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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:28 am 
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Location: Slovenia
Hey everyone, I'm Alex. I'm from Slovenia and I'm currently planning out my studio layout and design. I've been looking for some pointers on youtube and I stumbled upon a video that suggested I come here. I took some time to read trough a few pointers on the website and I have to say I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the information and details. Here is some info that I can present so far, if I forgot anything major, please let me know :)

PURPOSE - I'm a musician and a recording/mixing engineer in training. I'm planing to open a full time studio sometime between 2020 and 2021. My broader goal is to record as many genres of music as possible, but my focus right now are bands, solo artists and my own work. I already have most of what I need to do the recording/mixing aspects, my final step is isolation and room acoustics. I've provided some pictures of my room and a quick paint sketch of the dimensions bellow. I'm not well versed with many sketching programs so please bare with me.

ROOM - I currently do my work in my living room. It's 470cm long, 470cm wide and 240cm high. I understand that this is not ideal, but I also have my neighboring bedroom, which COULD become my control room, however then I'd have nowhere to sleep and since I live with my parents, that might not be a feasible. The bedroom is 370cm long, 260cm wide and 220cm high. The house is extremely old and as far as I'm aware, the walls are made from rock, clay and red soil. they're anywhere from 20cm to 60cm thick and the entire upper floor of the house is supported by them, so tearing anything down is out of the question. The outsides are isolated with styrofoam and a fasade so some outer isolation is already existing. All of that can be worked around, since I'm planing to move out the furniture and create a room within a room once I actually learn how to do that. My last issue is dealing with all the windows and heat radiators, since I do not see a feasible way of building around them. Any help in that particular department would really reduce the messing around factor. My floors are laminated and I try to keep as much of my stuff on carpets.

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I have also been talking about possibly digging a giant hole in my back yard and building a studio in there, but this is mostly a fever dream rather than a possibility.

BUDGET - My budget is around 3000-5000€, I have all my recording equipment already, so the costs are exclusively for isolation, treating room acoustics and design ofcourse.

LOUDNESS - For my guitars, I'm mostly working with a quiet hybrid system with Two Notes. This means the loudest element of my recording would be my drums. I've alot of storage pallets at the company I work at, and I thought about having a raised floor that looks like a small stage made from those. Is that at all feasible? It can get pretty loud in here so making this room isolated would be fairly significant, but like I said before, the outer styrofoam layer that isolates my house already does some small work. The major problem are the windows.

GOAL - Reduce wall reflections to a minimum to be able to record and produce music without backdraws.

THE PLAN - I don't really have a plan of attack. I have an idea of what I want the place to look like, but I'm having a hard time figuring out a way around the windows and heat radiators. There's a sketch bellow of what I have now vs a quick ideal of how things could be. Again, sorry forr the poor sketch, I'm not well versed in this field.

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I'd like the room for my guitar cabinets and drums to be fairly dead, and since I only have the room is big enough, I'd like to stick a vocal booth in there somewhere. The layout is subject to change, depending on how I can work around my windows and heat radiators.

Some shots of the room(s)

All in all, whatever advice you lads can throw at me is appriciated. This is the biggest thing I've been planing for a while now and I'm very excited to see if anyone has any layout ideas and acoustic treatment suggestions :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:07 am 
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Location: Cork Ireland
Hi Alex. Happy things and stuff. I would guess that Isolation and Absorption/Acoustics are pretty well covered in the Stickies and Threads here.
But Internet and Screen reading is not really as good as a Hard Book IMO.
I recommend.
The Master Handbook of Acoustic, by Everest.
Build it like the Pros, by Rod Gervais.
Recording Studio Design, by Philip Newell.

Studios which function, make money, are big enough to sound good, are becoming less and less common.
Singers, and Writers, often collaborate with a friend who plays the instruments better and has a Recording Facility.

The most important Acoustic is the Vocal area. This can be quite small. The same area will work well for many acoustic instruments.
Electric Guitar does not need high volume or size to sound big. BlackStar have a very nice 5Watt valve rig.
I play drums. It takes a lot of hardware and space to record a great drum sound.
Electronic Drums or some combination of real and Virtual can deliver great results.
The Rubber Drums get better and better. One can keep the Hi Hat and Ride real. One can put Midi Triggers on the drums, even on Mesh heads. I have moved on from Rubber Drums to Aerodrums. After a short settling period they are actually very playable and expressive, and they will talk to almost any Sample Library. You can even Sample your own Drums.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:44 am 
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Location: Slovenia
DanDan wrote:
Hi Alex. Happy things and stuff. I would guess that Isolation and Absorption/Acoustics are pretty well covered in the Stickies and Threads here.
But Internet and Screen reading is not really as good as a Hard Book IMO.
I recommend.
The Master Handbook of Acoustic, by Everest.
Build it like the Pros, by Rod Gervais.
Recording Studio Design, by Philip Newell.

Studios which function, make money, are big enough to sound good, are becoming less and less common.
Singers, and Writers, often collaborate with a friend who plays the instruments better and has a Recording Facility.

The most important Acoustic is the Vocal area. This can be quite small. The same area will work well for many acoustic instruments.
Electric Guitar does not need high volume or size to sound big. BlackStar have a very nice 5Watt valve rig.
I play drums. It takes a lot of hardware and space to record a great drum sound.
Electronic Drums or some combination of real and Virtual can deliver great results.
The Rubber Drums get better and better. One can keep the Hi Hat and Ride real. One can put Midi Triggers on the drums, even on Mesh heads. I have moved on from Rubber Drums to Aerodrums. After a short settling period they are actually very playable and expressive, and they will talk to almost any Sample Library. You can even Sample your own Drums.


Thanks for your input Dan. Like I said before, my main concern regarding isolation is how I should put it around windows and heat radiators. I don't know how to approach that aspect of it, everything else I'm sure I already have somewhat covered.

As for Guitars, you can see from the pictures that I already have some nice tube heads that I intend to run into a two notes torpedo studio. The cabinets are simply alternatives.

As for the drums, I plan on keeping samples to a minimum. I've interned at 2 studios here in Slovenia and both of my mentors told me it's better to not rely on a crutch so that's sort of my take on that. Cheers :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:26 am 
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Location: Cork Ireland
Quote:
my main concern regarding isolation is how I should put it around windows and heat radiators

What sound sources do you want to isolate from what receivers?
Simply sealing the Windows properly can help a little. Blocking with a mass material such as MDF and or Plasterboard would do a lot more.
I would include a block of rigid fibre in the void. Wrap it in Black Out Blind and it will look good from the outside. and not fade.
Neither of these will have much effect on Drums, particularly the LF of Kick and Toms.
Internally the drums will find their way throughout your house through the solid boundaries. Sound travels much better through solids than through air.

I presume both of your Mentors' studios were big enough and treated enough to record drums well. You do not have the space for that.
Drums were the first instruments to be sampled. It has come a long way. I would encourage you to try AeroDrums as a demo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIkS7DrUx74

Sampling of Speaker Cabinets and Amps is much more recent. It becomes much more convincing every time I try it, but I guess, like your mentors and yourself, I would always prefer a great amp and pedals. With a Ribbon Mic.

I do think that the Virtual Instrument development is way ahead of Virtual Amps though.

One would be hard pressed to achieve a real piano recording even remotely as good as Ivory etc. etc.

One would want a really fine Studio, best electronics, best of drums, tuning, and drummer, to achieve anything even remotely as good sounding as Addictive Drums, BFD, etc. etc.

DD


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:01 am 
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Hi Alex, and Welcome to the forum! :)

Quote:
I've been looking for some pointers on youtube and I stumbled upon a video that suggested I come here.
That's excellent! Because there is almost nothing on YouTube that is correct about designing and building studios. It looks like you found the only video with good advice! Most of the stuff at YT is incorrect and would not work, a lot of it is dangerous, and some is illegal.

Quote:
I took some time to read trough a few pointers on the website and I have to say I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the information and details
That's a normal reaction! :) Acoustics is a very, very large subject, with many aspects, and some of it is not even intuitive.

Quote:
I've provided some pictures of my room and a quick paint sketch of the dimensions bellow.
Is this room going to be used for rehearsal and tracking? Or is it going to be used for mixing? Those are two very different acoustic requirements.

Quote:
It's 470cm long, 470cm wide and 240cm high. I understand that this is not ideal,
Right! The length and width are identical: it is a square room, and even worse, the height is almost exactly half of the length and width. It is going to be very hard to get good acoustics in there, since all of the dimensions are related.

Quote:
I also have my neighboring bedroom, which COULD become my control room, however then I'd have nowhere to sleep
It MIGHT be possible to convert that into a control room and still have it usable as a bedroom, by installing a "Murphy Bed", that folds up into the wall. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy_bed . If done right, that could go into the middle of your rear wall, centered, and become part of the bass trap that is needed back there.

Quote:
the walls are made from rock, clay and red soil. they're anywhere from 20cm to 60cm thick
Have you done a test to see how much isolation you are getting at present? And have you defined how much isolation you need?

Quote:
The outsides are isolated with styrofoam
Styrofoam has no useful acoustic properties. It has good thermal properties, but nothing that is any use for acoustics.

Quote:
I'm planing to move out the furniture and create a room within a room
Before you do that, first determine the above two things: How much isolation you NEED (in decibels), and how much isolation you are getting right now (in decibels). There is no point in building anything until you know those two numbers, because those numbers are the basis for deciding what building materials and what building techniques you will need.

Quote:
issue is dealing with all the windows and heat radiators, since I do not see a feasible way of building around them.
I don't see the radiators in your pictures, so it's hard to say how to deal with those, but windows are no problem at all. Just build a second window in your new inner-leaf wall, exactly opposite the existing window.

Quote:
My floors are laminated
You will not be able to build the inner-leaf walls on top of that. You will have to remove the flooring before you start building, then put most of it back in again after you have finished.

Quote:
This means the loudest element of my recording would be my drums
... and that is, indeed, your biggest problem. Isolating acoustic drums is very hard to do. It can be done, but it isn't easy.

Quote:
I thought about having a raised floor that looks like a small stage made from those.
What you are talking about there is usually called a "drum riser", and yes it is possible, but not using pallets.

Quote:
It can get pretty loud in here so making this room isolated would be fairly significant,
A drum riser will not isolate your room. If built correctly, it can help to prevent the impact noise produced by playing the drums from getting into the floor, but that's only a small part of isolating the room.

Quote:
the outer styrofoam layer that isolates my house already does some small work.
Not for sound, it doesn't! Styrofoam is "closed cell" foam, and also has very low mass. Therefore does nothing at all acoustically. The only type of foam that has any acoustic uses, is "open cell" foam, and even then it does not isolate a room. Mass is what isolates (heavy, thick, dense, solid, rigid building materials). The Styrofoam insulation on your house is not doing anything to isolate. It is only helping as thermal insulation.

Quote:
GOAL - Reduce wall reflections to a minimum to be able to record and produce music without backdraws.
So isolating the room is NOT a goal? :)

Also, "Reduce wall reflections to a minimum" is not a good idea, as that would make the room sound very dull, dead, and lifeless. Rather, you need to control the wall reflections to help produce the correct acoustic response for the room.

Quote:
Again, sorry forr the poor sketch, I'm not well versed in this field.
Search for the free software that is called "SketchUp Make 2017", download that, learn it, and use it to design your room.

Quote:
I'd like the room for my guitar cabinets and drums to be fairly dead,
That would be a mistake. Drums sound terrible in a dead room! To sound good, drums need a very large space, with a high ceiling, but they can still be recorded successfully in a smaller space, as long as it is reasonably live. Drums in a dead room sound... welll..... ummmm.... they sound DEAD! Dead is not nice.

Rather, design your room to be suitably live for recording drums. Your room is big enough that it should be possible, (although the ceiling is a bit low for good drum sounds). Try to get it sounding live but smooth.

Quote:
I'd like to stick a vocal booth in there somewhere.
You don't have enough space for that. Sorry. And you don't nee one either. Use the bedroom as your vocal booth (even if it is also your control room).

Quote:
This is the biggest thing I've been planing for a while now and I'm very excited to see if anyone has any layout ideas and acoustic treatment suggestions
Once again, it seems like isolation is NOT something that you need, because you don't mention it at all, so I'm assuming that you have no problems in that area? Your family and neighbors are not annoyed by your loud music? There are no loud sounds in the house, or outside it, that could create problems with your recordings if they are picked up by your mics? Things like wind, rain, hail, thunder, aircraft flying over, traffic in the street, dogs barking, people mowing their lawns, radios, TVs, people taking, walking around, doors opening and closing, telephones ringing, water running in pipes, toilets flushing, microwave, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, etc. etc. etc.... So you do not have a problem with any of that, and therefore do not need to isolate your room? The ONLY problem you have is that you want to put up acoustic treatment so that your rooms is usable to track instruments and vocals?

I'm asking this, because it isn't clear from your post what it is that you want. In some places it appears that you do need isolation, but you don't mention it as a goal, and all you talk about is acoustic treatment. Isolation and treatment are two very, very different things. If you only need treatment, no isolation, then you do NOT need any "room-in-a-room". That is only necessary for isolation.

So please clarify what you are wanting to do here, and if you DO need isolation, then please determine how much you need, in decibels. That's the starting point.

- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:57 am 
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Soundman2020 wrote:
I'm asking this, because it isn't clear from your post what it is that you want. In some places it appears that you do need isolation, but you don't mention it as a goal, and all you talk about is acoustic treatment. Isolation and treatment are two very, very different things. If you only need treatment, no isolation, then you do NOT need any "room-in-a-room". That is only necessary for isolation.

So please clarify what you are wanting to do here, and if you DO need isolation, then please determine how much you need, in decibels. That's the starting point.


Hey Soundman. Thanks for the long and detailed response! Allright, let me clear a few things up since I seem to be jumping all over the place with my post.

1. The Bedroom is most likely going to become the control/mixing room and the living room (with all my equipment currently in it) is going to be the tracking/recording room.

2. I've read a bit about the dimensions unfavorably affecting the acoustics in my room, which is precisely why I want the sound to be closer to dead as possible. This is still more or less a small home project and I don't need my drum acoustics to be the end all be all. I understand the need for high ceilings, but that's unfortunately an obsticle I cannot overcome at this time, or anytime in the near future. Something to note here, both of my mentors had incredibly short drum recording rooms and added ambience with room mics and post processing, which is sort of how I've been doing it here aswell.

3. Here's the distinction I may have failed to make: In terms of isolation, my neighbors haven't really complained about loud music, however my mother who lives just on the floor above me, has taken issue with the loudness many times. As for the sounds coming in, I live right next to a church that rings every hour, and it's pretty damn loud. I don't exactly know how I would go about measuring that though. I suppose that would make my next step measuring the decibels, but I might need some pointers there :)

4. The heat radiators are behind my drum set and my computer desk. If I was going with the room within a room thing, I don't see how I could work around the radiators, since I cannot turn them completely off and I'm afraid of fire hazards. English isn't my first language, I apologize, but what is an "inner leaf wall"? The problem with the windows is that I'd still like the ability to open them incase my room gets hot, which during the summer happens quite a bit. as for removing the flooring, I don't really have the authority to do that. I always thought about just placing a giant carpet in the room, running my cables below it and call it a day. Guess that's a bit of an uninformed choice tho.

5. Isolation in this room is important absolutely, but my biggest headache factor since day one hs always been the reflections. I don't really know how to describe it but there is a ghastly hum in my room whenever I speak/sing/play guitar or drums. I've been fortunate enough to not notice it when I record, but It's still annoying as all hell. Is there any way to determine the cause of that?



Thanks for your kind reply, I'll get on downloading SketchUp and seeing what I can do in it. As for the decibels, I could use some advice on how to measure that, since I don't have a real way to measure that I think. Building a room inside this room is pretty much a must because of the church I live next to and my family lives upstairs and I can hear them walk, and they can hear me play.

Much love :)

Edit: wow I can't even navigate this program. This could take me a while :D


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:35 am 
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This is what I've conjured up so far, haven't put any isolation in yet since I'm just getting the hang of the program. This is sorta the general idea of how I'd want it to be


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:22 am 
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Location: Cork Ireland
There are many SPL Meters available for iPhone, and I presume other SmartPhones. I have found them to be reasonably close to real SLM's. Some can be 'Calibrated' to be right on.
The UMIK-1 comes with a Cal File which makes it's response Laboratory Flat, and Calibrates it for absolute SPL. Strangely two sample I tested were 1.8dB off. But except for that it is a great product, and if you have a good reference, a real SLM or Calibrator, or can borrow one, it is possible to rewrite the first line of the UMIK Cal File (which is just text).
DD


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:17 am 
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DanDan wrote:
There are many SPL Meters available for iPhone, and I presume other SmartPhones. I have found them to be reasonably close to real SLM's. Some can be 'Calibrated' to be right on.
The UMIK-1 comes with a Cal File which makes it's response Laboratory Flat, and Calibrates it for absolute SPL. Strangely two sample I tested were 1.8dB off. But except for that it is a great product, and if you have a good reference, a real SLM or Calibrator, or can borrow one, it is possible to rewrite the first line of the UMIK Cal File (which is just text).
DD



Cheers for the suggestion, I'll check something out after new years for sure.

I've done some more measuring in my room and I'm currently planning out taking out my laminate floor and getting some wood frames and drywall. I don't really know how to best aproach this still though, anyone got anything else to add?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:24 pm 
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Quote:
I don't really know how to best aproach this still though, anyone got anything else to add?

I'd suggest spending countless hours reading the forum as you'll learn how others dealt with their builds and you'll then see problems in your own. From there, you should have a decent grasp on the general concepts enough to deal with your own problems. And if not, you can ask for advice on the forum. The best thing you can do is draw up your build in as much detail as possible (like, everything except screws/nails). While drawing it, you'll find problems and be able to fix them in your design before tackling it in real life.

Greg

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It appears that you've made the mistake most people do. You started building without consulting this forum.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:12 pm 
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Gregwor wrote:
Quote:
I don't really know how to best aproach this still though, anyone got anything else to add?

I'd suggest spending countless hours reading the forum as you'll learn how others dealt with their builds and you'll then see problems in your own. From there, you should have a decent grasp on the general concepts enough to deal with your own problems. And if not, you can ask for advice on the forum. The best thing you can do is draw up your build in as much detail as possible (like, everything except screws/nails). While drawing it, you'll find problems and be able to fix them in your design before tackling it in real life.

Greg



That's the thing though. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just going by some things I've read here on the forum and taking it from there. I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do, why and how.

What I thought about doing was building a drywall frame out of wood, stuffing the walls with whatever you're supposed to stuff em with and then put drywall over the thing, but after what I've read from soundman, that aproach might not be plausible with my laminated floors. Like I said, I don't know where to start or the how/why of it.

Untill 2 days ago I didn't know what drywall was if that gauges how limited my knowledge in this is.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:01 am 
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Quote:
That's the thing though. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just going by some things I've read here on the forum and taking it from there. I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do, why and how.

What I thought about doing was building a drywall frame out of wood, stuffing the walls with whatever you're supposed to stuff em with and then put drywall over the thing, but after what I've read from soundman, that aproach might not be plausible with my laminated floors. Like I said, I don't know where to start or the how/why of it.

Untill 2 days ago I didn't know what drywall was if that gauges how limited my knowledge in this is.

That's why the forum exists!

Good news! We are here to help and I'm excited to tell you that one of the "bibles" of acoustics can be downloaded for FREE here:

www.roletech.net/books/HandbookAcoustics.pdf

Don't get discouraged at it's page count. I'd highly suggest just diving in and even read a few pages each day. Before you know it, you'll have a great understanding of acoustics!

Regarding construction itself, chances are that by looking at pictures on the forum and reading some build threads, you'll put the pieces together in your mind. Also, don't ever be afraid or ashamed to ask those questions here. It's pretty easy for other members to put up links or pictures for you!

The idea here is for members like yourself to learn and then be able to help others on the forum. Personally, that's my story.

Greg

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It appears that you've made the mistake most people do. You started building without consulting this forum.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:18 am 
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Gregwor wrote:
Quote:
That's the thing though. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just going by some things I've read here on the forum and taking it from there. I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do, why and how.

What I thought about doing was building a drywall frame out of wood, stuffing the walls with whatever you're supposed to stuff em with and then put drywall over the thing, but after what I've read from soundman, that aproach might not be plausible with my laminated floors. Like I said, I don't know where to start or the how/why of it.

Untill 2 days ago I didn't know what drywall was if that gauges how limited my knowledge in this is.

That's why the forum exists!

Good news! We are here to help and I'm excited to tell you that one of the "bibles" of acoustics can be downloaded for FREE here:

http://www.roletech.net/books/HandbookAcoustics.pdf

Don't get discouraged at it's page count. I'd highly suggest just diving in and even read a few pages each day. Before you know it, you'll have a great understanding of acoustics!

Regarding construction itself, chances are that by looking at pictures on the forum and reading some build threads, you'll put the pieces together in your mind. Also, don't ever be afraid or ashamed to ask those questions here. It's pretty easy for other members to put up links or pictures for you!

The idea here is for members like yourself to learn and then be able to help others on the forum. Personally, that's my story.

Greg


Thanks very much! I'll get to reading this ASAP and see what I can deduce from it :)


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