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Molex card reader, Xpresso clocks, JRC opamps; XMOS, ESS and Atmel silicon

When Xuanqian checked in with a FedEx tracker, I asked the hot question. "The 2000 runs quite warm and actually hot in the summer but the 50% lower output of the 1000 is perfectly normal. We did calculations to see that increasing the raw surface of the brass base would have precious little impact on temperature. Doubling size would only net a 5°C reduction. Perfectly useless. The only effective alas unacceptable solution would be a cooling fan. So we conducted a lot of feedback instead to conclude that most 2000 buyers will be dedicated headphone fans who are well informed about the realities of class A amplifier ownership. The Gemini 1000 model aims at regular 'civilian' users. By barely getting warm it shouldn't alarm them in the least. The 2000 does get from warm to hot but we've extensively tested all parts under prolonged 24/7 use to guarantee perfectly safe operation. Just be careful when touching the base after lengthy use." After a few hours the base did indeed get hot but less so than my FirstWatt SIT1 amps, hence nothing to fret over. The volume wheel remained unaffected entirely and the lower portion of the wooden stand only registered a mild increase.

Knowing of my habit to open up loaners for photography, he had this. "Please do not  try to open up this unit. Assembly requires special tools. Without them you'll never get it back together in one piece." On build quality, "I think you'll actually be shocked given our sell prices."

About the phone input, "I'm sad to report that Apple refused to give our newer firm a made-for-iOS license so our Gemini models might also serve as iDevice docks. We do however work with the latest Android devices. Those just require a special cable and software. We include an OTG cable for just such use which won't work as computer data cable but only with the Gemini. You also must have the USB Audio Recorder Pro software installed on your Android device so it can use us as the output device. The USB input works exactly as our Vega's. No driver is required for OSX. The Windows driver is here. Windows Vega users might have to reinstall the driver for Gemini. Remember that you can't connect Vega and Gemini to the same computer at the same time. The SD card reader can be used to carry the Windows driver with you to another host computer, no Internet connection required. Because Gemini 2000 is fully balanced, you can't use its 4-pin XLR and ¼" outputs simultaneously. With priority for the ¼" plug, once such a headphone inserts, the XLR output disconnects automatically. On the unbalanced Gemini 1000 both sockets can be used simultaneously.

"Our green or energy-saving function is the default. With no signal for 10 minutes the internal amplifier shuts itself off and power consumption drops by half. Any music signal will reawaken the unit within half a second. The ¼" jack syncs to this auto-on feature. Plugging in turns the unit on, unplugging your headphones again turns it off. To disable energy saving and headphone detection, press and hold the power button for about seven seconds when you turn on the unit. Once all LEDs on the base flash, energy saving is disabled. To reactivate, press and hold the power button for another seven seconds. Our shipping packaging is made of 100% recyclable materials and mostly already recycled paper. Even the glue contains no artificial chemicals. This costs us more than $10 but we think being green is well worth it."

Taking first casual impressions on the desktop streaming 320kbps Spotify+

On the card reader and its limitations: "It's just a card reader, not a digital player with control interface. The initial idea for an SD card reader was very simple. A card reader within Windows is plug'n'play. This meant that we could put the Windows driver and user manual inside the machine rather than provide a vintage driver CD and printed user's manual to save paper and be more environmentally friendly. Then we realized that it was a good idea to also provide sufficient storage so people could keep some music on the card. Now we upgraded the reader from SD to SDXC to support an eventual maximum of 2TB. Adding a card reader plus basic card added build cost about the equivalent to the savings of a printed user's guide and driver CD. But now you could also copy music to the card and bring it with Gemini to anywhere you travel. If you want to play music, you still need your computer, your software player like Audirvana Plus or JRiver and select us as your output device. You simply don't need to copy music to your computer. If we went a step further to add digital player functions inside the machine, it would not only increase our target retail by a lot but within the present dimensions we actually don't have space for it."
Quite a number of the 500+ parts mount to the underside of the board

On Gemini 2000 vs. Vega + Taurus MkII: "I think the 2000 is good enough for even serious listening. We call it a game changer because it's very beautiful and sonically no less than any other DAC/amp combo in its price range. How close it comes to our award-winning combo will much depend on which headphone you use. You obviously can't expect it to drive a HifiMan HE6. The essence of the Gemini concept is a chance to simplify your system without compromising the sound quality too much. I don't expect any real hardcore geeks to go after a Gemini model yet they will fit many other folks, even former audiophiles. I personally use a white/chrome Gemini in my home. It's replaced a Vega/Taurus2 combo plus a headphone stand. I now only take up 1/3rd the earlier space but it's doing a good job on my single-ended Grado PS1000 - perfectly fine for my own home use."