Like the standard Gemini 2, the Studio (a.k.a. GM-2-ST) is a stereo amplified guitar speaker cabinet designed especially for use with digital modelers and other software-based guitar systems. It faithfully reproduces modeled amps and cabs with minimal coloration, due to its super-clean and flat 220-watt class D amplifier and proprietary speakers. Two 1" high-frequency compression drivers with titanium diaphragms are coaxially mounted at the centers of a pair of 12" low frequency speakers, much like “time-aligned” professional studio monitors, resulting in broader dispersion of sound than conventional guitar speakers.
An additional advantage to the coaxial configuration is that because the highs and lows originate from a common point in space, “directly on-cone,” “off-axis,” and other traditional speaker-miking techniques may still be employed effectively. The cabinet itself is constructed of 3/4" void-free Baltic birch and covered in black Tolex and fitted with black hardware. A classic basket weave grille and white piping complete the elegant package.
On the rear panel are three inputs and one output. Input 1 is a combo connector that accepts mono signals via XLR or 1/4" TS, and stereo signals via 1/4” TRS (you’ll need a TRS-to-right/left TS insert cable to connect it to devices with individual right and left outputs). A Stereo R Out jack facilitates connecting two Gemini 2 Studio cabs in a single stereo or mono setup.
The Gemini 2 Studio also features a built-in USB digital audio interface with sampling rates up to 192kHz and 24 bits (USB cable included). You plug your instrument into the USB Guitar input for this purpose. And there’s even Bluetooth connectivity, which enables you to stream audio from your computer or handheld device for playback.
Additional controls include an AC/Panel Ground Type toggle switch, a Bluetooth activation button, and variable controls for output Level and Empower frequency response. The latter allows you to choose between flat response and more traditional guitar speaker and cab response.
As I expected, the Gemini 2 Studio sounded every bit as good with my PRS Custom 22 as the non-studio Gemini 2 that I’d previously borrowed for a gig at a small theater in San Francisco. After the show the FOH engineer commented that my guitar sound was possibly the best he had ever heard on his stage. A lot of that had to do with the many hours I spent programming sounds into my Fractal Audio Axe-FX II XL in the studio—but the Gemini 2 translated those sounds to the stage with stunning richness, depth, and clarity.
The Gemini 2 also sounded great in my studio except that its robust cooling fan was clearly audible in the ultra-quiet environment, making close miking problematic. Mission’s President Paul Shedden told me at the time that a “studio” version with more sophisticated grounding and a silent cooling system was coming, and that’s the Gemini 2 Studio reviewed here. It definitely solves the fan-noise problem, and is super quiet except for the popping sound it makes when you switch it on and off. At $1,899 it won’t be for everyone, but if you already own a high-end Fractal Audio, Line 6, Kemper, or other professional modeler, the Gemini 2 Studio makes the perfect companion.
GEMINI 2 STUDIO
PRICE $1,899 direct
CONTROLS Level, Empower, Mono/Stereo switch, Ground Type switch.
POWER 220 watts (into 8Ω)
EXTRAS USB and Bluetooth audio interface.
SPEAKER Two proprietary 1" high-frequency drivers and two 12" low-frequency drivers
WEIGHT 63 lbs
KUDOS Fabulous sound. Robust construction. Classy looks. Flexible signal routing and audio interface.
CONCERNS Makes a loud popping noise when turned on and off.