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White Hot Stamper

Paul Simon
Still Crazy After All These Years

  (Item #: simonstill_2001) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This KILLER pressing earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
  • The immediacy of the vocals is striking, putting a living, breathing Paul Simon right between your speakers
  • An extremely tough album to find with the kind of big, spacious, Tubey Magical sound this pressing offers
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...he was never more in tune with his audience: Still Crazy topped the charts, spawned four Top 40 hits, and won Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Vocal Performance."
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White Hot Stamper

Paul Simon
There Goes Rhymin’ Simon

  (Item #: simonthere_1911) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • An insanely good copy of Simon's third solo album, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • The sound is incredibly rich, warm, full-bodied and Tubey Magical - it's present and clear, never harsh or gritty the way so many are
  • Great songs including Kodachrome, Loves Me Like a Rock, Was a Sunny Day (and you probably know most of the other 7)
  • 5 stars: "Retaining the buoyant musical feel of Paul Simon, but employing a more produced sound, There Goes Rhymin' Simon found Paul Simon writing and performing with assurance and venturing into soulful and R&B-oriented music."
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Paul Simon
Graceland

  (Item #: simongrace_1912) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding copy of Paul Simon's 1986 release with solid Double Plus (A++) rich, smooth and clear sound, in precisely the way so few copies are - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Guaranteed to TROUNCE the well-reviewed but nevertheless awful Heavy Vinyl LP in every way, or your money back and the shipping is on us
  • There's a delicate, extended top end on this pressing that simply does not exist on most of the copies we played
  • 5 stars: "An enormously successful record, Graceland became the standard against which subsequent musical experiments by major artists were measured."
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Super Hot Stamper

Simon & Garfunkel
Bridge Over Troubled Water

  (Item #: simonbridg_2001_) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding 360 Label pressing of Simon & Garfunkel's classic, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl (for this album) too
  • The sound is wonderful - big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness that only the good 360 pressings can have
  • The toughest Simon & Garfunkel album to find with excellent sound and reasonable surfaces -- no contest
  • 5 stars: "Perhaps the most delicately textured album to close out the 1960s from any major rock act... the songs matched the standard of craftsmanship that had been established on the duo's two prior albums"
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Super Hot Stamper

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears

  (Item #: bloodblood_1912) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Both sides of this outstanding original 360 pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound and play reasonably quietly, all things considered
  • The only versions of the album we sell are the 360 originals, but most of the dozens plus stamper numbers we know cannot hold a candle to this pressing
  • The sound is HUGE, rich, dynamic and POWERFUL - BS&T is a permanent member of our Top 100 and a Demo Disc par excellence
  • This is surely Roy Halee's engineering masterpiece, and here's the kind of pressing that, given the right equipment, room, and setup, can really make our case
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Their finest moment and a testimony to the best of the jazz/rock movement ... The album is bold, brassy and adventurous."
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Super Hot Stamper

Simon & Garfunkel
Bookends

  (Item #: simonbooke_1903_7_11) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • An excellent 360 stereo pressing earning Double Plus grades throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Our hottest copies have lovely midrange magic on the guitars and voices as well as plenty of studio ambience on most tracks, especially the simpler, more folky ones
  • An album that has become much tougher to come by, especially ones that play this well
  • Top 100, Five Stars - side two alone has four classics: Fakin' It, Mrs. Robinson, A Hazy Shade of Winter and At the Zoo
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Super Hot Stamper

Simon & Garfunkel
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary...

  (Item #: simonparsl_1910) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding Columbia 360 pressing of Simon and Garfunkel's breakthrough from 1966 boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Here is a copy with especially smooth, present, breathy vocals - this is the sound we love at Better Records, and the sound that the modern reissue too often fails to capture
  • A longtime Better Records Top 100 album and a Demo Disc for Tubey Magical voices and guitars
  • 4 1/2 stars: "[I]t is an achievement akin to the Beatles' Revolver or the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, and just as personal and pointed as either of those records at their respective bests."
  • "Few others have come close to the intelligence, beauty, variety, creativity, and craftsmanship that [PSR&T] captured." Pete Fornatale
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Hot Stamper

Simon & Garfunkel
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary...

  (Item #: simonparsl_1910_1) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This Columbia 360 pressing of Simon and Garfunkel's breakthrough from 1966 boasts Hot Stamper sound or better on both sides
  • A longtime Better Records Top 100 album and a Demo Disc for Tubey Magical voices and guitars
  • 4 1/2 stars: "[I]t is an achievement akin to the Beatles' Revolver or the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, and just as personal and pointed as either of those records at their respective bests."
  • "Few others have come close to the intelligence, beauty, variety, creativity, and craftsmanship that [PSR&T] captured." Pete Fornatale
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Super Hot Stamper

The Lovin' Spoonful
John Sebastian Songbook, Vol. 1

  (Item #: lovinjohns_1801_1906) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • With Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, the sound quality of the tracks on this compilation is impressive - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are rich, full-bodied and natural - no sign of radio EQ to be found
  • Features most of the band's best songs, including Do You Believe In Magic, You Didn't Have To Be So Nice, Six O'clock and Nashville Cats (a personal fave)
  • The Allmusic critic is not too crazy about this album, but the User Rating is 4 1/2 stars, which we think is about right
See all of our The Lovin' Spoonful albums in stock


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1A, or Is 1B Better?

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

  (Item #: simonparsl_fremer) 



Before we go any further, I have a question: Why are we guessing?

I received an email recently from a customer who had gone to great pains to do his own shootout for a record; in the end he came up short, with not a lot to show for his time and effort. It had this bit tucked in toward the end:

Some of [Better Records'] Hot Stampers are very dear in price and most often due to the fact that there are so few copies in near mint condition. I hate to think of all the great Hot Stampers that have ended up in piles on the floor night after night with beer, Coke, and seeds being ground into them.

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Blood, Sweat & Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears 3

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bloodbloo3_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper side one shows you just how good Roy Halee's engineering used to be, comparable to his brilliant work on BS&T's previous album, the one we extol to this day as (probably) the best sounding rock record ever made. (Dark Side of the Moon is its only competition in my mind. Both are staggering in every way.)

This side one has the BIG JAZZ-ROCK sound -- stretching from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, with energy and power that only a handful of albums can begin to compete with.

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Blood, Sweat and Tears

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: bloodblood_2016) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

In my opinion this is the BEST SOUNDING rock record ever made. Played on a BIG SPEAKER SYSTEM, a top Hot Stamper pressing is nothing less than a thrill, the ultimate Demo Disc.

Credit must go to the amazing engineering skills of ROY HALEE. He may not be very consistent (Graceland, Still Crazy After All These Years) but on this album he knocked it out of the park. With the right copy playing on the right stereo, the album has the potential to sound like LIVE MUSIC.

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Blood, Sweat and Tears

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: bloodblood_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

In my opinion this is the BEST SOUNDING rock record ever made. I may be biased by the fact that I like the music so much; nevertheless, on a big stereo a Hot Stamper pressing like the one is nothing less than ASTOUNDING. It has the power of LIVE MUSIC. You don’t find that on a record too often, practically never in fact. I put this record at the top of The Best Sounding Rock Records of All Time List for good reason -- it’s in a class of its own.

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Bloomfield / Kooper / Stills - Super Session

All Things Are Never Equal

  (Item #: bloomsuper_equal) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning (usually old) records.

Can the Red Label reissues sound any good?

Why yes, they can, and here's why. Every once in a while, when it comes time to stamp out some more copies of slow but still-selling records, "back catalog" as they are known in the trade, someone has to go into the vault and find a tape with which to master. Maybe that person finds a real master tape. Or maybe that person finds a master tape and makes a really high quality dub of it to master from.

More Al Kooper / More Stephen Stills


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Bloomfield / Kooper / Stills - Super Session

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: bloomsuper_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

Super Session is one of the best-sounding MoFi pressings. The midrange sounds wonderful -- silky sweet and transparent. Not having been cut by Stan Ricker, the top end doesn't have that SR/2 boost. Overall it's a very nice sounding record, and the music just can't be beat.

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Bloomfield-Kooper-Stills - Super Session

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bloomsuper_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Possibly the BEST SIDE TWO WE'VE EVER HEARD! Neither side suffered from the problems we heard on copy after copy: bright, gritty, spitty, edgy, harsh, upper-midrangy vocals. The Red Labels tend to be worse in this respect, but plenty of original 360 pressings have that sound too. Let's face it: If the vocals are wrong this album pretty much falls apart. Here's a copy that gets the midrange right, along with most everything else, and that puts it way ahead of the pack.

More Al Kooper / More Stephen Stills


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Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: dylanhighw_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This 360 Label pressing has a SUPERB A+++ SIDE ONE backed with a strong A++ side two. We had a big stack of 360s and Red Labels with good stampers to compare, and this copy had a side one that could not be beat. It's got big time immediacy, tons of energy, loads of tubey magic and exceptional clarity. The bottom end is punchy with real weight and the soundfield is open, spacious and so transparent.

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Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Sundazed Mono Debunked

  (Item #: dylanhighw_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Sundazed record debunked.

I don’t think mono works for this album, so we never carried it nor recommended it.

Here are some records that we've found have the potential to sound amazing in MONO.

Here are some other records that we don't think sound very good in MONO.

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Lovin' Spoonful - The Very Best of the Lovin' Spoonful

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lovinveryb_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) White Hot Stamper sound for some of the biggest hits of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I wouldn't expect to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is! This pressing changes EVERYTHING.

This copy lets you hear versions of Younger Girl, Didn't Want to Have to Do It, Daydream, You Didn't Have to Be So Nice, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?, and Do You Believe in Magic? with the kind of sonics never thought possible, not by us anyway. This copy is truly a revelation. And side two ain't too shabby either.

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Mark-Almond - To The Heart

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: markatothe_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

It takes two copies paired up to get Triple Plus (A+++) sound for both sides, but here they are, a Triple Triple 2-pack. With Roy Halee's brilliant engineering, the sound is as big, rich, clear, open, and ANALOG as you could hope for. New York State of Mind and Here Comes the Rain, Parts 1&2 have a wonderfully relaxed, mellow, jazzy vibe. Allmusic users give this one 4 1/2 Stars and we think that's about right.



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Paul Simon - Graceland

What to Think When the New Version Is Completely Unrecognizable?

  (Item #: simongrace_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

Where did this thick, dull, bloated, opaque turd come from? Having played at least 50 copies of the album over the last ten years, I can honestly say I have never heard one that sounded very much like this new version (maybe some record club copy we picked up by accident did, can't say it never happened).

Can that possibly be a good thing?

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Paul Simon - Graceland

When Clarity Is King

  (Item #: simongrace_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Graceland.

We regularly do shootouts for Graceland. Having played so many copies over the years we're become quite familiar with the range of sound on the album, what constitutes good, better and best, and we feel we understand what qualities the premier copy must have in order to win one of our shootouts.

What Graceland has going for it sonically is CLARITY.

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Paul Simon - Paul Simon

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: simonpauls_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

MASTER TAPE SOUND on side one, backed with a great side two! We just finished our first big shootout for this wonderfully fun album, and I gotta tell you -- I don’t think any Paul Simon solo album was recorded any better! I can’t imagine that you'll find a better sounding side than the first side of this copy; it's doing EVERYTHING right.

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Paul Simon - Stil Crazy All These Years

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: simonstill_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Still Crazy After All These Years.

As well-produced, well-engineered Pop Albums from the '70s, the very best copies can proudly hold their heads high. Wait a minute. Our last commentary noted what a mess most of the pressings of this album sound like, with so much spit and grain. Have we changed our minds? Well, yes and no, and as usual we make no excuses for having changed our minds. We call it progress.

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Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin’ Simon

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: simonthere_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO LOVELY SIDES, including a side one that takes this music to an entirely new level! People have been telling me for years how good this album can sound, but until we played this copy I didn’t realize just how right they were. This side one has STAGGERING presence and a MASSIVE three-dimensional soundfield that we simply did not hear anywhere else. The sound is airy, open, spacious and SO transparent, and the energy factor is OFF THE CHARTS. Drop the needle and brace yourself for rich, full-bodied sound that jumps out of the speakers and fills the room!

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Roy Halee

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allroy_halee) 



ROY HALEE is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Check out our supply of Roy Halee engineered or produced albums, along with some of our famous commentaries.
More of our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers


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Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: simonbooke_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Bookends.

Musically side two is one of the strongest in the entire Simon and Garfunkel oeuvre (if you'll pardon my French). Each of the five songs could hold its own as a potential hit on the radio, and no filler to be found whatsoever. How many albums from 1968 can make that claim?

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Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: simonbooke_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO KILLER SIDES including a STUNNING Demo Quality A+++ side one! Bring over your audio buddies and blow their minds by dropping the needle on America -- I guarantee that they've never heard it sound like this before (unless, of course, they happen to be one of our top-shelf Hot Stamper customers already). Everything you'd hope for on a killer pressing of this album is right here on this side one, and most of it is on the A++ side two as well.

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Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: simonbridg_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

THE FIRST WHITE HOT STAMPER FOR THIS ALBUM TO EVER HIT THE SITE! We love this music, but let me tell you the truth -- this is not a shootout we ever look forward to doing. The sound of the average copy is POSITIVELY PAINFUL. If you play a couple dozen copies, you'll probably turn up a good one eventually, but you're better off letting us do that dirty work.

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Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: simonbridg_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Pure mud. One of the worst versions ever made. (The CBS Half-Speed is actually quite good by the way.)

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Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: simonparsl_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO FREAKISHLY GOOD A+++ SIDES and quiet vinyl make this our new ALL TIME CHAMPION for this killer album! We play dozens of copies of this album every few months, but we can't recall ever hearing a copy that was as stunning on both sides as this one is. It’s got all the elements we look for on this album: superb clarity and transparency; big time immediacy; amazing tubey richness and warmth; low levels of sibilance; a delicate, silky quality to the top end; weight to the bottom -- you name it, it’s here.

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Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: simonparsl_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Simon & Garfunkel's groundbreaking third album (from 1966 no less!).
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Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: simonbridg_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

Not Bad, But Hot Stampers Rule

What do the best copies give you? They’re the ones with textured strings in the orchestral arrangements. The string tone on the average copy is hard and steely. (The Classic 200 gram pressing suffers from a case of slightly steely strings. Play it yourself and see.) When the strings are blasting away at the end of the title song, you want to be able to hear the texture without the strings sounding shrill and edgy. This is no mean feat, for the record or the stereo.

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Still Crazy About Records After All These Years

Why Not? They Keep Getting Better!

  (Item #: simonstill_better) 



Still Crazy is the perfect example of an album that now sounds far better than we thought would ever be possible, not in this life anyway, due mostly to changes to the stereo, the quality of the electricity that feeds it, and last but far from least, the listening room itself.
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The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: byrdsnotor_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The sound is big and rich throughout, with excellent transparency and clarity. The vocals are breathy and present and the bottom end is superb. Most copies out there are too murky and/or blurry to make sense of, but this one sounded just about right to our ears. The guitars have that "jangly" sound that you want to hear on a Byrds record. You'd have to have a lot of clean pressings around to have decent odds of finding one that sounds this good and plays this quietly!

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The Byrds - theart Of The Rodeo

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: byrdssweet_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Two stunning sides -- a Red Label side one and a 360 side two! The instruments here have more texture, the bass has more weight and the soundfield has more depth than on any other sides we played in our shootout. Pull together enough copies and you might find one this good, but based on our experience you'll face some pretty long odds finding any that can compete with this.

More of The Byrds


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The Lovin' Spoonful - John Sebastian Songbook, Vol. 1

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: lovinjohns_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Great sound for some the biggest hits of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I wouldn't have expected to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is. This is one of the rare cases where, in our experience, the hits compilation sounds BETTER than the original records. Why? Who knows? We don't pretend to have all the answers. What we do have (that no one else has, if that's not too obvious) are the records that back up the claims we make for them.

See all of our The Lovin' Spoonful albums in stock


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The Lovin’ Spoonful - Daydream

Sundazed Debunked

  (Item #: lovindaydr_sundazed) 



Sonic Grade: D

The best sounding of the Lovin' Spoonful records I've heard on Sundazed, which means that the others would get an F for sound. Don't waste your money. I'd be surprised if the CDs weren't better sounding. (Many Sundazed CDs are actually quite good.)

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