VIDEO REVIEW: Gemini MS-USB Portable PA
The Gemini MS-USB Portable PA System is a 100 watt (peak/50W RMS) PA with a 5” woofer and 1” tweeter that delivers big sound in a small package with lots of great extra features.
Let’s start with the playback section. As the name implies, the MS-USB allows you to playback mp3 backing tracks from a USB drive or an SD card, which is a great feature. The built-in LCD screen displays all the important information you need including the track name and number and realtime place in the track. An scroll/search knob allows you to page through your tracks to find what you’re looking for before playing it, making for truly professional playback from the USB/SD side.
The playback section also includes cue, reverse, pitch bend and pitch control buttons and a loop section which allows you to repeat either a particular musical passage or a section of an mp3. That’s obviously a great feature that could be used in lots of different ways, from rehearsing a particular section with the band, or working with students on one particular phrase.
You can also plug in a standard mp3 player or any other kind of music delivery device using the RCA inputs on the back of the unit.
Mic, Mic Connections
We found that the mic that came included with the unit would be best for either DJs or speech applications, but the MS-USB PA comes with two inputs to connect pro vocal microphones, including an XLR balanced mic input (combo version with the 1/4” input in the center), and instrument/mic input. Both inputs come with their own gain control knob. Karen tested hers with a Shure SM58 plugged into the instrument/mic input and with a Shure wireless unit connected to the XLR input. The wireless didn’t work well in the instrument/mic input, but that’s to be expected since it isn’t balanced and not the best choice for higher end pro mics.
This unit is really built well and is rugged enough to stand up to regular gigging. The case itself is heavy duty aluminum so it is durable without being heavy, weighing it at only 28 pounds. The wheels are durable and the telescoping handle is much like those found on good quality luggage. Other great features include a pole mount receptacle on the bottom and a “Link Output” in order to daisy chain two PAs together for an instant stereo system.
The MS-USB’s sound quality is really excellent - especially considering the size of the unit. It easily filled a small room and would fit right in at a coffeehouse gig, church meeting room, private party, small outdoor gig, or company picnic. DJs would definitely want another speaker in order to really achieve stereo quality, but the overall sound out of the unit is truly impressive given its size.
Another awesome feature is the rechargeable battery which charges up completely in 4 hours and runs for roughly 12, making it a great choice for outdoor events where power could be either questionable or absent all together.
We thought that acoustic performing artists, singers who use mostly tracks, DJs who want an extra light portable system for small events, teachers, and music schools who need a small recital system would love the Gemini. It’s a great little unit packed with a lot of new features not found in other small PA units.
Check out the video to hear it!
I have been living with the Gemini MS-USB portable PA system for a couple of months and have found it to be a really great little machine! The Gemini unit is 100 watts and can function on just the battery. Amazing! Perfect for street and atmosphere performers who do not have easy access to electrical outlets.
There is a pitch control function that works very well. In one of my band rehearsals, we had an issue where the piano was not in tune and the pitch control adjusted the pitch of the track and we able to continue our rehearsal within only a few moments. Adding an external reverb unit for additional sound control would be an easy thing to do with the line in on the back of the unit. There is a line out for daisy chaining to another speaker which would really increase the amount of sound output. Or, you could add an instrument, plug in your mic, fire up the USB for your tracks and wham! You are a one-man-band!
What's inside the box? The Gemini (which has a handle and wheels built onto the unit), a manual to help with complete set up, all necessary cords and a microphone. The included microphone is probably more in line with consumer use or for speaking.
My personal use of the Gemini included practice for my students at my voice studio and rehearsals for myself. This is a great choice for performers on a budget!