Impressions of Tidal

steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
edited February 12 in Going Digital
Back in the 60's and 70's, most everyone used their AM/FM tuner as their main source. Stations were plentiful, especially for me being a St. Louis native, and the music was good. Fast forward to satellite radio, which I had hoped would finally bring CD quality music to the airwaves. I was a VERY early adopter of XM, as my location now in a small town was seriously limited on FM stations. I haven't owned a tuner in over 20yrs. Well, BIG disappointment on the XM front....

Enter streamed (16/44) music, ala the internet. I recently signed up for a trial of Tidal Hi-fi service, just to check it out and see if it's something I might want to keep. Here's some quick observations:

1. The interface is very user friendly, and is learned quickly
2. You can search, pick suggested music, view by genre, or pick a pre-built playlist
3. Create your own playlists

Now the sound:

When compared to my flac rips from CD's, Tidals music seems a little softer around the edges. This was particularly evident on Sugarland "Stuck like glue" but other music also has this slight softening to it as well. On "stuck like glue" my flac rip has the lead vocal more upfront and real sounding, with crisp transients and possibly a little deeper soundstage. This was pretty much the rule across the board, though in varying degrees depending on the track.

Generally, it sounds really good. It's the closest thing to CD quality I've heard as far as streaming services, and/or satellite radio. Sans the slight "softening" I really enjoyed playing with it last night, and I think it's likely a keeper.

For reference, I was streaming via my Oppo BDP-103 Tidal app/Media Control app on my Ipad mini 4. My Oppo is connected via digital coaxial output to my PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell dac. The Ipad mini 4 simply acts as a host/remote for the Tidal program, nothing passes through it, sound wise.
Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
Post edited by steveinaz on
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Comments

  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
    Exactly---I prefer more of a radio experience, rather than hunting down individual songs or albums. Pick a playlist, and let her rip.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • I haven't really tested the digital radio much, but once I saw how easy it was to add streaming internet radio to my CXN I packed up my FM antenna, which I never used anyway because it sounded like garbage. Actual radio probably still won't get too much use in my house, but it's cool to have that option.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Sony CDP-CE375 / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > JBL Studio 580 or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • WagnerRCWagnerRC Posts: 1,838
    Tidal is my option too. Very satisfied with the service.
  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 6,876
    Love tidal
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs DAC2x and TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP-05 preamp -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

    Old Gear:
    Speakers: BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Source: Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
    Preamplification: Rotel RC1070 -> Rogue Perseus -> Cary SLP98 -> Cary SLP98F1 -> Cary SLP05 (sold and then repurchased)
    Amplification: HK AVR330 -> Rotel RB1070 -> Rotel RB1090 -> Plinius SA102 -> Cary 211FE -> Classe M600 -> Boulder 2060
    Subwoofer: Infinity Entra2 sub -> SVS 25-31PC+ sub
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 4,864
    Tidal coupled with my own library via Roon has been a God-send.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 5,247
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    Tidal coupled with my own library via Roon has been a God-send.

    While I wouldn’t call it a godsend, I do love the combo of tidal and roon. While it may be true that if you are trying to squeeze the last ounce of sq out of your system tidal probably shouldn’t be your primary source of music, it’s perfect for me...
    HT Rig:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Peachtree Audio NovaPre; B&K TX4430; Bryson BPD-1; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10; Center - Polk cs400i; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5; LG UP870 4K BDP; NVidia ShieldTV
    ;
    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Parasound HCA-1000A, PSB Imagine B, NHT Super One CI surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo (original), Squeezebox Touch
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 4,864
    Trust me...trying to manage 233,000+ tracks in my personal library without Roon was a pain in the a$$. Roon is indeed a godsend for that.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • mark090852mark090852 Posts: 891
    I have used TIDAL exclusively for the the last few months for hi-res streaming through my Lumin D2. Love it. But right this minute I am trying out Qobuz. It finally went live in the US today. So far it's pretty damn nice! 30 day free trial just like TIDAL. I'll stick with just one after the 30 day trial.
    McIntosh MA252 Integrated Amp, LUMIN D2 Network Music Player, Yamaha Aventage RX-A840 receiver, Emotiva XPA Gen3 2 channel amp, Polk LSiM 703 speakers. Oppo UDP-203 Blu-Ray player, Polk LSiM 705 speakers. Polk Signature S20 speakers.
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 6,105
    edited February 14
    I love Tidal and ROON...ROON brings it all together and allows you to experience whole house audio for when you are doing stuff and also pulls services together under 1 nice UI.

    ROON Radio works great.

    A nice DAC helps too... My Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ is the shizzle.
    My New Year's resolution is 3840 × 2160

    HT:Polk LSiM 706 LSiM 705's VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's| Marantz AV7704 | Sunfire TGA-7401 | Oppo UDP 203 | Sony PS4 Pro| Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | SVS PB13 Ultra | MIT EXP 2's (Fronts & Center)

    ManCave: Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro | Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's | Usher BE-616 Center | SVS Ultra Surrounds | SVS SB4000 Sub |Oppo UDP 203 | MIT Shotgun S3's | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life | Samsung 50" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

    Patio Polk Atrium 8's | Yamaha R-N303BL |

    Office Bluesound Node | Polk SDA SRS 2.3 | Marantz 2385 |

    Bedroom Peactree Nova 125SE | Focal 905's | Chromecast Audio | SVS SB2000 Sub

    Garage Yamaha R-N303BL | Polk Monitor 5B's

    Closet Yamaha M80 | 2 Polk MP3K subs| Yaqin MC100B with Shuguang Treasures KT 88's & CV181Z's | Tesla E83CC's | 2 Parasound A23's | Marantz 2252B
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 681
    I've been using Spotify Premium Family with very satisfactory results. Is there a good reason to switch to Tidal?

    Logitech SBT is my streamer (and Tidal is an app option), 'enhanced' digital coax-out into PSA Stellar Gain Pre/DAC.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,217
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I've been using Spotify Premium Family with very satisfactory results. Is there a good reason to switch to Tidal?

    Tidal offers CD quality and hi res. Spotify maxes out at 320kbps mp3.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 5,247
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I've been using Spotify Premium Family with very satisfactory results. Is there a good reason to switch to Tidal?

    Logitech SBT is my streamer (and Tidal is an app option), 'enhanced' digital coax-out into PSA Stellar Gain Pre/DAC.

    Spotify is fine for most of my listening honestly: because I’m usually working, driving, cooking, cleaning, etc. but yes, tidal is cd quality, and that makes a difference for when you want to critically listen...
    HT Rig:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Peachtree Audio NovaPre; B&K TX4430; Bryson BPD-1; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10; Center - Polk cs400i; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5; LG UP870 4K BDP; NVidia ShieldTV
    ;
    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Parasound HCA-1000A, PSB Imagine B, NHT Super One CI surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo (original), Squeezebox Touch
  • rooftop59 wrote: »
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I've been using Spotify Premium Family with very satisfactory results. Is there a good reason to switch to Tidal?

    Logitech SBT is my streamer (and Tidal is an app option), 'enhanced' digital coax-out into PSA Stellar Gain Pre/DAC.

    Spotify is fine for most of my listening honestly: because I’m usually working, driving, cooking, cleaning, etc. but yes, tidal is cd quality, and that makes a difference for when you want to critically listen...
    Even if I decide to add Tidal I'll be keeping Spotify. My friends and I actually use the social features. Half my playlists are ones compiled by friends for events that we still build on. I'm not ready to give that up.
    On the same note I can't count Netflix as saving on dropping cable. Even if I got cable again, I'm keeping netflix.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Sony CDP-CE375 / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > JBL Studio 580 or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • rburgess714rburgess714 Posts: 368
    edited February 14
    I have had Tidal for over a year now. Like the App and it sounds good to me. I rarely spin a disc.
    Living Room
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A 1060, Parasound P5, Parasound A23, Yamaha BD-S681, Auralic Aries Mini, Polk S60, Polk S30, Samsung 60" LED

    Office
    B&K Ref 50, B&K 200.2, Chromecast, LSiM 703s

    Douglas Connection ICs and Cables
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,320
    edited February 14
    Jody, when you come out in March, you’ll be able to poke around with Tidal and see what it has to offer. It’s a great streaming service and combined with the CXN makes for a very fun 2ch experience. The imaging and range has nothing on vinyl, but compared to CD’s it’s pretty darn good. Good enough to sit back and enjoy pretty much anything your in the mood for.

    We can do A/B/C testing with Tidal/CD/Vinyl for quite a few albums when you come out.
    Post edited by joecoulson on
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC 2M, , AQ COLORADO XLR AND RCAs, AQ VICTORIA, ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI, ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS/AURORA PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI, HARMONY ELITE, SONY XBR900E
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 681
    Thanks for all the informative feedback. I will admit/confess right now that (to my ears on my system) lossless digital will almost always win-out over vinyl. But, I love the organic feel and sound of vinyl when done well, so please leave me alone B)

    How do the libraries compare between Spotify and Tidal?
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
  • BC6BC6 Posts: 102
    I love how easy Tidal and Roon are to use and how great it sounds. I’ve just added Qobuz and really like it too. I think Qobuz sounds a bit better but I’ll give it some more time before I pick between the two. I’ll probably keep both.
    2 Channel: Atohm GT-1 speakers, Atoll IN400 integrated amp, PS Audio DirectStream DAC, PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB with Ortofon Bronze cartridge, SotM sMS-200 ultra streamer, SotM sPS-500 power supply, and homemade infinite baffle subwoofer with two Fi Audio IB318 drivers.

    HT: Atohm front speakers and IB subwoofer. The rest is all Polk Audio: CSiA6 center, 500-LS ceiling, RT/FX, RTi8, Monitor 4 rears, plus Yamaha CX-a5100 AV Preamplifier/Processor, Yamaha MX-a5000 11.1 channel amplifier, and Sony XBR55-AE1 OLED TV.
  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 6,876
    edited February 15
    I honestly did not think I was going to find Tidal useful because I figured it would not be up to par with spinning CDs on my transport into my DAC.... but surprisingly, while not as good as my CDs, Tidal's ease of use and relatively decent sound has been a game changer for me. But no, it is not as good as the CDs into the Emm transport. Maybe if my streamer was an Aurender, it would close the gap.
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs DAC2x and TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP-05 preamp -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

    Old Gear:
    Speakers: BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Source: Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
    Preamplification: Rotel RC1070 -> Rogue Perseus -> Cary SLP98 -> Cary SLP98F1 -> Cary SLP05 (sold and then repurchased)
    Amplification: HK AVR330 -> Rotel RB1070 -> Rotel RB1090 -> Plinius SA102 -> Cary 211FE -> Classe M600 -> Boulder 2060
    Subwoofer: Infinity Entra2 sub -> SVS 25-31PC+ sub
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
    I still use Pandora free on the patio/pool rig because I love the music Pandora picks for me.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,320
    I have to say that is the one super power for Pandora. It’s ability to randomly select music based on a song or genre is uncanny. No other service can do it even close.
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC 2M, , AQ COLORADO XLR AND RCAs, AQ VICTORIA, ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI, ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS/AURORA PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI, HARMONY ELITE, SONY XBR900E
  • fastz28fastz28 Posts: 622
    Qobuz studio hi rez
    polk 10bs--- prodigy hd2 modded Burson Audio opamps
    dcm time windows ---- parasound pre amp
    TDQ-1600 Broadcast Reference Tuner -- yamaha cd s700
    yamaha px-3 zu 103 cat2 --- audioquest ic sidewinders
    carver 1.5t--- audioquest cv-8 speaker cables
    ps audio 200cx--- ps audio phono pre amp
    sunfire sig 625 audio research sp-14
    audio research dac 7 klipsch rf -7111
    music hall Ikura carver m500t mk2 modded
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
    joecoulson wrote: »
    I have to say that is the one super power for Pandora. It’s ability to randomly select music based on a song or genre is uncanny. No other service can do it even close.

    I setup a station on Pandora called "Kansas Radio" and it nails everything I loved musically in the 70's and early 80's.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,217
    edited February 15
    joecoulson wrote: »
    I have to say that is the one super power for Pandora. It’s ability to randomly select music based on a song or genre is uncanny. No other service can do it even close.

    I asked you about this as I have similar feelings about Pandora and used it for a long time, and you claimed that Tidal had a similar feature that you found adequate.

    I find it ridiculous that in 2019 the best quality that Pandora offers their paid subscribers is 192kbps mp3. So lame.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
    edited February 15
    Tidal has pre-made playlists, but it's not the same radio-like experience of Pandora. Even at Pandora's lower stream rates, it still shames XM.

    Here's an odd observation; the (free) Pandora app on my Oppo plays commercial free; but the app on my Samsung BR player on the patio has occasional commercials.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,217
    edited February 15
    Steve, aside from the audio quality when I tried the free trial of Tidal using the desktop app, that was the biggest issue I had.

    I inquired with support several times regarding how to go about getting that "radio" experience, and they kept referring me to the playlists. Well, the playlists were the same selection of songs every time, and various playlists I tried all had doubling up/overlap of songs. I expected it to be able to generate a completely new playlist each time I requested, so that I could have that true random radio listening experience like I had with Pandora.

    I was hoping that this was an area that they had improved on in the year since I last tried their service.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
    I think Pandora premium is 320kbs now....?
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,217
    steveinaz wrote: »
    I think Pandora premium is 320kbs now....?

    From their support page: "Change Audio Quality on the Web

    Pandora on the Web plays 64k AAC+ for free listeners and 192kbps for Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium subscribers."
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 5,247
    edited February 15
    Tidal now offers "artist radio" that, which perhaps not up to pandora or even spotify curated lists, is enjoyable. On the mobile app its the sound button next to the heart button.

    I prefer to make my own playlists while listening at work. Takes no extra time. Then if something cool pops up on artist radio or one of the "my mixes," I just add it to the playlist. I always nail everything I like about that genre!
    HT Rig:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Peachtree Audio NovaPre; B&K TX4430; Bryson BPD-1; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10; Center - Polk cs400i; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5; LG UP870 4K BDP; NVidia ShieldTV
    ;
    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Parasound HCA-1000A, PSB Imagine B, NHT Super One CI surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo (original), Squeezebox Touch
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,902
    I'll have to check that out...
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i | Preamp/DAC: PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable Analog 2 XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
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