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Sennheiser HD650 Review – Still Worth The Investment in 2024?

The HD650 is a legendary headphone, but is it still worth the asking price?

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
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Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…

Before we get into the Sennheiser HD650 Review, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…

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First Look

For Casual
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
Grey/Black Metal Flake
Open Back
Circumaural (Around Ear)
OFC copper (Kevlar Reinforced), Velour, Plastic
300 Ohms
Primary Use
Casual, Easy Listening
Needs Amplification?
Amazon Prime
For Casual
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
Grey/Black Metal Flake
Open Back
Circumaural (Around Ear)
OFC copper (Kevlar Reinforced), Velour, Plastic
300 Ohms
Primary Use
Casual, Easy Listening
Needs Amplification?
Amazon Prime

Sennheiser HD650

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!


What Is It?

The Sennheiser HD650 is a renowned open-back dynamic headphone that has been a favorite among audiophiles and music enthusiasts for many years.

Known for its exceptional sound quality, comfort, and timeless design, the HD650 has earned a reputation as a classic in the world of headphones.

However, with the headphone market becoming increasingly crowded with new models and innovations, a question arises: Is the Sennheiser HD650 still worth a purchase in today’s highly competitive landscape of audio gear?

Let’s dive in and find out.

Build Quality

Sennheiser HD650 Review

The build quality of the 650 is roughly the same as the build of the HD600.

In other words, very good. It’s fairly lightweight but doesn’t feel cheap at all.

Like the HD600, the 650 is comprised of metal for the headband, metal mesh for the grilles, as well as carbon fiber, plastic, and velour to round out its compact profile.

The padding is made of a soft and plush velour for the ear pads and a memory foamy type of material for the headband.

Like the HD600, almost every part on the 650 is replaceable.

The headband adjustment is somewhat flimsy, but it doesn’t feel cheap.

The material is simply thin and unique, and it’s not a mechanism I’ve ever seen before.

The earcups move a little bit, but they don’t rotate inwards and outwards; save for a couple of inches. It’s just enough to get a good fit.

These will primarily be your studio headphones, and really shouldn’t meander outside very often (if at all).

The Wire

Sennheiser HD650 Review

It comes out of both ear cups like the HD600, and it’s the same type of 2-pin connector.

The difference is the connectors on the 650s are slightly larger and much easier to insert in and pull out.

Unlike the 600’s connectors, they aren’t color-coded.

The 650 also terminates in a 1/4″ jack while requiring a 3.5mm adapter, while the HD600’s jack is your standard 3.5mm with a supplied 1/4″ adapter.

All in all,

the cable feels much more solid than the 600’s cable. It’s thicker and has more girth to it.

But, the trade-off is that it’s a 1/4″ connection with a 3.5mm adapter.

I personally would rather it be the other way around, but your mileage may vary.

Sennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewAll in all, it’s a well-built set of headphones that should last you a lifetime given proper care.

Build Quality SCORE: A+


Comfort is phenomenal; and excellent for long listening sessions without fatigue.

They fit securely on your melon, and the oval-shaped cups contour nicely to the shape of your ears; leaving ample room inside.

The driver is also just far enough away from your ear not to obstruct or otherwise hinder your listening experience.

Sennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 Review

Its weight is perfect for long listening sessions, but do keep in mind that the HD600 series, in general, does tend to be very snug out of the box, opening up considerably over time.

I’ve likened it to receiving a warm hug from an old friend, and I still feel that way to this day.

In fact,

the 600 series ranks rather highly on my Most Comfortable Headphones Of All Time list, and you’ll likely agree – there are simply not many other headphones on the planet that feel quite as good.


How do they sound?


Sennheiser HD650 ReviewThis is Pleasantville all the way, man.

The sound isn’t dull, it’s just very laid back.

This pretty much confirms all of my research prior to this updated review.

The sound is warm.

It’s lush.

It’s fairly thick like that girl from the gym you have a crush on.


The best way I can describe the HD650 is that the sounds emerge distinctly, forming cohesively according to a strict process.

It’s much like how a plant grows or a person develops over time.

Sound does not randomly appear as with lesser headphones but instead is given ample room and space to articulate itself fully, with an impeccable sense of timing and decay.

Instruments and vocals are given free rein to dwell and express themselves thoroughly and completely.

Let’s get into specifics:


The Sennheiser HD650 exhibits a distinct bass response characterized by a subtle roll-off of approximately 5dB below the 50-60Hz range, along with a tasteful and subtle mid-bass emphasis.

What truly sets the 650 apart is the texture, articulation, and cleanliness of its bass delivery.

The lows are devoid of any bloated or muddy qualities, allowing for a precise and well-defined experience that complements a wide range of musical genres.

This remarkable balance in bass reproduction ensures that each note is distinct and resonates with a level of clarity that audiophiles and music enthusiasts greatly appreciate.


Sennheiser HD650 Review

In the mid-range, the HD650 maintains a predominantly neutral and pleasing character with a subtle but well-placed emphasis around the 3kHz mark, often referred to as the presence region.

This emphasis lends a touch of vibrancy and lifelike quality to vocals and instruments.

What’s particularly impressive is the 650’s ability to present this emphasis in a smooth and unobtrusive manner, avoiding any jarring cuts or unnatural peaks that can sometimes be found in other headphones.

As a result, the mid-range strikes a balance that makes music come to life with remarkable clarity, letting you hear the intricacies of each note and the subtleties of an artist’s performance as they were intended to be heard.

Whether it’s the emotive depth of a singer’s voice or the intricate nuances of an instrument, the 650 captures it all with captivating and engaging finesse.

One of the most notable aspects of the mid-range is the 650s ability to render vocal passages with stunning accuracy and realism.

In listening to Rage Against the Machine’s “Bullet in the Head” I was taken aback at how different Zack De La Roca’s voice sounded.

It was almost nasally; as if he had a cold.

It was revealing and strange all at once, with almost uncomfortable clarity.


instruments and seemingly extraneous sounds really came to life as well and took on a personality all their own.

RATM has this uncanny ability to make a guitar sound like a torture device, and with the 650, those traits are exemplified in a way that demands your attention.


Sennheiser HD650 Review

The treble of the 650 has been a point of discussion and debate within the audio enthusiast community.

Some listeners have noted its somewhat veiled nature, which means that it doesn’t exhibit the same level of sparkle and zest that you might find in headphones with a more pronounced high-frequency response.

However, what’s universally agreed upon is that the 650’s treble never crosses the line into stridency or sibilance, making it a comfortable and fatigue-free listening experience.

It remains a matter of personal preference – for those who appreciate a more laid-back and non-fatiguing treble presentation, the 650’s subdued nature can be a positive attribute.

However, users who crave the utmost in treble sparkle and excitement may find it lacking in that department, which may not align with their preferences.

Ultimately, the treble characteristics of the 650 make it a matter of personal taste, and whether it suits your listening style will depend on your own sonic preferences.

No Other High

When you listen to Touch Sensitive’s “No Other High” through the HD650, it’s an auditory treat that showcases the headphone’s exceptional qualities.

Its remarkable instrument timbre and overall resolution capabilities elevate the track to a new level of sonic excellence.

Every note, from the warm hum of the bassline to the shimmering highs of synth melodies, comes through with a pristine clarity and natural tonality.

It’s kind of like you’re right there in the studio with the artist, experiencing each instrument and vocal with an unparalleled level of detail and realism.

The 650’s ability to reproduce music in such a transparent and faithful manner truly allows listeners to appreciate the subtleties and artistry within the music, making it an ideal companion for discerning enthusiasts and audiophiles.




Sennheiser HD650 Review

The HD650 offers impressive imaging capabilities that contribute to an immersive listening experience.

With its open-back design and well-engineered soundstage, these headphones excel in spatial accuracy.

Instruments and vocals are precisely located within the sound field, allowing for a realistic sense of placement and depth.

This precise imaging enhances the overall immersion and makes it easier to discern individual elements within complex audio tracks.

Whether you’re listening to a live concert recording or a studio masterpiece, the 650’s imaging prowess ensures that you’re right in the midst of the music, appreciating the nuances and subtleties of the recording.

Whenever I go back to them after a long time without listening, I’m completely amazed all over again at how well they do, well, everything.

Instruments and voices just come alive in a way that’s both genuine and exciting.

Whereas some headphones have that disappointing, thin layer of mud and clamminess covering the song, the 650 renders music in a way that’s wet and dense.

The word I’m looking for is succulent, like a juicy, tender steak from your favorite restaurant.

There’s no rivaling that sensation once you experience it firsthand.


  • Extremely accurate and transparent, with a forward and engaging mid-range + a tight and authoritative bass response. The bass, rather than being bloated and loud, is accurate and precise. You will be able to hear the tone of a kick drum as well as different textures in frequency.
  • Not too picky about which amp you choose to pair with it. Sounds pretty fantastic with most amps.
  • Very versatile in terms of genre, handling a wide range of musical styles. Rock music is its strongest suit.
  • Comfort. The velour ear pads make it so you can wear these for hours and not get fatigued.
  • Replaceable parts that ensure longevity out of your purchase.


  • Treble is a point of contention. This is the “veiled” sound that people talk about in regard to Sennheiser headphones. Somewhat lacking in air and harmonic content.


The great thing about the HD650 is that because it’s fairly efficient at 103dB Sensitivity, it isn’t too picky about which amp you choose, and most everything out of the 60+ I’ve tried will work just fine.

If you need help deciding on something, just let me know down below in the comments!

Genre Pairing

As alluded to in the open, this is a very versatile headphone that handles a wide variety of genres including:

  • Rock
  • Jazz
  • Classical
  • Hip-Hop
  • Soul
  • Acoustic

The 650’s natural tonality ensures that vocals and instruments sound authentic across various genres, allowing you to enjoy an expansive music collection without compromising on audio quality.

Whether you’re a fan of acoustic melodies, intricate classical compositions, or bass-heavy electronic beats, the HD650 adapts to your musical preferences, delivering a consistently enjoyable listening experience.

Closing Thoughts & Recommendation

Sennheiser HD650 ReviewThe Sennheiser HD650 remains a remarkable headphone with its signature sound quality and comfortable design.

It continues to be a favorite among audiophiles for good reason.

However, in today’s crowded headphone landscape, its price point might be a stumbling block for many potential buyers.

There are now numerous more affordable options that offer comparable sound quality and performance.

One such alternative that deserves attention is the Sennheiser HD6XX.

Sharing much of the HD650’s DNA, the HD6XX offers a very similar listening experience at a significantly more budget-friendly price.

For those who appreciate the HD650’s qualities but find its cost prohibitive, the HD6XX represents an outstanding value proposition.

It strikes a harmonious balance between audio excellence and affordability, making it a compelling choice for those looking to step into the world of high-quality headphones without breaking the bank.

Learn More:


Video Section

Comparing the HD600 vs. 650

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Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sennheiser HD650 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Is the HD6XX the better value? Any experience with the venerable HD650 or HD600? I would love to hear your thoughts and/or experience with any of these. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!


Sennheiser HD 650




Overall Sound







  • Extremely Comfortable (after break in)
  • Mostly neutral, with great resolution
  • Fantastic Imaging and Instrument Separation
  • All Parts Replaceable, Great Build
  • Genre Master


  • A bit dull/veiled at times
  • Bulky Adapter

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Jack Doyle November 11, 2015 - 4:12 am

A great deal of technical information, much of which is over my head.Loved your description of what good headphones should be, as if the band was there and the music from outside your head. From this I can tell that I’ve only used low quality headphones in the past.I hope someday to experience the phenomenon you describe but for that kind of money it’ll have to wait.

Stu November 13, 2015 - 2:11 am

Hey Jack!

Thanks for the comment! I agree, a purchase like this should be thought about for sometime.. however the 650 is more than a worthwhile investment. I myself am highly considering it as my next studio piece. Appreciate you dropping by.. Take care..


Matteo Padovan February 12, 2016 - 3:24 pm

Hi Stu, what a great article! So much detailed information, and also the videos are very professional.

I used the Sony MDR-7506 and I thought that they were very professional, but now, reading your post, I wonder how these Sennheisers sound… The price is VERY different, so the quality must be too!

But can I ask you, how can good quality headphones have such different prices?

I mean those Sony’s are not cheap headphones, and to my ears (I’m not a pro, but I produce some music with my PC and in the past recorded instruments with my band) they sound good. Is the $350 difference really worth it?

Stu February 13, 2016 - 4:12 am

Hey Matteo!

Funny you mention the 7506’s. I had them for a while and really liked them a lot. They aren’t without their flaws, but they provide a very analytical, almost cold sound. They really improved my mixes ten fold. The problem? They are a bit harsh/shrill in the treble range, and the ear-cup on mine fell off. The ear-cups also peel like no-ones business. I think in another article I mentioned it was like aged sunburn peeling. Lol.

I still recommend them because they’ve become an industry standard and the sound is quite neutral overall. They do have a bit more bass emphasis than necessary for reference headphones, but it makes them an enjoyable listen for casual tunes and what not.

As for your question:

How can good quality headphones have such different prices?

This is a very loaded question, but I want to clarify.

It really comes down to the sound, the comfort, and the overall build. When the sound is very close to neutral, but clear, accurate, and precise.. the value goes up. Imagine if you could hear everything going on in a track, even the stuff you never knew was there! That’s what it’s like having higher quality headphones. When nothing is muddied up or indistinct, you have an almost religious experience. I’ve seen people give amazon reviews claiming they were brought to tears with a good pair of cans and an amplifier. It happens all the time, and a good set will revolutionize your music collection. The sound-stage is a huge factor here. People love it when they feel like the music is surrounding them, not unlike surround sound speakers. It gives the cans a more 3-d like quality, and you can really start to place exactly where musicians and instruments are on stage. What is Soundstage?

The build also increases value. A lot of time you may hear someone complain of poor construction in a cheaper set of headphones. Well, you get what you pay for, but there are exceptions of course. Generally the higher in price the better the materials used. Comfort is very similar as well. Pretty much all of the open back headphones use velour ear padding, which is extremely comfortable, and a lot more so than pleather or something similar.

Lastly, longevity comes into play. Materials break down over time. That’s an unavoidable fact. However, if the components used are replaceable but still last a long time, you have an exceptional product. The Sennheiser HD 600 and 650 are perfect examples of this concept. They can literally be taken apart to the core, and nearly every thing inside can be modified, fixed, or replaced. Given proper care, these headphones could last you the rest of your life.

All this being said, I do recommend the HD 600’s over the 650’s. The reason:

1) Signature. You basically are paying $100 less for a superior sound. This is arguable, but most people will agree, the 600 is more neutral, and has a crisper sound. The 650 borders on TOO warm. Like too much of a good thing. It does have more bass though, and that may attract a different demographic. Regardless, both headphones are phenomenal. Check out my Sennheiser HD 600 Review!

Hope I answered all of your questions! If you have any more, let me know!!

God bless,


Hamza May 27, 2016 - 3:45 pm

Very well written page. Thanks for sharing and giving these important tips. They are definitely helpful for newcomers and aspirants looking into having a great musical career path.

Your website will definitely be bookmarked by many musicians and look forward to check often. My instrument is keyboard and this instrument does need other accessories to build a proper studio and your site will be a guide for me for sure. Thanks.

Stu May 28, 2016 - 3:42 pm

Hey Hamza!

Thanks for dropping by! What kind of keyboard do you have? I’ve only had one since I’ve had a studio, and I was a relative noob at that time. I didn’t even really understand how it communicated with my computer, or even what I needed to do for it to produce MIDI that I could then use for a song. It was fun to mess around on, and I may invest in one in the future.

I mostly sample with the KORG padKONTROL, and it’s been a workhorse for me since 2007. You’re right though, a home studio isn’t just one piece, although it starts with that! Check out my How to build a home studio guide when you get a chance.. and Contact me for any reason as well.



HappyB August 28, 2018 - 9:33 pm

Great Article.
I used to have my own studio and a pair of 600s.
I think they are the most “honest” phones I have ever experienced. In studio work, that is what you need. I like the fact that there are those small differences in attack in music, it makes it more human.
I was surprised at the frequency response you quoted: 12 Hz is subsonic and anything over 22,000 Hz is weigh above most peoples range. They say you can “feel” the touch of a triangle up there, but 39,000 Hz Wow! That’s in the region of cats and dogs hearing.
If I had to choose, I would definitely go for the 600s but have a pair of 650s for general listening. My hearing has deteriorated with age anyway, but I still love the presence of a good pair of phones.

Stuart Charles Black August 29, 2018 - 12:38 pm

Thanks Happy!

I really like the 650’s for general use as well, and do find them the more “enjoyable” listening headphone out of the two. The 600 is definitely for reference as it tends to be more sterile, while the 650 smooths out the rough edges of the sound, akin to something like sandpaper to wood. 

You’re right; companies tend to over-exaggerate the FR response but like you said we really can’t hear much over 20kHz so it’s essentially useless.

Thanks for helping clarify the differences for people who may not know!!



Jesse December 29, 2018 - 9:42 pm

Hey Stu,
Long time no see. Not too long ago, I was contemplating whether I wanted to purchase the Sennheiser HD 600 or 650. Plus, the possibility of upgrading my headphone amp/dac setup. After spending some time listening to Z Reviews’ sound demos of both the 600 and 650s and other in-depth analysis, I decided on the 650. As an aside, I was really torn between the two. From what I heard, the 600 were slightly more neutral and intimate. Whereas the 650 seemed slightly spread out in sound plus being somewhat more resolving. One of the other deciding factors were that pricing of both headphones were very close around purchasing time. Much closer than the 100 dollar price gap as listed on Sennheiser’s website.

Funny enough, the price of the 600’s on Amazon dropped below $300 in fact closer to $250 less than 2 days after purchasing the 650’s. From my research, I did come across the subject of the “Sennheiser Veil”. Which came about partially when the 600’s came out during the mid-late 1990’s. In that the 600’s were considered a departure from the norm of high end headphones having a bright top-end. Then there’s the supposed differences between black driver and more recent silver driver 650’s. After having the 650’s for approximately 2 weeks, a few adjectives come to mind when describing the 650’s. Effortless in regards to sound, startling “natural” tone/timbre, and versatility. The 650’s really shine with very dynamic music. From my perspective, the 650’s are equally adept in critical and causal listening circumstances. While it won’t bite one’s head off with sub-optimal recordings like Beyerdyanmic DT880’s or AKG K701/702’s, it won’t mull over compressed recordings.

As an aside, I demoed the 650’s on my FiiO E10K. While they did reach more than adequate volume levels; it did not push them with as much authority as I would have liked. I dropped coin in a TEAC HA P-50 SE headphone amp/dac. While it may not be the permanent fixture for the 650’s, it does drive them with aplomb plus good headroom.

Anyway, keep up the good work Stu.

Stuart Charles Black December 30, 2018 - 1:53 pm

Hey man great to see you back!

That’s funny; I’ll have to try the E10K out with the 650 again. I demoed them for a quite a while (a few weeks) and found that with the gain switch on they got really loud so I’m not sure. I do agree now that I think about it though – the “authority” isn’t quite there and I do see what you’re saying. The 650 however is such a laid back headphone but your assessment of the sound is spot on. It’s a headphone that I want to recommend to 99% of people (maybe even 100%). I don’t think there’s another headphone out there that so perfectly understands the needs of the majority of people as well as this headphone. Everything about it is effortless as you’ve stated. In fact, the Timbre is what I was most impressed by; there’s a level of grace that’s simply unmatched.

I kind of do prefer it over an HD600 because the 600’s mid-range can be very irritating at times although it’s still a phenomenal headphone (especially after putting it down for awhile and coming back to it).

Did you happen to see my article on The Sennheiser Veil? I want to go back and add some things to it.

Thought about it some more and I think as a permanent fixture you should definitely get an Objective 2 from JDS Labs. I can’t recommend it enough as it’s going to create some nice air and spacing, but come across completely neutral and retain all the great characteristics of the 650’s sound while making it seem borderline incredible. Review: JDS Labs Objective 2 Review

Talk soon,

Let me know what you think!

Jesse July 3, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Hey Stu. Long time no see. Previously, I commented on purchasing the Sennheiser HD 650 plus initial impressions. Fast forward 6-7 months, my thoughts have largely unchanged. Especially in regards to how effortless they sound. Anyway, one of the things I have noticed overtime is that the right ear pad for my headphone has in some spots flattened. I was previously aware of the fact that pads on these and the HD 600 can flatten overtime. The left ear pad remains fairly stiff though very comfortable without being a vice grip. While there has been no detectable effect on overall sound, it’s somewhat odd that the right ear pad is more flat than the left though not like a pancake. Additionally, I do have a fairly large head which might play a role. My question to you Stu is how have the overall condition of the ear pads on your HD 600 have changed since owning and using them? Keep up the good work, Stu.

Stuart Charles Black July 3, 2019 - 5:10 pm

Hey man great to hear from you again!! I’m looking at my pads right now on the 600 and upon close inspection I have the same issue!! Lol I never noticed that before until I really examined it. So my left cup is actually a bit more flattened out than the right one. Keep in mind I don’t use these everyday, but I have been using them more lately. I actually tried to fluff them up a little but to no avail. Fortunately for us, the pads are replaceable but I don’t feel as though I need to right away. I will take a picture and send it to you over email. Also it’s interesting you mention your head. Mine is actually more narrow width wise but longer vertically. In all honesty I can’t think of a good reason why one pad would flatten out sooner. That’s kind of strange. Thank you for your nice comments!

Jesse July 3, 2019 - 9:47 pm

In my case, my head is a bit longer vertically speaking vs width. That being said, I don’t have a melon like Mr. Potato-head 🙂 Anyway, I found it intriguing on how as aforementioned my right earpad/earcup is more flat vs the left one. The best analogy I can give pertaining to the earpads are that the right one is more springy whereas the left earpad is closer to how the pads were fresh out of the box. More of late, I tend to use the HD 650 it as my daily driver for multiple purposes. Listening/analyzing music, watching films, etc.

Stuart Charles Black July 5, 2019 - 5:50 pm

Lol this girl at Walmart once told me to “Shut up with yo apple ass head” Lmao. When I used to grow my hair out it made my head look weird like an apple I guess. 😛

Anywho, did you get my email? I love the 650 for Gaming and movies actually. I think it has better Soundstage than an HD 600. The image seems to be wider and more immersive. But: an ifi xDSD or xCAN brings out the best in the 600 in terms of staging width. I found it to be a great pairing.

Marcin March 10, 2022 - 8:43 am

Thanks for (as always) honest, professional and entertaining review. I am also a very happy HD650 owner. I’d like to add that switching the pads to Dekoni velour makes a HUGE difference in sound: soundstage gets wider and deeper, bass gets tighter and stronger (while not detoriorating mids and highs). Try it for yourselves, folks!

Stuart Charles Black March 14, 2022 - 4:25 pm

Hey Marcin!

Thank you for the kind words 🙂

I don’t have a 650 but would love to try that if I ever do get one here again. Your comment should help others who read it though so thank you!!


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