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"Module version of S2 workstation adding turbo optional and more separate outputs"

 In details 

KEYBOARD rackmount 4 units, main panel features a 240 x 64 pixels display and a internal floppy disk HD 3.5” formatted at special 1,62 Mb proprierary file system.  No SCSI, no Hard disk can be installed.

PERFORMANCE GEM MIOS is a multi-thread Kernel which manages 16 parts with individual settings:
 Midi channel assign, dynamic zone split, pitch tune, stereo panning , microtonal control 10 scale presets + 4 users. Midi CC# are supported but MIOS cannot handle extended Midi Sysex.

 Back panel terminal connectors: 
1- double Midi interface 2x IN 2X OUT 2x THRU
2- 4 AUX analog outs  
3- main signal out  
4- volume pedal input  
5- 2 pedalswitches assignable to: damper / expression / start-stop / patch change
6- VDE power

gem sr2 rear


SOUND main core is based on a CPU Motorola 68302 clocked at 16 MHz manages 32 voices polyphony - 18 bits resolution DAC model AD1865N.
 A S2R patch is composed by 1 or 2 PCM samples that can be combined in 3 modes:
- 1  PCM SO single digital oscillator PCM per voice, simple sample for 1 voice polyphony. Very simple to start a new sound.
- 2 PCM dual Osc layered oscillators but no interaction between waves but a simple volume balancing.
- 3 PCM DC XF dual The GEM system crossfades 2 times the same PCM for a better wave rendering, but this process takes twice voices polyphony.

WAVETABLE The 6mb ROM wavetable (3x ROMS 41,7 kHz rate 16 bits) is organized into 16 instrument categories (piano, reed, string, effects, chromatic, pipe, ensemble, ethnic, organ, synth lead, brass, percussive, guitar, synt pad, bass and drumkit)
->The S2R features some waveforms inspired from classic analog synthesizers e.g Elka Synthex, Roland Jupiter 8.

SAMPLE IMPORT upgrade it is possible to import samples in  special TRANSLATOR MENU, the factory RAM is 512 Kb and ca be expanded up to 2Mb using obsolete SRAM UPD431000
There are 3  import modes:
- floppy MS- DOS & Atari ST format supports .wav .aif - Avalon  
- standard SDS Midi dump.  
- floppy disk Akai S1000 format
->TRANSLATOR feature is factory fitted in S2R but optional in keyboard version S2 and S3

Gem s2R internal


FILTER 2 X independent resonant multimode digital  filters, each provides a -12 dB per octave slope and combined they operate as a single 4-poles filter:  lowpass , highpass, bandpass and parametric boost/cut.

LFO up to 2 interchangeable and Midi syncable modulators (shapes: sinewave, triangle, sawtooth, square, random and sample & hold) and 4 destinations:  
 LFO to amplitude  / LFO to pitch / LFO to filter 1 / filter 2.

ENVELOPE 2 digital EGs :
- EG 1 amplitude: 10 segments when note engaged + 10 others when key is released  
- EG 2 filter: same as EG1  
TIP: It is possible to select also a 1 / 3 /6 macro segments all edited graphically using the data encoder.

EFFECTS S2R handles 2 main engines: 
- DSP 1 is dedicated to reverb and echoes  
- DSP 2 is mainnly focuses to modulation e.g chorus, flanger, phaser and organ rotary speaker.

SEQUENCER Internal 16 tracks Midi SMF compliant with import functions, 250.000 notes + 16 songs
Some standard edit functions such as copy, insert, delete, quantisizer and microscope edit.

Gem s2 sound path

Maintenance and issues

gem s2R

Battery leaking

Infamous internal Ni-cad 3.6V battery leakage.To replace it desolder it, clean the board from the acid and eventually replace it:  if you don't have the extra sample ram, you will just get rid of the day/date for files. We can live without it.


Encoder fail

Jumping encoder needs cleaning with q-tips and an appropriate liquid solution, or just find an equivalent rotary device.


Disk drive failure

DISK DRIVE may fail, try a good cleaning first. It is possible to install an USB emulator

Gem S2R specs

Company: GEM
Model: S2R
Class: Midi module rackmount 4 units
Dates: 1995
Country: Italy
Price: actual street price 250€ UP

Display: neon 240 x 64 pixels
Synthesis: digital rompler
Polyphony: 32 voices
Multitimbric: 16 parts
Resolution: 16 bits
Sample Freq: 41,7 kHz
N. PCM: 209 waves
Oscillator: 2 PCM romper
Filter: LPF / HPF / BPF / BOOST
LFO: 3 modulators
Sequencer: 250.000 notes
Sync: Midi Clock
Midi: IN / OUT / THRU

CPU: 68302
DAC: AD1865N 

dimensions: n/A
weight: 4 kg

Are you a S2 user? how do you use it? You do not agree with our review?  Let us know in the comment field just below 


GEM S2R  Demo



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