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Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

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Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:29 am

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Overview:


One of Yamaha's old range digital mixers offering 16 / 24 analogue inputs as well as an additional 16 channels via digital / analogue inputs using the card slots on the rear. I have three examples - two have all four card slots filled with dual ADAT cards, a TC Unity and one has a TDIF, the other an AES card. My third has a pair of the double height analogue 8 in / out cards. The console as 8 assignable audio buss / sub-groups and 8 Auxes although two are assigned to the dual SPX style internal FX units. The Unity card effects (M2000 / Finalizer based) are also driven from any aux or as an insert. Everything you'd expect from a much larger framed console as well as a rack full of outboard gear.

Features:

Every input channel has the following:
Digital attenuation
Phase invert
Odd numbered channels assignable as pairs / Mid-Side processing
Panoramic control
4 band fully parametric EQ with top and bottom bands offering band-pass / shelving and LPF / HPF options. All bands + / - 18dB
Assignable mute groups
Assignable fader groups
Assignable sub-groups
Dynamics offering gate / compressor / limiter / expander with side chain inputs
All auxes swichable pre / post
Output delay time in samples / MS
Inputs 1-8 are jack / XLR balanced ins with switchable 48v pantom power and a switchabe 20dB pad.
Inputs 9-16 are jack only balanced ins not offering phantom but still have the pad
LEDs show signal present (green) and overload / clipping (red) next to the gain pots

Each group output plus L/R has full Dynamics and full EQ also.

The analogue outputs (studio out, control room out, two track out, auxes 1-6 out) are all balanced jacks with the exception of the L/R master which is a balanced XLR pair. In addition to the analogue outs, a number of digital outs are provided in the shape of a phono connector for S/Pdif connection and an XLR for AES/EBU. As a default, these mirror L/R which is handy for connection to my soundcard.

On the control surface, each channel (1-16 and 17-32 plus stereo / group and L/R) has an on / off and select button both with a backlit LED so show the status of each. Above the current mix faders are a row of rotary encoders to manipulate whichever fader / channel layer isn't in use. A dedicated pair at the right hand end deal with the FX returns.

A channel routing section is provided with backlit LED buttons for groups 1-8, L/R and direct out although it's easier to set routing on the 'routing' page in the menu system if you're not in a rush. There's also a dedicated aux send section too with all the aux select on buttons, and a send knob plus an on / off. To be honest, the send on faders is quicker unless you have the channel you want to send already selected. It's particularly quick for setting up individual monitor mixes in a live environment.

On the opposite side of the console are the navigation buttons which are split into three sections of 8 and are colour coded. The first set (grey) control scene memory and desk setup / confiiguration and all the niitty gritty. The orange group control all the mixing facilities such as EQ, dynamics, pan and routing controls. Usefully, there's a view button to show the status of all parts of the selected channel. I usually stay on this page as it's handy to keep an eye on everythiing thats happening at a glance. Lastly, are a set of aux buttons that give access to the send on faders facility including the FX.

As mentioned above, my main two consoles have dual ADAT cards allowing 16 direct outs as well as 16 ins on dual light-pipe connectors - so potential for 32ch. I use the inputs as audio channels 1-16 from my soundcard for mixing. I also use the card (MOTU 828x) as the wordclock master to sync the consoles.


Sound Quality:


Having read contradictory reports about the 02R from 'sonic perfection' to 'un-useable' I thought I'd take all with a pinch of salt. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of the Yamahas sonics, they sound at least as good as my old GL3000 which still sounded fine to these ears - last time I used it at least. Having previously owned a Spirit 328 and a Soundcraft 328XD, the Yamaha is directly comparable and even with newer models like the LS-9, it stands up - I bet I couldn't tell the difference.


A limitation of the Yamaha is the digital 20 bit / 48Khz (on ADAT) resolution but I can't hear the difference between this and 24 bit converted audio if I'm honest. The console runs at 32 bit internally. It has the option to run 24 bit in/out but you have to halve the channel count which I'm not willing to compromise.


The dynamics work pretty much without imposing their own characteristic on the signal ie, you hear the signal and not the compressor so to speak. The compressor is happy to work with just a bit of gentle squeeze or if you really need to slam something to get it under control, it's more than happy to oblige. If I need a 'character' compressor, I'll use an 1176 or such similar in Pro-Tools. I haven't mentioned the gate as the gate / expander simply works as such although the 'range' facility is great for making things sound a bit more natural. It also has a 'ducker' although I've never used it. I'm sure it works like the rest of dynamic facilities without fuss, incident or crippling limitation.


SPX / REV style FX units are always welcome as I used to use a pair of SPX90 as well as an SPX1000 and a REV500 with great results. Whats even better is the internal processors in the 02R are quieter, seem to have more options as well as a more transparent execution when applied to mix channels. They are pretty much on par with the dual Lexicon units that were in the Soundcraft console although the Yamaha interface is easier to use as it's more visual. The TC Unity M2000 effects are amongst the best I've used - the reverbs are truly stunning plus the rest of them are a cut above the Yamaha offering - they even supercede my TC M1 unit. Their parameter adjustment is also very comprehensive using the faders as well as the jog wheel and arrow keys. The Finalizer program works the same way although this isn't something I use daily so usually use the console in 'dual M2000' configuration.


Build quality and reliability:

The build is excellent: Thick metal panles, decent and hard paint, sharp and bright LCD screen, solid fader movement and feel, encoder and gain pots are well damped and smooth. They have never crashed or siezed up in operation. Superb.


The only issues I've had was with the power supply in one console which had a (very uncommon apparently) bad failure and not only wrecked itself but took out a number of the A/D chips on the input side. This manifested itself as the desk blowing it's main fuse when trying to fire it up one day. Thankfully the repair man managed to rectify the supply issue and it's connector and also replace the fried chips to bring the desk back to full working order. I also had a Unity card fail in a console so had to replace it as TC do not repair them anymore.


Bad bits:


The biggest criticism I can level at the 02R is it's operating system and navigation around it's features. Some parts and options you would expect to be together aren't and are infact at opposing ends of the menu system. This is a pain when learning the console and makes it just that little bit more difficult to get things like templates and setups together when initially configuring the desk. Becuase everything is entirely menu driven and run by the jog wheel and curser buttons, you can only ever go so fast even when you know where the control you need to manipulate is placed. Having said that, I can still get round this faster than I can a Mackie DL1608 or an LS-9. Having used them most nights for the last 2 years, I can get round them in my sleep now altough the learning curve is something remember well! The only other slight snag is you can't AFL the aux masters to listen to each mix unless you assign them to the stereo / group faders which I don't as I prefer to use them as group controls.


Oh and it's unreasonably heavy too, there's a giant heatsink in the middle to keep it cool. It does it's job nicely as the console runs pretty cool even in a hot venue. On my old Soundcraft, you could fry an egg on the rear panel near the PSU.


Final thoughts and observations:


Buy the meter bridge if you're planning to use multiple inputs on the console as navigating back and forth to 'meter' page is just too much hassle whilst trying to mix a group. This option was the door opener to using the Yamaha live for me as I'd considered selling it before getting it. The facilities of the meter bridge are quiite comprehensive allowing two banks of 16 meters to be used as inputs / inputs, inputs / outputs or alternative inputs / outputs plus a big L/R as well as a peak hold. Metering can also be done pre / post EQ or post fader for comparison.

Secondly, get the TC Unity card as the extra options it offers are well worth the cost. I was very impressed with their offerings.

Visually, the console is well laid out with the selected channel settings spread out accross the operating surface so at a glance, most of the information you may query is usually right there in front of you. Most buttons are back lit with red LEDs so you can see their status even in low light situations.

As much as I've criticised the operating system, the main controls (like the EQ) have their own dedicated controls and operate which ever channel you have currently selected so some things are quite quick to get at. Another really good feature is the Aux sends on faders which is just superb as it's accurate and you can see each mix as the faders jump to attention.


The flying faders and flip button allow page changes between analogue 1-16 then digital 17-32 as well as auxes so 99.9% of all mixing including FX (just not returns) and monitors can be done entirely on faders. I use the stereo input faders as stereo group control faders rather than the analogue inputs as these stay as group faders which ever main mix page I'm on. The fact I can pair them up and run 8 groups on four faders is convenient also.


Being able to save patches is very handy but what's equally handy is being able to save user configs also. Indivdual channels, individual EQs, different dynamics patches and FX patches can all be pulled up within main save patches. A little convoluted but very handy on occasion especially when you're in a rush. Building a few templates is very much a must before using the console for anything as it'll take more time to put things where and how you like them than it will to mix a show or recording!
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby forumuser787003 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:34 pm

Wow, awesome to see someone do a current day (2016, 2017) / current DECADE review of these fine old Yamaha 02R consoles. Truly well made and decent sounding mixers.

There is a good reason why these ($8,000 Made in Japan) boards were in MANY production houses back in the day and many are STILL at work producing excellent audio content.

Have heard / read on other forums comments regarding bit depth & sample rate and some others saying "you would not use a 10 year old computer", blah, blah, blah.

Well, this is not strictly a "computer" as such (though it is certainly computer chip driven) and anything that can make great hits and music "at one time" can be viable ANY time.

I wholeheartedly agree about the easy access to EQ settings, per channel, with just a couple of button pushes as well as dynamics control and capability. ROUTING! Very cool...

By the way, dynamics (compression, limiting, ducking, etc.) on EVERY single channel AND on all outputs?!?!? And arguably much easier access than fiddling with a mouse menu...

Add to this that in today's market these consoles are to be found at bargain prices, pennies on the dollar. Do be sure to test ALL functions when finding / buying one though as many of these 02R's have had plenty of use heaped on them.

I've got a nice pair and one in the basement to cannibalize for parts (been there plenty already for LCD screen, internal boards and other items).

Thanks for posting this review... much appreciate knowing that I am not the only (current) fan of the Yamaha 02R.

AK
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:37 am

Thanks for the reply.. :thumbup:

I don't care what others may say on other 'audio forums' about the relevance or sonic integrity of these consoles in comparison to newer and/or analog gear. Mine still earn their keep, don't let me down, pay my wages, keep my clients happy and most importantly - keep the music going. They do have their limits in terms of numbers but they still sound right - they're only capable of 20/24 bit / 48kHz but I don't think it matters and begs the question if you 'need' 32 bit float and 192kHz to sound right then maybe I missed something along the way?

I've used the pair 02Rs exclusively for the last 12 months - previous to that I used a Soundcraft 328XD for live/tracking but 99% of the recorded mixes since 2014 were done on an 02R. I did one ITB mix but I was never 100% happy with it.

This is a live gig / recording / mix I did recently on the 02Rs - I tracked it on one and mixed it on the other: https://soundcloud.com/vtypev4/deepcity-lr-02r

Old or otherwise, they still sound right to me - I'll change them when they either become unreliable or no longer pay my wages. :thumbup:

Although I have just bought an A&H ML5000 for my studio project (I want to get out of live eventually) which is a lovely thing but is as much about making a visual impact (it's the big 48 frame version) as it is sonic integrity. Compared to the 02Rs - I haven't done enough to say but it's not night and day in my opinion..

Cheers, Matt :)
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby blinddrew » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:05 pm

Mastering studio I was in at the weekend had three of them :)
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby zenguitar » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:37 am

blinddrew wrote:Mastering studio I was in at the weekend had three of them :)

Well, fire doors are heavy, takes a lot to keep them wedged open :D

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:38 am

zenguitar wrote:
blinddrew wrote:Mastering studio I was in at the weekend had three of them :)

Well, fire doors are heavy, takes a lot to keep them wedged open :D

Andy :beamup:

Cheeky cheeky! :headbang:

Glad there's more than a few still in service.. :thumbup:
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby Glenn Bucci » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:58 am

Very nice review and detailed. I admit you can still make good recordings with this mixer. :bouncy:

However for under $2,000 US dollars, you can buy a Yamaha O2R96 which with the updated firmware, is on a higher level. You may not need it, but the updates are nice. http://www.ebay.com/itm/YAMAHA-02R96-DI ... 1809269451
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:13 pm

Thanks Glenn, good to see someone still has some positiive words on the 02R.

Over the last few weeks I watched a few 02R96 models finish at even less than that on eBay.. One did £750 and the other £510 although the latter was apparently untested.

I need to spend a little more time (and coin!) on building the outboard collection and associated looms for my ML5000 setup. I currently have no plans to change the Yamahas although if something came up silly cheap then maybe I'd be tempted. I was offered an 01V96 a few weeks back for reasonable money but I don't really need any more mixers.

I'm glad to see there's at least still a little interest in these old consoles. Between these and my old Soundcraft XD have helped to push me in a new direction and hopefully pull me off the live scene.. :thumbup:
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby thormenthor » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:11 am

I have one in my studio with old Yamaha 02R console with 3ADAT cards MOTU 2408 and i think that the sound and all the mixer are awsum! i use that since the lates 90´till now!

Good Review!
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:25 pm

Love 'em!

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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:18 pm

Just thought I'd post a quick update that I had a PSU failure in one of the consoles a few weeks back. Thankfully it's been repaired and will go back into service within the next few days..

Image2017-11-25_03-20-43 by VTypeV4, on Flickr

Sat on my kitchen table ready to go back to work.
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:49 pm

Glad it's all sorted, but care to share what the problem was, and who fixed it? ;-)

H
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:28 pm

Hi Hugh,

I wasn't told exactly what the issue was however, I don't think it was anything particularly horrendous as the repair bill wasn't silly at £150. The repair man also fixed a few sticky / jumpy faders at the same time.

The symptoms were it cycling through what looked like some sort of test cycle on the meter bridge. The rest of the surface didn't light up nor did the display although the signal / clip LEDs next to the gain pots flickered occasionally and randomly. I could also hear the relay click when the power switch was pressed. Suffice to say, it wouldn't pass any audio nor would it respond to any button pressing. I had read of a console displaying the same symptoms elsewhere on the internet and his problems were traced to a bad 'molar' connector leading to a failure of some caps and a (some?) 5v voltage regulator. I can only assume mine had suffered a similar issue?

The repair was done via the music shop 'The Rhythm House' in Stoke on Trent who in turn used K. Edwards Electronics based just up the road in the Cheadle / Blyth Bridge area. They have also repaired a few other things of mine over the years including my TC Electronic M1. I have no reservations in recommending Kev for repair, he does an excellent job. :clap:
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby manfromplanet » Thu Nov 22, 2018 5:31 pm

I know this is a revival of a 1year old thread. The reason I am doing so is because I was researching replacing my 3 02rs over the next few months... this has changed my mind. I think that clean well recorded 44.1k 16 bit audio is going to top anything that I might be able to afford to replace it.
A couple of important notes the article missed; the availability of high quality A/D and D/A cards for these mixers (apogee), the fact you can add "cascade" cards which essentially allows you to join all the mixers into one big buss sharing mixer, I have mine set up with these, and finally the internal effects o buss 5-6 are actually pretty good right out of the box, plus there are also some custom cards you can get to bump up the ADAT to 24 bits (expensive), also using external clocks improves the sound and you dont have to overboard here, just a decent clock to sync everything from a central source.
So I guess they stay... at least for me for now
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby VTypeV4 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:06 pm

I'm glad you replied, manfromplanet and it's good to know there's more than a few examples out there still earning and working. My pair at work and the one at the studio continue to offer consistent and reliable service. As stated elsewhere on the thread, it's interesting to discuss them in a current time frame rather than reading articles and discussions from 2001 :thumbup:

All good points you've raised there, although it sounds like you have yours configured differently than mine. I've used the Unity cards to feed the L/R signal out of console A (Slot 3) into straight to the L/R of console B (Slot 3) via the TDIF connection and the 'extra eight' ins afforded by the Unity card. Auxes 1-4 are fed independently via analogue outs on console A and AES on console B into my pair of Sony SRP-E300s for the on-stage monitors.

I feel this way, I have effectively cascaded them without any of the compromises - I can use the FX units (and TC cards) independently so for example I could put a small plate verb with the drum channels and a little multi-band compression via the Finalizer on console A then the rest of mix on console B keeping both the internal FX and TC independent for vocals, guitar, synthesizers etc plus I don't limit my routing for the TC cards - I don't lose any inputs..

ImageRiggerDual02RJ by VTypeV4, on Flickr

Block diagram of the setup - I've made a few detail changes since I did this but fundamentally it's still the same.

ImageRiggerDual02R Real by VTypeV4, on Flickr

The actual setup.

I completely agree with well recorded 16/44.1 rather than poorly recorded any bit and sample rate too. I use mine at 48K / 20 bit and I've never had any complaints about the often banded about 'graininess' or 'harshness' of these consoles - I think sometimes people hear what they want to hear rather than actually listening.

I well know they're not getting any younger and I know an LS9 32 (with some ADAT cards) would happily do the job of both my 02Rs at work, however, for as long as they continue to be reliable and achieve the result then I'll keep them in service. :bouncy:
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby manfromplanet » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:35 am

that does appear to be the other problem with these things... they just keep on going!!!
There are a number of nay-sayers that unload whenever the 02r is mentioned, but I am not using the preamps, it is one of 2 Apogee cards AP8AD https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/apogee-ap8ad-ap8da/
that do the conversion, and then from there through mixdown and mastering everything stays digital. Digits are digits 01+01=10!! Feeding the Apogee converters are API and NEVE clones a few Tube preamps and Green preamps. So, I shouldn't be doing too bad, and if its like everything else, its capabilities go beyond my abilty to use it!!!! One interesting thing that I dug up a while ago was that the 02r uses fixed point as opposed to floating point summing algorithms. I believe this contributes to the way the 02r behaves. it is possible to overdrive the digital on this, unlike floating point, whether it is in the signal path gain staging...blah blah or at the input, so you have to make sure everything plays well together and at the end you dont have glitches. But something tells me that this may also contribute to the way it sounds ... but probably just wishful thinking on my part, only stuff dogs and hummingbirds can hear!!!
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby Wonks » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:51 am

Pro Tools uses fixed point maths, so there's nothing inherently wrong with it. It just needs to be implemented correctly.
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:45 am

manfromplanet wrote:One interesting thing that I dug up a while ago was that the 02r uses fixed point as opposed to floating point summing algorithms.

Yes it does. It works with a fixed 32 bit architecture which means the mix buses have a dynamic range of 192dB, and everything has to be contained within that. So the desk's internal gain structuring has to be managed a little more carefully than with a floating point system -- you have to treat it more like an analogue desk in that respect. But it's a perfectly valid way of working and I think it works extremely well (I use a DM1000 a lot).

it is possible to overdrive the digital on this, unlike floating point...

The term, 'overdrive' will be interpreted by many as a musically attractive analogue-like distortion... but that's not what you mean. Instead, the key difference between a fixed point and floating point system is that it is possible to overload (as in run out of quantising levels) the mix busses in a fixed point console. (And it's possible to overload the inputs and outputs on any digital console, of course).

But something tells me that this may also contribute to the way it sounds ... but probably just wishful thinking on my part, only stuff dogs and hummingbirds can hear!!!

Conventional 32-bit floating point desks have to pass 24 bit audio mantissas between signal processing stages, whereas a fixed point desk can maintain longer word-lengths throughout the signal processing chain... so there is less need for interstage rounding/dithering and that may well retain low-level detail that is lost in floating point systems. Whether that is truly audible or not is another discussion.... but the mechanics of the signal processing is inherently slightly different between the two systems.

But there are pros and cons with both systems...

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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby Wintersun Project » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:44 am

the o2r is such a fantastic desk, its been panned for years for god knows why, i bought one recently cheaply to bring my synths into my DAW not believing how superb it sounds im using it for a lot more now, if you have really good monitoring this desk shines, its like the NS10's of mixers, pretty flat sound to start with but can make anything shine into something that jumps off the canvas, id much rather have that than have a shiny polished hyped sound to start with, it makes you work at the mix, its an absolute classic and i hope mine works for a long time yet, work purely with the light pipes and use something else for the A/D conversion and the o2r is still right in there with a lot of the current crop imo.
Anyway it works for me, and that TC Unity is worth its weight in gold..
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Re: Yamaha 02R digital mixing console.

Postby Wintersun Project » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:52 am

VTypeV4 wrote:
I completely agree with well recorded 16/44.1 rather than poorly recorded any bit and sample rate too. I use mine at 48K / 20 bit and I've never had any complaints about the often banded about 'graininess' or 'harshness' of these consoles - I think sometimes people hear what they want to hear rather than actually listening.

I well know they're not getting any younger and I know an LS9 32 (with some ADAT cards) would happily do the job of both my 02Rs at work, however, for as long as they continue to be reliable and achieve the result then I'll keep them in service. :bouncy:

Your right, there's no way they sound grainy and harsh.
If think it helps if youve been used to old skool mixing with analog boards and eq, i tend to go for certain frequencies when i mix, therefore my mixes sound warm and full on the o2r with little effort, the eq is that good its easy to over do it the crystaline top end, and push it into harshness and overdo the gain. Steady on the gain staging and this console is pure heaven, bounce your masters back into the daw and use modern mastering algorhythms in there and the worlds your oyster frankly.
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