Gemini iKey review:

Gemini iKey

Recorded files are titled iKEY_mp3_0, iKEY_mp3_1, iKEY_wav_0, and so on. This means you can start and stop recording a bunch of times without overwriting your previous recordings. However, the iKey doesn't time-stamp the files, so you can't sort them by date.

Gemini offers firmware updates for the iKey so that the company can fix bugs and improve performance. However, the instructions on Gemini's site are flawed and won't work unless you rename the firmware file to iKEY_update before installing it; otherwise, the device won't recognize it.

Soundwise, the Gemini iKey has a serious issue. When we recorded pure silence with the device and listened to it on good headphones, we were able to detect some background noise. Sure enough, amplifying the "silent" recording by 50dB revealed a distinct clicking sound (listen here) that renders the device unsuitable for pro or semipro recording. The sound is fairly unnoticeable when obscured by music, but since this product is being marketed to people who possess good headphones and ears, the clicking is a definite factor. It occurred when we used a flash drive as the recording medium too, so the clicking was not caused by some sort of interference from our iPod's hard drive.

Gemini spokespeople acknowledged the problem, saying, "There is processor noise that occurs around -70dBFS, but the issue is only detectable when the audio signal being fed to the iKey is too low. During all musical programs recorded at an appropriate level, this clicking is virtually undetectable." We were glad to hear that the issue has been rectified in the next version of the product, the Gemini iKeyPlus, due for release this spring. iKeyPlus "will also feature a fully functional VU meter, a MIC input, and a phono preamp, for the direct connection of a turntable," and it sounds like a real powerhouse. We can't wait to check it out.

The Gemini iKey does not come with batteries included but can recharge four AAs internally when powered by the included AC adapter. The company claims four to five hours of battery life, but mileage will vary based on the batteries you use.

The device comes with a one-year warranty.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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