Functionality features & questions

Hey Denon community,

All of these Prime Series units look really exciting. It seems that Engine Prime and being able to DJ without a laptop is your biggest selling point. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m at that point in my career where I can abandon my laptop, DJing mostly at weddings and bars. Or can I? I’m used to searching in Serato with a keyboard to find a song quickly. I also spin music videos at some gigs. Serato’s sampler player has been useful, too.

I am in the market to upgrade my gear though. Currently running Serato Scratch Live with a DN-X1700, a DN-S5000, and a DN-S3500.

Aside from Engine Prime, customization of LED lights/flashy logos, touch pad for beat fx, what are some functionality features on the new mixer and media players that I wouldn’t be able to find on a controller from Denon, Numark, or Pioneer. I’m talking about game-changers, things that would give me the chance to be more creative, effective, and efficient than any other set up. Being able to pinch the waveform is cool, but I don’t think that adds much to my sets/workflow other than a new/different aesthetic.

I’m really just looking for reasons to justify purchasing these modular pieces as opposed to a controller. I’ve had trouble finding really advantageous features that I can’t get on a controller.

I love the ability to change the contour on all five faders on my dn x1700 mixer. Will this be a feature on the DJX1800?

Any update on compatibility with Serato DJ? Will Pitch Play be incorporated into the media players?

How would one link to Serato DJ with two SC5000s & the x1800? Would I be able to connect the players into the mixer and then go into my laptop from that?

I love Denon DJ products and am looking forward to testing out the new gear at my local music store in the near future. If someone could help clarify on what makes these products so special, I would appreciate it.


Welcome to the forum – and welcome to Prime.

A single SC5000 Prime is effectively a laptop and two decks – more powerful and accurate than most, if not all, other solutions – so leaving the lappy at home shouldn’t be an issue at all.

The SC5000 gives an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, and several single button search filters – allowing even the largest of track libraries to be shortlisted by Artist Name, Song Title, Crate, BPM (within the DJ’s “happy to mix within x or xx%” pitch range), matching or compatible music key…so getting from 50,000 tracks to a nice short list of a dozen or two tracks that matter. Of course, once that short list is up on screen, you can swipe the track Right to load the track instantly, or swipe it left to send the track to the Preperation folder/Wait List/Hot List for playing later. So if the lappy requirement was just for searching, the SC5000 will easily cope. That’s a laptop less to carry, a laptop less to worry about being “borrowed”, a laptop less to worry about crashing etc. You’d still need a lappy for video playback, at the moment. Whilst Pio has a controller that “offers” video, it’s got no video connections, just a midi button or two, labelled up with video type labels – akin to the MC6000 Mk1 & mk2 having options on the crossfader for Audio only, video only or both, years ago.

Game changer wise, there are several key points – although being lappy free and having the brains in the thing you’re actually using, rather than MIDI/HID just being a “remote control” of a lappy is reason enough for some people to upgrade to stand alone DJing.

The dual layers aren’t just MIDI layers (as some people think), they’re AUDIO layers so, just like you’re used to with Alpha Track on your DN-S5000 deck with CD’s, you’ll have that functionality (but with greatly improved features) with any tracks that the SC5000 accesses from any source. So, at the press of the “Layer” switch, you’ll have a whole different track, a whole different 8 pads (which can be used as loops or hot cues) – so effectively 16 pads within a layer change of each other. Nice. And of course, having two SC5000’s mean 4 decks.

Every Hot start button can become a loop, so potentially 8 loops per track. Hot Cues (definitely) and loops (I believe) can be named – this is a tremendous help, so you can see on the screen of the deck, which cue point/hot start etc is on which button – saving a red face later, mid mix.

The internal processing of ALL performance critical characteristics of each track (Beat Grid, Music key, BPM) within the player, rather than having to run tracks through a PC based program days/weeks before a gig, to enable you to use the track to its best potential, was previously unheard of until the SC5000 Prime. If you have purchased, downloaded, or been sent a new tune even minutes before playing it, even mid-performance, you can simply load it into a spare USB (or the SD card slot might be easier, if someone sent it to your phone). The track loads and is playable “instantly” and even while the track is playing the player calculates the Beat Grid etc, adds the grid display to the waveform etc, all while it’s still playing, and voila! You’re able to utilise all the beat grid features – jumping forward/backward X beats (you can choose X, it’s not fixed to a factory set guess at whats good for you), and of course all loops etc stay perfectly timed. This is an absolute epiphany, compared to what technology from yesteryear could manage.

The way that the power safety feature works (if the power gets accidently disconnected, the player carries on playing), and the way that if the USB device with the currently playing tune on it, is accidently pulled out when your halfway through a track, the 5000 doesn’t dump you into an unpredictable and therefore useless, short, emergency loop of track – the SC5000 continues playback of the entire track, and if the usb device is re-inserted, you’re able to carry on searching for the next tune by all the usual criteria (Artist, song title, BPM etc

As Boothe did a great job of pointing out (some of) the features, there is one you asked about that he didn’t cover.

This regarding Pitch N Play. Clearly this is an add-on for Serato, but the beauty of the SC5000s is that they have their own, Denon exclusive, time-stretching algorithm right in the unit (so even without the laptop). Having heard it, is is hard to wrap your head around. In the +/- 100% pitch range mode, the sound stays absolutely stable, even at the edges of range. So at twice the speed or at virtual stand still it is still usable audio. Pretty amazing and needs to be seen/heard to be believed. Some of the reviews on Youtube as well as the official Denon videos show it if you want a preview.

I have just bought my MCX8000 which I really thought would be my last major controller purchase, but with the Prime series out, I am quite sure that as soon as budget and my wife allow I will have to add a Prime setup. It is THAT good, especially if (like me) you come from many years on CDJ-sized players and 12" mixers. The form factors works, but current CDJ-like units are still stuck in the middle ages (even the Nexus2 does not offer the capabilities that a good controller does). With the the SC5000s we now have the option for that form factor but with all the capabilities of a laptop-connected controller, WITHOUT the laptop!

Any comparison with anything else on the market is just not justified. It’s closer to a controller than to a media-player, which means people used to (all-in-one) controllers used with a laptop/iPad are more accustomed to the features offered, but even then, there is no controller out there with this kind of processing power, stand-alone capabilities or awesome 7" multi-touch high-res screens. And don’t be mistaken thinking that a set of Nexus 2 in touring version (with the full iPad sized screens attached) offer anywhere near the same functionality, because they don’t.

While the SC5000s and X1800 support Serato, I think I would be perfectly happy using them “stand-alone”, provided Engine Prime gives us sufficient functionality for collection management.

Just my two cents, as usual.

Thanks for the reply.

I heard the +/-100 time-stretching examples in some videos. It was solid.

What I’m really looking forward to my upgrade is being able to use Serato DJ and its plugins, such as Flip & Pitch N Time. Can the Prime players instantly match keys with what’s playing on the opposite deck? Pitch Play is more of a sub-tool enabled on some controllers with Pitch N Time. With this you can select a cue point, and hitting the cue pads will trigger the track to jump up/down in pitch in small increments. Essentially, you can play melodies by triggering that one cue point over and over. If you have the means to try that out on your MCX8000, do it!

Thanks for the reply.

I guess I should’ve mentioned that with my current setup, I can also record internally into Serato/my laptop. That’s one of the reasons why I would keep using Serato. As I mentioned in my other reply, I’m looking forward to upgrading from Scratch Live to DJ to use the plugins Serato has. Flip is a really cool feature that can help me be more efficient. Pitch N Time/Pitch Play can help me be more creative. Serato also has the “instant doubles” feature. Are there any comparable features in the Prime series to the ones mentioned above?

Everything you listed, from the power safety feature, to beat grid jumping, etc. is awesome. I don’t know if the info is available yet, but I would really like to know how many of these game-changing features will work with Serato DJ, since I probably won’t be abandoning my laptop anytime soon.