AMPEG GEMINI's -Educate me

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by cray2008, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. cray2008

    cray2008 Member

    Messages:
    260
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Need an amp with more power than 15 watts. Was looking at a 60s Gemini II. What are the differences in the Gemini line? Do any of these break up earlier than others? Thanks
     
  2. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,699
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Golden Valley, AZ
    I can't say much about the others but my first amp was a mid 60's Gemini ll. It was big, it was loud, I was never able to make it break up with an ES330 or ES335, but I never tried patching channels; I've since read, that can get some breakup. It's got a 15" speaker, alnico I think, it has a sound like nothing else I've played, and the reverb was glorious. Though loud as hell, I think it was only 30+ watts. Actually, big would describe the sound better than loud.

    A friend and band member played a small 10" speaker version, and when he left jazz to play rock, it saturated completely. Can't say I cared much for that sound.
     
  3. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

    Messages:
    16,126
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Location:
    NJ...GSP135
    Here we go:

    All Gemini amps have a big cab. It changed dimensionally a bit over the life of the "Galaxy" line's life, but not a lot.

    Gemini I....model# G-12...20W, 2 channels, 12" speaker, cathode bias
    Gemini II....model# G-15...30W, 2 channels, 15" speaker, fixed bias
    Gemini IV....model# GS-12*...20W, 1 channel, but with 4 inputs, 12" speaker...never marketed, extremely rare. Cathode bias
    Gemini VI....model# GS-15R...30W, 1 channels, 12" speaker, 15" speaker, fixed bias

    * Note that model # GS-12 was very soon to be re-used for the "Rocket2"....20W, 1 channel, 12" speaker, small cabinet.

    And, of course, the GS-12R was the companion, R indicating Reverb.

    Hope that helps,
     
  4. cray2008

    cray2008 Member

    Messages:
    260
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Sound wise does the cathode vs fixed bias do anything? Or is it just easier to replace tubes, etc?
     
  5. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

    Messages:
    16,126
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Location:
    NJ...GSP135
    During this time, Ampeg used only 2 different PT's and 2 different OTs.....making 20W amps and 30W amps.

    They are what they are...

    ...the method of biasing is the designer's choice based on many parameters; comparing the 30 watters to the 20 watters will reveal differences, but those differences are all part of the amps' designs as a whole, and shouldn't be attributed to the bias method solely.

    Is it "easier" to replace tubes on a cathode-biased amp? That's a non-starter, IMO. Just because an amp is biased with a cathode resistor doesn't always mean that the resistor is the right value, especially with the inconsistencies in modern tubes. Many times, the value of the resistor in a cathode-biased amp needs to be changed to get the tubes operating as they should.
     
  6. cray2008

    cray2008 Member

    Messages:
    260
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Do the 20/30 watt geminis all sonically sound similar? I realize the 30 is more watts? I am looking at a gemini 2 for a little more power to use live. I have a 20watt 60s guild amp i have been using and its not powerful enough. Thanks
     
  7. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

    Messages:
    16,126
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Location:
    NJ...GSP135
    The 30W models sound bigger....yes.
     
  8. telewacker

    telewacker Member

    Messages:
    2,265
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    The Gemini I breaks up a lot more and very nicely. Beautiful cleans, but not like a Fender. Outstanding reverb and trem. Much more useful amp than the Gemini II imo and I've had both, as well as Reverberockets and a couple of other models. The Gemini I was my favorite closely followed by the Reverberocket.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  9. The Dirty Tube

    The Dirty Tube Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Location:
    A Child's Garden of Glass
    Yep, Gemini 1, 2, 4, and 6, right?

    But let's not forget the Gemini 12.

    I've owned both a 1967 Gem 2 and a 1969 Gem 12... but I still have the Gemini 12.

    It's true that the Gemini 2 does not distort, even at max. Mine had a stock Oxford speaker.

    I was not happy with my '67 "Pointer Knob" Gemini 2. I felt like it was, as expected, a "Jazz" amp and not much more than that. Maybe it could do Surf well? But I'm convinced that jazz was basically all she could do well. Great amp, but sort of a one-and-a-half-trick-pony. Sold it and never regretted it.

    Now, the Gemini 12 on the other hand... I will take this amp to my grave. For my sound, this amp is near perfect.

    I'll echo Mark Norwine's sentiment about cab size. I haven't crunched the numbers, but the Gemini 12's cab houses one 12" speaker and it may possibly be larger than my Twin Reverb.

    Gemini's are loud amps. Every Ampeg I've heard is a freaking loud amp, and Ampeg has always had a reputation for building loud amps.

    Not sure how many watts the Gemini 12 is, but it sounds like Ampeg squeezed every ounce of power out of these tubes, and genuine vintage 7591 tubes can be a truly unique and magical experience.

    My Gemini 12:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. soldersucker

    soldersucker Member

    Messages:
    2,390
    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    I have a very large extensive vintage collection and the Gemini 1 is in my top three amps period.
    I've owned a minty Gemini 2 and also own a 65 Reverberocket and didn't like it as much as the 1's all 1966's.
    About as loud as a Deluxe reverb but bigger sounding due to the better designed cab.
     
  11. RockinRob

    RockinRob Member

    Messages:
    989
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2013
    Two years ago I found a Gemini VI at a garage sale for $40. The cab and speaker were ruined. I was intrigued so salvaged it and made a head shell for it. I gotta tell you, it was the best find ever. I own Marshalls, Soldano and vintage fenders, and this thing has a sound all it's own. Even cranked, it won't break up much, but put a tele through it and you have classic Keith Richards tone. And a tele with a dynacomp is pure twang heaven. I adore it.
     
  12. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    I have a '65 Gemini I (purchased from Telewacker) :)
    I always run it with both channels bridged for added gain.
    Beyond dream verb and tremolo, each channel has a switch built into the treble pots
    to engage top boost. From Stones to Beatles to Spy Surfer, to smokey blues, I love this amp!
    A tight detailed high efficiency driver is highly recommended.
    I'm running a Fane AXA12 in mine.

    Here camera mic only.



    Top Boost Engaged, channels bridged.
    She breaks up with volume at like 9:30, well under half volume with channels bridged.
    Most people who try them totally miss the top boost on the treble controls.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  13. The Dirty Tube

    The Dirty Tube Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Location:
    A Child's Garden of Glass
    I haven't done an A-B comparison with a Deluxe Reverb, but I'm certain the Gemini 12 can blow away the Deluxe Reverb.

    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the Gemini 12 is pushing 30 watts. Perhaps, like the Gemini 2, Ampeg did a really good job of making usable (clean) watts out of their amps.
     
  14. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    I'm pretty close to 30 watts bridged with mine.

    WAY more Mojo than any DR I've ever heard.

    Mine is running 7591s with a 12AX7 preamp section, all hand wired.

    The 6Ls7 versions are less aggressive.
     
  15. jcs

    jcs Member

    Messages:
    7,440
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Location:
    on a hill
    Mine is a 67 Gemini II....the schematic says "6L6GC" but it is wired "7591" which is a different pinout.

    I don't know what the stock speaker was but I have tried many 15's and it DRAMATICALLY changed with different speakers.

    Some speakers have much quicker breakup....currently, it has an Eminence Legend 15 which is a Jensen C15N copy of sorts....I REALLY liked it thru my original 1957 Jensen P15N....did NOT like it thru an EV15L at all, way too hi-fi sounding.
     
  16. sharpshooter

    sharpshooter Member

    Messages:
    3,289
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Used a DR for many years, with an Altec 417, it's now gone. The replacement, a '66 Gem I, with either the Altec, or the JBL K-120 will blow away the DR, (the original Jensens are to valuable to risk blowing).
    The Baxandall tone stack on the Gems is far more interactive/versital than anything Fender has ever had, and with a smoother reverb.
    Yeah, the Gem II will get pretty loud without much break-up,, the Gem I will go into an "over easy" break-up,, Those Ampegs have quite high input impedence, and not a lot of pre-amp gain, but the power sections really sing.
     
  17. zenas

    zenas Member

    Messages:
    5,970
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    I've got a Gemini GV-22 looks just like The Dirty Tube's amp. Pair of 6L6s and I forget what else. Don't think it's got a compactron tube like my Rocket II. (same style cab)
    Been getting into the early 6V6 Reverberockets lately. The two newer amps ain't bad though but heavy as a Twin Reverb.
     
  18. bratch

    bratch Member

    Messages:
    857
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I will echo (wink) what others have said:

    They can sound very big in tip top shape ... But they are big, is the thing. They are the size of a super reverb, nearly, even the gem I's.

    I always thought they didn't have enough volume. That was until I put an efficient ceramic speaker in one. The speaker makes a huge difference.

    The reverb is cool, but it's wired in front of the preamp, iirc, so it sounds different from the classic fender amp verb.

    The Easter eggs are cool (the aforementioned volume knob click, but also the trem knob clicks to get a nice stuttery chop).

    They are not substitutes for deluxes or supers or anything; definitely have their own thing.
     
  19. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,699
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Golden Valley, AZ
    Interesting. Probably accounts for the earthquake-like ka-boom! each time the amp was moved while on.
     
  20. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,699
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Golden Valley, AZ
    I think it bears mentioning that the Gem ll wasn't designed for the new rock era but filled the bill for weddings, bar mitzvahs and similar occasions, with an accordion input jack and three others, as said, and most of the sound coming from power amp rather the gain of a preamp. Sort of like a '59 Bassman in that respect. Heck, everyone who came over our place plugged into that thing for our jams. A jazz purist friend said he preferred them because you hear the guitar more than the sound of the amp. I think that's pretty accurate.

    It wasn't the sound I was looking for but I was a total newbie, and the mom & pop store had one and spoke highly of it, so it went home with me. It was a dog to carry around to jams and rehearsals. Cool as it was, can't say I've ever missed it. I'd have been happier with a Princeton Reverb.
     

Share This Page