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Winno

Steve's hi-fi adventures.

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Latest acquisitions:
iPhone XR 128 (in Cleave bumper) and Cyrus Audio Soundbuds.

These new wireless IEMs are seriously good and already have me wondering if I should cash up my Ditas and DF Red...

IMG_1399.jpg

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If there was a contentious issue in hifi, it would certainly be cables.

 

I agree they do contribute to the overall sound I hear but don’t believe in spending big dollars for nice wire.

 

Unfortunately for me, I really really like what Nordost does for my home and car audio systems.

 

As many would know, Nordost’s cheapest speaker cable (2Flat) is expensive by most standards at about $30/m. Not really good for me when trying not to spend too much.

 

I started with some short runs of 2Flat between the Benchmark monoblocks (currently for sale [emoji6]) and my NHT Classic 4 speakers. This was left over from wiring my audio system in the Alfa.

 

It was great and I was happy. Luckily, people tend to sell used Nordost quite cheap sometimes and I very soon owned 6.5m of used Super Flatline Gold courtesy of a Gumtree seller.

 

IMG_0701.thumb.jpg.58386ba3c4b6fcff1e2b2f60faa1d7e0.jpg

 

It provided significant improvements in body and transparency over the already very nice 2Flat and I enjoyed things this way for a few months.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to jump a couple of rungs on the upgrade ladder and I’m now the owner of some Red Dawn v2 speakers cables thanks to a fellow SNA’er.

 

IMG_1441.thumb.jpg.e1ce30a00abecc289895cb6693b25046.jpg

 

The improvements were not subtle. I’m sitting here now listening quietly to this:

 

IMG_1442.thumb.jpg.c3e3c9c43db26ee335375b701fee6bd7.jpg

 

The sound stage is positively massive and there’s a sweetness and delicacy to the detail that really is quite enlightening.

 

Over time I’ve also collected a couple of pairs of long Blue Heaven and Flatline Gold RCA cables for runs to power amps, and some Solar Wind (to my FM tuner).

 

I’ve owned Monster Interlink 950 and Powerline 2 & 3, Straightwire Encore, Rhapsody and Maestro and Kimber PBJ, 4 & 8 TC. Nordost is definitely my favorite.

 

The end [emoji4]

 

(I guess I should also fish out a short run of half-width Blue Heaven speaker cable I have and replace the Super Flatline Gold I currently have on my centre channel speaker 🧐)

 

[edit] just terminated my spare run of Blue Heaven and put it between my mono'd and PSX-R'd Cyrus X Power. Why didn't I do this sooner! Significantly better than the Flatline Gold there previously. [/edit]

 

Edited by Winno

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I know I said I wanted to consolidate and move back to a single system but...

 

Anyway, I've just ordered a little Wadia 151 PowerDAC mini and some display stands to support the electronics and speakers. I'll pull my 4" full range driver sphere speakers out of storage shortly once this gear starts to arrive. I have spare Nordost Flatline Gold speaker cable which will get me running while I find a good deal on some more Blue Heaven or Red Dawn. My source will be my iPhone XR with Tidal Hifi and I'm curretnly trying to track down a Wadia 171i transport to link the phone with the amp/DAC.

 

This will all go into the room I had the ESL's in. It'll be minimalist and intended more for background music/semi-serious listening as we tend read or enjoy the sun in this room on weekends.

 

1A384DA0-AF08-46E0-9F66-23532C336F2E.thumb.jpeg.748d680d015d2ced9a613f0889533b95.jpeg

 

More pics coming...

Edited by Winno

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On 10/02/2019 at 2:25 PM, Winno said:

IMG_0504.jpg










 

I've been after some low profile spikes, can you please advise where you purchased them? Cheers, Pete

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Yesterday we signed on the dotted line for our new place. It's a fair bit smaller overall but, the living/entertaining space is still quite respectable - 4+m across x 5+m long.

 

 

1844579015_kersleylounge.jpg.0ee4147702afb803962375909c8d9f5e.jpg

 

While it would be great to have the speakers down in front of the louvre windows firing down the long axis of the room, the system incorporates a home theatre with 65" LCD display. Also, I need access to/from the stairs in the far left corner. So, the system will be set up firing across the room.

 

There'll be about 1.5m open space behind the main listening seat (walk space behind the seating plus the stairs behind the open baton partitioning) and about 3m between the listening position and the front of the speakers. Width is no issue with plenty of room to play with. I'm actually looking forward to a more "live" space this time around. The last room was very dead and seemed to suck a little life out of the music. I do have some lovely potted Rhapis palms to help tame any early reflections and soften the look of the room. Floor covering will also go from being a thick rug over thick carpet to a large jute rug.

 

I've also added some additional Cyrus amplification so the front stage speakers are all mono-blocked and I also have a new Cyrus preamp on the way. I've also sourced a Cyrus Hark v1 stand for the front end electronics. I'm also ordering new optical and HDMI cabling to allow the stand to sit off to one side.

 

Move in date is 22 November - watch this space.

Edited by Winno

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The house move happened over the past weekend. 
 

the main system is still a WIP but here’s a teaser:

 

CE4E5D26-8512-414A-BC48-FD205A85C972.thumb.jpeg.56d069257fc772d1b97822b9701626b8.jpeg
 

we also had NBN connected up today. We’re in Kenmore in Brisbane in some brand new townhouses and we’re blessed to have FTTP and boy is it fast!

 

also tonight, this little system was to be used in a spare room but there is none. I do spend a fair amount of time in the garage working on the audio system in the car so I set up it up on the workbench. 

9EF56078-B738-4BD9-BA67-0B22F9091A45.thumb.jpeg.4f6e1a229ccbb93cf79fb85c25fbc317.jpeg


 

iPhone XR and Wadia powerdac mini 151 up front. 

4FAE8F74-6E33-41C6-BC83-A9CD63A51145.thumb.jpeg.d1b919797e4abcc325e83867a70d5024.jpeg


Nordost purple flare USB & Flatline Gold and an AudioQuest Jitterbug out back. 
 

4E0FABE2-0A11-4D04-8CD9-4D71FE1C74E9.thumb.jpeg.aa21f49dd148aab14346069b4018e7ad.jpeg

 

Audible Physics 4” full range drivers in ported spheres. 

 

14D82517-6AE4-43B0-B612-5899AC64E87A.thumb.jpeg.578657710862d8aa8ce26090d7d10e78.jpeg

 

In the car, I use the same brand drivers (Audible Physics) but, a 3”. 

 

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Well, I’m sure we win the award for longest house settlement. Our sale was supposed to settle in Nov 19 but we’ve granted the buyer a few extensions (very begrudgingly) and so that’s why there’s been little progress on the main entertainment area of late. 
 

we’re currently here:

 

C8FBE8BF-CFE6-453E-A48D-C2B8732EC80A.thumb.jpeg.7fea4872741decff6b9fd2ed3a4566c5.jpeg
 

In a couple of weeks we have new chairs and a centre unit coming. 
 

I did manage to wire up my rear di-poles in the weekend too. 
 

6C5AB219-49D3-4AEF-8375-CFCC3BC618A6.thumb.jpeg.2cbf1f11f2188e372c85aaceafcec473.jpeg
 

86571C8A-B519-4304-8D08-1639686ED15C.thumb.jpeg.c0c07c2e1eaef536091d0743c8ff53fe.jpeg

 

Trickling in also are some cables. As the source and processing is off to the side in a Cyrus Hark v1 stand now,  my old Audioquest and Monster optical and HDMI cables are far too short. 
 

I used to work for the Straightwire importer in NZ and loved that brand’s cables. So, I thought I’d go Wireworld this time and these arrived today:

 

24E5B4BD-37DA-41F6-AED5-22928CA80087.thumb.jpeg.32740ecb33f110fa20d0d5b3fccf1ce1.jpeg
 

106209DF-9375-4F85-A3BF-ED4656A77B00.thumb.jpeg.d1bad54f0734e3bcbbfb6a71a8a4f8e5.jpeg

 

I can finally bid FTA and Apple TV sound via the panel’s speakers good buy. 
 

I've also got something quite special coming for between the Mac Mini and the AMV8 pro/pre. More on that later. 
 

Also in the works is a hotted up Cyrus DAC XP+ which will be used in bypass mode with the AVM8. The DAC XP+ will take care of purist two channel audio duties from the Mac, CD player, tuner and maybe streamer. 
The AVM8 will continue to handle all multi-channel TV and Apple TV sourced material. I've also tracked down a second set of Cyrus monos which will assist in bi-amping my NHT main speakers. 

 

I also entertained the idea of going hybrid ESLs again with something like Martin Logan’s Electomotion ESL X. I still might but, I’m really enjoying what my NHT Classic 4s are doing for me right now, especially their bass which is deep and impactful enough to have me not really wanting a sub.  In fact, they’re about to have their midbass and woofer caps and inductors replaced with some goodness from Mundorf and Jantzen. 
 

These were the curbside collection speakers I found and have cost me net $0. 

 

All going well in the next week, I should be able to progress things fairly quickly from here. 

Edited by Winno

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Nice!

 

Still cant believe you got the Classic 4s off the side of the road!

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16 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Nice!

 

Still cant believe you got the Classic 4s off the side of the road!

Neither can I!

I sold my Whise/Nak Dragons after deciding to keep these. They're not as good as the Dragons obviously, but they're very good. I fear I'd have to go for something like @betty boop's Focals to make a switch worthwhile. 

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So, the special cable for between the Mac Mini and AVM8 arrived today. 
 

AE86959A-2366-486E-A5D5-4B2A1B247337.thumb.jpeg.2d6768302eaaa5e37ccfd101c87f586d.jpeg
 

5C8B8CEC-6FF6-42C9-B066-7263D448F6A1.thumb.jpeg.4df5afb4dfa2a15d2a0e90da8b6e3504.jpeg

 

It’s a Wireworld Supernova glass fibre optical cable. Not an inexpensive cable but the difference this made when swapping out my AQ Cinnamon was quite staggering!

 

Theres a big leap in transparency and three dimensionality. It’s about the biggest improvement I’ve heard in a cable change ever. And with a digital cable at that. My wife even said the sound is much clearer now. 
 

oh, I also like it because it’s longer than my Cinnamon and will allow the Mac to sit at the bottom of my Hark stand and my preamp right at the top. 

 

 

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Our lounge furniture, including a new low line unit arrived on Tuesday and so I took the opportunity to re-run my cabling and neaten the snake pit. 
 

CCF1AE03-F2EC-4A5F-AC37-A8EEC74BC9FB.thumb.jpeg.30225ea456ced63896757499d55b28f8.jpeg

 

3F199068-E3DB-4540-9E41-9DE18C053448.thumb.jpeg.6965d25290d5d01a0d244d398241fa98.jpeg

 

E166726E-E069-416E-B144-B5E766051711.thumb.jpeg.717e3d7d56b9ccdcf913288faaf55744.jpeg

 

it’s not finished yet. I have some split conduit for the home theatre pre to tv cabling (the zip tied cables shown) and I’d like to keep the Nordost out in the open but arranged or stacked more neatly. 

 

I also did a bit of a shelf shuffle to make room for my new stereo preamp and another power amp for the rear channels. 

 

8AD98414-1AEE-4EEC-8887-7ABD6BE28B7B.thumb.jpeg.bc2089e765f0b236940f1968d7b105b0.jpeg

 

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Posted (edited)

Got home today to find this at my back door

 

029F6DEF-A8AB-4A20-9F42-B9F404C4293D.thumb.jpeg.18cb62276412ecb4d9fddad0886fde2a.jpeg
 

it’s my new-to-me very much modded Cyrus DAC-XP+. 
It only has a few hours on it since the work but it’s already sounding incredible. I do also run it with a PSX-R power supply which helps. 
 

I can see why these little boxes may not be taken too seriously by people wanting a true high fidelity experience but they think this at their loss. This stuff really is quite amazing when matched with the right speakers and easily justifies its rather high pricing. 
 

9C7371B4-36EE-4699-B83E-1BA24A7D5B76.thumb.jpeg.bccc0b0605376edeec808400f1fd1960.jpeg

 

I’m just awaiting the power amp for the rears and the home theatre part of the system will be complete. 
 

I do also have my sights set on another shelf for the Hark as I’d like to add a matching cd transport too. 
 

in a few weeks, the Mono X amps I have will make their way down to Sydders for a major overhaul and some big tweeks by the guy who modded my new pre. 

Edited by Winno

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Another shoe box arrived today from the UK. It’s an 8 Power for my back surround channels. 

4EB693AC-B253-4189-96C8-FA77B863320C.thumb.jpeg.d4d9274106a9419ac441d97551ba100c.jpeg

 

The list of gear is now:
DAC XP+
AV Master 8
FM X
8 Power
PSX-R (for DAC XP +)
Apple Mac Mini 
Mono X   X Power   Mono X

NHT Classic 4 mains and Classic 2C centre. Rears are Mission M7ds.

 

All analogue cables are Nordost (Blue Heaven and Red Dawn). All digital cables are Wireworld. 

 

It’s a fun system for sure - it’s got finesse and can really thump when turned up thanks to the 10” ported woofers in each main speaker. 

 

BTW, the TV is a 7 Series HD ready Samsung (about 6 years old). We use a 4K Apple TV for movie streaming. 

 

The room is about 8 x 5m. There’s about another metre of free space behind my seating position through the  timber slat screen. 

 

C219B38F-ABB3-416E-B77B-71E8677569CE.thumb.jpeg.482c0ab6253d55eb95547d656e5023a3.jpeg

 

B2C211CE-1EFD-4DB1-934A-E054C74EF96B.thumb.jpeg.96e4d20cd9a0c69e63b2232a214fcc91.jpeg

 

Next?
Maybe a cd transport and an Isotek EVO power filter strip.

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Well, I never said this was finished. 

I pulled the trigger on something new a couple of days ago. All will be revealed soon.

In the meantime, my NHT Fours and Two C speakers are now listed (pending moderator review) in the Classifieds.

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Posted (edited)

I arrived home this afternoon to find these waiting for me;


EF27AFCB-7C6D-43AC-8FBE-FD5A1EFDA313.thumb.jpeg.4164558feb667b3137b28676d6235aa0.jpeg

 

These were an eBay purchase and were new old stock in unopened boxes. This model is the top model in the Elegante series and was essentially the last speaker before the Pilastro (if you could find and afford them). These retailed for $5999 the pair. I also have a NIB e8c centre speaker to match coming up from Melbourne. 
 

Opening them revealed each speaker requires 6 spikes. I only had spike dimples for 8 spikes so had to come up with a solution. 
 

26164D2F-8239-4CAC-84D0-302EF0C47852.thumb.jpeg.9fbf2299c48bf73c54e48eff84a3dc2d.jpeg

 

I’ve been thinking of going down the de-coupling path for my speakers so, I traced the speaker bases and cut out some MDF plinths.

 

1E21A20F-509F-49FE-806E-5061FC6C3099.thumb.jpeg.629636044c905b9b92622ef7856d75aa.jpeg

 

Right now they have thick automotive carpet between floor and plinth but I’ll pop along to Bunnings this weekend and pick up some acoustic isolation matting and some spray paint cans to finish the plinths off a little nicer. The speakers are spiked to the plinths and I’ll flush mount some dimples into the tops this weekend also. 

 

Placed roughly into position. 
 

5F3A1883-8B14-4B86-9F28-737612F09C5C.thumb.jpeg.31729c6b2419b6b22c53a59012f3a2ec.jpeg

 

A3691E1E-1B72-4F21-9A8D-9C397CEC5F8C.thumb.jpeg.3eaee84d1785b52be03f45e5d0c7fbfa.jpeg

 

No comments yet on sound. Early days yet. 
 

I'm already wondering though if I should fill them with Nordost wiring, Mundorf caps and Jantzen inductors...

 

Edited by Winno

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They look very nice complementing the Cyrus rack perfectly. 9 out of 10 for WAF.

Had to drop 1 point because 10 for WAF is no speakers🙂

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15 minutes ago, McCvinyl said:

They look very nice complementing the Cyrus rack perfectly. 9 out of 10 for WAF.

Had to drop 1 point because 10 for WAF is no speakers🙂

Being an Elegante owner myself IMO their design still looks as good today as they did about 8 years ago when I started collecting them.

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Posted (edited)
On 18/03/2020 at 12:47 PM, McCvinyl said:

They look very nice complementing the Cyrus rack perfectly. 9 out of 10 for WAF.

Had to drop 1 point because 10 for WAF is no speakers🙂

Very true. Although, wifey did actually call them beautiful and prettier than the NHTs.

23 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Being an Elegante owner myself IMO their design still looks as good today as they did about 8 years ago when I started collecting them.

I agree.

I've been looking at Usher and Sonus Faber and other curvaceous speakers but these are probably still my pic of them all.

 

90235721_10220744091288798_3939863926862249984_o.jpg.9cfa92734fe4ee7208af9239086b4864.jpg

 

On another note, I have determined my room has the most shocking mid-range pass band null at my main seated position. It is so bad, music played through the NHTs and the Missions sounded like it was pushed over 2/3 to the right hand side of the stage. At first I thought it was a dud driver or amp. Moving forward in my seat fixed things though. Because I can't really change my seat position, I moved the speakers forward and further apart. This has largely fixed things (much to my relief) but I do want to try moving them up to as close to 50cm from the front wall as I can to test. The room is there for it and being as fully sealed as an auxiliary bass radiator design can be means I haven't sacrificed much in bass SPL as I would have if they were traditionally ported.

 

Edited by Winno

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As much as I love my Cyrus Hark v1 stand, I decided to clean my system aesthetics last night. 
 

All my little boxes are now housed neatly in the low line unit below the tv. 

E9D2B71F-86E9-4359-8FE8-A3BC41FED42A.thumb.jpeg.e64bb4127e308db040b9bcc257fceeeb.jpeg

 

1D4BD5E5-D7D9-4705-9545-FEE3ED3EEAC4.thumb.jpeg.5bf8665e7c218f93542a386d9c2b6693.jpeg
 

For scale, the speakers are 2.4m apart and I sit 3.2m back from each speaker. 
 

The Hark will go back into its box for later use - 2nd system perhaps. They’re well made and increasingly hard to come by so will not be sold. 

 

I also decided to finish my speaker plinths by painting them to match the speakers and counter sinking some spike dimples into them. The carpet was also contact glued underneath to make sliding them into position easier. 
 

D2102EAE-4090-4098-B21B-6018AA63FC0C.thumb.jpeg.c987c9c378276f38a0336798e4585306.jpeg

 

They turned out alright in the end and will do for now while I consider further isolation mods. 

 

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20 hours ago, Winno said:

As much as I love my Cyrus Hark v1 stand, I decided to clean my system aesthetics last night. 
 

All my little boxes are now housed neatly in the low line unit below the tv. 

E9D2B71F-86E9-4359-8FE8-A3BC41FED42A.thumb.jpeg.e64bb4127e308db040b9bcc257fceeeb.jpeg

 

1D4BD5E5-D7D9-4705-9545-FEE3ED3EEAC4.thumb.jpeg.5bf8665e7c218f93542a386d9c2b6693.jpeg
 

For scale, the speakers are 2.4m apart and I sit 3.2m back from each speaker. 
 

The Hark will go back into its box for later use - 2nd system perhaps. They’re well made and increasingly hard to come by so will not be sold. 

 

I also decided to finish my speaker plinths by painting them to match the speakers and counter sinking some spike dimples into them. The carpet was also contact glued underneath to make sliding them into position easier. 
 

D2102EAE-4090-4098-B21B-6018AA63FC0C.thumb.jpeg.c987c9c378276f38a0336798e4585306.jpeg

 

They turned out alright in the end and will do for now while I consider further isolation mods. 

 

Like that much better, very neat

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Thanks @Chill3  

 

Today it was one step forward and one back. 
 

This happened

 

E7442835-91D0-402B-A342-33E8C9A841D5.thumb.jpeg.2410c1b85ac376b17fd9cf8b964953d2.jpeg

 

and this also happened

 

0F447451-224F-418F-9C35-45C5C240985A.thumb.jpeg.2c6c107ea9f76e569df6cd0ae3d4f5d5.jpeg

 

My BNIB Mission e8c arrived from Rab and the team at Carlton Audio Visual. I made a call on a hunch a couple of weeks ago and it turns out, this was found in their storage a week before I called. Meant to be. 
Being old stock and a bit of an orphan meant I got a cracking deal on it. 
 

My Cyrus home theatre preamp started to have some issue over the last few months and recently, things started to get worse. It wouldn’t lock into an incoming digital signal unless I disconnected it from the mains and reconnected it. 
 

A chat with Tim from Tuned in Audio in Sydders leads me to believe the power supply will need some work. It and my Mono X amps were boxed this morning and are now on their way down for an overhaul.  
 

Tim was the old Crestmore head technician and does some magical stuff with Cyrus and other quality gear. The Monos were going to him for a cap upgrade and other tweaks anyway so I thought I may as well send the AVM to him while the system is apart. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

8ACDE0CE-C3C4-4788-B9BB-3471C8B9B4B7.thumb.jpeg.fa97aae466c4fd76642fc017c0c27dbf.jpeg
 

purty. 

Edited by Winno

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Anyone who knows me has seen that I’ve normally rebuilt all speakers I’ve owned in the past. This time, I thought I’d be happy to live with what Mission and Peter Comeau had done with these latest speakers.

 

With nothing much to do during lockdown however, I really just cannot help myself.

 

It’s started again with a recon this afternoon.

 

The 16ga wiring is decent OFC but this will be changed out for Nordost Super Flatline Gold as stage 1. Past experience with this cable has given great results.

 

The caps are of decent quality but will be swapped out for Mundorf Evo oils as stage 2. I’ve used these caps before and they’re very good and relatively affordable.

 

The inductors are also decent and apart from the one on the back of one of the networks, are air cores with an acceptable gauge. These will remain for now but could be changed out as a stage 3 improvement. 

 

Pics are of the boards in my e83s. One network is hard-wired (good) and the other is on a PCB (not so good).

 

Given the size of the Mundorf caps and  the fact that real estate inside the enclosures is limited, I may look at external boxes. I’ve done this before with positive results. Before considering this further though, I’ll be doing all I can to fit them to a custom board at the bottom of the speaker enclosure.
 

DD109EEE-507B-456C-BEF1-2798F146DDF0.thumb.jpeg.3980b77c0c0fe2c8cc44bdd44148dda5.jpeg

 

AE77BAD3-ED9E-409A-BB00-A7658BA9C813.thumb.jpeg.94f848eab39f8f0324b30050fcf30819.jpeg

 

3D2F87E6-3897-4CD8-927A-D948E2C1BDC3.thumb.jpeg.e5c7bafea864c22abccfd50917e53077.jpeg

 

0823E987-F187-4715-9D81-E94FE61264EA.thumb.jpeg.c9818e12e44e1b8a78c681249aa2854d.jpeg

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