Pros - Double headed cable; Seprate data line from supply line; it allows to supply an usb dac with external battery or power supply instead of pc's usb
Cons - Pricy
I want to thanks Vincent from IFI who has sent me the sample for the review.
In the past, on my site www.stereo-head.it and on head fi, I’ve already reviewed some IFI’s electronics and i have always loved it, but in this review we won’t be talking about one of their electronics but we will be talking about one of their cables, the Gemini usb cable. The Gemini cable’s distinctive characteristic is that is a double-headed cable with the 5 volt supply conductor separated from the data conductor, so you will have a type B usb connector which will stay in the dac and two type A usb connectors on the other side, one for the data and one for the supply. The cable is designed for work at his best with the IFI iUSB which have a separated data and power usb output but it can be used also with other equipment’.
The Gemini’s building is really spectacular, especially for the all aluminium usb connector.
The connectors are all made in alluminium so they look like the other IFI electronics. As I said previously the dac connector is a type B connector with the IFI trade on it printed in black and on the other end of the cable we found two type A connector, one for the data and on for the 5 V supply. On the type A connector are printed mark: on the data connector there is note and on the supply connector there is a battery with a thunder icon inside.
In the box there is also a type A > mini usb adapter for the dac which use this connector. Starting from the type A connector are two separate cables so the data and the supply travel without interfence and disturbance. The cables are covered with black weave and they are keep together by three black plastic blocks with the IFI trade in white on it. This allows the user to regulate the distance between the two cables and to manage it easily. In spite of his dimension the Gemini is very flexible, like a normal usb cable.
The first use that came to my mind when i received the cable is with the IFI iUSB which use two separeted usb output for supply and data, but it can be used also in another way: for example you can supply the dac with an external usb battery with the connector connected to the battery and the data connector connected to your pc or you can connect the power connector to a wall usb power supply like the one it used for smartphone so the dac will receive a clean 5 v supply instead of the low quality 5 V from the pc. The Gemini it can be used also with dacs that have a supplied usb receiver by connecting only the data side and avoid all the disturbance from the supply conductor. In the packing there also a nice black travel bag with the IFI logo printed in gold.
How it sound
Obviously the most important characteristic of the cable is it’s particular design that keeps separate the data from the supply line. The benefits from swap from dirty PC’s 5 V to a clean 5 V from a dedicated supply or from a battery are heavier than any cable change. With a clean 5V all the usb supplied dac and trasport improved a lot, especially in bass range and in details and with the IFI Gemini this operation it’s very simple. Also the dac with a supplied usb receiver perform better because with a data only cable there isn’t any disturbance from the supply line that usually is near to the data line in normal cable. Also in this case the detail is better and the sound becomes more musical.
The IFI Gemini is a very good usb cable. With this cable it easy to provide a better supply for the usb dac with a simple usb battery or a wall power supply. I’ve found a good improvement also with usb supplied dac that take advantege from the absence of a supply line in the cable. The buil quality it’s fantastic, especially the beautiful connector.