I’d consider a professional DJ player / mixer, something that was built solely for the task of DJing to be a thousand times more “faithful” and reliable and just simply “power on ready” than some old, hand-me-down, domestic, household, “i was playing Fortnite 20 minutes ago”, laptop.
Moving from laptop to dedicated standalone for me wasn’t so much a “leap of faith”, more of a “step in the right direction”
I’d say it depends on the size of your library and your expectations on library management.
The SC5000s work well as standalone players. My gripe is with library management.
First, you still the laptop to compose your library, organise your tracks in crates and analyse them. You do that with Engine software, which at the moment I find excruciating to use.
Once you have your library ready, you can use it standalone in your SC5000s (and Prime4) without further assistance of a computer… with one caveat: big libraries (more than 20k tracks) are very slow and search to navigate in the SC5000s (it takes like 8 seconds to search or change crates, albums etc). Furthermore, you can’t search by comment.
So, if you are the kind of DJ focused on one genre and with a library less than 20k tracks, yes, it’s totally usable standalone once you have done the preparation in Engine.
If you are the kind of DJ with a huge library, taking random requests from people, and relying on search, it may not work for you.
I’m the second, and Traktor, Serato or Rekordbox pro-link work for me in that model, but not the SC5000s because of the issues mentioned.
Also, the FXs of the X1800 (and I guess P4 will be the same) are in my opinion worse than the ones in Traktor or Serato. I miss a good delay or echo with a long tail.
Prime is more than ready for standalone use with large audio libraries.
The giant touch screens and high processing power mean that only those not willing or not able to break out of their safety zones will keep declaring it impossible, until the cows come home.
Standalone has moved on a long way since single core tech of recent times, even those of just 3 or 4 years ago. What was not ready, or impossible or hard work a couple of standalone models ago, is a pleasure to DJ on now in 2019 and standalone won’t be staying stagnant or moving backwards anytime soon.
I’ve been DJing laptop-free for over a decade and don’t regret ditching the laptop and it’s associated havoc with os changes, driver issues, usb hardware, and lets not forget latency and what works together and what won’t. Never again.
I have an ulterior motive, and admittedly kind of a unique one. The main reason I bought standalone yet again was with the expectation that eventually we’ll be able to hide certain on-screen information and do an owner lockout in a venue installation so DJs have to use their ears. Honestly. I’m trying to save the seat-of-the-pants aspect in DJ/club venues. I’m on a mission, a quest if you will. Like to Walley World in Vacation… with similar effects on sanity. It was either that or create some janky, complicated home-made turnkey system with a bunch of laptops networked and just do it myself using VDJ or Traktor.
Can’t do on-screen info hiding much on Pioneer models beyond the CDJ-900 with a sticker over the BPM… which I already do. It has issues seeing all the music in every folder, though. If they did allow those options on the newer CDJs, the lack of pitch ranges & resolution and that crazy jog bend deadzone I might look past while complaining all the way. The Geminis still haven’t really panned out for reliability and predictability. The Hanpins that I also have aren’t being developed anymore and their keylock is dated.
The idea of another standalone player in current development with good keylock was exciting and filled with possibilities for saving old-style mix DJing as an art form and saving the DJ booth from continuing to be boring and catering to increasing numbers of the lowest-denominator newbs. I run bands, too, and the bar cannot be lowered for bands as they have to really know their stuff. The talent I see with unsigned bands endlessly amazes me, but every year the new pool of DJs I encounter seems to get worse. The superstar complex seems to increase, yet they seem to get lazier and less skilled. I was hoping Denon DJ was interested in giving venues the option of changing that. We will see. I have hope.
As for the benefits of DJ software and a laptop, no matter what hardware they put in Prime, you can always buy a faster, more powerful laptop. So as for getting faster searches and database analysis, the laptop route always has its potential advantages. If track offloading over ethernet is added to Engine Prime, those with the largest databases will not be at a disadvantage on Prime in standalone as they’ll just be able to use their laptop for library and search while having robustness. This feature should work better than it ever has before due to how Prime buffers the track. So I think we can have our cake and eat it and all that.
It’s not all about processor speed though, the design and implementation of the software is paramount.
I can run VDJ on a GPD Pocket (Intel Atom processor) with full HD video out and remote control via RDP to an ipad all night and it is as smooth as butter. If you look at the specs of that machine it’s pretty rubbish, but the way it runs the software is no reflection on what it should do.
Smart TVs are another area marketed on the processors but in general the interfaces put on them are slow and unintuitive.
I would love to try a Prime setup just to see what it actually does (I have 35 years experience working as a DJ) but I’m certainly not taking a gamble for that amount of money.
Certainly. However, VDJ has had nearly 20 years of development. It’s leaps and bounds beyond the complexity and elegant coding of any other DJ software out there, let alone standalone player. I absolutely don’t fault anyone for preferring it for mobile DJ use. If we get on-screen customization, owner lockout, and Engine Prime ethernet track offload ability, though, nothing will be able to touch Prime for club installation purposes. I think DJs at home will also want to get in on the hardware, too. Will that include the mobile DJ crowd? I guess time will tell and Denon DJ will have to prove its software efficiency and reliability to you folks in standalone mode. It’s promising, in my opinion, that you’re hanging out here checking things out, though. Would VDJ HID support on Prime sweeten the deal?
How many tracks do you have and how much storage? I’ve got 80,000 on a 2TB mechanical drive that is read by Prime. Granted, searching and sorting is faster with my computers, hence the ethernet offload function for Engine Prime I’m hoping for, but I just did an 8hr set last night with no catastrophic problems. I wasn’t doing complicated searches for each track, but I didn’t leave any track behind.
Sure, it has big screens and processing power. I don’t think the issues I exposed have anything to do with processing power but with a bad design of the database that does not scale well. It’s a software problem, not a hardware problem.
Well, I personally not declared impossible, but I have explained, in a reasoned manner, the caveats I found.
Regarding the “safety zones”, yes, you are right I don’t want to change the kind of DJ I am and the workflow I have developed driven by the gear.
BTW, I clearly mention in my post that Prime may work or not for the OP depending on his expectations, flow, and type of library.
Excluding video , standalone is already being used by open-format, multi-genre, massive library’d club, mobile (inc wedding) DJ.
Stand alone Prime gear is ready for DJs
Not all DJs may be ready to upgrade from their current playback format however. Not for any workflow reasons, simply a confidence and possibly cost consideration. After all midi controllers are considerably cheaper to keep upgrading, compared to stand alone items. DJs doing cheap and cheerful €100 a night might consider stand alone to be something that will always be out of reach and could say stand alone is not ready, indefinitely.
Ultimately, it don’t matter what plastic box your Play button is on, all the possibilities, including stand alone, are ready, for all types of audio DJs.
I - for one - am more than ready to move to laptop-free DJ-ing. While I don’t have a beaten up, just played games on laptop, but an i7 MacBook Pro dedicated solely to DJ-ing (well til recently anyway), I still would like to show up with nothing but my controller (not even a memory-stick preferably).
I thought I’d get that with the MCX8000, but that didn’t quite fit my needs. I knew that a full prime setup would fit, but … too big for serious mobile work.
Hopefully the Prime 4 will prove the best of both worlds. And I am sure that Engine Prime will only get better.
Thnx … and thanks all for your replies. I love the way all you guys take the time to answer.
I decided that I’m not ready to get rid of my laptop yet. The Prime4 is potentially great, but; For me personally it lacks some functions. The most important one are the sampler pads. I know it has pads but there is no built in sampler. The Prime4 is put in the market as the ultimate ‘on the road party dj’ but they all use samplers I guess? At least I do.
The second reason for me to wait a wile and see what happens; Soundcloud Go+ is (or going to be) available in Traktor Pro3. When Soundcloud is; then Spotify will follow soon I hope and when Spotify is available in Traktor Pro3 then I have everything I need for my weekly party gigs.
I don’t see the Prime4 connected to wifi searching a streaming music service in the future.
The third reason is the supported 1TB HD. I know that are a lot of files but as an allround party DJ I have to maintain a big library of music. When the P4 would support some kind of online library then it wouldn’t be a problem at all but now I still have to carry my iPad for the requestsongs I don’t have. That’s the same as carrying my MacBook.
So @denon : here are my 3 requests for the Prime4 mkII; add some sampler pads and support searching an online service like Spotify, Deezer. And third: put in some bigger processors so it can handle a bit more music