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  1. #1
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    Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    I have the Alpha USB and Sigma USB in the store. They are both incredible sounding USB cables. So organic, full, smooth. Love them.

    https://shunyata.com/download/11935/

    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  2. #2

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Do you think the Shunyata Alpha USB is better than the AQ Diamond USB?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Brinkmann Taurus DD TT + 12.1 arm + Lyra Etna Lambda SL MC + HRS M3X2/ Cardas Clear Beyond phono/ Stillpoints LPI/ Soulution 520 preamp with phono/ Synology NAS with Roon + HD Plex linear PSU + Shunyata HD/ AQ Vodka RJ45 + Aqvox Network Switch SE + AQ Diamond RJ45 into DAC/ Brinkmann Nyquist MK II/ Soulution 511/ WyWires Platinum ICs/ Semi-active Lansche Audio 4.2 LS/ Inakustik Reference LS 4004 AIR/ 2x Audioquest Thunder HD for LS/ Audioquest Niagara 5000/ Shunyata AlphaHC (x2)+Alpha+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Tidal/ Linn Klimax DS3/ Shunyata Power cable/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Tidal/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ Sbooster LPSU/ Audeze LCD-2 Classic + WyWires Red/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ Shunyata Venom.

  3. #3
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuoppis View Post
    Do you think the Shunyata Alpha USB is better than the AQ Diamond USB?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    System and listener dependent. If you want ultimate transparency and resolution, go Diamond. If you want organic, smooth, meaty, go Shunyata.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  4. #4

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    System and listener dependent. If you want ultimate transparency and resolution, go Diamond. If you want organic, smooth, meaty, go Shunyata.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks Mike, as usual, you expertise is greatly appreciated.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Brinkmann Taurus DD TT + 12.1 arm + Lyra Etna Lambda SL MC + HRS M3X2/ Cardas Clear Beyond phono/ Stillpoints LPI/ Soulution 520 preamp with phono/ Synology NAS with Roon + HD Plex linear PSU + Shunyata HD/ AQ Vodka RJ45 + Aqvox Network Switch SE + AQ Diamond RJ45 into DAC/ Brinkmann Nyquist MK II/ Soulution 511/ WyWires Platinum ICs/ Semi-active Lansche Audio 4.2 LS/ Inakustik Reference LS 4004 AIR/ 2x Audioquest Thunder HD for LS/ Audioquest Niagara 5000/ Shunyata AlphaHC (x2)+Alpha+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Tidal/ Linn Klimax DS3/ Shunyata Power cable/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Tidal/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ Sbooster LPSU/ Audeze LCD-2 Classic + WyWires Red/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ Shunyata Venom.

  5. #5

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuoppis View Post
    Do you think the Shunyata Alpha USB is better than the AQ Diamond USB?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    In my system, no question, I prefer the Shunyata Alpha USB over the AQ Diamond and by quite a ways. Had the Diamond as my reference for better part of 5 years. IMHO, the Shunyata Alpha smokes it. They're not even in the same zip code.

    System is C-J: CT-5 and LP70S. Harbeth 30.2s, SOtM UltraNeo network bridge and Sonore Optical Module, and Schiit Gungnir Mulibit DAC (aka Gumby). The Shunyata Alpha connects the SOtM to Gumby.
    Power is Shunyata Denali V2 and Shunyata Delta NR, EF and Venom NR-series PCs.

  6. #6
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Mike.......I installed the Shunyata Sigma USB cable in my living room sound system this past June. It connects the Aurender N100H music server to the Schiit Audio Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC. The Shunyata Sigma USB cable now has approximately 275 hours on it. In addition to its astonishing component level bump in audio performance, I found no discernible change to the sound of the Sigma USB cable from the initial hours when the cable was brand new, fresh out of the box. This USB cable has been a stellar performer from minute one. Having often noticed sonic characteristics develop in a cable's sound as hours accrue on interconnects, digital cables, and speaker cables, I find it remarkable the Shunyata Sigma USB cable demonstrated no audible sonic signature shift that I could detect in all these hours. To my ears the entire frequency range remained neutral and natural from the beginning. Obviously Shunyata’s KPIP process meets their intended goal. I believe the performance limits of the Sigma USB cable represents the culmination of multiple scientific discoveries Caelin Gabriel has implemented in the Shunyata Sigma line of cables.

    It has been my experience the Shunyata Sigma USB cable consistently reproduces a more accurate, involving and believable audio performance than the Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB cable it replaced. By comparison the Shunyata Sigma USB cable has considerably more to offer owners of high-end sound systems, albeit at a price premium ($2000.00 for 1.5 meters) compared to the Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB cable ($850.00 for 1.5 meters). Despite the price difference between the two USB cables, it is evident the technology behind the Shunyata Sigma USB cable makes good on its promise to “do no harm”. It is a worthy contender when considering the performance level you wish to achieve. Shunyata Research has completely erased the nonsensical idea that wire is just wire. If one's sound system easily uncovers differences in resolution and detail, and these differences can be readily identified when swapping cables, then you are a perfect candidate for installing the Sigma USB cable in your sound system. The Shunyata Sigma USB cable is serious. My comment to everyone is be prepared to be astonished.

    Shunyata Sigma USB cable



    Owning the Shunyata Sigma USB cable served as a catalyst for me to purchase the Shunyata Sigma SPDIF digital cable in August that is now installed in the studio sound system between the Aurender N10 music server and the Esoteric K-01X coaxial DAC input. Once again this Sigma series digital interconnect raised the performance bar over the Wireworld Platinum Starlight digital cable that had served as my reference cable for several years. The clarity and transparency of the studio sound system were improved considerably once the Sigma SPDIF cable was installed. Shunyata Sigma series cables are the real deal.

    Shunyata Sigma SPDIF digital cable
    Dan

    STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital coax,
    Sonos Connect, Stillpoints Ultra SS & Ultra Mini, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario

    LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205 Signal Sleuth, Sonos Connect, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable,
    Sony DAT 60ES, Nakamichi BX-300, Micro Seiki DD40 w/m505A tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Stillpoints Ultra Mini, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113

    VINTAGE - McIntosh 4300V, McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, JBL 4312A

  7. #7

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    In my system, no question, I prefer the Shunyata Alpha USB over the AQ Diamond and by quite a ways. Had the Diamond as my reference for better part of 5 years. IMHO, the Shunyata Alpha smokes it. They're not even in the same zip code.
    As Mike pointed out, personal preferences and system are likely to affect anyone’s choice. Arguably Harbeth 30.2 + Schiit Gungir is hardly a high resolution system taking advantage of the AQ Diamond’s capabilities. Therefore I would be careful to pass too strong judgment. YMMV.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Brinkmann Taurus DD TT + 12.1 arm + Lyra Etna Lambda SL MC + HRS M3X2/ Cardas Clear Beyond phono/ Stillpoints LPI/ Soulution 520 preamp with phono/ Synology NAS with Roon + HD Plex linear PSU + Shunyata HD/ AQ Vodka RJ45 + Aqvox Network Switch SE + AQ Diamond RJ45 into DAC/ Brinkmann Nyquist MK II/ Soulution 511/ WyWires Platinum ICs/ Semi-active Lansche Audio 4.2 LS/ Inakustik Reference LS 4004 AIR/ 2x Audioquest Thunder HD for LS/ Audioquest Niagara 5000/ Shunyata AlphaHC (x2)+Alpha+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Tidal/ Linn Klimax DS3/ Shunyata Power cable/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Tidal/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ Sbooster LPSU/ Audeze LCD-2 Classic + WyWires Red/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ Shunyata Venom.

  8. #8

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuoppis View Post
    As Mike pointed out, personal preferences and system are likely to affect anyone’s choice. Arguably Harbeth 30.2 + Schiit Gungir is hardly a high resolution system taking advantage of the AQ Diamond’s capabilities. Therefore I would be careful to pass too strong judgment. YMMV.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    I'm not going to dignify this comment with a response.

  9. #9

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    It’s amazing what Shunyata has been able to do technology wise with their latest cables.

    The resolution obtained from Shunyata latest cables regardless of one’s personal subjective taste is impressive.

    The flagship AQ cables all use silver to lower distortion and increase resolution. This however comes at a cost.

    AQ also uses DBS system to further lower noise floor.
    Whereas Shunyata on the Alpha and Sigma lines uses their Zitron circuit that doesn’t require a battery to provide a similar benefit.

    Known for their power cables and products; Shunyata has certainly steeped up their interconnects, speaker cables and now network cables with their Alpha and Sigma lines.

    Certainly State of the Art

  10. #10
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuoppis View Post
    As Mike pointed out, personal preferences and system are likely to affect anyone’s choice. Arguably Harbeth 30.2 + Schiit Gungir is hardly a high resolution system taking advantage of the AQ Diamond’s capabilities. Therefore I would be careful to pass too strong judgment. YMMV.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    I'm not going to dignify this comment with a response.
    What do you call this - reads like a response to me

  11. #11
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Hi there,

    I got a question regarding the Shunyata Sigma USB vs. S/PDIF cables: jdandy, did you have a chance to compare these two in the same System?! I was about to order the Sigma USB, but supply here in Germany is very.... how should I put it... sluggish. Waiting for a demo cable since last September!
    Anyway not all is bad when one has to wait: In the meantime I demoed a Aurender N10 at home which sounded great. Now I read a couple of reviews about the dCS network bridge that say it‘s atleast as good and (other features aside) costs less than half the money. Thing is though, it‘s got no USB output, only AES/EBU (which my DAC doesn‘t have) or S/PDIF.
    => So the question is, is the Shunyata S/PDIF as good as the USB (it‘s the newer design I think) or which combination would you choose?

    Any thoughts are much appreciated!

    Regards from Germany!

  12. #12
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Hi there,

    jdandy, you mentioned that you got both the Sigma USB and S/PDIF.

    My question: Did you ever compare them in the same system?




    I was about to order the Sigma USB, but supply here in Germany is terrible... ordered a demo cable back in September. Still waiting...
    Not all bad though: Auditioned an Aurender N10 in the meantime, which sounded lovely (vs my current 2012 MacMini); now I read a couple of times how wonderful the dCS network bridge sounds. Even better than the N10 (and less than half the price). However, it got no USB output. So my question is: Is the USB superior or equal to the S/PDIF (in general and/or because it the newer Shunyata design)? ... to decide which combination is best.


    Any thoughts are much appreciated!
    Regards from Germany

  13. #13
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicLover View Post
    Hi there,

    jdandy, you mentioned that you got both the Sigma USB and S/PDIF.

    My question: Did you ever compare them in the same system?




    I was about to order the Sigma USB, but supply here in Germany is terrible... ordered a demo cable back in September. Still waiting...
    Not all bad though: Auditioned an Aurender N10 in the meantime, which sounded lovely (vs my current 2012 MacMini); now I read a couple of times how wonderful the dCS network bridge sounds. Even better than the N10 (and less than half the price). However, it got no USB output. So my question is: Is the USB superior or equal to the S/PDIF (in general and/or because it the newer Shunyata design)? ... to decide which combination is best.


    Any thoughts are much appreciated!
    Regards from Germany
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

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    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  14. #14
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    I would also want to know this !
    Mcintosh MA8900 || Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III || Taga Harmony Platinum 18-16C || X-odos Stream Pro || AudioQuest Niagara 1200 || Thunder Silent Angel N8

  15. #15

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by AceBaran View Post
    I would also want to know this !
    Unfortunately, Dan passed away a few weeks ago.

  16. #16
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    Unfortunately, Dan passed away a few weeks ago.
    Oh RIP
    Mcintosh MA8900 || Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III || Taga Harmony Platinum 18-16C || X-odos Stream Pro || AudioQuest Niagara 1200 || Thunder Silent Angel N8

  17. #17
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    All of our digital cables are designed using the same technical principles. So the performance of the different types of “cables” is equivalent. However the performance of various interfaces varies widely depending upon each DAC manufacturer’s specific implementation, In other words, S/PDIF may be better with DAC A and USB may be better with DAC B.

    in the systems we have tested that have a choice of interfaces AES/EBU is usually best but the difference between S/PDIF is extremely small. Very difficult to differentiate. USB is roughly equivalent to SPDIF but the USB interface has the biggest performance variation between manufacturers. Some designs are very simple and don’t isolate ground planes or take care with power and signal isolation. So do some research to make the best choices.
    Caelin Gabriel
    President
    Shunyata Research

    http://shunyata.com

  18. #18
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by CGabriel View Post
    All of our digital cables are designed using the same technical principles. So the performance of the different types of “cables” is equivalent. However the performance of various interfaces varies widely depending upon each DAC manufacturer’s specific implantation. In other words, S/PDIF may be better with DAC A and USB may be better with DAC B.

    in the systems we have tested that have a choice of interfaces AES/EBU is usually best but the difference between S/PDIF is extremely small. Very difficult to differentiate. USB is roughly equivalent to SPDIF but the USB interface has the biggest performance variation between manufacturers. Some designs are very simple and don’t isolate ground planes or take care with power and signal isolation. So do some research to make the best choices.
    thank you very much for your input
    Mcintosh MA8900 || Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III || Taga Harmony Platinum 18-16C || X-odos Stream Pro || AudioQuest Niagara 1200 || Thunder Silent Angel N8

  19. #19
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by CGabriel View Post

    ...in the systems we have tested that have a choice of interfaces AES/EBU is usually best but the difference between S/PDIF is extremely small...
    Yes. I found the same thing. Plus, AES/EBU can carry DSD wheras S/PDIF can't. I use Shunyata Sigma AES/EBU. I'm contemplating ordering Sigma ethernet however the dealer has told me to expect 5 week delivery. Perhaps more.

  20. #20

    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    Yes. I found the same thing. Plus, AES/EBU can carry DSD wheras S/PDIF can't. I use Shunyata Sigma AES/EBU. I'm contemplating ordering Sigma ethernet however the dealer has told me to expect 5 week delivery. Perhaps more.
    They will be worth the wait...they're in a class by themselves.

  21. #21
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    My application for the ethernet cable is streaming Spotify. So my thinking is, the quality of the streaming source is probably the limiting factor with nothing much to be gained by a high-spec cable.

  22. #22
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    Yes. I found the same thing. Plus, AES/EBU can carry DSD wheras S/PDIF can't. I use Shunyata Sigma AES/EBU. I'm contemplating ordering Sigma ethernet however the dealer has told me to expect 5 week delivery. Perhaps more.
    I wholeheartedly recommend the Sigma Ethernet Cable.
    _______________

    Mike

  23. #23
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Dear Mr. Gabriel, thank you very much for your detailed answer. I got it, figure out the best Streamer-DAC incl Input combination and then just choose the Shunyata digital cable for that particular interface. In other words one could compare two settings with a standard cable where USB and S/PDIF are also “equivalent“ and buy the Shunyata afterwards, because it seems to be very hard to get both the USB and S/PDIF at the same time to demo here in Germany.

    While I have the chance I like to thank you for the work, effort, science and dedication you put in to all of your products. The level of craftsmanship and search for that extra something just shines through. I was looking out to buy a power distributor and finally chose the Denali V2 which I now got for roughly a month and real love it!!! The improvement it brings is very apparent and from what other companies charge for their offers, it‘s almost a bargain, if that is the right word.
    Had a similar experience with the demo Alpha USB, but that was half a year ago and I‘m early awaiting to try the Sigma in comparison. So it‘s good to know that the S/PDIF is in the same category, if a potential streamer would need that connection.

    Kind regards and keep on educating the Hi-Fi world with your wonderful products and insights, Mr. Gabriel! Indeed much appreciated.

  24. #24
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicLover View Post
    Dear Mr. Gabriel, thank you very much for your detailed answer. I got it, figure out the best Streamer-DAC incl Input combination and then just choose the Shunyata digital cable for that particular interface. In other words one could compare two settings with a standard cable where USB and S/PDIF are also “equivalent“ and buy the Shunyata afterwards, because it seems to be very hard to get both the USB and S/PDIF at the same time to demo here in Germany.

    While I have the chance I like to thank you for the work, effort, science and dedication you put in to all of your products. The level of craftsmanship and search for that extra something just shines through. I was looking out to buy a power distributor and finally chose the Denali V2 which I now got for roughly a month and real love it!!! The improvement it brings is very apparent and from what other companies charge for their offers, it‘s almost a bargain, if that is the right word.
    Had a similar experience with the demo Alpha USB, but that was half a year ago and I‘m early awaiting to try the Sigma in comparison. So it‘s good to know that the S/PDIF is in the same category, if a potential streamer would need that connection.

    Kind regards and keep on educating the Hi-Fi world with your wonderful products and insights, Mr. Gabriel! Indeed much appreciated.
    Thank you sir for using our products. It gives me great pleasure to know that you are enjoying them.
    Caelin Gabriel
    President
    Shunyata Research

    http://shunyata.com

  25. #25
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    Re: Shunyata Alpha USB Review

    And I would be using more of them, if only somebody would sell me what I want.

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