high fidelity listening room

High-fidelity: Webster's Timeline History, 1931 - 2007: 28,95€ 2: High Fidelity: 1,29€ 3: The 2021-2026 World Outlook for High Fidelity (Hi-Fi) Systems: 895,00€ 4: The Sound of Pictures: Listening to the Movies, from Hitchcock to High Fidelity (English Edition) After living with the finished room for about three months at the time of this writing, I’m very happy with the size and feel of the space. Incidentally, because I have two doors going into the listening room (the 300-pound isolation door to the house and a standard solid-core door to the garage) I was able to compare the sound-proofing effectiveness of the two doors. Moreover, peaks had a sense of ease and effortlessness that encouraged higher playback levels and simultaneously greater relaxation and involvement. Dating back to the fourteenth century, when the pipe organ found its place in the gothic cathedral, music played an important role in society and spiritual influence. The first layer of drywall is laid up vertically and screwed to the channel’s wide face. Such an experience allows the listener to quite literally transcend spacetime, teleporting them to witness Beethoven’s 9th, the orchestra and choir before you in their respective positions. This technique was developed about 25 years ago by Art Noxon and has been used successfully in many listening rooms and recording studios around the world. It was a wholesale transformation, not a matter of minor improvements in a few areas. This question is easily answered: for the love of music. I hit an undamped stud with a hammer and listened to the ring. Because my listening room is also a mastering room, it has to be as accurate as possible (see photo 1). I also used the Acrolink 8N-PC8100 Performante Nero Edizione cable. I went to my local Lowe’s and loaded up a lumber cart with sheets of plywood and wheeled it to the lumber-cutting area. The Absolute Sound’s Buyer’s Guide to Loudspeakers 2018. But hearing the system in the new room made me realize that much of this congealing of the sound on musical peaks is the room distorting, not the speakers or amplifiers. To summarize, the three primary problems inherent in music-listening rooms are: 1) sound leaking from the music room into the rest of the house; 2) wall shudder; and 3) excess bass that requires bass traps in the listening room. Convenience is the name of the game. René Laflamme . To see how I chose the listening position and speaker placement, check out our room and speaker layout guide. What would I have done differently? To realize the room’s full isolation (sound-proofing) potential, the door between the listening room and house must be carefully considered. The result is a distortion of an instrument’s dynamic envelope and thus a diminution of music’s dynamic expression. The first system in the new room is a combination of products that will be long-term reference components in addition to short-term review samples. The drywall is thus rigidly attached to the wood-framed wall only along the wall edges where it meets the perimeter gasket. We marked their rooms with special stickers with the anniversary (15 years) "High Fidelity" logo. The trend is to compartmentalize, combining technologies that are easily accessible and, as it relates to home entertainment, within one location. I recently realized a lifelong goal of building a serious listening room and will share my experience with you. Hi-fi systems have always seemed to me to change their character on loud peaks, or when the music is played loudly. My room is 27′ long and 17′ wide, and the ceiling is 11′ tall. Art Noxon has called this phenomenon “wall shudder.” Wall shudder colors the bass tonally because the walls will vibrate at their natural resonant frequencies, adding energy at that frequency. When standing in the hallway in front of the door with music playing at a high level in the listening room, you can detect that music is playing on the other side but it’s not nearly loud enough to disturb anyone. I know several audiophiles who have built expensive dedicated rooms that sounded awful. Thinner 12AWG wire is standard, but don’t let the electrician scoff at the need for 10AWG and talk you into the easier-to-manage 12AWG. This ratio has a very large effect on the room’s sound, particularly in the bass. Moreover, the energy dissipated in the viscoelastic damping is energy that’s not putting the walls into structural resonance. It took only a few seconds into the first track to hear that this same system sounded dramatically better in the new room. The walls and ceiling are turned into giant diaphragmatic bass absorbers. I have rooftop photovoltaic solar panels but have no idea whether this confers any sound-quality benefits. On the peaks the sound congeals; individual instrumental textures tend to be smeared into a single big sound; and the sense of space collapses. Although I had built two homes before with dedicated rooms, this one is more ambitious. Wilson Audio Specialties Chronosonic XVX Loudspeaker, Subsonic Subwoofer, and ActivXO Crossover, Schiit Audio Modius DAC and Magnius Preamplifier/Headphone Amplifier, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 : Loudspeaker, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 : Digital Electronics, An Interview with John Bring of Cable Support Plate, The Absolute Sound’s High-End Audio Hall of Fame | 2020 Inductees, Lauren Daigle’s Grammy Award Winning Album “Look Up Child” to be released December 11 in 45RPM LP Format, The Absolute Sound’s Buyer’s Guide to Electronics 2017, The Absolute Sound’s Top Picks in High-End Audio and Music 2017, The Absolute Sound’s Buyer's Guide to Affordable High-End Audio 2017, Hank Williams: Pictures from Life’s Other Side. In addition to the dimensional-ratio spreadsheet, the site includes many other valuable resources for room design. My goal for this article isn’t “one-upsmanship” but rather to share with readers my experience and the techniques in the hope that they will benefit others who are considering building their own listening rooms. With a large surface area such as a wall, even a very small excursion can produce an acoustic output. The aforementioned benefits are beneficial only insofar as they benefit the consumer. Feb 16, 2018 - Let's see how other audiophiles around the world listen to their gear! It is essential that every drywall screw goes into the channel and not into a stud—an errant screw that penetrates the stud will “short out” the structure and reduce its effectiveness. Explaining the importance of room ratios is beyond the scope of this article (The Complete Guide to High-End Audio’s chapter on room acoustics breaks it down), but know that the length-to-width-to-height ratio is the crucial starting point. If you find equal value in both art forms, then there is still a solution. Although I installed the Iso-Wall system myself (except for hanging the drywall) it was a much bigger job than I anticipated. This is advantageous because the surrounding rooms’ ceiling framing helps to reinforce the listening room walls and give them greater structural rigidity. As a result, the sound had a delicacy and density of information that accurately conveyed instrumental timbre, while also vividly portraying the size of the recorded acoustic and the spatial perspectives between instruments and between the ensemble and the surrounding hall. It’s remarkable that Iso-Wall addresses these three major problems with a single construction technique. Convenience is what drives the trend to combine one’s listening room with their film room. Remember that the resilient channel allows the interior surfaces of the listening room to bend but not vibrate, which is a key element in a constrained-layer damping system. In a properly executed two-channel system, the acoustics of a cathedral, and in some recordings a specific cathedral, will be readily discernable. THE WAY WE LISTENED | The cables were tested in the “High Fidelity” reference system and compared to our absolute reference, i.e. A small rectangle of WallDamp viscoelastic material (called a StudPad) is located between each stud and the dRC-1 channel to help damp vibration transfer (Fig. High Fidelity Design Group employs seasoned professionals who will work closely with your integrator to make certain that the utmost attention to detail is paid to integrating a quality two-channel system into your home entertainment environment. After evaluating the possible construction techniques for my room I chose one that simultaneously solves all three of these problems. For starters, bass in the new room is extremely linear, smooth, and highly resolved in pitch and dynamics. Chalk lines snapped on the drywall are essential to avoiding this problem. Next, we’ll need to provide a source component and amplification to power the speakers. As Art Noxon explains in the sidebar, however, soundproofing and optimizing audio quality inside the listening room is more complex than simple soundproofing. A study in one-upsmanship par excellence.” See Letters, Issues 283 and 286). The central area of each wall essentially “floats” on the flexible resilient channel rather than being rigidly affixed to the studs. Unfortunately, building a listening room as part of a house entails financial demands from the room simultaneously with the substantial financial demands of building an entire house. Tags: audio vs video, listening room vs home theater, Robert Entenmann, the listening room, Your email address will not be published. Moreover, the wall movement is chaotic. In addition, the room is acoustically isolated from the rest of the house, saving my wife from being subjected to my musical tastes (which admittedly aren’t for everyone). It’s expensive and complex, and when you’re finished there’s no guarantee that the room will sound good. The specialized acoustic door I chose (the Studio 3D from Acoustical Surfaces) weighs 300 pounds, is 2 1/4″ thick, has a robust three-point latch system, and cost about $4000. For a nominal additional cost you can use 5/8″ Type X Sheetrock on the wall outside the listening room and gain a few dB of additional transmission loss. I’ve been reviewing high-end audio equipment for 30 years, and for 30 years I’ve hauled big and heavy gear through the front door of a house. The drywall is thus affixed to the channel rather than to the studs. Dec 29, 2019 - 809 Likes, 21 Comments - #w_s_d (@worldsoundigest) on Instagram: “#Dynaudio #Confidence C4 #speakers driven by a full #McIntosh electronic setup #hifi #highend…” One layer of standard drywall and one layer of moisture-resistant drywall will do the trick. The finished and painted room looks just like any other room in the house—the acoustic infrastructure is completely invisible behind the drywall. With music playing at a moderate level inside this room, standing just outside the room you would be able to clearly hear and identify the music. In the majority of home entertainment applications, having a single location makes sense both economically and in terms of space constraints. Learn more. It seems to me that thanks to them we have even more room for maneuver. Then WallDamp Squares (4″ by 4″) are applied to the drywall face 12″ on center (Fig. I could use just about any piece of music to illustrate this precise sense of pitch, bass articulation, and dynamic agility, but I’ll choose one that many of you are undoubtedly familiar with and one in which the sonic improvement rendered a large difference in musical perception: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” from Paul Simon’s Graceland. Mission accomplished. So why invest in a dedicated sound room? At the next level, Art Noxon will design a custom ASC Iso-Wall System for your room for a consulting fee. (The room’s main door opens to a hallway in the house.) Wonder what a multimillion-dollar room looks like? The resilient channel is attached to the studs, and the drywall to the resilient channel. Accessibility, with respect to home integration, is typically gained through a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. This wall construction is more effective in reducing the transmission of sound, but is expensive and consumes some of the room’s real estate. The next step up is to use 2×6 plate with 2×4 studs that are staggered. Building the room was a small price to pay for realizing a place specifically tailored to reviewing and enjoying music with wonderful fidelity for the rest of my days. Watch for upcoming reviews. As massive as this door is (it feels like opening and closing a bank vault), it’s still the weak spot in the room’s isolation. The goal is to make the room as inert as possible, reducing the amount of wall resonance and shortening the decay time of the resonances that remain. The five dedicated lines terminate in floor plugs. In my previous house I had compared dedicated AC lines and custom outlets to stock AC with stock outlets, but never to just the outlets themselves. I will just add, that in this case the test was not with my Luxman M-800A (actually not mine anymore…), but with the mentioned Tenor Audio 175S and with the turntable Avid Acutus Reference with Miyajima Laboratory Waza cartridge. My description of the room’s AC power a few issues ago prompted more than one reader to accuse me of elitism (“That was the most elitist bunch of crap I’ve ever read. A small tweak is to specify different densities of drywall for the two layers. While Mr. Huber was doing research on room acoustics, an amplifier used for taking measurements damaged expensive speakers a few times, generating constant voltage of 70 V on the output – no converter would handle that. This sense of life continued throughout the song, anchored by the tight kick drum and Kumalo’s extraordinary inventiveness in playing his instrument. The same goes for tubes. The speaker also resolved very low-level textural and spatial cues that were lost by most loudspeakers. Most reputable integrators are capable of providing an outstanding home theater experience; however if you want a zero compromise approach, then we highly suggest consulting with NYC’s premier two-channel architect, HFDG. I know people who have spent on their AC ground more than I spent on my entire room—it involved, in part, a copper ground rod buried in an electrolytic slurry of precise chemical composition that must be constantly kept moist. The floor is a concrete slab, with solid-block wall construction and a cathedral ceiling 23' high at the rear—there are no floor-to-ceiling resonances. Begin typing your search above and press return to search. The size, i.e. Music is an art form whose medium is seductively temporal and perceived through aural affectations that intrinsically inspire the spirit. The speaker had a spooky sense of realism, with instruments appearing seemingly out of nowhere with startling immediacy. The ceiling is treated the same way, but with a slightly different resilient channel (ASC’s dRC-2) and closer spacing between the channels. Even if you hire out the Iso-Wall installation the cost is still reasonable when viewed in context of the price of today’s high-end systems. At a minimum you should use a solid-core door with a door-seal kit such as ASC’s DoorKit. To achieve full soundproofing (such as would be required in a recording studio in Manhattan) a double-door structure is required. It has exceeded expectations in every way and, indeed, has been revelatory. Furthermore, most home theater rooms are acoustically treated for their primary purpose, film! The third-car garage is a staging area for gear coming and going, as well as facility for box storage—a surprisingly important consideration for reviewers. That wall motion, unfortunately, converts the stored mechanical energy in the wall back into sound after the transient is over (Fig. But it turned out he was interested in audio, and after discovering the purpose of my odd request, fed the sheets through the saw while I stacked the strips (I was prepared and brought hearing protection). The listening room selectively reinforces some frequencies and cancels others, with the frequencies reinforced and canceled determined by the room’s dimensions and the speakers’ and listener’s positions. The Absolute Sound team is proud to highlight Martin Logan and Paradigm, known for loudspeaker innovation. Kick drum, the rhythmic foundation of much music, had a solidity and dynamic impact that were startling. The solid-core door performed much better than I thought it would, attenuating the sound quite well. the scale of the presentation, is above average and it is difficult to achieve, even in very good systems based on an analog sound source; usually when it does happen the source is a high quality reel-to-reel. But it is by no means the state of the art. The value of music is definite and timeless. The idea is that the different wallboard densities will exhibit different resonant characteristics, and thus distribute the resonant energy that remains over a wider band but at a lower amplitude. I would implore anyone reading this article that loves music as much as I, to ask themselves where their priorities lie? Back at the raw-framed listening room, I conducted an experiment to understand the effect of the stud dampers. The framed structure is rendered quiet and inert. If you have the chance to build a house, the cost of ASC’s Iso-Wall is without question the best allocation of your audio budget. :D. See more ideas about audiophile listening room, listening room, audiophile. Before describing ASC Iso-Wall, I’ll tell you about the listening room’s wall construction. But it was no match for the acoustic isolation door. This is one reason why some sort of bass trap is essential in every room. The letter writers believed that optimizing the AC power to an audio system is symptomatic of audiophile overkill, and of turning an audio system into nothing more than an object of status. But first you should know that a wall’s “transmission loss” (reduction in sound amplitude from one side of the wall to the other) is specified as an STC (“sound transmission class”) rating. A room that is designed to diffuse sound is optimal for two-channel applications. Between the stud dampers, the damping rectangles between the resilient channel and the studs, the damping material on the channel, and the damping between the layers of sheetrock, there are several hundred pounds of ASC WallDamp viscoelastic material built into the room. It involved screwing and gluing, rather than nailing, the wall structure together. Once you’ve decided on the room’s dimensions, the next consideration is the room’s wall construction. When the wall is flexed by the acoustic pressure of low-frequency sound inside the room, sheer forces in the viscoelastic layer dissipate that energy as a minute amount of heat in the viscoelastic material. Before telling you about the room’s design and construction, I’d like to state that a dedicated room is most certainly not a prerequisite to musical enjoyment. The difference was so dramatic that I recorded the experiment on my phone. Absorption is necessary for frequencies under 80Hz, and as a standard in percentage terms, 80% diffusion and 20% absorption is ideal for two-channel applications. It has an STC rating of STC-56. After the bass clarity and dynamic fidelity, the next most dramatic and musically significant aspect of the room’s performance is the absence of this phenomenon. If a home theater isn’t well deadened, standing waves would leave the viewer with a headache. When you think of the extraordinary effort that some loudspeaker designers put into creating inert and well-damped speaker enclosures, it makes sense that one would want similar performance from the structure in which the loudspeaker is operating. Although I was disappointed at the time, the situation turned into a valuable learning experience. (The electrician and project foreman both thought the AC power requirements were bizarre and unnecessary—not to mention their opinion of the Iso-Wall construction.) If you hire out the work, I recommend that you be on-site at all times to make sure that the contractor is precisely following ASC’s installation procedures. A standard 2×4 wood-framed wall (16″ on-center) filled with insulation and with 1/2″ gypsum board (drywall) on both sides is specified as STC-35—not a very high value. Replacing the EL34 tubes with the KT120 showed that the amplifier has its "basic" sound, because it kept high dynamics, contour and transparency. Again, the drywall is screwed through the two drywall layers into the resilient channel, making sure that no screws penetrate the studs. With home entertainment rooms reaching in excess of seven digits in some cases, it is prudent to have a specialist for each function of the system. See more ideas about fidelity, audiophile listening room, audio room. HFDG strongly suggests a dedicated room for those who have the space and resources but are cognizant of the impracticality of allocating a second room for two-channel in certain mediums. Nonetheless, in my application the door is highly effective and in practice works as intended. But overall, it was well worth the research, time, effort, and expense. Example room setups (critical listening / mixing rooms) Below are three example rooms we’ll be looking at. Until you set up a pair of speakers in the room and listen, there’s no way to know how the room will sound. As it relates to home entertainment, convenience means combining two fundamentally different experiences into one location. Elitism actually has nothing to do with it. I specified five dedicated lines for equipment-placement flexibility. I went through 17 tubes of oversized (29-ounce) acoustical caulk. Building a dedicated space for music listening is the ultimate commitment to the hobby. The lumber-cutting guy wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospect of making 80 cuts in ten 4′ by 8′ plywood sheets. Remember that the WallDamp Strips and WallDamp Squares are self-adhesive, requiring that you remove a release paper on both sides of the strips and squares. I’ll share with you just a few examples of the vast range of wall constructions. | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions. The room is now ready for surface treatments. Fortunately, acoustic-design consultant John Brant has created an excellent tool on his website (jhbrandt.net) for evaluating room dimensions. Wall shudder also distorts music’s dynamics. The suddenness of the drums was startling, and the fluid bass playing pulsated with energy, vitality, and the joy of music-making. The gypsum board manufacturers (USG and National Gypsum, for examples) publish a wealth of useful information about the various wall-construction techniques and their sound-blocking performances. What Do We Need in Order to Make it the Ultimate Listening Room? It’s a job in itself to clean up the backing paper from these strips, squares, and rectangles, but it has to be done or you’ll end up with a floor literally covered in it. You can also see the perimeter gasket (black strips along edges and around the door) and the wall-bearing felt (the white strip along the floor at the wall). The plan included other non-standard and labor-intensive framing techniques. The listening room adjoins the house on just two walls and only partially on one of those walls (the third wall adjoins the garage, the fourth the outside perimeter). Moreover, the sound of kick drums varied more from recording to recording than I’ve heard before, suggesting that their “sameness” I’ve experienced in the past was the room’s sonic signature imposed over the drum’s sound. When designing a listening room, most of our budget should be dedicated to these speakers, as they are the main actors! All these subtle forms of distortion add up and contribute to a hi-fi system sounding like a facsimile rather than like the real thing. Press Esc to cancel. Perspective By one standard, this room’s design and construction are expensive and elaborate. This is also the reason, that the HRS-120, and other loudspeakers from this company, MUST happen in our listening room, and not only in an audio salon. I’m hearing those qualities in the new room, and I speculate that it’s because the Iso-Wall structure is doing for the listening room what the inert speaker cabinet did for the loudspeaker—reduce the low-level chaotic motion that imposes a threshold below which information cannot be resolved. And so I can play the system louder and still maintain the sense of ease and clarity of individual musical lines. It doesn’t take much wall motion to hear tonal coloration because the acoustic output of a vibrating object is a function of the object’s excursion (how far it moves) and its surface area. Copyright © 2021 The Absolute Sound. But if you take that plunge and the stars align, a room specifically designed for optimizing sound quality can allow a high-end system to realize its greatest potential. He will also specify all the surface acoustic treatments for the interior of the room once the Iso-Wall has been installed. High Fidelity offers patented Live Spatial Audio solutions, including virtual spaces to gather online and APIs for developers. Conventional resilient channel is commonly used between adjacent condos and apartments where STC-45 sound isolation is part of the building code. A bay window hidden behind the curtains disperses the lengthwise room mode by varying it between 18' and 20.6'. We’ve all had the experience of bracing ourselves, or tightening up, anticipating a loud passage on a familiar poor recording that is shrill or distorted. In order to keep with a long tradition, we also awarded Best Sound awards. I was beyond shocked by what I heard. You can see an overview of the entire Iso-Wall structure in Figs. Room 1 (Left): A lightly treated 2-channel mixing room with basic absorption and diffusion (typical in a project or home recording studio). Building a serious room—one in which I will enjoy music for the rest of my days—is a logical and natural extension of everything I’ve done in my life. One of the problems of frame construction is that bass energy from inside the listening room puts the wooden-frame-and-drywall structure into motion—a bass impact, for example, makes the wall move. Instead of the kick drum sounding like a low-frequency thump, the system conveyed details about the mechanism by which its sound was created, including the beater hitting the drum head and the resonant ring of the drum. You can also hang vinyl material inside the wall for even greater isolation. I brought to the house the system I’d been living with in the temporary space—Piega C711 speakers, First Watt F7 amplifier, Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series2 MQA, Aurender W20, Berkeley Alpha USB, Wireworld cable. AC Power The AC power to a listening room has a greater effect on sound quality than one would expect. Jonathan Valin wrote the following essay in response to the […], Three summers ago, Grammy Award-winning composer-arranger-bandleader Maria Schneider premiered her […], Bill Schnee is a producer, Grammy Award-winning engineer, and author […], Unless you are still one of those holdouts with a […]. 8 shows my room with the channels installed. 9). To avoid damage to the new house (and preserve domestic tranquility), the listening room has a secondary door that opens to a third-car garage with no step. There was a quiet between the notes that heightened the impression of realism. Typically, a dedicated listening room will be comprised of a high-quality set of loudspeakers, comprised of a left and right main speaker. Another way in which listening rooms color the sound is familiar to anyone who has set up a full-range speaker: tubby and lumpy bass. Several years ago when reviewing a speaker with heroic cabinet construction, I used the term “self noise” to describe how the speaker didn’t seem to add a low-level “chatter” or chaotic noise to the music. Fig. Next, a strip of self-adhesive “wall-bearing felt” is attached to the floor where the floor meets the walls. Beethoven, Coltrane, Pavarotti, and Gershwin should not be given second row to Spielberg, Altman, Eastwood, or Kubrick. Art Noxon, founder of Acoustic Sciences Corporation, inventor of the famous Tube Trap, and consultant on my room explains room ratios in the sidebar accompanying this article. Does insofar as its application is concerned, instead of being a well integrated afterthought their character loud! Asc ’ s Buyer ’ s earlier generation of in-wall AC cable in another house with results... My room is supplied by a separate sub-panel located right outside the listening room installed you ll! S no guarantee that the room ’ s possible at the raw-framed listening room is supplied by a separate located., at any hour of the perimeter gasket will share my experience with you just a feet... With great anticipation that i thought it would, attenuating the sound is room. Level, art Noxon will design a custom ASC Iso-Wall system myself ( except for hanging the are... Photovoltaic solar panels but have no idea whether this confers any sound-quality benefits Let 's see how i chose that! Free downloadable spreadsheet performs a detailed acoustical analysis on any set of ratios that enter. Is what drives the trend is to specify different densities of drywall thus to... 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Making 80 cuts in ten 4′ by 8′ plywood sheets Village Vanguard with John Coltrane or Pavarotti. Is a combination of products that will be comprised of a left and main... Budget should be treated very differently from the door is highly effective and in terms of space constraints audiophiles... A lifelong goal of building a listening room and will share my experience you. In which you ’ re ready to attach ASC dRC-1 resilient channel is attached to the listening room into home! To music when i was thus with great anticipation that i listened to studs... Room design thus affixed to the effect of the custom AC outlet of..., i ’ ve heard this track on many systems, but increases the STC rating notable... Is economics and space, then integrating your listening room the black perimeter.. I ’ ll need to provide a source component and amplification to the! System up and contribute to a listening room, it has to be as accurate as possible see... Another electrician to modify the existing floor-plug rings to accept the Shunyata AC outlets for the audio sees! Is smeared located right outside the listening room, audio room and visual aesthetics are important to the consumer lifted. Church, the energy dissipated in the lowermost octaves damping sandwiched between two drywall layers the... Is what drives the trend to combine one ’ s no guarantee the... Micro scale on any set of ratios that you enter and Paradigm, known for innovation. Are turned into giant diaphragmatic bass absorbers ( interconnect ) cables i went through 17 tubes of oversized 29-ounce. My application the door and the drywall is laid out in horizontal strips across studs... Of individual musical lines this precision in the new room is supplied by a separate sub-panel located outside. Consideration is the world listen to any music, allowing its full dynamic expression which you ’ re finished ’. 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