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  #31  
Old 12-06-2018, 08:37 AM
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  #32  
Old 12-06-2018, 10:03 AM
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And you bring up the 451...which might be a better all around guitar mic anyway
I cannot stand what a 451 does to a sound source, especially acoustic guitar. Oddly, the Altec version, the M49 is much more to my liking.
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  #33  
Old 12-06-2018, 10:28 AM
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I cannot stand what a 451 does to a sound source, especially acoustic guitar. Oddly, the Altec version, the M49 is much more to my liking.
Ah, Rick. I knew I could count on you to be triggered.

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  #34  
Old 12-06-2018, 01:36 PM
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Ah, Rick. I knew I could count on you to be triggered.

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  #35  
Old 12-06-2018, 03:19 PM
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Ah, Rick. I knew I could count on you to be triggered.

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  #36  
Old 12-06-2018, 11:14 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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In the day job, I do a lot of stuff where I have to mix a VO with music and fx. One if the "tells" of a transformerless mic is that a VO recorded on one will tend to be less intelligible -- to vanish -- in a dense, loud mix. One exception is the transformerless Sennheiser 416, but I suspect that's because the 416 isn't terribly clean. I'm not sure I've ever mixed a VO done on a TLM67, so I can't comment on that.

That same tell works in reverse, too. I have a recurring classical gig where most of their mics are transformerless. Use a spot mic (like a KM84) with a transformer in it and it'll stick out too much, while a similar transformerless mic (like a 184) will blend in much better.
I call it "thickness". It's the only way I can really describe it, but that's what I hear a transformer doing...adding thickness or meat to the sound. I'm sure it has to do with how non-linear the transformer is. How much distortion and/or harmonic content it's adding.
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  #37  
Old 12-06-2018, 11:16 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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I cannot stand what a 451 does to a sound source, especially acoustic guitar. Oddly, the Altec version, the M49 is much more to my liking.
Really? I've never had a bad experience with a 451 on an acoustic...especially if I can plug it into an API. But even on cheaper pres like an Apollo or similar I've always been happy with them.

Just goes to show - everyone's different.
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  #38  
Old 12-06-2018, 11:43 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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I've heard transformered and transformerless mics over the years and in the old days, that was basically true.

I've also been fooled by transformerless mics; thinking there must be a transformer in there. As such, I can't agree to your idea.

The TLM 67 is one such mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford
I'm specifically referring to why the 184 sounds different than the 84. Sure, it's not true of all mics...but the 84 is an old design and the transformer was a big part of it's signature sound.

When Sennheiser revamped the Neumann line they went all transformerless with the new models. I, personally, think it changed a lot of the signature "neumann sound" in the race for lower self noise. I also think it made the new mics sound more Sennheiser than traditional Neumann. Maybe that was unavoidable. All that said, I do audio work for Sennheiser & I can say that they are fanatical about sound. They are serious about their mics. So they're goal is always to make things better.

I haven't used a TLM 67, so I can't comment on it. I may have even passed one over when choosing mics at various studios (I think Avatar had at least one...if I recall...or maybe that was a TLM 49...I don't remember now). A lot of it is because I've just trained myself to grab what I know (u87, u47, u87, m50, did I mention a u87?) Oddly I'm not a u67 fan, which may have been another reason i'd pass over a TLM 67.

And if I'm being totally honest, I'll typically choose either Schoeps or DPA SDCs before the Neumann KM or Sennheiser MKH stuff anyway. I really do like the Schoeps CMC a lot

Ok...I think I rambled...to the point where I forgot was I was getting at...but I'm guessing you figured that out a while ago
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  #39  
Old 12-07-2018, 09:34 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is online now
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I call it "thickness". It's the only way I can really describe it, but that's what I hear a transformer doing...adding thickness or meat to the sound. I'm sure it has to do with how non-linear the transformer is. How much distortion and/or harmonic content it's adding.
They do that, too. The low-mid "meatball." Especially with big LDC's that can accommodate a bigger transformer. But they also do that intelligibility thing.
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  #40  
Old 12-07-2018, 09:43 AM
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I think people might be missing the whole point of the "transformerless" trend in mic design that occurred as a result of the shift to digital. The reason that designers began looking into the transformerless approach after the shift was because analog had always rounded off high-end. There was a process known as "pre-loading the tape" that basically involved mixing bright because you knew you'd loose high-end onto the final copy. Analog tape was also subject to entropy, ie. from the moment you recorded an analog signal onto tape it began to "relax" and loose the high-end shimmer. You'd create a killer mix and the next morning you'd always feel like it wasn't as brilliant as it was the night before. Towards the end of the analog technology run, producers had runners standing by to run two-track mix tapes to the mastering house to be mastered as soon as possible before the high-end sagged too far. Digital arrived and whatever high-end you put on tape was both preserved instantly and didn't relax over time either. As a result, a phenomenon known as "power bandwidth" was revealed. In digital recordings using well-established mics, producers and engineers began hearing high-end distortion and it was driving them crazy. After some research it was established that flat frequency response wasn't enough in the signal chain, you had to also consider the ability to quickly respond to the signal. The term used was "slew rate," which is a measure of how quickly a device can respond to signal change velocity. It is measure in volts per microsecond. The higher the slew rate, the lower the high frequency distortion the device imparts. Power bandwidth is the amount of distortion a circuit that may reproduce reasonably linearly may impart due to its slew rate. It was discovered that many transformers (of the time) were low slew rate devices, they imparted distortion to the high end of the signal due to their inability to respond quickly.

That created a move to increase slew rates throughout the signal chain, and the cries, "get the iron out of my signal chain." Whole console designs were created using OpAmps rather than transformers to balance the inputs. Here is where the mics were affected as well. The transformerless philosophy took over. Under pressure from producers and engineers, manufacturers began redesigning their lines to remove the transformers. Guess what? There are benefits to transformerless design. Of course, in a fallen world, their are also downsides. After the shift, producers and engineers discovered that some of those horrid transformer-balanced mics had a great sound. Sometimes distortion had a salutary, euphonic effect on the signal. Surprise!!! The same thing "rang" true in EQ design. Traditional inductor-type EQ caused phase shift and "ringing" in audio signals - impurity. At the technology changeover point that sounded like anathema to the top-tier of producers and engineers who drove demand. Vast gouts of money were spent trying to create phase-shift-free and ring-free EQs. Lo and behold, many felt they sounded sterile and ugly. And now producers run around with 500 series racks full of original or reproduction 1970s phase-shifty and ring-y preamp/EQ combos. Why? They sound good. They are useful for certain things.

So... before we throw people and technologies under the bus, let us remember where the design pressures came from. Oh, and by the way, I just read an interview in Tape Op Magazine with Danny Wallin, now retired but possibly the most prolific soundtrack recording engineer in the last five decades. You know, that guy who has to get it right the first time, every time because he's dealing with 50-plus union musicians in a room to knock out a score in three hours? He was the score engineer on the Star Trek film franchise, front to back. Look him up on IMDB. To this day Danny lists Neumann's TLM-170 as his dessert Island mic. Yep, transformerless. I'm looking at two of them through the studio glass right now.

And transformerless mics getting "lost" in a dense mix? Look up "Aural Exciter." That's a device that imparts third harmonic distortion to a signal to make a track not "get lost" in a mix. And that is why transformer-balanced mics don't get lost - they' introduce euphonic harmonic distortion to the high end.

But, it's all good, y'all. Horses for course, strokes for folks. Right about the time I was getting into the industry (that would be 1979), Recording Engineer/Producer Magazine (RIP) ran an article about mic choice that opened with a story: Full of spit and vinegar, a young upstart engineer corners an old, experienced engineer and demands to know, "What's the best mic to record an acoustic guitar?" The old experienced engineer cocks his head, his eyes glaze as he looks off into the distance in thought, and he scratches his chin. Then he responds, vaguely, "Mmmm... Uh... It depends..." and trails off into silence as he goes back to work.

Literally, it all depends: big box guitar? Small guitar? Large room? Small room? Good room? Bad room? Trying for a big sound? Trying for a small, intimate sound? Want clarity? Want rustic fuzziness?

I took that into my brain when I first got into the business - I accepted it, rather than believed it. It took a while for me really absorb the reality of the situation through experience: "What works, works." No amount of self confidence, testosterone, or opinionation makes a difference as to whether a mic works or doesn't work. It just does.



It's all good, y'all.


Bob
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Last edited by Bob Womack; 12-07-2018 at 03:06 PM. Reason: duh...
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  #41  
Old 12-07-2018, 10:51 AM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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I think people might be missing the whole point of the "transformerless" trend in mic design that occurred as a result of the shift to digital. The reason that designers began looking into the transformerless approach was because where analog had always rounded off high-end. There was a process known as "pre-loading the tape" that basically involved mixing bright because you knew you'd loose high-end onto the final copy. Analog tape was also subject to entropy, ie. from the moment you recorded an analog signal onto tape it began to "relax" and loose the high-end shimmer. You'd create a killer mix and the next morning you'd always feel like it wasn't as brilliant as it was the night before. Towards the end of the analog technology run, producers had runners standing by to run two-track mix tapes to the mastering house to be mastered as soon as possible before the high-end sagged too far. Digital arrived and whatever high-end you put on tape was both preserved instantly and didn't relax over time either. As a result, a phenomenon known as "power bandwidth" was revealed. In digital recordings using well-established mics, producers and engineers began hearing high-end distortion and it was driving them crazy. After some research it was established that flat frequency response wasn't enough in the signal chain, you had to also consider the ability to quickly respond to the signal. The term used was "slew rate," which is a measure of how quickly a device can respond to signal change velocity. It is measure in volts per microsecond. The higher the slew rate, the lower the high frequency distortion the device imparts. Power bandwidth is the amount of distortion a circuit that may reproduce reasonably linearly may impart due to its slew rate. It was discovered that many transformers (of the time) were low slew rate devices, they imparted distortion to the high end of the signal due to their inability to respond quickly.

That created a move to increase slew rates throughout the signal chain, and the cries, "get the iron out of my signal chain." Whole console designs were created using OpAmps rather than transformers to balance the inputs. Here is where the mics were affected as well. The transformerless philosophy took over. Under pressure from producers and engineers, manufacturers began redesigning their lines to remove the transformers. Guess what? There are benefits to transformerless design. Of course, in a fallen world, their are also downsides. After the shift, producers and engineers discovered that some of those horrid transformer-balanced mics had a great sound. Sometimes distortion had a salutary, euphonic effect on the signal. Surprise!!! The same thing "rang" true in EQ design. Traditional inductor-type EQ caused phase shift and "ringing" in audio signals - impurity. At the technology changeover point that sounded like anathema to the top-tier of producers and engineers who drove demand. Vast gouts of money were spent trying to create phase-shift-free and ring-free EQs. Lo and behold, many felt they sounded sterile and ugly. And now producers run around with 500 series racks full of original or reproduction 1970s phase-shifty and ring-y preamp/EQ combos. Why? They sound good. They are useful for certain things.

So... before we throw people and technologies under the bus, let us remember where the design pressures came from. Oh, and by the way, I just read an interview in Tape Op Magazine with Danny Wallin, now retired but possibly the most prolific soundtrack recording engineer in the last five decades. You know, that guy who has to get it right the first time, every time because he's dealing with 50-plus union musicians in a room to knock out a score in three hours? He was the score engineer on the Star Trek film franchise, front to back. Look him up on IMDB. To this day Danny lists Neumann's TLM-170 as his dessert Island mic. Yep, transformerless. I'm looking at two of them through the studio glass right now.

And transformerless mics getting "lost" in a dense mix? Look up "Aural Exciter." That's a device that imparts third harmonic distortion to a signal to make a track not "get lost" in a mix. And that is why transformer-balanced mics don't get lost - they' introduce euphonic harmonic distortion to the high end.

But, it's all good, y'all. Horses for course, strokes for folks. Right about the time I was getting into the industry (that would be 1979), Recording Engineer/Producer Magazine (RIP) ran an article about mic choice that opened with a story: Full of spit and vinegar, a young upstart engineer corners an old, experienced engineer and demands to know, "What's the best mic to record an acoustic guitar?" The old experienced engineer cocks his head, his eyes glaze as he looks off into the distance in thought, and he scratches his chin. Then he responds, vaguely, "Mmmm... Uh... It depends..." and trails off into silence as he goes back to work.

Literally, it all depends: big box guitar? Small guitar? Large room? Small room? Good room? Bad room? Trying for a big sound? Trying for a small, intimate sound? Want clarity? Want rustic fuzziness?

I took that into my brain when I first got into the business - I accepted it, rather than believed it. It took a while for me really absorb the reality of the situation through experience: "What works, works." No amount of self confidence, testosterone, or opinionation makes a difference as to whether a mic works or doesn't work. It just does.



It's all good, y'all.


Bob
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  #42  
Old 12-07-2018, 01:08 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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"What works, works." No amount of self confidence, testosterone, or opinionation makes a difference as to whether a mic works or doesn't work. It just does.
This should be a disclaimer for every mic opinion post
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  #43  
Old 12-07-2018, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
I think people might be missing the whole point of the "transformerless" trend in mic design that occurred as a result of the shift to digital. The reason that designers began looking into the transformerless approach was because where analog had always rounded off high-end. There was a process known as "pre-loading the tape" that basically involved mixing bright because you knew you'd loose high-end onto the final copy. Analog tape was also subject to entropy, ie. from the moment you recorded an analog signal onto tape it began to "relax" and loose the high-end shimmer. You'd create a killer mix and the next morning you'd always feel like it wasn't as brilliant as it was the night before. Towards the end of the analog technology run, producers had runners standing by to run two-track mix tapes to the mastering house to be mastered as soon as possible before the high-end sagged too far. Digital arrived and whatever high-end you put on tape was both preserved instantly and didn't relax over time either. As a result, a phenomenon known as "power bandwidth" was revealed. In digital recordings using well-established mics, producers and engineers began hearing high-end distortion and it was driving them crazy. After some research it was established that flat frequency response wasn't enough in the signal chain, you had to also consider the ability to quickly respond to the signal. The term used was "slew rate," which is a measure of how quickly a device can respond to signal change velocity. It is measure in volts per microsecond. The higher the slew rate, the lower the high frequency distortion the device imparts. Power bandwidth is the amount of distortion a circuit that may reproduce reasonably linearly may impart due to its slew rate. It was discovered that many transformers (of the time) were low slew rate devices, they imparted distortion to the high end of the signal due to their inability to respond quickly.

That created a move to increase slew rates throughout the signal chain, and the cries, "get the iron out of my signal chain." Whole console designs were created using OpAmps rather than transformers to balance the inputs. Here is where the mics were affected as well. The transformerless philosophy took over. Under pressure from producers and engineers, manufacturers began redesigning their lines to remove the transformers. Guess what? There are benefits to transformerless design. Of course, in a fallen world, their are also downsides. After the shift, producers and engineers discovered that some of those horrid transformer-balanced mics had a great sound. Sometimes distortion had a salutary, euphonic effect on the signal. Surprise!!! The same thing "rang" true in EQ design. Traditional inductor-type EQ caused phase shift and "ringing" in audio signals - impurity. At the technology changeover point that sounded like anathema to the top-tier of producers and engineers who drove demand. Vast gouts of money were spent trying to create phase-shift-free and ring-free EQs. Lo and behold, many felt they sounded sterile and ugly. And now producers run around with 500 series racks full of original or reproduction 1970s phase-shifty and ring-y preamp/EQ combos. Why? They sound good. They are useful for certain things.

So... before we throw people and technologies under the bus, let us remember where the design pressures came from. Oh, and by the way, I just read an interview in Tape Op Magazine with Danny Wallin, now retired but possibly the most prolific soundtrack recording engineer in the last five decades. You know, that guy who has to get it right the first time, every time because he's dealing with 50-plus union musicians in a room to knock out a score in three hours? He was the score engineer on the Star Trek film franchise, front to back. Look him up on IMDB. To this day Danny lists Neumann's TLM-170 as his dessert Island mic. Yep, transformerless. I'm looking at two of them through the studio glass right now.

And transformerless mics getting "lost" in a dense mix? Look up "Aural Exciter." That's a device that imparts third harmonic distortion to a signal to make a track not "get lost" in a mix. And that is why transformer-balanced mics don't get lost - they' introduce euphonic harmonic distortion to the high end.

But, it's all good, y'all. Horses for course, strokes for folks. Right about the time I was getting into the industry (that would be 1979), Recording Engineer/Producer Magazine (RIP) ran an article about mic choice that opened with a story: Full of spit and vinegar, a young upstart engineer corners an old, experienced engineer and demands to know, "What's the best mic to record an acoustic guitar?" The old experienced engineer cocks his head, his eyes glaze as he looks off into the distance in thought, and he scratches his chin. Then he responds, vaguely, "Mmmm... Uh... It depends..." and trails off into silence as he goes back to work.

Literally, it all depends: big box guitar? Small guitar? Large room? Small room? Good room? Bad room? Trying for a big sound? Trying for a small, intimate sound? Want clarity? Want rustic fuzziness?

I took that into my brain when I first got into the business - I accepted it, rather than believed it. It took a while for me really absorb the reality of the situation through experience: "What works, works." No amount of self confidence, testosterone, or opinionation makes a difference as to whether a mic works or doesn't work. It just does.



It's all good, y'all.


Bob
great post Bob
But the real question is ---what type of mics were used in the "Transformers" film franchise ??? That should put an end to the debate
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  #44  
Old 12-07-2018, 09:05 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
I think people might be missing the whole point of the "transformerless" trend in mic design that occurred as a result of the shift to digital. The reason that designers began looking into the transformerless approach after the shift was because analog had always rounded off high-end. There was a process known as "pre-loading the tape" that basically involved mixing bright because you knew you'd loose high-end onto the final copy. Analog tape was also subject to entropy, ie. from the moment you recorded an analog signal onto tape it began to "relax" and loose the high-end shimmer. You'd create a killer mix and the next morning you'd always feel like it wasn't as brilliant as it was the night before. Towards the end of the analog technology run, producers had runners standing by to run two-track mix tapes to the mastering house to be mastered as soon as possible before the high-end sagged too far. Digital arrived and whatever high-end you put on tape was both preserved instantly and didn't relax over time either. As a result, a phenomenon known as "power bandwidth" was revealed. In digital recordings using well-established mics, producers and engineers began hearing high-end distortion and it was driving them crazy. After some research it was established that flat frequency response wasn't enough in the signal chain, you had to also consider the ability to quickly respond to the signal. The term used was "slew rate," which is a measure of how quickly a device can respond to signal change velocity. It is measure in volts per microsecond. The higher the slew rate, the lower the high frequency distortion the device imparts. Power bandwidth is the amount of distortion a circuit that may reproduce reasonably linearly may impart due to its slew rate. It was discovered that many transformers (of the time) were low slew rate devices, they imparted distortion to the high end of the signal due to their inability to respond quickly.

That created a move to increase slew rates throughout the signal chain, and the cries, "get the iron out of my signal chain." Whole console designs were created using OpAmps rather than transformers to balance the inputs. Here is where the mics were affected as well. The transformerless philosophy took over. Under pressure from producers and engineers, manufacturers began redesigning their lines to remove the transformers. Guess what? There are benefits to transformerless design. Of course, in a fallen world, their are also downsides. After the shift, producers and engineers discovered that some of those horrid transformer-balanced mics had a great sound. Sometimes distortion had a salutary, euphonic effect on the signal. Surprise!!! The same thing "rang" true in EQ design. Traditional inductor-type EQ caused phase shift and "ringing" in audio signals - impurity. At the technology changeover point that sounded like anathema to the top-tier of producers and engineers who drove demand. Vast gouts of money were spent trying to create phase-shift-free and ring-free EQs. Lo and behold, many felt they sounded sterile and ugly. And now producers run around with 500 series racks full of original or reproduction 1970s phase-shifty and ring-y preamp/EQ combos. Why? They sound good. They are useful for certain things.

So... before we throw people and technologies under the bus, let us remember where the design pressures came from. Oh, and by the way, I just read an interview in Tape Op Magazine with Danny Wallin, now retired but possibly the most prolific soundtrack recording engineer in the last five decades. You know, that guy who has to get it right the first time, every time because he's dealing with 50-plus union musicians in a room to knock out a score in three hours? He was the score engineer on the Star Trek film franchise, front to back. Look him up on IMDB. To this day Danny lists Neumann's TLM-170 as his dessert Island mic. Yep, transformerless. I'm looking at two of them through the studio glass right now.

And transformerless mics getting "lost" in a dense mix? Look up "Aural Exciter." That's a device that imparts third harmonic distortion to a signal to make a track not "get lost" in a mix. And that is why transformer-balanced mics don't get lost - they' introduce euphonic harmonic distortion to the high end.

But, it's all good, y'all. Horses for course, strokes for folks. Right about the time I was getting into the industry (that would be 1979), Recording Engineer/Producer Magazine (RIP) ran an article about mic choice that opened with a story: Full of spit and vinegar, a young upstart engineer corners an old, experienced engineer and demands to know, "What's the best mic to record an acoustic guitar?" The old experienced engineer cocks his head, his eyes glaze as he looks off into the distance in thought, and he scratches his chin. Then he responds, vaguely, "Mmmm... Uh... It depends..." and trails off into silence as he goes back to work.

Literally, it all depends: big box guitar? Small guitar? Large room? Small room? Good room? Bad room? Trying for a big sound? Trying for a small, intimate sound? Want clarity? Want rustic fuzziness?

I took that into my brain when I first got into the business - I accepted it, rather than believed it. It took a while for me really absorb the reality of the situation through experience: "What works, works." No amount of self confidence, testosterone, or opinionation makes a difference as to whether a mic works or doesn't work. It just does.



It's all good, y'all.


Bob
Yes! Yes! And yes!

As Joe Meek said "if it sounds good, it is good".
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  #45  
Old 12-08-2018, 11:43 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is online now
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If you ever write a book...
I think he just did. Thorough! :-)
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