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Gemini BPM-250

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1 Review

3 channels;
gain controls;
Headphone crossfader;
booth output;
mic with talkover;
switchable LED's;
bass, mid, and treble kills;
BPM counter

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      27.01.2001 05:52
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      This is the mixer that I currently have set up in my bedroom. I only bought it three days ago, and what with the exams and various other deadlines that I have had to make this week, I have not had much chance to have a good play with it yet. I managed to have one good two hour session with it, and I was suitably impressed with it's performance. As I say, I've probably not used it enough to form a full opinion yet, but I will give my first impressions of it from the limited use I have gotten out of it so far. Basically, what you have in the BPM 250 is a Gemini PS-626 with added features - i.e. BPM counters on the two main channels of the three available (that's channels two and three) and a beat offset indicator that gives you a visual indication of how well the beats from your various source are aligned. There is a series of seven lights above the crossfader, which become active when the two tunes you have running come within 11 BPM of each other. The outer red lights indicate that the tune is badly out of sync, the yellow lights in from that light when the tunes are almost in sync, and the centre green light comes on when the tunes are perfectly synchronised. The BPM counters on each channel also give a visual indication of how well channels two and three are matched, as you simply want the same number to show in each window. Now, a word of warning for anyone who's thinking about buying one of these to do the mixing for them - don't. The BPM counters and beat offset lights are excellent tools, but they're there in addition to your ears, they don't replace them, and if you end up trusting the readings more than you trust your ears, then you're probably going to wind up in trouble. I've found that the BPM counters help me to set the pitch far more quickly than before, as I can simply adjust the pitch fader of the tune being cued until it roughly matches the val
      ue shown on the counter for the live tune, and then I can go inside my earphones to tune it in perfectly. This leaves me more time to think about setting up the levels and more time to think about the placement of my mix, and if only for that I like this mixer. You should be aware though that the BPM counters are not 100% accurate. They do float a little when the beat patterns change, and they aren't in real time as it were, they only update every two seconds. Also - they don't go down to the decimal place, so you have to be aware that the value given could be rounded up or down to the nearest whole beat. The beat offset indicator is really good (at least so far!) but it can float a little like the BPM counters. They key as I say is not to trust the mixer ahead of your ears. There have been times that I nailed the beats perfectly, but the mixer said I was out of time. This is a pretty rare occurrence though. I think the beat-keeping functions would work even better if I was using decks with quartz control though, as that is how the counters work primarily. I will soon be taking delivery of some PT-1000's though, which do have quartz control, so I will maybe update this opinion when I have them hooked up to the BPM-250, and I will come and write about the PT-1000 too. Now, let's talk about the other functions of this mixer. There are three channels, with the crossfader controlling channels two and three. Channel one works on the channel fader only, and doubles up as the mic control. Channel one will accept either a mic plugged into the front face of the mixer, or a phono or line source in the multi-input on the rear panel. Channels two and three have two sets of inputs for both phono and line, and all channels are switchable, so you can connect a maximum of five sources to the mixer with up to three of them active at any one time. All three channels have a decent three ba
      nd EQ, with gain, low mid and high for each channel. There is a full -26 decibel kill on each range on each channel, which I haven't played with a lot yet, so I can't comment too much on the quality of those yet. The cuts also go up to +12db. There are outputs for master, booth, and recording, and the sound quality of the output is pretty good. The cueing section is very comprehensive, and consists of a set of buttons used to select or deselect each source you want to listen to through the headphones. (So you can include channel 1, 1&2, 1,2&3, 1&3, or whatever as part of the cued signal) and there is also a good headphone mix that allows you to vary how much of the live signal you hear in addition to the combinations on the actual cue itself. One of the best things about this mixer though is the ability to switch what the dual LED display is showing you at any time. By pressing a button on the display panel, you can choose to see either the left and right output signal strength, or the individual incoming signal strength of channels two and three. This allows you to adjust the gain control on each channel to visually match up the levels. I can't really find a bad word to say about this mixer at the moment. For the level I am at right now, it is absolutely perfect, and I think that only a professional working seriously in a club environment could want more. (and that's not me.... well, maybe some day eh? we can all dream....) Some people say that the eq's are too close together on the Gemini range, but I haven't had that problem. I have quite small fingers though, so maybe it's something to watch out for if you have big fingers.

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