see what the real SNR figure is.
Listening tests will be what seals it but we wont know more until after August unless Creative publish more.

Last edited by Mufflore; 06-15-2017 at 10:20.
   
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RealNC
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Default 06-15-2017, 10:45 | posts: 1,156

I suspect it won't sound much better going higher than 44.1kHz, let alone 96kHz.

Marketing loves spouting out numbers and try to impress you with things that don't matter at all.

Last edited by RealNC; 06-15-2017 at 10:49.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 06-15-2017, 11:55 | posts: 10,241 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
People buy 32-bit 384kHz hardware to then play 16-bit 48kHz content on it and think that it magically makes the sound better...
This point needs some clarity (pun intended)

If the hardware does sound better at higher bitrate it IS likely to sound better at lower bitrates as well.
Some of the critical elements producing analogue from digital improve and the benefits can carry over.

ie Pulse timing.
Each clock pulse needs to arrive within a tiny time window.
This can vary based on a lot of issues, many related to noise.
Reduced noise and tighter timing of the clock result in finer detail and can reduce harshness.

The clock pulse arriving in time but not close to the intended time can be heard when it happens constantly.
Detail becomes smeared over time losing its precision which reduces stereo effects and imaging.
If the timing is so bad that the pulse isnt detected in time, the value being clocked in is discarded and the DAC has to guess the intended value using an interpolation algorithm.
When this happens a lot it can be heard as worse smearing, loss of detail and harshness.
On very old DACs it can result in glitches.

Noise
Noise is the enemy of D/A conversion (and A/D).
It affects the threshold (and thus timing) of when a clock signal should be accepted.
It affects the voltage (and thus timing) of the clock signal.
It affects the threshold that determines the value (momentary voltage) of the output signal.
It affects the noise floor which helps determine the SNR and how much detail you can hear.

Analogue hardware
Better circuit design, better noise reduction and better components allow higher detail exposure.
Cheaper (lower quality) components block detail, I have experience of this.
All components skew the loudness (and phase for caps/inductors) as frequency changes but with slight differences, they have a sonic signature. Component selection matters for the circuit being used.
If there is a harshness issue (high frequency distortion) it might be necessary for the budget to use components that prevent detail getting through, rather than sorting out the cause of harshness.

DAC chip
DACs do a lot, a hell of a lot.
A better DAC chip can help reduce some of the above problems, sometimes greatly.
They have their own noise floor, lower generally means more detail will be exposed but the circuit they are used in has a large effect.
A better circuit will bring appreciable detail benefits. But even without a circuit change (if possible), a better DAC can make a noticeable difference.
It is more or less expected that a better DAC chip will be used in a better circuit although sometimes they can slot into old circuit designs directly.
A great DAC chip in a poor circuit can sound horrible.
A poor DAC in a great circuit will not be much better than in a lower quality circuit (within reason).


I had an Auzentech Prelude, a well respected PC soundcard using the Creative X-Fi processor.
This was better sounding than my previous X-Fi and onboard sound due to better design, components and a better DAC.
This card was great for 48KHz and there was a slight improvement in detail at 96KHz but I didnt feel compelled to use high bitrate media, it brought little to the experience.
I rarely bothered to use more than 48KHz material.

I bought a Minimax Plus stereo DAC and an Oppo 105 Blu Ray player that can act as a stereo or 7.1 DAC.
Both use the same Sabre32 9018 Reference DAC chip.
The jump in detail was phenomenal on the 105. It was even better on the Minimax.
The sound signature was extremely similar on both but they had slightly different bass response and the imaging/stereo effects were stronger on the Minimax.
On both DACs, CD quality suddenly seemed very high res, I could hear so many things I didnt know were there.
Well mastered Hi Res music (96KHz, 192KHz or SACD) was out of this world for detail.


Thats putting it lightly.
Bear in mind you need good partnering equipment to make use of very good DACs.
Slotting a better DAC in a low end system might not give any benefit.
You may never know how good the DAC is until you test it on a high end hifi.
Slightly waffled there, apologies.
The point needed to be made.
   
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RealNC
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Default 06-15-2017, 12:56 | posts: 1,156

Nah, it's OK. Point taken. I understand the concept of "garbage in, garbage out" in audio.

But it just seems a bit gimmicky to offer 32-bit 384kHz on a sound card. If you google for "24-bit 192kHz" and "32-bit 384kHz", the results you get are articles from audio engineers or enthusiasts talking about the "24-bit" or "192kHz" myth and how it means mostly nothing. And if those already mean nothing, imagine what 32-bit and 384kHz sounds like

The only actual positive point of 24-bit I was able to find, is that it (for now) gets around the "loudness" wars, where much of the 16-bit material out there uses such high levels of dynamic range compression that can make your ears bleed, at least if you care about audio quality. But 32-bit? What's that for, even?

It would seem that the only reason 32-bit 384kHz exists is to make non-informed consumers buy it because the numbers are higher...

Last edited by RealNC; 06-15-2017 at 13:08.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 06-15-2017, 13:40 | posts: 10,241 | Location: United states of Kingdom

I agree its unlikely that 384KHz (or 192KHz) will give any benefit other than being able to play a hi res file without downsampling.

32bit does give an advantage but how well it translates to lower level detail setups I dont know.
DACs can now control the volume level without using analogue components which helps cost and can (if done properly) result in more detail being exposed.
24bit DACs (that can control volume) suffer loss of detail and quality unless the output is pretty high.
32bit DACs bring this down to much lower volume level.

There was a review of the Cambridge Azur 752 Blu Ray player using the 24bit Wolfson DAC that reported a loss of detail/quality unless played loud.
I'll quote
Quote:
Between 60% and about 90% the 752BD wakes up dynamically and gets into the groove with much the same overall balance as the sound through the preamp. Nudging the volume past 90% is like hitting the 'Nitrous button'. The 752BD suddenly throws off its smoking jacket and rocks. The soundstage gains acres more space and the balance goes from reserved to frankly gregarious.
In other words it cannot perform at its best unless over 90% volume level.

My new DAC (Oppo 205) with a Sabre32 has had comment made not to use it below 70% of max volume for best of best quality using analogue out.
This seems like it would be loud but each % of the volume is actually 1dB so thats -30dB, not so loud.
They recently did a firmware update that made each % = 0.5dB so its down to around 40% of volume.
Thats the difference between 24bit and 32bit.

I havent been able to tell the difference yet from casual listening.
But I havent finished tweaking my crossovers with high end components, the mids are lacking detail atm because they are on basic ceramic resistors.

Should it be too loud at 40% volume I'll put a resistor in my RCA leads to the amp to bring that down to an acceptable listening level.
I havent found a need yet, we'll see.

Last edited by Mufflore; 06-15-2017 at 13:46.
   
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harkinsteven
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Default 06-15-2017, 18:21 | posts: 2,778 | Location: Ireland

Hoping it's better than the ZxR. I'll wait and see. Wouldn't mind a wee change.
   
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Anarion
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Default 06-15-2017, 19:46 | posts: 12,911 | Location: Finland

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
I agree its unlikely that 384KHz (or 192KHz) will give any benefit other than being able to play a hi res file without downsampling.

32bit does give an advantage but how well it translates to lower level detail setups I dont know.
DACs can now control the volume level without using analogue components which helps cost and can (if done properly) result in more detail being exposed.
24bit DACs (that can control volume) suffer loss of detail and quality unless the output is pretty high.
32bit DACs bring this down to much lower volume level.

There was a review of the Cambridge Azur 752 Blu Ray player using the 24bit Wolfson DAC that reported a loss of detail/quality unless played loud.
I'll quote

In other words it cannot perform at its best unless over 90% volume level.

My new DAC (Oppo 205) with a Sabre32 has had comment made not to use it below 70% of max volume for best of best quality using analogue out.
This seems like it would be loud but each % of the volume is actually 1dB so thats -30dB, not so loud.
They recently did a firmware update that made each % = 0.5dB so its down to around 40% of volume.
Thats the difference between 24bit and 32bit.

I havent been able to tell the difference yet from casual listening.
But I havent finished tweaking my crossovers with high end components, the mids are lacking detail atm because they are on basic ceramic resistors.

Should it be too loud at 40% volume I'll put a resistor in my RCA leads to the amp to bring that down to an acceptable listening level.
I havent found a need yet, we'll see.
Without volume pot (ACM module in this case) I would need to have to use 4% Windows volume as max. With ACM I can set Windows to 10% if I keep the ACM around 66%. The line out is just insane on this Zx...


They had this in their press release:


So basically it's a Sound Blaster Z/Zx with better DAC and better headphone amp.

Last edited by Anarion; 06-15-2017 at 22:16.
   
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Paulo Narciso
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Default 06-15-2017, 22:50 | posts: 1,101 | Location: Lisbon

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Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
Without volume pot (ACM module in this case) I would need to have to use 4% Windows volume as max. With ACM I can set Windows to 10% if I keep the ACM around 66%. The line out is just insane on this Zx...


They had this in their press release:


So basically it's a Sound Blaster Z/Zx with better DAC and better headphone amp.
60 Bucks card plus some leds = 150 Bucks, way to go Creative. Thanks but no thanks.
   
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warlord
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Videocard: R9 390X MSI(1080/1500)
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Soundcard: Z5500 + ALC1150
PSU: 850W SuperNova P2
Default 06-16-2017, 04:14 | posts: 675

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Originally Posted by Paulo Narciso View Post
60 Bucks card plus some leds = 150 Bucks, way to go Creative. Thanks but no thanks.
No it's superior to Zx and ZxR plus the leds plus newer drivers. Pricing seems OK.
   
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Anarion
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Videocard: EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 ACX
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Soundcard: Sound Blaster Zx + HD 595
PSU: Corsair AX760
Default 06-16-2017, 15:04 | posts: 12,911 | Location: Finland

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Originally Posted by warlord View Post
No it's superior to Zx and ZxR plus the leds plus newer drivers. Pricing seems OK.
Lacks optical in though.
   
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