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Any of you guy's gone all digital for amplification


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I just checked the price on the AxeFXII on their website. $2600.00 for the unit plus another $750 for the foot controller? No thanks. Makes my asshole pucker just thinking about it.

Then add a power amp and speakers, or a powered speaker set if you're looking to play live.

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Digitech GSP1101 with a SS Rocktron Velocity 300 power amp here.

I'd like to. Tried for a few months to run a Boss GT-8 through a FRFR Roland keyboard amp...

You know, I try to keep up. I keep seeing people refer to an FRFR... what the hell is it???

Two Full Range speakers. Powered PA cabs are one example.

Those AxeFX seem real neat, but a Boogie Mark IV, a few pedals, and a simple rack processor, and I'm good for about any tone I care to dig up. I made the mistake a few years ago of trading away my first Mk IV for a Triaxis and TC G-Force thinking I needed more options, but the IVs give me everything I need. I don't care to spend countless hours dialing in countless tones when I've already figured out what works for me.

thats pretty much where I'm at. Had an Afx Ultra for quite a while and liked it, but didn't get enough utility out of it to justify keeping it around when live I only use 2 or 3 sounds max anyway, that I can get with my Boogies and a good drive pedal. The Afx also had what seemed like an extra emphasis on the pick attack which always annoyed me. Haven't tried the AfxII.

Looks like I'm going to start doing some duo gigs with a friend, for that I'm thinking of just getting one of the new Zoom G3's, which I can use as a modeller for some gigs and just use as effects pedals in my tube rig for others.

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I just checked the price on the AxeFXII on their website. $2600.00 for the unit plus another $750 for the foot controller? No thanks. Makes my asshole pucker just thinking about it.

Then add a power amp and speakers, or a powered speaker set if you're looking to play live.

Yep! Until I start making a lot more at my gigs, I'll just keep hauling my present rig. It does the job and sounds good to my ears. The pedal board makes it versatile enough for the stuff we do and it's been holding up well for the 5 or six years I've been gigging with this present combination.

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I'd rather have all these options at my feet than program every different permutation in software. What if you want to have all three dist boxes on at one time? Better program it in advance. Maybe only two of them, with a flanger? Another program. What if, this time, for some unexplained reason when I switch from the lead channel to clean I want to leave the delay or all three of those dist boxes on, whereas every other time I've ever played this song live it's been off, and that's how the patch is set up? Unless you've thought about that very scenario and programmed for it in advance, it ain't gonna happen.

It's possible to do just that with the Axe and it's plug-n-play foot controller (or any midi fc with a bit more effort). Set it up to run as any typical pedal board and have full control of each pedal on the fly.

So, when you switch to patch #1 that is a clean Fender sound from patch #2 that is a distorted Marshall sound with 3 additional distortion boxes turned on manually, the dirt boxes stay on? Can you switch amp settings separate from the "Pedals"?

If you want them to they will, if not they won't, and I think it would depend on what amp settings you'd want to change. At some point you may have to walk over to the main unit itself and turn a knob just as you would with any amp.

I just checked the price on the AxeFXII on their website. $2600.00 for the unit plus another $750 for the foot controller? No thanks. Makes my asshole pucker just thinking about it.

Then add a power amp and speakers, or a powered speaker set if you're looking to play live.

It does seem like a major investment, but for me it was an investment I'd already made over many years. After selling my pedals and a head I was in the green on the base unit. Another head pays for the FC. Selling off the few cabs that were used with the two heads, and I have more than enough to buy a powered speaker.

I wouldn't say it's the best set-up for everyone, but it's taken the modeler experience to the next level for me and I'm sold.

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I looked at it from the "its to much $" point of view for a while also until I started adding up the cost of all the pedals and other stuff that ive bought and sold most of the time losing cash over the years, at this point I could sell the AxeII rig for what I have in it or more and I cant say that about any other of the gear ive bought.

I run mine with the MFC-101 set up like a pedal board with delay, flange, Etc. for the most part but I also have patches were I have a ton of stuff going on or off with one footswitch, being able to stop the "tap dancing" was a HUGE selling point for me.

I was like a bunch of you guy for a long time when it came to my tube amp and pedals and after trying all the line 6 stuff and other modelers over the years I was pretty sure I would hate the damn thing but it worked for me, it gives me a better tone than my real amp and the most important thing to me was the feel was just right.....Thats why I hated everything else i had tried until the AxeII, I could get a sound I was cool with but the feel was all wrong.

It also play's nice with other tube amps, my other guitar player plays a Mesa Recto and on the 10 or so gig's ive done with the AxeII I never felt like I was getting buried or had any trouble cutting threw the live mix, on one of my last gigs with it we opened for 3 Doors Down and the touring sound guy found me after the set to drill me about what I was doing because he really liked to tones I was getting, that was a big confidence booster in what I was doing!!

I think there is a big misconception on the WWW that the AxeII is super hard to program and get good tones out of and maybe that was true about the Ultra and Standard(never owned either) but I have never took more than 10 min. setting up any of my patches and most of them I have done right on the box it's self YMMV of course but that has been my experience with it

I am not trying to change anyone's mind on these things, Im just sharing how it has worked for me for what I do.

At this point the only thing I miss about my "real" amp is the look, because a half stack just looks COOL!!!!!

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modelers can nail just about any tone, given enough tweaking, but what I haven't been able to get with anything other than a tube amp - and not just any tube amp either - is this kind of springy "bounce" and responsiveness that's kind of hard to describe but you know it when you are feeling it.

this is one of the reasons i like the tonelab over the axe-fx i had. tonelabs use a 12ax7 to simulate the power section of a tube amp;

it "felt more real" than the axe-fx. #2 reason was that i liked the basic clean & crunch tones better (i don't use much effects).

i also compared a rack carvin SS amp to just the power section of my crate powerblock (bypassing the powerblock's preamp via the rca jacks in back);

i could not tell the difference at all between the class D SS amp (powerblock) and whatever class of poweramp the carvin is.

later i compared the powerblock to stikes peavey 60w all tube poweramp. there was a slight difference in the high end (the peavey was slightly softer sounding),

but it was very very subtle (my blind bassist couldn't tell the difference, and i probalby wouldn't have been able to tell except

that i was switching the cables from one to the other). the peavey was 2 or 3 rack unit sized and weighed a ton.

so, thats how i ended up w/ such a ghetto rig. yes, i am cheap!

but i honestly set out to have a state of the art axe-fx system, but my ears (and my back) led me to this;

rushrig.jpg

this is my rig for the rush tribute, but when i jam covers w/ wizard sleeves i just use the tonelab, powerblock, and a cab;

everything but my guitar and cab fits in a medium duffle bag (tonelab/powerblock/cables/folding guitar stand), weighs maybe 20lbs.

the other thing that always seems to come up in these tube/modeler threads is folks totally dismissing one for the other, which i don't get.

you can have a modeling rig AND a tube rig, they are just tools. you don't have to swear alleigence to just one.

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modelers can nail just about any tone, given enough tweaking, but what I haven't been able to get with anything other than a tube amp - and not just any tube amp either - is this kind of springy "bounce" and responsiveness that's kind of hard to describe but you know it when you are feeling it.

this is one of the reasons i like the tonelab over the axe-fx i had. tonelabs use a 12ax7 to simulate the power section of a tube amp;

it "felt more real" than the axe-fx. #2 reason was that i liked the basic clean & crunch tones better (i don't use much effects).

i also compared a rack carvin SS amp to just the power section of my crate powerblock (bypassing the powerblock's preamp via the rca jacks in back);

i could not tell the difference at all between the class D SS amp (powerblock) and whatever class of poweramp the carvin is.

later i compared the powerblock to stikes peavey 60w all tube poweramp. there was a slight difference in the high end (the peavey was slightly softer sounding),

but it was very very subtle (my blind bassist couldn't tell the difference, and i probalby wouldn't have been able to tell except

that i was switching the cables from one to the other). the peavey was 2 or 3 rack unit sized and weighed a ton.

so, thats how i ended up w/ such a ghetto rig. yes, i am cheap!

but i honestly set out to have a state of the art axe-fx system, but my ears (and my back) led me to this;

rushrig.jpg

this is my rig for the rush tribute, but when i jam covers w/ wizard sleeves i just use the tonelab, powerblock, and a cab;

everything but my guitar and cab fits in a medium duffle bag (tonelab/powerblock/cables/folding guitar stand), weighs maybe 20lbs.

the other thing that always seems to come up in these tube/modeler threads is folks totally dismissing one for the other, which i don't get.

you can have a modeling rig AND a tube rig, they are just tools. you don't have to swear alleigence to just one.

I love your ghetto rig!!!!

And I totally agree with your last statement, I honestly just love gear be it tube or SS......they are all tool's, its a great time to be a guitar player with all the neat stuff that's out there.

Im so happy I found a light weight rig that makes me happy without feeling like im compromising some part of the tones I like because I just spent a SHIT TON of money on back surgery to fix myself and I dont plan on throwing that away hauling 300 lbs of gear to gig every weekend.

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I agree with Brooks - I have both.

I've had a Line 6 X3 Live for a couple of years, and it's great. I like taking just it and 2 guitars to a gig or open stage. However, I am then at the mercy of the sound guy and monitor system. Sometimes I can't hear myself as well as I'd like.

It didn't take me too long to dial in a few good basic patches (clean, grit, crunch, metal). I never thought I was a tone guru but the other guitarist in my band (a seasoned road veteran) just got the same unit and asked me for some tips on dialing it in.

Last summer I bought a Boogie Mark V combo. So far I've only used it for jamming at my house but it's great to have, as I don't own anything to push my X3 live through.

Both have their advantages and now I have options - I have also set up the X3 Live for effects only with the Boogie, and they sound great together.

Regards,

Jim

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I love your ghetto rig!!!!

And I totally agree with your last statement, I honestly just love gear be it tube or SS......they are all tool's, its a great time to be a guitar player with all the neat stuff that's out there.

Im so happy I found a light weight rig that makes me happy without feeling like im compromising some part of the tones I like because I just spent a SHIT TON of money on back surgery to fix myself and I dont plan on throwing that away hauling 300 lbs of gear to gig every weekend.

thanx gray. yeah, when i put this rig together i was having back problems

related to my last job (where i was driving 300-800 miles a week, which resulted in a compressed disc).

good news from being unemployed since oct 2010 is my back is in much better shape!

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I have both, also. I just would not take the digital stuff to a gig. I use it at home for practicing through headphones. I've got a POD v2, a Vamp2, and Amplitude and Ampkit on my iPhone. I've never liked any of them as much as I do my tube amp and pedalboard. I use a small combo amp and let the PA give me the volume I need, so I'm not carrying a ton of gear. I work at a software company during the day, so I am comfortable with the technology and would never rule out digital, but it's just not there for me right now. I would definitely have to have a powered speaker for a digital rig. I tried going direct through the board a couple of times and I don't like depending whoever is running the board to let me hear myself in the monitors. I've also never been able to get as clean a sound as I like with the digital stuff. I played a Fender Cybertwin for a week and didn't like it at all, either. I love being able to set up my amp, plug in two cables and the sound I want is there. I have no patches or banks to worry with, and no drastic changes in volume when switching back and forth. If i weren't doing a lot of cover tunes with my currrent band, my pedalboard would be a lot smaller, too, and might just disappear altogether.

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So lets talk details. Does the AxeFX create this queecky overtones in a distorted sound a highly driven tube is able to create on bendings? I hope you know what specific kind of tone I mean.

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I'm still a knuckledragger when it comes to gear. The only changes I'm making is that my gear stash is slowly getting less populous. And I'm playing acoustic more often (egad!)...on a 20 year old Ovation, no less. I must be getting old.

Correction: THIRTY year old Ovation, one of the deep bowl one knob no sliders models. I AM getting old!

And a P.S.: if I can't dial it in with five knobs (volume, treble, mid, bass, presence) or less, I ain't bothered to want to try.

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I suppose I've been all digital for years, starting with the Fender Cyber-Deluxe. I like having effects and multiple amp models in one box, with only a MIDI controller underfoot. I like going from clean Twin with reverb to distorted Vox with compressor and delay with one button push. Any sound gets a volume boost with a second tap on the same button (and will toggle back with another tap). And to Lockbody's point, I set it up with stomp box options so I can bring in, say, a chorus, vibrato, or wah if I like. Rocker pedals are set up to adjust parameters on the fly, such as rotating speaker speed or gain level. It does take some planning, and a fair amount of tweaking to get the levels even across patches. My problem with stomp boxes is that I usually find several sounds I like in each one, but I don't want to line up several of the same pedal, and I don't want to monkey with the knobs during a performance. And no worries about batteries, power supplies, wonky patch chords, or noise in the signal chain. Instead I worry about digital clipping and level balancing. Nothing's perfect, and it does take planning to make it work. But once it's set up, it is a joy to use. I am entirely satisfied with the tone. My main beefs with the Cyber-Deluxe are the patch switching speed, limited number of programable presets (32), and the occasional crash.

Nowadays I am spending most time with a Roland GR-55, mostly ignoring the synth features but enjoying the COSM amp, effects and acoustic guitar models. I particularly like having an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar sound going with a toggle switch on the guitar to select either or a blend. The COSM acoustic guitar models are a step up from piezos (though still have room for improvement). And having alternate tunings a foot tap away is also handy. The electric guitar COSM models are fun, and it is nice to have a truly noiseless option for single coils and P90s, but I still prefer running my guitar's magnetic pickups through the COSM amps and effects.

I'm a fan of the Fender Cyber-Twin SE, but somewhat annoyed how they added more effects types but fewer ways to combine them than the Cyber-Deluxe. Lots of great sounds in there, though, and these can now be found for around $600. I will be investigating the Fender Mustang Floor when it is released.

The AxeFX looks cool, but I haven't felt the need to spend that much when there are so many good options for much less.

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  • 7 months later...

I've gone back and forth with digital verses tube.

My first real rig was a modest rack setup with ADA MP-1, Carvin power amp, and Korg A1 FX. Does a MP-1 count as all digital? I was so happy with it I didn't bother looking at another setup for about 10 years - despite getting many a snooty smirk from tubers in the mid 90s when showing up to a gig with a rack rig was apparently the same as farting on someone's dinner.

Around '00 I was floored by my girlfriend who surprised me with a spanking new Dual Rectifier half stack. Away went the digital, and it was all Boogie and a couple stomp boxes for a few years, until the GF and I drove our relationship into a ditch. I couldn't stand looking at the Rectifier anymore, so I flipped it into a VHT UL (suck it, x-gf!). The VHT kicks my ass.

Couple years later and I was desparate to record in my apartment. I tried every guitar software plugin know to man, as well as various POD models, and they all sucked. Some sounded great in the mix, but the actual feel of them when doing a take was terrible. Completely defeated the fun of recording.

I made a decision to change things up. I unloaded my expensive and ever-devalued Roland 24 track recorder and flipped the cash into a Axe FX. It was all PC recording from now on. The difference was night and day. It was the first piece of digital gear the ever felt like a amplifier. I have no idea how Fractal does it, but I understood the hype. My VHT has rarely been touched since. Not because it isn't a spectacular amp, but mainly because the Axe FX is so damn versatile and I'm so damn lazy to switch things up.

Y'know, you guys on here are kicking me in the ass. :P

When I'm on here it's like a mirror put in front of me, pointing out how apathetic I've become about guitar, gear, and music in general. I haven't gigged in about 10 years, and its shocking to realize that. I mean, I have a big Rubbermaid bin full of rack gear I haven't looked at in 2 years, including Joe Satriani's actual Eventide Ultra Harmonizer for chistsakes! As a teenager/young adult I would have uzi'd a room full of kittens if it meant having access to what I have now...funny how that works.

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I played my first show with the modeler alone a little over a month ago, it was a variety show type of thing where I was backing up different people, and I needed to cover a lot of ground and get on and off stage in a hurry. I had just picked up a POD HD500, the week before and set it up with my pedal setup to use with the amp, and then started dialing it in to a/b it with my amp(genz benz bp30) and I could get super tones with the POD. I ended up just going direct and was able to leave my pedalboard and amp at home. It sounded great! I could have had "more of me in the monitors" for the rockin' numbers, but I was able to really dial in some great tones. The clean tones(with minimal effects) are the hardest to dial in, but I am totally diggin the ease of setup and tones commin' out!

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Yeah, I'm simplifying, too. ;) I just sold my Marshall, I've got my Boogie Mk IV, Thiele, and 4x12 on my local CL, and plan to use just my Super Reverb and a few pedals going forward. Maybe when my Boogie setup gets sold I'll pickup a Deluxe or Princeton Reverb for when I don't feel like schlepping the Super around. My sound is all about clean these days, and for me, nothing does that better than a Fender. When I need dirt, fuzz, or delay its right there at my feet.

Of course, this is all made possible because I have a basement jam space where I can pretty much turn up as loud as I want without waking anyone in the house, much less disturb any neighbors. If I was an apartment dweller, then I imagine I'd be all about modelling and the ways to replicate those sounds on stage when needed. I still bet I'd be frustrated when trying to model Strat -> Clean Fender Amp (with or without reverb and/or tremolo).

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Has digital made things easier or more complicated? I suppose you have to have a lot of stuff to play live. For home recording. Computer with Hi-Z input sound card and good speakers, Guitar, pre-amp to computer vsti host running ampltube 3.with a good speaker system. All the effects are virtual. The punch comes from your preamp.

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I'm a purist. All tube amps, and usually no effects.

I use a Tom Scholz Power Soak if the head doesn't have a master volume. If I need effects, I use stomp boxes.

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Has digital made things easier or more complicated? I suppose you have to have a lot of stuff to play live.

My modeler gives me a ton more options than my old amp and pedals rig, so in that sense more choice has created more complexity. But my physical rig is simpler, lighter and more compact than it used to be:

guitar->tuner->modeler->monitor

vs.

guitar->tuner->compressor->phaser->fuzz->OD->flanger->tremolo->volume pedal->delay->reverb->amp

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guitar->tuner->modeler->monitor

vs.

guitar->tuner->compressor->phaser->fuzz->OD->flanger->tremolo->volume pedal->delay->reverb->amp

It was impossible not have a buzz somewhere with all those pedals.

Since I am a home user, I am just happy that you can get pretty decent modeling with software on your computer, but I would love to have a hardware amp modeling processor. You can't beat the athestics, more power and better sound.

Me

Guitar>soundcard>PC>Fl Studio>Amplitube 3>Soundcard output>Sony Amp>studio monitor speakers

My Digital Amp and effect modelling software :) pictures at 75% size

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

5.jpg

6.jpg

4.jpg

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Has digital made things easier or more complicated? I suppose you have to have a lot of stuff to play live.

My modeler gives me a ton more options than my old amp and pedals rig, so in that sense more choice has created more complexity. But my physical rig is simpler, lighter and more compact than it used to be:

guitar->tuner->modeler->monitor

vs.

guitar->tuner->compressor->phaser->fuzz->OD->flanger->tremolo->volume pedal->delay->reverb->amp

I would have expected

guitar->pedalboard->amp->mic->monitor

How much time do you spend to create your sounds in the modeler in terms of?

tuner->compressor->phaser->fuzz->OD->flanger->tremolo->volume pedal->delay->reverb->

What is the variety in sound effects in the modeler as opposed to the open pedal and effects market?

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I've been using the Axe-FX (ultra and now the II) for 4 years now. I go straight to PA and carry a midi pedal for switching patches when needed. I've gotten a lot better at dialing up sounds and it's not that hard to dial in a virtual effects chain that you need. There are endless possibilities and the next update looks pretty sweet.

As far as variety, the Axe FX II has over 70 amp models, lots of IRs and the ability to create your own, Tone Matching - so you can capture any amp you like. 20 or so OD pedals, delay (analog and digital models), Chorus, Flange, Univibe, etc. etc. You would spend just as much getting your pedalboard in order with stand alone pedals.

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I would have expected

guitar->pedalboard->amp->mic->monitor

Not sure what you mean. When I used an amp and pedals, I didn't have to supply a mic and a monitor. I left the miking to the venue and preferred not to have my guitar in my monitor anyway. With my current rig, I bring my own dedicated monitor (QSC K10) and plug my modeler directly into it.

How much time do you spend to create your sounds in the modeler in terms of?

tuner->compressor->phaser->fuzz->OD->flanger->tremolo->volume pedal->delay->reverb->

A lot more time than I did with my old discrete pedals. As I mentioned, the modeler gives me more choices, more FX and parameters to tweak. It also lets me practice through headphones late at night, so I have a bit more time to play, which inevitably leads to more time messing with settings. But at rehearsals and gigs, since I have everything set up as patches I don't have to bend down and twiddle knobs from song to song like I used to.

What is the variety in sound effects in the modeler as opposed to the open pedal and effects market?

My RP355 has 32 amp sims, 18 cabs, and 74 FX. That's more variety than I will ever use. And for my particular playing situation (Pink Floyd tribute), it gets me much closer to the tones I'm aiming for than my old very well-stocked pedalboard (Retro-Sonic, D*A*M, Hartman, Skreddy, Voodoo Lab, etc.) and Bruno CT45. I can't fit a Hiwatt stack, a rotating speaker cab, an EMT 240 plate reverb and a pedalboard with a Dyna-Comp, Phase 90, Big Muff, Univibe, Electric Mistress, and 3 different delays into the trunk of a taxi. But the RP355 emulates each one of those things, and even though it doesn't 100% nail them, it gets close enough that the net effect is much better than what I used to get with my old rig.

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I don't "get" stomp boxes. I've had several over the years, but I always find that they each have several settings I want to use, and it I don't like tweaking them during a gig and sure don't want to have multiple of the same box to handle different settings. Then, when it comes to boxes that work best in an amp effects loop, I find that the boxes respond differently depending on how the amp is set up. For example, in a two channel amp, the effect might work great for the first channel, but not for the second.

It all seems like too many variables. Then add in cabling and power supplies or batteries, and I want no part of it.

Another factor is I don't care for overdrive or distortion pedal tones. I prefer the sound of an amp, and I am very pleased with the amp models on my Roland GR-55, Fender Cyber-Twin SE and Fender Cyber-Deluxe. Each of these has an arsenal of internal effects that I can tailor to each specific patch, and then control with stomp or pedal assigns from a MIDI foot controller.

Full disclosure: I do own a Boomerang III looper, so I suppose that counts as a stomp box. I also have a Tech 21 CompTortion that I pack if I'm borrowing an amp to make sure I can at least get somewhere familiar.

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