Comparing this Gemini to its most likely competitor (the Audio-Technica AT-LP120X) as an audiophile turntable (non-DJ), the Audio-Technica has a better cartridge, more features (like a dust cover) and better build quality. The AT also has lower wow & flutter (0.20%) versus...
Comparing this Gemini to its most likely competitor (the Audio-Technica AT-LP120X) as an audiophile turntable (non-DJ), the Audio-Technica has a better cartridge, more features (like a dust cover) and better build quality. The AT also has lower wow & flutter (0.20%) versus the Gemini (0.25%, from the manual). The Gemini does have on-the-fly tonearm height adjustment, though.
Comparing them as DJ turntables, the Gemini claims to have "higher torque," and it does get up to speed almost instantaneously (though it momentarily overshoots, then takes a moment to stabilize), plus it has a brake, stopping the platter the instant you hit the Pause button. Stomping on my hardwood floor while the Gemini was playing had no effect – the arm didn''t skip and I could detect no woofer movement. Impressive. Audio-Technica, on the other hand, eliminated some DJ features when they updated the AT-120 to the AT-120X, so it isn''t as suited to DJing as the Gemini.
The Gemini manual gives minimal instructions for set-up, though assembly should go smoothly if you''re familiar with this type of turntable. Tip: you have to line up the two ''tits'' on the bottom of the platter with two of the holes to get it to drop onto the spindle. During assembly, I noticed the fit & finish was ''meh'' – the headshell did not screw into the arm smoothly (the AT''s is like butter), the anti-skate knob turns coarsely, the felt mat fit loosely on the platter, etc. The arm, though, moves smoothly, and the bearings have no play. The cartridge was installed all the way forward in the headshell and needed aligning. No tracking force was specified, and the cartridge (looks like a variant of the AT-91) has no model number, so I set it to 2 grams, the maximum mark on the counterweight (and the recommended setting for the AT-91). This may change as I get more info.
The Gemini has a bypassable phono preamp via a switch on the rear. The on/off switch is also on this same small recessed panel, which is a little annoying for home use (not as part of a DJ set-up). There''s also no spot to store the 45 adapter, as with the AT. According to the strobe, my unit runs a hair fast; I have to use the pitch control (slider) to get it to exactly 33.33. There''s presumably an internal adjustment to correct this, but it probably should''ve left the factory dead on. I''m familiar with the AT-91 cartridge, which is a rugged and good-sounding cartridge, a good choice for this Gemini, but there are better (albeit less rugged) options for audiophile use. It depends on how you want to use the unit. The AT-VM95E cartridge on the AT-120X is a better-sounding cartridge, but not as suited to DJ use.
I swapped it out for the turntable in my main system (Technics SL-7), turned it on, and it was reasonably quiet with no record on. I played a familiar album, and the overall sound was good. The budget AT cartridge doesn''t of course have the refined treble of a high end cartridge, but it has good, solid bass and a pleasant midrange. I consider it the least expensive high fidelity cartridge out there. I also played some classical piano (which is unforgiving in revealing speed instability) and it sounded quite good, with no obvious pitch changes. Loud passages didn''t distort. I could be happy with this Gemini as my main turntable.
For audiophile use, or to digitize your LPs, I''d go for the AT 120X, but if you want/need DJ features (like the brake, near-instant startup, and that impressive imperviousness to external vibration), the Gemini is the better choice. It''s a good-sounding table overall.