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Gemini iKey Portable USB Recording Device

3.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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  • Record live DJ mixes or Karaoke performances
  • Sample DVD or CD audio
  • Record audio directly to an MP3 Player hard drive
  • Record speeches & seminars
  • Convert MiniDisc recordings to MP3 & WAV
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Product Description

The iKey is a revolutionary concept in portable recording that allows you to capture any performance anywhere! It uses commonly available USB drives as it media, so finding storage solutions is a breeze. Hook up your external USB drive to record your DJ set or live performance straight off your mixer's RCA outs. Or plug in a "flash" or "thumb" drive for a truly compact and portable recording solution. And unlike other "portable" recorders who use their own file format, iKey uses standard uncompressed WAV or various MP3 rates - no conversion needed! An LED indicator tells you how much space is left on your target drive. Runs on batteries or included power supply. It has RCA stereo inputs and a level control with clip indicator. Features: USB Port (For direct connectivity to supported USB Storage Device) Compatible with USB 2.0/1.1/1.0 devices Records audio to uncompressed WAV format or MP3 format (w/ selectable bit rate, up to 256kbps) Gold plated RCA inputs LED Indicator shows memory remaining on target drive Battery powered w/ low battery indicator DC charger input for use with rechargeable batteries (Requires 4 AA batteries, not included) Level clip indicator Record volume control Reset button AC adaptor included

Product Information

Product Dimensions 9.9 x 8.3 x 4 inches
Item Weight 1.6 pounds
Shipping Weight 1.8 pounds
Domestic Shipping Item can be shipped within U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
ASIN B000BBGCJQ
Item model number iKEY
Customer Reviews
3.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #219,248 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
#116 in Musical Instruments > Recording Equipment > Multitrack Recorders > Digital
Date first available at Amazon.com April 2, 2004

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Customer Reviews

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I bought this thing a few weeks ago (actually, reading that ikey-plus just got announced for the ridiculous price of $279 msrp, i'm glad i found mine on amazon.com for $109) and it's functional for what it's made to do. Depending on your applications, if you're just looking for a straight device that will allow you to record any audio material like your DJ mixes or in my test case, audio from the TV, it's fine for those who don't want to drag their laptop or a long cable from their desktop to hook up to the audio source. Agreed, it's not going to impress audiophiles, but the signal to noise ratio isn't that bad. If the signal is loud enough, then noise can be negligable in most cases. I actually prefer this method of recording now than when I used MiniDiscs for a few reasons. Recording times are greatly lenghthened with this unit in that it's not hard to find USB drives nowadays. I have a 512mb stick which will yield about 8 hours recording time at the highest mp3 setting. I was happy back in the day to even get two hours recording time out of my MiniDisc. I plan to get a 2 gig USB Flash Drive so I'll have 20+ hours recording time, which of course is overkill. Some reviews have talked about the signal to noise ratio or even hum from the recording after it's made. Like I said before, if the signal is loud enough it's negligible. When I used MiniDiscs (which sad to say mine's probably gonna sit in its case collecting dust now that I have a new way to record) I would sometimes get hum/noise if the signal was too low on top of the fact that I could also sometimes hear slight nuances of the motor (something you might hear also if you ever recorded to cassette). It was so annoying to hear that as I faded out a mix. Now I can just concentrate on reducing the hum or noise using editing software.Read more ›
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This is a very limited device. As such, I haven't had any problems with it, but its limitations have proven too much for me. Without being able to attach headphones and monitor my input, I really can't use it unfortunately. I imagine under more controlled settings than I usually work in, you could figure out exactly where your vu meters have to be in order to get a good sound into this device, so I think this would probably be good for recording at home, where you can leave it plugged in and set to the same levels.

I am right now using it to record from a cassette to mp3, and plugged into my stereo tape deck, I can imagine using it like this a lot. I have not been able to attach it to a hard drive, so I have only used it with a usb2 compact flash reader and a 1gb card, and generally successfully. But again, the only way to know if you are really getting the sound right is to stop recording, remove the card or whatever, and plug it into something that does play it, like a computer. And I have one next to my stereo, so I can do that if I want.

For field recording I have found this to be too much of an impediment. I am however enthused about trying the ikey plus, as soon as it is available at your usual online retailers like Amazon here (Just released apparently, and has a mic input and a headphone out.) I will probably sell this one as soon as I can get the plus model.

********************************

This added much later. I have since sold it and gotten the iKey Plus, and am very pleased with it, at least for the few times I have used it. Not only does the iKey Plus add several key functionalities, but improves on the ones already present. But the absolutely crucial feature of being able to monitor your input is what really made the difference. I'll probably give the Plus model a favorable review in a few more weeks, unless I encounter some major glitch.
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This thing is great for what it is supposed to do. It will record from an inline device, like Cassette, Turntable, etc. Think of old audio and this as another "new" recording device like a new casette deck or a "New" 8-track recorder (showing my age).

It is very limitied in what it does, but what it does works well and is quite simple.

The biggest problem I have with it is remembering if I have it on "record" or not. The other problem is also have the record level set up correctly. Too low and you get nothing and too high and the signal is distorted. The manual states that it is better to record too low than to record too high and I agree. I have found that taping the dial to the best setting from the previous time works best so all your recordings from the same type source are all at the same sound level.

I then take the USB drive out and connect to my PC and dump the mp3 files or wav files into my hard drive and then edit using Music CD Recorder by databecker. You can use any audio editing/recording software like cakewalk pro, etc.

Gemini has a plus edtion that provides more functions and less "blind" type recording, but all in all this little device delivers what it promises. You can't monitor what you're recording and you can't check it (playback) until you have a PC to connect it to. I think everyone of the bad reviews are from people who might have expected too much or didn't read and comprehend the directions in the owners manual.

I use this at my Karaoke shows to record singers and then later burn a CD of their own singing as a little gift of appreciation for them coming out and helping to draw a crowd (I do this for the "good" singers", not the Scary-oke singers).
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