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Thread: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

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    Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I know lots of people are tube lovers, and I admit that they are hard to beat, but I have done several gigs with the deluxe tonemaster blonde and it performed admirably. I have yet to try the twin in a gig situation, but will stick my neck out here and say that in a band situation, noone can tell its not a tube amp once the drummer and bass and vocals are all blasting away....and they weigh half the weight , and have a DI out and attenuators to get the best sound at the right volume. Im impressed.

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Will they last ten, twenty, or thirty years?

    My '64 Vibroverb Amp sounds as sweet and punchy as the day it was built.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    Will they last ten, twenty, or thirty years?

    My '64 Vibroverb Amp sounds as sweet and punchy as the day it was built.
    That's what concerns me. I'm capable of keeping an old Fender amp running and sounding great indefinitely, but not a complex DSP amp. Like my electric lawn mower- it won't last 25+ years of neglected maintenance and sketchy repairs like my Briggs & Stratton powered Craftsman that was 1/3rd the price.

    Still, I'm intrigued my these amps. I'd have to play, hear, and "feel" one.

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    Will they last ten, twenty, or thirty years?

    My '64 Vibroverb Amp sounds as sweet and punchy as the day it was built.
    Will I still be playing then?, Im 61 now, so I seriously doubt it. I will also add that I once had a power tube go down in the middle of a set, and had to crank the amp running on half power to finish. No tubes equals no maintenance...

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterVV View Post
    No tubes equals no maintenance...
    Time and the quality of the product will decide that.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterVV View Post
    No tubes equals no maintenance...
    I have done a lot maintence on SS amps, caps are gonna dry out with time, no matter what makes the power. As for tubes being more maintenance, I got my 81 MusicMan from the original owners wife, 30 years after he bought it with the original tubes. When I serviced it, I did retube, and bias, but when my broke buddy needed a couple of 6L6's, I stuck those tubes in his amp! Re-bias, and it sounds great!

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    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I got to play the Tonemaster amps a while ago, and I have to say they sound pretty durn good. The Deluxe for sure had a lot oof the feel of the tube version, with a similar progression of breakup as you turned up. I liked the built-in attenuator - it had a similar range, just quieter. I didn't play them side-by-side with the originals, but I wouldn't hesitate to gig with one.
    I can not, however, predict how they'll hold up over the long run. THey're digital, so they;d likely need software upgrades over time, but it'll remain to be seen how they last - or if how well they;re taken care of will affect lifespan.
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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I think the biggest issue with the digital stuff will be maintenance, or in this case, more like replacement. If anything goes south on those wave-soldered boards, forget about it. It's like trying to do brain surgery with a butter knife. When they stop making a particular model, replacement parts will be an issue. They aren't making these things to last 50 years any more. But, if you're like the OP and are, ahem, seasoned (hey, I'm 64), you're probably not going to be around in 50 years. I tell you this, though. I bet my Princeton Reverb that I bought new in 1972/73 is still going, and with care and maintenance, will still be going long after I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    I very sincerely doubt if any of the digital stuff made so far, will last as long.
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheBluesMan View Post
    I think the biggest issue with the digital stuff will be maintenance, or in this case, more like replacement. If anything goes south on those wave-soldered boards, forget about it. It's like trying to do brain surgery with a butter knife. When they stop making a particular model, replacement parts will be an issue. They aren't making these things to last 50 years any more. But, if you're like the OP and are, ahem, seasoned (hey, I'm 64), you're probably not going to be around in 50 years. I tell you this, though. I bet my Princeton Reverb that I bought new in 1972/73 is still going, and with care and maintenance, will still be going long after I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    I very sincerely doubt if any of the digital stuff made so far, will last as long.
    On the subject of maintenance, the Fender tube amps made in Mexico now use cheap caps which wont last 30 years, be lucky to get 15 out of them, and as for the lead free solder joints. Tube sockets etc, ...... The older originals of these had caps that lasted 30 years, and were point to point wiring , pots not mounted on PCBs etc. So I guess my point is dont compare this amp to a vintage amp, compare it to its modern reissue , and look a little closer into how they are built now maybe?

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterVV View Post
    I know lots of people are tube lovers, and I admit that they are hard to beat, but I have done several gigs with the deluxe tonemaster blonde and it performed admirably. I have yet to try the twin in a gig situation, but will stick my neck out here and say that in a band situation, noone can tell its not a tube amp once the drummer and bass and vocals are all blasting away....and they weigh half the weight , and have a DI out and attenuators to get the best sound at the right volume. Im impressed.
    I am very much interested in knowing more about these amps, myself. Exactly because they weigh less and are less expensive. What genre of music do you like to play, and how do you set your twin for louder situations (say, playing along with a full sized drum kit)?

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugarcane View Post
    I am very much interested in knowing more about these amps, myself. Exactly because they weigh less and are less expensive. What genre of music do you like to play, and how do you set your twin for louder situations (say, playing along with a full sized drum kit)?
    I havent used the Twin in a band situation yet, I am guessing that I will use it on the 40 watt setting , volume around 4 ish? that might change. I have used the deluxe tonemaster in smaller pub settings with the band, and its the usual thing for me with deluxes, you are always on the edge of breakup to keep up with the rest of the band, and limited with the amount of headroom . For that reason I think the twin will have better headroom and take pedals better.

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterVV View Post
    I havent used the Twin in a band situation yet, I am guessing that I will use it on the 40 watt setting , volume around 4 ish? that might change. I have used the deluxe tonemaster in smaller pub settings with the band, and its the usual thing for me with deluxes, you are always on the edge of breakup to keep up with the rest of the band, and limited with the amount of headroom . For that reason I think the twin will have better headroom and take pedals better.
    Please share your experiences with us when you play that amp with a band, I'll love to hear how it sounds.

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugarcane View Post
    Please share your experiences with us when you play that amp with a band, I'll love to hear how it sounds.
    will do, gigging it later... :)

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Performed well last night. Had it on 40watt setting and turned the amp up to 4.5. Loads of headroom, great warm clean sound. Had the bright switch off.

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    In a crowded mix the bright switch *may* be useful, especially with a Gibson or other guitar with humbuckers.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I just don't like lugging heavy gear any more, being the older fart that I am, so I bought a blond Deluxe Reverb Tonemaster out of curiosity, to see if that could handle gigs. Basically after around 30 gigs it sounds great in a live situation with a Strat and Tele, takes pedals well and sounds a lot like the old DRs I gigged with decades ago. No desire to go back to tube amps in a live situation at the moment (and I used to build tube amps years ago). No idea about reliability yet, but it will probably outlast me.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I had one in a supplied backline and it was great. And from what I'm told they're only about 24 pounds. (Hearsay so fact check before you buy) So no-brainer.

    As far as tube amps - the Hot Rod series killed the tube amp reliability argument a couple decades ago. They were trash. Also, if you gig a vintage point-to-point wired tube amp hard you spend way too much time fixing it. Most touring acts have full time amp techs to keep them running. I have some nice tube amps but rarely gig them due to the complexity and expense of keeping them up and running along with the inconsistent sound from venue to venue. The only way you break that inconsistency is to run mutliple mixed amps generally with baffles. Sound then is Nirvana, but any type of regular thrashing and they WILL break. This is the one of the main drivers for me switching over to a rack mounted modeling system. I play two to three nights a week and at that pace the chinks in your gear become pretty obvious. My XTPros's have been little Energizer Bunnies, and IF one ever bites it I can switch over to another that is IDENTICAL in sound and keep going.

    It comes down to this: Are you out there to follow your personal tone bliss or are you playing to make money and be a paid professional? I once heard that the "Tonemaster Deluxe is 95% as good as a "real Deluxe, and 95% is an A on any test." If you can bring your "A" game at 24 pounds and a very affordable price point what's the issue? Nobody gets into this game to pinch pennies, LOL! It's an expensive game.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Interestingly, I was talking with another gigging player who was extolling the virtues of the Tonemaster DR.

    And he's pretty snobby, as in his guitar player's gold top has turned green on top if you get my drift.

    He said 24 pounds is about right and he's super digging it. Sounds awesome live.

    Looks like all the cool kids are switching over to them. I may have to pick one up to try it out. My only concern at this point is how rugged is it and how will it hold up to the road?
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    My only concern at this point is how rugged is it and how will it hold up to the road?
    That's always been my concern when it comes to new (ie: contemporarily-made) gear. I'm always reminded of that scene in "The Dirty Dozen" where dog-face private Donald Sutherland, masquerading as an incognito general, inspects Robert Ryan's troops......

    "Very pretty, Colonel. Very pretty indeed. But can they fight?"
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    That's always been my concern when it comes to new (ie: contemporarily-made) gear. I'm always reminded of that scene in "The Dirty Dozen" where dog-face private Donald Sutherland, masquerading as an incognito general, inspects Robert Ryan's troops......

    "Very pretty, Colonel. Very pretty indeed. But can they fight?"
    Yeah, when I saw the SKB with my two Fractals in it rolling/bouncing down a stairway I had a similar thought. They were unharmed. Almost made the 7-10 split on the roadies too!
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Yeah, when I saw the SKB with my two Fractals in it rolling/bouncing down a stairway I had a similar thought. They were unharmed. Almost made the 7-10 split on the roadies too!
    What the HE double hockey sticks you doing with TWO Fractals In the same rig?
    I can understand one for gigs and one for your recording/ practice room.

    anyways I well say going Fractal was the best musical decision I have made. Launched into it back in 2009.
    Mark

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Back on topic, plate through a Deluxe Reverb version of this yesterday. Sounded great.
    Mark

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by blackonblack View Post
    What the HE double hockey sticks you doing with TWO Fractals In the same rig?
    I can understand one for gigs and one for your recording/ practice room.

    anyways I well say going Fractal was the best musical decision I have made. Launched into it back in 2009.
    I have two in case one quits mid-show. I have a Boggs box that can switch and blend them and they have identical patches. I've also on occasion ran them both with different paths to layer the sound for blues - One has clear Fender highs and the other a tight bottom JTM 45 / Celestion-ish sound.

    I used to run an A/B/Y where the Fractals were offstage FOH and my amps were for stage volume, but with the two Headrush 2000W (each) FRFR wedges onstage I no longer need amps for stage volume and I can hear with clarity what the audience does and feel the bottom end. It's a lot better than using in-ears for me. Plus I can point the sound up for high ceilings and really use the power to make it huge without hurting anyone and dealing with baffles and mics.

    Actually, I have another rack with a single PODHD Pro in it, I use it with a long board and I dig it a lot because it's such an easy interface. It has a clean Fender sound that's hard top beat and it's easy to organize to a setlist. For a small show it's the sland.

    But yeah, there's people that have discovered Fractal and then there's people who are struggling to sound consistently good with tube amps. I pretty sure almost every major touring band is using them now. And it's a lot cheaper too, so no brainer unless you just like tube amps for a hobby or use vintage amps as part of the show.

    I plan to let folks play through my rig at the jam. Maybe we'll do a rig rundown and player's reactions to playing through it video. That would be fun.

    Chuck
    Last edited by Offshore Angler; 03-23-2023 at 07:30 AM.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterVV View Post
    noone can tell its not a tube amp once the drummer and bass and vocals are all blasting away....
    Hey, if you're doing it right, no one can tell if a woman is enjoying herself or being forced to walk across red hot coals once the screaming starts. LOL!
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tele-Bob View Post
    Hey, if you're doing it right, no one can tell if a woman is enjoying herself or being forced to walk across red hot coals once the screaming starts. LOL!
    I see that the conversation has reached its usual pinnacle of intellectual discourse......

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I prefer rosewood in on Ginger riding in a Ford with a Strat, maple on Mary Anne riding in a Chevy with a Tele. Other than that, I really have no opinion.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Well, I have a 50 watt Katana and it almost doesn't suck.
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    BB King always sounded pretty good too for no tubes.

    Hey, I'd love to have 4 cranked Bassmans and a couple of Dumbles behind me onstage but unfortunately I don't get asked to play the Ryman or Royal Albert Hall a lot. So I have to use what works best for the situation.

    You know, like you don't flip a creature bait on a 7.5' flippin' stick with 60# braid on a high-speed baitcaster when the water is 39°F. You use a Ned rig on 6 pound flourocarbon with spinning gear, or a jerkbait on a soft baitcast rod with a 6 to 1 retrieve.

    It's all about choosing the correct presentation for the conditions. Sometimes that's a classic tube amp, sometimes not.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    After viewing several video demos and reading reviews on new Fender stuff I decided to get a new Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb amp. It just shipped today. I am hoping a really like it. Since 2011 I have been using a 1990 Fender Ultimate Chorus. I recently bought a Sire Larry Carlton H7 (ES-335 style) guitar and wanted to get an amp with a clean tube tone. I was going to go with the 68 Silverface Pro Reverb but due to several owners stating above 4 on the volume tubes rattled and some said the cabs vibrated. I decided to look elsewhere.

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubbalou View Post
    After viewing several video demos and reading reviews on new Fender stuff I decided to get a new Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb amp. It just shipped today. I am hoping a really like it. Since 2011 I have been using a 1990 Fender Ultimate Chorus. I recently bought a Sire Larry Carlton H7 (ES-335 style) guitar and wanted to get an amp with a clean tube tone. I was going to go with the 68 Silverface Pro Reverb but due to several owners stating above 4 on the volume tubes rattled and some said the cabs vibrated. I decided to look elsewhere.
    How are you liking the Sire with the TM Twin?

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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by newstratter View Post
    How are you liking the Sire with the TM Twin?
    Sorry took so long. Had trouble logging in. Finally back on. The Sire H7 sounded good on my Tone Master Twin Reverb. I put a set of Warehouse Speakers I had bought for the previous Fender amp I had in the Tone Master Twin Reverb and the now this amp has all the clean sound and chime of the 60’s Twin Reverb. The Sire H7 sounds incredibly good on it now. Yes, it put some weight back on it but I also put Fender casters on it which help. It still doesn’t weigh as much as tube twin reverbs and the tone make it worth it for me.

    https://wgsusa.com/collections/ameri...12c-s-75-watts

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    So I've had more real-life experience with these amps, and my enthusiasm is waning.

    What I've noticed is that they sound pretty good, but in multiple occasions now I've noticed that they lack the clarity and cut of the real deal, i.e., they tend to get buried in the mix. That's not good for an amp, because the only way past that is to add more volume and that's totally uncool in a live situtation,.

    The earlier times I used one was in an outdoor venue, one on a large "shell" type stage, the other on risers. In those situations they seemed to work pretty good but we had them cranked pretty loud and the instruments were physically separated by substantial distances so hearing yourself was not an issue.

    Later times it was in a club situation and here's where the chinks in the amour appeared. They just lack that Fender cut and get lost in the mix.

    Now, for a home/hobby/bedroom player where they typically accentuate the mids (and complain of "ice-picky, lol") they are perfectly fine. But in a live band or recording situation where treble is your best friend in the mix - not the best option.

    My suspicion is that they were targeted for geezers, and as such the weight was a huge design consideration. That means they probably compromised on the speaker to save weight and that's where they fall short. Perhaps with an improved speaker they can become viable.

    But one of the fun things about being a working player is sometimes you deal with the dreaded "Backline provided" and these seem to be popular with sound companies.

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    But one of the fun things about being a working player is sometimes you deal with the dreaded "Backline provided" and these seem to be popular with sound companies.

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Tonemaster range amps in a gigging situation

    I ain't gonna blow it up - the hell I aint!
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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