Transparent Magnum Opus

jfrech

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I would expect them to contact the manufacturer. But that doesn't necessarily mean there is anything customized, only that they had to make sure they choose correctly between hi and lo - and since it's still impossible for them to tell how it sounds (that's what testing is mostly about, not just specs), it would be natural to pick a good middle ground in the correct impedance area (hi or lo).

And don't forget the following:



One interpretation is that they are giving up on this alleged custom calibration in higher models.

There is a second possible interpretation based on the following:



in that, it might mean they now have hi/mid/low switches to set rough impedance on the fly; and that this is good enough - if that's the case, I'd say yes it's good enough. We have to see the cables to be sure...

Quite the skeptic ... wow ... I own Transparent cables...in the past Ref, Ref XL and currently Ref MM and Opus...I can assure they higher end models are not just high and low...

Are you a owner or a potential buyer? Or just stating opinion....or have you discussed with a dealer or Transparent to get the facts? Might be worth it to be sure...just sayin
 

Ekmanc

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Nov 25, 2012
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Do we know how far down this upgrade will extend? I've seen Ultra level and above in Magnum version but will the Super and Plus be upgraded too?
 
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KeithR

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Dear Frantz,
Business is business and I am saying nor trying to rationalize the cost nor the markup structure however I am very familiar with the costs of running a business in this field. I have over 40 years experience.
I ran a few stores, some mine some belonging to others and have been involved with consulting to a few factories.
I will use Transparent here for a second since I DO HAVE some EXPERTISE HERE but not much.
They have a building- cost
payroll and employees- cost
business insurance- cost
health insurance- cost
transportation/freight incoming on raw materials and outgoing on finished product- cost
advertising- cost
travel - cost
sales training -cost
audio shows-cost
review samples-cost
inventory - cost- FYI over 10000 items in stock at all times in order to have the ability to build and pack the products and deliver them in a timely manner and hopefully to buy in some quantities to be cost effective
electricity- cost
phones- cost
taxes- cost
office supplies- cost
do i need to go on???

Do you know how this gets covered?
It gets covered by product markup and something called profit!
Lets look at a store that sells high end
most of the costs except those that have to deal with building are present here as well.

So lets take a single High End sound room for demo that will be critiqued by every "learned" Audiophile that walks in to kick the tires

e.g.
Wilson Alexia's 52000.00 a pair
ARC REF 10 pre 30000.00
ARC Ref 250's 26000.00 a pair
ARC REF CD- 9 13000.00
Opus speaker wire 34735
OPUS 1M int bal 20000
OPUS 3 M INT BAL 22945
REF POWERLINK POWERCORDS 2100 TIMES 4 =8400
PIR POWER ISOLATOR 3195
PIMM POWER ISOLATORS (2) 4195.00 TIMES 2= 8400

This is the retail pricing of ONE system in a store with no software, no room or treatment costs, no furniture, no electricity, no AC NO NO NO NO NO
So Don Q please tell me who pays for this?

I am not trying to justify the costs of anything but one should be aware of the real costs involved with designing, testing, building, distributing, displaying, teaching, explaining, demonstrating, servicing, installing and selling a product.

I believe that many in this forum do not.
Thank you,
Elliot

Zzz. Magico Q5s cost as much as Opus Magnum- explain that real fast. Cables more expensive than speakers makes zero sense.

And your example is worse- cabling costs close as much as the ENTIRE system. You really sell that drivel to customers?
 
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LL21

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Zzz. Magico Q5s cost as much as Opus Magnum- explain that real fast. Cables more expensive than speakers makes zero sense.

I hear you...the things about high end audio is we could drop to the Thiel 3.6 and then loads of speaker cables are more expensive than an excellent pair of speakers. as high as someone is willing to spend, the market will rise to that level...

Case in point...when someone owns a pair of $300K speakers (Assoulata, Dragon, maybe Marten Coltrane Supreme 2s, Tesseract? etc) and $150K worth of amps...and $120K of digital...does a cable manufacturer go the next mile and offer him a pair of $60K speaker cables?...And we already know the answer to that.

A $100M yacht, a $200M yacht, a $300M yacht...a Bombardier, a G5, a 737, a 747...
 

FrantzM

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I hear you...the things about high end audio is we could drop to the Thiel 3.6 and then loads of speaker cables are more expensive than an excellent pair of speakers. as high as someone is willing to spend, the market will rise to that level...

Case in point...when someone owns a pair of $300K speakers (Assoulata, Dragon, maybe Marten Coltrane Supreme 2s, Tesseract? etc) and $150K worth of amps...and $120K of digital...does a cable manufacturer go the next mile and offer him a pair of $60K speaker cables?...And we already know the answer to that.

A $100M yacht, a $200M yacht, a $300M yacht...a Bombardier, a G5, a 737, a 747...

Ok then... Seems that we are somewhat admitting or maybe conceding that it's not not about the performance of said cables , it is to keep up with the pricing of the other gears..IOW making sure you don't wear your Gucci loafer with a lowly Wrangler Jeans ? Could it be that it is simply a case of Luxury items pricing where performance is not the real issue but the mention of the term, a pretense, a pretext for the supernova-like price? Why wouldn't a more modestly priced cable be better with this system (if you believe cables make a difference)...Maybe in this grandiose system with a >300K speaker ...a Shunyatta could have been a better deal?
Must say that the markup on cables look spectacular when you compare the likely BOM and R&D to something like a Wilson Maxx or a Q5 ... let's forget about the lowly Thiel CS3.6 ... If I am a well regarded High End Audio manufacturer I would think hard about introducing my own cable .. Evo Acoustics has done it .. When will we see a Wilson cable? a MAgico? A Rockport?

Sorry folks I couldn't resist :)

back to how magnificent the Magnum Opus is ...
 

microstrip

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Zzz. Magico Q5s cost as much as Opus Magnum- explain that real fast. Cables more expensive than speakers makes zero sense.

And your example is worse- cabling costs close as much as the ENTIRE system. You really sell that drivel to customers?

Keith,

Have you ever listened to a system using the components and cables listed by Elliot?

I have listened many times to one very similar ;), and can assure you he knows what he is talking about. If his customer valuates the exceptional sound qualities that such system can exhibit in the appropriate room, it is money well spent.
 

MasterChief

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Jun 26, 2012
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In my country the companies financial result is no secret.It is actually official for everyone to see. I am wondering about the financial result Transparent and Nordost are doing. According to some posts here they should be gazillionaires or something. Somehow I doubt that...
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Ok then... Seems that we are somewhat admitting or maybe conceding that it's not not about the performance of said cables , it is to keep up with the pricing of the other gears..IOW making sure you don't wear your Gucci loafer with a lowly Wrangler Jeans ? ...

back to how magnificent the Magnum Opus is ...

Yes and no...Yes, I agree that pricing has [generally] been about supply and demand, and when demand has a near-limitless budget, the market supply responds in kind. But that's true of everything. When a piece of art becomes rare, and everyone wants it...voila.

But no, in the sense that having heard the latest $200K speakers from Wilson and Focal, I DO think they are better than their predecessors. And inflating a $67K speaker from 1994 forward does not result in a number particularly inconsistent with $200K today. So the WAMM (at $130K) in 1990s probably would be $400K+/- today. And it would not surprise me if I heard the Genesis 1.2/Dragons that they are sensational at $300K+.

And coming on to speaker cables, I have not spoken with anyone who seriously auditioned/compared the Opus MM2 with their own ref or refxl cable who did not come away preferring the Opus by a large margin. I cannot speak to the Opus Magnus and always reserve judgment about an actual product til I've heard it...sometimes manufacturers do make mistakes or are trying to get away with highway robbery. But so far, each newer/higher level cable I have heard from TA is better than the last...not heard them all, but that's been my impression for 10 years.

So if they have the demand for even better...and people feel like the incremental improvement is worth double...go for it. i'll pick em up 2nd hand years from now for cents on the dollar as usual.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
Zzz. Magico Q5s cost as much as Opus Magnum- explain that real fast. Cables more expensive than speakers makes zero sense.

And your example is worse- cabling costs close as much as the ENTIRE system. You really sell that drivel to customers?

I said I am not trying to justify the costs of anything however you have no idea what it takes to make either product. What it is in terms of perceived value has nothing to do with the cost of manufacturing and the cost of specialized parts.
I have no comment about making sense since this is all luxury and vanity purchases. You have to determine for yourself what is and what isn't worth purchasing.
Your tone however is one of dismissal of facts and that Sir leaves this conversation as arguementative.
The truth is that you have no idea of the costs that either company has and you are just assuming a speaker is more costly because you value it more. This may be your truth or the real truth but without facts and expertise its just bullshit
 

ack

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Quite the skeptic ... wow ... I own Transparent cables...in the past Ref, Ref XL and currently Ref MM and Opus...I can assure they higher end models are not just high and low...

Are you a owner or a potential buyer? Or just stating opinion....or have you discussed with a dealer or Transparent to get the facts? Might be worth it to be sure...just sayin

Have been an owner (though back in late '90s or so, and had opened that box), have evaluated newer models (XL phono cable the last year being the most recent; and have posted, among other things, about its unacceptable plastic XLR Amphenol connectors, the unacceptable fake sound - the cable went back in just 24 hrs - et al), and I have studied their approach, "technology" and marketing pitch for years, based on any information I get my hands on, and still do - I am a technologist after all. Basically, I only post about things I am quite familiar with and have spent a significant time listening and thinking about them. Tone controls to these ears... Plain assurances by other users don't mean much to me; I need proof - sorta like the Missourian approach :) Just saying...
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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sad that so many gear discussions on WBF degenerate into price-related conflict. and many times with naysayers who have no personal experience with the product.

sigh.

for myself, having owned TA Opus MM for years, no doubt it brings some magic to the performance equation that is unique and if one's system is complimentary to them it can justify it's worth for those sufficiently motivated.

I can remember inviting friends over to my place in 2000 to hear the original Opus MM speaker cables comparing them to the Valhalla, my Ref XL, and other contenders at that time. we went back and forth and while the price was daunting to all, the performance step-up was also clear.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
sad that so many gear discussions on WBF degenerate into price-related conflict. and many times with naysayers who have no personal experience with the product.

sigh.

for myself, having owned TA Opus MM for years, no doubt it brings some magic to the performance equation that is unique and if one's system is complimentary to them it can justify it's worth for those sufficiently motivated.

I can remember inviting friends over to my place in 2000 to hear the original Opus MM speaker cables comparing them to the Valhalla, my Ref XL, and other contenders at that time. we went back and forth and while the price was daunting to all, the performance step-up was also clear.

THANK YOU MIKE!!!!!!
Its so tiring to hear the whining of those who have no interest in advancing the state of the art . Its not all about the price. I agree the prices are crazy but the lack of business knowledge coupled with the attitude of negativity makes these threads annoying. It is nice to read someone that enjoys his gear and loves music and wants to learn.
 

microstrip

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Plain assurances by other users don't mean much to me; I need proof - sorta like the Missourian approach :) Just saying...

Other users probably have different systems and rooms, probably different music tastes. It is one the reasons I enjoy WBF. IMHO, constructive approaches are welcome.
 

coopersark

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May 24, 2013
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Transparent Opus Level Cables are Luxury Goods - Food for Thought....

I am late to the "party" on this discussion. I have owned Transparent products over the years, since their inception in the mid 1980's. I use and enjoy their Opus MMII cabling in my secondary system. If my primary system were not Spectral, where MIT cabling has to be used by default, my Transparent cabling would still be in service there! They are an extremely serious company with an excellent product line, but at their top levels, yes, the prices are insane for what they are. That said, in the context of the right audio system they are simply magical!

I am sure that Transparent would not come out with an improved line if in fact it truly were not better that what had preceded it. Please also keep in mind that their entire line is upgradeable as part of Transparent's upgrade program. Without that upgrade program, I would have never been able to afford the Opus level cabling that I enjoy so very much. Over the years, I ran the gamut from Super to Opus one step at a time. Another factor is that at their top tier, Transparent cables are custom calibrated, and the end user's cables can be sent back to Transparent whenever equipment is changed and the custom calibration is performed at no cost. This is unlimited for the life of the cable. One of my Opus IC's have been back to Transparent three times, and I am sure that they have not had their last trip to Maine!

Both programs cost money and some of those funds from the initial dealer or distributor sale have to be put into an escrow account to pay for future parts, labor, and shipping costs, all of which go in only one direction over time - UP!

While I have not heard the new Magnum Opus, however, based on Transparent's long history and excellent reputation, I would speculate that it is going to be be very special. Is it worth the money? That is a value judgement that only the potential end user can answer.

That said, cables at this level are truly "Luxury Goods".

I have posted the below article "Understanding Luxury Goods" from author Seth Godin's (Seth is also a fellow audiophile, and I was turned on to his daily blogs by Paul McGowan of PS Audio several years ago.) take on Luxury goods. He wrote this last October, and ironically one of the luxury items that he mentions is audio cables! I think that this article may be insightful on some level to all audiophiles!

Understanding luxury goods

"A luxury good gets its value from its lack of utility and value. A typical consumer would look at what it costs and what it does and say, "that's ridiculous."

When a good like this (and it might be a service as well) comes to market, it sometimes transcends the value equation and enters a new realm, one of scarcity and social proof. The value, ironically, comes from its lack of value.

The owner of a $12,000 Birkin bag might tell you that it's worth every penny. Obviously, one can carry a wallet and a few other essentials in bag that costs less than 1% of what this bag costs, and we can even imagine making something just like a Birkin for a fraction of the price. But that would be a copy, not the real thing, and so the story, the narrative, the specialness and most of all, the social element would go out the window. A Birkin bag is at its most valuable when your friends admire you for owning it, not when they admire its ability to carry your stuff.

The ring in the blue Tiffany box or the speaker cables that cost more than a car--these are purchased as (perhaps peverse) testaments to the (take your pick) power/taste/wealth of the person buying or owning it.

Discount luxury goods, then, are an oxymoron. The factory outlet or the job lot seller or the yoga studio that's selling the "same thing but cheaper," isn't selling the same thing at all. They don't offer scarcity, social proof or the self-narrative of a splurge. What they sell is, "you're smarter than other people, but you know, you're also a little bit of a fraud because this isn't actually a luxury good, because it's a better value." Circular, but true.

It takes guts to invent a brand new luxury good from scratch. Shinola watches don't tell time any better than a $16 Timex, but they do tell a better story. Their creation is part of that story, but so is the identity of the stores that sell them and the fact that they sell out regularly.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who invented the industry (yes, one person invented luxury goods as a category) understood something that flies in the face of the non-scarcity of the internet: social proof among the wealthy is based on beauty plus scarcity plus expense. The fact that others believe a good is overpriced is precisely why a certain segment of the market chooses to purchase it.

This even works in b2b situations. McKinsey certainly offers a luxury good (only the biggest, wealthiest corporations can afford them) as do furniture makers like Herman Miller.

We're also seeing luxury goods being purchased by people not ordinarily thought of as wealthy. A teenager with a rare pair of new sneakers qualifies as luxury in her tribe.

It's interesting to note that first class travel isn't the luxury good it once was. The airlines stumbled, started playing with both service and scarcity, and unravelled the myth. Hence the need for a private jet as a luxury good, even when there's a perfectly fine commercial jet going to that very destination.

One place where the luxury goods idea has been underutilized is philanthropy. The rich guy who gives $20 million to a university isn't doing it because the school is likely to spend his money in the most efficient way. He's doing it because they will name a building after him. The building is a scarce good, overpriced for what it appears to deliver, which is precisely why it's a form of luxury.

One opportunity for non-profits is to use their true needs as only part of the conversation about giving. The dreaded gala, for example, is best seen as a luxury good. All the time and coordination and busywork are actually providing utility... not to the charity, but to those attending.

Sorry to drone on... wrapping up then, when luxury intersects with the web, conflicts ensue. First, because the net makes pricing transparent, which inevitably makes some people feel stupid for paying full price (and stupidity doesn't work with the other pillars of luxury). And second, because the new sorts of social proof have to do with how connected and respected you are, not how much you paid for that handbag."
 
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FrantzM

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coopersark


Jean-Baptiste Colbert did not create the notion of Luxury Goods... Luxury is as old as civilization.Exclusivity and Luxury are tied... These days the notion is more fluid and certain items that are perceived as Luxury items are in fact quite common. it is a matter of perception or even manipulation (aka Marketing). Luxury often try to link itself to performance often citing high R&D cost ... Creating the sense that the luxury items do perform better than the mundane one ... This works to an extent but examination will show that it is not the case ... Perdon the pun, Case in Point, a Samsonite (or other) Polycarbonate luggage is likely more rugged than any Louis Vuitton Leather one of the same size. I had the misfortune to be gifted with a Louis Vuitton piece of luggage and it did not fare well with just onea trip to the Caribbean where baggage handling will make a UPS delivery man looks like a person carrying TNT, whereas I have several Samsonite Oyster that have been taking the kicking and licking and mishandling for more than 20 years ... I will spare you the watch comparison ...
The Opus Magnum as you do put it though is a Luxury item and both owners and designers are fishing for rationalization of superiority... As long as some can afford it, derive pleasure from its ownership and convince themselves it is the best, they will sell a few at immense margins ..In a few years there will come a more expensive version of it .. inching toward my milestone .. The $100,000 speaker cable. in comparison this current model will sound veiled and slow and ...
 

coopersark

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May 24, 2013
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The $100,000 speaker cable. in comparison this current model will sound veiled and slow and ...

I have said this before, tongue in cheek, but it bears repeating:

There was a time when if someone said to you, "Your audio system sounds like a million bucks", it would be taken as a compliment. At present, we have approached a time when if that once complimentary statement were made, it could be taken as an insult!

The "High End" in audio is not about necessarily high cost, but about high performance. The purpose of a high end audio system is to deliver at once relaxation and musical enjoyment to its owner. Our hobby should be about the enjoyment of reproduced music in our homes and not status seeking for the sake of status. Sure there is pride of ownership, but that pride should not be turned into bragging rights.

If one wants to use uber expensive cables/components in their system, that is their personal decision. If they are true to themselves, that decision will be based not only on sound quality, but on the price of entry and opportunity costs relative to their personal current and future financial needs and obligations.

If a company wants to produce something and a consumer wants to own it, it is a free market economy.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
I have said this before, tongue in cheek, but it bears repeating:

There was a time when if someone said to you, "Your audio system sounds like a million bucks", it would be taken as a compliment. At present, we have approached a time when if that once complimentary statement were made, it could be taken as an insult!

The "High End" in audio is not about necessarily high cost, but about high performance. The purpose of a high end audio system is to deliver at once relaxation and musical enjoyment to its owner. Our hobby should be about the enjoyment of reproduced music in our homes and not status seeking for the sake of status. Sure there is pride of ownership, but that pride should not be turned into bragging rights.

If one wants to use uber expensive cables/components in their system, that is their personal decision. If they are true to themselves, that decision will be based not only on sound quality, but on the price of entry and opportunity costs relative to their personal current and future financial needs and obligations.

If a company wants to produce something and a consumer wants to own it, it is a free market economy.

One thing not mentioned here is the time and energy that it takes to build these ultra products usually brings new technology and production methods to the products that lie beneath it.
In this case Transparent is going to update all its reference products based on the knowledge that they gained building the Flagship Magnum Opus.

Whats it worth only the customer can decide that and he does that with his wallet
 

coopersark

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One thing not mentioned here is the time and energy that it takes to build these ultra products usually brings new technology and production methods to the products that lie beneath it.
In this case Transparent is going to update all its reference products based on the knowledge that they gained building the Flagship Magnum Opus.

And that time and energy (and testing equipment, audio equipment, cost of the building, utilities, insurance of the building, health care costs, salaries, social security, skilled labor, test runs of cabling (design prototypes) and other components are all part of the "development costs". These costs will be amortized over a very small number of units, therefore the R&D cost per unit is very high.

The same can be said for the raw finished/developed material that goes into this cable. Transparent is not ordering their Opus level wiring by the mile! They are not ordering the carbon fiber pods by the gross! Those pods are hand crafted one at a time and are extremely costly. The specialty connectors that they employ are not ordered by the gross either! The only item on the cabling that may be ordered a a big discount, may be the plastic mesh outer wrap netting.

When all this is factored in, even at $60,000 a pair retail, the cables may be a "loss leader" for them, in order to develop the rest of their line, as well as a marketing tool in order to sell the rest of their line. Every Transparent customer gets a little "Opus" in whatever level they are buying. As one ascends the line, the closer it becomes to the reference.

Then there are the marketing costs - advertizing, travel and attendance of both audio and trade shows, loans to trade show exhibitors, loans to reviewers, and occasional loans to a dealer's customer for a home trial.

Finally there is a lifetime warranty. While cables rarely break, there still can be potential issues, like one of those pods cracking or a bad connector. Some of these items must be stocked in anticipation of a future event. This all does not come free.

General Motors initially developed the Corvette to sell more station wagons. A family man would go into the showroom and lust after the 'Vette, but drove off with something much more mundane. In that customer's mind, he was still buying a piece of that sports car's excitement and panache.
 
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jfrech

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And that time and energy (and testing equipment, audio equipment, cost of the building, utilities, insurance of the building, health care costs, salaries, social security, skilled labor, test runs of cabling (design prototypes) and other components are all part of the "development costs". These costs will be amortized over a very small number of units, therefore the R&D cost per unit is very high.

The same can be said for the raw finished/developed material that goes into this cable. Transparent is not ordering their Opus level wiring by the mile! They are not ordering the carbon fiber pods by the gross! Those pods are hand crafted one at a time and are extremely costly. The specialty connectors that they employ are not ordered by the gross either! The only item on the cabling that may be ordered a a big discount, may be the plastic mesh outer wrap netting.

When all this is factored in, even at $60,000 a pair retail, the cables may be a "loss leader" for them, in order to develop the rest of their line, as well as a marketing tool in order to sell the rest of their line. Eery Transparent customer gets a little "Opus" in whatever level they are buying. As one ascends the line, the closer it becomes to the reference.

General Motors initially developed the Corvette to sell more station wagons. A family man would go into the showroom and lust after the 'Vette, but drove off with something much more mundane. In that customer's mind, he was still buying a piece of that sports car's excitement and panache.

Well said. Ditto for Elliot G's comments above...
 

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