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Choosing a 7ft grand in London #2856007
06/06/19 09:23 AM
06/06/19 09:23 AM
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awesome10 Offline OP
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I am looking for a 7ft(6' 11'' to 7' 5'') grand piano (brand new) in London , somewhere around 25000-45000 pounds ( a very broad range). I am basically surveying these pianos for a charity which is interested in buying one (Most probably they will reclaim the VAT ). Because of the nature of the purchase, several dealers are also offering some sort of an institutional discount ranging from 10%-20%.

The options I am considering are (approximate prices in pounds)

Irmler F230E - 24,000
Irmler F210E - 19,000 (worst case)
Boston GP215- 28,960
Haessler/Ronisch GP210 - 36,000
C Bechstein Academy A208 - 38,400
C Bechstein Academy A228 - 42,000
W.Hoffmann P206 - 36,000

I am also looking at the Yamaha C6X , C7X , the Kawai GX-6 ,GX-7 and the Schimmel C213.

Out of all these pianos , I have only tried out the A228 , A208 , GP215 and the smaller models of the other ones (most shops don't stock pianos above 6' 11'' it seems).

A couple of questions
a) The Kawai GX-6 and the Boston GP215 are very similarly priced , and considering the fact that Kawai manufactures the Boston range , which one would be better among these two? I could not find a GX-6/7 to try , but the GP-215 I played at the Steinway Hall was very well prepped ....
b)Are the Irmler Europe Range pianos good? I tried the smaller models and found them to be better than the Essex series , comparable to the Bostons. However there seems to be some uncertainity regarding where the parts are built and the part quality. The salesperson told me they are finished in Leipzig .......
c)How well are the Haessler/Ronisch pianos built? The Bluthner factory owned store showed me a similar sized Bluthner Model (with the Aliquot strings and way more expensive). He said the construction would be similar , with a thinner rim , different materials etc. , but the entire piano would be built in Germany (along with some BVK certification which Bechstein seems to be missing).
d)The Bechstein dealer has the A228 on display, and since the prices have gone up , he is willing to sell it for the older list price as the piano has been sitting in stock for 8 months. Are C. Bechstein Academy pianos worth the premium? I felt it was prepped really nice , and was really responsive as compared to the A208 they had in their practice room . I still do not understand where they cut the corners as compared to the C. Bechstein Concert range ....
e)Should a person buy a piano without trying it out first?
f) Are German pianos (slightly more expensive than their Asian counterparts) really worth the markup in price with regards to general build quality? I am not considering any piano from any brand's flagship ranges , and the piano will be used very roughly ( as one great piano tech told me , we would be better off buying a tank instead of a piano). Someone even gave the analogy of buying a Toyota vs a Merc ( even though Toyota's last a million miles......)
g)The Bluthner(irmler/Haessler/Ronisch), Steinway(Boston) and the Yamaha dealerships in London are all directly owned by the companies themselves. Is that beneficial in any manner?

My current rating look something like A228 > GP210 > A208 >C213>GP215>F230E>C7X>GX7>P206>F210E>C6X>GX6

I'll post more queries later. Any help/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by awesome10; 06/06/19 09:25 AM.
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Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856028
06/06/19 11:06 AM
06/06/19 11:06 AM
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Hakki Offline
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If the Shigeru Kawai is not out of your price range I would give it a try too.

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856038
06/06/19 11:18 AM
06/06/19 11:18 AM
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Hakki
If the Shigeru Kawai is not out of your price range I would give it a try too.


I'd love too , but it is way out of my budget, around 60,000.

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856067
06/06/19 12:08 PM
06/06/19 12:08 PM
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My advice is that you are looking at generally excellent pianos. Given that you describe the piano's future use as rough, the biggest factor in the piano's future among these choices is maintenance. If there is adequate budget for future maintenance planned, then keep on your present course and select the one you like the most. If some of the purchase money should be dedicated to the next 10 years of maintenance, then keep that in mind as you qualify your choices.

I wouldn't worry too much about the BVK certificate which was primarily developed to counter rampant marketing abuses in the Chinese domestic market...crazy claims and trademark infringements even in trade shows like Music China Shanghai. IMO and outside of China, there is some gamesmanship going on between the supporters of the BVK. I am supportive of their initiative, but the details can become a source of FUD in higher end markets.

Surviving European makers are competing truly on quality and protection of their brands. I don't see significant risks being taken even in their second lines, though transparency is probably wishful thinking. Even more than most products, piano making suffers from complexities of design, construction and supply where an expert's judgment is usually superior to the public's understanding. For some key elements of supply, piano makers have to make changes not for cost, but for continuity. With only a few exceptions, these are very small businesses that have to work together.

So is there still a difference? Yes. But where is that distance close and where is it measurable as it relates to your purchase? In raw materials, high end European makers tend to be the most selective simply because they can be with small overall production demands. In assembly of rims...strung backs, the gap is extremely small and I would argue that the best from Asia surpassed most historical brands except at the very elite level. For example, a Brodmann of today has an objectively better made strung back than the typical Baldwin artist grand of similar size when made in USA.

Where is there still a gap? The supply of highly skilled labor that can integrate and execute good designs is a challenge for every maker. When it comes to larger grands, the numbers produced are small in every factory, so the effect of a few properly trained, experienced and watchful eyes during production is significant to the final result.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
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Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: PianoWorksATL] #2856069
06/06/19 12:12 PM
06/06/19 12:12 PM
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Posts: 41
UK
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
My advice is that you are looking at generally excellent pianos. Given that you describe the piano's future use as rough, the biggest factor in the piano's future among these choices is maintenance. If there is adequate budget for future maintenance planned, then keep on your present course and select the one you like the most. If some of the purchase money should be dedicated to the next 10 years of maintenance, then keep that in mind as you qualify your choices.

I wouldn't worry too much about the BVK certificate which was primarily developed to counter rampant marketing abuses in the Chinese domestic market...crazy claims and trademark infringements even in trade shows like Music China Shanghai. IMO and outside of China, there is some gamesmanship going on between the supporters of the BVK. I am supportive of their initiative, but the details can become a source of FUD in higher end markets.

Surviving European makers are competing truly on quality and protection of their brands. I don't see significant risks being taken even in their second lines, though transparency is probably wishful thinking. Even more than most products, piano making suffers from complexities of design, construction and supply where an expert's judgment is usually superior to the public's understanding. For some key elements of supply, piano makers have to make changes not for cost, but for continuity. With only a few exceptions, these are very small businesses that have to work together.

So is there still a difference? Yes. But where is that distance close and where is it measurable as it relates to your purchase? In raw materials, high end European makers tend to be the most selective simply because they can be with small overall production demands. In assembly of rims...strung backs, the gap is extremely small and I would argue that the best from Asia surpassed most historical brands except at the very elite level. For example, a Brodmann of today has an objectively better made strung back than the typical Baldwin artist grand of similar size when made in USA.

Where is there still a gap? The supply of highly skilled labor that can integrate and execute good designs is a challenge for every maker. When it comes to larger grands, the numbers produced are small in every factory, so the effect of a few properly trained, experienced and watchful eyes during production is significant to the final result.


Thanks for the advice ..... but I am still confused what to buy ...

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856073
06/06/19 12:19 PM
06/06/19 12:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,132
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joe80 Online content
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The BVK certificate isn't something I'd worry about at all by the way. It's something of a smoke screen in the industry, and is dependent on how much of the piano's economic cost was German.

The Haessler/Ronisch pianos are similar to Blüthner but not the same as Blüthner. The major differences are that they don't have aliquot scaling, they don't have the cylindrically crowned soundboard (don't ask me what that actually means, I just know they don't have it), and there are other things in the manufacture which streamline the costs to make an instrument roughly half the price of a Blüthner but still offering a good quality German piano. £36,000 seems a pretty good price for a 7' Haessler, but it depends if you like the piano. A lot of the differences between Blüthner and Haessler will be to do with the time it takes to do certain things, the time spent on finishing the piano off.

I wouldn't bother with either of the Irmler pianos, I've never liked them much myself and frankly they aren't so good at standing up to a beating. If you're going with Blüthner family I'd start with Haessler, or I'd source a rebuilt Blüthner from Blüthner's themselves if you want that brand.

Boston vs Kawai, I'll just say it depends on the individual piano. Yes, the Bostons at Steinway London are very well prepared, beautiful pianos. They are expensive compared with Kawai, and they're probably at the pinnacle of what you can expect from a Boston instrument. I like them very much, but some people are against paying the premium for the connection to Steinways. Personally I think if you like the piano and can afford it, then go for it.

Both Yamaha and Kawai make some beautiful instruments in their regular series of piano, the CX and the GX respectively. I think Kawai, Boston and Yamaha are equals in terms of quality and virtually price as well, and really it depends on preference. If you have a well prepared and well maintained piano from either of these makes you can't go far wrong.

I don't know much about the C. Bechstein Academy pianos. I know they're built half in the Czech republic or all in the Czech republic, and that doesn't put me off at all. They're very highly regarded, as are the W.Hoffman pianos. I imagine that you're looking at similar quality with a different sound when it comes to Hoffman vs Bechstein Academy.

What kind of sound are you looking for?

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856074
06/06/19 12:19 PM
06/06/19 12:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 41
UK
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
My advice is that you are looking at generally excellent pianos. Given that you describe the piano's future use as rough, the biggest factor in the piano's future among these choices is maintenance. If there is adequate budget for future maintenance planned, then keep on your present course and select the one you like the most. If some of the purchase money should be dedicated to the next 10 years of maintenance, then keep that in mind as you qualify your choices.

I wouldn't worry too much about the BVK certificate which was primarily developed to counter rampant marketing abuses in the Chinese domestic market...crazy claims and trademark infringements even in trade shows like Music China Shanghai. IMO and outside of China, there is some gamesmanship going on between the supporters of the BVK. I am supportive of their initiative, but the details can become a source of FUD in higher end markets.

Surviving European makers are competing truly on quality and protection of their brands. I don't see significant risks being taken even in their second lines, though transparency is probably wishful thinking. Even more than most products, piano making suffers from complexities of design, construction and supply where an expert's judgment is usually superior to the public's understanding. For some key elements of supply, piano makers have to make changes not for cost, but for continuity. With only a few exceptions, these are very small businesses that have to work together.

So is there still a difference? Yes. But where is that distance close and where is it measurable as it relates to your purchase? In raw materials, high end European makers tend to be the most selective simply because they can be with small overall production demands. In assembly of rims...strung backs, the gap is extremely small and I would argue that the best from Asia surpassed most historical brands except at the very elite level. For example, a Brodmann of today has an objectively better made strung back than the typical Baldwin artist grand of similar size when made in USA.

Where is there still a gap? The supply of highly skilled labor that can integrate and execute good designs is a challenge for every maker. When it comes to larger grands, the numbers produced are small in every factory, so the effect of a few properly trained, experienced and watchful eyes during production is significant to the final result.


I would especially like your opinion regarding the purchase of pianos which I have not tried since multiple Piano World threads advice not to go along that route ....

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856077
06/06/19 12:26 PM
06/06/19 12:26 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,769
Atlanta, GA
PianoWorksATL Offline
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My point is you are looking at good, "safe" choices, so long as you have a good maintenance plan. If your preference of performance among a few finalists is close, the support services and planning offered by the seller would be a deciding factor for me.

For example, if were down to the performance of the GP210 vs A208, size & price comparable...I'd go with the better availability of support services.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: joe80] #2856078
06/06/19 12:27 PM
06/06/19 12:27 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 41
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by joe80
The BVK certificate isn't something I'd worry about at all by the way. It's something of a smoke screen in the industry, and is dependent on how much of the piano's economic cost was German.

The Haessler/Ronisch pianos are similar to Blüthner but not the same as Blüthner. The major differences are that they don't have aliquot scaling, they don't have the cylindrically crowned soundboard (don't ask me what that actually means, I just know they don't have it), and there are other things in the manufacture which streamline the costs to make an instrument roughly half the price of a Blüthner but still offering a good quality German piano. £36,000 seems a pretty good price for a 7' Haessler, but it depends if you like the piano. A lot of the differences between Blüthner and Haessler will be to do with the time it takes to do certain things, the time spent on finishing the piano off.

I wouldn't bother with either of the Irmler pianos, I've never liked them much myself and frankly they aren't so good at standing up to a beating. If you're going with Blüthner family I'd start with Haessler, or I'd source a rebuilt Blüthner from Blüthner's themselves if you want that brand.

Boston vs Kawai, I'll just say it depends on the individual piano. Yes, the Bostons at Steinway London are very well prepared, beautiful pianos. They are expensive compared with Kawai, and they're probably at the pinnacle of what you can expect from a Boston instrument. I like them very much, but some people are against paying the premium for the connection to Steinways. Personally I think if you like the piano and can afford it, then go for it.

Both Yamaha and Kawai make some beautiful instruments in their regular series of piano, the CX and the GX respectively. I think Kawai, Boston and Yamaha are equals in terms of quality and virtually price as well, and really it depends on preference. If you have a well prepared and well maintained piano from either of these makes you can't go far wrong.

I don't know much about the C. Bechstein Academy pianos. I know they're built half in the Czech republic or all in the Czech republic, and that doesn't put me off at all. They're very highly regarded, as are the W.Hoffman pianos. I imagine that you're looking at similar quality with a different sound when it comes to Hoffman vs Bechstein Academy.

What kind of sound are you looking for?


The Haessler was originally for 41-42 ish, the dealer very kindly agreed to discount the piano. I agree it sounds like a good deal for a 'completely made in Germany piano'.

What I was told by the piano dealer was that the C Bechstein Academy pianos are 100% made in Germany , and the Czech parts are limited to the W. Hoffmanns. There was some discussion regarding the manufacturing of pianos more 'optimally' using machines , but they sort of assured me that they were completely German made pianos ( At that price , it better be fully German....)

I am looking for something with a European sound .......

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856082
06/06/19 12:34 PM
06/06/19 12:34 PM
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
My point is you are looking at good, "safe" choices, so long as you have a good maintenance plan. If your preference of performance among a few finalists is close, the support services and planning offered by the seller would be a deciding factor for me.

For example, if were down to the performance of the GP210 vs A208, size & price comparable...I'd go with the better availability of support services.

The support is not much of an issue , all the piano stores are within walking distance ( at max 1.6 miles).

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856123
06/06/19 03:15 PM
06/06/19 03:15 PM
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Hakki Offline
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You might also want to check Estonia.

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: Hakki] #2856126
06/06/19 03:27 PM
06/06/19 03:27 PM
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Hakki
You might also want to check Estonia.

I did , but the only one seems to be a 90s model which has been rebuilt ....

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: joe80] #2856130
06/06/19 03:43 PM
06/06/19 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by joe80

I don't know much about the C. Bechstein Academy pianos. I know they're built half in the Czech republic or all in the Czech republic, and that doesn't put me off at all. They're very highly regarded, as are the W.Hoffman pianos. I imagine that you're looking at similar quality with a different sound when it comes to Hoffman vs Bechstein Academy.


Please don't spread misinformation.

If it says Bechstein on the fallboard of a modern instrument it was designed and manufactured in Germany. If it has W. Hoffmann on the fallboard, it was built in the Czech Republic, designed in Germany.

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856175
06/06/19 07:12 PM
06/06/19 07:12 PM
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You should at least try an August Förster 215 at Peregrin's Pianos. Here's a link to their website:

August Förster at Peregrin's Pianos

I have one, it is a superb instrument, and it is probably in your price range.

Listen to this video of the proprietor of Peregirn's Pianos playing Brahms's "Paganini Variations" to get an idea of what the instrument sounds like:

Brahms's "Paganini Variations" on an August Förster 215


August Förster 215
Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: AaronSF] #2856183
06/06/19 07:32 PM
06/06/19 07:32 PM
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awesome10 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by AaronSF
You should at least try an August Förster 215 at Peregrin's Pianos. Here's a link to their website:

August Förster at Peregrin's Pianos

I have one, it is a superb instrument, and it is probably in your price range.

Listen to this video of the proprietor of Peregirn's Pianos playing Brahms's "Paganini Variations" to get an idea of what the instrument sounds like:

Brahms's "Paganini Variations" on an August Förster 215

I did. The August Forster is undoubtedly a great instrument , but around 52,000 pounds. I think I am gravitating towards the A 228 since the dealer has it in stock ...... ( and 10,000 cheaper than the August and slightly larger )

Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856188
06/06/19 08:17 PM
06/06/19 08:17 PM
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The Schimmel by far is the best quality and i've seen them new at a very low price. Awesome piano.
-chris


Maker of Fine Piano Soundboards
Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee
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Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856201
06/06/19 09:31 PM
06/06/19 09:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
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Queensland, Australia
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You mention "Ronisch" - my Mum bought an new Ronisch upright in the mid '90s, and was very unstable - needed tuning at least 4 times a year to be reasonably OK, then when about 15 yrs old, the hammers started delaminating. I'd avoid them - though, maybe they've improved?


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856203
06/06/19 09:38 PM
06/06/19 09:38 PM
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From your list I would go with a Yamaha C7X if it is in budget. And the statement that the Kawai, Boston and Yamaha CX series are equal quality is not at all true. The Yamaha CX and especially the SX series are much better. Just play them and you will know.

Last edited by One Ohm; 06/06/19 09:39 PM.
Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: awesome10] #2856212
06/06/19 11:07 PM
06/06/19 11:07 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,496
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Online content
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The BVK certificate is one of the very few criteria buyers can check against recurring claims made by dealers and manufacturers in todays world. Its exactly why it was created in the first place this, in an increasingly confusing market.
To dismiss it as irrelevant or not worth “to worry about” is certainly one’s own decision during the buying process. In my book, honesty and transparency about products one is about to buy, still go a long way.
Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 06/06/19 11:12 PM.

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Re: Choosing a 7ft grand in London [Re: AaronSF] #2856231
06/07/19 01:16 AM
06/07/19 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AaronSF
You should at least try an August Förster 215 at Peregrin's Pianos. Here's a link to their website:

August Förster at Peregrin's Pianos

I have one, it is a superb instrument, and it is probably in your price range.

Listen to this video of the proprietor of Peregirn's Pianos playing Brahms's "Paganini Variations" to get an idea of what the instrument sounds like:

Brahms's "Paganini Variations" on an August Förster 215



As someone who love august forster pianos, there is a few unison on that piano that are way out... it's pretty bothersome.

If I were choosing from just the pianos listed, I would probably gravitate towards the Haessler, even though the design appears quite different(more conventional in design) from a Bluthner, it is still made in the same factory by very skilled workers. However, since this is for an organization, it might be safer to look at the Yamaha Cx series... maybe even the sx? If many different players were to play an instrument I would think anyone would be happy to hear there is a Yamaha of said caliber available.

Last edited by sroreilly; 06/07/19 01:17 AM.
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Casio GP-300 or GP-400?
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