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Gear Review




 Tech On The Road

 Sid Vanderpool Publisher/Editor

Gemini CD-240 Dual Compact Disc Player

We have here the new Gemini CD-240 cd player with the 20 second anti-skip. With a smooth gloss black finish, this is a classy looking piece. For the past month, I have been personally using it for gigs and find the features refreshing compared to other decks in the same price point.

In the real world
At weddings, I could play the lazy DJ and pop in two dinner music cds, press the "Robo Start" button, and sit back, relax, socialize with guests, and take requests to play later, eat dinner, etc. I discovered, being a one man show, that this is a handy feature that can be used for other things. Try cueing up "Hot, hot hot" on the A deck and the "Chicken Dance" on the B deck. You are on the floor leading the conga into a circle and bang; you automatically get the next interactive without leaving the floor. The "Robo Start" gives you true instant start so things blend together perfectly.

Another nice feature I found was the "Auto cue to music" feature. This button gives this professional deck something that before was only available in consumer decks, the ability to cue music by just typing in the track number. This feature will also pause the track when it reaches the end.

New to Gemini
Some changes I have seen Gemini include in this model are a Time setting that stays where you set it. On past Gemini decks, you would have to reset the Time with every disc you played. As with the Auto Cue, the Time button stays set until you shut the unit off. The new +10 button was also a real help when I played drops from my Show Enhancer cds. I went from 0 to 91 in 9 clicks.

Time is running out
A minute is left on the A deck clock and you dig into your music to find that perfect song to play next and out of the corner of you eye, you see something flashing. You glance over and it's the LCD screen on the deck that is playing-the time is down to 20 seconds. Time is running out. It may not be needed all the time, but it came in handy at least once during the night. The new larger LCD screen gives a full read out of how many tracks, time, what mode the deck is in, what pitch, and even flashes at 20 seconds, and faster at 15 seconds to tell you to find that disc and get it in now!

Beat mixing?
I do not do a whole lot of beat mixing, so I cannot compare this deck to others I have used. I can tell you though, it does have what might be the fastest instant start in the history of the pro cd players; this is due in part to the fact that it is accessing the music that is on the memory chip first, then going to the cd. The Pitch control seemed ballsy with three types of pitch to chose from, and as I mentioned, the LCD display giving you a readout of the percent of pitch you are set at. The jog knob consists of two parts; the outside ring that skips forward or back at a hefty pace, and the inside wheel that is used for frame accurate cueing. This is the same type of jog knob system I have used in professional Panasonic video editing decks, which is way cool.

The real skip
On to the fun part. Ever play in a parade? I did. The ultimate test of a cd players anti-skip is being on the back of a pickup truck in a parade. The parade was 5 miles long and I only had one skip and that was when our generator lost power for a second. We took speed bumps doing Mambo #5 and pot holes doing the Limbo without a skip, pop, hiss, jump, bump, or pause in the music. This takes me back to the best man doing the back flip into one of our jock's system. If he only had this then.

Some bells and whistles I did not use include the cue point buttons and the Auto Cue Continue, but one of these days I will find a purpose for them.

Under the hood

First of all, do not try this! It WILL void your warranty.
In removing the cover of the deck unit, I am faced with a clean layout. Two Sony professional cd transports are staring me in the face. A closer look reveals a surprising amount of surface-mount technology. This is a more expensive way, but more nineties way to build electronics by using smaller more efficient components mounted on the surface of the PC boards without drilling holes. It makes for a cleaner look and better stability of the components. Checking the PC boards, I found their machining and pathways to have a professional layout and clean solder joints.

Heat is always a problem for electronics and most heat comes from the power supplies on cd players. Since the 80's, component manufacturers have built-in protection for power supply chips that will thermally shut them down when they get over heated. You could not miss the power supply chip on the CD-240. It had the 3"x4" aluminum finned heat-sink attached. A great step for those times you are playing in extreme heat conditions like in Florida, Brazil, etc.

I would say 80% of the CD-240's weight comes from the steel case it is housed in. With this unit in a rack, you have almost 10 inches and 14 lbs. hanging on the front plate. That weight can double and triple if the rack is dropped. To prevent damage and any misalignments, Gemini has seen fit to make the front plate from a double steel plate and place extra "L- wings" on the sides for support.

Application: DJ
No. of Decks: 2
No. of CDs: 1
Pitch Adjustment Range: 16 %
Pitch Bend Range: 16 %
Output Connector Type 1: RCA Output Connector Type 2: Digital
No. of Rack Spaces: 4
Auto Cue?: Yes
Beat Counter?: No
Weight: 14.5 Pounds
Width: 19 Inches
Height: 7 Inches
Depth: 10 Inches






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