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External speakers for a digital piano. Help me to chose one thats good enough fo (Read 43901 times)

Offline musicioso

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Hallo guys, i have a digital piano (roland FP4). It was a good one to begin with, good weighted keys and pretty good sound. But now after 4 years i play more notes at a time, fast arpeggios and that kind of stuff. So the internal speakers can not produce the sound that i hear when i use headphones.

Thats why i decided to buy external speakers, but i know nothing about those things. I am always in my room which is pretty small. So i dont need big speakers.

Do you guys know a good one? I have 300 euro to spend.

Thanks in advance  :)

Offline hfmadopter

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I suggest buying a small pair of studio monitors, there are several brands that will fit within your budget. Don't forget that you will need 2 cables to feed to them from your FP4's  L and R 1/4 inch Mono ports. Many in the five to six inch size for instance are sold in pairs. These will be most accurate and are rather directional in projection but will fill a smaller room wth sound just fine non the less. They will be more like the quality of decent headphones in terms of sound than a power amp would be. A power amp is for projection of sound over a sweeping space, like an entertainment hall for instance and even a less powerful amp will fll an entire house with sound compared with studio monitors.

Studio monitors are designed to be accurate more so than biased to a particular tonal quality. tHe purpose is so that you can tweak your piano's sond accurately. For my digital piano I bought Monitor style headphones and studio monitors. They match fairly closely, though the headphones are marginally better. I wanted unbiased speakers for recording purposes and general piano setup.

JUst one persons view point ! Though not really, if you visit many digital keyboard forums you will get the same information.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline musicioso

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Thank you sir!!

What company has some good studio monitors? My piano is from roland, so would it be better to get the studio monitors from roland as well? Or can i use other ones too?

Offline hfmadopter

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Thank you sir!!

What company has some good studio monitors? My piano is from roland, so would it be better to get the studio monitors from roland as well? Or can i use other ones too?

They will all pretty much be similar in your price range. Third party names are fine. I use M-Audio for instance but there are many other brands to choose from. Look for good ratings from a lot of users. Actually Roland makes speakers and power amps, not sure they make monitors. The amp I had that about blew my ear drums inside my house was a Roland !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline indianajo

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Lots of bands in my part of the world use the Peavey KB300 amp-speaker for piano and organ sounds. One will go low enough in volume for a dorm room, or play loud enough for a 200 person crowd in an open field.  If you want to see one in action, watch KET.org the Jubilee program,  Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers at the WC Handy Blues festival in Henderson, KY.  I believe it is available over the internet.  Honey Piazza his wife really puts out the notes on her Roland. She recorded a solo act television program about 5 years ago from a bar in Oregon, but I don't think that was ever on-line, just a VHS tape. 
Since they don't make hifi equipment in the USA anymore, I recently  bought used Peavey speakers and an amp from a defunct bar band, and am very pleased with the sound.  The KB300 is based on the design of the woofer+horn speaker of the Bell Labs patent.  I own a pair of. Peavey SP2 speakers and a CS800s amp;  they are the best speakers at reproducing piano that I have ever owned or even heard.  (There is no longer a boutique hifi store in Louisville, just big electronics warehouses with concrete floors and a steel roof, with the accent on vile sounding car systems).  

Offline Bob

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I asked a while ago about keyboard speakers.  Someone suggested PA monitors over an actual keyboard amp.  I'm forgetting why exactly.

I suppose one argument for an actual keyboard amp is if it's tweaked specifically for the frequencies and tone of a keyboard though.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline hfmadopter

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Reading through these user accounts at Pianoworld is a worth while read I believe. It's not highly technical but you pick up a drift rather quickly into the thread and it's similar at other keyboard forums :   http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1335909/keyboard%20amp%20vs%20powered%20speake.html
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline indianajo

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Studio Monitor is not a Federal Trade Commision regulated term, and any sleazebag can build and sell one out of one or more drivers and a box.  A specific make and model recommendation would be the only reason I would consider one without hearing it.  I was in the boutique hifi store in Louisville shortly before they went bankrupt in 1986, and they weren't selling any studio monitors.   I don't buy speakers I can't listen to, there are too many opinions of people I've heard that, when I heard their actual speakers, I discount everything they say as musically ignorant.  The last guy whose speakers I went to hear, his speakers had no bass response.  Nice treble, but that is not high fidelity. Pink Floyd's Money that sounded good on his speakers, is not the only song in the world.  The whole bookshelf speaker fad when I was 20 left me cold, piano and rock & roll both have significant things to say in the 40-200 hz band.  The piano pieces I play have significant left hand parts, and I auditioned my console piano with Lecuona's Malaguena before I bought it to make sure all the notes had a pleasing tone.  I auditioned my SP2 speakers with Beethoven Three Sonatas by Rudolf Serkin for piano fidelity, plus ZZ Top Afterburner Woke up with Wood track to check time alignment on the bass drum hits. I've since found Peter Nero's Young and Warm & Wonderful LP for auditioning piano sounds, which was recorded in dynagroove with better condensor mikes, and has a solo top octave Steinway grand piano passage that is extremely difficult for amplifiers and speakers to reproduce without hissing (intermodulaction distortion).  
As far as using a stage horn + woofer speaker like the KB300 in a home, they are designed to project music down from the stage at an audience.  In my home I have the Peavey SP2-XT horn+woofer speakers mounted on poles (speaker stands) behind and straddling the Steinway console.  This aims the treble sound at my head when I sit on the couch etc.  Makes the living room look like a disco to my formerly dancing friend, but it is my music room, fine wood speakers are so 1950's.  The SP2 and probably the KB300 speaker too, have a socket built in the bottom of the case to insert the pole into.

Offline oxy60

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I spent less than 100 euros for a pair of Behringers, small but clean. Roland is a good company and I think they make speakers to go with your keyboard.
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline Bob

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Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline iansinclair

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"Good enough" is very subjective!  But as has been noted -- to properly reproduce a piano, you need full range speakers (or some sort of satellite/woofer arrangement).  Smaller speakers just won't do the job.

My own system uses Cambridge Soundworks Towers -- unfortunately no longer made with an essentially flat range from 35 hz to about 20,000 hz.  The Legacy Studio HD is also a very fine smaller speaker.  My dream is Legacy Helix... when I win the lottery.

Good speakers are NOT cheap.
Ian

Offline oxy60

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Placement is also important. An acoustic piano's sound comes from all sorts of directions and bounces off hard surfaces. That effect is very difficult to achieve with speakers, even the best. I think that is the reason the best sound from an electric piano is always through ear phones.
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline hfmadopter

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Quote from: oxy60 link=topic=50295.msg 548844#msg 548844 date=1362933880
Placement is also important. An acoustic piano's sound comes from all sorts of directions and bounces off hard surfaces. That effect is very difficult to achieve with speakers, even the best. I think that is the reason the best sound from an electric piano is always through ear phones.

Earphones of the flat field monitor type and priced around the $100 mark or there abouts also have the Hz range Ian mentions as well.

With my headphones I know that  I get startled sometimes thinking the sound is coming from within the room not through a head set. It just does not sound as though the sound is not coming from the room. The realization strikes me now and then but once I was watching drag racing videos on my computer with them and someone spoke near the recording mic when the video was made, I about jumped out of my seat.   I was home alone and thought someone walked up next to me in the room . Goose bumps ran up my back at the initial thought of an intruder, till I realized it was in the recording.  Additionally the race engines and announcers voice sounded like being at the race track. I bought them on sale at Guitar Center at nearly half price too, great buy !

My speaker/ monitors are decent but they don't sound quite as nice as the headphones. Judging by most of you folks comments I think I need to add to the mix of speakers but really, my listeners are happy and I just wear the headphones. I'm already convinced that audio as it relates to digital pianos is a niche in and of itself. It could be a lifetime hobby along side piano, easily I might add..

Sound is so subjective ! I have not named brands and models together in this thread because of that. I can say, oh yes this is it, go buy it, with 100% enthusiasm and the OP or anyone go do that and wonder what the heck I'm talking about.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline Bob

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Why mess with studio monitors if they can't cut it for a performance?  Why not get an amp or PA speakers instead? (Price?)
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline hfmadopter

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Why mess with studio monitors if they can't cut it for a performance?  Why not get an amp or PA speakers instead? (Price?)

I was thinking I covered this already but there are a lot of threads around here so I could be wrong. For me it has to do with accuracy in the livingroom and accuracy over the whole volume range. I had an amp in there that liked half power or more and it sounded really accurate out in the kitchen but you couldn't be in the livingroom without ear plugs. To turn the amp down it fell all apart ( the sound). Do understand that I have ear damage to begin with, sharp noises are actually startling to me. It's industrial ear damage and just age. I don't need speakers piercing my ears. The headphones are more friendly to me than any speakers actually.

That said, I'm not filling a hall with sound. There an amp or two or three projected out into the hall would be fine and the one I had would be fine in maybe a mid sized church. Now I think I still can improve on the monitor situation by filling out the sound spectrum a bit more from where I am at. I'd like to give that a try along the way here.

PA's I have not messed with, I was headed there in the first place but am now into the monitors and pretty happy with them. I had originally considered a PA box arrangement and add speakers to that. It's still not out of the question.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline iansinclair

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As hfmadopter said earlier -- getting a really good room/speaker/amplifier match can easily turn into a lifetime hobby.  If not obsession!  I only mentioned the Cambridge Soundworks and Legacy speakers to give an idea of the kinds of speakers which have to be used to get anywhere near a really good reproduction of a piano; there are a number of other good systems available.  And then there are the amplifiers to drive them.  And the space to put them in.  His later comment that the whole setup has to be adjusted to the space is also spot on. 

There are also a much larger number of really horrible speakers available, and equally horrible amplifiers.  No less than a piano, if at all possible try to arrange to hear the proposed setup in the space in which you intend to use it.

The whole thing is much easier to do with earphones -- but they have to be high quality as well.

All this being relevant to really accurate reproduction, of course. 
Ian

Offline oxy60

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The listener and the piayer are in two different positions. Sitting at a grand playing is a whole different audio experience from sitting in a hall listening to someone else play.

You will never beat your headphones while playing.

For a test, have some one else play your digital or have it play back over your speaker installation and you sit out front. I chose my set that way in a big showroom with several different (active) speakers on a rack like they would be in a club. We switched between different pairs until I heard what I wanted. I didn't play a note, just pushed "playback."

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline indianajo

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For me it has to do with accuracy in the livingroom and accuracy over the whole volume range. I had an amp in there that liked half power or more and it sounded really accurate out in the kitchen but you couldn't be in the livingroom without ear plugs. To turn the amp down it fell all apart ( the sound). Do understand that I have ear damage to begin with, sharp noises are actually startling to me. It's industrial ear damage and just age. I don't need speakers piercing my ears. The headphones are more friendly to me than any speakers actually.
I had an amp like that, the Dynakit ST120.  It was designed to push the output transistors into class AB operation with voltage rectified from the output signal, so it ran class B at low volume.  Transistor crossover distortion of 1.2v is vile on a 1.5 Vpp signal (1/8 th watt, I typically listen to in my music room).  I modified the amp with a 7 transistor circuit designed by another diyaudio member that forces the output transistors into 40 ma idle current at all volumes. There was a huge improvement in the low volume sound.  The details are on http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/156627-dynaco-stereo-120-can-beautiful.html
The Peavey CS800s amp I bought in 2010 sounds just as good on piano at 1/8 watt, even though it is a 400 w/ch amp.  It has proper engineering.  Now if I just get around to replacing the 1998 capacitors in the CS800s that trip the circuit breaker sometimes when I turn it on . . . .
If you don't want to quote brands HMFAdopter fine, but I'm not driving 180 miles to Chicago or Dayton to audition random studio monitors. A brand and model would target the search, should I enter on one.  High profit rules at stores with stock, no matter what brand sounds better or worse.  The salesman can talk 95% of purchasers into thinking the brand the store stocks is the best.  It took me 40 years to find speakers I could afford that sounded good on piano sounds - my $600 a pair Peavey SP2-XT s. And that is only because my ears roll off at 14 khz due to Army service. If I still had my 1967 ears I would probably find the 14500 hz top limit of the SP2 PA speaker to be inadequate.  

Offline hfmadopter

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The listener and the piayer are in two different positions. Sitting at a grand playing is a whole different audio experience from sitting in a hall listening to someone else play.

You will never beat your headphones while playing.

For a test, have some one else play your digital or have it play back over your speaker installation and you sit out front. I chose my set that way in a big showroom with several different (active) speakers on a rack like they would be in a club. We switched between different pairs until I heard what I wanted. I didn't play a note, just pushed "playback."



I agree and have done what you are describing, probably 5 weeks ago. I brought the amp back after that experiment. I recorded myself playing and played it back, it sounded great anywhere in the house but in the livingroom ! At Guitar Centers, they have a good return policy so I used that and came home with the monitors.


I also agree that headphones are the best sounding devices for piano. That doesn't mean we can't hone in the speaker situation a bit closer though.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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I had an amp like that, the Dynakit ST120.  It was designed to push the output transistors into class AB operation with voltage rectified from the output signal, so it ran class B at low volume.  Transistor crossover distortion of 1.2v is vile on a 1.5 Vpp signal (1/8 th watt, I typically listen to in my music room).  I modified the amp with a 7 transistor circuit designed by another diyaudio member that forces the output transistors into 40 ma idle current at all volumes. There was a huge improvement in the low volume sound.  The details are on http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/156627-dynaco-stereo-120-can-beautiful.html
The Peavey CS800s amp I bought in 2010 sounds just as good on piano at 1/8 watt, even though it is a 400 w/ch amp.  It has proper engineering.  Now if I just get around to replacing the 1998 capacitors in the CS800s that trip the circuit breaker sometimes when I turn it on . . . .


I admire your dedication to just go ahead and make things work Indianajo, you've displayed  this tendency more than once in the forums ! I'm not afraid of a soldering gun myself but I have to say that electronics is a very weak subject for me. I understand ohms, watts, transistors and all that but how it all works together I've really never gotten into. I just use devices, you are head and tale above me on that subject ! Ask me to hard wire a mechanical solonoid and I'm all over it, solder wires to a switch, fine. Changing out items with items of a different value on a circuit board to make it work a different way with any form of confidence is another matter. Anyway, the amp was new, I just returned it to the store.

I don't think studio monitors are the answer for you anyway, you seem really content with what you have. Studio monitors are quite directional as well, so much depends on what you are trying to do. In my livingroom, the walls and ceiling and hard wood floors are , well, hard. Sound really gets around in there. I believe in this instance having less projection is a good thing, as long as tonal value is good/correct. I believe, again , in my case I need another speaker that fills out tonal spectrum a bit more. I don't know what speaker that is yet. What I have now are 55Hz-24Khz though and they sound decent turned down a bit. Actually I don't turn them down, I have them cranked up and the piano turned down.. If I add another speaker into the mix, I believe it would be a larger woofer. My bass is pretty good, G below middle C up to about B above middle C is least realistic compared with headphones. Then it's great up a couple of octaves and gets a bit tinny above that ( expected I'd say with the 55 Hz limit). Some of this is the speakers and some the piano and some me. There are heavy overtones up there, especially with pedal applied, so with open strings, that's right where my ears whack out ! I hear this screaching that nobody else claims to hear. Thus my comment that my listeners are happy.

I'm strictly speaking of my digital piano here, the grand is another whole ball of wax ! That's sitting at the end of the room because it too was clocking my ears in much of any other position, which all started happening after having a root canal done if that makes any sense.. It's fine with the top down. I mostly play it with the top up one notch for better tonal rendering though. Gets a bit muddy with the top down fully.

What happened to our OP anyway, have we lost him ?
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline musicioso

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Guys!! hahaha

I must admit, i am totally confused..and lost it totally

Could you just give me a name that i can go to the store and buy?

And of course you guys can continue your discussion here  ;D

Offline hfmadopter

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Guys!! hahaha

I must admit, i am totally confused..and lost it totally

Could you just give me a name that i can go to the store and buy?

And of course you guys can continue your discussion here  ;D

Names really are just a guide, you need to go to a place where they will demo speaker combos for you. I tried a Roland that didn't meet my needs and M-Audio that is meeting me half way thus far. Peavey has been mentioned and some other names that people recommend or at least like themselves, have been mentioned in this thread.. Not all are in your budget. Again I think the message is clear from this thread that you need to have a demo of what it is you are interested in buying.

I have not tried the Roland Cube, some people in the keyboard forums seem to like that one. I believe it falls under the class of stage monitor and might be worth a listen.

Behringer makes a combo woofer with a rectangular tweeter on it that runs from 40Hz to I think 22KHz that might be worth a listen. I think those two fit your budget.

M-Audio has an 8" studio monitor set that may be worth a listen.

Go into this with the idea that there is no one magical cure or product but combos of products that will get you what you want. Do not buy strictly off an internet suggestion alone, is my suggestion.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline iansinclair

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Guys!! hahaha

I must admit, i am totally confused..and lost it totally

Could you just give me a name that i can go to the store and buy?

And of course you guys can continue your discussion here  ;D

Sorry about that!  It's an interesting topic, though...

Bottom line?  Pick a speaker or speakers that a) you can afford and b) sound good to you in the setting you are going to use them in.  Or at the very least in the store, although that can be misleading.

For goodness sake don't be confused by such terms as "studio monitor" or "reference speaker" or what have you.  Once upon a time some of those terms had specific meanings -- but then the marketing folks got their little paws on them and now they don't mean anything at all.
Ian

Offline oxy60

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I agree and have done what you are describing, probably 5 weeks ago. I brought the amp back after that experiment. I recorded myself playing and played it back, it sounded great anywhere in the house but in the livingroom ! At Guitar Centers, they have a good return policy so I used that and came home with the monitors.

I also agree that headphones are the best sounding devices for piano. That doesn't mean we can't hone in the speaker situation a bit closer though.

Don't forget to put speakers at your ear level. Also for others who are trying to get the right sound, try adding a "magic box" or a small mixer with good tone controls in-line.

At GC... I had to laugh. I get an email from them almost daily offering this or that. I've bought a ton of stuff from them. Are all the employees on some sort of speed?
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline hfmadopter

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Quote from: oxy60 link=topic=50295.msg 549030#msg 549030 date=1363101244
At GC... I had to laugh. I get an email from them almost daily offering this or that. I've bought a ton of stuff from them. Are all the employees on some sort of speed?

Don't know but the 50ish year old guy with dreadlocks at the one I go to should stick with his imaginary drums he plays while walking around the store. That's about his speed. He might know drums real well if dealing with him about those and he is probably a really good band member to have. One manager is very good and there's a young guy, really tall and skinny with stingy straight hair down to his shoulders who actually turned out to be very helpful and works the paperwork side of things well too.. well mannered, professional acting in spite of the look. Just another example of not judging a book by it's cover. Another clean cut young guy may be ok but he runs to his manager too much and they spread him out too thin.

Actually I like Musicians Friend better but on a Sunday afternoon the wife and I can take the 40 mile ride to GC and have lunch while we are out and kind of make an afternoon out of it. I believe MF staff has more going on, understand and sell pro grade equipment plus most things I buy from them are shipped for free and no tax. GC has the advantage of going there and coming home with what you set out to get all in the same day.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline oxy60

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Don't know but the 50ish year old guy with dreadlocks at the one I go to should stick with his imaginary drums he plays while walking around the store. That's about his speed. He might know drums real well if dealing with him about those and he is probably a really good band member to have. One manager is very good and there's a young guy, really tall and skinny with stingy straight hair down to his shoulders who actually turned out to be very helpful and works the paperwork side of things well too.. well mannered, professional acting in spite of the look. Just another example of not judging a book by it's cover. Another clean cut young guy may be ok but he runs to his manager too much and they spread him out too thin.

Actually I like Musicians Friend better but on a Sunday afternoon the wife and I can take the 40 mile ride to GC and have lunch while we are out and kind of make an afternoon out of it. I believe MF staff has more going on, understand and sell pro grade equipment plus most things I buy from them are shipped for free and no tax. GC has the advantage of going there and coming home with what you set out to get all in the same day.

We don't have a musicians friend store out here. The GC here is huge but still doesn't have everything. What we do have are boutique type pro stores tucked away here and there, mostly in the low rent areas. The speakers I bought came from a pro sound store (some very special types also work in that sector). Being a little bit on the older side my hearing is about as shot as those guys half my age.
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)