iFi Gemini USB cable

This is a review for the iFi Gemini, which came with my AMR DP777 purchase. iFi is a sub-brand of AMR, offering more affordable products than the high end tier ones, which stay under the brand of AMR. There is some mistery surrounding the iFi Gemini, due to the relative youth of the product. Impressions are generally good, but by researching the web I couldn’t really make a proper idea about its sound, something which triggered my curiosity.

The Gemini is one of the usb cables with the best look and feel I have owned. It’s flexible, not excessively big, and it has sliding plates which help keeping it straight.

I have been testing it on the AMR, mainly against the Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy dual conduit cable; I have also done some head to head comparisons with the JCAT usb cable, from Jplay, but I am still testing that one and I will add some comparisons on its own review.

iFi Gemini USB

Test Gear:

– Source: AMR DP-777
– Speaker system: upgraded Meitner MTR-101 power monoblocks, custom preamplifier, Mordaunt Short Performance 6 speakers
– Headphone systems: Modified SRM-001 (baby) Stax amplifier and SR-001 Mk2 in-earspeakers; CKKIII and Etymotic ER4

Cable structure:

The Gemini, as suggested by its latin name, is a twin cable, like the RAL, the Forza Audioworks, the Acoustic Revive SP-1.0.
As usual, the main goal of such designs is to isolate the 5V power line from the data line and provide a cleaner data transfer, so to keep jitter under control.

The Gemini has a slimmer, more flexible profile than the RAL and is much easier to position. My source is currently a desktop pc running Windows Server 2012, with Foobar2000/Jplay 5.2 combo.

iFi Gemini

Sound Impressions and Insight:

Going from a ‘standard’, cheap usb cable to the Gemini shows an obvious increase in spatial detail and depth of imaging, and sense of bass precision and control. The sound becomes more coherent and the image feels like having more contrast.
I mainly focused in comparing the Gemini to the RAL, as the comparison yelds more interest to me.
They are quite different in their presentation. The Gemini is darker, having slightly less upper midrange than the RAL, but both are on par as far as microdetail retrieval goes.Compared to the RAL, it also has slightly less powerful bass. With the RAL, the feel of being reached by the performance is stronger, as the bass transients manage to connect the listener more closely. The Gemini, in this department, is slightly more refrained.

The main quality of the Gemini is its strange blend of microdetail resolution and darkish sound. I find it interesting and makes it for a better listening than, for example, the Forza Audioworks in certain setups. It reminds me of the Acoustic Revive cable, although I should do a head to head comparison.
For a price that’s overall affordable, the Gemini offers many of the qualities of more expensive offerings, such as the very clean background, a very high level of clarity and spatial detail retrieval, only really lacking some in bass extension and feeling a bit too smoothered.