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Eagle

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Sample Fixing and Tracking Tricks Tutorial
« on: April 24, 2006, 13:02:28 »

This took a while to make but it is now finally done. Here it is! Enjoy! :cheers:

Code: [Select]
Making Good Instruments Out of Bad Samples v1.1
A tutorial written by Fredrik "Eagle" Larsson.

-------------------------------
Table of Content

Introduction

Chapter 1 - Simple Tricks

  1.1 Adding simple echoes
  1.2 Adding simple fades
  1.3 Combining a simple fade with an echo
  1.4 Using the echo fade with another effect
  1.5 Create an "echo fade" through Tremolo
  1.6 Create an "echo fade" using two channels

Chapter 2 - Octaves, Accourds and more Tricks

  2.1 Try new octaves
  2.2 Double octave note
  2.3 Simple two-accourds
  2.4 Standard three-accourds
  2.5 Accourds for overdrive/distorted samples
  2.6 Custom accourds

Chapter 3 - Using Envelopes

  3.1 Envelope fades
  3.2 Envelope "echo fades"
  3.3 Get a filly short sound out of a worthless sample
  3.4 Pan envelopes and loops
  3.5 Pitch envelopes (IT)
  3.6 Resonance envelopes (IT)

Chapter 4 - Last resorts

  4.1 MIDI Macros
  4.2 Cut Off frequency
  4.3 Add flanger >NEW<
  4.4 Tone Portamento
  4.5 Make a chip wave
  4.6 Trash it!

Credits

-------------------------------
Introduction

So, you got a bad sample you just thought of throwing into dev\null (Linux's equality to Windows's "Recycle Bin", stands for

Device Null.)? STOP! It may not be as bad as it may seem. Come on, lot's of modules got really bad 8-bit samples that when

played in the sample editor sounds like rubbish. How do they make those samples sound so well, then? That's what we are going

to cover in this tutorial.

This tutorial is designed to best fit with those using Fast Tracker II or Impulse Tracker. Some of these tricks works well in

ProTracker and Scream Tracker III, too, so this tutorial should be good for anyone using a tracker.

Be aware that you do not have to understand my mathmatical functions. They are only there to explain a numerical pattern. All

those patterns are shown with a concrete example so that you, in no way, need to understand the math in this tutorial.

-------------------------------
Chapter 1 - Simple Tricks

In this chapter we will cover most of the more simple tricks to improve a sample. These tricks will work on most trackers and

are recommended to try even on GOOD samples.

-------------------------------
1.1 Adding simple echoes

Echoes are the best remedies for bad samples. In the 80's, FM (Frequency Modulation) samples (Especially the drums) used to

sound plain and crappy. How did they fix this? That's right, by echoes.

The easy way to make an echo is by adding the same note with the same sample on another channel but with a lower volume. The

most common practice is by playing the note one or two beats below the original note (on the first channel) but with 1/3

volume or the more common 1/4 volume. Following picture will explain this:

This table is supposed to look like it came from a Fast/Impulse Tracker:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 -- --- |--- --- ---|
1|--- -- --- |C-5 v16 ---|
2|--- -- --- |--- --- ---|
3|--- -- --- |--- --- ---|

If the sample is short, you may use an echo on the same channel. Never put it out of beat, though, it will sound weird and

unprofessional. You can see how it works in this table:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 --- ---|--- --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|C-5 v16 ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

The above single channel echo is especially useful for short snare drums. It will make a more filly sound and add to the

wholeness of the module. This trick can also be used in MOD and S3M.

You can also choose to use a third echo with even lower volume like 4 or 8.

-------------------------------
1.2 Adding simple fades

Very often with looped samples, there is this cut noise or it just sounds weird. If you got one of those samples, use fades.

When a sound fades in/out, the listener take more notice of the fade instead of the cut noise/weird loop which would happen

if you simply just played the note.

There are several ways to add fades. I recommend that you make a fade with precise "set volume" effects. Avoid "fine volume

down" or "volume down", these leaves the fade to be interpreted by the tracker/player and can sometimes give unexpected

results. To show how this fade is done, look at the table below:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 ---|--- --- ---|
1|--- v48 ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- v32 ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- v16 ---|--- --- ---|

You could also use a fade calculated from a (1/2)^(x) basis:
 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 ---|--- --- ---|
1|--- v32 ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- v16 ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- v08 ---|--- --- ---|

Fades can vary just the way you want, slower, faster... experiment!

Experimental example using the (1/3)^(x) basis:
 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 ---|--- --- ---|
1|--- v21 ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- v09 ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- v03 ---|--- --- ---|

-------------------------------
1.3 Combining a simple fade with an echo

If you want the strength from both the fade and the echo, there is a way you can combine the two elements. How is explained

by following table:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 ---|--- --- ---|
1|--- v32 ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- v48 ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- v24 ---|--- --- ---|
4|--- v36 ---|--- --- ---|
5|--- v18 ---|--- --- ---|
6|--- v27 ---|--- --- ---|
7|--- v14 ---|--- --- ---|
8|...        |...        |

The above table shows a pattern that works like (where x is the volume): (x*0.5), (x*1.5), (x*0.5), (x*1.5)...

By first decreasing a good lot of the volume and then increase it somewhat until the volue is down to 0, you combine the echo

effect with the fade.

-------------------------------
1.4 Using the echo effect with another effect

Of course, the effect explained in the last section has its strengths. If you use a lead, you may add a vibrato or a

panbrello with the echo fade. This can give you very interesting effects. I will leave it to you to experiment with this.

-------------------------------
1.5 Create an "echo fade" through Tremolo

This section requires a Fast/Impulse Tracker to work. If you got S3M or MOD, you may choose to skip this section.

To make the fade a bit more simple (to create and plan), you may choose to use tremolo with a simple fade. This will add a

similiar effect to the one you get by using the "echo fad" explained in [1.3]. Following table will explain how it works:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 R47|--- --- ---|
1|--- v21 R47|--- --- ---|
2|--- v09 R47|--- --- ---|
3|--- v03 R47|--- --- ---|

The Rxy starts the Tremolo effect in Impulse Tracker. If you use Fast Tracker II, change this to 7xy like in the table below:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 747|--- --- ---|
1|--- v21 747|--- --- ---|
2|--- v09 747|--- --- ---|
3|--- v03 747|--- --- ---|

This method is not recommended. It is possible but inelegant. Try it for experiment.

-------------------------------
1.6 Create an "echo fade" using two channels

There is another way to create an "echo fade" which requires two channels. Mind the volume, though, it can get rather loud.

Following table will explain how this works:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 v64 ---|C-5 v08 ---|
1|--- v32 ---|--- v16 ---|
2|--- v16 ---|--- v07 ---|
3|--- v08 ---|--- v14 ---|

This method is not recommended. It is possible but inelegant. Try it for experiment.


-------------------------------
Chapter 2 - Octaves, Accourds and more Tricks

So, you have your bad sample and it sound quite OK with the fades. Do not you think it sounds a bit bland the way it does in

C-5? Let's practice some tricks.

-------------------------------
2.1 Try new octaves

Try many different octaves. You may get unexpected results. Try from C-1 to B-8. Perhaps the sample sounds better as a bass

than a lead.

In case you do not know how to try out other octaves and you use Modplug Tracker, I can show you how:

1. In the upper click box line, there is a small box with the name "Octave 4" or something, click on either the up or the

down arrow.

2. Add a note.

3. Done!

You can also change the octave in MPT by pressing the numeric keys when a note is marked.

-------------------------------
2.2 Double octave note

When a note is played in two octaves at the same time, you may get really cool effects. Try it out the way the table below

shows:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 --- ---|C-4 --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

You may also separate the two octaves a little by adding a pan:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 p16 ---|C-4 p48 ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

-------------------------------
2.3 Simple two-accourds

Ever played an accourd before? Yes? Then you may choose to skip this and jump forward to [2.5]. No? Then you have missed

something! This section will treat the very easiest accourd.

To make these simple two-accourds, decide which note you want to play. The highest note is always the base for the accourd.

For this example we will use F-5.

Look at the table below:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|D-5 --- ---|F-5 --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

The F-5 note is the base. The D-5 accompanies the F-5 note. To make these accourds, there is a simple rule. The second note

is always two letters below base note. If you use C-5 as a base, the accompaning note is A-4. If you use G-5 as a base, the

accompaning note is E-5. Even with half-notes this is the case. If you use F#-5 as a base, the accompaning note is D#-5. The

only exception is D-5, which the accompaning note is A#-4 and not B-5. You may use B-5 with D-5, though. It will sound a bit

weird if you do, but try it for the experience.

Observe! I have simplified this part. The real jargon is not like this and the reason why I did not use musical jargon was to

make this section understandable for a person without musical education.

-------------------------------
2.4 Standard three-accourds

Remember section [2.3]? Standard three accourds works nearly the same. This time you will use a third accompaning note. If

you use a two-accourd, the third note will be three letters below the second note (the first accompaning note). Examples:

If the base is C-5, the first accompaning note is A-4 and the second accompaning note is E-4.
If the base is F-5, the first accompaning note is D-5 and the second accompaning note is A-4.

NOTE! Remember the exception in the first accompaning note from [2.3] when using D-5 as a base! There is also another

exception, and that is when you use G-5 as a base, the second accompaning note will be C-5 and not B-5!

Using standard three-accourds will look like this:

 _____________________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |Channel 3  |
_|___________|___________|___________|
0|C-5 --- ---|E-5 --- ---|G-5 --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

-------------------------------
2.5 Accourds for overdrive/distorted samples

This is a little trick for e.g. MIDI guitars, which I have learned throughout my years of composing. Very often it is the

case that the overdrive guitars and the like sound like trumpets or something like that. Don't underestimate those samples.

There is a way to make them sound more like real electric guitars.

The accourds I am going to teach you are two-accourds. BUT! These accourds follow a different pattern. The second accompaning

note in these accourds are three letters down. For an example, look at the table below:

 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 --- ---|F-5 --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

NOTE! There are TWO exceptions in this rule. Those are when you use A#-5 and B-5! Look at the tables below!

B-5 as a base:
 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|F#5 --- ---|B-5 --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

A#-5 as a base:
 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|F-5 --- ---|A#5 --- ---|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

-------------------------------
2.6 Custom accourds

So, you have now learned my two- and three-accourds? Try experimenting with your own custom made accourds! You may get

surprised at what you may find when you are on your own.

-------------------------------
Chapter 3 - Using Envelopes

This chapter will finally teach you how to use envelopes to get the same, if not better, effects when using Fast/Impulse

Tracker instruments. If you do not have instruments and envelopes available in your tracker, you may choose to skip this

whole chapter.

-------------------------------
3.1 Envelope fades

OK, it is finally time to learn about envelopes! Envelopes are the #1 most handy tool to improve your samples!

To begin, we are now going to create an envelopes that fades your sample out. This is easy! In Modplug Tracker, press the

instruments tab and then the small button that says "Vol". That button can be found just above the black window for the

envelopes. When you have pressed that button, two boxes and a blue line will appear in the black window. Drag the right box

down to the bottom of the black window, preferably so the blue line creates a slope.

Now you have created a fade! Below table will show how it should look like when you have done the above steps:

¤ = Point
__________________________________
|¤                               |
| \                              |
|  \                             |
|   \                            |
|    \                           |
|     \                          |
|      ¤                         |
----------------------------------

Now, you do not think that you can only have two points, do you? Of course, not. Right-click on the black window and choose

"insert point". This will insert another point at the spot where you first right-clicked. In Impulse Tracker you can use a

maximum of 25 points.

-------------------------------
3.2 Envelope "echo fade"

Have you got the hang of using envelopes? Let's create a fade with echoes. If you make short one, you will make a completelly

new instruments. If you make a long one, you will have a sort of ambient instrument.

Let's use the old fade. However, this time we will use more points. Try to make an envelope that looks a bit like the table:

¤ = Point
__________________________________
|¤                               |
| |                              |
| |                              |
|  | ¤                           |
|  |/|  ¤                        |
|  ¤ |/  |                       |
|    ¤    ¤=--___                |
-----------------¤----------------

If you take notice of this table, the last point is a bit far off. This is to fade out the sample in a way that avoids

silence without being much of a part of the picture. Silence is something you should always avoid in a sample.

-------------------------------
3.3 Get a filly short sound out of a worthless sample

There is a way to use a bad sample and get a filly, good sound. Example of a module using the technique I am going to

demonstrate is [tadpole.xm] which you can download from the modarchive (www.modarchive.com).

Follow these steps:
1. Use a looped sample, crappy or not. It should be quite short.
2. Make an instrument out of the sample.
3. Add a volume envelope that should look like following table:

¤ = Point
__________________________________
|¤                               |
||                               |
||                               |
| |  ¤                           |
| | | \                          |
| ||   \                         |
| ¤¤    ¤==--___                 |
----------------¤-----------------

4. OPTIONAL! Add a looping pan envelope (This will be explained further on in this tutorial) that look like following table:

¤ = Point +=Loops
__________________________________
|        +                       |
|        +                       |
|       ¤+                       |
|¤-__  / ¤                       |
|    -¤  +                       |
|        +                       |
|        +                       |
----------------------------------

This should create a short, Pizzicato strings-like instrument. Useful especially for songs with an oriental style.

-------------------------------
3.4 Pan envelopes and loops

Blimey! Have we already gotten this far in this tutorial? Oh, well. Let's learn about pan envelopes.

Pan envelopes works pretty much like volume envelopes. However, these controls the panning* of the sample instead of the

volume.

In Modplug Tracker, you will have to press the icon of headphone to go to the pan envelope editor. To activate pan envelopes,

press "Pan" button. This will make two point appear. You probably know what to do, don't you?

For practice, recreate this table:

¤ = Point +=Loops
__________________________________
|        +                       |
|        +                       |
|       ¤+                       |
|¤-__  / ¤                       |
|    -¤  +                       |
|        +                       |
|        +                       |
----------------------------------

You do not know how to make those loops on the table? That's easy! In Modplug Tracker, press the button with a blue circle

made out of arrows (You can find this button to the right of the "Pan" button). This will make two white lines appear. Drag

and drop one of the lines to envelope the part of your choise, in this case the whole thing.

Sustain loops works just like normal loops, but they stop looping once a new note on the same channel starts.

Loops and sustain loops can be used for both volume, pan and pitch envelopes (Pitch envelopes are only available in Impulse

Tracker).

* = Panning means the positioning of the volume on the speakers. Centralized panning uses both speakers while a left panning

uses only the left.

-------------------------------
3.5 Pitch envelopes (IT)

Only those who uses Impulse Tracker got use of this section. You may choose to skip this section if you do not have IT.

There are pitch envelopes you can use to, for example, make a pitfall sound out of a sample. This works only on Impulse

Tracker. Generally not very useful unless you need it for a special effect.

-------------------------------
3.6 Resonance envelopes (IT)

Only those who uses Impulse Tracker got use of this section. You may choose to skip this section if you do not have IT.

Resonance envelopes may be useful, but I personally have not found any use of them. Good to be aware of, though. Works only

on Impulse Tracker and shares the same envelopes as the pitch envelopes and can therefor not be used simultaneously.

-------------------------------
Chapter 4 - Last resorts

If you have tried the tricks from the earlier parts in this tutorial and your sample still sounds terrible, there are still a

way that may work. Those things will be covered in this fourth and last chapter in this tutorial.

-------------------------------
4.1 MIDI Macros

As a last resort, you may use MIDI Macros and their Cut off frequency effect. It will make the sound more bassy and less

clear. I do not know much about how to use this effect, you will have to look into your tracker documentation to find out

more.

-------------------------------
4.2 Cut Off frequency (IT)

Only those who uses Impulse Tracker got use of this section. You may choose to skip this section if you do not have IT.

Cut Off frequency is supported through the instruments. Enable the box for it in the instrument editor and experiment a

little with it.

If you want an example of how Cut Off frequencies can be useful, check out my "Odd Man In" (oddmanin.it) to see how it works.

It can not be played correctly in WinAmp.


-------------------------------
4.3 Add flanger >NEW<

You can add a sort of flanger to samples by playing the same note but one of them with a Portamento Up with value 1. You will

need a speed of 2 or 3 and a tempo of at least 100bpm to make this work correctly. This trick works really well with a chip

sample.

Example of the flanger trick using Fast Tracker II with the speed set at 2 and bpm 145:
 _________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 --- ---|C-5 --- 201|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|

NOTE: The faster the speed and tempo is, the slower the flanger will be. If the speed is fast, really fast, you may choose to

increase the Portamento Up value. In slow speeds and tempoes, the flanger effect will sound strange since the effect value is

relative and not constant.

-------------------------------
4.4 Tone Portamento

Tone Portamento can be used as a last resort. It pitches your sample up and down. It may be useful. For an example how it

looks like, check out the table below.

Channel IT shows the IT version and Channel XM shows the XM version.
 _________________________
 |Channel IT |Channel XM |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 --- G14|C-5 --- 314|
1|--- --- G14|--- --- 314|
2|--- --- G14|--- --- 314|
3|--- --- G14|--- --- 314|

-------------------------------
4.5 Make a chip wave

If the sample still sounds awful, even after all the tips and tricks in this tutorial, try looping a single wave and cutting

out the rest of the sample. This will make it a chip and chips are good sometimes.

-------------------------------
4.6 Trash it!

OK, so none of the things in this tutorial worked? Then there is always a way to fix it... and that's by throwing it to

dev\null. Yeah, trash it. What's the point of keeping such a lousy sample?

-------------------------------
Credits

Thanks for reading this tutorial. This was all the work of Fredrik "Eagle" Larsson (Me). It was written 24th April 2006 and

took about 3 hours to make. Hope you enjoyed and learnt a lot from it.

Added "Add Flanger" in Chapter 4 in 9th May 2006.

Thank you, signed
  Fredrik "Eagle" Kristian Larsson

Copyright © Fredrik "Eagle" Larsson
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Eagle

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Sample Fixing and Tracking Tricks Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2006, 09:05:09 »

:!: Version 1.1 released! Added section 4.3 "Add flanger". I may add new sections later as I learn more, new and better tricks.
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Sample Fixing and Tracking Tricks Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2006, 10:14:40 »

I've got some more info on flanger:

Utilizing the ultra fine tune in FT2 will make the flanger even more detailed.

for instance:

| C-4 X11 | C-4 000 | <- this will produce a very fine flange in FT2

But, as you may have noticed, the flanger only goes downward, not upward! how do we solve that? easy!

| C-4 X11 | C-4 010 | <- the little jump here will make the flanger go into a negative state, making it flange until it reaches the "normal" flanges position, then the flange will continue going "down" again. However, as it uses arpeggio (the 010 command) on the other instrument, it might sound strange with certain samples or speed combinations.

Also, flanger can be accomplished via using two samples with the finefune value set with +1 and putting each of these samples into the tracker simultaneously. (however, it's not recommended because it makes the module large in size)

But, flange can be accomplished in a wide variety of ways except for these ones.

* Making fake stereo out of mono samples *

Thought I'd make this lil trick more known aswell, it's fairly simple, and will *only* work with headphones because it fools your ears into believing that whatever you play is played in stereo!

| C-4 P0 X11 | C-4 PF 010 |

(anyone versed in IT? Could you please convert this into IT command format?)

What the above command does is that it utilizes a combination of flange and volume panning commands in order to create a very minimal stereo separation delay, this fools your ears into thinking that the sample is in stereo, when in fact .. it's in mono! Played through loudspeakers, this command will sound like an average flange though.

The same effect can be achieved via the usage of two samples, each with a +1 or -1 difference in fine tone values, and panned extremely to the left and right. (one to the left, other to the right) This has the advantage of freeing up both the volume column AND the effects column, but will reflect in an increased module size since all samples using this technique must be doubled!

Anyhow, that's what I've got for you so far, i've got other tricks.. but I'm writing a little tutorial myself , so consider this a sneak preview :D
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Sample Fixing and Tracking Tricks Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 09:55:16 »

Those are good tricks and I like the idea of you writing a tutorial!

I am fairly new to manual flanger and have not had the time to experiment with much of the tricks, so your comment really helped out. :)

Hope to see your work, soon!
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Sample Fixing and Tracking Tricks Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006, 19:38:32 »

Edit: Oh, JM was before me with the stereo. Well, here it is in IT-format.

Made with a slight delay:

Code: [Select]

_________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 p00 ---|C-5 p64 SD1|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|


Or, made with a slight offset:

Code: [Select]

_________________________
 |Channel 1  |Channel 2  |
_|___________|___________|
0|C-5 p00 ---|C-5 p64 O01|
1|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
2|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|
3|--- --- ---|--- --- ---|


Basically, note delay shouldn't be used with anything else but instruments that have a slow-attack (fe. pads). Offset can be used with just about anything. If you increase the amount of offset/delay, the more the channels will differ from each other, thus giving you the control of the "stereo width".
Just please, don't make your bassdrum stereo if you don't know exactly what you're doing. :P

---

Edit:
I actually have an endless amount of other tricks I'd be willing to share, but I never feel enthusiated enough to explain the stuff, at least not in english.
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