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Please take a moment to review the How to use the Readers' Corner manual
Inverted phase on tweeters
Hi Lucio, many thanks for your great web site. A while back I wired a bi-wirable two way bookshelf speaker with the tweeter out of phase with the woofer, just to hear what would happen, to my amazement the speakers sounded incredible this way, imaging was better, bass was better but the most interesting thing was that now the speaker disappeared and the sound was so out of box it was fantastic. I was so amazed by this I actually contacted the makers of the speaker to tell them what I had heard. Unfortunately their reply was: "If it sounds better to you leave it that way". Fair enough, but paranoia set in and I put them back to their recommended state. Have you ever come across this situation before and is there any reason why they should sound so much better with the tweeters out of phase?
Steve - E-mail: Steve.Kretscher (at) ITV.COM
you'd be surprised to know that many loudspeaker designers use to invert phase on tweeters. It all depends on the results you wish to achieve and on the way the crossover network has been designed.
So, it is not a surprise. If you prefer the sound with "inverted phase tweeters"...leave them that way! :-) Nothing's gonna break :-)
Hope this helped,
Re: Help wanted for a dead T-Amp
Greetings Mr Cadeddu,
I am the nephew referred to by Yves in his question on the dead t-amp, wich you answered in the october 22 reader's corner. I just want to stress the fact that we checked the voltage of the power supply before hooking it to the t-amp and it was a steady 13.8V. Perhaps we should have mesure it again once hooked to the t-amp?
Something I noticed is that after an hour of playing time, the t-amp felt slightly warm on touch. I checked that warmth several times during the next 24 hours of that particular t-amp life, and it didn't get any warmer. I read your articles on the t-amp, and couldn't find anywhere if a similar warmth was noticed on yours when hooked on your 13.8 V power supply. If not, do you think it could have been a "symptom" of the upcoming death of my t-amp?
Anyway, I sent it back to the seller on eBay and he's going to send me another one. I just want to avoid having the same problem.
Hugo - E-mail: audreyethugo (at) videotron.ca
the T-Amp running temperature greatly varies with speakers load and musical program. If yours was just "barely warm" then everything was going fine.
Hence, I'm clueless! I do not know what killed your T-Amp, if voltage was correct and of no short-circuit happened at the speekaer wires. Perhaps quality control, after the boom of sales, went down.
Hope this helped,
Michaelson Audio Odysseus
I wonder if I may ask you a question. I have the opportunity to buy the above amp and was wondering if you had ever come across it. It is ugly (very), runs hot and has no remote but sounds better than any solid state amps that I have heard. Any comment would be much appreciated (it's price is about $1500).
Thanking you in advance,
Carl - E-mail: cschoema (at) randwater.co.za
the Michaelson Audio Odysseus was a big tube integrated amp of the early '90s. Equipped with 4 EL34 tubes, it delivered 40 watts per channel and costed around 2000$ at that time. Today, at 1500$, it seems rather expensive to me though it can be considered quite "rare" (hence the price might be higher).
Perhaps you should evaluate other EL34-equipped amplifiers out there, there's a HUGE choice. If something on the Odysseus is going to break...who will replace it? I'm thinking of output transformers, for example...those can be hard to find.
Hope this helped,
I just read your review of the Korato products from 2001. Would you be so kind as to tell me how you think their stuff compares to products of this day and age (2005)?
Jonas - E-mail: agisthos (at) tpg.com.au
You're asking me whether I think the 2001 Korato compares with one of the 1000's of amplifiers available in 2005? Sorry not realistic, unless I've tried them I can't comment. BUT there's no reason whatsoever why the 2001 shouldn't be every bit as good as a 2005 model, it's all mature technology (was 20+ years ago) - no revolutions have happened in high-power class A amps so it won't be left behind.
A good amp is a good amp regardless of date. My current high-end system uses horns basically little changed since the 1940's and a 300b single ended amp who's technology dates from the 1930's - and I have breathtaking records of jazz recorded with 1950's technology, does it all sound hopeless compared to 2005 technology?
There have been no fundamental improvements in musical reproduction since the introduction of the stereo microgroove record in the 1950's, with the possible exception of turntables, arms and cartridges which hit near-current standards in the early '60's (Thorens TD124/Ortofon SPU etc). People don't collect Garrard 301's, Quad electrostatics, Lowther horns and Marantz valve amps because they look pretty or like nostalgia - they do it because they all still sound fantastic. True current, high-end standards of reproduction were available to the well-heeled in 1960 or before.
So don't go away thinking new is better - it just has got much cheaper, and often more convenient, the extreme example being the T-Amp.
So go bargain hunting,
Hope this helped,
Integrated amp choice
My name is Neel and I live in India. I have been a frequent reader of TNT-Audio and to be honest I love the reviews written in it. I am impressed by the way you write the reviews based on amplifiers. Recently I have bought Wharfedale 9.5 diamond series floor standing speakers which are 150 RMS at 6 ohms. I have a Denon 1840 AV receiver and a Marantz CD-5400 CD player. But being a music freak more than movie buff I am looking at good quality integrated amplifiers. I have listen to Atoll IN 50 but not IN 80. I haven't got a chance to listen to NAD 314 but just heard from friends. I have listened to Audio Analogue's Puccini amp and found it great, but again I never got chance to listen to 3 of them at one place. The sound quality of the Atoll IN 50 was simply awesome. As an expert could you please help me out in suggesting which of the 3 integrated amps (Atoll IN 50/80, Audio Analogue Puccini, Nad 314) is better in the following criteria:
Overall quality (I mean quailty of internal parts, no external looks) and dynamics.
Neel - E-mail: nilkanth.manerikar (at) patni.com
it is always hard to pick up the best one out of a bunch of similarly priced items. Overall quality is almost the same, only the NAD 314 is slightly "cheaper" (even considering its age). As for sound quality, it mainly depends on what you're looking for. Let aside for a moment the older NAD 314, let's focus our attention on the remaining two contenders: Atoll and Audio Analogue. These integrated amps are very different one from the the other: more punchy and "ready to rock" the Atoll, more relaxed and warmer the Audio Analogue. If one of your choosing criteria is overall dynamics perhaps the Atoll will suit your needs better.
Hope this helped,
Help wanted for a dead T-Amp
Hi Mr. Cadeddu,
At 46 I am only in hifi for the last 3 years. The day after I bought my equipement (3 y ago) I discovered your web site and I am a devoted reader since and read the forum resume every day. (I should have done the inverse... read a lot ...then buy....but..).
Then the T-Amp .... I showed the articles on the t-amp to my nephew and he wanted to enter the hi-fi world with good speaker and the T-Amp (money was there only for speakers at the time and the low cost of the t-amp made the decision to start much easier). We read all we could find on the T-amp (good PS needed, high sensitivity speaker.....all) So: we have the T-Amp, a good PS 12 v regulated (13.8V - 3 amp) a discman, and we test the kit on my system speaker (Triangle celius 202 ). Things sound has they should I guess, since the stuff is new, some harsh but for one hour testing we were not displeased. We just wandered what it would sound after a good 100 hrs breaking period... wow.
Well... it never get there. My nephew went back in his home, put the T-Amp on "cheap portable ghettoblaster speaker" (since he does not have his own good speaker yet), turn this set-up to "on" with the intend the let it there for 3-4 days in continue mode.
After 36 hrs the system stop playing music. The red led in front the t-amp blink very shortly when the amp is turn on.. then goes off after . And the only sound is a HISSSSS from one side only, the other side is dead (no hiss, no music, nothing).
Now... my question: from your experience with the T-Amp and probably from the numerous e-mail you received on the subject.... do you know what happened???
-Did we do something wrong?
-Is it just bad luck with a defective product (have read somewhere that due do increased rate of production the quality of the t-amp dropped considerably)??
- Or ....
Please forgive my poor english since it is not my first language (I am from Quebec/Canada... the french part of the country!).
I hope you can help me in some ways.
Thanks in advance,
Yves - E-mail: francineetyves (at) sympatico.ca
please forgive my English too! Go figure, I live in the Italian part of Italy ;-)
Anyway, T-Amps die usually because of excessive voltage supply. Many AC/DC converters, though claimed for putting out 12-13 Volts, can exceed 18 volts more than once. The T-Amp can happily survive at 13.8 Volts but anything higher than that and it will be ready for a R.I.P.
Hence, the first thing to do is check the AC/DC converter with a tester. If it exceeds 13.8 volts it's not OK. And if it is not of the stabilized kind, I'd be even more cautious (12 volts suggested).
Then inspect all the connections: if the two "negative" speaker outputs get in contact the T-Amp becomes dead meat.
Finally, please consider Sonic Impact is now selling more or less 4,000 T-Amps each month. A quick calculus will show that the possibility to get a defective unit is not low.
Hope this helped,
Sonic Impact Tweak
I am interested in doing a similar tweak to the one you did. I know nothing of electronics so I have a few questions that might seem kinda lame. I have a couple of amps on order and I have in mind to use them in these two scenarios:
Here are a few comments for starters. If you have a separate means of controlling the volume, you don't need a pot. The amp will then be a power amp, on 'full' all the time.
The box does not need to be vented, unless it is v. small. As for size, it is just a matter of fitting in the pcb which is the size of a large matchbox and the connectors, pot, on/off switch etc. I would go for the smallest size that you think you can work easily with. It does not have to be fancy; it's just a matter of taste and appearance. The pcb can be secured to the box with 'stand offs'; ask for these at any electronic supply store. Or see the pics in the link below.
It will work with a cheap 12V power adapter, but will work much better with a 13.4V 3 or 5 A power supply. These cost about 15 UK pounds from Maplins in the UK. Another hobbyist Niklas Dahlin kindly sent me pictures of his job. They are really clear and you can view them here.
Hope this helps.
Previous weeks letters
CD player upgrade?
Dear Lucio, I'm writing from Barcelona. I have the Unison Unico SE amplifier and the Unico cd player. I'm happy with the sound, but sometimes I think I prefer vinyl sound. Do you think changing my Unico cd for the North Star could be a good solution? Is the North Star far better than the Unico player?
Thank you for your kindness.
Xavier - E-mail: xaviborrell (at) hotmail.com
I think you're referring to the whole North Star transport + DAC combo. If so, you might try. For sure, the Model 192 sound is far from being fatiguing and "digital", if that's what you're searching for. In any case, good vinyl playback is very hard to beat! I ceased to compare my digital sources to my analogue one. They can live together, but they will definitely remain different, no matter what I do.
Hope this helped,
Thanks a lot for your description of your reboxed T-Amp. I used it as the base for my own little project, if you're interested there are images here.
Thanks again, this was great fun and your page was very helpful - "it made me do it" :-)
Niklas - E-mail: niklas.dahlin (at) gmail.com
Thanks for your kind words. You've done a great job, and illustrated it with good pics! I hope that you have seen Nick Whetstone's review of other tripath amps by now -- maybe for another project later :-)
Look out for another report on using t-amps here in the future.
Strange problem on Marantz CD6000 OSE
First of all, thanks to you and all the TNT staff for your reviews, advices, tweakings, projects etc. It is always a pleasure to access your site. I read your article about Marantz CD6000 OSE on the TNT-audio site some years ago and I was much impressed about its good performance/cost ratio, so when I saw one being sold at e-Bay, I jumped on the opportunity and I won the auction at 160€ which I thought was a good price.
I was very much pleased at the terrific combination it made with my lovingly restored but not modified Dynaco ST-70 tube amp. The pre-amp I am using, is also a Dynaco classic: a PAS3. I re-listened to my records with great pleasure.
Soon it became apparent that it had some weird problem: if you play a commercial CD: no problem, but with a copy (I also have a few copies of "un-findable" records), as soon as you jump from one track to another, it becomes lost and the "error" message appears on the screen.
On the other hand, if you play the record non-stop, no problem. Have you ever heard about this problem on a Marantz CD player (or any) in general or the CD6000 in particular?
Do you, or somebody at TNT have some advice?
Hoping to gain from your experience to solve my problem.
Carlos - E-mail: crioseco (at) oki.com
many CD players, despite manufacturers' claims, may experience some difficulty when reading CD-R's, especially if these have been burned at high-speeds and/or with poor hardware/software. Perhaps it is something that can be cured by adjusting laser intensity and focus but this is a quite complicated procedure, it should be better to leave it to an authorized technician. You can find an extensive FAQ on "Repairing CD players" (forgot the URL, search with Google) that may prove to be very useful (considering you're an engineer). Considering the price you paid...DIY repair is a risk you can take :-)
Hope this helped,
After reading your review I bought a T-Amp and thought you might be interested in some power supply thoughts. I have a DC power supply that is constant voltage or constant current (B+K Precision 1670). No load power to the T-Amp is .07A. Limiting current to 3.37A, (my max), the power supply went into current limiting on high (very high) passages. That is, it reached 3.37A and the voltage dropped momentarily to keep the current at the limit. From Ohm's law, power = I2R. Assuming for a moment that the impedance is 8 Ohms, instantaneous power would have been 90.9 watts out of the power supply.
I am guessing that 95 to 98% of the power went to the speakers, so let's forget about the power heating up the T-Amp. But, of course the speaker impedance at say 40-90 Hz is most likely above 8 Ohms. If the power supply was pumping 3.37A into 16 ohms, probably still low, it put out roughly 180 watts at the moment it hit the current limit. As you no doubt know, after a few sustained moments of this abuse the little T-Amp sensibly turns itself off. I think it turns off as a result of heat build-up. If so, it would likely be possible to arc something in there before the heat sensor shut it down absent some current limit.
T-Amp runs quite well at 13.5V limited to 2.5A, that is allowing 50W instantaneous into 8 Ohms. I am thinking that being very picky about the power supply will pay off, that is, instantaneous power must be available. I have essentially no ripple, measuring 0.001 to .002v RMS at all loads.
After I break this unit in and being an old Klipsch lover, I thought I would, in fact, build the Fostex FE206E Back Loaded Horn Type Enclosure from the Fostex website. Louder for less input. Any thoughts on that plan? Also I have to make up something for the miniplug input which I haven't done yet. Going from CAMAC to miniplug seems ridiculous. I may have to fiddle with the amp and give a thought to matching input impedance which is probably an elusive measurement. After I have had a chance to do the T-Amp justice, I will listen seriously. For now, it is unhesitatingly repaying me in pleasure, the time and effort to get it right.
I believe that the clipping your recent letter writer Tony mentioned was actually the power supply (PS) sucking dry. When my PS "clips" the T-Amp, it current limits, drops the voltage a tad to keep the constant pre-set current and I don't hear anything. A red light tells me accurately whenever the PS goes into current limit. I see it flickering, but subject to more
serious listening, I do not hear a thing. Hard to listen, because the sound is pretty loud. A more powerful PS or maybe a better PS would probably do the trick. But don't just strap a 20A. supply on the T-Amp and go for it, because you run the risk of frying the little guy if you get too enthusiastic.
Neil - E-mail: neileisner (at) sbcglobal.net
P.S. Drove a Giulia Spider (red, of course) for many years. Nearly froze to death each winter in Ithaca, NY with it.
thanks for the meaningful experience. My T-Amp runs nicely with a 5A power supply and it "clips" only when it has to..i.e. when it puts out all the power its 2024 chip is capable of.
As for Alfas, I've recently bought a very nice GTV6 2.5 (1981 vintage) which is pure fun to drive. Photos will follow soon...it is _EXACTLY_ the car James Bond drove on "Octopussy", same model, same interiors, same colour. Damn sexy.
All the best,
Amp and speakers match
I am planning to buy Naim Nait 5i and Naim CD 5i, the only thing I am currently suffering is to choose speakers. There are three speakers on my list. Since I am not able to listen to any of these speakers, please let me know what would be the best choice in your opinion, based on your experience. I have concerns that Nait 5i won't be able to drive Aliante Moda Pininfarina, Chario Academy Millennium 2 and Sonus Faber Concertino Domus speakers. I listen mostly traditional rock music (Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd).
Thanks in advance,
Dan - E-mail: drisimic (at) hotmail.com
I'm pretty sure the Naim Nait 5i will drive the cited speakers with ease. "Speakers drive" is something written inside the DNA code of Naim amplifiers. Moreover, the 5i is even much more powerful than the "standard" Nait 5. As for speakers' choice, perhaps the Aliante Moda Pininfarina are your best bet, considering your musical preferences...
Hope this helped,
DIY cables...for sale?
Can you tell me if you are able to supply these leads (Merlino / Twisted Snake) assembled. If not are there any drawings / diagrams / photos available of the various stages of assembly. This would help to clarify the text instructions which are a bit tricky to follow.
I am about to make some TNT Cat5e speaker cables and have some questions. The Triple T version is effectively twice the size of the standard FFRC using 6 cables instead of 3. I currently bi-amp my speakers (Castle Pembroke) from a Linn Classik CD and a Lin LK140 Power Amp (Classik drives bass / LK140 drives treble). Instead of making two lengths of 6 braided cables (Triple T style) I was thinking of 4 lengths of 3 braided cables (FFRC style) and use 2 lengths for each channel (1 for the top end and one for the bottom end). Any thoughts on how this arrangement would differ from the 6 cable Triple T?
I have already tried braiding 3 Cat5 cables on a test piece. Making off the ends in a tidy fashion was quite tricky and not easy to get the lengths of insulation and bear cable even. I can only assume that this is even more difficult with 6 cables! Hence the suggestion of running 2 x 3 cable braids to each speaker.
How tightly do you normally braid the cables? Is it possible to braid them too tightly resulting in damage?
It appears to be almost impossible to get Teflon insulated cat5 cable in the UK now. Do you know of a reliable source. Many thanks (in advance) for any help you can provide.
Have only recently stumbled across the TNT site (following the purchase of my new Linn equipment) and, I must say, I have found it fascinating.
John - E-mail: ROYNONJP (at) airproducts.com
we believe it has been written CLEARLY on each and any DIY design we published that these are NOT FOR SALE. So we don't sell cables, assembled, pre-assembled, whatever. WE DO NOT SELL ANYTHING. We just give FREE ideas and designs to the World :-)
Also, if you find the instructions... "tricky" I'd suggest to AVOID building mains cables. These can be extremely dangerous if you're not sufficiently skilled. Buy finished (commercial) cables, instead.
As for spekaer cables....see above. The risk of causing short circuits is very high and this can permanently damage your amplifier. For your Linn power amp the best choice is a pair of Linn cables. These have the correct electrical parameters (R, L, C) to make the amplifier "stable" on complex loads.
In any case, if you really (I mean, REALLY) wish to build your own cables, please refer to our Forum. UK members will be able to assist you locating the best sources for CAT 5 wires and the like.
Hope this helped,
Thanks again for the word on T-amp. Have been using it in bi-amped configuration with old BW601 speakers, NAD 521Bee CD player and Nad 314 used as pre-amp. Have been enjoying it immensely, especially with orchestral works. Never thought that the whole Boston Pops Orchestra could fit in my smallish living room. The details, wide soundstage and depth are simply staggering and very musical indeed.
My question is several times, I think 2 or 3 times already, during consistent loud orchestral passages, the sound will suddenly be muffled once a louder passage comes in or sometimes even before that, just during the loud passages. Kinda like what happens when you suddenly block with your palm gushing water from a faucet. This lasts for only a split second.
Does this mean that the amp is clipping or is this being caused by something else? Is this damaging the amp or speakers?
Appreciating any advise, thanks!!
Tony - E-mail: tony_cano (at) ctsi-logistics.com
YES, it _is_ clipping! Using the T-Amp with not-so-efficient loudspeakers can cause clipping and hence distortion under highly dynamic requests. You need more power or, conversely, more efficient loudspeakers. Plan moving to high sensitivity territories: Triangle and Klipsch, for (almost) traditional speakers or full-range designs equipped with Lowther or Fostex drivers.
Constant clipping can damage both your amps and the tweeters (and...ears). Be careful!
Hope this helped,
Quest for small speakers
"I'm not a big fan of minimonitors. Even for small rooms I tend to prefer small floorstanders to tiny boxes".
I decided to open this e-mail (my first to TNT Audio, or to any audio magazine for that matter!) with your quote just to show that, well, I know you guys don't seem to like small speakers. Which is understandable they just don't sound as well as other, larger speakers.
However, some of us are, for one reason or another, stuck with small monitors for most of our listening hours. There are several factors to this, cost being one of them or lack of space, or a particularly nagging mother/wife/common law partner. Whatever. We just have to live with the smaller stuff.
Which brings me to the purpose of this e-mail: to propose reviews of small speakers like JBL's control series (I hope I'm not offending an audiophile mentioning them or the brand, I've just started out on this pursuit for audio quality!), or perhaps a comparison, "shoot-out test" or something along those lines if TNT Audio doesn't feel particularly inclined to try the usual in-depth review for the smaller speakers.
This could also be an opportunity to comment on their performance in cheaper audio set-ups perhaps some that use the Sonic Impact T-Amp…
I'm only mentioning this because I've recently acquired a T-Amp (though definitely not for Hi-Fi use, more of a multimedia project) based on your review of the product, and I couldn't find in your site any reviews of the small-ish sort of speaker that would nicely complement the T.
That's it, here's my suggestion. Now let me just finish by saying that TNT Audio is simply excellent, a great website indeed! Congratulations, and thank you for taking your time to share your love of HiFi with the world (myself included). All the best,
Carlos - E-mail: livino (at) bol.com.br
we always review bookshelf speakers, we even published a shoot-out test for standmounting speakers below 1000 €. Hence, I think you're referring to even smaller loudspeakers and your comment on the JBL Control's make things mucho clearer.
Trust me, from a reviewer's point of view, listening to very small speakers is a kind of a relief: they are easy to handle and ship, take less room in the listening hall and, obviously, their shortcomings are far easier to spot :-)
Hence, writing a review of a very small speaker is - roughly speaking - extremely easier.
I can promise you we'll try to deal with these small boxes but there's a problem: manufacturers of small and inexpensive speakers have little interest to have these products reviewed by a HiFi magazne. That is not their main target, so to say. Hence, those speakers are hard to get.
Finally, if you think of speakers that will suit the low power of a T-Amp...I'm afraid you're searching the wrong way: high sensitivity is hardly available on very small speakers. It's just a law of real life we can't change :-)
The smallest bookshelf speaker that can have a reasonable sensitivity is the Klipsch Synergy SB1: 92 dB, a couple of hundred € while its size is: 26 x 22 x 11 (cm). Is this small enough?
Hope this helped!
Sorry if I'm intruding, but I tend to assume if someone puts their email address on a website they don't mind getting email... if I'm wrong, delete me!
I'm a bit of a frustrated hifi nut... Large Hifi components in my house tend to get banished from the decor by the good lady. The last victims were my stunningly beautiful AE209 floorstanders bought for a song from the factory a year or so back which lasted three months until she could bear them no longer... they didn't match the silver telly... I sold the whole thing and bought a lifestyle surround sound set for the kids...
I've almost forgiven her! I've just ordered a T-amp on the basis of your (and others) raving on TNT and elsewhere... and am looking for some cheapish, small, speakers for it. I'm starting again from scratch, and we're keeping things tiny, cheap, (or secondhand) and in my study this time...
Obviously the speakers will need to be of reasonable efficiency, so I've been keeping my eye out for highish dB/W figures, and looking for deals on ebay... I'm currently following a set of Kef Coda 70's (8ohm, 91dB/W) however the only real information I can find about them on the web is the almost unbelievably good review on TNT... everyone else seems to assume they are rear surround speakers and ignores them.
All this really to ask the question, do you think the T-amp will drive the Codas OK at fairly gentle listening levels? And if so, how good a CD player should I be looking at to do them justice? They'll probably suffer the indignity of being driven from my PC for a few days, until the right beastie comes up on ebay...
Stewart - E-mail: Stewart.Milton (at) westbrake.com
Thanks for the mail - and of course I welcome emails. Bad luck with the hi-fi, I'm a lucky man and Kate puts up with wardrobe sized horns in our living room... Now to your question... Trouble is small generally means inefficient as designers trade efficiency for some bass response.
The other snag is that manufactures are "economic with the truth" when it comes to both efficiency and impedence. That said the Kef's are supposed to be excellent and they're not too expensive, providing you don't expect too much volume then they should be a good choice. As for how good a CD player the T-amp would cope with, I can only say that here the T-amp is perfectly capable of showing the differences between 5000 euro Cd players.
At the moment there are lots of very special CD players on the market second hand as people (foolishly) bail out into DVD and surround systems. Just have a search on Ebay (or better still a local small-ads site) for names like Naim, Meridian, Micromega, Linn etc to see what I mean. Such a player is always going to be a risk but will trample any DVD player and hold their own against the few remaining high-end Cd players.
Lastly one thing to consider for the office is of course headphones - something I know nothing about but plan to investigate over the next few months.
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