GEM WS2 Keyboard Workstation Overview

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GEM WS2 Keyboard Workstation Overview

December 7, 2020 | | No Comments

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GEM WS2 initially proved to create some very mixed feelings with musicians (and music shops), due to the innovative (even futuristic), features, along with 128 programmable and excellent voices, including the multi-sampled Grand Piano (with 3 dynamic levels).  These features, which included an 80 digit LED display, quick access preset sound buttons, numeric keypad, alpha dial and pitch ball, also came complete with programmable settings, programmable styles (rhythms), multi-track sequencer, programmable splits, layers and dynamic levels and Globals (memories), which were found to be both futuristic for enthusiasts but equally confusing for many others.

The ability to easily mix and layer sounds, whilst quickly being able to turn these on and off during live playing, was a great feature.  The ability to load (via floppy disk), new programmable styles (rhythms), voice edits, Globals (memories), sequences (songs) and complete instrument setups (All), was so innovative for the time.   The ability to create and load new sequences, chains and styles.  The ability to have complete MIDI flexibility and configuration (predating the General MIDI standard), with channels being assignable and real-time MIDI messages allowing change of almost all aspects of the instrument setup. GEM certainly made a statement against the other Worldwide musical instrument manufacturers.

Further history

Issues: The WS Series has SRAM for internal storage. This SRAM (Static RAM), uses a rechargeable NiCd backup battery which is prone to leaking and the battery acid when leaking, often corrodes the PCB and components.  Recommend changing the NiCd battery immediately for a separate battery pack, mounted away from the PCBs.

Upgrades: The Operating System (Firmware), is stored in EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory).  Various releases were made and can updated to the latest (at the time).  The EPROM releases can be found in GEM & LEM EPROM Information and all EPROM BIN files can be found in the GEMClub Members Downloads area.

Disks: A large range of GEM and GEMClub members disks can be found in the GEMClub Members Downloads area.

Basic Overview:

  • 2 Megabytes of PCM samples and waveforms
  • 128 User programmable voices, complete with multi-sampled Grand Piano
  • 128 User programmable GLOBAL presets
  • 2 User programmable Digital Effects Processors with 128 Reverberations + 128 other effects (Chorus, Flanger, Delay, Phaser)
  • Dynamic 61 note lightly weighted keyboard
  • 5 Splits / 5 Layers / 3 level Dynamic Switch
  • High level user interface for Real-Time performances, including Pitch Ball, Pedalboard and programmable Function pedals
  • 32 Internal Styles ; up to 32 User programmable Styles
  • 64 percussion sounds divided into 5 Drum sets: Rock Dance Jazz Ethnic Human
  • Multi Track Sequencer with professional editing for Real-time, Songs, Style Songs, Pattern Songs
  • Chain Compose function
  • Optional 3.5″ Disk Drive (up to 10 complete dumps of Voices, Globals, Styles, Patterns, Songs, on each disk)
  • Pre-programmed disks available
  • 20 W + 20 W stereo amplification
  • MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (Out /Thru Switch) AUX IN/OUT LEFT/RIGHT
  • Digital Pre-amplifier
  • Dimensions WS 2 ( H x L x D ) mm. 120 x 1090 x 370

 

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Dave Williams

Original and sole proprietor of GEMWorks Europe, later renamed to GEMClub - Generalmusic Owners Club.

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