When DJs hear the name Gemini, it immediately rings a bell. Many DJs were introduced to the art through such Gemini products as a pair of XL-100 turntables and a mixer.
And while turntables are still the name of the game when it comes to deejaying, CD decks are becoming increasingly popular. This might be because these decks offer versatility and clean sampling features, or maybe they are just easier to use.
The Gemini CD-240 dual-CD DJdeck is a combination of all these elements. Affordable and slick, feature-packed and ready to play. Take it out of the box, hook it up and go to town.
Among its cache of clever keys is the Robo Start. Similar to the synchro start used in recording, the Robo Start is a great feature that allows the user to stutter between two decks or drop into one track, using something else to span the transition.
Other features include: BNC digital out, instant start (0.015-second delay), 20-second anti-shock buffer, looping, cueing and auto cue, one-bit linear 8X oversampling, jog wheel search and shuttle in forward or reverse at six variable speeds, and variable pitch control at plus or minus four-, eight- or 16-percent with pitch bend.
The CD-240 has all the features one would expect in a live dual-CD DJ deck with the exception of something like direct track access (which I never use anyway). For the money, it’s a solid piece.
The control surface of the unit took a little getting used to. I actually had to break out the manual. The reason for this lay in trying to understand how to set up a loop.
As a matter of practice, I always read the manual of anything I use. Before I read the manual, however, I usually try to set it up and see what I can do by trial and error.
I couldn’t immediately figure out how to loop. I felt like a boob because there wasn’t anything clearly marked loop. So I opened the manual and read.
The buttons Cue, Cue/B Exit and Cue/B Return set the looping and while it seems to make looping overly complicated, in actuality, once Gemini’s language is understood, looping is a clean process like on any other deck. To set the loop in point, hit cue. For the loop out, hit Cue/B Exit and then the loop is set. Cue/B Return is used as the reloop/stutter button and it works fine.
When using the CD-240 as a studio piece, for sampling and looping cuts from CDs or for cueing songs for playback, the unit is solid and performs well.
As a live deck, it transports well and I never had a problem with its performance or encountered any skipping or playback errors.
I have only one complaint, one disappointment and one regret. My complaint is that the control surface is too cramped. The user cannot just flail around on the deck because the buttons are small and cramped together and it’s easy to accidentally mash the wrong buttons when things get hectic.
My disappointment is regarding the pitch control. The pitch control has three different finite settings: four-, eight- and 16-percent. When the pitch is set to 16-percent and the slider is maxed-out at either plus or minus 16, the pitch bend cannot be pushed beyond the 16-percent. At the four or eight setting the bend button can manipulate the pitch beyond its setting but at 16-percent it ceilings out.
In all fairness, most anything outside plus-or-minus 16-percent can sound silly when doing a live set, but I wanted to push the bend beyond 16 a couple of times with the ambient piece I was working on and I couldn’t. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was a minor disappointment.
Finally, my regret is that I didn’t have any need to test the digital out.
All in all, I was very happy with the Gemini CD-240. It did everything I asked of it and never took a break. I was able to work it hard in various settings and it never hiccupped or asked for mercy. The thing that is so special and should make people sit up and notice is its suggested retail price of $799.95. Interested parties should be able to pick one up at a participating volume retailer for a couple hundred less.
Contact: Gemini Sound Products Corp. at 732-969-9000; www.geminidj.com