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Production Tutorial

Synthwave Production Explained®

  4.6   (12)  - log in to review
16 Videos | Length: 2hr 54min 59sec
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Chapter 1 : Getting Started

  • image description 3:37

    Introduction & Song Demo

    In this video, Thomas introduces the course, what will be covered, and plays the song that you'll be making together.

  • image description 4:55

    Characteristics of a Synthwave Track

    Learn what makes a Synthwave track distinct from other electronic music genres and the common bpm's of the style. This video also discusses the various subgenera's of Synthwave music and the types of sounds that are used.

Chapter 2 : Drums & Drum Arrangement

  • image description 14:16

    Kick & Snare

    Thomas discusses what vintage drum machine samples are used for the drums in Synthwave tracks, and also explains how to create a driving drum patten that will be used as the foundation for the entire track.

  • image description 7:57

    80's Synth Toms

    This video shows how to take the tom drums from a DMX style drum machine and use them to create an 80's inspired fill for our drum pattern. This drum fill will be used to give variation to the drum part.

  • image description 9:08

    Hi-Hats

    Learn what types of hi-hat samples are used in Synthwave tracks and the types of patterns that are used. These simple hi-hat pattens will provide an Additional element to the drums that will help move the track along.

  • image description 11:26

    Setting Up a Gated Reverb

    Thomas now shows how to recreate the classic 80's gated reverb effect for drums, along with how to compress the reverb to make the sound even more punchy.

Chapter 3 : Synths & Melodic Arrangement

  • image description 14:28

    Stab Bass

    Discover the characteristics of a Synthwave stab bass and how it's used to give the song its driving feel, while being used as the melodic foundation for the track.

  • image description 10:55

    Arp Layer

    This video shows how to now create a synth arpeggio layer to accent the bass line, and help cary the melody of the track, as is commonly done in Synthwave music.

  • image description 14:54

    Chords

    See how chords are used in Synthwave music to fill out the track, and what suspended chords are and how they're used in Synthwave to create that nostalgic feeling.

  • image description 13:54

    Lead Synth & Counter Melody

    Learn how lead synths are used as a focal point for the musical progressions in Synthwave music, including how they provide a counter melody that will accent the chords.

  • image description 7:44

    Vibrato Lead

    This video shows how to create a lead sound inspired by classic 80's guitar solos, and help create an epic feel and further focal point for the song.

  • image description 14:50

    Delayed Synth & Keys

    Now watch how to add a "dreamy keys" element to the track that makes use of reverb and delay, and further plays up the nostalgic musical qualities commonly found in Synthwave tracks.

  • image description 6:55

    Pad

    Rich synth pads are commonly found in Synthwave tracks, providing an ambient background element for the song. See how!

Chapter 4 : Song Arrangement & Mixing

  • image description 14:01

    Song Arrangement & Fills

    This video covers creating the common song arrangement for Synthwave music. While the arrangement of Synthwave tracks are more simple, the chord progressions and leads are layered together in such a way to keep interest by utilizing evolving musical sequences. Thomas explains!

  • image description 13:47

    Mixing

    Discover how bus mixing and processing is used to blend the song together, including how to adjust the volumes of the different elements so that the track is nice and balanced.

  • image description 12:12

    Mastering

    Learn the basics of mastering Synthwave music, including brightening up the track for added clarity and dimension, and using limiters and compressors to avoid unwanted volume level differences, plus beefing up the track overall.

Product Overview


Studio production pro Thomas Cochran teleports you back to the '80s with in-depth Synthwave production video tutorials that show how to create the sounds and produce the tracks that make this popular genre so powerful. These videos are perfect for beginner Synthwave producers or anyone looking for more insight on how this genre is made.

Thomas utilizes UVI virtual instruments in the videos, but you can use any virtual instruments that are similar in tone to build your Synthwave productions. starts with what will be covered, and then plays the song that you'll be making together for reference. He then explains what makes a Synthwave track distinct from other electronic music genres, the common BPMs found in the style, and then discusses the various subgeneras of Synthwave music and the types of sounds that are used.

To get started producing the Synthwave track, Thomas starts with the drums, showing you what vintage drum machine samples are commonly used, and demonstrates how to program a driving drum patten that works as the foundation for the entire track.

Throughout the video series, you'll learn all about what makes Synthwave so special, including the use of Gated Reverbs, the various synth elements found like Stab Bass, Arpeggios, Lead Synths, Pads and much more. You'll also see how to arrange and mix the complete Synthwave production giving it that nostalgic shine.

To see what these comprehensive Synthwave production tutorials show you, and how they'll enable you to produce your own authentic sounding Synthwave tracks from scratch, see the individual Synthwave production video tutorial descriptions on this page. Start making cool retro-future sounding songs and beats today... Watch "Synthwave Production Explained®" now.


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mattyMemory
Submitted 1 day ago

Excellent Teacher

This was a great series - easy to follow and very informative.


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

erictfree
Submitted 1 week ago

Solid introduction to synthwave creation

Very well thought out and constructed tutorial on the synthwave form. There's none of the usual "crafting the perfect kick drum" or the perfect synth lead nonsense, just total focus on creating an example synthwave track.


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

John Wheeler
Submitted 2 weeks ago

Just what I was looking for

I've got sound design experience, but what good are custom patches unless you can compose? This tutorial series is perfect because the instructor teaches you how to go beyond the four bar loop and keep things interesting with subtle and not-so-subtle variations. Highly recommend

I am a: Hobbyist, Musician, Logic Pro


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

PieroCocozza
Submitted 1 month ago

Great course

Great course


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

fenrir
Submitted 2 months ago

Interesting insight into Synthwave production

Overall a very good tutorial on Synthwave production. The only thing that bothered me a bit, was that the tutor always gave exact values for all the settings, withouth mentioning, that this most of the time only makes sense, if you use the exact same patches and presets. If you don't have UVI Workstation and you are going for your own sounds and samples you need to figure out your own settings, which could have been mentioned. :) Another thing that bothers me is, that the Groove3 website is a little slow on loading times here from germany, even though I have a 400 Mbit internet connection. But that has nothing to do with this tutorial.


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Faiths
Submitted 3 months ago

Great tutorials

Thanks for these series of videos!!! I love Synthwave and now I can make it !!!


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Roboman20000
Submitted 3 months ago

Helpful if you take the time to dive in

I have been trying to learn how to produce electronic music for a little while now and decided to try my hand at Synthwave. This course certainly teaches you how to build "a specific" synthwave track but to start building my own track I had to dive deeper into the videos to really take a look at the way Thomas created the track. Not everyone is going to have the same tools as he does and the way Thomas made the sounds and decisions felt like he had a recipe and was just inputting numbers into boxes. A more systematic approach to building the sounds would have been nice so that people with different tools could learn to make their own sounds. It did get me to start playing around with my own tools to try and emulate the sounds he was making but without the experience he has, I was flying blind. I made it in the end though. I definitely had to watch each video multiple times. The Arrangement section is what I was really looking for. Building up from a dense loop into a full song was extremely helpful to me (with 0 experience). The explanation of his decision making process combined with following along has greatly improved my workflow. I really enjoyed the song and the way everything was put together. Using simple tools was a great idea and I would definitely recommend this course to others.

Response from :

Thanks for your review! We're glad you enjoyed the videos. Regarding the sound design, or lack of, this series is about the production side of synthwave. We will be producing a synthwave sound design course soon. Thanks again!

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

ColonelMot
Submitted 3 months ago

Too much reliance on 3rd party plugins

Pretty unhelpful that pretty much all the sounds in this are from a non free 3rd party plugin UVI - Spent too much time stuffing around trying to replicate sounds in different plugins

I am a: Semi-Pro, Ableton Live

Response from :

Thanks for your review! We're sorry you didn't find the videos helpful. Just so you know, this is a production tutorial, focused more on tweaking the sounds, programing them, and then mixing and mastering the production in a Synthwave style. Using free virtual instruments can be a compromise, as they are sometimes not capable of producing the sound the author/producer is looking for. Thomas went with UVI as they have great ready-made sounds in the Synthwave style, which then allowed him to focus on teaching the production side of Synthwave. With so many options available for paid virtual instruments, it's impossible to choose one that everyone has. Thanks again!

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

siglomusic
Submitted 3 months ago

Great tutorial and guidance

I enjoyed learning how to create a synthwave track with this video series. The quality is really great. Every detail was presented clearly and explained thoughtfully. I was able to follow along in Ableton Live and managed to create an almost identical track. I had fun with this one and looking forward to producing a lot more now that I have a handle on some essential basics. Thanks!


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Tuoni64
Submitted 3 months ago

An excellent production for synth players, especially those from the 80s

This was an excellent overview of the synthwave genre. Especially helpful for us original 1980s players who are not sure where their rather cheesy sounds and styles they know and love from the 80s fit with contemporary genres. It may be still a niche genre but it is still absolutely recognisable as a derivative of the original. The instructor has a solid understanding of how the sounds are constructed and also why they were done they way they were - the continual forward drive was a result of having very limited programming and polyphony as well as a stylistic choice in a lot of cases. I miss working with synthetic sounds (mostly doing video scoring now) so this is a nice way to be able to go back and play with some of the "New Romantic" and "New Wave" stuff which is now so old :-) It is awesome to see Groove3 covering a wider spectrum of genres with synthwave, ambient and chill starting to make more of an appearance.

I am a: Semi-Pro, Musician, Sound for Film/TV, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Reason, Reaper, Studio One


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

mattyMemory
Submitted 1 day ago

Excellent Teacher

This was a great series - easy to follow and very informative.

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

erictfree
Submitted 1 week ago

Solid introduction to synthwave creation

Very well thought out and constructed tutorial on the synthwave form. There's none of the usual "crafting the perfect kick drum" or the perfect synth lead nonsense, just total focus on creating an example synthwave track.

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

John Wheeler
Submitted 2 weeks ago

Just what I was looking for

I've got sound design experience, but what good are custom patches unless you can compose? This tutorial series is perfect because the instructor teaches you how to go beyond the four bar loop and keep things interesting with subtle and not-so-subtle variations. Highly recommend

I am a: Hobbyist, Musician, Logic Pro

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

PieroCocozza
Submitted 1 month ago

Great course

Great course

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

fenrir
Submitted 2 months ago

Interesting insight into Synthwave production

Overall a very good tutorial on Synthwave production. The only thing that bothered me a bit, was that the tutor always gave exact values for all the settings, withouth mentioning, that this most of the time only makes sense, if you use the exact same patches and presets. If you don't have UVI Workstation and you are going for your own sounds and samples you need to figure out your own settings, which could have been mentioned. :) Another thing that bothers me is, that the Groove3 website is a little slow on loading times here from germany, even though I have a 400 Mbit internet connection. But that has nothing to do with this tutorial.

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Faiths
Submitted 3 months ago

Great tutorials

Thanks for these series of videos!!! I love Synthwave and now I can make it !!!

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Roboman20000
Submitted 3 months ago

Helpful if you take the time to dive in

I have been trying to learn how to produce electronic music for a little while now and decided to try my hand at Synthwave. This course certainly teaches you how to build "a specific" synthwave track but to start building my own track I had to dive deeper into the videos to really take a look at the way Thomas created the track. Not everyone is going to have the same tools as he does and the way Thomas made the sounds and decisions felt like he had a recipe and was just inputting numbers into boxes. A more systematic approach to building the sounds would have been nice so that people with different tools could learn to make their own sounds. It did get me to start playing around with my own tools to try and emulate the sounds he was making but without the experience he has, I was flying blind. I made it in the end though. I definitely had to watch each video multiple times. The Arrangement section is what I was really looking for. Building up from a dense loop into a full song was extremely helpful to me (with 0 experience). The explanation of his decision making process combined with following along has greatly improved my workflow. I really enjoyed the song and the way everything was put together. Using simple tools was a great idea and I would definitely recommend this course to others.

Response from :

Thanks for your review! We're glad you enjoyed the videos. Regarding the sound design, or lack of, this series is about the production side of synthwave. We will be producing a synthwave sound design course soon. Thanks again!
Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

ColonelMot
Submitted 3 months ago

Too much reliance on 3rd party plugins

Pretty unhelpful that pretty much all the sounds in this are from a non free 3rd party plugin UVI - Spent too much time stuffing around trying to replicate sounds in different plugins

I am a: Semi-Pro, Ableton Live

Response from :

Thanks for your review! We're sorry you didn't find the videos helpful. Just so you know, this is a production tutorial, focused more on tweaking the sounds, programing them, and then mixing and mastering the production in a Synthwave style. Using free virtual instruments can be a compromise, as they are sometimes not capable of producing the sound the author/producer is looking for. Thomas went with UVI as they have great ready-made sounds in the Synthwave style, which then allowed him to focus on teaching the production side of Synthwave. With so many options available for paid virtual instruments, it's impossible to choose one that everyone has. Thanks again!
Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

siglomusic
Submitted 3 months ago

Great tutorial and guidance

I enjoyed learning how to create a synthwave track with this video series. The quality is really great. Every detail was presented clearly and explained thoughtfully. I was able to follow along in Ableton Live and managed to create an almost identical track. I had fun with this one and looking forward to producing a lot more now that I have a handle on some essential basics. Thanks!

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Tuoni64
Submitted 3 months ago

An excellent production for synth players, especially those from the 80s

This was an excellent overview of the synthwave genre. Especially helpful for us original 1980s players who are not sure where their rather cheesy sounds and styles they know and love from the 80s fit with contemporary genres. It may be still a niche genre but it is still absolutely recognisable as a derivative of the original. The instructor has a solid understanding of how the sounds are constructed and also why they were done they way they were - the continual forward drive was a result of having very limited programming and polyphony as well as a stylistic choice in a lot of cases. I miss working with synthetic sounds (mostly doing video scoring now) so this is a nice way to be able to go back and play with some of the "New Romantic" and "New Wave" stuff which is now so old :-) It is awesome to see Groove3 covering a wider spectrum of genres with synthwave, ambient and chill starting to make more of an appearance.

I am a: Semi-Pro, Musician, Sound for Film/TV, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Reason, Reaper, Studio One

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Thomas Cochran electronic musician and multi instrumentalist from Austin Texas, who now lives in Los Angeles. He focuses on creating electronic music that features both ambient and classical influences.

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started playing music at a young age, starting with classical guitar. This started my love for music and eventually expanded into learning other instruments as well. To date, I have had over ten years of classical experience and training as well as additional instrumental experience.

2. What training have you had?

I grew up studying classical guitar and composition and eventually started applying my classical knowledge to learning other instruments as well, ranging from violin, cello, keys, and drums.

3. When did you get intro recording?

I got into recording out of necessity when me and some friends started a band back in high school and couldn't afford studio time. Through this, I learned about music production and recording and haven't looked back since.

4. Why are you so good at training people?

I love learning about the technical aspects of music production, this helps me understand the how music production works under the hood. I have also worked for several years creating music production tutorials online.

Products by Thomas

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Ableton Live: Beginner's Guide to Beat Making

    Thomas Cochran shows you how to make your very first beat with Ableton Live! See how to produce your first beat from scratch, using nothing but Ableton Live, including software installation and understanding Live's layout, all the way to exporting your finished beat and more. This series is designed for the absolute newcomer to Ableton Live.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    ANA 2: Sound Design Vol. 1

    Synth guru Thomas Cochran presents an in-depth ANA 2 video tutorial series! Follow along with Thomas and see how to create awesome, powerful sounds and presets for the ANA 2 virtual synth. These videos are great for those who know their way around ANA 2 and some basic synth terminology.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Beat Making with MASCHINE

    Thomas Cochran brings you beat making videos using Native Instruments MASCHINE! Learn to make a cool beat from scratch using nothing but MASCHINE. These MASCHINE tutorials are for those just starting out with MASCHINE as well as intermediate MASCHINE beat makers. You also get the MASCHINE project file so you can follow along and experiment.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Dark Synthwave Sound Design Explained

    Synthesizer wiz Thomas Cochran brings detailed you dark synthwave sound design video tutorials! See step by step how to make sounds from scratch that define this popular genre. In these videos Thomas uses some great 3rd party virtual instruments like TAL-U-No-LX, Serum, Korg Mono/Poly and u-he Diva, but you can apply the info to any comparable virtual or hardware synth. This series is for those who have a basic understanding of synth sound design and want to focus on understanding and creating the sounds found in dark synthwave music.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    DAW Terminology Explained

    DAW Terminology Explained™ is your definition based resource for quickly finding the meaning of common digital audio workstation and pro audio terms, features and functions! This growing collection of terminology definitions are short and sweet, and are designed for the beginner, to make sure you understand the basics and foundations of modern recording technology.

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Synthwave Production Explained® is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 12 .
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent Teacher This was a great series - easy to follow and very informative.
Date published: 2020-07-09
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Solid introduction to synthwave creation Very well thought out and constructed tutorial on the synthwave form. There's none of the usual "crafting the perfect kick drum" or the perfect synth lead nonsense, just total focus on creating an example synthwave track.
Date published: 2020-07-03
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Just what I was looking for I've got sound design experience, but what good are custom patches unless you can compose? This tutorial series is perfect because the instructor teaches you how to go beyond the four bar loop and keep things interesting with subtle and not-so-subtle variations. Highly recommend
Date published: 2020-06-26
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Great course Great course
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Interesting insight into Synthwave production Overall a very good tutorial on Synthwave production. The only thing that bothered me a bit, was that the tutor always gave exact values for all the settings, withouth mentioning, that this most of the time only makes sense, if you use the exact same patches and presets. If you don't have UVI Workstation and you are going for your own sounds and samples you need to figure out your own settings, which could have been mentioned. :) Another thing that bothers me is, that the Groove3 website is a little slow on loading times here from germany, even though I have a 400 Mbit internet connection. But that has nothing to do with this tutorial.
Date published: 2020-05-05
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great tutorials Thanks for these series of videos!!! I love Synthwave and now I can make it !!!
Date published: 2020-04-22
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Helpful if you take the time to dive in I have been trying to learn how to produce electronic music for a little while now and decided to try my hand at Synthwave. This course certainly teaches you how to build "a specific" synthwave track but to start building my own track I had to dive deeper into the videos to really take a look at the way Thomas created the track. Not everyone is going to have the same tools as he does and the way Thomas made the sounds and decisions felt like he had a recipe and was just inputting numbers into boxes. A more systematic approach to building the sounds would have been nice so that people with different tools could learn to make their own sounds. It did get me to start playing around with my own tools to try and emulate the sounds he was making but without the experience he has, I was flying blind. I made it in the end though. I definitely had to watch each video multiple times. The Arrangement section is what I was really looking for. Building up from a dense loop into a full song was extremely helpful to me (with 0 experience). The explanation of his decision making process combined with following along has greatly improved my workflow. I really enjoyed the song and the way everything was put together. Using simple tools was a great idea and I would definitely recommend this course to others.
Date published: 2020-04-20
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from Too much reliance on 3rd party plugins Pretty unhelpful that pretty much all the sounds in this are from a non free 3rd party plugin UVI - Spent too much time stuffing around trying to replicate sounds in different plugins
Date published: 2020-04-11
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great tutorial and guidance I enjoyed learning how to create a synthwave track with this video series. The quality is really great. Every detail was presented clearly and explained thoughtfully. I was able to follow along in Ableton Live and managed to create an almost identical track. I had fun with this one and looking forward to producing a lot more now that I have a handle on some essential basics. Thanks!
Date published: 2020-04-06
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from An excellent production for synth players, especially those from the 80s This was an excellent overview of the synthwave genre. Especially helpful for us original 1980s players who are not sure where their rather cheesy sounds and styles they know and love from the 80s fit with contemporary genres. It may be still a niche genre but it is still absolutely recognisable as a derivative of the original. The instructor has a solid understanding of how the sounds are constructed and also why they were done they way they were - the continual forward drive was a result of having very limited programming and polyphony as well as a stylistic choice in a lot of cases. I miss working with synthetic sounds (mostly doing video scoring now) so this is a nice way to be able to go back and play with some of the "New Romantic" and "New Wave" stuff which is now so old :-) It is awesome to see Groove3 covering a wider spectrum of genres with synthwave, ambient and chill starting to make more of an appearance.
Date published: 2020-03-27
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Synthwave & more..GREAT! Thoroughly impressed with the pace, information and the quality of the training and instruction. The Mastering chapter by itself was gold! If you are interested in Synthwave, you will get that, but you will also get immense information and wisdom on music production, arrangement and mixing. Thank you Thomas & Groove3.
Date published: 2020-03-10
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent! Highly recommend this course if your interested in Synthwave or just general electronic music production. Walks you through all the steps from start to finish with good explanations along the way.
Date published: 2020-03-09
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