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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Jack Cable Soldering
      #1028703 - 15/01/13 12:22 PM
Hi,

I've purchased some Pro Jack Plug Stereo Connectors, which I'm looking to solder to some Unbalanced Cable reel. I don't need the connection to be in stereo, I simply bought the stereo connectors as I was told that their generally of a higher quality (in terms of solder points, reliability) than their mono compatriots.

These are the connectors I've bought:

http://www.studiospares.com/connectors/pro-jack-plug-stereo/invt/568410/#R eviewHeader

As the cable reel is not stereo, if I connect to only one of the ports, will that still be valid/work? On each connector there's 2 ports (L & R), and the ground, so naturally one of the ports will not be connected.

Any advice? Will this work?

Thanks!


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Sam Spoons
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028728 - 15/01/13 02:34 PM
These connectors are referred to as TRS (tip, ring and sleeve) they are the same as used for headphones, some balanced audio cables and insert leads, in each case the three conductors serve different purposes, only on headphones are they L and R.

Don't leave one connector un-connected, join the ring and sleeve together to the screen (ground) of your cable and the tip to the core.

BTW, TS (mono) jacks are easier to solder and their should be no difference in quality between TS and TRS jacks if from one range, this, http://www.studiospares.com/connectors/pro-jack-plug-mono/invt/568400/?VBM ST=* will be identical quality to the TRS jacks you have bought (and slightly cheaper).


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Bossman
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028729 - 15/01/13 02:35 PM
Quote JBoy90:

..I simply bought the stereo connectors as I was told that their generally of a higher quality (in terms of solder points, reliability) than their mono compatriots.




I haven't found this to the case. On all the jack plugs I've seen/used, the build quality and reliability is the same for both TRS (stereo) and TS (mono) jacks. The only difference is that the TRS jack has an extra conductor.

Generally, I've found TS jack plugs easier to solder because there is only two terminals instead of 3. and the third can make it a little more fiddly. There is no advantage to using TRS jacks with unbalanced/mono cable runs as far as I can see.

So, I would say you are better off with TS jacks for unbalanced or mono cables. Plus TS Jacks are normally cheaper than TRS.

Quote JBoy90:

As the cable reel is not stereo, if I connect to only one of the ports, will that still be valid/work?




If I had to use a TRS jack plug for an unbalanced or mono cable, I would solder the hot to the tip of the jack (as normal), and the ground to both the ring and the sleeve of the jack.

Hope that helps

EDIT: I see Sam got there first, and confirms my thoughts on the subject.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028771 - 15/01/13 05:30 PM
So I'd need to solder the ground to one of the connectors? Without sounding rude, can I ask what this achieves? Just wondering really. Do I lose anything by not soldering to a connector?

Also, I've bought a Behringer CT100 Cable tester, can I ask which lights should light up if all is connected correctly? Will this be affected by the stereo situation we've discussed so far?

Sorry to be a pain, just really wanna get these right!


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TSH-Tim



Joined: 21/02/11
Posts: 827
Loc: Guildford
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028821 - 15/01/13 11:11 PM
If you want / need reliability heatshink everything with glue heatshink I've got 12 year old cable from doing this.

--------------------
PA Hire Surrey
Lighting Hire Surrey


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ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
Posts: 6702
Loc: northampton uk
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028826 - 15/01/13 11:46 PM
Well those jack plugs look like Neutriks but if so they are remarkably cheap!

You will know instantly when you open one up because the centre, tip connector is a solid piece of brass no nut or rivet is used.

I too see no advantage in buying TRS plugs if you don't need them, just giving yourself extra work and I speak as one who has soldered hundreds of such connectors!

Yes, the ring should be tied to the sleeve if only for the reason that most guitar pedals and active DI boxes rely on a solid sleeve to switch the power. In fact a TRS plug, even with the ring tied to sleeve does not work on some jacks due to an unfortunate tolerance situation in the contact spacing.

Take a critical look at those plugs and if the quality is at all suspect ship them back for mono jobbies and pay a bit more for Nukes. You don't SAVE money making your own cables but at least you can get assured top build quality!

Dave.


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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: ef37a]
      #1028834 - 16/01/13 12:33 AM
Well I've been at it all night, and the suggestions regarding the ground have so far helped massively, as well as the fact my soldering is slowly improving also.

So I've now finished a few cables that work fully, with the hot lead connected to the tip, and the ground coiled into 2 seperate strands, one connecting to the ring, and one connecting to the sleeve. Both work fine with a guitar amp, and don't seem to produce any hiss or less volume than some of my other leads (not made by me).

However, on the CT100 tester, one of the cables has all 9 lights lit up, whilst the other has the lights lit in an 'X' shape. I believe the latter is correct, but as it's a stereo connector, surely that would change it so that all the connections need to be made? And finally, am I worrying over the CT100's results too much? My main concern is that whilst these work now, we've got a gig over the weekend and I'd hate for them to go mid song!

And yeah I realise now that the stereo connectors are of no benefit whatsoever, just too late to change them unfortunately!

Edited by JBoy90 (16/01/13 12:35 AM)


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Sam Spoons
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: ef37a]
      #1028869 - 16/01/13 11:32 AM
Quote ef37a:

Well those jack plugs look like Neutriks but if so they are remarkably cheap!
Dave.




Pretty sure they're cheapo Neutric copies, better than plastic nasties but not a patch on the real thing.


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5658
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028874 - 16/01/13 11:49 AM
Quote JBoy90:

Hi,

I've purchased some Pro Jack Plug Stereo Connectors, which I'm looking to solder to some Unbalanced Cable reel. I don't need the connection to be in stereo, I simply bought the stereo connectors as I was told that their generally of a higher quality (in terms of solder points, reliability) than their mono compatriots.

These are the connectors I've bought:

http://www.studiospares.com/connectors/pro-jack-plug-stereo/...





Rule #1
"Anything labelled Pro, isn't."

They were under £1 each. They're the wrong sort. Throw them away and get the right sort.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21574
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028888 - 16/01/13 12:30 PM
Quote JBoy90:

However, on the CT100 tester, one of the cables has all 9 lights lit up, whilst the other has the lights lit in an 'X' shape. I believe the latter is correct




It is. Sleeve and ring should be connected, lighting the corner LEDs, and the tip should only connect to the tip, lighting the centre LED. If all nine are on, you have a complete 'short' in the cable somewhere, with the tip, ring and sleeve all connected together. it might be a whisker of wire or solder bridging the terminals inside the plug, or you may have overheated the cable while soldering, melting the insulation between screen and core in the cable.

Quote:

...am I worrying over the CT100's results too much?




There's no point using a cable tester and then ignoring what it's telling you!

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Sam Spoons
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Joined: 23/01/03
Posts: 1145
Loc: Manchester UK
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1028899 - 16/01/13 01:15 PM
Quote Exalted Wombat:



Rule #1
"Anything labelled Pro, isn't."






If I had a pound for every time I've told people that I'd have ...... Er...... £3.50


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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1028904 - 16/01/13 01:43 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Quote JBoy90:

However, on the CT100 tester, one of the cables has all 9 lights lit up, whilst the other has the lights lit in an 'X' shape. I believe the latter is correct




It is. Sleeve and ring should be connected, lighting the corner LEDs, and the tip should only connect to the tip, lighting the centre LED. If all nine are on, you have a complete 'short' in the cable somewhere, with the tip, ring and sleeve all connected together. it might be a whisker of wire or solder bridging the terminals inside the plug, or you may have overheated the cable while soldering, melting the insulation between screen and core in the cable.

Quote:

...am I worrying over the CT100's results too much?




There's no point using a cable tester and then ignoring what it's telling you!

hugh




Ahh damn I see, but if it's a stereo connector does this affect whether the tip should be lit up or not? I've completed a few cables now, most have all 9, one or two don't have the tip lit up. All of them work though?!

And if that is a big problem, how can I fix it? I've got the soldering iron set to 400 degrees C, is that too high?

Edited by JBoy90 (16/01/13 02:19 PM)


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MarkPAman



Joined: 06/04/06
Posts: 320
Loc: Somewhere between Portsmouth &...
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028922 - 16/01/13 02:58 PM
400 is very hot. I find I can do most connectors at about 320 without any problem using lead free solder. The leaded stuff would be cooler than that.

The CT100 is a good little tester and will show up shorts that may not be enough to stop your guitar working, but will probably change the way it sounds. They'll probably get worse over time too.

So, cut back a few inches from all the ones that have been overheated, and try again! Don't worry, soldering is good for you

(Edited for typo in my temperature!)

Edited by MarkPAman (16/01/13 03:09 PM)


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028923 - 16/01/13 02:59 PM
Quote JBoy90:

...but if it's a stereo connector does this affect whether the tip should be lit up or not?




Hmmm... step 1 was learning how the cable tester works and how to interpret the indicators!

It's not a 'stereo' connector. Stereo is a signal format. It's a three-pole cable connector which you want to employ with two-pole chassis connectors.

The equivalent two-pole connector has a long 'sleeve' connection. In the three-pole version that sleeve is cut short to leave space for the 'ring' connection. That's why you were advised earlier to wire the sleeve and ring together (with both connected to the cable screen), so that it will operate in the same way as a normal two-pole connector.

The tip contact carries the signal voltage, and the sleeve/ring carries the ground reference via the screen. The tip of one plug should only connect with the tip of the other plug. So the middle light should come on, indicating that the input tip connects to the output tip.

The input sleeve should be connected to the input ring, as well as to both the output sleeve and ring. Consequently, the four corner LEDs should be on.

The top centre LED illuminates when the input tip connects with the output sleeve. If that happens, you have a dead short on the cable and it won't work. The same applies with the other midle LEDs on each side of the array.

If you are sure that the cables all work but that really have all nine lights on then either the cable tester is broken or there's something really weird going on!

Quote:

I've got the soldering iron set to 400 degrees C, is that too high?




It's certainly on the high side, but it depends what kind of solder you're using, how big the solder tip is, how much heat wick you're getting with the conenctors you're using, and -- most importantly -- how the temperature is measured and displayed!

With my own temperature controlled iron I would expect to use a setting between 300-320C for leaded solder, and up to about 340-360C for lead-free solder, but I've used other irons that required settings a lot lower than that for the same results.

You can get away with a hotter iron as long as you minimise the time spent in contact, to avoid melting the plastic substrate of the connectors or the cable insulation.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1028927 - 16/01/13 03:15 PM
Ahh yikes this all would have been so much simpler with the mono connector!

Right, okay. So I'll lower the temperature to 350ish and try that. It's Maplin Lead-Free Silver solder that I'm using.

So what I've done with all these cables is taken the ground connector, and seperated it (imagine splitting your fringe to two sides), connected one to the ring, and one to the sleeve. Is that not what was suggested at the start? Getting really confused

Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Quote JBoy90:

...but if it's a stereo connector does this affect whether the tip should be lit up or not?




Hmmm... step 1 was learning how the cable tester works and how to interpret the indicators!

It's not a 'stereo' connector. Stereo is a signal format. It's a three-pole cable connector which you want to employ with two-pole chassis connectors.

The equivalent two-pole connector has a long 'sleeve' connection. In the three-pole version that sleeve is cut short to leave space for the 'ring' connection. That's why you were advised earlier to wire the sleeve and ring together (with both connected to the cable screen), so that it will operate in the same way as a normal two-pole connector.

The tip contact carries the signal voltage, and the sleeve/ring carries the ground reference via the screen. The tip of one plug should only connect with the tip of the other plug. So the middle light should come on, indicating that the input tip connects to the output tip.

The input sleeve should be connected to the input ring, as well as to both the output sleeve and ring. Consequently, the four corner LEDs should be on.

The top centre LED illuminates when the input tip connects with the output sleeve. If that happens, you have a dead short on the cable and it won't work. The same applies with the other midle LEDs on each side of the array.

If you are sure that the cables all work but that really have all nine lights on then either the cable tester is broken or there's something really weird going on!

Quote:

I've got the soldering iron set to 400 degrees C, is that too high?




It's certainly on the high side, but it depends what kind of solder you're using, how big the solder tip is, how much heat wick you're getting with the conenctors you're using, and -- most importantly -- how the temperature is measured and displayed!

With my own temperature controlled iron I would expect to use a setting between 300-320C for leaded solder, and up to about 340-360C for lead-free solder, but I've used other irons that required settings a lot lower than that for the same results.

You can get away with a hotter iron as long as you minimise the time spent in contact, to avoid melting the plastic substrate of the connectors or the cable insulation.

H




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Sam Spoons
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028931 - 16/01/13 03:21 PM
Splitting the shield and connecting the two tails to the ring and sleeve is fine. I'd have just gone from one to the other 'cos it's slightly quicker, but your way is more elegant, well done


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ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028932 - 16/01/13 03:22 PM
It is often easier to avoid damage to insulation etc by having a hot iron and getting in and out quickly (and when you have several boxes a day of 200strips of 8 RJ45 jacks each with 8 contacts to solder you get fast! Tho' I never did get nearly as fast or as good as the gals!)

I agree with Hugh's temperatures and that it depends on the solder. We had some reet cheap ***te that you could not get to flow with a MIG welder!
Solder tip care from the horses mouth (Weller peeps on a visit. Well! We did have about 100 stations!)
Do not use a damp sponge. Use brass or stainless steel wool. I don't have any so I use kitchen paper.
Keep the tip well tinned and wipe often and re tin. Never use a file or emery paper on the tip.

You can buy a tin of a very agressive tip cleaner. Works but only as a last resort and sparingly.

Wipe and flood the tip with solder before switching iron off. MOST important for lead free as a dirty untinned tip will quickly go black and is the divil to get clean again.
Switch off the iron when not needed or away from the job. Modern T'stat irons get to temp' in 30 seconds or so, no point in boiling the thing uselessly.

Dave.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028933 - 16/01/13 03:32 PM
Quote JBoy90:

So what I've done with all these cables is taken the ground connector, and seperated it (imagine splitting your fringe to two sides), connected one to the ring, and one to the sleeve. Is that not what was suggested at the start?




Yes. Personally, I wouldn't split the cable screen -- it's just making work for yourself. I'd twist it into one 'wire' and then loop it between the ring terminal and the screen terminal. But what you've done should be fine. You just have to be careful that the screen wires don't accidentally come into contact with the tip connection when you assemble the plug bodies.

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Edited by Hugh Robjohns (16/01/13 03:34 PM)


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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028935 - 16/01/13 03:44 PM
So to summarise, I'm looking for the 4 corner, and the 1 central LED to be lit?

And if it hasn't overheated, could it be because the 2 ground strands (that I've split) are touching?


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1028959 - 16/01/13 06:37 PM
Yes. Using TRS plugs at both ends, with the ring linked to the sleeve at both ends, the display for a correctly wired cable should be all four corners plus the centre LED.

It doesn't matter if the two screen strands touch each other -- they are two parts of the same thing. What does matter is if either touch the tip terminal or the centre core of the cable. Look out for stray strands of wire or bridges of solder.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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JBoy90



Joined: 06/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Herts
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1030100 - 24/01/13 11:08 AM
Yeah okay that sounds right, although surely it doesn't matter if it touches the insulation that encases the core that connects the tip?

Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Yes. Using TRS plugs at both ends, with the ring linked to the sleeve at both ends, the display for a correctly wired cable should be all four corners plus the centre LED.

It doesn't matter if the two screen strands touch each other -- they are two parts of the same thing. What does matter is if either touch the tip terminal or the centre core of the cable. Look out for stray strands of wire or bridges of solder.

H




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ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
Posts: 6702
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1030122 - 24/01/13 01:10 PM
Quote JBoy90:

Yeah okay that sounds right, although surely it doesn't matter if it touches the insulation that encases the core that connects the tip?

Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Yes. Using TRS plugs at both ends, with the ring linked to the sleeve at both ends, the display for a correctly wired cable should be all four corners plus the centre LED.

It doesn't matter if the two screen strands touch each other -- they are two parts of the same thing. What does matter is if either touch the tip terminal or the centre core of the cable. Look out for stray strands of wire or bridges of solder.

H





In fact it is better not to have any bare wire inside the plug at all. twist the braid tightly and tin the end then sleeve with either heatshrink or silicone sleeving then link ring and sleeve.

Dave.


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AlecSp



Joined: 16/11/04
Posts: 94
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1030422 - 25/01/13 02:54 PM
Agreeing with others further up the thread, your plugs aren't the best in the world (but neither are they the worst). They key problem I've had with them is that the cable clamp isn't fantastic - in fact with thinner interconnects it's rubbish. Ideally, you'd just by Neutrik NP2X plugs.

You were given a totally duff steer on buying stereo plugs rather than mono. No benefits at all if you're simply using unbalanced cable (as you are for regular instrument leads). And, as you've found out, it can actually complicate your soldering. Plus the fact that others might assume that the lead is wired up balanced (which it's not).

On the positive side, you've had an introduction into cable making & soldering - which is never pretty when you first start. And things should only now get better. In future, though, just shell out and buy Neutrik connectors - you'll be amazed at how much better they feel - and they won't break.

And also, good for you for getting the cable tester. As you've discovered, it's a great way of testing cables for problems you might not otherwise spot (but never forget a visual inspection of your work too, in case you've got cuts in the sleeving, or stray whiskers of conductors.

Onwards & upwards!


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tacitus



Joined: 04/02/08
Posts: 927
Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: JBoy90]
      #1030432 - 25/01/13 04:42 PM
Good point there about the possibility of thinking a TRS is wired separately to each contact. I used to be fairly anal about that, to the point that I used black shells on TRS and XLR leads and silver ones on unbalanced jack plugs to make it absolutely clear. I still do that on Jack plugs but I do have some XLRs with silver shells now.

I decided to go all Neutrik on connectors way, way back and have never regretted it nor yet lost a connector to damage. Some connectors have been re-soldered when I've re-configured leads but otherwise, the older ones aren't as neatly done as more recent ones but they are 100% functional, so they've not been touched for 20 years or more.


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James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
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Re: Jack Cable Soldering new [Re: AlecSp]
      #1030449 - 25/01/13 06:43 PM
Quote Alec Spence:


You were given a totally duff steer on buying stereo plugs rather than mono. No benefits at all if you're simply using unbalanced cable (as you are for regular instrument leads). And, as you've found out, it can actually complicate your soldering. Plus the fact that others might assume that the lead is wired up balanced (which it's not).





One slightly more serious problem is that they won't work with some T-S sockets which have the sleeve connection right on the insulating section between the sleeve and the ring of a TRS plug. They're not particularly common but I've had problems with this in the past.

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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