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Children of the Sun cover

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ronws
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I love the vocal timbre, love the phrasing, pretty much just love the vocals. Like the guitar playing, but not sure about the tone. Sounds a bit overwhelming in the mix. Is it straight digital into a box or miked? I've been struggling hugely with guitar tone lately, as volume limits kind of prevent a true amping solution and I've been trying all kinds of solutions to get a digitalized thing acceptable.

 

Are there any effects on the guitar, like reverb or EQ? Cause it's pretty badass, I'm just wondering if you could carve a bit more space on each side for voice and guitar. I suck at it too. I wish a pro would give us some hints on mixing vocals with electric guitar. They tend to love the same frequency ranges.

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I love the vocal timbre, love the phrasing, pretty much just love the vocals. Like the guitar playing, but not sure about the tone. Sounds a bit overwhelming in the mix. Is it straight digital into a box or miked? I've been struggling hugely with guitar tone lately, as volume limits kind of prevent a true amping solution and I've been trying all kinds of solutions to get a digitalized thing acceptable.

 

Are there any effects on the guitar, like reverb or EQ? Cause it's pretty badass, I'm just wondering if you could carve a bit more space on each side for voice and guitar. I suck at it too. I wish a pro would give us some hints on mixing vocals with electric guitar. They tend to love the same frequency ranges.

I have a Hondo Flying V (copy of the Gibson) with humbucker pick-ups. It is jacked into a Roland GS-6 digital effects unit that is older than our fellow member, Owen. From this, I use the xlr-to-xlr cable to line into my M-audio interface. Fiddled with timbres on the GS-6. So, basically what you are hearing for guitar is a "printed" effect.

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I thought the vocals needed to be louder...I couldn't really make out the words very well (granted, it was through my iPhone speakers), and I've never heard the song before, so I don't know what the original sounds like, but it was cool. I like your voice at the top of your range the most, you sounded more comfortable up there. There were some really cool moments and Im a little envious of the power of your upper range :D

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Thanks, BlackieJane. I more comfortable in the higher louder part. That part is easier to configure, Doing the lower and softer parts requires more attention. Actually, I had already raised the volume of the vocal track by the time I posted. But I still want it to blend, somewhat, with the music.
 

As it is, my arrangement is different than the original by several different means. Timbre chosen in the guitar effects unit. My actual melody line. For example, Billy Thorpe is not as loud up top as I am. His version is more of a raspy falsetto. His guitar is funkier and the bass guitar, which I do not have here, is doing kind of a funk rhythm. Along slapback drum echo going through a flanger and rotating pan effect.

 

And my guitar fills are different, a little more jazz than the original. The spaced out note was a stroke of luck. I found this patch in my copy of Audacity called Paul Stretch and gave it a try and liked it, so I kept it.

 

However, the guitar solo fills, there was a bit more that I cut out mercilessly as too much distraction and not really helping in the long run, no matter how fun it was to do it. In addition, I recorded this stuff on Christmas day and spent a week re-visiting it. Not that every song will take me as long or as short to mix. But I was really trying to play the part of producer. The longest part of a recording is not the actual recording of the music. It is the time it takes to let the ears refresh and hear anew what might need changing or be left alone.

 

One of the first mixing passes, I put some eq on the vocal track, after doing some re-verb. But the EQ was making it sound like manure. so, I got rid of the EQ, at least for this song but kept the reverb.

 

Some of the surviving guitar fills have been lowered in volume to fit in better, in toto.

 

I have recently learned how to program drums in Audacity but I couldn't make it work for this, just yet, so I deleted that. I might be better off buying a used drum machine or a casio with presets that I could also "fake" as a bass. I am not really a drummer but I could probably fake it a little bit. Mostly I sing and play guitar.

 

I first heard the original in the late 70's. Later, I bought the album (vinyl phonograph.) So, that "scratchy" sound is always in my memory.

 

So, here's the original.

 

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Hi Ron!

 

First of all I want to say that overall I liked the song.

 

However, I have a few things to say.

 

The first has to do with the guitar. I do not know if the guitar was very strong in relation to the voice, or perhaps by the distortion, but I found it impossible to climb much the volume of the song to hear your voice without stunning myself.

 

The second thing has to do with your performance in this song. I think you should watch over the rhythm and time of the phrases to match more appropriately with the song. When you start singing I hear you a little insecure, as the song progresses better this, and I agree with another fellow who says you sound better in the high parts. The latter brings me to my final point.

 

It could be that you sing just only in your head voice? If this is so, I wonder why. If it were an aesthetic choice, I would have nothing to say. In fact, as I said in another comment, your voice and way of singing reminds me of Luis Alberto Spinetta, who also told you is very famous and influential in Argentina, which makes many musicians want to sing like him (I leave a link for those who dont know him). But perhaps is not a conscious choice of you to sing only in your head voice. I have never heard you speech, Ron. Do you talk into your head voice as when you sing?. If so, perhaps unconsciously you're hiding your true voice, your chest voice. In this case, if I were you I would seek the opinion of a professional, a speech therapist, perhaps.

 

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Awesome reply, Bono, thanks.

 

What is head voice? Or chest voice? I have seen the terms a lot but I think I am still confused and if I make a statement one way or another, I am likely to be wrong.

 

Am I supposed to have a heavier voice, if that description can be used? Heavier, how? I am not being defensive or intentionally obtuse. I just want to know what it is that you mean.

 

Your input will be very valuable to me, seriously.

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To answer your other questions, and again, thanks for the comparison to that singer, I used to hide my voice. My step-grandfather was a basso, especially when singing, as he did in church, where they did not only hymns but a production of "Fiddler on the Roof." And when we would watch together "Jesus Christ, Superstar," he could do the part of Caiaphas, something that still awes me to this day.

 

Other guys I grew up with  developed to have low voices. My friend in 6th grade, Matt, spoke as low as most adult males, if not lower. My voice never cracked.

 

I thought I would have a low voice. I spent years trying to talk lower, just to sound more "manly" in spite of others mimicking me with what was falsetto in their voices. People on the phone addressing me as ma'am, an american southern honorific used for a woman.

 

What you hear is my voice not being hidden, other than by the loud guitar. In fact, I had already boosted the vocal track volume to overcome analog to digital conversion. No eq values to make me sound higher and lighter, that is my voice.

 

Of course, I do not sound like Billy Thorpe, nor am I trying to do so. And I know I present something of an irony. I look like a biker who cleaned up for a court appearance. And can sing "Ave, Maria" in the original key. The universe has a sense of humor ...

 

Seriously, I am not saying I did great or cannot use your advice, I just want to understand it  and how it will apply to me.

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I was under the impression Ronws was a lighter voice type with a quirky timbre. Texans, especially the older generation, often have twang, so I thought he combined that into a lighter phonation into a head voice.

 

If Bono is right though, and he's been holding out on us. This is earth shattering news for Modern Vocalist. I'm staying tuned, folks.

 

Could be time for another low pitch note thread. :D I confess to having gained a couple through years or training. Maybe Ronws has another octave down there?

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Ron, first of all wanted to apologize for delaying my response, not want you to think I was doing the mysterious. The true is my English is not very good and I have to help me with google translator that neither is so good :D
 
I want you to know I'm not a professional voice, I'm a lawyer who loves music, and like many here I am studying voice, to educate myself, so I have always more questions than answers about the voice.
 
That said, my views are very subjective and unscientific.
 
I want to tell you a story. I know someone very close, a very nice person like you. He started taking singing lessons a couple of years ago, classical singing lessons, opera ago. At first he was treated by his teacher as a light tenor, because its timbre to speak was really high. Soon, their vocalizations its low register began to develop a lot. This caught the attention of the teacher who recommended him to have a consultation with an audiologist. The audiologist told him that indeed he was hiding his true voice, of course unconsciously. He also said it was very common in nice people, they usually speak in his highest voice because that sound more friendly. He proposed a voice treatment consisting on some speech excercises. He also recommended doing therapy with a psychologist. This person, to this day continues to grapple with this problem, it is not easy for him to take over his low and intimidating voice, he being so kind and friendly. He discovered to be a spinto tenor instead of a very light tenor, he learned to use more of his low voice, but today is still hard for him not raising his voice to a really high zone when he speak.
 
This story, in addition to what I hear when you sing, makes me think that maybe you'll pass the same, and that is why I recommend a consultation with a phonoaudiologist.
 
I hope I have not put my finger on a wound. I´m just trying to help, giving my honest opinion based on what a hear.
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I put a like on your post. No offense taken, Bono. Seriously.

 

I see the forum and this part of the forum as a valuable resource, as I try to explain in my thread on how to receive criticism. Why? Because you and others are the audience. Granted, we may be a more sophisticated audience because we specialize in singing here and may have become more attuned to tonality, pitch accuracy, etcetera. Most any musical instrument can be tuned to the perfection of the construction with a digital tuner, excluding keyboards, which are digitally generated instruments, to begin with. But the audience hears what it hears. 

 

And some of what you said has more to do with instrument timbres and prominence in the mix. Things I could change or do differently. I'll have to go back and see where my timing was off. And my phrasing. I was born in America and Billy Thorpe is from Australia (he actually started becoming famous a little before AC/DC.) Again, that is something I can work on. Sometimes, I can do accents though some are more difficult than others. I think the easiest for me to fake is scottish.

 

And thank you for thinking that I am a nice person. I like to think so, too, though I have been a jerk, no doubt, to others. And I have my own demons to struggle with, as does any one.

 

But I don't think it reflects in my voice, though I am not an expert in psychology, though I often do make psychological observations about people, having been around the block a few times. As I said, my vocal deception was in the opposite direction. Going through Roger Love exercises cleared me up. Just as you have pointed out that many a guy may be speaking or expressing too high, others often express too low.

 

Though others have said I need lessons and should, in fact, start learning about singing all over again, from scratch, this is the first time someone has suggested I might need a voice therapist. Which could be true. I just had not thought of it until you brought it up.

 

Also, maybe you or some may think that either this song is wrong for me or I am singing it wrong, both of which could also be true or, just as easily, one or the other. And perhaps I have chosen the wrong song. Certainly a big piece of wisdom I have learned from others, though I don't always follow it, is to choose songs that totally match your style and voice.

 

So, for example, as much as I like the TMV Forum song and would like to participate, it is a metal song and many may feel that I am not metal enough and to be honest, I don't sing a lot of metal. I sing a lot of Led Zeppelin but that is not metal, regardless of others' opinions. It was heavy blues influenced by jazz. Or, at least, that is how the band members viewed it. Once or twice, I have seen Robert Plant have a "WTF?" look on his face when people talk about LZ being heavy metal.

 

So, if my voice is not making it on this, it may not make it on the heavy metal TMV Forum song. But it was a nice idea, while it lasted.

 

And that is why your opinion is valuable to me. We do not hear ourselves as others hear us. I just saw a funny video about "How you think you look vs How you really look." It was meant as a comedy but there can also be some truth to it.

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Having been around the block with my own health problems, (seemingly some kind of nerve pain, neuropathy, neuralgia, etc) and not mechanical, I can testify there are speech patterns called 'functional dysphonia' in speech therapy.

 

Now I'm a rebel so I don't like people telling me to how to speak. I listen to others as equals, but if someone claims authority I'll question it until I am convinced they deserve it. But by most speech therapy standards if your voice is effective in daily life, it isn't a problem in need of being fixed, Ronws, and any change would be a lifestyle choice if anything, not a medical issue.

 

Even if Bono was correct in his theory, 'optimum phonation' is a theory of how to mechanically use every aspect of the body for maximum efficiency (air flow, fold closure, muscular involvement, to achieve a desired effect in a healthy way, etc). Not all functional dysphonias (less than optimum mechanical usage) need to be fixed and all but the most hell bent speech therapists would probably agree with me.

 

Now I did encounter some pretty horrific speech therapists. One was extremely arrogant and pretty much was saying, "I know you speak wrong. If you don't start speaking correctly there is nothing you can possibly do."

 

Instead I got on meds that treat nerve pain (neuropathy, neuralgia). They aren't pain killers either. Things improved so much. I can speak much more  efficiently again without those enormous jolts of pain. My last ENT visit his words were 'beautiful.' Doctors, family, and friends were astonished. Point being a lot of people along the way were convinced they had the answers and the authority to tell what was wrong with my body and a lot of them were supposedly authority figures.

 

Now I sing with you guys. I speak every day to friends and family. And I'm telling you this cause we're both gonna be there on that collaboration Ronws, whether we have the most immaculate phonation or not.

 

So Bono, it's an interesting theory, I like the intrigue and liked your post for that reason, but Ronws, I think it's less likely your phonation is 'wrong' if you aren't in pain or going hoarse and people can understand you. There is even transgendered voice therapy for people who want to sound like women healthily. There are a lot of ways people can speak. You may find an expert who is hell bent on knowing exactly how you should talk, but if it works, what the hell man? And even if it's a little quirky, it's a bit more of a wonderful world:

 

 

Final note, to try to be balanced, I'm not trashing speech therapists through my bad experiences. They are useful and helpful. Studying a maximum amount of efficiency from a biological standpoint can help people more efficiently use their voices. But efficient speaking isn't all there is. There's another side of this where people can get so hung up on their idea of perfection, they can't see the forest for the trees. You've had your voice whole life, it probably works if it hasn't caused you any major problems.

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Thanks, Killer. I have been singing for all of my life but I pick 1974 as a starting point because that is when I started teaching myself guitar so that I could "do songs." And no, I did not have lessons for that, either. We were so poor. We lived in government subsidized apartments (Basswood Manor in Lewisville, Texas, for those who care to look up government records of subsidized housing.) So, my mother gave me a folk guitar that my natural father had given her. All we could afford was a new set of strings and Mel Bay's Book of Chords. The first recording device I had was a reel-to-reel tape recorder that used 5 inch reels ( a christmas gift from someone one else, a re-gifting, it was not new.) And a cheapie mic that would easily be bested by any cell phone mic, today. Seriously, one step above banging sticks on stones and calling it "rock music," (pun intended.)

 

I've never been told I had a dysphonia, systemic, structural, or psychological. When I was a teenager, I was just a natural jerk, not necessarily trying to be nice to anyone but not trying to be rude but pretty much the jerk that any teenager might be, I suppose. That is, as a teenager, I did not speak higher and lighter as a means of appearing nicer or as an unconscious side effect of wanting to be nicer or as a side effect of being nicer. At least to my knowledge. And some people on the phone thought I was a woman because of the pitch and timber of my voice. In person, and wanting to be polite, they would not make that mistake. At 14, I was over 6 feet tall and looked quite male, I think. In fact, I don't think I could ever be accused of having been "pretty."

 

Of the people here, I am probably most familiar with and still remember the problems you had with your dysphonia and your less than helpful experiences with doctors, therapists, and teachers. So, I totally get your points on that and find myself in some agreement and certainly applaud your partial recovery.

 

Is Bono trying to say that I phonate higher and lighter as a result of being a nice guy, whether intentional or not? That as a natural man, I should "naturally" have a "lower voice"? I don't know. I do know that I wished for my voice to be lower and more manly because I, too, thought that is what it is supposed to be. But there is a difference between want and what is, at least in my experience. I want to be a millionaire. Ain't happened, yet. (Darn it!) And to link in a singer who has what I think is a unique gift of singing in some different timbres and weights and I suppose suggesting that I should be able to do the same is certainly interesting and I am not enough of an expert to say whether that is possible. For, I also know a little about anatomy and not enough of that, either.

 

Do I need a voice therapist? Will that make me a better singer? Will it make me sing lower or at least with a more baritonic sound? I don't know.

 

I have consulted with a classical coach who, at least far as what I am singing, considered me a light tenor (though not fully trained, of course.)

 

And another person who has been teaching singing for as long as I have been singing noted that what I thought was me being a "baritone" was not. I simply do not have a baritone "ring", even though baritone and tenor ranges do overlap. And it has nothing to do with whatever lowest sound I can make. I have covered "Silent Lucidity" and croaked the E2 in that song and totally cheated with mic proximity and selective volume boost on just that part to make a usable recording. It is NOT something I can do with acoustically usable volume without a mic over an orchestra pit. Just because I managed the pitch does NOT make me a baritone (being in or out of opera aside.)

 

Both of those guys could be wrong, though possessing more experience and creds and education than I have or will likely ever have. And both missed out on the idea that maybe I need a voice therapist or a psycho-therapist. Though I once attended a therapy group following the passing away of my first wife (whole 'nother story, thread, forum, altogether.)

 

All of which may eventually be secondary. For Bono listens and thinks I need a voice therapist, that I am hiding my voice, that I am singing shyly. The high part in the middle of the song, I messed up the first time. So that high part is a patch. In addition, it was so loud that I applied 4:1 compressor to it to tame enough to fit into the volume profile of the track, as a whole. So, while I know it was not in the least timid and was so loud it could have hurt your earballs in the same room, the perception of at least one person is that it is timid, shy, holding back, trying to be nice and hiding my voice in the process, which is supposed to somehow be more manly (I am assuming that is the intent of the comment.)

 

And, again, I Am Not Saying that Bono is wrong. But that is what he hears.

 

What do I learn from this? For there are things for me to learn.

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Hey Ron! you put me in a very difficult situation because my english is no really good to explain all the way I would like to, so I`ll try to be as clear as I can... I did not mean you sounds bad or you have a problem at all neither you should sing more manly!!! I though that maybe you are using just some part of your voice, your head voice which I think you do it great and compared you with a great argentinian singer, if it was the only voice you have... for me is enough!! and should be for you too!! because you can do many things... But if it were that you have some hidden low notes I thought it also would be great for you to discover and develop!! 

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    I do not think "being timid" or "holding anything back" is at the heart of the volume issue with Ronws voice or recording. There is so much accoustical energy in his top end that the lower end suffers from dealing with the clipping from the higher notes. Levels need to be set too low to begin with to avoid the clipping during the high notes.

    I am no expert and only voicing an opinion, From what I have heard, Ronws, you have already been down the road of "Trying to deepen" your voice. I do not think that is the way to go. Brightening up the lower voice may be a better approach,at least for songs that cross the registers and have a heavy background to deal with. Take advantage of the higher frequencies that are there in the lower register also, instead of trying to suppress them and sound more like a baritone.( I am not saying that you are trying to make a more baritone sound).

   What we hear in any professional recording is mixing from someone who knows how to isolate the voice from the other instruments. Even a soft voice will come through and seem seperated from the background. Sometimes they will even record the low parts seperate from the highs so they can be mixed according to the different requirements.

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Hey Ron! you put me in a very difficult situation because my english is no really good to explain all the way I would like to, so I`ll try to be as clear as I can... I did not mean you sounds bad or you have a problem at all neither you should sing more manly!!! I though that maybe you are using just some part of your voice, your head voice which I think you do it great and compared you with a great argentinian singer, if it was the only voice you have... for me is enough!! and should be for you too!! because you can do many things... But if it were that you have some hidden low notes I thought it also would be great for you to discover and develop!! 

Then I will send you a message with a link to some covers where I do some low notes,

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Mr ron!!! Honestly I dont have much to say on the actual vocals. This really just sounded like you being you. You stayed light and heady the whole song, never dipped into a chestier voice. Which I think for you sounds really good because it is how "you" like to sing. I can always appreciate it when someone knows who they are vocally, that alot of times wont happen in a singers life time. This was a good song choice for you and I liked your vocals in it. So well done!

What I do have to say is how to get more out of what you are recording for your singing style. Well first I will say I think you should drop the guitar tracking a bit in volume. Then if you have a real tube pre, or an vst tube pre, run it through that, warm it up a bit. Then hit all the guitar tracks with a decent amount of reverb to take the edge off of them, as well as backing them into the mix a smidge.

Then with your vocals, I would run them through a bit of compression. Off the top of my head from what i heard try starting here. Threshold -35db..ratio 5.1...attack as low as possible...release about 350ms...i would give the make up about a 4db boost. Though I would have to see how all these changes affected it so take that one with a grain of salt. This should level out your vocals, and also let you stay in your lighter tone configuration and cut nicely. Then add the reverb to set you back into the mix.

I would then start to work the eq a bit, i have my idea for those but it is really so dependent on individual mixes I dont like to say much. Though I almost always do some work around the 600-1200 range for clarity but not always. As well as drop the low and high ends of the spectrum, no reason mudding the mix for crap you cant even or dont even want to hear.

I like your style and timber, and I think with some relatively easy tweaks to the way you are recording, you can really be heard like you should.

Also, if you want to meet up one day I am up in that area here and there. You are also welcome down here as well. I have already met with one member here, and actually worked on some stuff, and it was an extremely positive experience. I would be happy to help you with anything i can as well as record some stuff:)

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Thanks, MIR. I already did the things you suggested and I guess your saying that even though the guitar is already going through the GS-6, which I think I mentioned once or twice before, that needs to run through another effect, rather than adjusting that effect? I had not thought of that but it is worth a try, though I do not have amp simulator program. The GS-6 is what I would normally use to drive my Fender 85 as if it were a cab.

 

To answer the other question, I don't know if I have a "choice" in being heady or not. The perception by others that I sound heady and since men are supposed to have low voices, I must be choosing to sound that way. I am not saying that is not accurate but I also am not aware of a conscious decision to eschew chesty sounds but those definitions are still not fleshed out enough. It seems that everyone could mean something different. What do you mean about my head sound? Again, I am not saying you are wrong, just looking for better definitions, whether I can actually make the macho chesty sounds or continue to be the boy named Sue.

 

But yeah, we could meet sometime and that would be cool.

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Ha ha, boy named sue was sung by a low baritone lol.

Anyways, i actually listened through my mixing head phones this time to hear the track again. The mix sounded much better through them than some crap computer speakers. I think it is more the type clipping distortion that you are using that is not friendly to my ears. I have always liked tighter warmer guitar distortion. Even if you used this distortion effect and warmed it up a bit it would be better. But that is just to my ears everyone is different.

As I said the mix was better than I originally thought, listening through better speakers. I would still maybe look at compressing the vocals a tad more then running them through a limiter, with a hair of post boost.

To be clear I was not insulting your vocals at all, I like the tone and timber. If i lighten my voice like that, i get a nice clear tone, but not much excitement in the overtone or timber department. So I think it is cool and unique how you can sing.

So clarifying heady tone. Perhaps I shall use a different phrase. I will go with, just barely touching with just enough mass being moved. Its very efficient, even when you had that low note in the song, it was a well connected note, yet still "light". When i hear you sing, except for maybe past the b4 world, i envision two hands with very thin gloves on. You still hear the clap, but it is a warm clap, without spac! I imagine you have some pretty nice stamina singing.

Hopefully that helps a little bit

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Cool answer mir and actually very helpful. I know what I can work on. And yes, when I was mixing, I was using my headphones, which have a better response than most desktop speakers. So, that is another reason for me to collect all the perceptions of others because of whatever equipment they may be listening through. My headphones are jacked into my M-audio interface, which is a surprisingly good interface for not a lot of money.

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