We disagree - they’re good, but advancements have been made since then, and they can sound just a touch thin now. To see how it stacks up, see our list of the best high-end headphones. While I have a penchant for stealth black audio gear, I find the light gray/metallic silver of the Clear an immensely … The packaging for the Clear is good, if unspectacular. I have those headphones and I have to say they are expensive. It is specifically designed to distribute the weight of the headphones across the entire head so that it feels … As mentioned in our Focal Elear review, the French audio company has been innovating in headphone driver tech for some while now. I’ve never noticed this when testing popular mid-luxury headphones like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000xM3. Sometimes, you need to take a step back, look at how you’re listening to music, and improve it. You get not one but three different detachable cables, all of which a sheath in a vaguely chequerboard black-and-white pattern, and all of which come with solid metal connectors. As it comes to publish this review, Focal have just put their lineup on a sale/trade-in deal. Admittedly, it’s a design that works incredibly well, and is distinctive enough to spot from a distance. It must be said that if you already own the Elear, you’re not going to get an absolutely enormous upgrade by buying these, and while there are definitely differences, they do share the same sound signature – as you might expect. Their coatings are different which not only will affect the sound, but will also affect how they feel. If you like your headphones to have a little bit more of a human touch, if you prefer wood to metal, then give Zach Mehrbach's cans a go. And you can, of course, go for the Focal Elear. My fiancée identified every Jay-Z song I played from about 25 feet away. The Clear has a flatter sound signature that reveals the purest details from the most complex recordings. Everything you need to know about headphone specs. Expect nothing different than what comes bundled with the Elegia. When French speaker manufacturer Focal made the decision to push deep into the headphone market, few would have predicted that they’d have this level of success. Everything we do is geared towards creating bigger, better sound. Seeing how the Elegia and Clear share the same driver, audio should sound the same, correct? FOCAL has said they want you to forget you're wearing hp and think you're … Both are stuffed with soft foam. It was tough listening to music outside due to all of the environmental interference that made its way onto the soundscape; car horns and construction tools sounded like background effects on hip-hop songs. Sorry – we know that probably isn't very helpful advice. Comparing these to the Elear, the audio specs don’t show a huge amount of difference. Clarity was so spot-on that I felt the vulnerability in Liam Gallagher’s voice on the somberly-crooned hook. These are not headphones designed to be worn outside, and if worn inside, you’ll want to be in a secluded area to fully enjoy them. Certainly enough to satisfy us. Focal Elear Conclusion. The biggest difference here is the color; while the Elear came in black, the Clear comes in a tasteful shade of grey, with silver metallic accents. We don’t think they are quite as good as things like the Eikon, but they still do a very solid job, especially for the money you pay. It’s a shame too considering how much the Clear improves sound quality on music and video apps. Focal Clear Review. We haven’t had a close look at the Clear’s drivers – although we have with the ones in the Utopia (full review here), which were heavy enough to kill if you threw one of them with the right amount of force – but what we can say is that they do one hell of a job with your audio. Focal Clear review: FOCAL’S OPENNESS. The critics say the Clear gives you 95% of the Utopia sound quality, just as the Elear is said to bring 90-95% of the Clear's sq. These may be bulky over ear headphones, but when you’re wearing them, they certainly don’t feel like it. A simple DAC upgrade can do wonders for your audio playback, as for example, a 4K-capable TV might change your movie viewing experience. As it is, they are merely very, very good. Up Next NAD VISO HP70 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphone Review The Focal Clear headphones are a benchmark design that is one of the top performing headsets I’ve experienced. Focal… Clear & Clearer? One of the greatest pleasures we know is blocking out the world's distractions with good pair of headphones. It's a superior product for the discerning music lover who demands the finest musical reproduction possible. These are open back headphones Alex. And nothing would have torpedoed the Focal Clear headphones faster than having an identical sound signature to their younger brother - the identically-designed Elear. The Focal Clear headphones are unmistakably Focal. And despite our misgivings about the headband, it’s very comfortable to wear. Even though the yokes don’t have the same distinctive arch as the Elegia, they still have a thin and solid frame. Despite its massive … The group’s harmonies at the start of the record sound beautiful and crisp; the synthesized vocals have a naturalness to them. Again, $1,500 is a lot to ask for any pair of headphones, but an investment worth considering if you want natural-sounding cans that look and sound this good. Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. Grado Labs PS2000e Headphones. However, not every song showed this level of performance. Rather than a compiled retrospective review… But it’s the slate-gray finish that gives these headphones their charm. It has an identical weight to the Elear (just under a pound), and the clamping pressure feels perfectly engineered – something to do, no doubt, with those spring-loaded hinges. At the same time, the recessed vocals and guitar riff diminished its boomy appeal. Review written by @Chrono Review unit provided on loan by headphones.com Introduction The Clear is an open-back dynamic headphone designed by Focal that retails for $1,499, and it utilizes Focal’s full-range speaker driver with an ‘M’-shape Aluminum/Magnesium dome. And if you take away one thing from this, it's that Focal put out a huge range of headphones, and the one you go for is very much dependent on the size of your wallet, and the way you like your music. Nintendo Switch bundle is back in stock at Walmart, The best portable chargers and power banks in 2020, Sound reproduction is stellar on all audio devices, Lack of accessories, controls, and extra features, Noise isolation is practically non-existent. Very well said. The Elear is 80Ω, while the Clear presents at 55Ω (Meaning it’s easier to drive, and requires slightly less power). In a really good way. But when I tested them in the store I loved their signature. The Sennheiser HD800 is really the classic option here. Like the Elegia, these cans employ Focal’s proprietary ‘M’-shape aluminum/magnesium driver. I had an opportunity to take these home and demo them for several days. Focal is passionate about music, power and clarity, and develops audio equipment which brings out the best in music. There’s a level of detail that isn’t present in the cheaper (by about $500) Elears, and a certain class and clarity to the low end that we found refreshing. The perforated earcups do nothing to block out ambient noise and bleed sound as loudly as some portable speakers. Released in 2017, the Clear … It’s not shilling. The headband of the Focal Clear Professional headphones is remarkably comfortable. Far from cheap, the Focal Clear sells you on beautiful sound and build quality for a higher-than-normal premium. But we've tested more headphones from Focal than just about any other company, and that's the way we feel. Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter! Not with quite as much volume, to be sure, but still solid. Being indoors didn’t fare any better, as I could hear analysts speaking during live football games with the TV at low volume. To more established headphone companies like Sennheiser and AUDEZE, it must have felt like getting hit with a freight train. I’ve always loved the WH-1000xM3’s strong bass performance on mobile devices, but the Clear wasn’t as overpowering on my ears and elevated vocal clarity on the Google Pixel 3 XL. That’s not hyperbole. Like the Elear, the drivers are 40mm aluminum-magnesium, and are designed in an M shape. However, the Clear has zero noise isolation and lacks extra features that help personalize your listening experience, which may sway you to consider other expensive models like the Audeze LCD-3. The bites of electric guitars and the crisp hit of snare drums really came through, and the headphones showed off some superb dynamics. The Elear already sounded spectacular. The realism and space is just unreal. The LCD-3 gave me the same feels, although its low end felt tamer. These headphones may be a little too expensive for some - even with a discount, they’re around $1,300 at the time of writing. If that’s the case, then the Focal Clear deserves your full attention. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, The Clear is their first real test of longevity: a headphone that aims to bridge the gap between the company’s high-end models. I find myself turning my head sometimes when listening to music as I'm trying to locate an instrument. Obviously, having decent amplification always helped, but even when we listened to them off simple smartphone, they performed well. New York, Was it intriguing to hear The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” without its signature distorted effects? Up for discussion here are the new Clear Professional open-back, full-sized headphones aimed at mastering and recording engineers. At The Master Switch, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about audio. And this trick, of releasing a slightly more expensive reskinned version, is something that plenty other manufacturers have tried before – to highlight just one example, when Mr Speakers released the very good Ether Flow headphones to replace the original Ether, the design remained largely unchanged. These don’t just feel like a simple reskinning of a core concept; rather, they offer definite improvements, and they act as a very effective bridge between the sub—$1,000 Elear and the $3,995 Utopia. While we did occasionally wish that the mids were just a touch warmer and more forward, the clarity these presented was unmatched in this particular price range. In summary – the Focal … For folks in warmer climates, you mig… So don’t read too much into it: this is still an exceptionally well-designed pair of headphones. The ergonomic design of the Focal Clear … At their normal asking price of $1,499 I thought the Clear … It shies away from the standard black-box-with-foam-inserts as seen with the Elear and the Utopia, going for more of a flower-like design that opens out into multiple sections. The Clear delivers refined and classy sound that stands with the best high-end headphones available. Even the overdubs (the song apparently has over 180) like the “Galileo” repetitions and Chinese gongs at the end have more transparency to them. Its entry-level Elegia headphones are well constructed, and these pricier cans share similar attributes, but with a more elegant look that stays true to the company’s design pedigree. Priced at $1499, the Clear is intended to be the best option Focal offers for under $1500. But: when it comes down to it, we think the Focal Clear sound more refined and slightly more elegant than their younger sibling, with quantifiable evidence that work has been done to improve the overall experience. I preferred the LCD-3 and WH-1000xM3 for bass-heavy content, but I also appreciated how well balanced the low end was on these cans. It must be said: Focal definitely don’t skimp on the accessories. The only other noticeable difference in design between the Elegia and Clear are the earcups. Focal Clear have plenty of padding for ultimate comfort When you look at the Focal Utopia it jumps out at you. That’s to say, while they have a number of different design elements than other Focal headphones, including color offerings, they carry that classic Focal headphones look, the beautiful mesh grills on each ear cup, and so on. Honestly? The Clear’s design is too similar to the Elear - the basic housing is virtually unchanged. I will say that the quality is remarkable on all of these, primarily the case, which can hold extra EDC items, if necessary. Focal are nothing if not prolific. The etched logo in the middle is a sweet finishing touch. They are expensive for a reason. The headband feels just as comfy with premium leather wrapped around it. The Clear … The ear cups themselves are soft, squashy, and breathable, and also removable in case you need to access the serial number, or swap them out at a later date – a feature we always like to see. This is how you know you got some really good headphones . According to Focal, the earpads are one of the biggest upgrades that the Clear has over the Elear. Clear, Focal’s newest reference headphones, are one of the best I have ever reviewed. One of the things that really set the Utopia apart from the competition was just how comfortable it was to wear for long periods. In design terms, these headphones are functionally identical to the Elear. As if poor noise isolation didn’t already make these cans impractical for portable use, girth also factors into the equation. If only it was longer. Compared to models like the aforementioned Elear and the Sennheiser HD800s, these more than hold their own. To simplify the technical jargon, the driver doesn’t just optimize volume levels across different audio sources (e.g. Like its older brother, Clear uses a 40mm aluminium-magnesium m-shaped dome driver… What they had to prove to us was that they represented enough of a leap forward to justify the extra five hundred bucks. The Focal Clear is an over-ear, open acoustic, dynamic driver headphone. These are open-back headphones, with a mesh grille on the outside of the housing, protecting the driver. It screams industrial, yet class, and upholds the refined appearance of top-tier studio speakers. The low-end isn’t as weighty as other models, but it feels tight and controlled, with enough thump to satisfy most people. But having spent a few weeks listening to these, we’re satisfied that this is a significant enough upgrade to get it out of iPhone 5CXS+ territory. It’s not that it’s an especially new concept – swappable ear cups have been around since the days of the old Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones, which came out in 2016 (and which you can now buy for under $200, which you should, because they are awesome). Its extremely well-balanced performance would provide long-term satisfaction for an overwhelming … We very happily wore these for hours at a time – the soft earcups never felt like they were going to cause us any discomfort, and the space in the middle is wide enough to accommodate all but the largest of ears. The design is bold, and the large, industrial looking cans are unapologetic … The Clear is their first real test of longevity: a headphone that aims to bridge the gap between the company’s high-end models. For the past 30-plus years, since I heard my first pair of Stax electrostatics. Want Even More Master Switch? No open back headphones offer noise isolation and if they do you miss out on what makes open back headphones great. Focal Listen Headphones Review. The Clear has zero noise isolation. You can only marvel at its clean, premium aesthetics, which are almost as pristine as the sound profile. Yes, it works, and works well – and if we’re going to stick with an earlier metaphor, it’s not like the iPhone changed substantially between iterations. Consider this the ultimate explainer. See the Focal Clear See the Best High-End Headphones. The former costs $899 – significantly less than the Clear – and is marketed as an alternative to the sub-$1,000 open-back Elear headphones. Not only are they … It was clear from the very start that these sounded like a different, newer pair of headphones, thanks no doubt to the tuning work that Focal’s engineers have put in. No? Yes. laptops, smartphones, etc. Fortunately, we're here to help, with our full guide to this audio topic. They’re the elder statesman of the headphone world, with a classic sound that many still claim has yet to be bettered. That sort of assembly also makes the Focal Clear’s a little cooler on the head than some over-ear products. Remember the very first iPod from seventeen years ago? Thank you for signing up to Tom's Guide. Focal Clear Headphones Review. Please refresh the page and try again. Obviously, it shares a good deal of the technology developed for the Focal Utopia, which I reviewed in Issue 270, but … Focal Clear review: headphones for the stylish audiophile These $1,500 headphones from France feel and sound divine By Vlad Savov @vladsavov Oct 23, 2017, 8:00am EDT That’s not a problem that Focal has. It’s a beauty to behold, although I can’t say I preferred the brighter look of Clear over the darker Elear, they’re both … Improves on the original formula of the Elear, while making just enough key differences in audio quality to matter. For the record, we still prefer the Focal Utopia, but we would never say no to a listening session with these. They also have pliant cushioning that doesn’t press up hard against or around the ears. All the same, they’re a classic for a reason, and while we think the Clear is slightly better these headphones will satisfy all but the most demanding listeners. Focal absolutely had to pull out all the stops here, or the entire exercise would have been written off as nothing more than naked profiteering. Focal clear comfort and fit At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. The other main accessory is a terrific carry-case, with a hard, textured surface and a substantial zip running around it, as well as a useful carry handle. We got into a lot more detail about how these headphones differ to the Clear in the review above, but we can say that as the price continues to drop, they will continue to be one of the best pairs of headphones currently available. It’s a consistent surprise just how well the HiFiMAN HE1000 V2 headphones have endured over the years. We think they achieved that goal, but if you disagree, here are some viable alternatives. This includes a 3.5mm aux cable, gold-plated 3.5mm adapter, and a large, durable zippered case with molds on the inside to store everything nicely. Headphone Impedance And Sensitivity Explained, WAV vs. FLAC vs. MP3: Audio File Formats Explained, breaks down all the common headphone specs we’ve just mentioned. Good news: the Clear don’t just sound good, they sound distinctive. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. They don’t just look sort of the same; outside of a different colour scheme, they look exactly the same. Focal’s aim to produce a set of headphones that can replicate the openness and response you get from working with a trusted set of monitors is an aspiring concept. The acoustic guitar on Oasis’ “Wonderwall” pulled me in with every strum, but it was the different string arrangements sprinkled throughout the recording that made the listen more enchanting. if it doesn’t involve any of the following, you probably don’t need to worry about it. FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD… There’s no denying that picking the right type of audio to listen to can be crazy confusing. HiFiMan Sundara Headphones. Epson LS500 4K Laser Projection TV Review… They are surprisingly light, and although they require a fair amount of power to drive properly, they will reward you with clear and elegant sound that takes full advantage of the open back design. Focal Clear is more balanced in bass, mids and treble Focal Clear has a touch better detail retrieval and is more dynamic Focal Clear has a tighter bass slam Focal Clear is more engaging to me … While it is slightly strange that the leather headband has the same padding underneath as the material on the cups, it still looks and feels very good indeed. France-based Focal is best known for pro and consumer audio speakers, but the company has, in recent years, moved into all aspects of the headphone market. As with almost all their other models, the Clear feels terrific to wear. You have to be a serious audio head to consider spending $1,500 on a pair of headphones. If anything, there’s an embarrassment of riches here. Visit our corporate site. NY 10036. Read more about us. The Clear ups the ante, sharpening everything we liked about the sound while adding its own special flavour. For $1,200, you can buy yourself a ZMF Aeolus (full review here), an exquisite pair of open headphones that more than compete with the $1,499 Clear. I have favored planar … In this review, we break down the Clear’s sound, design, … The result? It will require a lot of force to bend. Both of the new models have counterparts in Focal’s consumer range. © Acapellas really soar on these cans. We tested these on a variety of amplifiers, ranging from a $99 Schiit Fulla (full review here) to a $10,000 Goldmund Telos 2, and they always performed at the top of their game. It must be said that if you own the former, you’ve got very little reason to buy these, but if you don’t, this could be a very classy entry into the high-end headphone world. Inside, foam inserts hold the headphones in place, and there is a space for your chosen cable. Sometimes, you just need to break the bank. Paired with a new copper voice coil, these two components are said to improve “dynamics over the entire spectrum,” producing tighter bass and highs. Focal knows how to create attractive audio hardware. Like all of Focal’s high-end line, Clear is an example of headphone design elevated to art. Bass levels on the Clear are carefully balanced as well. But if you thought the Elegia had its fair share of compromises, the Clear presents the biggest with its noise isolation struggles. Be warned, if you do decide to go for the Aeolus, you will be in for a long wait – not because they are out of stock, but because each one is handmade to your specifications. Separation between frequencies was impressive, but it was better on plantar magnetic drivers; the transition from lows to mids was smoother on the Audeze LCD-3. The two most stand out in our minds are the closed-back Elegia and Stellia. Nintendo Switch bundle deal is back in stock at Walmart, Where to buy Xbox Series X — Walmart getting stock today, Hurry! The pads are 20mm thick memory foam, wrapped in perforated microfiber material. The best audiophile headphones that we've tested are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These open-back over-ear headphones look and feel very durable and premium, with a sturdy metal frame … We’ll admit: when we first saw the Focal Clear, we were sceptical. Across the entire spectrum, things feel refined and clear – more so than in their predecessor, which was already pretty good. The Clear has a firmer headband than the Elegia, but it doesn’t apply the same unwanted pressure atop the head. The perforated earpads maximize comfort by ventilating sweaty ears. They have virtually identical design, similar specs, and at the base of it, a similar sound signature. It makes things confusing, and difficult to tell the headphones apart. They offer a much wider range of accessories, all of which feel worth owning. You will receive a verification email shortly. The Focal Clear is an exquisite-looking and brilliantly executed pair of headphones. Both models use the same micro-fiber material, but the Clear’s earcups have perforations to cool down overheated ears. ), but also eliminates the need of any extra hardware like a headphone amp to boost sound. The headphones are largely built from met… The Clear comes with substantial accessories, and one of the better carry-cases we’ve encountered. They are just about as simple as audio equipment gets. When I did get the chance to pull up Spotify in a private setting, hip-hop songs had more oomph to them. When playing bouncy selections like Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” the drums and guitar licks had a striking presence that made vibing along to the record joyous. The latter is very much a high-end model that is second only to the groundbreaking Utopia: a closed-back, leather-wrapped, $2,999 monster but makes mincemeat of any song you put through it. Look no further than the intro to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for confirmation. As with all Focal products, it feels well built and substantial, but we just can’t help thinking that the design is perhaps a little bit lazy. Sensitivity is identical, at 104dB, although the Clear has slightly lower Total Harmonic Distortion (at 0.25%/1kHz to the Elear’s 0.3%/1kHz). The first detail that immediately caught my eye is the mesh grille on the exterior, which has become symbolic with the open-back circumaural category (thank you very much, Sennheiser). Despite its massive frame, the Clear does make for a pleasant wear, as long as you limit listening to a reasonable time frame; I recommend 1 to 2 hours max. They are very good for what they do and deliver. Here are some of the best ones of this year. A reskinned version of the Elear? Damn, we're old. But, in comparison to such a great imaging headphone, Elear wasn’t totally out of its depth which means Focal gets high marks for providing competitive soundstage at this price. Similar they may be, but there are definite differences. The hi‑fi‑oriented Clear and the studio‑focused Clear Professional models have different colour schemes and come with different accessories, but it’s not clear … The Clear has an impedance of 55ohms and a sensitivity of 104db. End of discussion. Of all the hundreds of headphone models available today, these are the best. Audeze LCDi4 In-Ear Headphones Review. They’ve hung in there, easily competing with headphones twice their price. It changed the way we listen to music forever - and today, Apple is no longer the market leader. Price … This provides some relief when zoning out to playlists for long stretches. The Clear also offers a slightly wider frequency range, peaking at 28kHz to the Elear’s 23kHz. While the Elegia is capable of offering a similar sonic experience for a lower price, the Clear remains the better-looking and sounding pair of headphones. On on hand, the Stellia’s earpads are coated in super soft leather. You get a 4” cable with a 3.5mm plug for smartphone use, a 10” cable with the standard 6.3mm plug, and you even get a 10” balanced cable with a 4-point XLR connector. So why not take the jump? Other high-end models, like the AUDEZE LCD-4, can be difficult to wear after a couple of hours, on account of the fact that eventually the muscles in your neck stop being able to hold them up. The central element, with the company logo surrounded by a circle detailing not only the material the driver is constructed from (aluminum-magnesium, since you ask) but also that the headphones were Fabrique en France, feels as well-built and substantial as it did on the Elear. The yokes appear shorter as well to ensure a more secure fit. I’m also fond of the circular cutouts that offer a generous amount of space for listeners with larger ear shapes. The biggest question we have to answer when reviewing these is: are they worth the extra money when something like the Elear exists? Hurry! December 31, 2017 Luckbad 0. If you don't want to spend what you would for the Clear, these are well worth looking at, and remain an excellent pair of headphones. Because, again, they are incredibly similar. There was a problem. But if money isn't an issue and you're looking to go big, the Focal Clear are among the best headphones in the premium price range. His ZMF series, which at the time of writing is about to get a new open-back planar model, is stellar. It’s just the truth. While it is a little frustrating, it must be said that we don’t consider these points to detract from the overall package all that much. If the Elear didn’t exist, these would be revolutionary. While I wasn’t able to test the company’s older and more beloved beryllium driver for comparison, I can say that this alternative delivers on its promise. I'd rather have one of this than 5 of cheaper headphones. Since the release of the Clear, they have come out with multiple headphone models at a variety of prices. They are higher quality than the Clear, and a good alternative if you have cash to burn. Not exactly. Sheer sonic bliss housed in a luxury shell. To us, it seemed as if Focal were muddying the waters a little bit, succumbing to the iPhone malady of releasing incremental upgrades. In this review, we break down the Clear’s sound, design, comfort and fit, packaging and accessories, specs and more. The Focal Clear headphones are a new $1500 open back offering designed and developed in France. And really…that’s kind of it. Otherwise, look at other high-profile alternatives like the Sony WH-1000xM3 ($250) that can get the job done for a fraction of the cost, and has lots more features. Join the discussion about the Focal Clear at "The HEADPHONE Community".---Buy the Focal Clear on Headphone.com here, at the best price available.---Post Review Note. Klipsch Heritage HP-3 Headphones. The Focal Utopia are the best headphones on the planet. For $500 more? It's a little difficult to say that either of these new models are better or worse than the Clear. These open-back circumaural headphones combine the brand’s prestigious craftsmanship and proprietary technologies to recreate the dynamic sound of its loudspeakers. When you take the headphones out of the box, you’ll immediately be dazzled with the metallic look and great feel. Read full InnerFidelity review here: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/focal-clear-over-ear-open-headphones It’s one of the better carry cases we’ve seen, and is easy-to-use, flipping open in a clamshell design. But if you’re going to make something look identical to its predecessor, and not even change the name beyond a single letter, it doesn’t really add to the illusion that you’ve put a lot of thought into it. Are almost as pristine as the sound, but that 's changed and you can of... For under $ 1500 basic housing is virtually unchanged part of Future Inc! Also fond of the same feels, although its low end felt tamer,... They sound distinctive you probably don ’ t just optimize volume levels across different audio sources ( e.g coatings different. Sound profile extra five hundred bucks slightly wider frequency range, peaking at 28kHz the... Of it, a similar sound signature that reveals the purest details from the most complex.. 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